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61 Small Businesses Articles | Page: | Show All

Toronto Standard on Toronto's legendary Thuna Herbals

The Toronto Standard's latest "Made in Toronto" video features Toronto's legendary and historic Thuna Herbals. Located at 298 Danforth, Thuna's is a Toronto institution. Established in 1888, Thuna's  been making custom herbal remedies for Torontonians for more than a hundred years. 


see video here
original source Toronto Standard

Queen West's Type Books scores viral hit with playful video of books gone wild

Toronto bookstore Type Books is getting international attention after the shop's stop-motion film The Joy of Books went viral on YouTube. The short film—in which books seemingly come to life at night—had nearly 1.9-million hits within one week of being posted. 
 
"Sean Ohlenkamp, creator of the vibrant and lovely stop-motion short film The Joy of Books, is one such literary soldier. His battle cry comes in his closing frame: 'There's nothing quite like a real book.'"
 
"The fantastical short film is set in Toronto bookshop Type. Books come alive after a shopkeeper leaves for the night, much like the toys in Pixar films spring to life as soon as humans leave the room. The books dance, spin on their spines, frolic and even shift spots on their shelves in a circular pattern to mimic fans doing the wave at a baseball stadium."
 
"The film is magic (aided by great Harry Potter-esque music via Grayson Matthews) and it's easy to imagine the books are so alive with characters and places and heartbreaks and great loves and wonderful adventures that they can't help but wriggle and quake in their bindings."

read full story here
check out video here
original source NY Daily News


USA Today tips its hat to Little Italy milliner

USA Today travel writer Alison Stein Wellner raves about Liliput Hats, Little Italy's iconic millinery boutique. Owned and operated by designer Karyn Gingras, the 17-year-old Toronto mainstay makes all stock on-site and sells in boutiques across Canada and the United Sates. 

"[Karyn Gingras] shows me her collection of vintage hat blocks, or molds, which are used, with the help of steam and sometimes heat, to form the capeline into a certain shape. And then how that is finished, with hat band and wire and eventually embellishment, to become the hats that are sold around the store. We talk about how long it takes to make a hat (as fast as one day in a pinch), how the royal wedding this year created more interest in hats, which led to talk about fascinators, and then about hats as a form of individuality."
 
"'Clothing has become very mass produced, hats are a way of expressing yourself,' Karyn said. 'You don't replace a winter coat every year, but you do get new accessories.'"
 
"She stepped away to help a customer, and I wandered over to a display of fascinators, and tried on a modest one with a spray of black feathers and sequins. I turned my head this way and that. This would be very handy for me when travelling, I thought, building a mental case for dropping $70 Canadian on it, since I don't  pack dressy clothes and often need to dress up a basic outfit with a scarf or whatnot...."
 
"Karyn returns and begins to select hats for me to try on. And then, as they're sitting a little awkwardly on my head, she stops and says, let's just settle this and get your head measured. She wraps my head tape measure. 'Okay,' she says, 'the average head is 22 1/2 inches and yours is 22 3/4s. That's not much!'"
 
"She had the hat band stretched on a couple of hats that seemed promising and eventually I walked out with a hat box, and my very own 1920s cloche: gray, and embellished with felt in other shades of gray. Which fit my giant head, and I daresay my personality, just right."
 
"If you're visiting Toronto, you can call ahead to reserve an hour with Karyn, who will go over the basics of millinery and hat style with you and help you pick out a hat. And tell you how your head size relates to average."
 
read full story here
original source USA Today
 
 
 

8 Toronto businesses make CIX list of Canada's 20 most innovative companies

The Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) has released this year's list of "Canada's top 20 most innovative technology companies." As reported by the Globe & Mail, eight Toronto companies are among this year's top 20, making Toronto (by far) the highest ranking innovation city on the list. The winners of the CIX competition—a competition that received hundreds of applications from across the country—will present their innovative concepts to venture capital firms and corporate investors at an event on Dec. 1, at Toronto's MaRS Centre

"The CIX Top 20 is split into two groups of 10: Information and communications technologies (ICT) and digital media."

"Hundreds of applications were received from across the country, and the finalists hail from the Toronto area, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, St. John's and Waterloo. The selection committee was made up of experts from corporations, as well as entrepreneurs and investors. The companies were judged on a number of key factors, including the product or service offering, the depth of management, market opportunity and business model."
 
"The Dec. 1 event gives each business the opportunity to showcase their innovative concepts to a CIX audience of Canadian and international venture capital firms and corporate investors. A winner from each of the two categories will be chosen through a 'virtual stock exchange,' where event attendees buy, sell and trade virtual shares."

see full list of winners here
original source Globe & Mail

Toronto start-up designs solar-powered hybrid aircraft

Toronto company Solar Ship has designed a brand new and potentially game-changing type of aircraft: one that can travel up to 1,000 kilometres and carry up to 1,000 kilograms of cargo, powered exclusively by sunlight. The "Solar Ship"—described by the Toronto Star as a hybrid of an airship and an airplane—is scheduled to take its first test flight in late 2012. 
 
"Not quite an airship, not quite an airplane, the solar ship is a hybrid of both. The delta-shaped aircraft will be filled with helium, but slightly less than what’s required to lift it off the ground."
 
"Solar panels across the top of its body, likely backed up by a lithium-ion battery system, will supply enough electricity to drive it forward and into the air. In this way, the design achieves just the right balance of static lift (like a blimp) and aerodynamic lift (like a plane)."
 
"Jay Godsall, founder and chief executive of Solar Ship, says his aircraft will be able to go where no roads are built, where landing locations are too small or have been destroyed, and where existing airplanes and helicopters can’t reach on a single tank of fuel."

read full story here
original source Toronto Star
 


New York Times on Roncesvalles Village

The New York Times Travel section gives Toronto's Roncesvalles Village a rave review. Describing the area "a hub of local design and casual-hip dining," the article profiles five of Roncesvalles' most innovative small business owners.

"In the Roncesvalles Village area of Toronto, shop windows still trumpet 'godziny otwarcia'—Polish for 'opening hours.' 

"But as young, creative types have snapped up homes, this west-end Polish enclave has morphed into a hub of local design and casual-hip dining. After a multiyear neighborhood reconstruction project that temporarily cut streetcar service and starved merchants, Roncesvalles Avenue—the area's main artery—is thrumming again. Despite their big-city location, the street's indie bookstores, quirky coffeehouses and smart boutiques feel more like small-town hangouts, with stroller-pushing locals popping in to chat up proprietors."

read full story here
original source New York Times

Toronto game developers win at IndieCade

A good Toronto showing at this month's IndieCade—an international festival of independent gaming, hosted in Culver City—helps to cement Toronto's reputation as a global hub of indie game development. As reported by Torontoist, three of this year's 36 IndieCade finalists hailed from Toronto, an impressive showing at a festival (known as the industry’s version of Sundance) which receives more than 400 submissions annually.  
 
"Local game developers returned from California with plenty to be thankful about, picking up awards and continuing to bolster Toronto’s reputation as one of the strongest global cities for independent game development. With over 400 games submitted to the festival, Toronto can stand tall: three of the 36 games selected as finalists hail from here."
 
"Those finalists are Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Depths To Which I Sink, and Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure."
 
"The exposure at IndieCade is advantageous because independent games, which tend to be more experimental and smaller in scope, receive less notice from the public and the media than broader mainstream titles. At some point, this dynamic will have to change, at least in Toronto; as local games rack up accolades and awards, they’ll become that much harder to ignore."

read full story here
original source Torontoist 

Skilled immigrants boost GTA companies’ fortunes

GTA employers who hire skilled immigrants have an easier time expanding locally and globally, according to survey funded by the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). As reported by Canadian Manufacturing, 93 percent of the polled GTA business with skilled immigrants on their workforce responded that hiring immigrants is beneficial for international expansion. 

"The results of a recent survey in the Greater Toronto Area shows there are benefits to hiring skilled immigrants for manufacturers that do business abroad."
 
"Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), which advocates better integration of skilled immigrants into the local labour market, engaged research company EKOS to ask 461 Toronto area companies, mostly small and medium enterprises from a range of sectors, about their employment practices."
 
"The results show 20 percent of employers hired skilled immigrants to help expand globally and locally. Of these respondents, 93 percent feel the skilled immigrants hired have been effective doing so globally and 83 percent locally."
 
"One in 10 have hired a skilled immigrant because they discovered that competitors were benefiting from hiring skilled immigrants. Of those employers, 81 percent feel those hired have been effective."
 
read full story here
original source Canadian Manufacturing 


Nine Toronto tech start-ups that want your money

The Next 36"--a competition that challenged four person teams of Canadian university students to create a new mobile app--culminated last week in a pitch session by the top nine competitors to wealthy Toronto investors. BlogTO writes on the pitch session (called "Venture Day") and what Toronto's most promising up-and-coming app entrepreneurs have to offer.

"Last Monday nine Toronto start-ups gathered on the lower level of MaRS to persuade wealthy investors to fork over some money - lots of it."

"As I stood at the back of the packed room listening to pitch after pitch I couldn't help but admire these guys. Almost all of the start-ups were pre-revenue (and in many cases still pre-launch with zero users/customers) yet valuations were being floated in the million dollar range. Some had already raised money. Others had plugged-in advisors ranging from the Managing Director of Facebook Canada to the founder of ATI Technologies. Some will succeed but many will likely fail."

read full story here
original source BlogTO

Why Toronto has emerged as a global centre of mascot costume-making

Toronto is home to over half-a-dozen successful mascot companies, the largest concentration of mascot companies in the world. A Macleans feature looks at how Toronto became the global leader in this niche, but highly profitable, industry.

"Toronto is the mascot mecca of the world," says Christina Simmons, president of Loonie Times Inc., one of the half-dozen mascot companies in the city."

"Why Toronto? "I think we just put more TLC into them," says Simmons. Unlike mass-produced mascots made overseas, Toronto's mascots are conceived by bona-fide artisans. Take Sugar's Costumes Studio, founded in 1980 by Peter deVinta, an Italian immigrant who comes from a long line of tailors. (His father, Joseph, now 91, was a master tailor in Italy who worked for top military generals.) A medium-sized firm, Sugar's makes upwards of 400 mascots a year. Some are famous, like the Blue Jays' Ace, and others obscure, like the Calvary Chapel's California Nuts for Jesus: PJ, Al, Wally and Hazel. DeVita just shipped Nahkool, a date palm tree and mascot of a town in Bahrain."

"The companies hire from nearby schools, like OCAD University and Seneca College, who pump out sculptors, designers and sewers. "When you're making a custom character like the Honey Nut Bee, you need a fashion design graduate so they can do the pattern drafting and do the math to look like the design," says Mike Chudleigh, president of 1-800-Mascots, another local firm."

read full story here
original source Macleans

Toronto's Record Jacket Corp. profits from resurgence of vinyl records

The Toronto Star writes on the Record Jacket Corp., a record-sleeve manufacturing business founded  last spring by Torontonians Paul Miller and Alex Durlak. The Bloor St. and Lansdowne Ave. shop (one of only two record- jacket companies in Canada), has sold 15,000 sleeves since its launch last April.

"Co-owners Paul Miller and Alex Durlak, both 30, and sole employee Jason Cousineau, have tattoos and facial hair. Giant Mac screens sit on the office desks. Close friends, Miller and Durlak bonded over a mutual love of art, music and record collecting."

"In 2010, a chance to buy the machine arose, and they decided to combine talents and clients to tap into a vinyl production market that, in Canada, had all but disappeared."

"The new venture is one of only two record jacket companies in the country. There are just five vinyl manufacturing plants in North America. Record Jacket sells to music distributors and record labels as well as to individual independent bands. They've sold 15,000 sleeves since April."

read full story here
original source Toronto Star


Toronto's hottest young entrepreneurs

A Globe & Mail slideshow features Toronto's "hottest young entrepreneurs". All under 30, the 15 featured entrepreneurs--from computer program designers to jewelry manufacturers--form the core of Toronto's young small business community.

"Young, talented and brimming with entrepreneurial zeal: The Report on Small Business presents some of the most exciting, fresh-faced business owners in the T-Dot. "

read full story here
original source Globe & Mail

City Unseen: From basement to big-city winery

The Toronto Star features Toronto-based Vintage One Wines, a year-old Dundas West winery that creates custom, private order vintages. The work of Argentina-born siblings Alejandra and Jeronimo de Miguel, Vintage One is unique micro-brewery in that it invites its customers to be as little or as much involved as they like in the wine-making process.

"The slim, black entrance on Dundas St. W., just west of Islington Ave., gives no clue as to what you will find inside Vintage One Wines. A steady stream of black-clad city folk pours down a flight of stairs into an anteroom swollen with the strains of Argentine tango guitar. Its grip seduces them into the large caves beyond, filled with rows of gleaming stainless tanks and a half a football field of wooden barrels. This is a real, working urban winery."

"The pair import frozen grapes from their homeland and a half-dozen more countries, and work with customers here on Dundas St. to create custom, private-order vintages. You can buy into a share of a barrel as an individual, or go in with a group or a club. You can be involved from concept through bottling, from aging and blending down to bottle design. Corporations use the place for retreats and team-building exercises; restaurants arrange their own private-label supplies."

"The siblings are riding a great trend wave: Toronto is in love with malbec — just try to find a menu without the varietal. According to the Consulate General of Argentina, Ontarians downed 8.1 million litres of Argentine wine in 2010, about 5 million litres of that malbec."

"And they have hit another trend, says loyal customer Don Tapscott, best-selling Toronto author of marketing and information technology books. "Their business model is about creating experiences, highly customized experiences, as opposed to selling product."

read full story here
original source Toronto Star

Canada's digital media economy: youth movement fuelling innovation

A recent research study by Pixel to Product attempts to quantify Canada's burgeoning digital media economy. As reported by the National Post, the survey, which polled more than 200 Canadian companies and 1,050 individuals, found that Canada's tech industry consists mainly of small, relatively new businesses, with under 50 employees.

"The face of Silicon Valley North is a 28-year-old male graduate of a Canadian university, who makes between $40,000 and $80,000 per year and has been employed by a digital, advertising or marketing agency for between one and three years."

"Canada's digital industries are mainly small businesses, most of which are less than eight years old, have eschewed government financing and expect revenue to increase in the next year, according to the Pixel to Product research study, a new survey that attempts to paint an accurate portrait of Canada's digital media industry."

"Fuelled by the growth of the mobile application, digital marketing and social media industries, Canada has quickly evolved into a hotbed of technology innovation, and the report represents the most complete snapshot to date of the country's emerging digital economy."

"We learned that the Canadian digital media economy is strong," Justin Kozuch, lead researcher on the study, said in an interview."

"A lot of companies are looking to hire over the next year and there's a growing confidence in digital media. People are spending a lot more money in digital media and that kind of growth is very reassuring. Digital media is a much more stable industry than it was 10 years ago when it bombed out."

read full story here
original source National Post

Pedestrian Sundays return to Kensington Market

Blog TO writes on the first Kensington Market Pedestrian Sunday of the season. The car-free street festival--a festival that takes place on the last Sunday of every month from June 26th to October 30th--features musicians, buskers and a variety of sidewalk fare.

"So Kensington Market for another season yesterday, and unsurprisingly streets in the area were jam-packed throughout the afternoon. More than just an occasion to walk around the market without the presence of vehicular traffic, Pedestrian Sundays feature performances by artists, musicians and store owners. Oh, and there's sidewalk fare, too — but some of the food lineups seemed to rival those at the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant for Doors Open."

read full story here
original source Blog TO
61 Small Businesses Articles | Page: | Show All
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