Category Archives: Sports

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ROW, ROW, ROW YOUR DRAGON BOATS…AND HELP RAISE $S TO FIGHT BREAST CANCER!

21st Annual GWN Dragon Boat Challenge Presented by CIBC
Marilyn Bell Park, Toronto, Ontario
September 12-13, 2015

With all the hub-bub surrounding the opening weekend of the Toronto Int’l Film Festival, it’s easy to forget other things happening around the city. Jake Gyllenhaal is already causing hearts to flutter tonight at his film’s premiere, and we’re all hoping Bendy (Benedict Cumberbatch), George & Amal, Brangelina and Matt Damon will visit us, too. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that in 10 days time, the tents will all be packed up and the circus will have left town. But we’re still here and so is one of the most insidious diseases that affects so many of us: breast cancer.

So I’m sending a big SHOUT OUT to my new friends on the Dragons Abreast dragon boat crew, a team of breast cancer survivors who will be paddling for our lives when they participate in this weekend’s annual GWN Dragon Boat Challenge Presented by CIBC www.gwndragonboat.com down on Toronto’s waterfront.11202810_1651762988373332_2553160250793327470_n-300x169Along with 9 other dragon boats crewed by teams living with and surviving breast cancer, Dragons Abreast will be helping raise funds for The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation as well as raising public and media awareness. PrintDID YOU KNOW….One in nine Canadian women is expected to develop breast cancer during her lifetime and 1 in 29 will die from the disease. Since it’s beginning, the Foundation’s Ontario Region has awarded over $84 million in funding for nearly 600 grants, supporting research projects, fellowships and community health initiatives.  Funds raised through the GWN Dragon Boat Challenge Presented by CIBC will go towards breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care.thThis weekend’s events mark the 6th stop of the Major League Dragon Boat Series and the marquee season-ending festival in Canada for dragon boat enthusiasts. In its 21st year, the Challenge is the perfect festival for corporate and club crews wanting to have a last blast before the end of summer. headWhat began as the 9-1-1 Challenge (a race organized by the Toronto Police Services with a modest 5 teams made up of emergency services members) has transformed into an all-out festival infusing the thrill of the dragon boat racing with an outdoor family friendly event. Participation in the annual event has blossomed through its charitable donations, with over $1.25M donated to non-profit organizations such as the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, our 2015 charity-of-choice.

Today, the Challenge continues to celebrate the sport, attracting dragon boat teams to Toronto’s waterfront from all over North America and overseas. Teams range from novice to competitive skill level and represent local corporations and clubs, public agencies, non-profit organizations and the community at large.  In addition to the exciting racing, the festival features many fun activities: the Rock the Boat Concert Stage with live musical performances, the Lake of Bays Beer Garden, a children’s activity zone with live entertainment, a health and wellness area, plus a variety of food, arts & crafts, and other vendors.racingRACE LOCATION:  The GWN Dragon Boat Challenge Presented by CIBC is held on the Western Beaches Watercourse at Marilyn Bell Park in downtown Toronto.

To learn more about DRAGONS ABREAST, visit their website at www.dragonsabreast.catimthumb

You go, ladies. We’ll all be cheering you on!!

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OTTAWA’s CLAUSTROPHOBIA ESCAPE ROOM VENUE CELEBRATES GREAT OPENING WEEK

I’m excited to hear about the success of Claustrophobia’s launch week, covered by the Ottawa Citizen, KISS-FM radio hosts Carter & Sandra, and hundreds of social media and blog posts from the first players in the rooms.  Earlier this week, I spoke with Claustrophobia’s founder, Jennifer Schnare, and asked her about the game venue’s opening week and how business is growing.

Now that you’ve been open for 10 days, how has Ottawa accepted Claustrophobia?  It’s been an amazing response from the Ottawa community. Many people haven’t heard of real escape games and are just discovering it for the first time. They are falling in love with the concept, especially thanks to interviews with KISS-FM radio and the story in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper (photo of Jennifer below).

0313 escape room1.jpgHave people been spreading the word and bringing in teams of friends and family?  Yes! The word is definitely spreading in the community. People are telling their colleagues and their friends and thanks to sharing team photos and results via social media, more and more people are contacting me to ask about reservations.

SatMar21 47minslabDid you have many March break teams in?  Yes, I had quite a few families come through during March break as they found new activities to do with their ‘tweens and teens. The kids would sometimes solve the complex puzzles before their parents…we even had a mum-to-be play. Maybe her baby picked up some “escape clues” that will help on his/her actual birth day!! LOL

Sat team 1What has been the fastest escape time so far and which room?  The fastest escape time has been 40 minutes from the Hostel themed room…and without asking for any clues! The team was a group of four individuals (pictured below) who had some previous experience with escape rooms.

40 min teamWhat sort of feedback are you receiving?  People are having a lot of fun; there is amazement at some of the puzzles and clues, and many people walk out of the rooms after their 60 minutes game-play are up thinking “if only I had tried that…”

Some of the great feedback from players can be found on social media, including these:

Had an awesome time tonight! Thank you, Jennifer.  Jana K.

Awesome puzzles & great overall game. Finished the Lab, can’t wait to give the Hostel room a go.  Anthony R.

Super fun experience! Totally worth checking out.  Stephanie W.

Jennifer is now preparing a special promotion where players can make suggestions for the theme of the new 3rd room and win free gaming sessions. Make sure you follow Claustrophobia on Facebook and Twitter (linked on website).   Why not try escaping from one of Claustrophobia’s rooms yourself. Visit the website and book a session now. http://claustrophobiagame.ca/

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CRICKET-WC-2015-RSA-SRI

FAREWELL TO THE KING…OF CRICKET!

I’m heartbroken….my sports hero has retired from international tournaments and I doubt I will get the chance to ever see him play in person.  Kumar Sangakkara, the legendary Sri Lankan wicket-keeper and batsman has become one of the greatest ambassadors of cricket, a sport most North Americans don’t understand or sadly don’t even care about. So please consider this fan-girl blog a quickee intro to Cricket and to one of its most exciting players ever to take the field.

000_DV1762576Cricket is a team sport played in countries that were once part of the British Commonwealth including Australia, South Africa, the West Indies, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, India…and Sri Lanka, and it’s faster than baseball. And as a female fan with a healthy respect for sports machismo, it has some of the sexiest and handsome players – you can actually see what they look like which makes watching them run, catch, bat and bend over so much more enjoyable, especially watching Sanga on TV!!!

thCAX132AZ 2014 SangaKS4But regardless of my hormonal reactions to the man (!), Sangakkara has brought a new level of skill, passion and commitment to the game and he has become a role model for millions of young men and women around the world who play & love cricket. He’s been the ultimate team player for his country’s national team, as well as his regular season team(s) – I remember watching him play for Sunrisers Hyderabad (part of the Indian Premier League, or IPL) a couple of season’s ago, where he played with such determination and flair. (below)

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This month, during the ICC World Cup of Cricket tournament played in Australia and New Zealand, I’ve watched Sanga play the matches of his life batting 4 back-to-back centuries (100 runs) and taking countless wickets against opposing teams, setting both batting and wicket-keeping records. The quarter-final game between Sri Lanka and South Africa was expected to result in more glory for the SL team and Sanga, but the fates dealt a cruel blow and the Sri Lankans couldn’t get their gears in motion – they went down ingloriously to the underdog Proteas team (SA). But the South African players, the crowds in the stands, the media and his teammates cheered as Sanga and his best mate and fellow SL player, Mahela Jayawardene, who also chose the World Cup to retire from competitive cricket, left the field.

10996384_10153110462542114_2136538099059404616_n18TH_SANGAKKARA_2345174f10659414_10153110437882114_4730005518579715330_nI watched the match live on the internet then again on TV when the highlights were played back late last night.  I can’t imagine watching cricket now without seeing my Sanga, but he took to social media to share his feelings and thank the fans:

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Hi Everyone – I just wanted to say thank you for all your messages of support during the World Cup. We are all disappointed with the loss to South Africa. We played poorly and South Africa were deserved winners. Strange to wake-up this morning as a former ODI cricketer, but it’s been a great honour and privilege playing for Sri Lanka during the past 15 years. At the end of the day, I am very fortunate to have enjoyed a long career playing with and against some great players. Thanks for all the encouragement and support over the years. Cheers, Sanga
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590_Del6232270Having retired from the T20 International tournaments after Sri Lanka’s exciting WT20 win last year, Sangakkara is expected to play his final Test series against India in August, after which he will retire from all forms of international cricket. So we’ll have just one more brief opportunity to see Kumar in action, and although he encourages his fans to look to the future and not dwell on his departure, I know we all feel the same: farewell to the King…long live the King!

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