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  • March 12, 2016 09:34:29 AM

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Urban Lifestyle, Events Blogger covering businesses & Brands and events in Toronto. Influencing, Social Media, trends and promotions. SEO and domain authority/Ranking.

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Raymi Rides Thoroughbreds with a Famous Jockey

On Tuesday June 22nd, I toured Halton Place stables and rode horses with retired jockey, Eurico Rosa da Silva. The The post Raymi Rides Thoroughbreds with a Famous Jockey appeared first on Raymi Toronto | Urban Lifestyle, Events Blogger.

On Tuesday June 22nd, I toured Halton Place stables and rode horses with retired jockey, Eurico Rosa da Silva. The property is very luxurious and there are young and old horses here and some are getting ready for competition while others are winding down and relaxing in comfort. It’s a pretty swank place and the horse stalls are extra roomy.

Eurico made everything fantastic for us. You can read about Eurico Rosa da Silva on Canadian Thoroughbred magazine which focuses on his horseracing career but he’s also frequently discussed in HorseSport magazine. where they detail the lives and health of the horses after they finish at the track and go on to have careers in dressage or as hunter jumpers. The man is a skilled equestrian who has won all the biggest horse races in Canada including the Queens Plate, a couple of times. He’s even met The Queen. Over the last seventeen years he worked his way up the rankings at Woodbine Racetrack, a career detailed in his autobiography, Riding for Freedom.

Now that he’s retired from horseracing at age 45, Eurico helps Canadians sharpen their brains. He calls his business Mind Coaching and he usually points to his own head when he says the name. He’s a life coach who focuses on the brain and on helping high-powered athletes and executives build mental acuity. As you can imagine, jockeys must depend on their dexterity and quick wits to stay alive. For many years, Eurico needed to stay sharp just to keep safe. He told us all about his accident in Macao, the worst of his career, when he was airlifted to a hospital in Hong Kong.

Eurico has led an active life and seen things, both good and bad, and he can share many of these experiences with his clients and friends. He doesn’t normally give riding lessons, but he’s kind and generous with his time. He told me so many things about himself and about how to read animals, and what a horse expects from someone in the saddle holding the reins.

Eurico Rosa Da Silva shares Life Lessons on Horseback

Eurico worked with me and the horses and so he was pretty busy, multitasking. Right from the beginning, he showed me how to balance, and how to coordinate myself and how to read Athena’s emotions. He taught me self-assurance and this combined with the experience of riding horses is very therapeutic muscle stimulation. Eurico installed a carefully planned lesson, he taught poise, posture, and strength and, most importantly, he instilled in me a desire to improve what he identified as my natural riding ability.

Louise Masek of Look Ahead Sporthorses
Louise Masek of Look Ahead Sporthorses with Raven (thoroughbred mare) at Halton Place.

Halton Place is the home of Louise Masek and Look Ahead Sport Horses. We rode two of her best mounts and these sturdy steeds were named Raven and Athena. You can see Louise has her hand on Raven’s halter above. She’s in the early stages of pregnancy with a foal from Charlie who is Louise’s Hanoverian stallion, and her pride and joy. You can see Charlie in the featured image of this blog post. That’s his head poking through the window. Anyway I rode a horse named Athena and you can see me brushing her. She’s a five year old Dutch warmblood who’s very clever and willing.

Today was Eurico’s first time meeting Athena, but he already knew Raven as she was a racehorse at Woodbine during his time there, although he never said whether of not he’d ever ridden her in a race. Athena was clearly eager to follow Eurico, and she was very patient with us neophytes clambering all over her body and hugging her head for selfies.

Eurico Rosa da Silva holds my horse while I mount in Halton Place indoor riding arena

Eurico showed me how to hold the reins and relax and breath. He showed me the signals needed to direct a horse’s movements. Both Athena and Raven were lively and curious and seemed happiest in the huge arena where there are bits of fence which are jumps. Overhead in the beams are hundreds of barn swallows which make incredible music that is most likely a chorus of complaints at our presence in their nesting grounds.

Eurico held the bridle and warmed up Athena until he was sure everything was safe .

Horses show us how to communicate. They don’t speak English, but they can read our body language and they understand our tone of voice. When Athena’s ears are forward, she is listening and attentive. Her swishing tail tells us she’s happy. It feels good to positively affect and be affected by an animal that’s larger than me and possibly smarter.

The post Raymi Rides Thoroughbreds with a Famous Jockey appeared first on Raymi Toronto | Urban Lifestyle, Events Blogger.

Rock Climbing and Bouldering in Markham

Toronto is at its very best in the summer. We go bike-riding, paddle boarding and take many trips north to The post Rock Climbing and Bouldering in Markham appeared first on Raymi Toronto | Urban Lifestyle, Events Blogger.

Toronto is at its very best in the summer. We go bike-riding, paddle boarding and take many trips north to Muskoka. Sometimes we escape the city in the middle of the week, and we always try to take our friends along. That’s what happened on Wednesday August 15th when I led a pack north to go rock climbing and bouldering at Hub Climbing gym in Markham. We snapped these sidewalk shots while we waited for the rest of the gang to appear at the designated rendezvous point.
rAYMI AT sCOLLAR BEFORE THE TRIP PIZZARaymi leading a group north to go rock climbing at Hub in MarkhamCasie Stewart with Raymi on Scollard St before rock climbing

Wednesday night was hot and sticky, and while this sweaty weather annoys most people, I really like it, and I wish it was hot all the time.  I love summer, and the month of August is especially dear to me.  This is Harvest Season.  In this month we reap the fun we have sewn, and go wild-crafting for more adventures on the side.

For this trip we even had a rock climbing pizza cooked up and donated by Amicos‘ that was made especially for our fun car ride; one deluxe pizza from Amico’s makes Rush Hour disappear, and the van became a gossipy high school cafeteria as we shared stories about the people we knew, and the summer we were having.

Raymi eats Amicos Pizza in the van enroute to rock climbing at Hub in Markham

Everyone has a Summer Bucket List.  I wrote about rock climbing and bouldering on Raymi the Minx last week. The gym experience has inspired me to push my body to the limits, and to try and get in the best shape of my life, just so I can do more physical stuff without feeling exhausted or out-of-breath, ever.Raymi outside Hub Climbing at 165 McIntosh in Markham Ontario

Hub Climbing at 165 McIntosh St in Markham is well staffed with athletes who are super helpful and motivational. They bring out the best in people as most folks like me want to be at their best when people are watching, just to show them – it sounds weird, but I bet a lot of people feel this way when they know their climbing instructor is watching them. Below is Steven Branco author, View the Vibe: The Rising Popularity of Indoor Climbing Gyms.

Steven Branko behind Raymi the Minx at Hub Climbing 15 August 2018Hub Climbing is a 20,000 square ft facility with over 200 different ‘climbs’ that are always changing.  Our climbing instructor Brandon Rowland told us that two staff members work exclusively at changing one climb-attraction in the gym each day, and so people who visit the gym monthly are always surprised at the amount of change that happen in the short time they were gone, and the whole gym appears to reinvent itself completely every six or seven months.

supervised wall climbing at Hub Climbing in Markham, Raymi with Casie Stewart and Martin Dasko

After some routine orientations and training, our evening consisted of group-testing one rock climbing and bouldering attraction after another; we were honing our collective climbing abilities, and learning new skills.  And as you can see in the pictures we were pretty much always laughing, mostly at each other, as one by one we plied ourselves to the walls.Casie stewart at the climbing gym in Markham

Above Casie Stewart is rising to the challenge; the exercise here is not to climb the wall, but to practice falling, and get guidance on how to fall safely. She has to summon the courage to ‘let go’, and fall backwards trusting the autobelay mechanism to gently lower her down to the mats.  It tests each climber’s ability to trust the gym’s equipment, and teaches how to fall..

Mart and Joel on the speed wall at Hub Climbing

Speed Climbs at Hub Climbing in Markham

After our group had a couple ascents under our harness belts, we attempted to do some Speed Climbs. This exercise is just what it sounds like.  Its a race to climb a wall and punch a button to stop a digital clock at the top, and it begins by stepping or rather removing your foot from a pedal switch on the floor underneath.  Climbers start with their foot on the peddle, and then sprint up the wall to hit the clock button at the top.  The average time in our group was 28 seconds. My time was twenty six seconds and so I have a two second edge.

Raymi the Minx at Hub Climbing in Markham

Bouldering is a form of rock climbing that is performed on small rock formations or artificial rock walls, known as boulders, without the use of ropes or harnesses.

Joel Levy bouldering at Hub Climbing

At Hub Climbing, members and guests can show up without any ropes or beaner clips or any climbing equipment at all, and still do everything inside the facility.  Most climbers here use the gym’s special climbing shoes to help secure footholds. There is a bag of chalk to keep your hands dry and provide firmer grips, and of course there are bouldering mats on the ground everywhere to prevent injuries from falls.

Raymi goes bouldering at Hub Climbing

Hub Climbing has a nice energy and a beautiful afternoon light. The architects were smart to situate the building in such a way to capture the setting afternoon sun through those huge windows at the front.  With this in mind, I can understand why this place is also a popular venue for fitness boot camps, and Yoga meditation workshops.  Its probably also a great place for parents to bring a family and ‘hang out’ for a day.

Rami the Minx at Hub Climbing in Markham - The Dragon ClimberOur group had a great time at Hub Climbing. It was a great work-out; we exercised our arms, legs, bums, backs and also our minds. We tested and made sore muscles we didn’t even know we had.

The post Rock Climbing and Bouldering in Markham appeared first on Raymi Toronto | Urban Lifestyle, Events Blogger.

Volunteer Bartender at HackerNest Toronto with Jaxx, Hover and Autoserve1 as Sponsors

People don’t come to HackerNest for free beer, but there’s a line-up at the bar just the same.  People come The post Volunteer Bartender at HackerNest Toronto with Jaxx, Hover and Autoserve1 as Sponsors appeared first on Raymi Toronto | Urban Lifestyle, Events...

People don’t come to HackerNest for free beer, but there’s a line-up at the bar just the same.  People come to talk jobs, gossip with their friends, and meet gatekeepers who can unlock their next career moves.  If you have an internet technology job in Toronto, then HackerNest TO is full of career-catalyst heroes and it helps to have a big heart yourself and some credits coding for charity.  From behind the bar, I got to meet the most talkative technologists while serving them drinks.

register for fishhackathon at hackernest in torontoThe 29th January 2018 HackerNest held at WeWork 240 Richmond St W in Toronto was a Tech Social; that’s what their MeetUp group calls this type of pay-what-you-can / get free beer occasion.  They define Tech Socials as being …down-to-earth, agenda-free community events where talented, enthusiastic tech nerds gather to socialize, wax technological, and meet future co-founders, employees, funders and friends.

In this respect, HackerNest is the organizer and not the name of the event. HackerNest is an international non-profit organization that produces social events around technology and that includes hackathons. These popular gatherings and other events are never done for the programmers’ profit, but rather they work to advance a humane cause and hopefully positively affect the economic prosperity of whole regions, population groups or niche communities.  When hundreds of hackers get together and put their minds to something, they’re a force to be reckoned with…big crowd at Hackernest in TorontoIs it legal? This is the first question people usually ask. And the answer is yes of course. These well paid professionals are not banding together in a conspiracy to loot the government, or tarnish Canadian corporations, but rather they’re building an alliance of like-minded, progressive-thinking co-ops. These organizations and their members unite around positive projects. The people who attend and especially those who volunteer and donate their time are all bricks in the wall of change, and HackerNest is mortar that holds them together and gives their assembly some shape.

The place was so jammed full of people by nine pm, administrators from the host co-working space were counting heads, hoping they had not already crossed over some arbitrary capacity rating as per the fire code.  With such attendance here you’d never know there was a bad snowstorm happening outside, and all of Toronto was buried under two inches of snow.  Some of the out-of-town sponsors didn’t show up because of the highways, but clearly the weather didn’t stop over two hundred and fifty more centrally located young urban professionals from attending. Was it the free beer?Hover domain registry at HackerNest 2018

The sponsors who did make it there set up more spacious booths and had the crowd all to themselves.  Hackernest TO 2018 - Hover domain registry gihover dress socks and free web domainsVisitors who found Hover domain registry in the center of the room got free dress socks, and the opportunity to register a free web domain. Hover makes it easy to buy, manage and use domain names and email addresses. With smart, usable tools, step-by-step tutorials and a warm, knowledgeable staff, they’ve grown to become the domain registrar and email solution provider of choice for many tech savvy startups which means they must be good cause these people could buy from anyone.

HackerNest is also a good way for businesses to find talented employees.

Jamie Cuthbert the President of AutoServe1, automotive garage software came to HackerNest looking for programmers and other smart web professionals who might join and grow with his company as it campaigns across North America.  Jamie had printed business cards special for the occasion with the words Full Stack Dev Careers in all-caps across the front, and below that Apply at autoserve1.com/hackernest which is excellent messaging in a room full of young professionals with short attention spans.Jamie Cuthbert CEO of AutoServe1 in Toronto at HackerNest 2018

Even more remarkable is how he tailored his speech to be relevant to these young people, most of whom do not own cars, and have never truly experienced the mysteries of an automotive garage. He began by describing the agony of a root canal, which we can all relate to, and then applied this malaise to the murky world of automotive repair. In this way he illustrated how clear and concise reports sent directly to vehicle owner’s smart phones by Autoserve1 software is the remedy for this painful problem.

Jamie spoke about how their company is hard at work making transparency in the automotive sector and helping mechanics and garage owners build trust with their customers. His software lets mechanics email customers price estimates with pictures of their car’s issues appearing beside itemized lists of repairs right on the invoice; consumers then immediately understand the work and the costs involved. People in the room who wanted to be part of this helpful solution were encouraged to apply to him directly and you still can..

Raymi with volunteer master

I heartily recommend volunteering at HackerNest if you work in tech industry, Raymi bartender at HackerNest and Good News there’s a push on for volunteers right now.  In my opinion, this is the number one recommended way to connect with people and make ground-level friends in-the-scene.

Its a little misleading though to suggest I was there strictly as a volunteer while working the bar, because in truth I was being paid as both a promoter and recruiter.  Yes, full disclosure, I was there in disguise, hiding in plain sight resourcing web developers for Full Stack and explaining to people what it means to be an IT solutions provider and not simply an IT staff provider.  And having been and volunteered at HackerNest three times now, I can honestly say I don’t know a better place to connect with information technologists while building a custom IT solutions agency brand.

crypto currency founder at HackerNest in TorontoEvery Hackernest Tech Social has its own transcending moments, and each one is remarkable for different reasons.  This event might be remembered forever because of how Anthony Diiorio one of the founders of Ethereum appeared suddenly from crowd and made a rousing speech that empowered people to be their own bankers and use tech advances to beat the system.  Today, and for the first time in our human evolution the proletariat workers of our society can, non-violently and by exercising market choice, overthrow the bourgeoisie banker class and break their debt cycle. By using new phone apps and cryptocurrencies Canadian workers can now escape the endless fees and arbitrary interest rates imposed by these old world institutions on their finances.

Hoorah! The black t-shirted executives from Jaxx cryptocurrency wallet cheered on their leader as he stood on a chair and preached revolution.  Jaxx bills itself as the best wallet for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and dozens of other cryptocurrencies; there are now more than fifty five different block chain tokens available in Jaxx.

Jaxx cryptocurrency team at HackerNest 2018Anthony Diiorio easily demonstrated why he’s considered one of the foremost thought-leaders in the field of decentralized technologies; the words just dripped from his mouth and made me wonder if he’s said them every hour, every day, for the last nine months. Born and raised in Toronto, Diiorio is the former Chief Digital Officer of the TMX Group and Toronto Stock Exchange, founder and CEO of Decentral, a software development company focused on blockchain technologies.  Later he tweeted the picture above of himself and his team from @diiorioanthony

Sharon Collins from Northeastern University was also at the party, representing faculty and administrators from their Toronto campus. They are serious about helping folks become better ‘fits’ in the modern workplace; the design programs in accordance with the hardest to fill, or most-in-demand tech vocations at job centers.

Sharon from North Eastern University spoke at HackerNest 2018Sharon spoke about the schools’ three online Master of Science programs, 1) project management; 2) information assurance and 3) cyber security. These programs were made special to fast-track careers in these high growth areas.

The HackerNesters themselves were also among the exhibitors; their leaders were present proudly promoting their next big event, Fishhackathon Toronto. I’ll probably be there, serving up free drinks, putting the social in Tech Socials.

The post Volunteer Bartender at HackerNest Toronto with Jaxx, Hover and Autoserve1 as Sponsors appeared first on Raymi Toronto | Urban Lifestyle, Events Blogger.

Raymi Gets 3DPrinting in Toronto, 3D Selfie Statue

It was November 2017 when I experienced 3D printing at MY3DAGENCY at 5 Dickens Street near Gerrard and Logan. As The post Raymi Gets 3DPrinting in Toronto, 3D Selfie Statue appeared first on Raymi Toronto | Urban Lifestyle, Events Blogger.

It was November 2017 when I experienced 3D printing at MY3DAGENCY at 5 Dickens Street near Gerrard and Logan. As you can see below, I got printed.

3DPrinting is what science geeks used to call additive manufacturing and refers to several different systems both theoretical processes and existing methods used to create three dimensional objects in which layers of material are sprayed over and over again to make an object.  I say theoretical because right now most 3d printed objects are made of dust; nobody can print a steel wrench that works. so in one sense they are 3D, but really they are one dimensional in terms of composition. 

Regardless, these items are formed (and can be manipulated) using computers reading a file that is like a topographic map except in 3D. Can you imagine that? Anyway in the picture to the right I’m holding two and a half ounces of gypsum that was made by spraying it as sticky dust in accordance with a file you’ll see Michael making below. This dust is special because it looks like me. Its a voodoo dust doll.

Everyone says 3D printing will change the world, and I’ve even heard it said that common everyday items will someday be printed on demand in the home. So for example if you have an itchy back you can buy the information to make a custom backscratcher and simply have it printed up and ready to use a few minutes later.  So people will never have itchy backs again. Toothbrushes are the same but if you forget to brush and get gum disease and lose all your teeth you can always 3D print more.  They’re doing that already; dental labs are early adopters of 3D printing technology.

These technicians specialize in 3D printing people and that starts with consultation, scanning, preparing images files and then printing the files in their own 3D printer. I’m going to walk you all through the process, or should I say processes.Michael Gossack with Raymi the Minx


Michael Gossack in the gypsum pail - 3d printing technology in TorontoMichael is an entrepreneur and engineer. As an active 3D printer he’s part of the revolution that’s happening all over the world, and most particularly here in Toronto.  He selected the devices and put together the mix of high tech gadgets that make it all possible inside My3DAgency’s spacious HQ.

Michael is an Expert at Measuring People and Objects with Light

Michael uses structured light and photogrammetry  which means measuring things with photographs i believe but in this case he uses light and photography to make incredibly accurate 3D image files. This is how mining and pipeline companies make maps of the arctic and mountain wilderness regions before drilling or laying any pipe. They jump in a twin engine Cesna and fly low over the area making 3D maps using photogrammetry. That way they get the lay of the land and can begin dynamiting immediately without having to hack through undergrowth or scuff up their Carhartts climbing over rocks. The same technology was applied to my contours that day.Raymi dressed for success as 3d figurine


Okay so this is what I looked like in real life before ‘the cementing’.  It looks good, but was completely unacceptable to Michael. Did I mention the need for a consultation before the photo scanning appointment? He didn’t like the black shiny clothes, but all the same he went forth with the scanning procedure because he could see I wasn’t about to change , except the sunglasses, which he switched to my other glasses and he actually applied these in post.


Raymi the Minx gets photogrammetric scan before 3d printing herself

Michael Gossack went to work recording every surface detail and he was all done in about six minutes. You can’t see it in the pictures, but I’m standing on a rotating dais which might otherwise be called a Lazy Susan (how did such a thing ever come to be called that?). Anyway, I stood motionless for six minutes which may seem like doing nothing but its harder than you think.

3D files can be used for other applications including making digital humans for visual effects purposes in movies. How do you think they complete Hollywood films when the main actor dies or gets fired? They do it all in post now with 3D imaging.  If you have a file like the one you see below, then you can make the actor do anything. While we’re on the subject I predict its just a matter of time before we see the first movie made with entirely dead actors. Humphrey Bogart opposite John Wayne with Marilyn Monroe and Kathryn Hepburn as love interests. It would probably be cheaper to make than normal movies with live actors, but it would get real awkward at the Academy Awards if one of the dead performers won a trophy.

Raymi as 3D file

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. The powder dry object absorbs moisture like the desert misses the rain, but in this case its not water, or blood, sweat or tears, but rather some kind of oil that makes the object hard and gives the exterior a lifelike surface. Its glaze, a full body shellac that sometimes I wish I could squirt it on myself for real.

Rarmi 3D figurine being oiled for strengthThe figurine is actually very lifelike in the right lighting!

Raymi the Minx - 3d Printing statuethe plastic base - monogrammed plastic base resource The base is customized from Yasss with my name and blog address.

This is my first 3D print.  Now I have a statue of myself on my desk at work and when i make my  time capsule this will be included. Michael asked me to share the fact that if you, like me are also heavily involved in social media then perhaps you can sell your 3D print online, and you can involve a charity and if you do that then Michael will help you as your partner.

Should I sell my 3D printed statue on demand? Do you want one?

The post Raymi Gets 3DPrinting in Toronto, 3D Selfie Statue appeared first on Raymi Toronto | Urban Lifestyle, Events Blogger.

On the Other Hand Jewellery in Leslieville

Not far from where I work in Leslieville there’s a cute little bling shop run by two ladies who are The post On the Other Hand Jewellery in Leslieville appeared first on Raymi Toronto | Urban Lifestyle, Events Blogger.

Not far from where I work in Leslieville there’s a cute little bling shop run by two ladies who are famous Canadian jewellery designers. On the Other Hand jewellery at 1015 Queen St E between Pape and Leslie, called to me. I mean literally they called me on the telephone and invited me to explore their store and to work for them for an hour in their craft studio at the back.  I accepted and anticipated writing this blog the moment i walked in the door.  Every piece of jewellery here tells a story and I went looking for semi-precious plots and gems enough for femme fatales.

every piece of jewellery tells a story

Wednesday October 25th 2017 afternoon I dropped into a tiny pocket of creativity that is the birthplace of so much luxury in Leslieville. Below is Karen MacRae, a Canadian jewellery designer who exhibits her bejeweled work all over the world.  This lady is at the top-of-her-game, and makes fantastic gem encrusted rings and broaches that only a small fraction of society could ever afford to own, or would ever wear outside. Karen is a spitfire of subtle humor and delicious wit; her jokes are fresh and her jewellery exquisite.

Karen MacRae and Raymi the Minx at OTOH
Now a pillar in the Leslieville community, Karen is probably working on her legacy pieces. With her own store on Queen St east and many generous patrons, this artist can afford to be a perfect collaborator.  What I mean is, at this stage in the game she can take time to get to know the people who commission her pieces so the jewellery she makes will better represent her patrons in the real world. Her finished work is very often a fusion of her own ideas and those brought forth by her clients, and the origin stories of these handmade objects makes them even more special to their owners.

Raymi in the backroom of OTOH jewellery with Karen MacRae and Sabrina A MelendezA working girl like me can only just admire the attractive metal art being made in the jewellery studio at the back of their shop.  But just holding the half-formed pieces and listening to Karen describe the metal and gems she’s using is also very rewarding. The woman is a wealth of information. The celebrity Canadian jewellery designer shared with me her method for determining the value of diamonds.  Buyers must be aware of the Four C’s; the cut, colour, clarity, and carat weight of diamonds are the four most important C’s to potential buyers. Karen went on to explain how really valuable diamonds are so often set in a way they lack character, especially when purchased in department stores and big box jewellery chain franchise outlets.

Karen MacRae with Raymi the Minx inside On the Other Hand jewellery in LeslievilleWhen it comes to making jewellery that tells stories and sends complimentary signals about the wearers, Karen’s best friend and frequent accomplice Sabrina Melendez mixes precious metals with more unconventional materials to make jewellery with undeniable character. Sabrina uses wood, bone and stone in her rings, necklaces and bracelets.

During my visit to the shop, I was gifted the ring you see below that’s sterling silver with a Bocote wood inlay. Bocote is a semi-precious wood from South America that is very hard and very pretty.  Its mainly used for knife handles and gun stocks, but it looks spectacular when inlaid in silver.Bocote wood silver ring fingers

Sabrina A Melendez made the Bocote wood and silver ring shown below.  The ring is beautifully unique with stunning patterns in a dark swirling wood grain that perfectly contrasts the silver. Its so fetching it will always spark a conversation.  People say, ‘Oh let me look at your ring,’ as they struggle to understand how wood could be so perfectly fused with silver in such a simple but attractive design.

Sabrina A Melendez silver Slinky necklace on a heavy black cord

Not content with just one amazing gift, the ladies let me loose to shop for another quarter of an hour! For fifteen minutes I was allowed to wander about the tiny shop and mentally picture myself wearing each ornament. I was looking for another piece of treasure that I could carry away and cherish forever. And I found it.

silver necklace on black leather cord
I selected a necklace which turned out to be another Sabrina Melendez original creation. The necklace is a Slinky-like silver pipe on a black cord with a clasp. It is gorgeous and I love it.

Sabrina Melendez with Raymi inside On the Other Hand jewellery

Sabrina A Melendez is a Master Goldsmith who graduated from Ecoles des Arts Appliques de Geneve Tech (in Switzerland) in 2009.  With those qualifications she could work anywhere in the world. Together with Karen MacRae the two designers at OTOH are a formidable team. Karen and Sabrina excel at ‘customizing’ jewellery because they take the time to get to know their clients.  If you’re in Leslieville and looking for bling, drop by their shop and tell them Raymi sent you.

The post On the Other Hand Jewellery in Leslieville appeared first on Raymi Toronto | Urban Lifestyle, Events Blogger.

Torch Paddleboarding with Toronto Island SUP

In mid august 2017, I went south on the harbour ferry to explore Toronto Island’s marine channels at night while The post Torch Paddleboarding with Toronto Island SUP appeared first on Raymi Toronto | Urban Lifestyle, Events Blogger.

In mid august 2017, I went south on the harbour ferry to explore Toronto Island’s marine channels at night while ‘Torch Paddleboarding’ with Toronto Island SUP tour guides Jana Ruby, James Statham and Niv Froehlich.

Raymi the Minx paddleboarding Toronto islandsThis evening’s Torch SUP or Stand Up Paddle Boarding adventure was set to cruise through an area of the city which was heavily flooded in the spring of 2017.  The tour was organized to visit the area and share the sights and discuss the effects of the flooding and how it has impacted the islands (as some areas were still off-limits). Sections of Centre Island, where the amusement park is located had been shut down for a month and only just re-opened the week before, and other popular destinations like Olympic Island, Gibraltar Point were still closed.
Raymi the Minx on paddle boards in Toronto Island 2017

raymi boards the paddleboard

Toronto Island Park has been closed to the public since early May, when heavy rainfall caused widespread flooding in what the city called a “100-year event.”  The island’s recovery is further hampered by daily rain and the sad fact that water levels on Lake Ontario are receding slower than expected. Niv said local businesses are missing out on as many twenty thousand visitors a day.  City council also voted to stop collecting rent and license fees from island residents and license holders until the full scale of the flood’s financial impact is known.

Torch SUP in Toronto IslandTorch SUP is better than a scenic boat cruise; it’s a brilliantly buoyant sightseeing adventure experienced from atop wide foam paddle boards.  Toronto Island SUP provides all equipment including boards that don’t hurt your feet.  These platforms all have leashes, and are issued with yellow life jackets / PFDs, and illuminated Torch Paddles. The event I attended featured a guided night tour through the calm, sheltered waterways of the Toronto Islands. And it was amazing.

The activity we call paddleboarding today started in Hawaii in the 1960s when the Beach Boys of Waikiki started standing on their longboards and using outrigger paddles to venture out farther on the ocean for a better view of the incoming surf.

The sport didn’t take off until the 2000s when pro surfers more regularly stood on their boards and used a paddle to continue training when the ocean was too calm to surf the waves.

Today SUP has gone mainstream, and the World Paddle Association (WPA) makes it easy to find races, meetups, and classes across the country. The WPA is very aware of Toronto Island SUP because of the amazing photos the retweet and re-pin and otherwise promote on their social media.Torch SUP, Toronto skyscape - sunset, 09 Aug 2017Toronto Island SUP tours are really well organized. Eighteen people signed up to take a short ferry ride to Wards Island and once there to paddle once through its central channels and lagoons. The weather was perfect and that included a scenic sunset. We did group photography in the sweet spot which is the mouth of the main channel through the islands. The group photo we took that night is so good the company now uses it in their marketing. Can you see me?

The evenings Torch SUP saw all participants master their balance on the boards. Periodically the Stand-up part of teh exercise become squatting, kneeling and crouching under tree branches.

The Toronto Islands is an archipelago and sand bar just off of the city of Toronto, in the western part of Lake Ontario. The beautiful aquatic abode is home to many bird, fish, amphibian and mammal species, and it’s a wonderful place to escape the city for quiet parks, beaches and waterways.

Day or night SUP activities are a great way to explore Lake Ontario and the waterways surrounding the fourteen Toronto Islands (Niv says there’s actually more than that).

We poked around the many streams and lagoons for ninety minutes, and i saw turtles and heard plenty of frogs. We floated alongside lots of brown ducks which came up close looking for food. If I ever do this again, I will be sure and bring some nibbles for them although that’s probably not advised  We passed close to beautiful yachts and paddled under old wooden bridges and down canals bisected with debris from the flood. The paddle was peppered with breathtaking views of the City of Toronto at night.

The event lasted for ninety minutes and the end came as a bit of a relief – paddle boarding is a full body workout.

The main muscle groups that are being activated during a paddle are your mid back muscles (latissimus Dorsi), Shoulders (deltoids), Arms (triceps & biceps) and abs.

There were no surprises because right at the start James and Niv went over their ‘float plan’ which outlined the route, what weather they were expecting, and the time of return.  While it was clear that our guides love to have fun, safety is their main concern.

Three experienced SUP instructors accompanied our group; one at the front, one in the middle, and one at the end of our paddleboard ‘congo line’ through the Island channels. So no matter what skill-level each paddle boarder had (they all improved after 30 mins anyway), each participant felt both safe and stimulated.

Things learned at Toronto Island SUP

When they say please arrive changed and ready to go., they mean it, as there are no facilities near where they launch, and most of the island’s cafes and shops are closed in the evening.

We got lucky with the weather, and it was a warm summer night, but all the same I was glad I’d dressed in layers and could remove garments when overheated and replace them later when it got chilly at the end of the night. The best combination seemed to be a long sleeve shirt with a thin windbreaker over top.  Many of the ladies wore yoga pants and cloth sneakers on their feet and this is also recommended. Well the instructors didnt say that,  but i believe its a good idea as there could and probably is all manner of crude on the bottom of these lagoons and if you ever tipped in shallows of the main channel you’d for a second be standing on…  the idea abhors me.
You can bring cameras and phones and the instructors MIGHT have some dry bags to put them in but this is not guaranteed. You are better off leaving your phone and camera IN YOUR CAR  back on the mainland and just letting the instructors take your pics – they do and you get them and their great.  Because no matter how stable the board there is always a possibility that you might fall in the water. Although the boards are really wide and the guides like to keep the trek on calm surfaces the possibility exists all the same, and so it’s recommended that you bring a change of clothes for afterwards, just in case you do get soaked.

Overall, the excursion uncovered some remarkable nature spots and hidden locations know only to the locals (I’m already planning fashion photo shoots in my mind).  We learned a lot about the history and ecology of the islands plus we learned better paddling techniques which made the journey even more enjoyable.






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