Category Archives: Special Events



Each year, URBAN GALLERY in Toronto hosts a 10-day exhibition of works from the first year students of the Centennial College Studio Arts program, and this year’s show is titled “Wait, What?”.  Not what you would normally expect from a group of ambitious emerging artists – layered universes of double meaning, hope, despair, humour, longing, madness, genius, and skillful virtuosity. All contained within innocuous 18″ square shadow boxes. You will leave the show thinking “wait, what?”…20180317_134011 20180317_134109 20180317_134039Fairchild Chinese TV news was on hand to record the opening reception and interview the artists and the dept. head….20180317_133944 20180317_135027One of the mature students, F. Mehtal Mertdogan, was there with her family and proudly posed in front of her stunning 3D mosaic titled “Enough!” (below)20180317_135137 20180317_142125(0)The 23 artworks on show offered subjects, mediums and colour palettes to suit every taste and pocketbook – prices range from $200 to $450 – a very affordable way to start collecting your favourite emerging Canadian artists. 20180317_13400320180317_13403320180317_13395520180317_13404520180317_13413820180317_134129Congratulations to all the artists: Mattheas Gabber, Yogin, Patel, Ayyappa Kuma, Fiona Wei, Lilian Jang, Lucs Thomas, Arnold Farrell, CL Fisher, Bee Fawn, Alexandria A. Allen-Papadopoylos, Jancy Sivanantham, Lexx Willis, Takanya Marsh, Titar Awua-Imande, Danielle Nothmann, Sharon Zhang, Atheena Sureshmohan, Gabriella Berdugo, Hyewon Kim, Natalie Plociennik, Wayne Wu, Kai Hart and F. Mehtap Mertdogan.wait what“Wait, What?” runs until Saturday March 24th (5pm) at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen st East, Toronto. Check the website for times & more details: www.urbangallery.caUG-Logo-url


get your rocks off at the spring gem expo in toronto!

Here’s the ultimate “rock concert” – if you like gorgeous gems and baubles, then this is the show for you.20180316_144750Big thank you to Salim Moorani, Founder of The Gem Expo, for inviting me to come out to the spring show which opened today at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on King W in Toronto – show runs tomorrow, Saturday Mar.17th  10am-6pm and Sunday Mar.18th 10am-5pm.  Salim greeted me at the door along with his charming wife and daughter (below) and then let me wander the aisles, meeting up with vendors and gem ambassadors.20180316_135028I was pleased to run into the lovely folks from Sonatona Natural Gemstones & Minerals (below) who I met last year…they’re always ready with a smile and willing to share their extensive knowledge about their precious and semi-precious stones. 20180316_140636Lots of ready made jewellery as well as loose gems for crafters and home bead-makers….20180316_140802 20180316_14081420180316_14131920180316_14103120180316_141910One new vendor I was delighted to meet was Deb from Karibu Beads, featuring hand-made Kazuri Beads from Kenya. The story of these beads is fascinating so I encourage you to visit to learn more. Here are just some of the gorgeous colourful beads I saw….20180316_142719 20180316_142724 20180316_142745The Gem Expo also features some stunning glass work, too, including these giant “crystal balls” and some spooky stone skulls. Groovy, baby!20180316_135155 20180316_135219How about some fossils? Check out these prehistoric shark teeth…yikes!20180316_135320Meet another new vendor, Ryan Desantos of Laya Skye Jewelry (below).  He brings in handcrafted designs from Bali and I particularly liked the amazing “floating” rings that are all sterling silver with a rotating element so you can fiddle away and calm your nerves with them. One of them almost fit…I was soooo tempted. His new website is currently under construction but do check it out next month: www.LayaSkyeJewelry.com20180316_142957 20180316_143403More fabulous bling…..what’s a girl to do?!20180316_143615 20180316_135642 Lots to see and buy so come on down this weekend – most vendors take credit cards and Debit cards/Interac, plus there are cash machines in the hotel.20180316_141521


Walk the aisles, meet the artists at this year’s Artist Project, Toronto

It was another successful Artist Project here in Toronto for several of my artist friends who sold numerous works to enthusiastic collectors this past weekend.  Hosted in the Better Living Centre at Exhibition Place, I walked the aisles set up in the cavernous hall, meeting new artists as well as dropping in on old friends and colleagues. Join me for this virtual visit:20180223_122704Let’s start off with this exuberant and talented artist, David Shepherd (above), whose incredible cloud studies and hyper realism still life paintings blew me away.

Then I discovered Lana Filippone, whose work mixes Edwardian-style parlour shadow frames with contemporary ceramic art (see below). Loved it!! www.lanafilippone.com20180223_123104 20180223_123144Catherine McMillan welcomed me to her colourful booth where her stencil art was well-displayed, representing streetscapes (like Kensington Market, below) and various “smalls” with humourous subjects… I loved her psychedelic bunnies!  www.catherinemcmillan.ca20180223_123645 20180223_123651Quebec artist François René shared his thoughts on participating in this year’s show with his unique art, full of colour and lights. www.francoisrene.com20180223_124405

Then on to Richard Sturgeon‘s double booth showcasing Richard’s spectacular metal sculptures. Sadly, no active website for Richard.20180223_124806 20180223_124831

Richard with fellow metal sculptor Osvaldo Napoli & his wife France

Richard with fellow metal sculptor Osvaldo Napoli & his wife France

Keight Maclean offered classic Old Master-style portraits with a very 21st century twist. Wow! www.keightmaclean.com20180223_12515520180223_125207 Now let’s visit with Joanna Bell (below) whose photographic art was both intriguing and calming. www.joannabell.com20180223_125855 20180223_125812Time to sit-down and rest my “barking dogs” – I tell you, the show promoters really should install carpeting over the hard concrete floor to ease visitor fatigue as it’s a big show!  Saw this great portrait of a goat (below) while I took a little rest…isn’t it great?20180223_124507Back to work….now here’s Chris Harms, a self-taught artist who sculpts using vibrant plexiglass. Fellow sculptor Osvaldo Napoli (pictured with Chris, below) found his work quite  intriguing.

20180223_13015720180225_160444Round the corner, more fun and colourful paintings….20180223_130405 20180223_130520Then look who I found…my dear friend Nancy Bennett who proudly showed off her painting (aptly titled “Paradise”) inspired by my sister Jennifer’s photograph of a Western Australian sunset. Can’t tell you how proud I am for both sister and friend!! Check out more of Nancy’s work at 20180223_131435 20180223_131502And now here’s Kirk Sutherland (below) one of the popular artists who frequently exhibits at Urban Gallery.  I love his colour bars…so yummy you can almost eat ’em! www.kirksutherland.com20180223_133625 20180223_133633What a delightful booth (below) – I loved Amey Lai‘s sparkly paintings…see more here: 20180223_132158Here’s Liz Rae Dalton from Howe Island, Ontario. Many of her encaustic sculptures are created from found materials washed up on the lakeshore. Awesome! www.lizraedalton.com20180223_134427 20180223_134440Now meet “the marble dude”! Bryan Wilcox shows off the beauty contained within these tiny everyday glass orbs with his close-up photographs, perfectly framed and presented…loved ’em!  www.wilcoxcameraart.com20180223_140515(0) 20180223_140534 20180223_140523Speaking of “art dudes”, two of my favourites, Mark Gleberzon and Morgan Sheardown where side-by-side. Here’s Morgan’s signature “Raining Cows” display (below) … www.morgansheardown.com20180223_140955…and here’s Mark’s fun fab art (he’s working on a special wee painting for me with lots of sparkly blue – can’t wait!) 20180223_141349Always love running in to Kari Serrao – her work makes me smile! some time chatting with the delightful Lori Ryerson ( below, who told me about her recent works. 20180223_130803(0)

Delighted to meet Gene K. Tempelmeyer (pictured below with his lovely wife/booth babe!) who won 2nd Place prize for his urban streetscape, “Life’s Short, Call Now”. Congrats, Gene, I really like your work, in fact there’s one painting I may have to secure for  myself (Lady in Red) …LOL  www.GKTart.com20180225_143343 20180225_160321Joel Sullivan is Canada’s very own “iron man”. Just look at these awesome metal sculptures. I loved the little robot men lamps….the science nerd in me really came out in Joel’s booth!  www.joel-sullivan.com20180225_144537 20180225_144310Nice to see Mark Berens (below) – I saw his work at a big group show in The Distillery District last year. See more of his paintings at (he’s in the Untamed Things en plein air group show at Blue Mt. Village in April)20180225_154044So I eventually caved in and purchased a small painting from Mirek Bialy ( pictured below.  I fell in love with his bold paintings that incorporated strands of copper. Yes, that’s it now hanging on my wall underneath Colin Nun’s “Coop” graphic painting.20180223_133311 Mirek Bialy artist

So there you have it…another Artist Project done and dusted! Thank you to all the talented creative folks who welcomed me to their booths, and big thanks to Ozzie and France for taking me again on Sunday – it was cool to view the art thru your eyes, Ozzie.

Mark your calendars for next year’s event at the end of February here in Toronto. Visit their website for details and dates: 20180223_123214




Congratulations to the performers and in particular, artistic directors KRISTINA KULIKOVA, ANTON AZANOV and CHANTAL FRY-SALETTI on last night’s opening of THE SHIVER SHOW at the Glenn Gould Studio theatre in Toronto.  So many hours of rehearsal and sweat-equity have gone into this stunning blending of dance, figure skating, circus arts, music and operatic singing, as well as beautiful costuming, hair and make-up.20180209_200247The brainchild of Kulkat Entertainment’s Kristina Kulikova, the Shiver Show blends 7 different disciplines of dance with figure skating, aerial circus arts, a little burlesque, video and some very talented musicians into this unique theatrical experience that had the audience on their feet more than once throughout the show!

Prior to showtime, several of the performers were interviewed backstage by Fairchild TV – here’s Kristina, Anton, opera singer Dina Shikhman and Kristina’s talented sister Elena Kulikova (singer/painter) chatting with the news crew.20180209_181430 20180209_180152 20180209_175745 20180209_180913Out in the lobby, one of the charming ballerinas entertained the crowd prior to the show with a very unusual performance….move over Edward Scissorhands!

One of my favourite routines was this stunning flamenco dance, accompanied by Dina singing Carmen.

And to close the show, all the performers came out to take their bows to a standing ovation…bravo!

Afterwards, the dancers schmoozed with the excited audience and I was thrilled to accompany Toronto’s leading online influencer, MoVernie, introducing him to all the performers, starting with Kristina herself.20180209_211130 20180209_210855 20180209_185927 20180209_210817There are 2 more shows today, Saturday Feb 10th at 4pm and 7:30pm – so there’s still time to catch THE SHIVER SHOW. Info and tickets available at:  or call 1-888-407-4520

Thank you for supporting Canadian talent…and if you’re looking for the perfect entertainment for your corporate event, festival or gala, please contact Kristina to see how she can customize a show just for you. You can reach her via the website.DSC_8046


Move over Elsa & Anna, there’s a new ice queen in town!

Meet CHANTAL FRY, Founder of Glisse on Ice and now Director/Producer and skating choreographer for the upcoming SHIVER SHOW (Feb 9 & 10) at the Glenn Gould Studio in downtown Toronto.ChantalThe Toronto-born professional figure skater and performance artist previously competed in North American and European championships – after completing four golds under Skate Canada, Chantal entered the performance world with Innovations on Ice. She then toured with Holiday on Ice in Europe, the Lido de Paris, and the Cirque du Miroir in great stand no hatIn 2000, she combined her creative side with eight years of classical ballet, jazz and dramatic arts training to create Glisse on Ice.  The skating troop toured France and later relocated to Canada where they enjoyed success on a plastic ice surface, performing with Cirque du Soleil and many of Canada’s most prestigious venues. Chantal now brings Glisse on Ice to the Shiver Show where the skaters will collaborate with performers from 7 styles of dance, as well as music, burlesque and circus artistry. A show definitely not to be missed!

I recently sat down with Chantal and asked her about her work with Shiver Show and Glisse on Ice……

You must be really excited to be a part of the Shiver Show, bringing your unique ice skating ballet to theatre audiences – what are you most looking forward to?   We are so very excited to be apart of this unique and ambitious project with Kristina and Anton. I created Glisse on Ice to bring the art of skating to places you least expect and so this is an absolute perfect setting for our shows.  We’re really enjoying the process of learning from and collaborating with dancers.DSC_8046Have you enjoyed collaborating with Kristina and Anton (pictured below), directing and choreographing your various segments?  Their dance talent is exceptional, flawless even. Figure skaters have so much to learn from dancers; their discipline and execution of movement. It’s an honour to work with them and truly identify not just the differences in our performance styles but also to experience the process.Kristina & AntonYou trained with outstanding coaches Debbie Wilkes and Tommy Litz when you were actively competing – how important is a good coach for inspiration and career aspirations?  A good coach is one who truly understands the emotion behind the athlete. When they are able to channel the specific aspect of their students’ talent everyone gains form the result. Training with Tommy in Lake Placid every summer for six years taught me the importance of daily work and preparation. He recognized my passion for performance and the arts and put me in the Saturday night shows for tourists visiting the Olympic village. It was there that I realized there was a whole exciting show skating world. Debbie Wilkes, herself an Olympic champion, agreed with Tommy and in between her segments as a skating commentator for CTV, she produced a skating show. While I was still in high school she trusted me to go on tour across Canada performing as the lead skater in a Christmas show. I was hooked for life from that moment on. A good coach sees the hidden potential and provides the platform to reach your dreams and goals.fry02 (1)Your Glisse on Ice shows have been presented around the world and in public and corporate venues. What, so far, has been the most exciting or challenging event you’ve performed?  The Shiver Show is so new and ambitious that I would say it equals the time Glisse on Ice was invited by the Cirque du Soleil to present our unique concept at their annual Holiday party in Montreal. We collaborated with the artistic directors of Cirque and provided an unexpected evening for their staff who have seen and dreamt it all! It was such a huge honour my legs quivered for days! The elaborate white tulle and crystal dress I designed for that event has been the reason for countless bookings in the event industry. But there are so many to choose from. The Lido de Paris was probably my most gratifying show and touring with Holiday on Ice in Europe gave me such a great perspective that I stayed in France doing shows for 8 years then went on to create Glisse on Ice in Marseille.

[I frequently run into Chantal and the Glisse on Ice exhibitions at special events shows, like this one – below]

What do you hope the Shiver Show audiences experience with your beautiful “ice dancing” segments?   We strive to capture the sheer essence of the feeling skating brings, yet completely out of context and far from a rink. We hope that audiences will be surprised and enchanted to see skaters twirling about on stage in the midst of beautiful dancers.  The contrast between dancers and skaters is fascinating, very different yet linked. The Shiver Show embodies all these elements. DSC_7859And if someone wants to book Glisse on Ice, how do they contact you?   Our weblink offers detailed background, lots of pictures and contact info:  and we’re also on Instagram @glisseonice so please follow us!  Our shows are perfect for corporate galas, weddings and festivals as we set/strike the ice rapidly to ensure great flow at events. The Glisse skaters are all wonderfully talented and have competed at a national level; they have also toured the world with Disney on Ice, Holiday on Ice and various other professional tours.  We have become the Glisse family, from the skaters to the all-female ice crew, costumes, sound, makeup…. and I am proud to be the appointed Glisse Maman!

You can come see Chantal and all the talented dance/skate artists in the SHIVER SHOW Friday evening Feb. 9th and Saturday Feb 10th. Details and tickets are available from:
Seniors discounts (20%) and Students can purchase tickets for 50% off for the Saturday matinee show.Shiver Show horizontal ePoster

dance 2


Next month, the SHIVER SHOW takes the stage at the Glenn Gould Studio in downtown Toronto (Feb 9 & 10) and I recently had the pleasure of chatting with the show’s Artistic Director and lead Choreographer ANTON AZANOV.

The handsome and talented  artist (pictured below) has a string of major accomplishments and brings all these to the Shiver Show along with co-producers Kristina Kulikova and Chantal Fry.180134_1818892201865_34434_nAnton, you’ve won multiple Latin and ballroom dance world championships – what was your most memorable win? Was it your first youth championship or the first one as an adult?  Definitely my most memorable accomplishment was winning the World Championship with my former partner in ten dance, which means across both the Latin & Ballroom dance programs.  This is something I had worked very hard towards my entire dance career and was blessed to 3You have dedicated much of your life (so far) to dance – long hours training and show rehearsals with lots of blood, sweat and tears! What have you had to sacrifice to reach the current point in your career?  Generally, I have no regrets in life as I am extremely happy with the direction my life has taken and I don’t think of anything as sacrifice.  A lot of the choices I made have brought me success but I am also thankful for those choices that did not, as they taught me many lessons for success in the future. We all sacrifice something, but when you have a goal, it doesn’t 4 danceWere you born in Russia and did you do your training there?  I was born in Siberia, Russia, and initially began my training there. After several early success both my parents and I understood that in order to further my dance career, I had to relocate to Moscow where all the major clubs and trainers were. So at age 11, I moved to Moscow where all the current world champions trained.

You’re choreographing the upcoming Shiver Show in Toronto – are you enjoying working with the wide variety of performers in such a show?  Yes, it’s a great pleasure to work with incredibly talented performers and other choreographers including professional tap dancer Adam who has performed and choreographed for many Broadway shows, Ukrainian national & Canadian National Ballet ballerina Julia, authentic flamenco choreographer and performer Sofi whose family has been dancing flamenco for generations, Blackpool Dance finalist Dora, Canadian Pole Dance judge Elisabeth and others.   I feel very excited to be able to choreograph the Ballroom & Latin sections of the show while incorporating other dance elements.DSC_8046Are you also performing in the Shiver Show and if so, please tell us what style of dance you will personally present?  I will be presenting Ballroom & Latin. But it will not be what you’re used to seeing in dance competitions; we want to show the public that Ballroom dancing can be combined with elements of other genres such as lyrical, acrobatic, jazz and much more.

Anton with Kristina Kulikova

Anton with Kristina Kulikova

You’re currently a trainer and coach at Toronto’s Dance Life studio – what do you enjoy most about working with young dancers and emerging artists? What advice do you enjoy most sharing with your students?  I enjoy sharing my knowledge with the younger generation and inspiring them to follow their dance dreams, like I had the ability to follow mine.  I try to serve as an example that anything is possible when you focus and are ready to work hard.  The best advice that I’ve received as a dancer and would like to pass on is simply…Dance and be happy!

When you take your final bow at the Shiver Show, will you be thinking of your next project and if so, what is that?  To be completely honest, currently my focus is on the show and to inspire the audience with what we have created.  A more long term plan is to ideally take the show on tour in 2018 and 2019 and be able to offer the cast a chance to further share their talent and passion with the world.  We are excited for what is to come after the show, as it’s also adaptable to non-theater spacing and can be performed at festivals, events, on movie sets & much more!

Anton likes to dance off the stage as well!

Anton likes to dance off the stage as well!

And….do you have a website people can visit to learn more about you and your work?  I’m a simple guy [smiles].  Anyone is free to contact me through Facebook- you can find me as Anton Azanov – and I’m always happy to help in any way I can.  My contact details are of course also on the Shiver Website.

You can come see Anton and all the dancers and figure skaters (yes, there’s even ice skating) in the SHIVER SHOW Friday evening Feb. 9th and Saturday Feb 10th (matinee + evening show). Details and tickets are available from:

Shiver Show horizontal ePoster

Barbara Suhodolčan 1


Thanks to my friend and local musical promoter, Katica Visic, I’ve been introduced to the talented young classical singer and flutist from Croatia, Barbara Suhodolčan. Barbara (pictured below) is making a special guest appearance this coming New Year’s Eve, performing at the Holy Trinity Croatian Catholic Church in Oakville for an audience of Croatian Canadians. Barbara will be sharing the entertainment bill with her father, Rajko, a much-loved singer/celebrity known to Croatians around the world.   barbara s 2The multi-award winning, classically trained young singer made her debut in 2010 with the Croatian National Theatre in Varaždin as Hanna in Franz Lehar’s operetta The Merry Widow, and has performed as a guest soloist with many Croatian and international orchestras including the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, Tambura orchestra and Symphonic orchestra of HRT (Croatian Radio Television), Varaždin chamber orchestra, Croatian Military Symphonic Wind Orchestra, Nova Philharmonic Orchestra (Slovenia), Symphony Orchestra of Ravensburg (Germany), and Suzhou Symphony Orchestra (China). Barbara has appeared in concert at many international music festivals both as vocal soloist and as an accomplished  flutist, an instrument on which she excels.

In costume, as part of renowned renaissance ensemble 'Marco Polo' from Zagreb

In costume, as part of renowned renaissance ensemble ‘Marco Polo’ from Zagreb

Thanks again to Katica, I was able to conduct a brief online interview with the beautiful and talented artist, asking her questions about her career to date, her inspirations and aspirations for continued success. I will be sitting down for a video chat with Barbara and possibly her dad, too, just before the New Year’s concert.

Here is what Barbara shared with me….

You play flute as well as sing – can tell us a little about your music training?   My first contact with music was singing, it all started in children’s choir and music TV shows for kids. At the age of 8, I started my musical education as a flutist. Later, I continued with both singing and flute in high school, and then at the Zagreb Academy of Music where I got my Master’s Degree in opera last year.

What was your first professional performance and how excited were you to take the stage?  First professional performance was at age 16 when I made my debut in Croatian National Theatre as “Hanna” in Lehar’s operetta The Merry Widow. I have to say that I got rid of stage fright long before that, because my dad encouraged me to do a lot of solo concerts and public appearances. He said it’s the only way to fight stage fright, and he was right. I was really excited on the day of the operetta’s premiere, I couldn’t sleep for a few days before and I couldn’t wait to perform on the stage! It all went pretty well; I was happy and overwhelmed the days after it!23472158_773097032875327_1211366736741281643_nYour father, Rajko, is a well-respected music professional – how has he influenced your career and future aspirations?   It’s all his fault! [laughs] I don’t know if I would ever be a professional musician if it wasn’t for him, and now I wouldn’t change it for the world! I think I’m blessed to be able to have such a wonderful job. My father taught me about all the cruelties and beauties this “music world” can bring. Although we’re not in the same music genre, he really knows a lot and was always very supportive and open minded about my ideas and aspirations.

Are there any classical (or other) music performers who have inspired you?  There are so many. I don’t want to name them individually, because my “inspirations” changed over the years of my musical development and personal maturation. In fact, I find inspiration everywhere. Sometimes those who are not classical musicians have inspired me to do some things in classical music, and visa versa. I think one should be open to music of all genres.

 Are you looking forward to performing for a Canadian audience on New Year’s Eve? And is this your first visit to North America?   I can’t describe to you how excited and honored I feel to be singing for this special Canadian Croatian audience, bringing them a little piece of their homeland to Ontario. It’s going to be my first time visiting North America and Toronto – I know it’s going be great and I can’t wait.
36630850410_8dfc3daa1e_bTo date, what has been your most exciting (or surprising) performance around the world, and why?  It’s really hard for me to single out just one, but If I have to choose the most exciting one, that would definitely be this summer in China. I performed several concerts there, and what made it so special is the fact I was singing Mandarin songs in the Mandarin language, so it was quite an experience!

Are you planning any recordings in the near future that your fans around the world can purchase?  Actually I do. I haven’t recorded any albums yet but I have a few projects planned for 2018 and if everything goes well, at the end of the year I should have not just one, but two albums. I’m really looking forward to that.23472222_773095142875516_7660755816930456776_nWhat’s next for you – any big performances with symphony orchestras or other collaborations?  I have a big solo concert on January 26th that I’m currently working on with the Croatian Armed Forces Symphony Orchestra, and collaborating with other artists in two shows with the same orchestra earlier that same month. I also have a number of recitals planned, accompanied by an organist. But the big concert on January 26 will be something that hasn’t been presented to Croatian audiences before – a concert of greatest opera, operetta and musical numbers, jazz and pop songs. As I’ll be singing all of the numbers, we are practicing really hard now as we want it to be a spectacle.

You can follow Barbara on Instagram:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Barbara, and just to tease Canadian audiences a little bit, here’s a music video from a recent recital:

For details & tickets to the NYE gala concert in Oakville, Ontario….

Svecani docek Nove 2018. godine
(Croatian New Year’s celebration)
Holy Trinity Croatian Catholic Church
2110 Trafalgar Road, Oakville, ONDoors open @ 6pm
Gourmet dinner, midnight buffet, bottle of champagne on each table
Tickets: $120 
For info & tkts, please contact: Leo 905-602-9178, Stjepan 416-436-1215 or Ivan 905-308-8038



I spent a second day surrounded by beautiful artwork, this time at URBAN GALLERY (400 Queen st East, Toronto) where accomplished painter DONNA WISE (pictured below) launched her solo show, FLIGHTS OF FANCY, which runs until Dec. 30th, 2017.  20171202_135335Amid the excitement of the launch, Donna shared with me the fact that a local (and very gracious) fashion designer, Annie Thompson, reached out to her with an offer to outfit her for the launch today so here’s Donna wearing one of Annie’s outfits also called “Flight of Fancy” which perfectly matches her paintings and style ( Here’s Donna describing her show and talking about her inspirations….

Here are a few of the pieces gracing the gallery walls…20171129_134921 20171129_135028 20171129_134821 20171129_13494320171129_135014 20171129_135039Fine arts blogger Mark Hasan of stopped by for an interview with the artist (below) then enjoyed viewing her work along with the crowd of friends and family who started filing in…20171202_142548 20171202_141704A friend and long-time collector of Donna’s (below L) put the first “red dot” of the day beside one of the stunning paintings, purchasing one of my personal favourites: this delicate image of what, to me, looks like a Japanese geisha. What do you think?20171202_142520Donna’s husband (below L) posed with another family friend in front of this giant pastel hued canvas…..
20171202_141618(0)…and here are more gallery guests enjoying Donna’s work and the fine catering courtesy of www.UrbanCatering.com20171202_140427 20171202_141647 20171202_140244 20171202_140253If you can’t make it down to the gallery in person, here’s a quick virtual trip around one section of the gallery…

Urban Gallery is located at 400 Queen St East, just E of Parliament, in Toronto. Visit the website for directions and gallery hours:  www.UrbanGallery.caUG-Logo-url



Over the past 35yrs, I’ve had the honour of attending concerts by (and even actually working with) some of the great music icons – Marvin Gaye, Mel Torme, Rod Stewart, Yanni, 60’s legends Connie Francis & Paul Anka, country stars Reba McEntire, Vince Gill and Clint Black…even my teenage super-crush, The Monkees. This past Saturday night, thanks to an invitation from Grammy-nominated and int’l multiple award-winning Canadian flutist & composer, Ron Korb, I was front and centre for a rare concert by LIONA BOYD, songwriter and classical guitarist extraordinaire! 20171125_214912…and she was in fine form! Here’s Liona with her protege, singer & guitarist Andrew Dolson (above centre) and Ron Korb (right).
Held in the spectacular St. Paul’s Trinity concert hall (below), the Mississauga Children’s Choir opened the show with some beautiful festive songs. Liona is a patron of the choir and it was a lovely start to the night.20171125_18544620171125_193110Sadly, we were instructed not to take any photos during the show, but the 2 sets included some of Ms. Boyd’s greatest hits from previous albums including her Christmas album, A Winter Fantasy, as well as music from her most recent release, No Remedy for Love.winter No+Remedy+for+Love+ALBUM+coverShe was accompanied by Ron on several numbers; he also performed solos from his previous albums. Ron Korb is one of Canada’s pre-eminent recording artists and composers who travels the world playing with some of the greatest symphony orchestras, performing for royalty and international heads of state. To learn more about Ron and hear his music, please visit his website:

As soon as the concert finished and the artists took their bows, the audience was permitted a photo session which, being in the front row, allowed me close-up access to Ms. Boyd and her fellow musicians. Bravo! This was followed by an autograph session where CDs and books were available for sale (great Christmas pressies for music lovers)…20171125_220328 20171125_220534 20171125_220715Earlier this fall, I reviewed Ms. Boyd’s latest memoir, also titled No Remedy for Love, for The Rider newspaper and below is an extract. A great read with lots of juicy stories about Liona’s exciting life on stage and her personal tragedies and triumphs off stage. I definitely recommend the book…not just for music lovers or fans, it is a fabulous story that takes us inside the world of showbiz.

A memoir by Liona Boyd
Dundurn Press (248 pages) $35.00 hardcover
She released her first memoir, In My Own Key, in 1998 which thrilled fans and became a bestseller; now Canada’s classical guitar icon, LIONA BOYD, strikes all the right chords once again with her recently published 2nd memoir, No Remedy for Love. The “First Lady of the Guitar” shares her loves, both romantic and musical, and offers great insight into the heart and mind of a consummate artist. She has performed around the world, sold millions of albums, won five Juno awards, serenaded heads of state and, for eight years, dated Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
We follow the journey of Boyd’s reinvention of her career after a six year period when she couldn’t play guitar due to suffering with the painful Musician’s Focal Dystonia, and we feel her pain when she suffers a serious fall and is alone, screaming for help that she thinks will never come, and are intrigued by her stories of longtime pen-pal Prince Phillip, a friendship that has lasted over 30 years. Her anecdotes are peppered with the names of close personal celebrity friends without any pretension, and the book features charming photos of Liona with Gordon Lightfoot, Ronnie Hawkins, Julio Iglesias, Leonard Cohen, Dan Hill and Pierre Trudeau. At the back of the book, you’ll find selected lyrics to many of Liona’s songs as well as album titles and song listings of her most recent recordings. The perfect gift for the music lover and proud Canadian on your Christmas list!9781459739925 (1)To learn more about Liona Boyd, her tour schedule and music/book sales, please visit:



Thanks to an invitation from event Founder SALIM MOORANI, I attended THE GEM EXPO at the Hyatt Hotel on King St West this afternoon and I was in sparkle heaven! All the vendors in the showroom proudly displayed their gemstones, jewellery designs, pearls, amber, even ancient fossils and meteorites as well as large geodes and crystal “forests”.  I recommend you hurry on down tomorrow (Sunday Nov.12) and check out the stunning, glittery treasures yourself. Here’s Salim to tell you all about it himself….

The Gem Expo is a showcase for designers as well as suppliers of precious and semi-precious stones, silver or gold settings for those who create their own designs. I was astounded by the range of stones available and that several of the exhibitors had traveled from half-way around the world. There are 3 such shows each year and the next one is in March so if you miss this one, definitely come out to the next show. Here is just a small sample of what I saw (and added to my Santa wish-list!)… 20171111_120245 20171111_120941_001Look what I found at Crystal Palace ( – below. All sorts of yummy amethyst chunks as well as some fossils and bigger geodes. And they were presenting jewellery-making classes behind the booth.20171111_12152420171111_121228I then visited Fossils Plus (below) showcasing cool treasures from millions of years ago, including giant sharks’ teeth!20171111_12071820171111_120727Kelly from Sacred Gemstone proudly showed off her supply of beautifully tumbled stones as well as her ready-to-wear designs (below). I love the vibrant blue of the lapis lazuli, one of my all-time favourite stones that originates in Afghanistan. 20171111_121600 20171111_121619 20171111_121631 20171111_121703And now here’s Anna from AmberLink, who designs beautiful rich amber pieces with silver. Just check out that gorgeous necklace she’s wearing…wow! She also offers amber-lovers some vintage pieces that date back to pre-WWII…you can see the different quality and type of amber used back then (3rd pic, below)  www.amberlink.com20171111_12191520171111_12175920171111_121947And here’s some more lapis lazuli for me, plus some pretty in pink stones that make me think of bacon (I don’t know why…LOL)20171111_12272920171111_122824

20171111_122746I was pleasantly surprised to find a Bali-based jeweller showcasing her designs at the show.  Shankari incorporates fine gems, pearls, gold and silver into pieces designed for soul enrichment as well as fashion statement pieces – pendants, earrings, bracelets and cuffs – I was enchanted.  Based in Bali, Indonesia, this is the first time these designs have been showcased in Canada but you can order online here: www.shankari.com20171111_123529 20171111_123538 really knows how to stop a girl in her tracks! I took one look at these stunning South Seas pearls and I was in love. Manager Pascal told me about the sources for each type of pearl (I’ve always been partial to the black Tahitian ones) and quality levels. Just look at these lush baubles (below) and you can even pick your own pearls and have their on-site jeweller set them in one of their gold or silver settings (bottom pic)20171111_12431620171111_12433320171111_124537Gemologist Amanda Hamilton of Earthy Girl Designs had a wonderful array of necklaces, pendants, bracelets, earrings as well as a great selection of Arizona turquoise, something I really like myself.  She doesn’t have a website but do watch for her at gem shows – she’ll be back for the March Gem Expo.20171111_12473120171111_12485720171111_124908Now here’s something I did not know….Ethiopia has been producing some of the world’s finest opals, rivaling the beauty of Australian opals (I’m an Aussie so I have to stay faithfull). Suzanne and Francois of Opalex from Quebec shared their knowledge of these new African opals, many of which have a rich golden firey colour. I really liked the unique strands of opal beads (bottom pic) – they were “delicious”! They don’t have a website either but watch for Opalex and the next Gem Expo.20171111_125359 20171111_125355 20171111_125240Dara Jane Loomis of Dara Jane Jewellery (Montreal) introduced me to some great statement pieces, including the bright green peridot necklaces (pics 2 & 3). I really liked the one with tiny tiger eye stones (3rd pic) and I’ve added that one to my Santa list (I’ve been a really good girl this year and I deserve it!) Looks like I started a small crush of shoppers with all my oo’ing and aah’ing! You can order your fave piece online at www.darajanejewellery.com20171111_125923 20171111_130007 20171111_130024 20171111_130445Sonatona supplies great gemstones to designers and they certainly brought their A game to Gem Expo! Just look at this selection…wow! You can purchase via their eBay online store: 

20171111_13061320171111_13061720171111_130622Meet Shelley Sullivan of  who I found busy working on another piece. Shelly is a “wire artist” (not high wire, tho…LOL) – see her delicate pendants below. Definitely a great Christmas present for that friend who loves fab jewellery.20171111_130736(0) 20171111_130743 20171111_130817Now here’s something unexpected…hey all you rock-n-rollers, do I have a cool mascot for your band! Vicki of Inner Circle showcased her awesome skull carvings in various stones. If you can’t make it out to the show, she’s having an open house at her Toronto studio on Dec. 3rd so check out her website for details: www.shopinnercircle.ca20171111_131120 20171111_131102Vicki also presented a number of sparkly amethyst geodes….OMG, I want one of those, too!20171111_131236Straight out of BC, here are the very unique “crystal forests” dug from the earth and presented in their raw form as well as hand-crafted in jewellery pieces.  Check out for more info20171111_131402 20171111_131445More sights from The GemExpo….20171111_130830 20171111_12250420171111_131642Salim told me about the show’s commitment to supporting local charities and this year, Feed it Forward, offering nutritious meals to the city’s homeless, will benefit from the silent auction which is located at the entrance to the showroom. All sorts of lovely jewellery is on offer (see a small selection below) so please check it out and place a bid. www.feeditforward.ca20171111_133348For more information about this show and upcoming 2018 shows visit and I encourage you to drop in say hello to Salim at his brand new store, Hamsa Heaven, located at 1600 Gerrard St East. Tell him Glenda sent you!  You can also purchase your gemstones at his other store, www.BlueSapphireBeads.com20171111_182130

Thank you to all the vendors who welcomed me to their booths!