My Toronto Includes

Toronto Album 

"A happy city is a social city, living close to your natural environment and having good relationships with neighbours is what it's all about"

Run to your local Toronto Public Library and renew your library card today. 

Then get online and dig into a treasure trove of books, video, research materials, programs, classes, exhibits including hidden gems like a free subscription to over 6,000 courses in Business, Technology and Creative Skills taught by industry experts at

View from The Globe and Mail Centre, 351 King St E. 16th floor.

What's On

An explosion of colour and translucent light that was the exhibition at the ROM by, an American glass sculptor, Dale Chihuly #CHIHULYTO 

Neighbourhood Finds

" F
ewer things, exquisitely executed, are better than many things ordinarily executed"

Bill Mockler

Around town, a no-logo canvas carry-all hauls groceries, bread and everyday necessities such as a clip-on LED bike light.  A membership to Mountain Equipment Co-op gets you the goods that gets you outside and on your bike for a few more days before winter finally hits and you have to give up the bike till early spring.

O M G Shoes

GetOutside offers the classics: Converse, Clarks, Doc Martins, Havajianas. Close by at 365 Queen Street West, CSquared, provides more lady-like options with European alternatives like FLY for edgy mary janes and flat, rubber-soled boots from Camper

Paper, pencils, utility bags, exquisite purses
On my usual visit to this Yorkville stationery shop, I'm picking up FABER CASTELL 2B grip, three-sided pencils.

Pens, office accessories and organizers are packed in with italian and eco-friendly laptop bags that may cost as much as 3,990.00. Laywines is tucked in at 24 Bellair Street, opposite Uncle Otis and the newly renovated Sassrafraz Restaurant.

Of course moleskin is there alongside other brands you won't find anywhere else in town.

Built to last
Uncomplicated, impeccable tailoring, unexpected colours in leather, contemporary and weather-aware fabrics. There are no risks here at M0851. Only buttery soft leather, sophisticated basics and the best utility bags to last a lifetime.

Shop Local: Tea towels handcrafted in Canada by Jenna Rose and 100% Canadian organic beeswax candles from Gammy's

The One Of A Kind Show is on twice a year in Toronto and this smaller spring show in April makes it easy to get up close to the 450 artisans showing handmade items including bodycare, ceramics, furniture, textiles and fashion.

Glass by Toronto artist E. J. Davey

Zit Designs from Montreal uses recycled rubber to create really useful items like this card holder. Buy one for each family member to keep items like health card, library card, doctor's appointment card all in one place.
Lawrence Tucker of Ottawa scouts for special pieces of wood and turns them into magnificent, functional items like these pens.
Another top pick this year are the Original Pheylonian Survival Candles of 100% pure capping beeswaxmostly virgin beeswax freshly produced by the bees each year when they are gathering nectar, that last for 80-100 hours. If you burn candles, make sure they're beeswax which produce negative ions, cleansing the air of dust, odours, toxins, pollen, mold, dust mite feces, chemtrail residues and viruses.

Everyday Summer style. Left:  Boss by Hugo Boss suit at Harry Rosen, White Shirt by, shoes Blundstone at Australian Boot Company on Yonge. Right: Reversible Jacket with pewter skull buttons online at Betabrand, shorts Club Monaco, long sleeve tee Banana Republic Bloor West, sandals Birkenstock at Circle Shoes.

Splendid Gifts

A little salt does the body good and a real treat for Women only at Body Blitz Spa.

Ana's Housekeeping Services Who doesn't need a little extra help once in a while? We'll take any day, anytime.

Reflexology dates back 5,000 years and are few things more pleasurable than a soothing, energizing foot massage at Bakerwood Massage Clinic

I'll take UBER, Lyft, Beck or Royal Taxi over having to get behind the wheel in Toronto traffic. You can actually give the gift of UBER

A breakfast for Mother's Day - Peter prepares Oatmeal with cream, brown sugar and walnuts; Montreal-style all dressed bagel with cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onion slices and capers.

Let's Eat

Super summer salad
Crunchy Spinach Salad at the Pickle Barrel Yonge and Eglinton is a bunch of baby spinach leaves topped mandarins, red onions, almonds, crunchy rice noodles and other stuff is a filling meal on a hot night just before a movie at SilverCity. 

Rooftop Patio
The patio at the Queen Mother Café on Queen Street West, not visible from the street, you must venture underground to get back up to the backyard patio, more like Aunt Marge's than the Queen but you can't beat the Pad Thai noodles after 20 years in the city.

JulesBistro is a cozy, unpretentious restaurant that serves the ultimate Toronto lunch at the east side of Spadina between Queen and Richmond.

Frank Restaurant at the AGO is a relaxed and delightful date for lunch and an afternoon gallery browse. Ten percent off meals is just one of the perks of an Art Gallery of Ontario membership. Named in honour of the gallery's restoration architect, Frank Gehry.

The breakfast of champions consists of multi-grain pancakes with Canadian maple syrup, two over-easy eggs, peameal bacon, cranberry juice. The takeout sandwich version may substitute a Montreal-style Bagel House bagel instead of pancakes.

Fresh Produce just around the corner at Mt Pleasant and Davisville - Ken Cho Food Market supplies the Mt. Pleasant and Davisville neighbourhood and it's many restaurants on the block for over 20 years. Dress up your table with fine linens from Jacaranda Tree, pick up a fresh baguette at Jules Bakery and lunch is ready.

Green Space

The Kay Gardiner Beltline Trail runs from west of Allen Road and south just west of the Don Valley is a great city escape for cyclists and walkers.

Evergreen community naturalization programs is a collective effort that includes people from all walks of life in the revitalization of their schools, community and in making cities our more livable. Spread the green.

Take a video tour or just get there on Saturday for the Farmers' market. The Evergreen Foundation is our blazing star forging ahead to raise $55 million to transform this heritage site into a sustainable urban green space.

As part of the Don River watershed and City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation, this urban oasis helps to protect wildlife and habitat.

A splendid hike through The Central Ravines and Beltline is part of the urban forest pathway leading to the Evergreen Brickworks conservation area where Saturday morning is buzzing with a Farmers Market and family activities.

Trees make our city livableOne of the most valuable resources in our city are our 10.2 million trees.

Allen Gardens is set in one of Toronto’s oldest parks and transports you into a warm, humid horticultural feast of six themed greenhouses featuring a mature forest of Palms, Succulents, Bamboo, Orchids, Hibiscus and Bromeliads.

Allen Garden is a botanical oasis offering welcome sanctuary among beautiful plants from around the world often finding some privacy from unwelcome stares under the centre piece historic, cast-iron and glass domed “Palm House”, built in 1910.

Early morning at Rosehill Reservoir: a glorious park to enjoy at 75 Rosehill Ave. just two blocks south east of St. Clair Ave. and Yonge St.

City Hall's  best kept secret: The Podium Green Garden is an expanse of underused public garden at the pod level at City Hall which may not be visible from the street but a sweet space to get away from the crowds at Queen St. and Bay.

Just go for a walk!. My friends travel all over the world only to discover that Toronto is a natural wonder with 600 km of trails and more than 1,600 parks like this one, midtown in the Village of Yorkville.

Garden West
Going out of town in search of something Victorian then an afternoon at the Royal Botanical Gardens on the border of Burlington and Hamilton, is divine.  If you take the your bike on the go train, you get off at Aldershot and it's probably a less than 15 minute ride down to the lake at your at the Gardens. Visit the tea room in the gardens for lunch.

A new bride joins her wedding party for a ferry ride to Ward's Island and Wedding Reception.

photo: Cole kicks it @ NTSC North Toronto Soccer Club

Wildflower Farms is a favourite website about native plants and you can buy stock too!.

Star Gazing
If you love looking up at the stars, the David Dunlap Observatory offers public viewing nights held most Saturday nights throughout the summer months and early fall. The DDO is an educational facility located in Richmond Hill, Ontario and is operated by The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Ontario Walks celebrates the joys of walking.

GreenShift Supplies cups and other products made from sugarcane, corn or natural paper fibres with special certified, biodegradable coatings.

Becoming a Toronto Environmental Volunteer. Twenty hours of training and a certificate, 40 hours of community work (or more), a diploma, a T-shirt and hat, ... ah, and free entrance to different shows such as the Green Living Show and Canada Blooms.

Bluffers Park is 14 kilometres of waterfront, public, open, day-use park with long sandy beach, picnic areas, swimming, scenic trails, volleyball court, launching facilities for recreational boaters, as well as private yacht clubs with the backdrop of the majestic Cathedral Bluffs rising more than 90 metres above Lake Ontario.

Getting Around

On New Year's Eve you can ride the TTC for free. Party without getting behind the wheel of your car. Toronto Transit Commission.

Toronto City Bicycling Map

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Sitting for too long? My favourite Pilates stretches

I just can't sit for a very long time. 

How does humanity make could I make it through the movie premiere of Avengers: Endgame?.

I know from personal experience with scoliosis,  sitting in one position for too long is no good at your desk, on the train or in your car.

Movement is definitely key to feeling more energized and confident.

These simple stretches helped keep my stiff muscles moving during a road trip to New York last winter.


Neck Rolls
Tip ear to shoulder, then drop chin to chest and roll to the other side. Back and forth. 10 reps.

Neck Stretch
Rotate head to one side, drop chin to chest, grab with same side arm at base of skull, pull up to stretch. Hold 10-15 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.

Backward shoulder rolls. 10 reps.

Ribcage mobilization
Press ribcage side to side, then front to back sticking chest out and dropping chest back. Add "bowl roll" if you want, keeping the movement in a smooth circle.

Hip "Bowl Roll"
Knee Rolls: Feet together, hands on knees. Circle knees.

Ankle Rolls: One foot at a time, move from tippy toes to balls of feet back and forth.


Hold these stretches 1--15 sec, 2-3 times.


Pull knee to butt. Point knee to floor.

Press hips/pelvis forward in a deep lunge. Alternate raised feet using a stair or step stool, for example.

 With one leg straight, sit tall and lean forward. Press sit-bones back.

Keep back heel on ground.

Figure 4 Stretch
Cross ankle over knee. Sit tall and lean forward.

Backward Bend
Feet apart. Stand with hands on buttocks. Abs are tight. Press hips forward. Repeat 5-10 times, no hold.


My favourite super-stretchy exercises were shared by  Personal Best Physiotherapy and Pilates.

If you're close to Birch Cliff, The Pilates Barr offers small group pilates classes during the week.

Joan Baker will develop a personalized program that fits your health concerns. She combines the benefits of Pilates, Eldoa, Smovey and Pole Walking for a super fun work-out.

If you find yourself frequently in a jam on Bayview Avenue, there's always a yoga class and the calming voice of Joanne Lowe at the Big Stretch. Some Hatha yoga will keep those muscles moving even with your eyes closed.

Keep it fluid !

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Does It Bring You Joy

Encased in ice, fragile winter berries glow like christmas lights

With a glowing sunset came overnight freezing drizzle on the first day of winter

Gingerbread houses constructed at  McCalls Bakery Workshop in the West end of the city.

Decorations on the tree hold special memories of Christmases past or gifts from loved ones  

Fresh Clementines from Morocco are a citrus treat every winter

At Warden and Eglinton, Fresh and Spring Rolls makes the best Pho broth in the city. A nest of fresh stir fry and jasmine tea hits that cold spot 

A favourite Holiday card from my colleagues at Camp Kirk sits in the Christmas tree and puts a smile on everyone's face.

Aimee creates a book from a deck of playing cards - a Christmas present for her Mom to share "52  Things I Love About You".

At a Park or backyard near you - Plant a tree and dedicate it to someone you care about, as here at the Davisville Park where dedications were left on little painted river stones.

Sarah and her cousins make colourful Easter Egg baskets out of woven strips of scrap paper, held together with packing tape; then plan an Easter Egg hunt with coloured plastic eggs filled with little chocolate sweetness.
Splurge on exotic flavours like pink guava, mango and pomegranate truffles from Toronto online chocolatier Chocolates 4 the World.

 A quality wool/acrylic blend sweater like this BELIKA brand will take a man through all 4 seasons, available at Carrerra Casuals on Bayview

Happy Father's Day - Cole makes a fun poster for a present, cutting out foam letters out of packing material from a computer packing box.

That summer feeling! Mocassins made entirely of buttery soft leather melt on your feet and keep you in touch with the earth. In Wendake Québec, Huron craftsmen make exquisite hand beaded genuine leather mocassins since 1878. Order yours from Francine or Natalie at

An array of ear plugs in wood, lucite and stone; all sizes and stages of stretching. Get your ear pierced for $25.00 and if you want to revert a few years later, it will take $1,600.00 for elective, reconstructive surgery  with an experienced plastic surgeon at Women's College Hospital. Read More in this CBC article.

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Resources for visual designers

Jumpola Some terrific links to resources for designers - all on one page!

Ultimate Writer's Resource has a ton of useful information on writing and grammar published by Amsterdam Printers Learn, master, and apply digital tools and techniques.

Good CSS reference Sitepoint

Adobe Indesign help? Casey D’Andrea's shares his expert tips and Adobe Indesign resources on customized contact sheets

Killer Sites Web design tutorials

TypeKit is a service that allows any font to be displayed on the web. There is a fee attached.  Nonetheless, perhaps there may be a client or an application for using it sometime.

Typetester is a nice widget for previewing and comparing the look of screen fonts - helps with specifying typography on the web.

Web Logs and Analysis FAQs on interpreting your web reports

Q2ID The leader in conversion plug-in. A review of Q2ID is available here for QuarkXpress lovers. There is a fee attached.

An eclectic collection of best practice web and wonderful inspiration for designers is piepmatzel.

Imagination is everything at OCAD University.

Good Reads
The One to One Future: Building Relationships One Customer at a Time. Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, PH.D.

Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty. Patrick Lencioni

Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity. Jakob Nielsen, 1999

Why We Buy: The Science Of Shopping (Google eBook). Paco Underhill

Password Tips

With hacker horror stories keeping us alert and everything from our banking, friendships and mailboxes now online, we're stuck with creating and remembering endless passwords. Using the same password for all the sites you visit regularly is just not a good idea:
  1. How about starting with a memorable phase that you can turn into an acronym?. 
  2. Make sure it doesn't contain a readable word. 
  3. Mix upper and lower case. 
  4. Use a number or symbol in the middle of the word. 
  5. It's easier to remember a phase that means something to you and is secure because it's original.
Here's some good advice on how you can Fix Your Terrible, Insecure Passwords in Five Minutes at

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