Category Archives: Sports

Photo Credit: Shane Kuhn

YEE-HAAAW! TORONTO JOURNALISTS COWBOY-UP TO LAUNCH THE CALGARY STAMPEDE’S 2016 MEDIA CAMPAIGN

Last night I had an absolute blast with the folks from the CALGARY STAMPEDE and their local PR reps, Immedia PR at the Boots & Bourbon Saloon on Queen St East. All us city-slicker media types had a hoot’n’hollering good time pressing the flesh with all the cowboys, rodeo queens, the beautiful and charming Indian Princess and marketing representatives of the “greatest show on earth” taking place out west this July. 20160428_174224So nice to be greeted at the front door by such pretty cowgirls (above) who were all well-versed in the history of Canada’s premiere outdoor western festival. I brought along my singer/songwriter friend Laura Rock (www.lrockmusic.com) who immediately became a fan of country music!!20160428_180430The drinks and food were simply outstanding! The catering was handled by Good Son Restaurant as well as Boots & Bourbon’s own team, and the mouthwatering BBQ treats would satisfy even the most jaded old trail hand. They were all served by the cutest waitresses and bartenders. Ladies, you looked after us so well, thank you, and the massive buffalo cheesy balls (2nd pic) were incredible….yummmmmm20160428_183007 20160428_180159(0) 20160428_180007Lots of great photo opps with all the Stampede celebs and mgmn’t….here I’m flanked by (LtoR) bullrider Kynan Vine plus dancer, language keeper, traditional storyteller and cultural presenter Treffrey Deerfoot and chuck wagoneer extraordinaire Mark Sutherland.20160428_181118I participated in the event social media challenge, hashtagging all my Instagram pics and videos…whew, that was exhausting, but I was thrilled to see Likes and Follows from as far away as Texas, Florida, California and even Mexico!20160428_175935I was particularly excited to see that a Ft. Worth boot designer liked this pic I snapped of our lovely Indian Princess’s stunning hand-tooled boots…what do you think of them?20160428_194116Even shots of the Boots & Bourbon interior garnered lots of social media attention…20160428_17452220160428_183032We were all a little nervous about seeing the mechanical bull set up…no, don’t make me get on. I wouldn’t last 2 seconds let alone 8, especially after a couple of drinks…yikes!  Fortunately it disappeared before the intro’s and official announcements were made. Whew!20160428_182933Everyone was excited to hear the entertainment line-up at this year’s Stampede, especially these folks from Budweiser who were particularly impressed with the announcement of Aaron Pritchett as one of the musical guests.20160428_192212 20160428_192446The entertainment was provided by The Washboard Union band who had everyone up on the dancefloor…20160428_193319

I followed (stalked?) sponsor Jonathan Welsh of Banff Trail Riders through the crowd….great jacket!20160428_193449I then ran into one of my fave reality TV hosts Kevin Brauch (formerly The Thirsty Traveller, from back when reality tv really was fun and entertaining!). Kevin (below) had received his souvenir white Stetson earlier and had spent time “decorating” it for the event….LOL20160428_184853 20160428_185433…and I loved all the cowgirl fashion. When I was little, all I wanted to be when I grew up was a cowgirl. These ladies are lucky to be living MY life…grrrrr20160428_182257 20160428_182304After all the western fun, food and friendship, Laura and I rode the rails (subway rails, that is) home. I’m sure we scared a few fellow riders with our antics. LOL!!

20160428_200842 20160428_200915And when I walked in my front door I just had to share my adventure with my own western compadres….20160428_202336 20160428_202422Check out some of the goodies in my gift bag…20160428_202642Thank you to EVERYONE involved in presenting such a fun media launch. If you’ve never been to the Calgary Stampede before, this is the year to go. All details can be found at www.CalgaryStampede.com and please visit their sponsor sites, too.

Banff trail Riders  www.horseback.com

Alberta’s group of Fairmont Hotels:  www.Fairmont.com 

Boots & Bourbon Saloon: www.bootsbourbon.com

The Washboard Union band: www.thewashboardunion.com/

Jelly Modern Donuts:  www.jellymoderndoughnuts.com

Immedia PR: www.immediapr.com

Blog title photo courtesy of Shane Kuhn

Photo Credit: Shane Kuhn

Photo Credit: Shane Kuhn

Photo Credit: Chris Bolin/ Calgary Stampede

Photo Credit: Chris Bolin/ Calgary Stampede

Photo Credit: Bill Marsh

Photo Credit: Bill Marsh

GWN-Challenge-Presented-by-CIBC-2014

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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I GOT MY GIDDY-UP GOING & WENT TO CAN-AM HORSE EXPO!

A beautiful, sunny Good Friday dawned early as I headed up to the Markham Fairgrounds north of Toronto to hang with all the horsies, courtesy of publisher Barry Finn (pictured below) of The Rider newspaper and Barnmice.com. The annual Can-Am Equine Expo features stars from the horse world such as horse-whisperer Guy McLean (my Aussie mate) and his four-legged friends, Amber Marshall, star of Canada’s most successful teen/young adult TV series Heartland  and the Encore Trick Riders along with leading clinicians and champion equestrians.

20150403_112349 20150403_111611 20150403_111036Needless to say, one has to start the day off with a fully tummy so I grabbed a bacon, egg & cheese sandwich from the friendly folks in the show cafe (below).

20150403_100158I started off walking thru the various vendor barns and met up with old friends from The Edge (below) http://theedgeup.ca/index.html a super blue-green algae supplement that promotes wellness & nutrition.

20150403_102359 20150403_102407Also ran into Sarah Bohan from KOOL Designs who makes fashionable & functional totes, purses, wallets (pictured below) from recycled animal feed bags. http://on.fb.me/1FrKTDD

20150403_103739 20150403_103806 20150403_103812I hit the Dirt Road Denim store pretty darn quick for western fashions and bling…boy those cowgirls know their sparklies!  http://www.dirtroaddenim.com/

20150403_100236 20150403_100659I was suddenly blinded by the Bling It Girls booth (below) with lots of shiny conchos, earrings, belts & buckles. Annie Oakley would be proud! http://blingitgirls.com/

20150403_101626 20150403_101639 20150403_101643Wanna get your boots buffed? Best place is the Leather Better crew who did such a great job, I was tempted to ship them ALL my boots and shoes.

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The ladies “manning” the booth at Equine Guelph (www.EquineGuelph.ca) were happy to pose for a few snaps, especially as they have a new horse health tracker App to promote to all horse owners. And if you see a horse in distress or being abused, they encourage you to call the OSPCA hotline: 310-SPCA or report online at www.ontariospca.ca

20150403_100759 20150403_100902The Ontario Equine Federation (below) was well represented, too, and they gave away copies of their wonderful magazine, Whoa!  https://horse.on.ca/

20150403_101316 20150403_101322We all love farmers, right? Without them, we wouldn’t eat and neither would our wee beastie companions. Check out the Ontario Federation of Agriculture website and support Ontario farm families.  http://ofa.on.ca/

20150403_101433Speaking of good works, the ladies from the Cdn Breast Cancer Foundation handed out Easter treats to the crowds coming thru the entrance, along with information.

20150403_101832 20150403_101843Did you know Cavalia is bringing back its stunning Odysseo show to Toronto? I’ll be covering media day events next Tuesday so you can read more on my blog next week. http://www.cavalia.net/en/odysseo

20150403_102016I met the lovely lady from the Horse Country Campground, a 5,000 acre wilderness property in the Ottawa Valley that offers riding vacations, camping and trail rides. She told me all about the tons of choices and great family-friendly prices so check their website for all the horsey things you and your family can enjoy there. www.horsecountrycampground.com

20150403_102612I then met my new BFFs, Deb and Danielle (below) from Pony Express Girls, Canada’s only equine-themed subscription service that delivers a box of hand picked premium products for you & your pony every month. You can spoil your horse with items from the best grooming products to gourmet treats plus goodies for humans, too!  http://www.ponyexpressgirls.ca/

20150403_102901 20150403_102908 20150403_103453The PEGs were kind enough to give me one of their sample boxes which included a great grooming brush, a pair of horsey socks (cashmere ones, too!), a big pack of apple treats that I passed on to a young friend who had just acquired a new pony (and she squealed with delight saying her new stable mate just loves apples), also there was a pretty silver purse charm, a fabulous avocado-based hand lotion “for barn hands” (it worked immediately on my dry winter elbows) plus a stunning, silky dark blue scarf decorated with cute red foxes. Thank you, D&D.

20150403_102441 20150403_102454The Country Girl Canada booth was hosted by the cutest young ladies (below) who were so enthusiastic about their fashions and accessories.  http://on.fb.me/1GT3n1C  Don’t ya just love ’em?

20150403_104032 20150403_104048As many of you know, I’m a big supporter of local artists but this one really amazed me – horse painters. Yes, actual horses painting on board and canvas. Wow!

20150403_104505 20150403_104617_001 20150403_104515Winsong Farm hosted a whole herd of painters and I found one horse, Kai, in the barn hard at work painting another masterpiece (below)  www.winsongfarm.com

20150403_110755 20150403_110841 20150403_110808RODEO! Yeehaaa….I love rodeo and I used to do promotions with the Ontario Rodeo Assoc. back in the 90’s. Great to reconnect and say howdy. www.ORArodeo.com

20150403_104957 20150403_105011The talented sculptor, Ann Clifford, displayed many of her beautifully cast “trophy” pieces and well as showcasing illustrations of her large format corporate and commissioned pieces (below)  www.acliffordsculpture.com

20150403_105818If you enjoy the sport of kings, here’s Racing Under Saddle Ontario – below. Check the website for races near you  www.rusontario.com

20150403_105924 20150403_105931Now into the barns and main show ring to watch Guy McLean, horse whisperer extraordinaire! probably the most popular special guest at the show; as I walked around the ring, I heard all sorts of ooo’s, aaah’s and complimentary comments from the audience. Nice to know my Aussie mate’s horsemanship is so well received and appreciated. He’s a great ambassador for horses and DownUnder  http://www.guymcleanusatour.com/

20150403_111249 20150403_111611 20150403_120211 20150403_120301Check out some of the breeds showcased today…gorgeous horses…I so want one but I doubt I could pee-pad train a Clydesdale for my downtown apartment, eh? LOL. First, here’s a miniature horse going thru his paces, and a Clydesdale called Spencer who was so gentle and sweet.

20150403_112745 20150403_113251 20150403_113320Then the Icelandic horses…wish I had their hair! www.onicehorsefarm.ca

20150403_113359Then the Kiger mustang (below)  www.clearviewkigers.com

20150403_113640And a horse who possesses the best blonde mane in the barn, the Rocky Mountain Gaited Horse  http://www.bonnieviewfarms.ca/

20150403_113944 20150403_115556 20150403_115540So it was time to make my way back into the vendor barns to hang out with The Rider and promote the subscription show special ($25/yr) – anyone signing up during Can-Am is entered into a draw for 2 Gold tickets to Odysseo valued at $250 (wow!) or a bucket o’ books valued at around $150. If you go to the show, you MUST visit The Rider booth (#222) and subscribe – you could win! Here’s Barry with Kelley (top pic) and with realtor Michael Webb, who specializes in prestige rural property sales (www.michaelstuartwebb.com) – he had a special promo insert in this double issue of the newspaper. Then I snapped John (bottom photo) chatting to our friendly neighbour.

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20150403_102504What a fun and exhausting day, hangin’ with the horsey set. Thanks to John for being my taxi this morning, and to Barry for making sure I was safely deposited at the subway for my return trip back to the big city. And thanks to all the horses for welcoming me with whinnnies, neighs and snorts.

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The family-friendly show runs throughout the Easter weekend http://canamequine.com/

trapped2

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/

trapped3 unlock

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:

· 3,324,435 Likes
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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