Here’s Looking At You Toronto: Hollywood North

King and Bay St. Photographer: Justine Yim

King and Bay St. Photographer: Justine Yim

Call me biased, but Hollywood North is a great city in which to live. The high level of diversity ensures that no matter what your physical appearance may be, you are likely to blend in with the locals. The amount of diversity that Torontonians are exposed to makes them open and receptive to other cultures. If there is a certain type of ethnic cuisine that you are especially keen on, there is little doubt that you will be able to find a restaurant in the city that has garnered a stellar reputation for preparing the kinds of foreign meals that you enjoy.

Summertime in the city is especially wonderful downtown. The Toronto Harbourfront boasts gorgeous views and multiple events are held there every season. During Caribana, North America’s largest cultural festival, the Caribbean carnival parade makes its way down Lakeshore Boulevard. The cleanliness of Toronto is something to be appreciated all year round, but particularly during the warmer months when urbanites often choose to spend more time outdoors.

The Toronto Transit Commission’s bright new subway cars are conveniently interconnected, making it easy to travel from one end of the train to the other. If taking the subway does not appeal to you, you can opt to take streetcars instead. For those who would rather skip public transportation altogether, Toronto streets are often bike friendly. If you choose to visit the city, it is sure not to disappoint. If you aren’t already, you might become a resident of Hollywood North.

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How to Share Your Voice and Make Magical Connections

Sharing your voice can be magical. Like storytelling, it is an art form that has the power to completely immerse people in a special moment. When a public speaker shares their voice, they engage their audience by creating a magical connection.

Sharing Your Voice:

Sharing your voice can connect ideas, people and communities. When a speaker connects with their audience, the connection is more than just words. A magical connection occurs when a speaker shares their voice. A speaker truly shares their voice when they share their:

  • passion,
  • vulnerability,
  • authenticity, or
  • emotion.

When a speaker shares their voice, they seize the senses of the audience. They immerse the audience in a collective conversation and sentimental experience, which creates a deeper, magical connection between the speaker and participants. Sharing your voice will help make meaningful connections with your audience.

Three Ways to Share Your Voice:

1)    Be authentic: If you are excited, say you are excited. If you are nervous, say you are nervous. Being open and honest will allow you to create a genuine, deeper connection with your audience.

2)    Show emotion: Let your audience feel your excitement or your concern. Audiences are receptive to emotion and appreciate honesty. Remember, humans are emotionally driven.

3)    Create a community: Think about how you are choosing to communicate with your audience. Communicate with your audience, not at them. You want your audience to share in your experience, so take them on a journey with you.

Alexandria Anderson, Contributor

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The Most Youthful City in the World

Toronto narrowly defeated Berlin and New York for the top honours. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)

From the Globe and Mail article “Toronto Names ‘Most Youthful’ City in the World”

I recently stumbled across an article in The Globe and Mail that considers Toronto to be the “most youthful city” on the planet. The study looked at things such as economic status, music and film, food and nightlife, public space, and crime rates, in order to grant each city a score. This was the first year the study was conducted, surveying 1,600 respondents aged between 15 to 29 years old, and Toronto topped the list over New York and Berlin.

Having been a university student in the greater Toronto area for the last five years, it brings me a sense of pride and excitement that Toronto tops this list. I have personally witnessed the vibrant growth of youth culture in Toronto over the last two years. The quality and attendance of music festivals such as Drake’s OVO Fest, VELD and Digital Dreams, have grown over the past two or three years. There is also a hope and buzz around Toronto sports teams that I have never experienced before. The Toronto Maple Leafs first play-off run last year threw the city into frenzy, despite losing in the first round. Although, ultimately not meeting the expectations of the organization and its fans, the Blue Jays made a splash last year by acquiring a number of all-star players.

All of these developments give me hope. Living in a vibrant city helps to relieve the stress and fears of finding a job after graduation. The “most youthful city” gives me strength and energy as I move forward into my future. I hope this city inspires people to look at Toronto the way I do: a city that embraces youth who want to have fun and a future full of excitement.

Kevin Lopes, Contributor

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Three Techniques to Master Public Speaking:

Public speaking is a universal fear, along with spiders and death.  As one who is not a risk-taker, nor an adrenaline junkie, I find it ironic that I’ve chosen a career in public relations—a field that involves an act that is equally as fearful as death itself. Go figure.

I have always wanted to master public speaking. I’ve dreamed of captivating my audience with my eloquent words and charismatic presence. But, how do I cope with my fear?

I’ve researched this topic extensively (read: a few Google searches), and have found three simple techniques to master public speaking:

1.    Imagine everyone in their underwear.

It’s simple and downright funny.  It releases some of the anxiety inside of you.  If you don’t want to picture your boss in their skivvies, imagine yourself in your happy place (mine involves a beach, a tropical climate and a law against public speaking. Kidding…well, partially).

2.    Remember to breathe.

You know that essential bodily function? As obvious as it might seem, most people forget to do even the most simple of tasks when they are nervous.  Not only will this help you stay alive, but focusing on breathing will take your mind off of your perceived impending doom.

3.    Practice in the mirror.

Watching how you deliver speeches is extremely important.  You’ll be able to notice how much eye contact you give and what nervous tendencies you exhibit.  You may also use this as an opportunity to check yourself out (Oh, hey there good looking! How you doin’?)

I hope these techniques give even the most tongue-tied individuals the help they need to speak publicly.  It may be an uphill climb but remember, in the words of Claire Cook: “if plan A doesn’t work out, don’t worry. The alphabet still has 25 letters left!”

Cassie Hunter, Contributor

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Venue Announcement

The 1871 Berkeley Church, located at 315 Queen Street East, is a historical landmark in Toronto. As the name suggests, it was built in 1871 and is one of the most unique venues in the city.  This venue is the perfect combination of a traditional backdrop with a modern feel.  With beautiful architectural designs and stain glass windows, this church resembles the Victorian era. “Nowhere else will you find such a beautiful blend of traditional ambiance and modern decor.”  With 4 versatile spaces: The Grand Ballroom, The Mezzanine, The Wine Cellar, and Circa 1871 Lounge, this venue is able to host a variety of events including meetings, concerts, product launches, and social and fundraising events.

We are pleased to announce that this years VOICES Speech Competition will be held at the Berkeley Church on March 25, 2014!

Mark it on your calendars!

Click the link below to get a better look at the venue   


Have a great day!

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The Five Greatest Ideas Toronto Never Built

A great article in The Toronto Star about 5 major ideas that would have completely changed the city of Toronto! 

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A Brief History of Toronto

In 1793, the city of Toronto was born. It was not nearly as large as it is today, but it was a very exciting and wonderful place to be! Toronto was just a little town by the harbour and it was called Fort York. It got this name in honour of the Duke of York. Not long after Fort York was established it became the capital of what was then Upper Canada. Three years later in 1796, Yonge Street was built. Today, Yonge Street is the longest street in the world and continues for 1,900 kilometers. The name was changed from Fort York to Toronto in 1834 and at the time had 9,000 inhabitants. It was then that the city began to come alive!

Yonge Street in 1903

Yonge street in 1903

Since the mid-nineteenth century, Toronto has been a growing business metropolitan area. In the 1840s and 1850s, there was a rapid increase in its urbanization with steamboat port activity and railway building. In 1867, Toronto was named the capital of Ontario. Less than 30 years later in 1891 the population of the city rose to over 150,000 people. Toronto became a hub for industrialization during the late nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century, which was due to the railroads, steamboats, mines, and forests.

After World War II, the the city saw significant growth.  By 1951, the population of the city reached over one million. Following this, the metropolitan government and subway system was created, and suburbs were established.

In 1976, after 40 months of construction, the CN Tower became open to the public. Today, the CN Tower is the world’s tallest building at 553.33 meters (1,815 feet and 5 inches). By 1998, Toronto was officially known as a “megacity”. At a population of 2.4 million, it was known as the fifth largest city in North America.

In 2012, Toronto laid claim to being the fourth largest city in North America, pushing Chicago out of the way. According to Statistics Canada, there are 2,791,140 people that now live here.  Many of the things that made Toronto such a great city then are the same things that make Toronto a great city today!

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