Last night I was invited to visit Twitter Canada’s new Toronto office: #nestwarming. It’s a great space on King Street West just east of trendy Liberty Village. and about a 45 minute walk from my office.
Brendan Canning or alt-rock band Broken Social Scene was spinning the tunes at #nestwarming
After capsizing last weekend during #PaddleTheDon I’m back on the saddle/paddle/canoe.
Last week Amber Gero was the guest on the Toronto Mike’d podcast. In my opinion, Toronto Mike (real name Mike Boon – or is it?!) has the top amateur podcast in Toronto. And I use the term amateur to only state that Mike records his podcast from his home and not from a studio. And I’ve also yet to hear a sponsor being mentioned on the show.
Traditionally, one can hear Toronto-centric celebrities on Mike’s show: Mike Hebscher, Humble and Fred, Damain Cox, Elliotte Friedman, and David Marsden to name a few. The conversations are mostly around Toronto Radio and Sports history. It’s like a walk down memory lane from Gen X-ers. I always look forward to Mike’s show and have rarely walked away disappointed. Of the 100+ shows he’s recorded I can only remember Cox and Barb DiGiulio as guests who seemed too guarded.
The Amber Gero show, in my opinion, took Mike’s podcast to a whole new level. If you’re unaware, Amber Gero was fired last year from CFRB in Toronto. She self identifies as a black woman. She also had a few things to get off her chest:
Here are a few reasons why the Amber Gero show is important:
Mike has always been a gracious host. He understands that his guests trust him when they come to his home to be interviewed in the basement studio. Can you imagine if Mike dug up “dirt” on all his guests and asked unfair or even fair but inappropriate questions? Nobody would come back. I remember Mike’s interview with Mike Wilner. Mike was totally respectful of his guest even though he knew that many people dislike Mike Wilner’s personality on the Jays Talk show. Mike’s desire to have entertaining conversations is commendable. Having Amber Gero on the show put not just Amber in the crosshairs of potential employers in radio but it also put Mike’s show in the radar of radio executives (and others) across Toronto. This is the first time I can remember Mike publishing a show that could potentially decrease the amount of talent available for his show. I hope I’m wrong.
Although the large majority of Mike’s guests are entertaining, they are mostly men. White men. And Mike actually acknowledged this fact. It was both honest and eye opening. It was honest of Mike to question if he is also part of the problem that Amber talked about. Or if his guests are simply a reflection of the current state of Toronto radio. It’s a conversation I hope executives are having and will do something positive about.
It is possible for independent content producers like Mike (and so many others) to not just produce content but to make a difference.
I hope we are challenging the status quo in Toronto. Toronto (and Canada) is home to immigrants. Everywhere we live, work and play there are people of different ethnic backgrounds, people from different parts of the world and people of different faiths and sexual orientations. We need to embrace this beautiful fact. We need to force the institutions that serve us (government, media, public companies and others) to not just provide products and services we desire but to be a reflection of the society in which they all operate.
Congrats Mike on an awesome show. I am a proud listener and supporter.
Earlier this year I came to an agreement with Girth Radio to launch a new show on their burgeoning radio station. I’m calling the show Welcome!
Welcome! is going to be a show featuring many of Toronto’s (and anyone who visits Toronto) innovative and creative people. Expect to hear conversations with digital strategists, musicians, entrepreneurs, city builders, artists and many more.
As I re-learn my hosting and interviewing skills and learn new production skills I am inviting a number of my friends on the program. My first guest was Karim Awad.
Karim is an entrepreneur, designer, teacher, artist and award winning deejay. He’s up to some amazing things. Some he was able to reveal on the show. Others you’ll have to watch out for.
Here’s a link to the first episode of Welcome! I hope you listen and enjoy. And return for more.
Last week we hiked through the McCowan and Hague Park corridor in Scarborough. I think the ravine is the Pringdale Ravine. The Pringdale become buried and re-emerges further south in Gates Gully before emptying into Lake Ontario.
To the north and east is the popular Cedarbrook Park.
The walk featured the ravine and a dense forest. It’s very accessible even during the winter. I hope you enjoy the photos below.
On a Wednesday afternoon I ventured out to the farthest ends of east Toronto. Close to the Toronto Zoo is the world-renowned Rouge Park. The Rouge Park is the only national (soon) park situated within an urban centre.
Rouge Park is over 40 km2, protecting two National Historic Sites and a variety of ecosystems joining the post-glacial Oak Ridges Moraine, roughly 50 km north of Toronto, and the City’s biggest wetland, where the Rouge River empties into Lake Ontario (Source)
Michael Gauthier must have been proud. This past weekend the natural ice rink that Professor Gauthier and his environmental science students built (with the help of volunteers, community members and Home Depot, among others) finally officially opened.
We first came across Gauthier and his rink in the fall during one of our weekend city hikes.
If you grew up in the 1980s and listened to rap music from that time (or any top 40 radio station in North America – if not the world) then you probably heard artists such as Grandmaster Flash, Public Enemy, Run DMC, LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys. As the 1980s started to close out one Canadian rapper from Toronto hit the charts with a bang: Maestro Fresh Wes with his chart-topping single, Let Your Backbone Slide.
Since then, Wes has been known as the Godfather of Canadian Rap. He’s continued to release amazing music and now also spends his time mentoring kids around the country.
I recently ran into Wes in the city. We had a great 15-20 minute conversation. Just me and him. He actually motioned for me to come over when we passed. He was very generous with his time and was very polite and engaging.
When it was time for us to separate, he obliged me by taking a selfie. (Please don’t ask what I’m wearing…)
I recently wrote about a portion of Highland Creekon the University of Toronto’s (Scarborough Campus) property. This weekend we visited Birkdale Ravine which is located in the watershed of Highland Creek. As we recently had snow and rain, the ravine was not only higher than normal but moving very fast.