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MakeWorks partners with Indiegogo Canada to expand reach

On Monday, Toronto's MakeWorks announced a partnership with Indiegogo Canada that will help the co-working maker studio expand their programming and potentially finance a second location.

MakeWorks is the first coworking space of its kind in Toronto, providing support to both digital and physical-focused startups. The 10,000 square-foot space houses some 30 different startups, prototyping tools and maker tools such as 3D printers, and acts as a large event space for community and hackathon events alike. 

"Toronto needed a new kind of shared workspace catered to the next generation of startups, products, and services. We built MakeWorks to serve a more diverse group of startups, and the feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive,” MakeWorks founder Mike Stern said in an article that appeared in Tech Cocktail

The partnership with Indiegogo Canada will allow the studio to enhance their community workshop programming and expand their in house equipment offerings. MakeWorks has been working to increase the number of startups involved in the space. As such, Indiegogo will move its Canadian headquarters into the space as part of the deal. 

Read the original story here
Original Source: Tech Cocktail

Notable Toronto startups team up with Homecoming to lure homegrown talent back to city

A group of significant Toronto startups including Wattpad, Shopify, InteraXon, Bionym, and Freshbooks have teamed up with Toronto Homecoming to launch an event designed to attract Canadians living abroad back to Toronto's "thriving technology startup ecosystem," a release stated. 

"Returning to Toronto was the best career move I've made, giving me the opportunity to join Bionym at such an exciting time," said Andrew D'Souza, President of Bionym, in the release. "The current wave of startup technology companies emerging from this ecosystem have enormous potential and represent trajectory-shifting career opportunities for those looking to take the next step as technology leaders. All of these companies have attracted capital, customers and partners from around the globe -- now they're looking to add world-class talent to build their businesses."

Toronto Homecoming's startup event will feature 10 to 15 startups looking to expand their employee base and entice homegrown talent back to the city. It is estimated some 300,000 Canadians live and work in the Bay Area alone. 

"Toronto Homecoming is excited to partner with startups that have significant momentum, funding and great leadership teams. We believe this new startup stream will attract more talent to Toronto, and Canada," said Andrew Graham, Toronto Homecoming's Co-Chair, in the release. "Toronto Homecoming shows Canada's next generation of world-class companies."

The event takes place October 9-11. Applications are open until August 1. 

Participating startups include:

•    Bionym
•    Shopify
•    WattPad
•    500px
•    Wave
•    Freshbooks
•    Achievers
•    Ecobee
•    WealthSimple
•    FinMaven
•    Soapbox
•    Shoebox
•    Interaxon
•    Tab Payments

For more information and registration click here
Original Source: Market Wired 

Entrepreneur Barbie unveiled in Toronto

"We need Entrepreneur Barbie so little girls can have a role model and can see someone who looks like them in the future and to know that when they grow up, they can become an entrepreneur," said Erica Diamond, Barbie Canada’s chief inspiration officer, in an article that appeared on Yahoo.ca. 

Entrepreneur Barbie is cloaked in a pink sleeveless dress with black accents and comes complete with a briefcase (which resembles a designer purse, the article notes), and a tiny tablet and smartphone accessories. 

Mattel Canada argues Entrepreneur Barbie was created to inspire young girls to "dream big and perhaps one day be their own boss," the article reports.

In addition to the Barbie, Mattel also announced a new Barbie Business Bursary Program which will award three Canadian entrepreneurs under the age of 18 with $2,500 each to help fund their winning business idea. 

Of course, Entrepreneur Barbie and Barbies in general are not complete without controversy. 

"I think both Entrepreneur Barbie and their $7,500 bursary fund trivializes the issues women in business generally face, and female entrepreneurs in particular," says business professor Wendy Cukier, who teaches at Ryerson University’s management school, in the article. 

She is doubtful that Entrepreneur Barbie will make much of a difference, referring to a recent Oregon State University study that found girls who played with Barbies were less confident and believed in fewer career options than girls who played with other toys.  

"…the research really suggests that if you want to build confident, enterprising and risk-taking girls, they’re better off playing with Lego or [Mrs.] Potato Head."

Mattel was quick to note that lots of successful women played with Barbies as children, and many children view them as friends and sources of great imagination. 

Read the full story here
Original Source: Yahoo

Fairmont Royal York to open rooftop bee hotel

Earlier this month, we ran a story about rooftop beehives popping up around the city. One of the rooftops featured was that of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, which at the time of publishing had six hives that had produced some 800 lbs. of honey.

Now the hotel has announced "the introduction of its first pollinator bee hotel," Travel Daily Media reports.

"Supported by a partnership with Burt’s Bees and its annual ‘Wild for Bees’ campaign, Fairmont will develop five sustainable bee hotels – four in Toronto and one in Guelph – with the first launching at the Fairmont Royal York," the article reports.

The pilot program is designed to provide for, attract, and protect "lost and solidary bees by replicating their natural nesting sites." The bees will be able to breed, lay eggs, and seek solace from predators. The hotel will expand Toronto's pilot program at additional hotels throughout the next year. 

“Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is extremely excited about the addition of our new pollinator bee hotel and we look forward providing these pint-sized ‘guests’ with the five-star treatment they so deserve for keeping our ecosystems resilient,” said Alexandra Blum, vice president of public relations for FRHI Hotels & Resorts, in the article. 

The Fairmont supports bee ecosystems at more than 20 properties around the world. For more information on bees in Toronto read our feature story by Andrew Seale, Look up: Toronto is abuzz with rooftop beehives that boost the city's ecosystem.

Read the full story here
Original Source: Travel Daily Media

2016 Olympic swimming trials to be held at currently-in-development Pan Am Sports Centre

As part of the city's preparations for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, the Pan Am Sports Centre (TPASC) is currently being constructed at the University of Toronto Scarborough campus.

Now, it has been announced that the TPASC will host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Swimming trials from April 5-10. 2016. It marks the first "legacy high performance sports event in Toronto that is a result of infrastructure built for the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games," said an article that appeared in Swimming World Magazine. 

Here at Yonge Street, we've been exploring the legacy that the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games will leave on our city's infrastructure

"This is the first of many future hosting events for high performance athletes and sport in Toronto," says Professor Ira Jacobs, TPASC Chair and Dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto, in the article. 

"The Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre represents the single largest investment ever made in amateur sport development in Canada. Co-owned by the City of Toronto and the University of Toronto Scarborough, TPASC was developed in partnership with the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario. TPASC will be the site of several events for the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, including all aquatics events," the article says.

Read the full story here
Original Source: Swimming World Magazine

Why Toronto is a great city to watch the World Cup

Toronto, with its diverse neighbourhoods and large population of immigrants (we've got roughly 2.6 million foreign-born inhabitants), makes it an ideal place to watch the World Cup, says an article that appeared on cbc.ca. 

“In Toronto you can see an articulation of world events at street level,” says Shawn Micallef, former Yonge Street managing editor and author of the book Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto, in the article. 

"Toronto allows residents to understand and participate in events that transcend their own neighbourhoods— whether it's one of the many city-hosted cultural festivals, or more politically motivated events such as protests at area consulates," the article continues. 

With our Little Italy, Little Portugal, and various other neighbourhoods, Toronto truly is a hub of diverse culture that comes alive during the World Cup. 

Micallef recounts his many experiences during the World Cup finals over the years, and as a neighbourhood enthusiast has amassed one very strong piece of advice, especially if you don't tie yourself down too tight to one country:

“Walk around, find a random bar in the neighbourhood. You can always sit with the home team and, if they win, you get to share in the celebrations,” he says in the article. 

Read the full story here
Original source: CBC

Baby with Down Syndrome melts hearts everywhere

Local radio station Indie 88 held a "Win Your Own Billboard" contest recently where one lucky winner won the opportunity to put whatever they wanted on the billboard at one of the city's busiest intersections: Bay and Bloor. 

The station received "hundreds upon hundreds" of applications, and chose 12 finalists before throwing it over to the Internet for voting last month. The winner was clear. After receiving 45,000 votes one young woman won the opportunity to feature her baby, Pip, on the billboard with the slogan, "What Makes You Different Is What Makes You Beautiful."

Pip was born with Down Syndrome and has since undergone numerous eye and heart surgeries in her young 18 months of life. The early diagnosis prompted her mother Tara McCallan to launch Happy Soul Project. 

"Since she was born I started Happy Soul Project and have made it my mission to show others that although our life is a wee bit different, it is brilliant and it is beautiful all the same," McCallan wrote in her application. "So if we could help just one person by seeing Pip and our message that 'What Makes You Different Is What Makes You Beautiful' on a big, bloody billboard that would be just about the best thing on the planet."

The billboard was unveiled on May 14, but recently caught the attention of ABC News. The station interviewed McCallan about the unveiling. 

"It was a feeling of redemption," McCallan told ABC News. "We had come full circle."

Since the billboard was unveiled, ABC News reports that people from across Canada have travelled to see it. 

Read the full story here
Original Source: ABC News

Toronto named Intelligent Community of the Year

After months of deliberations, Toronto has been selected as the Intelligent Community of the Year at the Intelligent Community Forum, held in New York last week. 

This comes after years of "knocking on the door," as Network World put it, for many years now. Toronto ranked in the top seven in 2005, 2013, and 2014. The annual title celebrates cities that use smart IT infrastructure to grow communities, create jobs, and contribute to economic growth, among other things. 

"Toronto was selected because it performed impressively against a set of diverse criteria and focused its academic, creative and private sectors, as well as its City Council leadership on the work and continued success of the entire community. In our view, Toronto offers a glimpse of how to flourish in the new economy and of how to adjust to the changes of the digital era," said ICF co-founder Lou Zacharilla in a press release.

Zacharilla also apparently called Toronto "New York City with manners."

Really, it was the efforts of Waterfront Toronto that solidified this year's crown. The organization has been pushing to make Toronto's contributions in this realm known. Waterfront Toronto's forthcoming "innovation district" will "provide 12,000 new residences with 100 Mpbs broadband to individual homes, and 10 Gbps networking to businesses…with the goal of providing design and media companies in Toronto with the highest transmission rates in the world," Network World reports. 

"This is a significant win for Toronto; one that recognizes the great efforts made in the city to work together on using information technology to create jobs, attract investment and make us more competitive," said Toronto Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly in the press release. "The work of Waterfront Toronto to collaborate with government, businesses, and the education and research community is helping establish Toronto's waterfront as an example of how to use future-ready information and communication infrastructure to attract jobs and residents."

Read the full story here
Original Source: Network World

Toronto standing its own in Hollywood movies

Toronto has long been transformed into other cities in the name of Hollywood, but for once the city is starting to star in its own films. 

"But recently," says an article that appeared on Yahoo, "the Ontario capital has been able to actually be itself in big Hollywood productions, instead of pretending to be something it's not."

A slew of films over the past couple years were not only filmed in Toronto, but openly depict the city and embrace its cultures—exploring its neighbourhoods and highlighting the city's diverse regions.

The latest movie to cast Toronto as a character itself is What If (formerly called The F Word), which is set for an August release date. Directed by Michael Dowse and starring Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan and Adam Driver, the film predominately shows the east end, highlighting the Scarborough Bluffs and the Docklands. 

"A strong economy and thriving culture have helped establish TO as one of the world’s “it” cities over the past half decade," the article says.

Highlighting a number of films that feature Toronto, including an upcoming thrilled called Enemy starring Jake Gyllenhaal, the article makes a case for the city's blooming roles on the big screen.

Watch the trailers below:

Read the full story here
Original Source: Yahoo

Toronto chain Hero Burgers expanding to U.S.

Toronto's Hero Burgers is set to open its first American location on Buffalo's Elmwood Avenue later this summer. 

"It's a great indication of Elmwood’s growth and attractiveness that a Toronto-based business is interested in coming here," said Carly Battin, Elmwood Village Association's executive director, in an article that appeared on BizJournals.com. "It also is a reflection of the overall Canadian interest in the Elmwood Village."

It's also a great indication of Toronto's growing role in the booming burger business of North America. While American chains hurry to gain retail space and market threshold in Toronto, our local chains are slower to expand beyond city limits. 

Hero Burger, which is owned by John Lettieri or Lettieri cafes, has been rapidly expanding since its inception in 2004. Along with its first U.S. location, Hero Burgers is expanding further across the GTA and opening additional spots in Oakville, Brampton, and Toronto's Stockyards. The chain has numerous existing locations throughout Toronto, Mississauga, Richmond Hill, Markham, Scarborough, Burlington, and the surrounding region. 

The company sets itself apart with its commitment to sustainability—including within its own practices and the vendors it partners with.  It offers angus beef produced in Western Canada by farmers who practice sustainable care in raising livestock, preserving land, and in production. Hero Burger uses no additives or preservatives in their beef—including growth hormones, steroids or antibiotics—a practice that is becoming more scrutinized and essential here, but less so in America. 

Read the full story here
Original Source: BizJournals.com

Local entrepreneur weighs in on successful crowdfunding techniques

Joanna Griffiths, the Toronto-based entrepreneur and founder of innovative underwear company Knix Wear, sat down with Entrepreneur magazine recently to discuss something she knows quite well—building a successful crowdfunding campaign. 

Griffiths turned to crowdfunding in 2013 with the launch of an Indiegogo campaign to test the market for her moisture-wicking, odour-absorbent underwear. 

"It was the last test in a series of tests I conducted before launching the business," she told the magazine. 

It worked. She surpassed her goal and raised more than $50,000 from some 518 backers. But it didn't come without its challenges. Still, Griffiths persevered and learned a few lessons along the way.

For starters, she says, you need to have a plan. "You can't launch a campaign, go on autopilot and expect money to come rolling in," she says in the article. She studied successful campaigns before launching one of her own, determined to mimic their results by following their approaches. 

She makes eight recommendations from making your campaign personal ("People fund people, not just ideas") to taking things offline ("You want to build excitement, get people excited about backing the project…Don't ignore offline opportunities to build engagement.")

A worthwhile read for anyone considering launching a crowdfunding campaign of their own—or for those looking to pick up a few smart business practice tips. 

Read the full story here
Original Source: Entrepreneur.com 

Bar Isabel voted second best restaurant in Canada

Ten Toronto restaurants ranked among the country's top 50, according to the third annual guide determined by Vacay.ca and a panel of judges consisting of some of the nation's top chefs. 

While the top prize went to a small, but elegant eatery in St. John's Newfoundland—recognized for elevating the province's local cuisine—Toronto took home 20 per cent of the honours with Bar Isabel, a Spanish eatery found along College Street at Shaw, leading our city's rankings as the second best restaurant in Canada. 

Executive Chef Lucais Syme of La Pentola della Quercia hailed, "Simply presented food with awesome flavour made of great combinations. Great style and interesting." While Executive Chef Paul Brans of Artisan proclaimed, "Great sharing plates that take you back to those crowded tapas bars in Barcelona. Perfect."

"Go for the charcuterie and cocktails; stay late for the fried chicken," says Little Room President Joseph Caturay. "Check out your fellow diners; chances are they are some of the top chefs, bartenders and servers in Toronto."

Bar Isabel is a newer establishment that did not exist at the time of nominations in 2013, thus 2014 marks a strong debut. 

Here's how Toronto restaurants ranked:

2. Bar Isabel, 797 College St.
7. BUCA, 604 King St. W.
12. Bar BUCA, 75 Portland St.
15. Hopgood's Foodliner, 325 Roncesvalles Ave. 
28. Auberge Du Pommier, 4150 Yonge St.
34. Momofuku Shoto, 190 University Ave. 
35. Canoe, 66 Wellington St. W.
36. Patria, 478 King St. W. 
38. Splendido, 88 Harbord St. 
40. Chantecler, 1320 Queen St. W. 

Read the full list here
Original Source: Vacay.ca

Toronto fourth best city in the world for opportunity

Toronto has ranked the fourth best place in the world overall for infrastructure, sustainability, livability and health, according to an annual study comparing major metropolitan areas across the continent. 

The report, called Cities of Opportunity, pegs 30 cities against one another in a number of indicators and categories, many of which Toronto performed well in, including receiving the highest possible grade for quality of life. 

Toronto placed second overall for transportation and infrastructure, with only Singapore ahead. Toronto received the top spot for public transit systems, but the overall score was affected by a 13th place ranking in traffic congestion, and 12th for ease of commute. "Toronto's rankings in these two variables also reflect the city's current reality, in which the lack of a fully integrated regional transportation system is one of the leading challenges for Toronto." 

Toronto was the only non-Asian city to break into the top 5. 

Toronto tied with Sydney for second place (with a marginal difference in Toronto's favour) in health, safety and security. Stockholm took the number one spot in this category, but each of the top contenders shared similar qualities: populations averaging 2.5 million. 

"Larger cities, with larger populations, must strive harder, and expend more resources, to secure the healthy and safety of their residents," the report said. 

Toronto fared well  in our political environment, end-of-life care, hospitals and health employment, crime, and health system performance. 

When it comes to sustainability and the natural environment, Toronto scored major points for air pollution and natural disaster risk, but poorly in thermal comfort, a factor the report admits the city can do little about aside from knowing how to cope with it and improve it, which is what pushed Stockholm to the top. Toronto's overall positioning in this category has dropped since last year.

Toronto also ranked high in the ease of doing business, an indicator that factored in cost and economic clout, but we ranked low in cost of living. 

Read the full report here
Original Source: PWC

Turning vacant lots into mobile urban farms

Toronto-based nonprofit the Bowery Project was highlighted in a recent article for its forward-thinking approach to urban farming and for taking advantage of vacant lots. 

The Fast Company article describes the Bowery Project as follows: "Using a simple modular system built from milk crates, a new Toronto nonprofit plans to convert vacant city lots into instantly mobile urban farms that can supply neighborhoods with local produce."

The Bowery Project, founded by Rachel Kimel and Deena DelZotto, works with the city of Toronto and various developers to maximize space in the city and use it for good.

“If developers buy a piece of land, usually there’s a long period of time where the land sits vacant until they’ve gotten permits, finished their designs, and raised the money they need,” Kimel explains in the article. “We’re hoping to be kind of a transformative application for an interim project for these lots."

The food will be split three ways with one third going to local hunger organizations, another to the volunteers who work on the farm, and the last will be sold to local chefs to help sustain the organization. "They expect that chefs will request specific food items that are otherwise difficult to get in Toronto, such as shishito peppers," the article says. 

Kimel and DelZotto met while volunteering at another local food access organization, the Stop.

“We love the energy that comes along with growing food,” Kimel says in the article. “We wanted to engage the community and transform a part of the neighborhood that would otherwise be left as concrete and weeds.”

Read the full story here
Original Source: Fast Company

Toronto ranks third on list of U.S. tourism destinations

Aside from London and Paris, U.S. tourists visited Toronto more than any other city in the world, according to the 2013 Hotel Price Index, released by Hotels.com. 

"Toronto surpassed Rome as the third most popular international destination for the first time since 2010," says the report. “With the Canadian exchange at a three-year low, now is an opportune time for U.S. travelers to cross the border and explore the country’s cultural and entertainment capital."

When it comes to prices, Toronto hotels luxury hotels ranked the sixth most expensive behind San Francisco, New York City, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and Tokyo. 

As for wanderlust, Toronto's music scene has become a state of attraction. The report highlights North by Northeast, taking place from June 13-22 this year. 

"What started as a three-day music festival has expanded into a 10-day event that spans music, film, interactive comedy and art. NXNE features more than 800 bands from all over the world that will converge upon Toronto’s 50+ music venues. The city’s largest music festival features a mix of both up-and-coming bands and headline acts," the report says. 

Toronto was also a hot spot for travellers from China, the report notes. 

Read the full report here
Original Source:  Hotels.com
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