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.

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.

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

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.

We love the TTC

On New Year's Eve you can ride the TTC for FREE. Party and hang with your friends - no one needs to drive, including the über driver Toronto Transit Commission.

Toronto City Bicycling Map

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Creating Brand Identity Guidelines

Creating an organized way to document and share your company's identity usage standards ensures that your distinctive brand personality and relevance is never compromised.

Start by documenting the controllable elements of brand identity

  1. Positioning strategy
  2. brand name
  3. nomenclature
  4. tagline
  5. logo.

Consistency is key

Brand Guidelines or a Style Guide may be an online document with links to graphic resources or it may be an elaborate printed manual to communicate with affiliates, staff or suppliers.

It starts with identifying those key elements that reflect the core values and represent the image attributes of the company. A designer details every possible placement and usage standards for the company's identity.

This includes the do's and do not's of logo in various mediums from websites to print and display advertising.

Demonstrate how a company's logo will appear in print, on mobile devices or the web.
For example, when a designer creates a master wordmark or logo as an EPS [encapsulated postscript] file, it scales to any size and will maintain it's quality - no jagged edges.

When the file gets re-saved and distributed in various formats for printing in an ad as a .tiff file or on the website as a jpeg, png or .gif file, the logo should look and feel the same.


  • Font choice
  • Print type treatment: options for headlines, subhead, callouts/decks
  • Online HTML treatment such as Cascading Style sheets [CSS].
2. Colour Palette
  • Colour combinations showing primary and secondary options.
3. Graphic Treatment
  • Logo or logomark
  • Photographic styles
  • borders, rules, bullets, graphic identifiers
  • Illustration and graphic treatment.


4. Templates
  • Layout options for website, mobile and social media formats showing content treatment
  • Sketches to illustrate placement and appearance of key layout features.
5. Navigation and Information design
  • Create a diagram of the navigation design. This is the HTML template that shows
    the structure of the page and identifies key content areas.
  • Link to existing live example
  • Icon-based treatment such as font awesome font and icon toolkit
  • Address global, 1st and 2nd level navigation.

Check out my
Building Blocks of Branding Worksheet


before the brand

by alycia perry with david wisnom 111
creating the unique DNA of an enduring brand identity.

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It was in Williamsville, along the Guaracara Tabaquite Road

This photo taken on Feb 23 2013 at the Asa Wright Nature Centre, a converted cocoa plantation, is just a reminder of what it felt like to visit my grandparents home as a child in the Tabaquite hills.

In the 1930's, Evelyn lived with her parents and fours brothers in Tabaquite near Williamsville, a village along the Guaracara Tabaquite Road in the central hills on the island of Trinidad.

At the turn of the century, Tabaquite transitioned from sleepy cocoa village after the discovery of extensive oil deposits in the area.

During the early days, there was no pipeline system at the Tabaquite operations so the crude oil and natural gas was directed from the wells through earthen drains into a large pit or sump.
Pitch-oil, also known as Kerosene is a derivative of petroleum and this was an important product since, at the time, there was no electric power in the island outside of Port-of-Spain.

Evelyn was the only girl in her family and at nine years old she was already her Mom's right-hand with housekeeping, laundry  and especially in the kitchen.
One of her jobs after school was to collect the Pitch-Oil from one such abandoned Pitch-Oil sumps which drained at the back of the family home, a long way down the hill, pass the kitchen garden and the Out-house.

Evelyn would use this fuel to start a fire under the coal-pot for cooking dinner.
The boys also had chores after school - Bal, the eldest, then Morris, Herman, Raymond and Frank.
There were chickens and goats to tend to. The garden needed watering.

The family also owned some quarry land across the main road and as the boys grew older and stronger, they worked wheelbarrowing gravel into trucks to be sold for essential roadway construction.

Sweet Spot

Everyday after school there was a sweet spot between Schools out and when Pa appeared on his horse.
The children had a little time to themselves for play.

All the siblings were outside playing after school in the yard - pitching marbles, running after the cat, enjoying some fun before getting to work.

The family at Piarco airport when brother Morris leaves with his young family for Venezuela around 1955.

Mama was in the kitchen as she usually was after school.
Pa, the head of the household, John Seucharan was the local headmaster and usually home by 5.

The afternoon breeze was cool and everyone was in a playful mood.
Frank was up in the mango tree.
His job today was Look Out so when Pa appeared on his horse in the distance down the hill, he would give the signal,
"Pa coming!"
All man would scatter and get busy with their daily activities.

But today would be different.

When Evelyn struck a match to start the fire, she had not realized that the Pitch-Oil tin had been leaking and immediately exploded.
Pa was coming up the hill, It happened so fast. By the time, they got Evelyn into the buggy to the hospital, she was gone  "quiet and peaceful".

Raymond was five or six years old. This story is what he recalls.

Evelyn again

John and his partner would go on to have four more children - Malcolm and three daughters; Elizabeth (Elsie), Victoria (Dulcie), Wilma.

It was important to John that his children attend college.
Jobs were readily available for his sons in the oil and gas industry. Elizabeth and Victoria attending college.

By 1955, Victoria was a teacher and Elizabeth had landed the job of executive assistant to the General Manager at Texaco Oil company.
In the Geological Drafting Department, Elizabeth met the only other woman working there at that time.

Her name was Evelyn and they became fast best friends, both lovers of fashion, femininity and enjoying their new-found personal freedom.

Evelyn was an only child who grew up in the city and was excited to be invited for a weekend at the country home of her friend,  Elizabeth.
When Evelyn arrived, Elizabeth's mother broke down.
She hugged her and quietly wept the words in Spanish, which was her native Venezuelan tongue,

"My Evelyn has returned".

Photo note:
In the mid 1950's, the entire family travelled to the airport at Piarco to bid farewell to Morris, dressed in a suit, leaving for Puerta La Cruz, Venezuela with his wife and three young children, pictured here, top row.
Top row from left: Victoria, Elizabeth, Morris, Baby Ian with Mom, Evelyn, Mama, baby Steve with Mom, young Louisa and Wilma.
Bottom row from left: Malcolm, young Tenny, Raymond, Herman, Frank.

History of the Area

Find out more about how Tabaquite went from a sleepy cocoa belt village to Trinidad Central Oilfields.
Even in the Unites States, there were no pipelines at the time of this length for transit of light crude which made the Tabaquite-Claxton Bay trajectory a world first. Because the deposits were shallow, output at Tabaquite fell in the years following 1919 and by 1939, around the time Evelyn died, Trinidad Central Oilfields ceased to exist.

READ: The Rise and Fall

by Angelo Bissessarsingh. Sat Jul 16 2016.
Angelo Bissessarsingh was an historian and author from Trinidad and Tobago.
His written works include A Walk Back in Time: Snapshots of the History of Trinidad and Tobago.  Wikipedia.

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On The Street

The streets are alive with art, inspiration and commentary on this cool early morning in Kensington picking up the goods at Caribbean Corner located on Baldwin west of Spadina here since 1977.

No West Indian comes here and leaves without some fresh fruits and vegetables such as okra, bodi, shadow bene, banana leaves scotch bonnet peppers, salt fish and cassava from the islands.

Art from 185 AugustaDeadboy and more is "admission free" and passionately served. Rob Ford, Prime Minister Harper feature along the way as the sweet smell of cinnamon calls around the corner to Mexican Churros $13. per dozen filled with caramel, chocolate or strawberry sauce.
Deep fried while you wait. Served hot at Pancho's.

Surrounding by glammed up teens and young adults sharing the F21 love over the holiday season, I make a post boxing day trip to the Eatons Centre, a mecca of  indoor shopping to check on the Forever 21 fashion frenzy.

Plastic. That's the smell. How many soda pop bottles did it take to make that dress?

So much colour and beauty taking the shortcuts down so many downtown alleyways.

Just bring your own paddle and ball for Ping Pong at June Rowlands Park at Davisville and Mt. Pleasant. The ice cream truck still appears every Spring and is in serious need of a 2015 makeover - Gelato, Yogurt shakes and Kombucha popsicles anyone?

Keen Canada makes a great sole for any season on these mean streets of Toronto. This is a lightweight, comfortable waterproof shoe or boot that breathes. Build your own shoe online. Feel good supporting an organization that helps preserve the places we play.

It's art on the street in Kensington. Thank You for no car Sundays in the summer.

Weathered and neglected for years this unbranded wood makes for an exotic 352 Baldwin shop front.

Indigenous Women speak out against TAR SANDS poster.
Endorse, support or get more info at

Not much warmth from the grate and a light green blanket at Bay and Bloor in below zero weather.

Get Inspired by
 the work of French Street Artist Dran and British street Artist Banksy.

Giant multicoloured navigational buoys designed by Douglas Coupland in collaboration with Philips-Farevag-Smallenberg

What a beauty!
On the way home and on the theme of one-of-a-kind, we find a lotus. Ryerson University / Mount Pleasant Cemetary bicycle rack competition 2010 winning design LOTUS by Katy Alter and Jeff Cogliati bring together aesthetic, functionality and ease of use in perfect harmony.

Out front at the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place, we're happy to find this wonderful swirl of serious bike parking available.

City and Colour

Early morning market's a breeze

Stores are still shut tight in Kensington and hand-painted artwork on the storefronts are exposed when shutters are closed. A few early morning breakfast-seekers and food shoppers are about.

Trees are up in flames everywhere

Both urban artscape and natural colours of Fall inspire and charm. We stop just for a moment to enjoy the play of light and the uplifting feeling that a splash of colour adds to life.

Closed Coffee Shop front counter art

It's like a different coloured scarf everyday changing colours, wrapped around this Church on Belsize Drive.

Halloween skeleton pirates hang out below the brightest shades of orange and yellow

On Oct 31, a front yard line up of Halloween favourites include pumpkins, spiders, witches and Count Dracula.

Leaf tips seem dipped in petal colours after the rain

Groceries bagged and a quiet street makes a skateboard-perfect ride home.

In memory of Bill Cunningham

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