Earth Hour

This Saturday March 29th, from 8:30-9:30pm local time I’d like to extend the WWF’s (World Wide Fund for Nature) invitation to turn off your non-essential lights and electronic devices as a symbol of your commitment to our planet.  If the CN Tower, Times Square, the Las Vegas Strip, the Acropolis and the Sydney Harbour Bridge can do it, so can you.

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For those of you not already familiar with Earth Hour, the event is a global environmental movement that started at a lights-off event in Australia in 2007 as part of a campaign for action on climate change.  Earth Hour has since become the world’s largest mass participation event in history with hundreds of millions of individual participants in over 7,000 towns and cities.

Obviously turning the lights out for an hour has only a small impact on the environment, but that’s not the point.  Earth Hour’s mission is three-fold: (1) to bring people together through a symbolic hour-long event; (2) to galvanise people into taking action beyond the hour; and (3) to create an interconnected global community sharing the mutual goal of creating a sustainable future for the planet.  As an avid user of electronic devices living in a huge energy suck of a city, it is my hope that participating will help promote energy awareness and appreciation while bringing together families, friends and communities during a brief reprieve from iphones, television, and stereos.

Unbeknownst to my husband, while writing this post I decided that I would host an Earth Hour party at our place.  As someone who loves candlelight and board games, I don’t anticipate having any difficulty with either atmosphere or entertainment; however, I’m expecting some debate about the necessity of powering down our smart phones.  If you’re hosting a party yourself, I recommend making some adjustments to the “first one to touch their phone buys dinner” rule. Perhaps the guilty party buys the first round post 9:30?  Drinks the King’s Cup?  Handwashes all the party dishes?  Why not make a night of it and get creative.  You won’t have photographic evidence of what goes down, so feel free to punish electronic users accordingly.

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And the winners are…

Congratulations to Rachelle and Scott Weir, you’ve each won a pair of VIP tickets to the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo on November 14!  Look out for an email from emailusawesome@gmail.com so we can make arrangements to get the tickets to you.

For those unlucky souls still pining for some opening night tickets, you’re in luck!  Robyn and I will each be giving away an additional pair of tickets via twitter before the big night.  Follow us at @kellylsinclair and @wilsonrobyn and stay tuned for your chance to win!

Hope to see you at the show!

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo and VIP Giveaway

It’s November.  That grim month between beautiful sunny October and snowy holiday filled December. It’s cold, it gets dark early, the trees are barren and your Hallowe’en stash is getting stale.  To help get us through this dreariest of months, we need something to look forward to.  And what better than gourmet food and wine???  Not much if you ask us.

November 14-17th is the 19th annual Gourmet Food & Wine Expo at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and we want you to join us as VIPs!

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With over 1,500 beers, wines and spirits to sample, it’s a good thing the Expo is also home to some incredible international cuisine.  Sample tickets must be purchased, but the Expo also features several free events, including cooking demonstrations by celebrity and local chefs and artisanal cheese tasting seminars.  In my experience, pours tend to get increasingly generous as the evening goes on and if you make friends with the right people, those sample tickets can go a long way :)

We’ve been attending this delicious event for several years, but vowed, after arriving on a Friday evening last year to discover a three hour line up, that this year we’d find a better way.  And thanks to Product Magazine we have.   Continue reading

Thanksgiving in Toronto: Eat, Pick & Volunteer

No specific plans for Thanksgiving this weekend?  We’ve got you covered.  From feasts to corn mazes, there’s loads to keep you busy in Toronto on what I’m hoping will be another beautiful fall weekend (and a long one at that!)  (Editors note: due to some technical difficulties, we’re not able to upload photos today, so prepare yourself for a text heavy post!)

Eat, Drink & Be Merry

First, and foremost: where/what to eat.  A long list of Toronto area restaurants will be hosting special Thanksgiving meals this weekend.  Below are the places I’d be trying to get reservations, along with a few more casual Thanksgiving-esque take out bites.

Casa Loma

On October 14, eat like royalty in the conservatory and library of Toronto’s famous castle. The Thanksgiving Day Brunch buffet offers traditional breakfast and thanksgiving day foods, along with a pastry bar, seafood options and a variety of soups and salads. After brunch, there’s the option of a self-guided tour or a stroll through the estate gardens.  With the menu on offer, I have a feeling that you’ll need it!  Four seating times are available (11:30, 12:00, 1:30, 2:00) and tickets are $53.45 for adults and $13.45 for children.  Make your reservations by email (info@pegasushospitality.ca) or call 416-533-1573.

Black Creek Pioneer Village

Black Creek is hosting an 1800s-style Thanksgiving feast on both Sunday and Monday at Half Way House restaurant. The three-course, prix-fixe menu showcases local Ontario meat and produce. Before or after dinner, enjoy a horse-drawn wagon ride with your friends and family for an extra $2.  Sunday seatings are at noon, 3:00 and 6:00 and on Monday, at noon and 3:00.  Tickets are $53.99 for adults and $27.00 for children (member discounts apply) and include parking and admission to the Village.  To book call customer service at 416-667-6295.  Note that the Historic Village closes at 4:30, so if you’re having a late meal you might want to plan to explore in advance.

Globe Bistro

If making an event of your meal isn’t your thing, this Danforth restaurant is offering a Thanksgiving Harvest prix-fixe menu at just $35 per person.  The menu is available on both Saturday and Sunday for brunch and for dinner and features free range turkey and all the fixings.

Quick and Dirty

If sitting down to a big turkey dinner doesn’t sound appealing, that doesn’t mean you can’t still eat in the spirit of the holiday this weekend.  A few of your favourite take out joints are offering up Thanksgiving specials.  Start out at Come and Get It on Spadina for a final visit (it’s closing October 25) and a Thanksgiving sandwich, then head west to Roncy to sample the Thanksgiving Ice Cream at the Chocolateria.  I am heading to the burbs for the weekend, but I am tempted to make the trip to pick up a litre of this dinner-themed ice cream (candied turkey bacon, yams, pumpkin & cranberry sauced!) that crams all courses into a cone.   If you’re celebrating early, Beast’s Thanksgiving-inspired Beastwich goes on sale today at noon. $10 sammies come with a festive side and dessert and are likely to fly off shelves, so get there early!  (Beast’s website is currently down, but you can follow them on twitter @BeastRestaurant and check them out at 96 Tecumseth.

Finally, for those Thanksgiving revellers amongst you, end your evenings of debauchery with a stop at any Smoke’s Poutinerie location for their Thanksgiving pouting, the original fry, cheese, and gravy base,  with a festive blanket of turkey, stuffing, green peas, and cranberry sauce.

Whatever you’re eating, be sure to snap a pic and post it on Gourmeats facebook wall for a chance to win a $40 Gourmeats gift certificate. Continue reading

Toronto’s 2013 Nuit Blanche

nuit_bla_white300Nuit Blanche: the night where we all get to be art affectionados. Whether you want to sit back and observe or get in there and create; whether you want to connect with strangers or have a fun night out with friends, sometimes all it takes is a little pre-planning, patience and determination, but there is something for everyone. This all-night art event gets bigger with each passing year and has had me staying away the past couple of years, mostly because of the unpredictable weather in mid-October. But tomorrow, Saturday October 5th, at 6:51 pm I am going to hit the streets of the city and explore. With reports calling for the weather to be a balmy 18 degrees, there’s no reason not to!

Over 110 artists will be participating and rather than traipsing across the city (often resulting in people losing steam as the night goes on), most of the installations will be found in the city’s core between Front and College and between Church and University. If you fear the crowds and aren’t one for late nights, don’t worry, there is a list of projects that will be on display for an extended period until Oct. 14th for you to visit. So yes, after the chaos you’ll still have an opportunity to visit the famous Ai Weiwei exhibit that has the city talking.

In preparation for my night, I’ve read through most of the descriptions and come up with a great list that has me excited to take on the night and get artsy. Don’t forget to follow along on Twitter with #snbTO to hear what’s making people go WOW! You’ve got all night to run around and check out the buzz-worthy installations!

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