Tag Archives: toronto
As you might know – I moved recently.
After 7.5 years living at Queen and Spadina, an opportunity arose to move to a much nicer, larger apartment – and after a lot of hesitation and fear of leaving what had turned into my first real home – I took it.
I am now comfortably settled into that new, much larger apartment (for the first time since I moved out of my parents house at 18 I have ensuite laundry, a dishwasher and proper air conditioning!).
But I couldn’t have made this move happen without the help of a reliable Toronto moving company.
My last apartment was a 3rd floor walk up, and after 7+ years, I had acquired quite a few things. Summer is also my busiest time of year by far, so having time to pack up that many things just wasn’t going to happen on my own.
I hired Cargo Cabbie to help me pack and move because I had read great things about them, and they were consistently rated the best movers in Toronto on Homestars. They were very booked up for the September 1st date of my move (easily the busiest time of year for movers), but managed to fit me into their schedule, thankfully.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, as this was my first time ever dealing with movers, and had heard quite a few horror stories from people in the past (never hire a mover from Craigslist if you value your property).
I found Cargo Cabbie’s customer service not only friendly, but efficient, thorough, helpful and very quick to respond.
Not once was I left waiting more than a day for an email response, and there was always someone knowledgeable and helpful available on the phone to answer any of my questions during working hours.
The process for getting an estimate was simple – I took photos of my apartment (including inside the closets and cupboards) and emailed them over – and they were able to give me a very thorough and detailed estimate that ended up being quite accurate in the end.
I’ll admit I was particularly nervous about the pack, as it seemed very odd to have someone you don’t know go through all your things and pack up your life.
On the day of the pack, the team of two arrived on time, introduced themselves, asked me to take them through my apartment and what I needed packed, and returned with all the supplies they needed.
The best part about using their packing service is, not only do you save the time packing – you don’t have to get a car and try to find boxes and buy all that bubble wrap, tape and packing paper – they bring everything you need.
Also, they are professionals – so they know exactly how to pack so that your things don’t end up broken. Care was taken to ensure anything I owned that contained liquids/powder was wrapped in plastic wrap and packing paper to ensure leaks were impossible. I have so many little things like lipstick and eye shadow that I was surprised they were able to get my entire life packed up that thoroughly in the span of just six hours.
All my framed art was also carefully wrapped in bubble wrap and covered in large long doubled up boxes to ensure the glass wouldn’t get scratched or smashed.
During the pack, Javier, the owner, stopped by to ensure everything was moving smoothly and that I was happy with the service.
In the end, I had 53 boxes worth of things! I was shocked to find out that I had somehow accumulated that much stuff over the years, in my tiny one bedroom apartment.
On moving day, they were running about 5 minutes late due to traffic issues, but called ahead to let me know.
The team of four was able to get everything into the moving truck in 1.5 hours, which was great timing considering they were also taking down my shelves and curtain at this time. They bring all the tools needed to take your furniture apart – so you really don’t need to worry about anything.
Once we got to the new apartment, they had everything up and in my new space within an hour. It all happened so fast. I was impressed not only with their efficiency and speed, but with how friendly they were – and how helpful they were in helping place the new furniture, and unwrap/unbox anything I needed help with.
Once the move was complete, Javier asked me if there was anything else I needed help with or wanted moved around, and if I was happy with everything. It was great to know I had hired a company that cared so much about how everything went, and wanted to make sure I was 100 percent satisfied with everything before they left.
I am happy to report none of my items were damaged – but I also know that if something had been, they offer coverage for up to $20,000 worth of property, and a form is available right on their website to fill out so you can quickly get your item replaced. I felt great knowing that on the off chance something did break (which is to be expected during a move) I would have easily been able to get the value reimbursed.
I now understand exactly why they are so well known as being the best movers in Toronto. Their reputation has developed and maintained itself over the years because they care about customer service, the team is friendly, the move is effecient, and they ensure nothing gets damaged in the move.
If you’re looking for a reliable moving company in Toronto, I highly recommend calling Cargo Cabbie.
The CNE is one of my favourite times of year.
Maybe that’s because I’m still a little kid at heart, or because I love spinning rides and the excuse to eat 2000 calorie fried foods. But it’s really because it feels like everything that is great about summer all rolled into one: long days spent outside with great friends in the sunshine, eating anything and everything you want, discount shopping at its best, entertainment in all its forms, and remembering how it feels to be truly alive via the risk you take letting your body be thrown around in metal contraptions controlled by teenagers working their first job (fair rides are truly the greatest adrenaline rush).
This year though, the CNE moved into our digital future. The Food Building – aka half the reason we attend the CNE every year – got an app that allows you to skip the lineups and order your food ahead of time.
Yes, that means you can be waiting in line for a ride, order what you want from your app, and walk back to the building just as it’s being prepared for you.
As we all know – because of the fanfare around the crazy foods at the Ex – the lineups can sometimes be insane in the Food Building, especially on a busy weekend around dinner time. The ability to skip the line is exactly what the CNE has needed all these years.
I loved that I was able to order while doing something else, and by the time I got to the booth in the Food Building, there it was, ready and waiting for me.
You can download the CNE Food Building app now, and use it this weekend while you’re getting those last CNE moments in before summer says goodbye for another year.
A couple things to keep in mind: it doesn’t have every item from each vendor listed (just specific ones); they charge a small service fee for every transaction; and if you use a gift card or a promo code – make sure you use it all at once or you will lose whatever funds you didn’t use. You also can’t order from 2 separate vendors at the same time – you have to go back in the app and process a separate transaction (which is to be expected, since you’re paying a different vendor).
The one thing I hope they improve on it for next year is the options – while there was a nice variety of food choices available on the app, there were many more options in the building that were not on the app. Here’s hoping they can get everyone on board next year!
To any food vendors unsure if the app is right for you – I can tell you right now – your customers want it, and it will definitely help increase sales when you have less people waiting in line. No one will turn away from your booth just because the line is too long, as I have done so many times in the past.
Today’s post comes to us from Angela Mastrogiacomo, who asked me if she could share her perspective on the Toronto Music Scene as an outsider working in music who lived here briefly. I find her points interesting, especially #2 and #3 which are both big points of contention I’ve heard often from musicians as well.
Every now and again you come across a city that just gets you. All the stars align, and if you believe in such a thing, you find your city soul mate. For me, that city is Toronto.
When I had a chance to combine my forever love, music, with my new love, Toronto, the opportunity was too promising to resist. So I launched a weekly music industry meet up called Balanced Breakfast, originally founded in San Francisco (by Stefan Aronsen and Andy Freeman), and made it my mission to not only learn more about the Toronto music scene, but to help grow it.
But the more time I spent in Toronto, the more I discovered that the way I looked at Toronto’s music scene was completely different from the way those that had been in it for years seemed to.
There were so many discrepancies that I initially thought maybe I’d been wrong about Toronto. But then I thought, what if being an outsider was actually an advantage? What if I could bring a fresh perspective to the industry, and ignite some spark and inspiration into a scene that I could see was quickly becoming frustrated?
Conflict 1: Toronto’s Music Community is Non-Existent.
One of the first things I noticed was the complaint that Toronto’s music community is non-existent. That while there are great artists, and plenty of talent, the feel of community isn’t there. Almost immediately, I disagreed. Having spent 7 months living in San Francisco (which has an amazing music community) and my entire life in Boston (which has a terrible music community) I felt that Toronto had a strong spot right in the middle. While there was room for growth, the community feel was definitely there. And more importantly, people want to build it.
Within my first 2 weeks in Toronto I had reached out to and met with several people within the industry who were more than happy to offer me their time, let me pick their brain, and even invite me to events and meet ups within the music industry that I would have never known about otherwise. From there, I made friendships and connections that I still maintain today.
If you’re thinking this kind of generosity is normal, let me tell you—it’s not. My experience in this industry, in the States, has been that generally speaking, people will only meet with you if A) there’s a strong enough immediate benefit for themselves and B) you’re completely acquiescing to their schedule. Everyone is too busy and “important” all of the time—even when they aren’t.
My advice? Appreciate what you have. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be better, or there isn’t room for improvement, but as an outsider looking in, your music community is definitely there. It just needs a little care to grow.
Conflict 2: Inability to Break Into the States
Another major point of contention seemed to be an inability to break into the States. While it’s true this is difficult, I felt like no one was looking at the benefits of being a Canadian artist. To make a name for yourself in Toronto, or even in the entirety of Canada, is a much more attainable goal than an American band making a name for themselves in the States.
The States are not the be all end all. (Come on guys, do you really want to start using us as a model for things?). An American band can pour their heart and soul into their career, and never really make a name for themselves outside their hometown. But in Canada, the opportunity to make a name for yourself is much stronger. Not to mention all the grants you’re offered…
Conflict 3: FACTOR Politics
The third biggest complaint I heard was the complexity and ever-changing politics behind the FACTOR grants. I get it, no one wants to feel like they’re not being heard, like something that is supposed to be about art and true expression is actually about popularity and numbers and all the things that, let’s be honest, matter when running a business—which your band is. But take a moment to appreciate that you’re in a country that invests in its artists that way. That gives money to its musicians to record, tour, get proper PR, and grow your brand.
We don’t have a “direct to the artist” funding system like that in the US. Every time I mentioned FACTOR to any of my American clients, they couldn’t believe it. It never failed to grab their attention…because for all its flaws, and all the things that could make it better, it’s a truly wonderful opportunity that I think a lot of artists are taking for granted.
And look, it’s not that Toronto’s music scene doesn’t have problems. Every strong community has infrastructure problems now and again. But from this outsider’s perspective looking in, it’s a pretty solid foundation, and I have no doubt that with the proper care, in 5 years Toronto could easily be one of the big city names in music. But first, we need to appreciate what’s here, and learn to nurture it. Let’s put this city on the map, and show ‘em what you’ve got.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the owner of Muddy Paw Public Relations, and the free weekly music industry meet up, Balanced Breakfast, which meets Saturdays from 12-2pm in Toronto. Muddy Paw specializes in working with up and coming artists on personalized campaigns designed to bring their careers to the next level. To date, we’ve secured placements on sites such as AbsolutePunk, Substream, Property Of Zack, PureVolume, Anti-Music, and many more.
As a bonafide TV buff, I like to think I’m quite knowledgeable on most of the great shows in television history.
As a bonafide hater of sci-fi and aliens all my life – there is one series I always made a point of avoiding, despite being well aware of its important place in the entertainment canon.
Growing up I was always watching something, but as soon as Star Trek came on I would flip the channel. I thought the aliens were hideously terrifying, and it didn’t make sense to me that the humans and aliens cavorted together.
As a child I hated anything alien related, though. The thought of life on other planets seemed like the scariest thing imaginable. I remember literally crying at a friends house when she forced me to watch Independence Day.
Then I met my boyfriend – who happens to be a true blue sci-fi nerd (he literally wore a vintage Star Trek tee on our first date). As it goes when you fall for someone, you start to open the more closed parts of your mind to things you might have previously wrote off, in order to see things through their eyes.
I’ve now watched Alien, Aliens, Prometheus, Terminator, and now even Star Trek.
I actually had the chance to catch the 2009 movie revamp of Star Trek recently at the Sony Centre, where the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony masterfully played composer Michael Giacchino’s epic score live.
I’ve wrote before about how incredible it is to watch a movie with the score being performed live in front of you, and this experience was just as beautiful.
Last time though, it was a film I had watched countless times, so I was able to pay more attention to the musicians onstage since I always knew what was about to happen onscreen.
This time, being so completely new to the Star Trek world – for most of the screening I almost forgot they were even there – which is a testament to the level of musicianship conductor Erik Ochsner and his team excel at, as well as a testament to the film storyline itself being so strong and compelling.
Would I have loved it as much if I were watching the original with Shatner and Nimoy? I’m not so sure. I actually sat down to watch the original movie over Easter and fell asleep – so I can’t claim I found it quite as compelling. But the revamp was shot with the same adrenaline and humour as modern day action adventure films like The Avengers, so it impressed me in a way I wasn’t quite expecting.
With Leonard Nimoy’s recent passing before the screening, they also used the night as a tribute to the legend, and it was nice to see the Sony Centre screens lit up with his iconic moments as the night came to an end. I finally understand exactly why the fans love Spock so much.
Star Trek Live In Concert is currently touring cities across North America, find the schedule here.
Remember the days of Kids In The Hall? The days when MuchMusic was your favourite thing on TV because they actually played music? And for my parents generation, maybe you even remember SCTV and the original Degrassi?
There was a time when Canadian TV was all about innovation, despite the tiny budget. No – because of the tiny budget. But that tiny budget also meant we could never compete with American broadcasters in primetime.
If you’ve been following the CRTC rulings lately, you’ll know some great things have been put into action – for example, them forcing the big name providers to offer a basic TV package for $25, and then allowing you to pick and choose the extra channels you want.
As a self professed TV nerd, I am all for this. Rogers and Bell have been ripping off cable users for a damn long time, and this kind of ruling was absolutely necessary.
But the ruling Ed the Sock is talking about is different. CRTC also passed a rule to loosen the daytime CanCon requirements for TV producers, and there will no longer be genre protection for specialty channels – meaning MuchMusic doesn’t have to play any music (though that stopped happening ages ago), and History Channel doesn’t have to show any history – as Ed puts it.
For the most part, I agree with what Ed is saying – equating money with innovation is always wrong. That’s exactly why I think the best art is always the first thing the artist releases, when they are poor and struggling and full of innovation and passion and desire. The first album, the first novel, the first film or TV show, that’s the stuff that sticks in the cannon throughout an artists life for a reason.
Having no budget means you have no choice but to be your most creative self.
On the other hand, I don’t think it’s wrong for the CRTC to want Canadian productions to be able to increase production values so that our industry can at least try to compete with what the American networks produce.
There’s a reason we watch more American television than Canadian, and it’s not because we don’t have the talent and skill to make shows as great as our Southern friends – it’s because the budgets up here are nothing compared to what they are down there.
Tons of American shows are shot and produced up here (Hannibal being my absolute favourite) – the difference between that show and the Canadian made shows we ignore on CBC is the budget – which trickles into the actors they can hire, the ability to have one consistent showrunner onboard from the pilot to the finale, the directors they can afford, the writers, the production design, the shooting locations, and so on and so on.
Maybe Canadians like keeping our TV in a specialized “Canadiana” stereotype world of Trailer Park Boys and Corner Gas, but if that were true, Canadians wouldn’t spend the majority of their TV time watching American and British produced shows.
That said, more money does not equal more innovation, but it does allow the innovators to translate the vision they have in their head into the one we see on the screen – rather than shooting a version they end up ashamed of because the budget didn’t leave any room for that vision to be realistically created.
Hear his thoughts below, and let me know what you think about the new changes.