Saturday, 15 February 2020

Winter Blues

So far, in 2019-20, winter has been an unpredictable mess. One day earn the next freezing. Is this the new normal? Let’s hope not! Meantime Aurora, Ontario, Canada has the Aurora Winter Blues Festival upcoming to help quell those winter blues! Kickoff Bash is Feb 29 2020! Tickets @ 

Monday, 19 November 2018

Santa Claus Sighted in Newmarket

Everyone Loves a Parade

Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
I guess you could say I have a bit of an affection for town parades. They bring back fond memories of course of a time when free hot chocolate, following the wonderful and magical town Santa Claus Parade,was everything. And it was even more special for me as a child being part of my mom's floats each year as she was well known for her parade winning floats for the Aurora Shopping Centre back when the town's parade started right there as well with all the floats and marchers awaiting their turns to proceed out. Christmas magic, and my mom always had a unique Christmas sub-themed float she'd design and dress us kids up and the neighbour's kids up as the characters.

Highway 11 Cruisers - Best Non-Profit Float

Best Float

That was what was going through my head this year as the floats passed by, that we'd had some great ones, and that some today were pretty good too. I'd even heard talk of free hot chocolate somewhere, so Newmarket had it going on it seemed. And just then I saw the ever so cool float by the Highway 11 Cruisers car club, complete with life-sized "hot wheel" car and thought, gee, I wonder if they have a prize for best floats? And in fact thought it out loud to the car club president Danny Facchini as he drove by behind their float, and sure enough they'd won as Best Float for non-profits!

Good on them, but what's even more impressive about the Highway 11 Cruisers is that this once rag-tag group of car boys and girls have also now to date raised $97, 000 for charities in the time they've been around - which is relatively young at only 8 years! Causes such as Sick Kids, Ernies Journey-United by Trauma, JumpStart, Southlake Regional Health Centre, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Canadian Crime Victims Foundation have all benefited among some. Impressive, and certainly worthy of community recognition. Members past and present should all be proud. Santa lives and apparently drives cars!
Watch the malls for the SA Xmas drive

My mom was also a past car club executive member back in the day, which has absolutely nothing to do with anything here, but seems a connection somehow. That and her fantastic parade floats, and with mom passing this past May, I'll take any connection to keep her "alive".

Speaking of May, that is also when the next Highway 11 Cruisers event is and also when you can help the Cruisers crack the $100,000 dollars raised for charities mark! Donate now

Merry Xmas to all and to all a good night!

Newmarket Xmas Parade Highlights Here.

TP Out!

Santa makes his escape!

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Newmarket Mayor's Candidates Debate

                                        Game On!
Newmarket Community Centre parking lot - pre-Riverwalk Commons, Bradford VS Mulock Hawks

Wednesday at the Newmarket Theatre on Mulock Drive, there will be the first facing-off of the two mayoral candidates running in the Newmarket municipal election, Joe Wamback, John Taylor. 

While I believe both men care deeply about the town, both have different visions and experience and when it comes to the job, both have their own views on the direction our town should take.
For Taylor who has been on council as the Regional Councillor (and Deputy Mayor) for a long time, it would seem his anointment to mayor-ship should be a formality, just like it was for his father before him former Mayor Tom Taylor, the same name you see on all the trails you walk or ride your bikes or scooters along Fairy Lake Park.

On the other hand, a mood has swept over of late that has people questioning the 'status quo in governments and becoming more and more suspicious of those staying in the game long, and more accepting of new "blood". Those people want change. Real change, but they still want to be satisfied that that change includes someone that brings to the table accountability and transparency and to that end convincing will be needed if anyone new is to be considered. Also whether or not their previous experience has been at a level that could be transferable to manage a town the size of Newmarket. Does Joe Wamback reach that level? That will be up for the voters to decide and to that end the public gets an opportunity Wednesday September 26 to see for themselves who should be the next mayor of Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.

Two "kids" grew up playing and who payed it forward helping me out door knocking.  Josh is centre in the pic below
Lurking in the background at these elections, but rarely raised, is party allegiance as well. I know when I ran for council in the last by-election that was a question I often faced (I pledge no allegiances). That and whether or not I lived in the ward, which I did not. Taylor is Liberal supportive while Wamback has run for the Conservatives some years back and so you have that dynamic as well swirling about in some minds. For me, I believe party politics should not be in the game, yet it seems inevitable and often influences who residents elect as well, but not always as I've seen signs with both Taylor and Vegh, who is running for Regional councilor, on them. And Vegh has run for the Cons as well in the past. Whether the current local council crew are accomplishing enough will also come out in the election wash, although there are a few acclaimed candidates - often a sure sign of a dying or democracy in peril.

My personal dealings with John Taylor on council has been mixed. Whereas he's been supportive of some initiatives I've been involved in, he' wasn't overly helpful in helping keep our grassroots road-hockey event going, while "allowing" the NHLers come in and host ball hockey where we were told we could not, after supporting it in its initial years.

Toronto Sun page 3 called us great, while TO banned we had RH on Main St! We were named best town a few years after.
This after I supported Riverwalk Commons being built - publicly - after being assured by former councilor Joe Sponga that we would still be able to hold it there as we had held the event previously in its then arena and parking lot and even sometimes portions on Main St. We also included local businesses and set the families up with free meal tickets for participants and discounts for families with the local Main St restaurants. It was a great community led event with huge potential written up on page 3 of the Toronto Sun praising Newmarket for putting road hockey on the streets while TO was trying to ban it - and ran 10 years before being banished to the boonies weeks before our last held event which caused our main sponsor to drop out and quietly was dropped of the local councils support radar, including as a Mayors Charity Golf recipient, followed by another sponsor on Main also vocally supportive of the mayor. A few years later we were voted top town.

Only Councilor Tom Vegh showed up at the last event we held, whereas previously they had enthusiastically participated - especially in election years. I believe it lost support because I dared criticize their (non) action to include men when the drive to build a shelter was on and all available cash was being diverted to just one area of need, while we had - and still have - but 26 full time shelter beds for men in all York Region, a population over 1,000,000. They could never separate my personal constructive criticism from the cause, so the cause lost. The longest running annual ball hockey event in Ontario.

The Mulock Hawks team nucleus formed but did not get to play in 2016 when the event lost location support
Two years ago, when running for by-election, I tried to again approach John about resurrecting the event after the NHLs "Hometown Hockey" visit came to town including a ball hockey area they had set up. He brushed me aside, almost physically, while briskly telling me, "Not Now!", when I approached him there and asked about it - as I'd been told by town staff we couldn't hold it there for "safety" reasons. Never forgot that. And I had never previously seen him act that way.

Funny thing though, Ron Mclean signed my petition that very day, to have the event brought back to Riverwalk Commons where it had run for 7 years before the rebuild. He saw the value in a grassroots locally produced hockey entity that engaged young people and in this case also connected lower income communities to the broader one, with all youths forming their own teams and competing in a friendly tourney. It also created an opportunity to engage and influence these youths young,. something I'm not sure any of them ever understood. Yet John's dad Tom Taylor had actually recognized us with an award of some type as I recall when we started out.

So that was disappointing for me personally, but aside, he is at times a lone voice on regional council, speaking up at least on certain issues, despite at times being at odds with his co-councilors, and often knowing the votes would not be coming his way on a particular issue, yet trying anyway by at least raising them. Contrast that with our outgoing mayor who has been mostly silent over the past few years on the regional council. We do need someone not afraid to speak up for Newmarket residents.

Hockey Night in Canada's Ron Maclean signed the 2016 petition for returning the grassroots event to Riverwalk.
On the other hand, Joe Wamback, who championed victims rights and went on to establish a Canadian Crime Victim Foundation and successfully pushed to have Canadian legislation changed after his own son Jon was the victim of a brutal attack by other youths right here in Newmarket that left him with brain injuries, always supported the grassroots, Friendly Neighborhood Road hockey Challenge March break held event. Even in its infancy, Joe and wife Lozanne would come out in support when it started out in a small community, right on the cold streets, as a support for the kids in a community affected by the murder of another victim of crime who had lived there and who was also a youth, who's been stabbed to death outside a local Tim Hortons.

And we also had started the Mike Thornhill Memorial Award, then awarding one kid educational $ for their commitment to community. It long preceded the "Character" awards, started in a similar vein of thought however. They saw the value in it. And wanted no recognition or photo ops. But I'm also pretty sure they understand that by engaging youth early we can help avoid more crime and victims of crime something that seems to be elevating as of late in the Region and Newmarket particularly.

So those are my personal experiences in my dealings with both candidates and make of it all what you will, but in the end we all make our own decisions!

Good Luck to both in the debates tonight! 6pm meet & greet start. TP out.

Visit John Taylor's website 

Visit Joe Wamback's website 

Monday, 9 July 2018

Culture Bridge Festival a Festival of World Sights, Sounds and Tastes

I Love Your Colours! Photos from TPE's 2016 show files
Produced by Culture Bridge Initiatives, The Culture Bridge Festival has been running in one form or another in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada since 2011 when it was held at the Newmarket Seniors Centre. Since those first days the cultural festival has grown in leaps, after some years of switching locations from Riverwalk Commons to the Magna Centre and back again, to its now more permanent home at Newmarket's beautiful Riverwalk Commons where not only can patrons enjoy the sights, sounds and foods of the world - but are within stones throw distance of historic downtown Newmarket and its own amazing array of multicultural restaurants and beautiful, historic buildings too!

Little Actor waits excitedly in 2016 at the old Magna Centre location

From the beginning, Ranji and Leila Singh have been driving forces behind the growing festival and have done an incredible job of keeping it going, having to endure years of doing much of the "grunt" work themselves often with mostly volunteers to help organize and put on the annual festival. In fact the original foundation for the event was called the Ranji Singh Foundation.

This year their persistence seems to beginning to pay off, attracting some top performers to the Riverwalk Commons' main stage during a very busy festival season, such as 2018 Panarama Indian Junior Idol Aditya Matkar, as well as Reggae Grammy Nominee Jason Lindo. Sounds of India also features Bollywood Divas, Paromita Kar, Divya Vive Kanandan, as well Bhangra Crew Ontario and The Living Room Katcheri, The Topaz Ensemble, and Illusionist Raman Sharma while international performances include Territorial Stage - a youth based initiative that creates plays of ones cultural experiences through acting out scripts written and performed by youth, Tabla House, a Chinese dance troupe, violinist, Japanese drumming, Italian musical theatre, Irish Dance, performances by Sentir Venezuela, Bangladesh Geetanjali Music Academy and Raizes Porttugesas, Dominica fashion show and finally an African, Ecquadorian and Imbayacunas drumming circle will close out the festival while DJ Jus Flow wraps his vibe around the whole mix making for a very cool addition.

Day One - Sights & Sounds of India 2018

So one can expect an exciting array of international music and talent for 2018 including the sights and Sounds of India on day one at 4pm Sat July 14th alongside international food vendors and fun kids activities including everything from bouncy castles to learning / playing cricket, while on day two an array of international sights and sounds from 1-5 pm, including food, fashion, decor and performances showcasing the cultures of the Caribbean, South Asia, Ukraine, China, Africa, Latin America, Mediterranea, Ireland, Portugal and more...

Cooling Station

Held inside and out at the Newmarket Lions Hall @ 200 Duncan Dr. ensures some respite from hot or wet weather should the need arise as well as a featured splash pad and fountain!

Local Notes: Free Parking can be accessed near the event, however for a scenic walk in and stress-free parking, park at Newmarket's municipal building at 395 Mulock Drive just west of the railroad tracks and walk the scenic pathway north through Fairy Lake Park and on in!

Oh, and admission is all FREE!

Monday, 30 April 2018

Mothers Day On Main St Newmarket

Newmarket, Ontario, Canada's, Main Street, has been called, "One of Canada's most beautiful", and therefore is certainly a good fit for most any mom on May 13, Mother's Day but it's unique shops, boutiques, and services also are much deserving of praise when it comes to all things mom.

From fantastic restaurants, patios, cafes and live entertainment, to quaint gift and novelty shops, to vintage and new clothing, to amazing spa services, beauty and hair salons, Main St., Newmarket certainly has enough to please most any Mom and we hope to showcase that through a contest that gives one lucky mom a great time out on her special day! #mothersdayonmain

#MothersDayOnMain #mothersdayonmain

Mothers Day On Main starts or ends at Balsam Day Spa (Mom's choice) where she'll meet with the professional staff and owners and arrange for her own special spa experience from her winning prize $120 Value Gift Certificate. Balsam Spa, located a little more north than most in the prize package group at 38 Main St. S., has been at their beautiful historic home location for over four years now and have been  consistently top performers earning consecutive Top Choice and 3 Best awards as well as glowing online reviews from repeat clients Whether looking for massage therapy, body and facial treatments, waxing, threading, eyelash extensions, micro-blading, nails or mani or pedicures the friendly professional staff will take care of you or your mom! But hurry its a busy day!

See Balsam Spa's Intro video here.

You can order spa products, services and gift certificates now online!

Mother's Day would most certainly not be complete without flowers and to that end we feel Blooming Wellies located at 171 Main St S has the expertise and know-how to more than please mom with a bouquet of flowers. If you've not gone inside the shop located just inside an  historic building on Main and across from a beautiful church to experience the flower arrangements and smells of fresh cut flowers, its time you did! but don't leave it until Mother's day because like any good florist - they will be busy that day, the most busy day of the tear in the industry and for that we especially appreciate Blooming Wellies beautiful bouquet contribution to Mothers Day On Main!

To call Blooming Wellies : 905-657-8984 or Order Online right here!

Have you discovered Red Scarf Equestrian yet? Wow, although the clothing, accessories and hats are mostly designed for equestrians to use, most certainly the Red Scarf's garments and accessories like equestrian bracelets and bangles, shawls, Irish wool sweaters and hats of a variety that most anyone (mom!) could wear not to mention Dad's-wear and even for the horse! In addition Red Scarf carries bone china cups, like the Made in England Dunoon Mugs and offer even more access to order products online! 

The Red Scarf, located at 221 Main St is providing the winning mom her choice of a great Dunoon Mug or a Hello Sunshine hat which must be seen to be instantly loved! I don't relish mom's decision making quagmire! Ha. See more or order directly on the Red Scarf  Equestrian website right here! on Main

An ideal Mother's Day also includes some laughs and to that end we've chosen a suitable printed T - shirt from Main St's, with a message mom can embrace with her sense of humour! Or not! Should the winning #mothersdayonmain  Mom wish, she can trade our choice for a choice of her own from the dozens of messages and art printed on custom T's in the display racks and adorning the walls, alongside numerous novelty and gift type items in the long time Main St icon.

2 P.M. @ #Mothersdayonmain

About now, mom's likely getting hungry and so we've booked her a spot (winners must confirm) at the gorgeous Cachet Restaurant & Bar, located at the foot of  Main and Water Sts.S, with the ambient Fairy Lake Falls running nearby to sooth and add to mom's already superb outing.

In additional to Cachet's beautiful restaurant and patio and delicious food and drink, Cachet provides live entertainment on the patio on weekends and Mothers Day, as well as features a special Mother's Day menu. The winning Mom's in for a treat that day! Sorry kids, you're on your own though! Visit their website here.

Neon Flamingo Cafe & Ice Bar

Mom deserves a nice specialty coffee and desert of course too, and so following her lunch, mom and a guest can enjoy fresh made coffee or espresso or cappuccino using fresh roasted beans and desert, pastry or iced delight from the Neon Flamingo Cafe & Ice Bar located at 206 Main St., tucked into the back of one of Main St Newmarket's most unique shops, Haven Eclectic Modern Style which I'm sure mom will not be able to pass through without having enjoyed witnessing the nostalgic decor and items for sale, from retro to unique novelty, while the Cafe has the most interesting flamingo lollipops that are all the rage!

The Neon Flamingo also sports street window side lounge tables for natural lighting while you sit in in addition to its eclectic mix of products and nostalgic decor which the contest winning mom will I'm sure enjoy her spoilings!

British Imports

British Imports, located at Timothy & Main St's, is a long time Newmarket icon, with the next generation now running the family business but with the same old fashioned service you come to expect from shopkeepers in and around Newmarket's Main St - likely because of long time examples I'm sure such as British Imports. 

Whether you crave steak & mushroom pies like from "back home, or baked goods, potato scones, cookies, candies, grocery or novelty back'ome stuff, this is your place! And we thought that this old fashioned style shop, complete with bell attached to the door to greet visitors would be a fine example stop on our Mother's Day on Main adventure and it is there mom will get her roses...well imported from the UK chocolate roses anyway!

Those are not the only shop and restaurants on Main Street that moms would love but all we had time to get to! So happy Mother's Day to all the mothers win or lose! 

How To Enter?

It all sounds wonderful you say but how do I enter the #mothersdayonmain contest?

There are 3 Easy Steps to Enter the Mother's Day On Main contest

1."Like" TPE Productions Facebook Page to "follow" for further instructions.

2. View and Share TPE's video of the #Mothersdayonmain contest with your mom or kids.

3. TPE has posted this question you must answer to enter - Which streets intersection is the video showing Main St looking north shot from?

The answer is contained within the videos and images posted already on the TPE FB page
Send the answer to the question and contact info and Moms name to TPE, where ONE winner will be drawn ONE week prior to Mother's Day on Sunday May 6 which falls on May 13 in 2018. Some conditions apply. Watch for new questions being posted to enter more than once One entry per question per family.

Good Luck to you all the Moms!

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

#Mentoo - York Region's Forgotten Homeless

Sam Orrico has struggled years now with housing
Christmas came and went, then New Year's and for most of Canada life carried on as it had previously, with most of us convinced we'd done our part during the festive season giving to our loved ones and to the "poor".

But for some, there is no back to normal. For some a life of misery, at least for the foreseeable future, remains. Like the now senior farmer who tires from fighting just to have land to "farm" and now lives alone in a trailer with off the grid heat.

But so too do some youth struggle to survive in this often unforgiving society that seems to more easily accept a sentence of homelessness to males.

In a sort of reverse way our system often seems to, unwittingly perhaps through past patriarchal thinking, give less treatment and attention to men's and boys issues. One needs look only at the programs and services available. For example, there is no "men's centre" - yet a long established women's centre - and shelter beds available to women outnumber the men over 3 to 1 yet men and males make up the bulk of the actual street homeless.There are also 0 transitional houses for men yet we have units for women.

In fact, a 2017 Toronto / York Region United Way survey found a full 100% of York Region's street homeless without any supports whatsoever were male. Compile that with studies showing males commit  suicide in 80% of all cases and one wonders why a crisis has not been declared and political champions not speaking out outraged? #Mentoo ?

Our outdated social safety net system seems to regard these men as expendable? Indeed they are from my experience often simply given bus tickets to take them somewhere else, like Toronto, where last year over 70 men - over 90% - were found to have died (decades) early as a result of having lived on the streets, as of only November. No inquiry? And we cannot be so naive as to think York Region men aren't part of those death statistics when our lone full time York Region's men's shelter of 26 beds is full 100% of the time. Ditto its 12 bed youth shelter in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.

So, as we all continue on and pat each other on the back about what a great job we're doing, maybe just stop a minute and take a good look, and if in conscience you can say we are, then so be it. More men will simply die. Are these men deserving of programs and homes? You decide.

Pictured is a sample of "thank-yous" sent out after a donation for presents to a York Region male youth shelter over Christmas of 2017 and donated by a local business, Stellar Car Wash.

Editors note: One person had never had an Xmas present before. 

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Google to Open Futuristic Mini City in Toronto

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Yourk News has learned that York Region's largest neighbour just got larger - and it could mean jobs for York Regioners too with Markham being a tech hub. Google's parent Alphabet has just announced plans to build a futuristic mini city alond a 12 hectare stretch of Toronto's waterfront.

The California based giant is on a quest to develop high tech "smart cities" across the world and to also  connect the world more, and Toronto fits well into that scenario with its multi cultural make up.

Alphabet's " Sidewalk Labs" has partnered with Waterfront Toronto to develop this new "smart community" to be called "Quayside" and will become the biggest project to date for them and will certainly catapult Toronto and Canada to a certain desired visit status that could become a boon for the local economy through the creation of high paying jobs for Toronto's thriving tech industry and through increased tourism.

But still, this is a working laboratory, so one has to also be realistic as to when anything tangible will be ready. But a billion dollar investment goes along way towards fulfilling the goal.

For more Yourk News and Events follow us on FB


Could mean boon for hurting restaurants

Feature Article

Winter Blues

So far, in 2019-20, winter has been an unpredictable mess. One day earn the next freezing. Is this the new normal? Let’s hope not! Meantime ...