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StarBuzz Online - Toronto

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Experiences reflect unique DNA of Ontario travel destinations; Stratford, Bayfield and Elora & Fergus

Stratford, Bayfield and Elora & Fergus think outside the box to engage visitors

STRATFORD, Ont. (June 23, 2017) – Picture rappelling down a sheer rock wall to get to your table for a delicious dinner served on a beach beside a gorgeous winding river. How about taking in a one-of-a-kind concert from world-class musicians playing a bell about the size of a transport truck that replicates the sound of a carillon?

Or maybe you're the artsy type and want to get inspired by a stunning landscape — how about painting a sunset from a breathtaking perch on a bluff overlooking Lake Huron? These are just a few of the incredible experiences visitors can enjoy this summer while exploring the tourism hotspot of southwestern Ontario, whether it's on a day-trip from the Greater Toronto Area or a longer family vacation.

The communities of Stratford, Bayfield and Elora & Fergus have joined with the region's tourism organization — RTO4 — as well as their local tourism partners to develop more than two dozen new activities designed to engage travellers and highlight the special qualities and attractions that make each of the three destinations unique.

"Today's visitors are seeking out unique experiences that they want to share – often in real-time – with friends and family," says David Peacock, RTO4 Chief Executive Officer. "The new experiences supported by the animation fund highlight each community's unique assets and invite the visitor to participate in telling the story."

Stratford, picturesque home to the world-renowned Stratford Festival, is hosting 15 new events and activities that capture its growing reputation as a cultural resort town. A small sample of the experiences include:

The Stratford Summer Music Carillon, organized by Stratford Summer Music. World-class carillon performers will play 14 free concerts from Aug. 5-13 on a massive musical bell.

Ladies of the CNR, a full-length play presented by the Stratford Perth Museum and Martingale Vintage. The play will be performed at city hall from Sept. 28 to Oct. 4, featuring an interactive photobooth and newly curated CN exhibit.

Food for Thought Festival, hosted in collaboration by the Stratford Chefs' School and the Stratford Writers Festival, Oct. 27-29.  The festival creates literary and culinary experiences where food is matched to an author's readings. There will also be workshops, such as how to write a cookbook and the art of food photography.

About an hour's drive from the GTA, tourism operators in Elora & Fergus have created several experiences to celebrate the town's heritage and idyllic natural setting. Among them are:

River is Calling, an experience hosted by the Elora Centre for the Arts that celebrates the natural beauty of the Grand River through two exhibits during June, July and August, a paddle painting workshop and will end with a collaboration with Riverfest which will see Brad Copping carry his mosaic canoe to the Grand River where he will paddle it, take it out of the water and suspend it above the Riverfest stage for an evening concert on Aug. 19.

Twilight at Templin Gardens, a free musical event at the historical Templin Gardens on Wednesday evenings through July and August, featuring a live musical performance with local artists performing and storytelling about their lives in Elora and Fergus. The finale of the evening will be a Piper piping down the sun on the candle lit Templin Garden Stairs built in 1920.

Festival Faire, a free family-friendly event to be held on July 8. The new event celebrates Canada's 150th anniversary, showcasing Elora and Fergus' festivals and events, natural beauty, rich heritage, rural foundations, artists, artisans, entertainers, merchants, and local food and drink.

 On the sandy shores of Lake Huron, about an hour's drive of Stratford, visitors can discover the beautiful beach town of Bayfield. Several new activities developed this summer showcase the trendy town's artistic side, as well as its incredible waterfront setting and marine heritage. Among them are:

Paint the Sunset, a way to celebrate the creativity of Bayfield, as well as its world-class sunsets, this experience will offer five activations throughout the summer providing the supplies and instructions for people to paint their own sunset keepsake. Four of the events will be painting on panels or rocks, and the fifth will be edible cookie painting.

Try #SUPRUNYOGA, a unique one-day event focusing on trying new activities, connecting to nature and growing a sense of a connected shoreline community.  This event will also include local food vendors, product market and an attempt at the Guinness World Record for the world's largest stand-up paddleboard yoga session. Projects in all three communities were developed through RTO4's Destination Animation Fund. The initiative offers business operators matching funds to create new or enhanced tourism offerings that showcase the destination's agreed-upon core DNA. Visitors are encouraged to share their experiences through social networks.

The initiative was first launched in 2016, providing $30,000 in matching funds for 10 projects in Stratford. Based on the success of its inaugural run, RTO4 and its tourism partners doubled the size of the fund to $60,000 in 2017 and expanded it to more communities to create experiences that reach an even wider audience. More information is available at www.animationfund.ca

National Aboriginal Day kicks off Indigenous Arts Festival at Fort York tomorrow


The 23rd annual National Aboriginal Day begins tomorrow at 10 a.m. at Fort York National Historic Site, launching the five-day Indigenous Arts Festival. The festival will showcase performances by more than 30 indigenous artists from across Canada and features traditional and contemporary music, dance, theatre, storytelling, visual arts, crafts and food.


From tomorrow to June 25, the festival is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn about indigenous cultures and their rich heritage.


Media note: Artist and spokesperson interviews may be arranged through the contact below. High resolution images can be downloaded for promotional use at http://ow.ly/TMYG30cpAMw.


National Aboriginal Day is funded in part by the Government of Canada. Aboriginal Day Live is produced by APTN in partnership with the City of Toronto and with the financial support of the Government of Canada, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Investors Group and TD Bank Group.


The Indigenous Arts Festival is presented by TD Bank and produced in partnership with the City of Toronto and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation with the financial support of the Government of Canada and Tim Hortons.


The full lineup of events can be found at http://www.toronto.ca/canada150.


Social media updates on National Aboriginal Day and the Indigenous Arts Festival are available at http://twitter.com/fortyork. The event hashtags are #NationalAboriginalDay and



Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. In 2017, Toronto will honour Canada's 150th birthday with "TO Canada with Love," a year-long program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit http://www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/TorontoComms and on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/cityofto.





Added to the lineup:


            ORDER OF CANADA JAZZ ENSEMBLE         




A tribute to the music of OSCAR PETERSON















Previously announced:  



feat. Natalie MacMaster &, Donnell Leahy & Friends


feat. Murray McLauchlan, Ian Thomas, Marc Jordan, Cindy Church








[June 18, 2017]    With a fresh rebranding, support from the Ontario & Canadian governments, and several high profile private sponsorships, ArtsFest Waterdown is taking the popular free festival in August on the escarpment to a new level with the announcement of 10 additional headline music performers.   The full schedule was announced by festival board chair and True North Gallery co-founder Geoff Kulawick at a Waterdown BIA networking event.    In attendance were bluesman Chuck Jackson, jazz vocalist Alex Pangman, and flamenco guitarist Robert Michaels, who surprised and delighted the crowd in attendance with a surprise performance.   


Sponsors in attendance included Don Husack from Dawn Victoria Homes, Joan Kirby from Waterdown Goldsmith, Donna Redle from Creative Hub, Cathi Lee Parenti & Tracey Bradburn-Heaton from TD Bank, Ward Misner from M&M Products, Scott Drummond from Copper Kettle Cafe, Dr. Derrick Thornborrow from Waterdown Optometric, and Susan Pennie from Waterdown BIA.  


Last year ArtsFest Waterdown drew over 20,000 to the picturesque town that sits at the top of the Niagara escarpment on the border of Burlington.  This year over 35,000 are expected to attend the free festival that celebrates the arts in all its forms.    The festival is currently curating a select group of artisans and craftspeople for a vendor marketplace. Businesses interested in showing their support for the arts and community events can take advantage of the many branding opportunities, and more information about the festival is available on the website ArtsFest.ca.

ArtsFest Waterdown is produced by Historic Waterdown Arts & Events, a non-profit corporation located at Griffin House - Arts Culture & Innovation Business Center 23 Griffin Street, Waterdown, ON, L0R 2H0.





Vibrant Brampton Festival returns for the second year with both performing and visual arts spectacle

Vibrant Brampton Returns to the GTA for the Second Year
The largest South Asian festival in Brampton is back for 7 days with Bollywood stars and an all new Visual Arts Festival

Brampton, ON
: Garden Square in Downtown Brampton is once again all set to come alive to the sights and sounds of South Asian culture with Vibrant Brampton on July 14 and 15. Organized by the non-profit group Arts and Culture Initiative of South Asian (ACISA) Vibrant Brampton is a free event that will bring a fun-filled two-day festival to Garden Square in front of the Rose Theatre Brampton.
Continuing its mandate to showcase world-class performances, Vibrant Brampton Festival wows audiences of thousands with local and international talent, interactive family activities, amazing food, and dynamic dancers in celebration of 150 years of multiculturalism in Canada and will reveal an eclectic mix of programming that will include indigenous performers, internationally acclaimed Bollywood and Punjabi singing stars and various other performers from different ethnic backgrounds.
In addition to the jam-packed music and dance programming, ACISA will be also be presenting a week long visual arts festival this year. Titled Visuals Initiative of South Asia (V.I.S.A) – Arts Festival, the event will showcase local and international artists with the theme being "Creative & Cultural Celebrations" bringing an internationally acclaimed visual artist from India to Beaux-Arts in Downtown Brampton, from July 9 till July 15. It will be a Free event both for the artists and the attendees and a series of workshops are being planned during the seven days of visual arts spectacle.
Presented by Colony Lincoln, with support from the City of Brampton, Ontario 150, RBC, Tajmahal Tea and Brampton Guardian both events aim to promote cross-cultural understanding with the hope of bringing a diverse community together in celebration of life, culture, art and tradition. ACISA's mandate is to promote the diversity of South Asian art forms; break cultural barriers; imbibe the evolving cultural values of Canada; and communicate and share the philosophy of diversity.

Vibrant Brampton festival 2016

Manbeena Bhullar Sandhu's debut novel, Layla in the Sky with Diamonds

Displaying book cover.jpg
Manbeena Bhullar Sandhu's debut novel, Layla in the Sky with Diamonds (published by Archway Publishing), weaves 1960s and '70s-style hedonism, Indian culture, drug use, family and spirituality in a tale that illuminates how indulgence leads to suffering and suffering leads to wisdom and how generations can shape generations in that respect.

According to Manbeena, "We are far from the age of the flower power generation. Although the swinging 60’s were heady and exciting, nevertheless that generation made many mistakes due to over indulgence and by possessing unrealistic expectations.”  "Generations shape the following generations," she believes.

While writing her novel, Manbeena wanted to create Layla, her primary character as realistic as possible, including her flaws. Her most glaring flaw happened to be drug addiction and in the novel she’s a mother with children which also serves to put an added strain on her family life. The author is no stranger to the drug culture as she is an addictions counselor. She readily recognizes the many pitfalls of drug addiction.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Opening Party | Thank You Maxine | The Crystal Palace | Brian Jungen | Georgia O'Keeffe Talk

Last chance! AGOinsider will disappear from your inbox forever unless you click here. Don't miss out on your art news!

We're celebrating, and you're invited!

Join us for an opening party next week for three Canadian exhibitions: Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood; Rita Letendre: Light & Fire; and Mark Lewis: Canada.

Thank you, Maxine

We celebrate AGO President Maxine Granovsky Gluskin's inspiring leadership.

Imagine you've never seen a photograph before…

...And take a journey back to 1851, to the world's first photography exhibition.

Artist Spotlight: Brian Jungen

The Canadian artist is best known for turning everyday objects into intricate sculptures inspired by his Dane-Zaa First Nation heritage. Find out what he's up to.

O'Keeffe, the trailblazer

Did you know Georgia O'Keeffe chafed at being defined as a woman artist? We invited three artists to discuss the gender divide in the art world today.  


PHOTO CREDITS: [1] Meryl McMaster. Edge of a Moment, 2017. Inkjet print, 152.4 × 239.7 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Katzman Contemporary. © Meryl McMaster. [2] Photo courtesy of the AGO. [3] 2007/1940.3.1 - Claude-Marie Ferrier, View of the Eastern Nave, salted paper print. [4] Photo courtesy of the AGO/Dean Tomlinson. [5] Vivek Shraya by Tanja-Tiziana; Lori Blondeau by Rebecca Belmore; Eileen Myles by Peggy O'Brien.

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

World Life Experience - Travel, Discover and Share with the World

World Life Experience – Travel, Discover and Share with the World

The Founders

A unique one year travelling experience, discovering and sharing combined with motivating and unparalleled team work linked to a good form of supporting social and humanitarian causes: this was the perfect scenario for the two founders of World Life Experience to turn an idea into a project filled with potential.

Both Portuguese, both entrepreneurs, Pedro Tinoco and António Coelho Dias represent the private company TOP EXPERIENCE, lda., headquartered in Lisbon, Portugal, and responsible for promoting and organizing the event in connection with the World Life Experience project.

Also executive directors of the program, they believed that it would be possible to develop a sustainable project which would allow for linking the commercial side of a project with an impactful theme to a social responsibility project with a very active social role.

It all begins with an idea by António Coelho Dias.

"I was searching for an idea that would have a truly positive impact on society," explains António Coelho Dias

"It was an idea that still needed to be matured and an enterprise that would not have made any sense without my friend Pedro Tinoco," adds António Coelho Dias.

"When António first discussed the idea with me, I knew right away that it had enormous potential for engaging people and that it would have the desired impact on society. I immediately told him that together we could develop and implement this great idea," explains Pedro Tinoco.

"We launched the project in April 2017 and although we knew there would be public interest, we were not expecting the international media attention it is getting right now. There has been tremendous interest in participating in the project, both from candidates and prospective partners, and we are ready for the strong involvement. But as with most things in life, we have had to adapt to this escalation and public acceptance, so we apologize to the public for the delay in some of our responses," adds Pedro Tinoco.

"We´re very happy, we are bringing to life a great event and a truly global project," explains António Coelho Dias.

"In addition to the experience in-and-of-itself, we also want to help and we want to show that it can be done with support from the public. We could make all of this happen without the element of social responsibility, but that would not have made any sense to us". The project will surely leave its mark in all of the destinations where World Life Experience will travel too," the founders add.

"The whole process was only possible because of the support we received from our operational partners who came into the project so openly and willing to help. We created a professional and exempt selection process, content that reflected our DNA and a communications process that allowed us to communicate and present the project to the public. We chose great companies and people to help us," added the founders.

The World Life Experience team is prepared to provide a real experience to the group of participants and to fulfil all of the objectives set out.

"Public response has been huge and very positive. We are very grateful to everyone," added the founders.

PhotoPedro Tinoco and António Coelho Dias – Founders and executive directors of the project World Life Experience.


"As with all projects, there are also criticisms. We acknowledge this criticism, and to those who have questioned – yes this is a real project and we can only answer that the projects are implemented by people and materialized by a team who will ensure that the group has a great experience and bringing to the people an unparalleled event. A real project that will come to fruition," added the founders.

"We have received millions of emails and messages and there has been much interaction on our social media, and that's very positive. But there some questions regarding the project, its existence and objectives and the relationship with partners and NGOs, leading many to contact our partners with questions."

"So we had to make some decisions with our operational partners, specifically to avoid their being contacted by hundreds of people with questions regarding the organization of the event, as has been happening, which is why we have omitted 3 of our operational partners from our site," explains Pedro Tinoco. 

"This project is open to the world, with clear objectives and our operational partners are embodied by people and naturally, forged with the Portuguese branches of the companies and brands that are involved, which is why we acknowledge some of the criticism on social media."

"To be absolutely clear, despite the media attention the project has garnered, some of our partner's branches in other countries have no knowledge of the partnerships which have been created and therefore, in one instance or another, they may mislead some of the public."

Transcriptions of email responses given by some of our partners headquartered in Portugal, naturally confirming our relationship, have been provided to the press. 

The founders also explain that their relationship with NGOs have arise from the fact that they selected them as recipients of a donation totalling approximately 30% of the revenue from the event's registration fee.

 "We chose NGOs which we thought were interesting choices in view of their areas of action and mission and because we want to help. The best way to do this was to involve those who wanted to join the project, and it made sense to do it this way. The companies which promote local experiences and the brands connected to the project's activities are creating partnerships with us using interesting partnership models which also include social engagement. The donations we receive are given to the NGOs we have selected, on a weekly basis, and in accordance to the registrations we receive. We will be publishing all of this soon, all of this soon including all of the donations we have made" explains Pedro Tinoco.

Find out more about World Life Experience: www.worldlifeexperience.com - www.facebook.com/worldlifeexperience.oficial

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