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Toronto designers showcased at LG Fashion Week

The Fashionista Blog raves about 3 Toronto-based design labels--Greta Constantine, Arthur Mendonca, and Philip Sparks--who showcased their work during Toronto Fashion Week. The Toronto LG Fashion Week, which wrapped up on April 1st, featured both local and international designers in studio and runway show across the city.

"Known as "The Jersey Boys of Toronto," Greta Constantine designers Stephen Wong and Kirk Pickersgill have won the hearts of many who don their draped wonders from the runway to red carpet. This season, the pair ventured out on a global escapade and debuted a collection interwoven with a multitude of inspirations that seemingly reflected the multicultural tapestry of Canada. From Japanese cuts to Tibetan shapes, the label satisfied the taste of those with a nomadic sense of style."

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original source Fashionista

Ravines a defining aspect of Toronto

The Globe & Mail interviews green entrepreneur Geoff Cape about the importance of Toronto's extensive ravine network. Cape, who conceived and championed the Evergreen Brick Works project, argues that Toronto's ravines have the potential to become a defining feature of the city. An excerpt from the interview:

"The ravines of Toronto are unique in the world. No other city has such an elaborate, such an extensive network of natural spaces. It's the defining aspect of Toronto. We have great hospitals, great cultural institutions, great universities, but so does New York, London, Chicago, Milan, Beijing. What we do have categorically unique is the ravine system. It's an asset for everyone. It doesn't distinguish between rich and poor and cultural diversity. It's available to all of us and it weaves virtually every neighbourhood, every community together, because it's physically so extensive. It connects us all."

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original source Globe & Mail

Four Seasons to open new Toronto property

Yorkville is getting another luxury hotel. As reported by Business Traveller, the Four Seasons Hotel Group has announced plans to open a new two-tower hotel and private residence in the neighbourhood. The complex, to be situated at the corner of Bay Street and Yorkville Avenue, is scheduled to open next summer.

"The new property is just one block east of the existing Four Season"s Hotel Toronto, which will close in April 2012, and which is itself the third incarnation of Four Seasons in the city."

"Next year will see the opening of the fourth Four Seasons hotel in Toronto, a new-build property comprising a 253-room hotel (a room count which is actually significantly down on the current 380), and over 200 private residences, spread across the 26-floor East Residence and 55-storey West Residence."

"The top floor of the West Residence will house the 840sqm penthouse residence, while the hotel will take up the first 20 floors of the buidling. Features will include a first-floor restaurant with "celebrity chef concept", a ground floor bar, and a 2,600sqm spa with a skylit indoor pool, whirlpool, treatment rooms and fitness centre. There will also be two ballrooms measuring 325 and 650sqm."

"General manager of the current Four Seasons property Dimitris Zarikos is also overseeing the new development, and described the décor of the new property as being "minimalist, with muted tones and plenty of contemporary art."

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original source Business Traveller

Toronto iPad game "Sword & Sworcery" gaining international praise

Wired UK writes on "Sword & Sworcery", a Toronto-developed iPad game that has received international praise since its launch last week. Designed through a collaboration between Toronto game company Capy, local artist Superbrothers and singer-songwriter Jim Guthrie, Sworcery is described as "far closer to an experimental, interactive art piece than a traditional game".

"To say anything, of any real substance, about Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, would be wrong. So much of this game -- an evocative, Zen-like fantasy romp for iPad -- is about the sheer thrill of curiosity, exploration and discovery."

"It figures, considering the endless back catalogue of adventure cult classics and minimalistic masterpieces that no doubt inspired the game. There are hints of The Legend of Zelda -- but more bushwhacking through an uncharted Hyrule than epic world-saving heroics -- and PlayStation 2 marvel Shadow of the Colossus. It reminds me of Ico, Prince of Persia and Another World."

"All games that were not afraid to sit back, drop you in a completely foreign space and let you explore with as little handholding as possible. They were games that harnessed the childlike joy of discovery and relished in the unexpected, with few tutorials and no shepherding arrows to push you in the right direction. This game definitely belongs in that exclusive club."

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original source Wired UK

Dwell Magazine tours Toronto

Dwell Magazine's Miyoko Ohtake spent a week in Toronto on the look out for the city's "most interesting and innovative spots". She raves about it all--from the TIFF Lightbox to the Willcocks Commons to Gladstone Hotel--in her "Touring Toronto" slideshow.

"[Toronto] continues to surprise me, with its creative forces always at work, interesting and innovative spots always presenting themselves, and endless construction being done"

see slideshow here
original source Dwell

Drake Hotel announces plans for expansion

Toronto Life writes on the Drake Hotel's latest expansion plans. The iconic Queen West institution recently announced that it plans to partner with local architecture firm ERA Architects Inc. to add new guest rooms in the Drake-owned property next door to the main building.

"We've been thinking about the in expansion for quite a while now; it's sort of been in fruition almost since the opening," Ana Yuristy, director of hotel operations, told us, adding that the new guest rooms will be just east of the main hotel. Owner Jeff Stober purchased the buildings next door early on-- those that house the Drake General Store and Drake BBQ -- and it's the space above these that will be filled in with additional rooms."

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original source Toronto Life

City dressed for success

In anticipation of the launch of LG Fashion Week on March 28, the Toronto Star looks at the the state of the city's fashion industry. While  manufacturing jobs are on the decline, the article reports, the professional side of the industry is healthy and growing.

"Toronto is a growing market connected to consumers around the world, says Ben Barry, business director for VAWK -- the brand developed by Project Runway Canada winner Sunny Fong."

"You can easily be based here, but build a global brand," thanks to social media, says Barry. VAWK, which currently sells out of The Room at The Bay, will be at LG Fashion Week for the first time."

"Barry says Canada is an emerging market for luxury fashion. Toronto is home to good fashion schools and the Toronto Fashion Incubator, an agency Barry calls "amazing."

"The city is currently home to the third-largest design workforce in North America and the city has a long history of apparel manufacturing. But that sector began to dry up in the early '80s, explains labour expert Alex Dagg."

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original source Toronto Star

Thorncliffe Park to get cricket field

An underused and poorly maintained Thorncliffe Park playground could soon be transformed into a vibrant community hub complete with a cricket field, amphitheatre, butterfly garden, and extensive green space. As reported by the Globe & Mail, the $1.7-million "Valley Park Go Green" plan was initiated by a group of community activists and staff at Valley Park Middle School in an effort to give the children living in one of Toronto's densest low-come neighbourhoods "somewhere to go".

"Led by principal Nickolas Stefanoff, they plan to transform the school's playground into a community hub that will include a regulation-size cricket field, an attraction sure to draw residents out from the towers."

"Cricket isn't just a sport for many of the neighbourhood's residents, Mr. Stefanoff says. "It's a religion."

"If we need drivers for a field trip, you might get one or two. But a cricket tournament? Everyone has their own driver," says Mr. Hayter, who is also coach of the school's cricket team."

"The pitch may be its centrepiece, but the plan for the Valley Park Go Green Cricket Field project also includes an amphitheatre, butterfly garden, public gardens, a system that will divert rainwater from the school's roof to be used for irrigation, a bioswale (a landscape feature that traps pollutants) and much more green space covered by a generous tree canopy, all occupying three hectares (7.5 acres) of land."

"It's going beyond a schoolyard," says Arifa Hai, the landscape architect who is working on the project."

"We have a $3-billion backlog in school renewal … so this kind of very significant capital investment in a school field that will serve the school but also serve the community, we don't have board funds to be able to do that," says Sheila Penny, director of strategic building and renewal at the TDSB."

"Still, those behind the project say they are confident they will be able to raise the $1.7-million needed."

"Funding is beginning to pour in, says Lisa Green, co-chair of the Valley Park Go Green committee. The group expects to receive about $1-million in various grants in the next three months, and has received donations from several organizations, including $50,000 from the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and $25,000 from the Live Green Toronto's stormwater management program."

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original source Globe & Mail

Extraordinary Mongrel Media office mixes old and new

As part of a series on the coolest offices in Canada, the Globe & Mail features video of Mongrel Media's Toronto workspace. The office, located on Queen West near Ossington, stands out for "combining traditional elements of a turn-of-the-century building with modern elements of design".

Founded in 1994, Mongrel Media is a Toronto-based film distribution company specializing in art house, foreign and independent feature films and documentaries.

watch video here
original source Globe & Mail

Jewellery designer also educates customers

The Toronto Star writes on local jewellery designer and small business owner, Jennifer Shigetomi. Shigetomi specializes in handcrafted rings and necklaces which she designs and sells as at her North Toronto store Matsu Jewellery. Because her pieces tend to cost more than the competition--due to the fact that she handcrafts each one--Shigetomi employs social media to explain to her customers the work that goes into each unique creation.

"When your product costs twice as much as the competition's, making a sale takes a little more convincing. For Jennifer Shigetomi, it's probably the hardest part of running a small, independent business."

"I spend a lot of time educating people as to why it costs so much," says Shigetomi. "There's a big difference between something that's hand-crafted to order and something that gets put out by a machine."

"Getting the word out has been a lot easier thanks to social media, she adds. Although she's done some advertising in magazines, she doesn't have the budget to do it as often as she'd like. Instead, she updates her Facebook page with her latest projects or sends out tweets when she's appearing at trade shows".

"I've really only been doing it for the last year or so, but it's been great. A lot of our business is really word of mouth, so when somebody 'likes' our Facebook page, all of their friends see it, and it's like a stamp of approval," says Shigetomi, who estimates about 80 per cent of her customers come from client referrals."

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original source Toronto Star

CNN names Drake one of best hotel bars

CNN has named Toronto's Drake Hotel Sky Yard one of the "World's 15 best hotel bars". The West Queen West rooftop bar is described "as a place so hip that just being there cranks up the cool-scale ranking".

"The garden-like space, lined with eastern-inspired booths and daybeds, plays host to indie film screenings, sing-alongs, art shows, clothing sales and bands."

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original source CNN

Toronto startup creates gloves that work with touch screens

The National Post writes on Glider Gloves, a new Toronto company that produces winter gloves that work with touch screen devices. The gloves are created from conductive yarns, allowing users to play with their touch screen phone while keeping their fingers warm. Launched less than a year ago by three young Toronto entrepreneurs, Glider Gloves are available online as well as in Rogers, Telus, and Wind Mobile stores.

"My partner came up with the idea last year. While taking off his gloves, he spilled coffee all over his iPhone," said Amar Thiara, 28, marketing manager for Glider Gloves. "He thought, there has to be a better way of doing this."

"The solution was to make gloves from conductive yarns. Touch screens work by passing a small current across their surface; when the user presses a finger to the screen, that current is altered. The device knows where the finger is, based on where the current fluctuates. But with normal gloves, the user's fingers are insulated, and the screen doesn't register any fluctuations."

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original source National Post

Toronto company unveils world's first wireless electric bike

Daymak Inc. -- a Toronto-based company that designs, develops and manufacturers e-bikes--has launched the world's first "wireless power-assisted electric bicycle". As reported by Gizmag, the bike, dubbed the "Shadow EBike" does away with the cumbersome cords and wires of traditional e-bikes by relying exclusively on wireless technology.

"Got a problem with the various gear and brake cables winding their way around your bike frame? If you're riding a standard pedal-powered bike, the answer is probably 'no.' But if you're one of the increasing numbers of people getting around town on an electric bike than your answer may be different, with faulty wiring one of the most common sources of failures found in such vehicles. While some hide their electrical wiring away inside the frame, many e-bikes have wires running down the outside. Like so many of today's electrical devices, the new Shadow Ebike does away with this unsightly mess and potential point of weakness using wireless technology."

"Through the integration of ISM 2.4 GHz wireless using frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology to prevent interference, the Shadow has no brake or gear cables, and no visible electric wires running from the motor to the batteries, the controller or throttle. Turning the electric motor on or off, the magnetic regenerative brakes, the throttle and the pedal assist are all controlled wirelessly via the Daymak Drive controller."

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original source Gizmag

Toronto mitten company gets international endorsements

As reported by the Toronto Star MimiTENS--a Toronto company that makes childproof, stay-on mittens--has had a year of international recognition. While the company first went global in 2007, it was only this winter that MimiTens attracted coveted celebrity endorsements and international attention, from Gwyneth Paltrow's website Goop to Vogue Italia to Netherlands' lifestyle website goodsense.nu.

"Anna-Maria Mountfort, 38, created a decorated mitt connected to a long, knit sleeve that runs up the child's arm, almost to the elbow. It is virtually impossible to shake them off, says Mountfort, who got the idea in 2005, constructed a prototype the following year and began marketing the idea almost immediately. She calls her company MimiTENS, a play on the French mes mitaines: my mittens."

"Building a company on the premise of unmovable mittens with no strings attached has kept Mountfort busy for more than five years. "It went global in the first year," she says."

"This winter, Mountfort campaigned to attract high-profile celebrity endorsements, courting big names like Oprah Winfrey and Gwyneth Paltrow...Paltrow's people included the mittens in the most recent instalment of GOOP, the actor's lifestyle newsletter that promotes her brand of the good life under headings such as make, go, get, do, be and see."

"Mountfort is thrilled to be recognized. Paltrow is an inspiration, she says. "She seems really happy and well balanced and this is the kind of thing that drives other people nuts," says Mountfort. "I applaud her for being herself. She doesn't sell ads and she doesn't trade in making people feel bad."

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original source Toronto Star

Ritz-Carlton Toronto debuts

The Ritz-Carlton Toronto, the new 267 room luxury hotel on Wellington Street, has officially opened its doors to the public. In order to give international travelers a peak inside too, the Ritz-Carleton has created a virtual tour of the opulent hotel. The video can be watched in full on the hotel's Facebook page and on Business Traveller.com

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original source Business Traveller
96 Design Articles | Page: | Show All
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