Category Archives: Toronto

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!

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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You can also subscribe to the podcast via RSS Feed if you’re so inclined.

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

2017

With the beginning of the new year many people make resolutions. The popular one’s are usually about doing better at something. And losing weight.

I’m finished make resolutions. However, re-setting and setting some goals is what I like to do. Not always. But…

Today, I’d like to share with you some of my goals for 2017:

Health

I have hereditary high blood pressure. One of the ways to control it is to lose weight. For myself, there is really one way to accomplish this: lifestyle change. And like most people that’s too big of a task. Instead, there are a few things I want to do this year.

Firstly, I am going to use the MyFitnessPal app to help control my calorie intake.  I love eating. But if I can control how much I eat I should be able to control when I eat.

Second, I’m going to pledge to be active at least 5 days of the week. This means going to the gym, going for a long brisk walk, hiking, biking, running, etc. Basically, anything that will either increase my heart beat and/or break a good sweat.

Third, I’m going to start taking karate lessons. Why? I need to both shock my body and have something to discipline myself.

Fourth. I’m going to attempt to cook. Once a month. You’ve been warned. I think making a meal (which by the way, I’ve never done. Not including eggs, fries, frozen pizza, and bbq) will help me better understand what I’m eating. Plus, I really should learn to cook.

By the way, I’m 185 lbs. Let’s see about hitting 165…

Reading

I used to be a voracious reader. But since we got our Netflix account, reading has understandably taken a back seat. I’m hoping to get back into the reading habit. So in 2017, I hope to read, on average, at least a book per month.

Podcasts

After 20+ months, I’ve recorded 57 episodes of Welcome!. I don’t know if I’ll hit 100 episodes this year. But I do want to record some important episodes. Yes, I want to interview Maestro Fresh Wes. And a couple of other pop stars and athletes. But I really want to record some important episodes. The first two I have in mind: #BlackLivesMatter and Canadian #FirstNations.

Uncle Neil and Friends Annual Toy Drive

Every year since 2005 Uncle Neil has got together with his friends to put on an annual Christmas concert. However, this concert is unlike others. The main focus is not the outstanding musicianship. It is the work that takes place throughout the year. The collection of toys which started off as many a few hundred has now accumulated to over 100,000+ toys.

Uncle Neil has been spreading the gospel of “So Little Can Do So Much, For So Many” for the past 12 years.

As we end 2016 I thought I would share some photos we took from this past year’s event.

See more photos here: https://goo.gl/photos/SHsNECw5G8yUn6rcA

 

 

 

The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund

Like many of you, I watched with amazement this past summer as Gord Downie performed a farewell tour across Canada with The Tragically Hip. Then we heard that he had been working on a solo project called Secret Path.

Secret Path acknowledges a dark part of Canada’s history—the long-suppressed mistreatment of Indigenous children and families by the residential school system—with the hope of starting our country on a road to reconciliation.

Secret Path is an album, film and comic which tell the story of a young Chanie Wenjack who escaped from a residential school in an attempt to return to his family and home. As we now know, he never made it.

I was fortunate to watch Downie perform the first single from the album, The Stranger.

It was more emotional and heart wrenching than being at The Hip’s last show in Toronto this past summer. So much so that I haven’t been able to even watch Secret Path. Yet.

It is very sad that this place I call home, Canada, is responsible for taking children away from their homes for no other reason than they were indigenous. Canada did this for 100 years. Canada is still a place where you can find indigenous communities 30 minutes away from Toronto that live under a drinking water contamination alert. It’s fucking ridiculous.

If we care about people we should all be doing something (significant or otherwise) to make the lives of Canada’s First Peoples better. We must.

Write to your MP. Educate your children. Educate yourself. Challenge the Prime Minister and other Cabinet members on social media on what concrete steps are being taken to ensure than reconciliation truly happens. Support The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund. Do something. Because doing nothing is no longer an option.

 

The Stranger

The Stranger is Gord Downie’s first single from his new album, Secret Path.

“Gord Downie began Secret Path as ten poems incited by the story of Chanie Wenjack, a twelve year-old boy who died fifty years ago on October 22, 1966, in flight from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School near Kenora, Ontario, walking home to the family he was taken from over 400 miles away. Gord was introduced to Chanie Wenjack (miscalled “Charlie” by his teachers) by Mike Downie, his brother, who shared with him Ian Adams’ Maclean’s story from February 6, 1967, “The Lonely Death of Charlie Wenjack.””

Last night, at We Day Family, Gord performed this emotional and haunting song in front of 20,000 children and parents.

We Day Family

Last night 20,000 students, parents and guardians filled the Air Canada Centre for the evening programming of We Day, We Day Family.

We witnessed inspiring stories and performances from a wide variety of people including the Barenaked Ladies, Chris Hadfield, Rick Hanson, Gord Downie, Lily Singh, Paula Abdul, Pearl Wenjack, Hedley, Nelly Furtado and many others!

The focus for the event was to inspire children and their families to make a difference in their family, community, country and world. A wonderful and inspiring event!

Here are some photos from the event. Enjoy!

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