Posts Tagged With: Toronto

A walk through memory lane


Honest Ed’s, the iconic Toronto landmark, closed its doors on December 31st, after 68 years in business as a discount department store. Over the weekend, the space was opened up for a four-day arts initiative put on by the Centre For Social Innovation called “An Honest Farewell.”

As we headed into the building underneath the bright marquee sign, we were invited to “Come in and get lost”one last time. Each day had different programming. Friday night was the “Toronto for Everyone: aMAZEment & Craft Beer Tour.”  The emptied out building was turned into a maze and, as always, with the multi- levels and passage ways connecting the east and west sides of the building, it was certainly easy to get lost in.

When I first moved to Toronto to attend The Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, I spent many hours searching for treasures and usually ending up completely turned around in the maze that was Honest Ed’s.

This time around though, it was actually fun getting lost  as we made our way through the maze filled with art displays as well as the few remaining puns, posters from the many shows the Mirvish’s brought to the city and signed photos of celebrities Ed Mirvish met along the way. We also sampled beer from the 10 different breweries located around the building, including a special ‘The End of Honesty’ beer brewed by Henderson’s Brewing Co.


Such a great way to say goodbye to the one-of-a-kind, Honest Ed’s, a piece of Toronto’s history that will definitely be missed!

Photos from “Toronto for Everyone: aMAZEment & Craft Beer Tour.”


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Why I’m doing Habitat for Humanity’s Women’s Build

Almost a decade ago (seriously where does the time go?!?) I had just graduated from theatre school and was looking for a different kind of challenge. Something that would take me out of the country and away from constantly worrying about myself.  While looking into options, I came across Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village Program and knew I had found my next adventure.

In November 2006, I travelled to San Jose, Costa Rica with my sister, Erin to meet up with the rest of our Habitat team led by an amazing woman, Mary. She told us what we’d be doing over the next week or so and gave us a brief history about Habitat for Humanity, before we headed out to Buenos Aires, the village we would be building a house in.


My sister, Erin, and I digging trenches in Costa Rica with Habitat for Humanity

Our build started with digging trenches for the foundation. It was long, hot work, but at the end of the day I would leave the site feeling great.  I couldn’t really speak much with the locals who were there helping, but their warmth and generosity was immediately evident.  The family we were building the house for was there working alongside us every day accompanied by their young daughter, who spent the days playing in the dirt, smiling and laughing.


The team of volunteers and locals at the construction site

As the week rolled on, we started putting in the posts, mixing cement by hand and starting to put up the walls.  Going into this, I had very little construction knowledge. Now, here I was, in a foreign country, trying to communicate with the contractor in a foreign language and helping build a much needed home for a wonderful young family who, without Habitat, likely wouldn’t have had an adequate place to raise their daughter.


Holding up the corner posts while the cement was poured

That’s the beauty of this organization.  Bringing people together and teaching us that with a little love and a hammer, we can make a difference in someone’s life, while at the same time, they are making a difference in ours.


                  The walls are going up!

Back home, I couldn’t stop talking about this incredible experience and vowed to do another build and continue my involvement with Habitat as soon as possible. Then life got in the way and there was always something else to do. Several times a year, I would look at the Global Village page and start thinking about where I’d like to go next and I would visit the Habitat Toronto page and say I’m going to do a build in my own city, but never followed through.

On September 14th, I’m finally keeping my promise to myself by participating in Habitat for Humanity’s Women’s Build in Toronto along with my sister, Allison, to help build a better home for a family from the GTA who is struggling with their current housing situation.

I’m incredibly excited to be working with Habitat again and am currently fundraising to help with the build.

If you’d like to make a donation of any amount to support us, we would be very grateful! It’s easy – all you need to do is click the link below and it will take you to my fundraising page. Click on “Donate Now!” and you’re all set! 🙂

Thank you so much for your generosity!

xo   Crystal

Crystal’s Fundraising Page

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Spring in High Park

Sometimes being a tourist in your own city can be a great mini-escape.  This is definitely true for me each spring when the Japanese Cherry Blossoms bloom in High Park.  While you will be sharing the beauty with thousands of others, it’s definitely worth the trip.

These beautiful blossoms only last for about a week, so pack a picnic or bring your favourite book and a camera and head to Toronto’s High Park!

To get to High Park, take the Bloor-Danforth subway line (Line 2) to High Park station, exit, walk across Bloor Street and into the park.

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