The 28th Annual Canadian Film Centre BBQ Fundraiser

By: Sari Colt

I recently attended the 28th Annual Canadian Film Centre (CFC) BBQ Fundraiser, which was held at the historic Windfields estate, on a spectacular September day. There were close to 2000 guests attending the event, which supports the work of the CFC's programs in film, television, music and new media. Some of the CFC programs include the Actors' Conservatory, the Slaight Family Music Lab, CFC Media Lab, Bell Media Prime Time TV Program, the DHX Experience and many others.
The BBQ also celebrated the work of CFC alumni who had their films showing at TIFF 2016, including The Headhunter's Calling, Below Her Mouth, Maudie, and Two Lovers and a Bear

Tents were set up throughout the grounds featuring food and drink and various industry suppliers. I enjoyed tasty treats from 10tation Event Catering, Fat Lamb Kouzina Catering, The Mighty Cob, Gelato Fresco, Holy Cannoli, Lollicakes, Crystal Head Vodka, Flow Water, Magnotta Winery, Brickworks Cider, Mill Street Brewery and more! 

Christina Jennings, chair of the Board of Directors and CFC CEO, Slawko Klymkiw gave speeches thanking everyone for attending the fundraiser.

Then, legendary Canadian producer/director and CFC founder Norman Jewison came to the podium. Jewison spoke about the accomplishments of the CFC alumni and their successes. 

In the greenhouse, the Media Lab set up virtual reality stations whereby guests could use HTC Vive headset to participate in games.

Musical entertainment was provided by Adaline and Tomi Swick.

Among the many guests attending were actor Naomi Snieckus (Mr. D), actor/director Art Hindle, and comedian/actor Ron James.

I am already looking forward to the 29th Annual CFC BBQ!

Learn more about the Canadian Film Centre here:

Photos by Liz Tomkins. 

Urbery: Weekly Shopping Has Never Been Easier!

By: Alison Silveira

Weekends are for enjoying the company of family and friends, having fun, relaxing and, yes, grocery shopping. When I was in university, my housemates Kevin, Rob and I used to do most of our grocery shopping at Kensington Market. I enjoyed the pleasurable experience of buying fresh meat at European Deli (now Sanagan's Meat Locker), sampling jalapeno Havarti at Cheese Magic, discovering exotic fruits and vegetables from Oxford Fruits and choosing an assortment of authentic Montreal bagels from My Market Bakery.

Nowadays, I have many more responsibilities and even one-stop shopping at a grocery store can be quite time-consuming. Waiting in long lines and lugging home heavy grocery bags are definitely cutting into precious weekend rest and relaxation time. So what's a girl to do? 

Try Urbery, of course! It's a same-day delivery service for groceries, alcohol from the LCBO and Beer Store, and over-the-counter pharmacy and household products. I recently used this time saving service and it was quick, convenient and easy.

I signed up for an account and ordered products from Loblaws at (a smart phone app is also available), chose my desired delivery time slot and paid securely online. The services was absolutely outstanding! My friendly grocery guru delivered my groceries right to my door with a smile. There were a couple of items that were unavailable online, but I added it to my wish list and they were delivered to me!  

The service offers free delivery on orders over $65 and charges a $10 fee for alcohol delivery. Delivery can be completed on the same day within two hours of order placement. I was able to track my delivery in real-time and interact with my personal shopper via text. Urbery offers a 100% freshness guarantee, ensuring that customers always receive only the best and freshest products. 

I highly recommend Urbery, especially if you are extremely busy or are looking to free up time in your schedule. While the service may be a little more expensive, it affords you the luxury of time to prioritize the things that matter. 

An even better reason to try Urbery is that you can get $25 off your purchase of $65 or more by entering code STAYINGIN. Give it a try.

Happy shopping! 


She Said/He Said: A 90-Minute Theatrical Rhapsody

Imani Enterprises presents the Toronto Premiere of She Said/He Said: A 90-Minute Theatrical Rhapsody. Written and directed by Anne-Marie WoodsShe Said/He Said is an urban love story centering around a man and a woman looking for love, examining their failed relationships and the racial stereotypes they encounter in their daily lives. She Said/He Said uses poetry, song and monologues to convey a powerful story about the complexities of finding true love.

She Said/He Said: A 90-Minute Theatrical Rhapsody plays from Wednesday,  September 14 to Sunday September 18, 2016 at Native Earth's AKI Studio, 585 Dundas Street East.
Wednesday - Saturday at 8:00 p.m. 
Friday & Saturday at 1:00 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m.
Tickets are $25 ($20 for students, elders & arts workers) and are available through the box office by calling 416-531-1402 or online at
For information on group rates, call the box office at 416-531-1402.

Performed by Anne-Marie Woods and Matthew G. Brown
Songs and Lyrics Composed by Anne-Marie Woods
Musical Arrangements by Anne-Marie Woods and Jeremiah Sparks

Matilda The Musical - Theatre Review

By: Angela Guardiani

I've never seen a theatrical event with so much anticipation around it as Matilda The Musical. Part of it, of course, is nostalgia. Like Tim Minchin,  Matilda's  composer and lyricist, I can remember reading Roald Dahl's savagely funny book and cheering for its sweet-hearted, big-brained heroine. (Unlike Tim Minchin, I'm not an idiosyncratic genius, but I can appreciate a good bit of weirdness when I find it.) But a bigger part of it, I think, is how much the modern musical has become something so expressive of the way we live and create and consume art. Musicals today aren't necessarily campy or cheesy or over-the-top. They can be full of spectacle, like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, or they can be quiet and deeply personal, like Fun Home. Matilda is smack dab in the middle. It is exuberant and colourful and dazzling and snarky, but it is gentle and honest too. And that makes is something worth seeing.

Matilda is about a precocious six-year-old who loves to read. Ignored and unloved by her obnoxiously loud family and bullied by her horrible headmistress, Matilda stays serenely self-composed because of the bond she's formed with her teacher, Miss Honey, who sees and fosters Matilda's intelligence.

When a dark secret from Miss Honey's abused past threatens her beloved teacher, Matilda finds a strange talent within herself that saves the day. It doesn't sound realistic at all, and it's not meant to be – the story is a fairy tale, all extremes.

Miss Honey is everything good and kind and thoughtful and sweet, and Matilda's parents – the repulsive Wormwoods – are everything loud and trashy and gleefully ignorant. “You chose books and I chose looks!” Mrs. Wormwood announces scornfully to Miss Honey before launching into a breathtakingly athletic musical number (“Loud”).

Mr. Wormwood gets an entire song and a good ten minutes of the intermission break to scoff at children in the audience for their bookwormy tendencies and to (literally) sing the praises of cable and reality TV (“Telly.”) And in my very favourite bit of stage business, the evil headmistress Miss Trunchbull seizes a child by her long pigtails, spins her around, and literally flings her into the ceiling. I don't know how the director managed to launch a child actor up into the Ed Mirvish Theatre's proscenium arch and had her drop like a stone into the waiting arms of an adult – without any ill effects! - and I don't care. It's incredible. 

The plot's not realistic, but that doesn't mean it's not real. Matilda has brains, but she has heart, too. Although she's plucky enough to engage in a bit of mischievous revenge, her family's bullying isolates and hurts her. The scene where she imagines a loving father coming home to rescue his beloved daughter made my chest ache with sympathy (“I'm Here.”) 

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the supporting cast of child actors. Matilda is the star of the show (three girls share the role - Jamie MacLean was playing the role the night I saw it), but this is a show about childhood that's equally for kids and adults. You can't speak to children without including children, and this show gives them a voice. A lot of film/TV/theatrical productions have uncannily adult-like children parroting lines that I can never imagine a real child saying – basically well-trained ventriloquist's dummies. Not here! These children act their age. They are all really, really talented, but they are kids playing kids. It's lovely to see.

I wondered, as I watched the show, if the many young people in the audience were getting as much out of it as I was. Minchin's lyrics are dense with wordplay and metaphor, and there's an awful lot of “You maggot! Keep quiet!” low-level verbal abuse being hurled at kids. So at intermission, I asked a few of them.

“The dad is funny!” one of them said, grinning ear to ear.

“I liked the part where they hid the boy under the coats!” said another. (She's right. It's not as brilliant as the pigtail-enabled tossing, but it's pretty awesome.)

“I want to sing and dance too!” said a third, bouncing up and down with enthusiasm. 

The kids are all right, I thought, heading back into the theatre for Act Two. Matilda's got something for everyone.

Matilda The Musical is playing at the Ed Mirvish Theatre (244 Victoria Street) in Toronto until November 27, 2016. To purchase tickets, visit:

Photos by Joan Marcus. 

Angela Guardiani is a lady of strong opinions who lives and teaches ESL in Toronto. She is a food lover, grammar nerd, book junkie, and will try anything once. Follow her enthusiastic but sporadic tweets at @minorgoddess.

TPG Holiday Workshop: Gifts Galore!

By: Carly Spears

It’s still sunny and I am enjoying the summer while it’s here, but I am also getting ready for the holidays! I recently attended TPG’s Holiday Workshop, which highlighted some of the latest up and coming trends for holiday gifts this season. 

Here are a few of my favourites:


I’ve never been one to spend a lot of money on my bedding. My motto is that as long as they’re remotely comfortable, I’ll probably have an okay sleep. With that said, while chatting with delightful founder and CEO about her products, I literally could not stop touching the eye masks. This was incredibly intriguing because the bright light pouring into my bedroom every morning really gives meaning to the phrase ‘rise and shine,’ and not in a positive way. With that said, I find most eye masks to be extremely uncomfortable, defeating the purpose of being able to go back to sleep once the sun is out! Made from premium 100% mulberry silk charmeuse, these machine-washable, hypoallergenic eye masks are definitely one that I would want in my gift box this season. 

Micro Pedi

Everyone knows that, while your manicure chips in one day, toenail polish tends to last forever, even through the worst of times. Sometimes, you just need a pedicure to shave off that rough skin on the bottom of your feet. This is especially true in the summer when pounding away on those hot flip flops or concrete by the pool. I’ve often had this debate: do I go and pay for a full pedicure or, do I just wait it out until I need new polish. Admittedly, I usually tend to wait it out and I seriously hate every minute of it. 

I recently got to try the new Micro Pedi and, I have to say, it’s a wonderful alternative. This battery-run easy-to-use system simply sands off any dead skin building up at the bottom of your feet. While it won’t fully remove any large calluses as the razor at the salon might do, it definitely smoothes out any extra unwanted skin on the surface, tying you over your next necessary polish change. 


Strolling on through the workshop, it was impossible to miss the grand spread that Nadege had set up. Ranging from savoury eggplant and goat cheese-filled croissants to a wide variety of French macarons, p’tit choux and dessert tarts, Nadege’s ultra-buttery mini creations should be on everyone’s list for entertaining their guests this season. 


To wash down the Nadege pastries, I was offered a glass of Contadi Castaldi – a brand I had not been familiar with prior to the event, and rightfully so! Cavinona is a unique Ontario-based wine agency which imports unique Italian wines not otherwise available for purchase in the LCBO. While commonly serving restaurants exclusively, their online ordering system actually allows consumers to get a taste of Italy, too! 

A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero, the sparkling brut was subtle yet flavourful, without being overly sweet. At only $38.99 per bottle, this is a wonderful and affordable alternative to Champagne for the holiday season. 

Medium Watches

Finally, I get to take a peak at the brand new watch brand: Medium. While fairly simple in their general design, I absolutely love the look of these watches. As someone who does not own multiple watches, the simpler white and black variations really caught my eye. With that said, for someone who does own a watch for each outfit, interchangeable straps would certainly allow for a wide variety of colour combinations. I particularly love the turquoise paired with the black face and silver accents. Available in a variety of face and strap colours, these sophisticated yet elegant watches are the type of accessory that men, women, watch-wearers and non-watch-wearers can all appreciate as an addition to their wardrobe.  

Genuine Health

Up for another quick snack, I approach Genuine Health – set up with shots of green supplements and a variety of fermented proteins+ bars. Skeptical of most vegan and meal-replacement protein bars, I was pleasantly surprised at the enjoyable flavour of these, especially since they’re gluten free, soy free and vegan! Obviously opting for the peanut butter chocolate version, my taste buds were almost (not quite, but almost) fooled into thinking it was a sinful chocolate bar-like snack. While these are probably not a holiday gift I would typically think to give to someone, I definitely wouldn’t mind snacking on the peanut butter chocolate bar stashed in my purse for when those banquet-style corporate holiday parties hit. 

Carly Spears is a marketing and communications professional who writes about and photographs food from Toronto and on various travels around the world. Follow her on Instagram @thechewreview