All posts by karimkanji

Episode #69: Raina Douris

Raina Douris is the award-winning radio host of CBC Radio 2 in the mornings. In today’s episode we talk about Raina’s career in radio from Ryerson to Q107 to getting fired from Corus and then leading the start-up Indie88 to now being the morning host on CBC Radio2 national morning show.

Raina Douris | Karim Kanji

Recorded live at Girth Radio.

Music by Afraaz Mulji.

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Parks, parks, parks

Today is good news for fans of parks in Canada. More specifically this good news is brought to you by two amazing people I personally know.

parkrun Canada

While living in Basingstoke, England, my brother, Aneez would rave about this community initiative that was all the rage called parkrun. He described it as a weekly 5km fun run that takes place in local parks. It’s not a race but more of a community gathering centered around running.

After weeks (probably months) of work Aneez announced that parkrun was now coming to Whitby (where Aneez now lives).

parkrun whitby

Park People

Today the little independent Toronto-based charity that my wife, Minaz, works for officially goes national. In Calgary, Park People is currently hosting the Heart Of The City Conference (Shaping The Future Of City Parks In Canada). I describe Park People as an organization that works with local neighbourhoods and helps the people there to animate and use their parks in an inclusive way.

Why are these two events important? Well, to me it’s obvious. Parks are public spaces. Like libraries and community centres. They are places for friends and family to gather and enjoy. For parents and kids to enjoy a summer afternoon in. For kids to hangout and play tag in. For picnics and parties. For independent arts and bazaar sales. For Scout meetings and community-built outdoor ice rinks. For running and parkour. Parks are the places where we can find the heartbeat of a community and neighbourhood. They are worth building, cleaning, animating, using and growing. Neighbourhoods without parks are not neighbourhoods.

Congrats to Minaz, Aneez, parkrun Canada and Park People!

Sock Series #2: Flyte Socks

I don’t remember where I heard about Flyte Socks for the first time. But it was before they were actually selling socks online. Two things caught my attention.

First, they are a Toronto-based start-up. And as Toronto is my home I was naturally attracted to them. Second, they were going to launch on Kickstarter.

Kickstarter? For socks. Well, ok I guess. And as they began to the process of launching two more things stood out to me as compelling: The material they chose to use was going to be bamboo. This has made the socks both light (comfortable as heck!) and durable (no holes after wearing them – so far!).

Second, the socks didn’t come in pairs. They came in threes. A socks threesome! Why? Because everyone has lost a sock. Or two. Or, in my case, lots.

Our tagline, Feel the difference is not only an insinuation to the softness of our socks, but also is a reference to the confidence we know our socks will instill to the people who wear them.

Own the room in your next company meeting and stand out at parties.  Whatever the occasion, our bright, colorful and bold socks are designed to turn heads.

Episode #68: Bruce Livesey

Bruce Livesey is a Toronto-based award-winning investigative journalist and documentarian. Currently the lead investigative reporter for the National Observer Livesey has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Report on Business Magazine, National Post, Toronto Star, The Gazette, The Walrus, Canadian Business, Canadian Lawyer and The Financial Post.

His most recent documentary on the Koch brothers ruffled feathers in the media establishment in Canada so much so that only an independent American outlet was willing to produce the short documentary.

Most recently a lawsuit brought on him by Conrad Black was finally dropped.

Recorded live at Girth Radio.

Music by Afraaz Mulji.

Listen below:

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Sock Series #1: Hitsu Socks

I love socks. I love warm socks in the winter. Especially while camping in winter with Scouts. I love thick socks that provide stability when hiking in the woods, forests and ravines in Ontario. I also love socks with attitude. Socks that say, “Hey! Look at me! I don’t care that I’m not understated and conservative. I’m a sock that has something to say and I’m going to say it.”

Which is why, I’m creating a series here to highlight the companies that bring to sock lovers worldwide that small bit of attitude just above the shoe and below the pant cuff.

Hitsu Socks is a Toronto-based company co-founded by my friend Dan Demsky.  I own a pair of Hitsu Socks called Galaktic Dude designed by Chris Dyer from Montreal. The design is so eclectic and the colours are bold. Just as I like them. My favourite thing about these socks is that they are not wimpy. They are thick enough to withstand my rough heels and strong toes.

According to the Hitsu Socks website:

Hitsu socks are designed by street-artists and each sock has a story to tell. We work with artists who have done something we feel is worth sharing and we work with them to bring their style to a brand new medium – combed cotton. Our collection includes designs by well-known artists such as Anser, Poser, Chris Dyer, Jimmy Chiale and SKAM.

 

Episode #67: Richard Peddie

Former President and CEO of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment and current Toronto Foundation Vice Chair, Richard Peddie returns to the studio. This time Peddie and Karim talk about how to make Toronto a more liveable and caring city.

richard peddie and karim kanji
Thanks to Gregg Tilston for this photo! Taken from outside Girth Radio studios inside Pacific Junction Hotel.

Recorded live at Girth Radio.

Music by Afraaz Mulji.

Listen below:

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Kub Kar Rally – 2017

This weekend saw the beginning of the 2017 Canadian International Auto Show. However, on February 4th, a different and more hands on version of the CIAS took place in Scarborough. It was the annual Kub Kar Rally.

kub kar rally | hot wheels

This annual event sees kids battle each other on who has the fastest Kub Kar. Awards for best design are also given out. All in the hope of advancing to the Scarborough and then Toronto finals.

kub kar rally | hot wheels

Here are some of our participants:

Jerry Seinfeld at Toronto’s Sony Centre for the Performing Arts

Last night Jerry Seinfeld made his “millionth” stop in Toronto on his seemingly endless tour. As many of you know, Seinfeld has refused to stop touring even after the uber success of his TV show in the 90’s. He obviously doesn’t need the money. But like he said at the beginning of his act he had “nothing to do” when he got the call to come up to Toronto. He even pronounces the city like a long time resident, dropping the final “t” in Toronto.

sony centre for the performing arts

I’ve had the privilege of seeing dozens of shows in comedy clubs. However, this was my first time seeing a polished act in such a huge venue. Two observations: First, big arena style shows are very polished. It’s harder for the act to banter with the crowd. And Seinfeld, in his early sixties now, doesn’t need to do so to put on a show. And the raw feeling I get in a club is so different, but still satisfying.

Second, unless you’re sitting in the first few rows, the intimacy I enjoy in clubs with the acts is gone. We were sitting in the balcony where it was impossible to see the various facial features that I have come to enjoy in comedy clubs. Even his “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” seemed more intimate.

jerry seinfeld | karim kanji

If you haven’t seen one of the legends of comedy make sure you take the time (and money) to do so. You will not be disappointed.

sony centre for the performing arts

 

 

City Building with Richard Peddie

Last fall I had the pleasure to have former Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment boss Richard Peddie in studio for a brief chat about his career and leadership style. Next week, Peddie is returning to the studio. This time we’re going to focus on city-building. Specifically, Toronto.

In preparation for this episode, I’m sourcing questions you might have on how Toronto can work better for you and your community.

And Peddie has a question for you.

I have a question for your listeners   Would they support a property tax increase to support more day care, after school programs, keeping pools open, more shelter staff, and more. Each 1% would fund a lot of everyday things that would make the city more livable for thousands.

Would you support a property tax increase in Toronto to make this city even greater for everybody?

Leave your comments below or find me on Twitter: @karimkanji. Richard Peddie is @RichardAPeddie

Black History Month

I want this podcast to matter. So when I have guests on I want one of two things to happen by the end of it. First, I want people to know a lot more about the person I have been speaking with. I think I’m starting to accomplish this. For example, people only know W. Brett Wilson as a former Dragon, a billionaire and someone who has endorsed Kevin O’Leary. However, if they listen to my conversation with him I truly believe they will know more about the person behind the persona.

Secondly, I want to discuss issues that are important. For example, I recently had my brother-in-law, Earvin Venzant on. We didn’t talk about his story but rather his insights and experiences as a Black American currently living in Canada.

So it upset me when I realized I was about to record podcasts during Black History Month without having a guest on to speak on this. And believe me, I tried. And I will continue to try. Why? Because I believe it is important for me (and by extension those who listen to the podcast) to understand the experiences of Black men and women in Canada. I want to know what they experience and what they feel. I also want to understand the work that Black Lives Matter is undertaking and why it’s important. For everyone.

While it is not a proper substitution, I will share with you 6 episodes with 5 different guests.

Episode #18 was with Morgan P. Campbell. Many of you may know him as a sports writer with the Toronto Star. In this episode we discussed racism in sports (specifically baseball), football and the issue of concussions, and even steroids in professional and amateur sports.

Episode #19 was with legendary broadcaster Spider Jones. In this interesting episode we talked about: Spider’s upbringing in Detroit and Windsor during the heyday of Motown; Spider’s early career in amateur boxing; How the Spider met George Chuvalo; How the Spider ended up sparring with Muhammad Ali and helped him prepare for his first title defense against Chuvalo; Spider’s past and future radio career; Spider’s best-selling book and upcoming movie; Spider’s Believe To Achieve Organization.

Episode #22 was with community builder and activist, Segun Akinsanya. Formerly the Executive Director of Bright Future Alliance, Segun is now the founder and CEO of Currant. Currant is a co-operative looking to build sustainable businesses and communities.

For episode #40 I was joined again in studio by Morgan P. Campbell. This podcast episode was recorded just after the Rio Olympics in Brazil. However, instead of talking about how Canada fared against the world’s best, we talk about how the media covered these games.

Episode #47 was with Desmond Cole of the Toronto Star and CFRB 1010. Cole’s work focuses primarily on social justice, equity, immigration, systemic racism, and poverty.

Episode #54 was with my brother-in-law, Earvin Venzant. He’s a Black American in Canada. And Earvin had some things to get off his chest about the recent election of Donald Trump as America’s next President.

As always you can listen to current and past episodes (or even better, subscribe!) via one of the links below:

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