Monthly Archives: May 2015


I was honoured to be invited to “Silk Roads II – Mongolia”, a concert event celebrating Toronto’s Asian community and their contributions to our history, culture and the arts. It also marked the launch for the new Virtual Museum of Asian Canadian Cultural Heritage website [ ].

20150521_212554Canada’s leading flute virtuoso Ron Korb performed along with dancers and musicians, and the event was kicked off by a photographic travelogue of their recent trip to Mongolia, courtesy of Dr. Neville Poy and his charming wife, the Hon. Dr. Vivienne Poy (pictured below) following their son, Justin Poy, giving the opening address to the packed house at the Innis Town Hall Theatre, Toronto.

Neville & Vivienne PoydownloadHO5rHSV8FGRF3163TVtU2NpCFvSHBNLYRjzPVZCDqfwdownload (1)Our charming MC for the evening, Janet Lin (pictured below) then intro’d all the performers, starting with an awesome performance by Xuanyi Liu playing the rare Chinese harp, the Konghou (centre) who was accompanied for one song by beautiful dancers Alice and Natasha (bottom picture)Janet Lin Xuanyi Liu

dancersRon then took the stage to present several tunes from his latest CD, Asia Beauty, accompanied by JiaLiang Zhu on piano.

goEh9KOex-DDPDism-Td5lDljIuFXnLJKIosMLPm4n8Ron was followed by a contemporary dance piece featuring Mairead Filgate and Luke Garwood (below)

EowiMv-bI-GPQ3ftfUDXHuM0-lvJFE7vDI5BOGJTiCM…then Greek musician Yiannis Kapoulas played a series of tunes using instruments influenced by those originally brought to the Middle East via the silk road (below)

Ri9gyyqG8NxcyW5iT1xivc06H_HR_gBWhzkEwpoKpyQThe performances were capped of with a beautiful traditional Mongolian dance presentation by the Chi-Ping Dance Group and dancers from the Chinese Collective Arts Association (below)

ALvk4teIHsIlJP_wuKL4Ru0r8Gh0fgIFlgUaxY83cFgThere was a grand curtain call for all the performers and event organizers, volunteers and VIPs with Justin and his parents taking up drums and joining Ron to play the finale “jam” (below) as everyone took their curtain call.

4uzDkh99wqyd0LekUQeWMI_ErCpulAqg_ASRr1tVG7Q,eshIYxT0HoQjGkArDh2kGefm5g0ADtI54XCYy7golpA 5XjWwp9CYZMbHDDR6PVTAY2mFDfot4fpdUezVh82go0,7rLkX-6iiXjxh-CaOqY7-OrvdNIwtA2o12LUEhRgAocThe entire celebration of Asian Heritage was both entertaining and educational and my thanks to Gabriella Luchetta for photographing all the colour and excitement you see here.

4PFqIENwGDR4bgmmWuYh35UfwFytSMTFI4YO_6sys5ARon and Dr. Poy thank you for dropping by!




Any plans for this weekend? No? Well, you do now!  Join the groovy folks from Yorkville’s 60s and 70s as they launch the first annual SPIRIT OF YORKVILLE MUSIC FESTIVAL on Friday May 22nd and Saturday May 23rd with shows at The Pilot Tavern, 22 Cumberland St. (at Yonge & Bloor).

SpiritofYorkville2015Poster WED PROOF - high quality available upon requestI was thrilled to speak with one of the Festival’s founders, CATHY YOUNG, the Juno Award winning Canadian folk singer/guitarist from Yorkville’s golden era. Billboard Magazine named Cathy’s A Spoonful of Cathy Young (below) as its ‘Pick of the Week’ in 1969 .

Cathy Young albumSince those hippy-dippy folkie days, Cathy (pictured below then and now) toured constantly throughout the 80’s and 90’s and has diversified into theatre & television work including roles in the Canadian touring version of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ (as Mary Magdalene) and vocal work on ‘Rita MacNeil & Friends’. She has also worked around the world including headlining shows in Hong Kong and Bangkok.

Then and Now-Juno Award Winner Cathy YoungCathy, who are the organizers of the Spirit of Yorkville Music Festival?
CY: The founders are David Depoe, Linda Goldman, Brenda Armstrong, Ken Stower, John Brower, Rosemary White and myself.

What inspired you to launch the Spirit of Yorkville Music Festival?
CY: Linda put on some events at the Yorkville Library, and then she gave me a blowup photo of the Yorkville street scene which I posted on Facebook and tagged everyone I knew from back in the day… it caused a commotion!  A guy named Richard Olds put a Facebook group page together and the rest is history. From the posts we realized that people wanted to get together and feel the spirit again, so that’s what we did. We formed a committee two years ago and are going strong now.

So what qualifies you to present such a 60’s/70’s era-specific festival?
CY: WE WERE THERE from the beginning to the ‘ end ‘. (Cathy is pictured below kneeling bottom centre)

Sunday Oct 12 1969 front of Penny Farthing includes Cathy Young centre bottom, Danny Marks Top row 3rd from right and many other well known musiciansWhy do you think it’s important to remember Yorkville and the musicians from back in those days?
CY: Many careers were launched there and still enjoy World fame today. We built a community, and with David Depoe and the Diggers, we set up the very first Love-In in Queen’s Park on May 22 1967. Almost 8,000 people showed up for the free festival, including members of the Jefferson Airplane who were in town – they enjoyed the concert sitting on the grass and feeling the spirit. Leonard Cohen and Buffy St. Marie performed. It was also my first big public performance. (Cathy went on to win a Juno Award in 1974) It’s important to remember all the musicians who were part of a thriving community, also the poets and artists of the time. Their work goes on and Yorkville is represented well by them.

map RiverboatApart from the concerts, any other activities or displays for visitors to enjoy?
CY:  We will have a video Tribute to the artists we’ve lost. There will be displays of photos and artwork, donated to the Spirit of Yorkville.

Do you have plans for continuing this Festival next year?
CY:  Next year and every year. We’re building up to the 50th anniversary of the original Love-In and we are creating a YORKVILLE WALK OF FAME complete with stars!

Can people buy tickets ahead of time and if so, where/how?
CY:  There are a limited number of tickets for each show – Friday and Saturday evening shows are $37.00 and the Saturday afternoon folk fest that starts at 12 noon is $15.00.  There are some tickets still available online at and there will be a few tickets available at the door for those who prefer not to not buy online. We’re looking forward to seeing you all at The Pilot Tavern, 22 Cumberland St. in the Heart of Yorkville.

Some of the greats from back in the day will be performing or dropping by, including Luke and the Apostles, Johnnie Lovesin, George Olliver (below)…..Then and Now-Luke and the Apostles Then and Now-Johnnie Lovesin-credit Library & Archive Canada 1980 and Yorkville Village Alumni Association 2014 Then and Now-Juno Award Nominee George Olliver…as well as Greg Godovitz (a.k.a. Goddo) and Ken Whitely (below)

Then and Now-Greg Godovitz from Goddo-1978 in band Goddo Then and Now - Canadian music legend Ken WhiteleySo get your tie-died T’s, jeans and earth shoes outta the attic and join me at the Love-In this weekend!


What a beautiful Sunday morning, blue skies, warm sun and the open road ahead of us. My best friend, Erena, picked me up in her fab ’85 Corvette (below) and we headed East to the town of Port Hope, an historical little gem about an hour east of Toronto.

20150517_181323We found Port Hope just like the touristy photos showed us online….quaint, turn-of-the-last-century buildings, a riverside haven for weekend fishermen and people like us seeking to escape the big city noise and pollution. So charming and quaint.

20150517_114641The town really welcomes visitors and this is reflected in their free parking lot behind the municipal offices (below). Tons of space, surrounded by lots of trees and chirping birds.

20150517_113854Our first port of call was a charming little tea room called Queenie’s (the grey building below) where we enjoyed lattes and a light lunch. It was recommended to me by my Facebook friend, Sharon, who knows relatives of the previous owners. Good call, Sharon. It was great.

20150517_114818The girls working there were friendly and offered some suggestions for boutiques to visit. Nothing like a little retail therapy to go with the sunshine, eh? We sat outside and watched the cars drive by – here’s our view…

20150517_121542A couple of doors down from Queenie’s was the fabulous Kenneth Bell bling boutique….I was in sparkle heaven!

20150517_123453 20150517_123501 20150517_123515 20150517_123527Never come between ladies and their bling!  Ken helped Erena and me try on all sorts of necklaces, bracelets, scarves……

20150517_123449 20150517_131450…and the King of Glitz himself let me try on a tiara. I was having a flash-back to one of my favourite episodes of Big Bang Theory when Sheldon presents Amy with a tiara so I was doing my best impression of Amy (below)

20150517_125754Then before I knew it, my bestie did a deal with Ken and…I got my tiara!!

20150517_130648(0)If you visit Port Hope you simply must drop in on Ken – we had so much fun and he’s definitely the town’s #1 goodwill ambassador.

Next stop, Engine Gallery.  You may recognize the name as owner Steven Schwartz (pics 2 & 3) used to have an art gallery in Toronto’s Distillery District before moving to Port Hope. What a gorgeous (and very big) space he has there. His colleague, Marilyn, showed us around and I was thrilled to recognize some familiar names and work (incl. Kelly Grace – see earlier blog). The gallery offers stunning large format paintings, modern sculptures and some fun retro images. Check out their collections here:

20150517_133504 20150517_133824 20150517_134249 20150517_134355 20150517_134358Our next stop was G. Facey, a grand old-fashioned ladies’ and men’s clothing store that carried high quality designer duds and of course, Miss Erena went to town on the racks. We can always find groovy clothes for her…me, not so much. I really must make an effort to loose this damned weight :>(




IMG_0115 She shops…she scores! Erena found a ton of cute tops and while she tried them all on, I chatted with Teri-Jo (above at cash register) who told me about the wonderful arts community around Port Hope. This talented lady is also a theatre director so we chatted about potential projects as I wandered around the store…creaky original wooden floors and lots of vintage fixtures…a great located for a “murder-mystery” play perhaps…hmmm?

Just around the corner from G. Facey was the Capitol Theatre, a stunning early 20th century theatre space that presents concerts, plays, all sorts of entertainment. What a treasure. There was an event going on when I stepped inside so I wasn’t able to see inside but I betcha it’s glorious. I found an old B&W vintage picture showing the town and theatre in their heyday…cool, eh? 


th (6)It was soon time to bid aloha to Port Hope…but we’ll be back. We never made it to the beach so next trip, we hit the sand! Yes, there’s a beautiful picturesque beach on Lake Ontario just 5 minutes from the historical old town so…I’m bringing my bikini and sunscreen next time..LOL!  We walked back along the river and found more fishermen casting lines for trout and lots of spring lilac shrubs.

20150517_16420620150517_164422And when I got home, I tried on my new Port Hope tiara and voila…I was a princess!!

Princess2Thanks to all the friendly folks of Port Hope. Erena and I had a wonderful visit and I’m sure we stimulated the local economy a little, too. LOL!





This past Monday evening, the Toronto United Church Council honoured 2 of the world’s leading humanitarian activists, Lt. General Roméo Dallaire and Dr. Mary Jo Leddy, for their dedication to human rights by presenting them with Heart & Vision Awards.

Several hundred guests lined the pews of the Metropolitan United Church on Queen East (below)….

??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????….as the evening’s MC, tv & radio personality Michael Williams (below) introduced the presenters and guest performers.

??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????The world renowned Elmer Iseler Singers started off the concert with a beautiful rendition of  The Mi’Kmaq Song..

???????????????????????????????Rev. John Joseph Mastandrea (below) took the stage to open the proceedings….

???????????????????????????????and welcomed the two honourees (below)

???????????????????????????????VP of TUCC, Susan Smith  (below) was welcomed to the stage to talk about the evening and the honourees…

???????????????????????????????Susan also paid tribute to Vincent Alfano, the late Executive Director of TUCC (below) before introducing…

DSC00654….Alexa Gilmour (below) who spoke on the life and work of honouree, Dr. Mary Jo Leddy

???????????????????????????????…who was then joined at the podium by Michael Kooiman (below), minister of Central United Church in Weston for the presentation.

???????????????????????????????Dr. Mary Jo Leddy received her Heart & Vision Award, created by Canadian stained glass artist Dianne MacLeod, then spoke at great length about her work with refugees.

??????????????????????????????? DSC00743The Elmer Iseler Singers took the stage again, and Thom Allison performed a moving song prior to the next honoree


???????????????????????????????Reverend Ron Ewart (below) then introduced the second Heart & Vision Award recipient, Lt. General Roméo Dallaire

???????????????????????????????…who was presented with the award by Susan Smith (below)

DSC00801 ???????????????????????????????…and he kept the crowd spellbound with his tales of war and survival.

???????????????????????????????After thanks were given to all the guests, event sponsors and performers, The Elmer Iseler Singers sang Psalm 148 then were joined by Thom Allison and opera star Jennie Such to end the concert with Make our Garden Grow.

DSC00878A wonderful post-concert reception was held in the church basement where UrbanSource Catering presented delicious hors d’oeuvres and wine.

??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? 20150511_215649While guests were enjoying all the tasty treats, General Dallaire was interviewed by SiriusXM Radio’s Kate Wheeler (below) in the church library for her show What She Said (with fellow former TV network news anchor Christine Bentley). UrbanSource Catering made sure they were well looked after with wine and a tray of food!

??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????Here Kate’s interview with General Dallaire here:

Ticket sales from the concert benefited the Community Relief Fund – you can find out more about the Toronto United Church Council’s work by visiting their website:

If you would like more info on Toronto’s premier corporate and event caterers, Urban Source Catering, please visit their website:

Big thank you to my talented photographer, H.T. Jade Yeh, who shot most of the pics featured here. Please enjoy more photos from the event, including the great team of volunteers who worked hard to present a fabulous evening, the video and sound production team, Music Director Jason Jestadt and of course, I grabbed a few photos with some of the celebs attending (below). Here’s singer/songwriter Micah Barnes with snapd newspaper reporter Britney Townsend, then me with internationally renowned Canadian flutist Ron Korb.

20150511_190758 DSC00555

??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? DSC00610 ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? DSC00923 ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? jsfWyvPAAl6GrDAmTglGJF9dr0iUSCffQXC3Dv6Th3U

20150511_192216Thank you to everyone who contributed….

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Every May, Toronto’s galleries host talented photographic artists as part of the annual CONTACT Photography Festival and this year, URBAN GALLERY at 400 Queen St East, is pleased to present OUTSIDE IN, a group show featuring 4 Canadian photographers whose works explore landscapes both familiar and exotic. Their images reveal the extraordinary in the world around us, bringing the outside in.

20150509_142702 20150509_142723This afternoon I attended the opening reception and met all four photographers whose beautiful images will grace the walls of this downtown gallery until the end of the month.

Julia Lehmann (below) was born in The Netherlands, raised in Germany and now makes Montréal, Quebec, her home base, travelling and photographing the world. She states “the best way to capture life is through photography.” []

20150509_143415 20150509_143508Toronto photographer Kaspara Albertsen (below) studied performing arts in Norway and continued her studies at Nova Scotia’s Dalhousie University where she discovered her passion for photography. 20150509_144156 20150509_144219Dimitri Traganis (below) is an Oshawa, Ontario, fine art photographer whose passion is capturing the beauty in nature and people all around the world. “It’s a beautiful way to see the world – through the camera’s eye”. [ ]

20150509_144103 20150509_144120A lifelong photographer, Toronto-based Kathie Tutter (below) studied at Parsons School of Design in Paris, and later graduated from the photography program at OCAD in Toronto, Ontario.

20150509_143908 20150509_143917The gallery soon filled up with artists’ friends and family as well as CONTACT festival attendees, all appreciating the fine works of photographic art. Artist, poet and performance artist Brenda Clews (below) dropped by, too. Brenda hosts monthly poetry salons in the gallery so watch for the announcement of her May soiree.

20150509_144754If you enjoy photography, especially beautiful landscapes, do drop into Urban Gallery to view these stunning photos for yourself. For gallery hours and information, visit: 



Last night, St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Newmarket presented a wonderful evening of musical entertainment performed by internationally renowned flutist RON KORB [ www.ronkorb.comaccompanied by cellist WENDY SOLOMON and pianist LOU POMANTI.

DSC00427gg-1-sOn this warm spring Friday afternoon, I accompanied Ron and his charming wife, Jade (who kindly shot some of these photos), up to Newmarket, a town just North of Toronto, where Ron was performing for the St. Paul’s audience.

20150508_161423 20150508_162305The 19th century church (above) was charming and welcoming, surrounded by trees in full blossom and chirping birds…what a nice respite from the downtown hub-bub of Toronto. Ron was joined by Gemini Award winning composer, producer and pianist Lou Pomanti  [ ] and Wendy Solomon [ ], a classical recitalist who tours the world with her beautiful cello. While they set up and rehearsed with local sound man Phil Claxton, I wandered around the church capturing some the stunning stained glass windows and iconography (below)

20150508_161130 20150508_161038 20150508_175053 20150508_175222

20150508_201653The kind happy band of church volunteers prepared refreshments for the audience as well as a lovely light dinner for the musicians (and me, too). Thank you to Dorothy Bugden, chef extraordinaire, for the fine soup and salad. We gratefully devoured everything !

20150508_181559The crowd poured into the church around 7pm, ready for an evening of music from around the world….

20150508_185929Ron, Wendy and Lou took to the stage and for over 2 hours the audience was mesmerized by the soulful, spiritually evocative tunes Ron has composed to reflect his travels around the world and his love of all music.

20150508_193349 20150508_202405 20150508_203603Some of his tunes were very danceable and I caught soundman Phil at the back of the church sharing a quick salsa with wife Dawn during one of Ron’s Latin inspired pieces. They were a whirlwind of exuberance….

20150508_205849Jade took lots of wonderful action shots of the stage (below)

DSC00372ggcrop-1 DSC00335gg-1-s DSC00338gg-1-s DSC00427gg-1-s After the concert, the crowd retired to the reception where Ron signed copies of his CDs – I’m glad he brought lots with him as they were selling like hotcakes!!

20150508_211300 20150508_211429 20150508_211641Even Wendy met a fan and obliged with an autographed CD. (above). Lou seemed very pleased with the response (below) as he, too, met with fans after the show.

20150508_212805Ron and Wendy posed with The Rev. Gordon Sheppard (below) who, along with the church events committee, had  graciously invited Ron to perform.

20150508_213408 20150508_213414A big THANK YOU to all the volunteers and church officials who made this event possible, and thank you to the very appreciative Newmarket audience – Ron hopes to return for another concert soon.  Do visit St. Paul’s new website and Facebook page to support their upcoming events and concerts [ ]…and here are some more photos you may enjoy:

20150508_175004 20150508_211839 20150508_212833 20150508_212952 20150508_213239





I’ve known and worked with Michael Williams since the early 80’s when MuchMusic launched it’s all music TV channel across Canada. Michael was one of the founding veejays for Canada’s answer to MTV, covering live concerts and festivals and interviewing just about every living music legend we know. He’s pleased to be MC’ing the annual Heart & Vision Awards Concert, next Monday May 11 at the Metropolitan United Church in downtown Toronto. This year’s award recipients are Lt. General Romeo Dallaire and Dr. Mary Jo Leddy  (ticket information at end of story)

Michael Williams Fall 1986Before the internet made us all so easily accessible, Michael became a household name across the country for hosting the popular Soul in the City series for MuchMusic (80’s thru 90’s), which was syndicated in 19 European countries and Japan, as well as The Power Hour and Electric Circus, also on the MuchMusic TV network. Michael has interviewed politicians, newsmakers and international recording artists and filmmakers including Stevie Wonder, Whitney Huston, Quincy Jones, Celine Dion, Tina Turner, Bon Jovi, Queen, Metallica, Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, and Mark Wahlberg. (Below, with Quincy Jones, with young country star Hunter Hayes, with Nile Rodgers & Quincy Jones and with Oscar & Grammy winning composer/singer Paul Williams)

MW,Quincy Jones at Jazz Educator Conference Toronto Toronto-20140Hunter Hayes Nile Rodgers,Quincy Jones ,Michael Williams

Paul Williams and MWNow a dynamic, talented music producer and host of talk radio and music-related radio and television programs, Michael appears frequently on Toronto’s tv news networks and radio, sitting in as guest host for Newstalk1010 radio talk shows. Michael is also a much-in-demand host and MC for fundraisers and galas, and has introduced such world luminaries as the Dalai Llama and Lt.-General Romeo Dallaire.  He has assisted in the audio mix of Living Color, Ice T and Burton Cummings live to air concerts, co-hosted the World Music Video Awards and the Much Music Video Awards and been a Presenter at the Juno Awards.

As owner of Michael Williams Productions Inc. (1993-Present), he has:

  • Created, produced and hosted the College of Musical Knowledge for 94.7 the Wave, Soul on the Beach for Cool 96 FM, Nassau, Bahamas, and Beach Network, ON
  • Wrote, produced and hosted Live at the Pearl Company for Cable 14 Hamilton
  • Co-producer, writer and voice for ten film shorts, Millennium Promise Project
  • Voiced 24 x one-minute shorts for Black History Month for Rogers national TV network
  • Co-hosted Cookin’ with Guests on Jazz FM
  • Guest lecturer, Centre for Creative Communications, Centennial College, and Faculty of Music, York University
  • Designed, developed, produced and delivered Music Business Overview, an introduction to the history of the music business from sheet music to DVD, International Academy of Design & Technology
  • Produced the symphony, Afroadia, performed by the Brampton Symphony Orchestra
  • Author of a weekly column Soul Session published in Canadian Music Network Magazine
  • Hosted Urban Music Seminar at Canadian Music Week for two consecutive years

Michael recently spoke during Black History Month (2015) with long-time pal and collaborator, Spider Jones (pictured below)

MW,Spider JonesJoin Michael on Monday May 11th (7:30pm) as the Toronto United Church Council presents the HEART & VISION AWARDS CONCERT – there are still some tickets available for concert only and the concert & reception:

If you would like to book Michael to host your fundraising event or concert, please contact me at