Tag Archives: corporate events

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TORONTO’S URBANSOURCE CATERING CELEBRATES 32YR ANNIVERSARY TODAY!

I’d like to offer a very special shout-out to my friends Wayne Abell and Calvin Hambrook who, as UrbanSource Catering, have fed-n-watered Toronto’s corporate and private sectors for 32 years….yes, today is their anniversary and I’m thrilled to present them with this virtual celebration!

Starting off on Yonge Street (south of Eglinton), Wayne and Calvin (pictured below L to R) opened their first store in 1985 offering prepared foods, lattes and lots of catering advice.Crazy Owners Opening DayThey soon outgrew their quaint shop housed in a terrace of historical buildings, and based on customer demands, they changed the business model from a retail store-come caterers to a full service catering company. The catering biz grew fast so they moved to their current location on Queen Street East which houses a large commercial kitchen and a suite of offices. Several years ago, the space next door became vacant so Calvin and Wayne took that over and launched Urban Gallery, a non-commission independent art gallery that also serves as a great event space for rent. Needless to say, they cater ALL the events in the gallery.20161216_184023 20160930_181245 20140918_175000Apart from their corporate events, private parties and spectacular wedding soirees, UrbanSource Catering has supported many of Toronto’s philanthropic causes, catering fundraisers, media launches and special events, eg: United Church’s Heart & Vision Awards, Fife House, PRIDE Toronto, plus the annual InsideOut Film Festival.

Bravo and congratulations to Calvin, Wayne and the staff of UrbanSource Catering – you continually deliver the best, on time and on budget!Calvin, Wayne and the URBAN SOURCE CATERING Crew

www.urbancatering.comC

 

70 DOWN RESTO-LOUNGE BRINGS AFGHANI-FUSION CUISINE TO YORKVILLE (TORONTO)

When I learned about the exciting, exotic and super-tasty menu on offer at the 70 Down restaurant/lounge in Yorkville, I couldn’t wait to go try for myself. Previously a late night lounge, the venue, located at 70 Yorkville Avenue, just W of Bay St, was recently transformed by owners (and brothers) Alex and Wali Seddiqi, who brought in two experienced chefs to completely renovate the kitchen and menu to showcase their family’s heritage dishes – Afghani classics with a twist of Greek and Mediterranean. www.70down.ca6_large[jPD6]Wanting to push beyond the conventional ethnic restaurants they encountered in Canada, the Seddiqi brothers created 70 Down as a hub for patrons of diverse cultures to feel comfortable and at home.

My brother and I had this great idea of one day opening a fine dining modernized Afghani cuisine restaurant, Alex recently told me. We were inspired by the great history of our country and noticed there was nothing like it in Toronto; the demand and opportunity was there as the city is known for its diverse and multicultural community.5_large[MLPr]This unique approach to food, ambiance and art/decor all contribute to creating a sense of modernism while retaining the essence of the Eastern/Afghani heritage the brothers brought with them to Canada. Appreciating the growing movement of healthy lifestyles and sustainability, 70 Down consciously integrates local and organic food into the menu.7_large[LAdc]

As Alex goes on to explain: We are totally blessed to have a fusion between two totally different types of chefs. Chef Hamayuun has been in the industry for more than 25 years and highly experienced in the culinary field specializing in traditional authentic Afghani food. Chef Sebouh is a highly skilled Armenian chef specializing in Greek cuisine. So we get to blend old school and modern style cuisine for our diners.

There’s a stunning patio fronting onto Yorkville Avenue providing great people-watching opps, but discreetly sunken slightly below street-level so that you’re not bombarded with traffic noise and exhaust from passing cars. It’s truly a perfect oasis of calm and serenity for sharing cocktails and nibblies with friends…or that special hot date!20160421_190627On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, 70 Down presents live entertainment courtesy of some of the city’s most exciting jazz, soul/R&B and Latin singers and musicians. Starting at 7:30pm each  night, the shows run until approx. 10pm and there’s never a cover charge!  20160422_200223The servers and bar staff (below) are friendly and eager to please, and able to make recommendations for your appetizer and entree choices (I always recommend the hummus…the best I’ve had in years!)20160422_202742The late night club life returns to 70 Down Thurs. through Sat. nights when the venue turns into a hot dance cave and hangout where the millennials blow off steam from their heavy work week. 70 Down offers VIP table & bottle service with special packages available for groups – details can be found on the website. 4_large[60H4]70 Down is ideal for private functions, corporate events (they can host up to 160 for cocktail receptions) and celebratory soirees. Send your enquiries to info@70down.ca or call 416-323-369670DownYorkville_Logo-2

www.70down.ca

MEET ADAM GRAEME – CANADA’S COOLEST COMEDY HYPNOTIST!

I recently welcomed new client ADAM GRAEME – he’s a very talented comedy hypnotist who offers that special bonus for corporate clients and family-friendly events: he works clean! No naughty nasties here – Adam creates laughter from the reactions of both the on-stage participants and those sitting out the the audience without resorting to the all-too-familiar vulgarities or f-bombs!  I recently sat down with Adam to review his career so far and the direction he’s looking to take his stage act over the next few years.  Let me share some of his comments with you and I encourage you to follow him on social media as well as visit his website for more information – contact info can be found at the bottom of this story.Adam, how/when did you discover your “gift”?
The ability to be able to hypnotize someone is not so much a gift as it is countless hours of study and practice. I have been studying in one form or another for over 15 years and continue to learn more with every day and with every performance.
What inspired you to take hypnosis to the comedy stage and corporate arena?
Comedy has always been a big part of my life.  From a very young age, I fell in love with comedy by watching comedy icons like Martin Short, Dan Aykroyd, Steve Martin and Robin Williams. I admire talented comedians who relied solely on their wit instead of crude shock comedy. I believe hypnosis to be an overlooked phenomena that has the potential to change the world and what better way to bring about awareness than through making people laugh!? So armed with the desire to bring back honest and palatable comedy plus an obligation to inform the public about the powers of hypnosis, I took to the stage.Who are your heroes as far as comedy hypnotists, illusionists or comedians?
This is a tough question as so many entertainers have had such a positive influence on my career.  My favorite comedy hypnotist I would say is a tie between Marc Savard and Catherine Hickland. Marc is a Canadian who has the longest standing hypnosis show in Las Vegas and keeps his comedy at a very high standard. Catherine is one of my mentors and such a dear friend. How will you know when you have met Cat? Because you will find yourself asking, “Who is that person and why is she carrying a chicken around all the time?” Yes, she has a pet chicken named Nugget who goes on tour with her.
What has been one of your most memorable performances to date, and why?
There is one particular performance that was pretty great and happened just recently. I have five kids all under eight years old and so it’s very rare that my whole family has an opportunity to be with me for a show. In January, I performed to a sold-out audience in a Niagara Falls theatre where I was able to get all the kids in. I created a new Star Wars skit just for my boys and it went flawlessly. The video is on my website and it’s one you have to see.You’re a hands-on dad so do you use your powers of persuasion to get the kids to bed on time or to eat certain healthy foods (i.e.“broccoli is good for you and it tastes like Coco Puffs”)?
Yes, it works on kids, too. My son, Grady, will attest to this on two separate occasions. One was when he absolutely refused to eat perogies. Much like a Dr. Seuss book, he would not, could not eat his perogies! After a few short moments, he was gobbling them up and asking to have them again another night. With a little “persuasion” we now called the perogies “dumplings” and with a little reinforcement in how delicious they were, it was all it took. The second instance was when Grady was playing on my iPad in bed and accidentally turned on my insomnia self-help CD. Ten minutes after, I was walking by his room and heard my voice; I opened the door and saw him completely passed out. It was amazing.
I understand you’re also able to use your hypnosis skills for health and wellness eg: stopping smoking, weight loss/gain…. Have you ever been approached after one of your stage shows and asked by an audience member for help in those areas?
In all the years I have been performing, I don’t think there has been a single show yet where people haven’t asked me about helping them with something they’re struggling with and that’s the reason why I created my MaxU hypnosis self-help program. I would love to be able to help everyone on a one-on-one basis but unfortunately I would end up spending all of my time working on therapy with only the amount of time to help a small number of people.  The cost of working with me on an individual basis may be too high for the average person, so with the desire to help as many people as possible, I set out to create a system that could give everyone the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of hypnosis in their own home at an affordable price. The end result was MaxU. All the information is available on my website and if you or someone you know is struggling with weight loss, quitting smoking, insomnia, has a fear or anxiety, I highly recommend taking a look.
Many people scoff at the ability to hypnotize or be hypnotized…can you explain the simplicity of the power of suggestion without giving anything of your act away?
Of course!  Hypnosis is a state of mind between an awake state and a sleep state. It is not conscious or subconscious but rather a state of super conscious where your mind is so intently focused on a single point that it allows the hypnotist direct access to your subconscious mind. Think of your conscious mind as the filter that does your critical thinking and acts as the gate keeper to your subconscious. It decides what to let in and what to reject. Your subconscious stores memories and controls your automatic functions like your breathing and your heartbeat. With hypnosis, we distract the conscious mind with relaxation and concentration so the subconscious can come out and play. It is very real and anyone that enters my theatre may come in as a skeptic but definitely leaves as a believer.
2016 is looking like an “expansion year” for Adam Graeme’s career – what’s on your wish list for performance venues or occasions?
Yes, it seems like the expansion started a couple years ago and hasn’t really stopped yet which is quite amazing. I have been very fortunate to have such great support from both family and friends. More and more people are seeing the show which is leading to more and more work to the point of having to hire extra staff just to keep up. The very top of my wish list is to be able to perform at Disney World in Florida and we are in the middle of getting the paperwork sorted out to make that a reality and I’m very excited.
Anything else you’d like to share with my readers?
The most important thing to remember in life is that your reality is fluid. If you don’t like something in your life, you possess the ability within your own mind to change it into whatever you want. I have helped countless people through hypnosis and if you’re a non-believer, come out and support your local comedy stage hypnotist to see just how powerful it is and how it can change your life as well.

Adam recently attended the annual trade show for the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies in Toronto and met some other entertainers you may recognize including Doo-Doo the Clown (below) who recently made news headlines by rescuing a woman being pursued by a potential mugger….…and fellow corporate entertainer, illusionist Lucas Wilson (below)

http://www.adamgraeme.com/

www.facebook.com/adamgraemehypnosisshow   Twitter: @GraemeHypnotist

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URBANSOURCE CATERING/URBAN GALLERY HOSTS TOURISM TORONTO MEMBERS!

As the song says…”oh what a night”! We had an absolute blast last night at Urban Gallery (400 Queen St East, Toronto) when UrbanSource Catering hosted a special members’ social for Tourism Toronto event planners and corporate buyers.  Thanks to the hard work of TT’s Christopher Barry and Denise Belgrove, Urban had a full house despite the rain soaked tornado-like weather conditions (no flying monkeys or witches were harmed during the making of this event!).

20150610_153809 20150610_153801Before the guests arrived, the bar was set-up with wines from Pelee Island wineries (above), and Chef Lyndon laid out the sumptuous charcuterie table, complete with condiments courtesy of Whisky & Spice (booze-infused premium mustards made locally by Dan Gordon) – below.

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20150610_154929Urban Gallery’s current art show featuring Khat Karim‘s colourful paintings, looked awesome (below)

20150610_153852And the team gathered for a quick pic prior to the doors opening (below: Urban’s Kaspara, Calvin, and Wayne with Christopher from TT in white shirt sleeves)

20150610_154909Let the games being! Toronto’s best event planners and buyers poured in and what a fantastic group of industry professionals they were. Everyone was eager to taste UrbanSource Catering’s menu and view the gallery space for potential events, meetings, parties and social gatherings….and the concensus was a big thumbs-up!

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20150610_164953 20150610_174434(0) 20150610_175307We had a couple of prize draws and Urban partner Calvin got busy gathering everyone’s biz cards (below)

20150610_175010One of our fun interactive activities was an art board where guests were asked to draw their company logo and take selfies for social media sharing. Below, here are some of the guests having fun with the marker pens creating their own masterpieces!

20150610_175931 20150610_175123 20150610_175924 20150610_190625Below, Kaspara was finally able to lure Chef Lyndon out from the kitchen to enjoy the accolades and kudos for his yummy hors d’oeuvres….

20150610_183247…..and the team got together one more time to celebrate a fun and successful soiree, this time joined by Urban’s catering & events consultant Jean-Marc (below, far right)

20150610_154958Apart from showcasing the venue and catering to Tourism Toronto members, the party also marked the 30th business anniversary for UrbanSource Catering so bravo to partners Calvin Hambrook and Wayne Abell for weathering 3 decades of storms, recessions, ever-changing food trends and some of the strangest client requests (and that’s a whole other blog story!!).

20150610_153816If you’d like to learn more about the superb menus offered by UrbanSource Catering for corporate or private events, weddings, galas, fundraisers, etc., or the Urban Gallery space for rentals, please check out their weblinks below, as well as visiting the official Tourism Toronto website:

http://www.urbancatering.com/

http://www.urbangallery.ca/

http://www.seetorontonow.com/

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IGNITE MAGAZINE / CANADIAN SPECIAL EVENTS TRADE SHOW INTRO’S LOTS OF COOL SERVICES AND …. STUFF!

Every year, several special events, meetings and incentives organizations host industry expos featuring speakers, workshops, panels and great trade show floors featuring lots of vendors with event venues, catering, nic-nacs and logowear, everything an event planner could wish for. This year, Ignite Magazine and the Canadian Special Events organizations combined forces and held a joint business expo at the Metropolitan Toronto Convention Centre and yesterday, I had a blast wandering the aisles discovering new businesses and products, so come walk the trade show floor with me….

20150415_112817I was greeted by the pretty showgirl working the Hart Entertainment booth http://www.hartentertainment.com/ – a lovely way to start things off with a great big smile, eh?

As I was one of the first people there, I was able to navigate the hall quickly and see how they set up the performance stage…then I turned around to be greeted by the “town crier”. Hear ye, hear ye!20150415_112945 20150415_113000Loved the aqua blue and white of the Iris Blu booth below http://irisblu.ca/ and I even won a prize by picking a rose so I now have a discount off their event services (okay clients, who wants to take advantage of this?).

20150415_113631 20150415_113800It was time for “breakfast” so I shuffled on over to the PAL Insurance sponsored candy bar to enjoy a Cinnabon…..flavoured vodka shot!!!! LOL (hic)…never do this on an empty tummy (hic)

20150415_113930 20150415_114032Thank you to the ladies of PAL Insurance Brokers (below) http://www.palcanada.com/en/

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The crazy folks at PartyPix (below) did a great job of entertaining everyone with their interactive customized photobooths. http://partypix.ca/

20150415_115324 20150415_115325I just loved the mystical space that Eclectic Events created …only wish I’d had enough time to enjoy a woodland massage. But I did meet the talented glass sculptor, John (bottom pic), who created lots of cute animals…and he kindly gave me a dragon!!  http://www.eclecticevents.com/

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20150415_120019 20150415_120029Always a favourite must-taste exhibitor was the Ninutik maple syrup food artisans (below) ..oh so sweet and deelish! Great for catering fancy-schmancy soirees and they even have gift packages.  http://www.ninutik.com/store/home2.php

20150415_120258 20150415_120303One of the nicest, funniest and coolest magicians working the corporate and party circuit, Mike D’urso. I highly recommend Mike for all your magical needs! http://www.megamagic.ca/

20150415_120337 20150415_120341The Snapshot Photobooth people intro’d their new “Hashtag printer station” enabling events to brand their guests’ Instagram photos. Great marketing opps.   http://snapshotphotobooth.com/

20150415_121009An old industry friend, Raviv Krikunets, has just joined another design and events mgm’t firm R5 Events, and I was blown away by his beautiful set-up…wow, check it out below.  http://www.r5e.ca/

20150415_121109 20150415_121222(0) 20150415_121229And here’s Denise and Anna of Lucky Strike Lanes ( below) who always make the trade show fun….http://www.bowlluckystrike.com/

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Here’s a new talent supplier – Genevieve Demerchant of You Will Love it Live! She brought in musicians & a magician to entertain the event planners (below)…and they did a great job.  http://www.youwillloveitlive.com/

20150415_123509Aussie Aussie Aussie…oy oy oy! That’s our “war cry” when Aussies meet each other and here I ran into Kristen Thomason, originally from Melbourne, who is Dir. of Sales for the exciting new iFLY – the indoor skydiving venue out in Oakville. I really wanna try this out – looks like so much fun. http://iflytoronto.com/

20150415_123946Knights and wenches and swords, oh my! Medieval Times was there, too, and I can never say no to a knight with such a big….sword! The saucy wench kept him in line, tho. http://www.medievaltimes.com/toronto.aspx

20150415_124243 20150415_124255Nice to run into Kris and Maria, the sales reps for the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (below). I enjoyed a nice cuppa coffee and a 20min. rest in their relaxation seating area. http://www.mtccc.com/?m=0&t=0&c=1

20150415_132355Have you ever been to Moncton? I have and I love it…the people are so friendly, great facilities, fantastic downtown waterfront. Nice rep. at the City of Moncton booth reminded me what a great place it is to visit either with a business group or on a personal adventure.  http://www.moncton.ca/page4.aspx

20150415_133555Clearwater and St. Pete’s are two of my favourite places for a quick vacay from the cruel (and long) Toronto winters, and the ladies at this booth certainly made me feel welcome.  http://meetamplified.com/

20150415_134656Michelle of Northwest Territories Tourism (below) welcomed me to her spectacular booth…think I may have to visit myself soon. I wanna see the northern lights before I croak so I’ve just added Michelle to my bucket-list!!  http://spectacularnwt.com/

20150415_135043Here’s a great idea for team-building fun – the Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts offers group candy & sweetie making events. Chef Michael J. Smith (pictured below with events coord. Esther) was doing whisky tastings and food infusions…yumm…hic!  http://bonniegordoncollege.com/

20150415_135739Lots more to see and do at the show…

20150415_133355 20150415_135942 20150415_113921…but I had the most fun at the Ripley’s Aquarium Canada booth where they fed me to the sharks! www.RipleysAquariumCanada.com

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Many thanks to the organizers for presenting a great trade show.

www.ignitemag.ca   &   www.canadianspecialevents.com