The Scene in TO TheSceneinTO is your premier luxury lifestyle resource covering Toronto, Montreal, Miami, New York and other world class cities. Our primary coverage includes writing about the arts, culture, fashion, travel and small business. We work tirelessly to keep our readers informed of what’s new and exciting with the hope of inspiring them to discover unexplored treasures in the city – where to shop, eat, play and what to see and do on their travels and within their city. Janelle Watkins – Chairman & Editorial Director Toronto based Janelle Watkins has a long history in the Events Management industry beginning a successful career as a Special Event Coordinator in Toronto’s business core. Her educational background includes Fashion Marketing and Communications, and English Literature. She has worked as a personal shopper, corporate communications liaison, newspaper writer and public relations specialist. These experiences have seen her working alongside prominent leaders from the fashion, culinary, art and media worlds. Ms. Watkins is dynamic and proactive. She overcomes challenges through her tenacity and quick thinking. Highly articulate and well versed, she is an excellent communicator who has partnered in researching, writing, and editing promotional materials to market events and programs. This bon vivant likes la dolce vita and would like to add some flair to her readers’ lives. On everyday life she sums up, “Live life in your own style, be true to yourself – be distinct.” Favourite place in Toronto: Strolling around the Yonge/Eglinton and Mt. Pleasant Village neighbourhoods with a David’s Tea and a special little someone. Nigel P- Webmaster & Photo Editor Nigel works with computers for a living but not because he’s a geek. He blinds people then shoots them for fun. He shies away from the limelight but is still considered a rock star. Nigel is admired by everyone—even his enemies. He prefers to leave skinny jeans to the ladies. He plays basketball, but not for extended periods. Nigel knows that the only parties worth going to are the after parties, to which he always has VIP access. He is a self-proclaimed underachieving genius. He is the second most interesting man in the world. Nigel moonlights as an aspiring photographer. Favourite place in Toronto: Bay & King on a summer day, eating veggie street meat and people (women) watching. Writers Nicole Fairbairn Nicole Fairbairn spent most of her adult life in Vancouver but decided to make Toronto her home four years ago and she’s loving every minute of it. She began writing for fun and it’s turned into a great passion. She’s an avid supporter of the arts and enjoys experiencing the many wonderful cultural events this city has to offer. When she’s not writing, Nicole enjoys reading, ice skating, salsa dancing, travelling and hanging out with her cat. Favourite Place in Toronto: Distillery District with its beautifully restored Victorian buildings, great cafes, stunning galleries, hip boutiques and vibrant theatre scene. Greg George An avid local and international explorer, Greg George has travelled extensively in Europe, Australia, India, Turkey, Thailand, Bali, Brazil, Argentina and St. Marys, Ontario. In 2004, he and his partner quit their jobs, sold their house, dumped the car and travelled around the world for the year, following the sun visiting 26 countries in 12 months. You can read their daily blog of the trials and travails of living out of two suitcases, a computer bag and camera case at www.followsummer.com. Next stop on his wish list? Newfoundland. Favourite Place in Toronto:An early, on the way to work, sunny spring morning walk through St. James Park. Selia Verres Selia Verres is an extreme music lover (who isn’t?) who dreams of becoming a music journalist. Since her childhood, she has had musical obsessions ranging from the pop beats of the Spice Girls to the smooth tunes of Usher. Nowadays, she enjoys music from many genres, but her absolute favourite has to be rock—it got her where she is now. On a constant hunt for new music, she’s always open to different sounds and she sees writing for this site as a place where she can share her findings. Favourite place in Toronto: Waiting excitedly in line at the Sound Academy for an awesome concert. Ruth Waters List-maker, serial evening class attendee, closet (living room) karaoke singer, professional day-dreamer and urban explorer (aka nosy), Ruth loves nothing more than uncovering new sights, sounds and smells.Hailing from the UK, Ruth is a relative newbie to TO having moved here two years ago. After many years of living in traffic-jam London, Ruth appears to be one of the few people who thinks Toronto is a great city for cycling and can be spotted regularly exploring the city on two wheels. Ruth studied Archaeology and Anthropology at university. After 3 years of looking for Roman remains in the barren fields of south-east England, she applied this incredibly useful skill to the world of marketing, specifically in theatre. She has been fortunate enough to develop a successful career working at some of the UK’s leading theatre companies. Favourite place in Toronto: On my bike cycling by the lake. Sam Corbin Sam is a giant dork. She also prides herself on first impressions. During the academic year, Sam studies acting at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts (but carries with her an amount of Canadian pride deemed altogether inappropriate by her American classmates). They lump her together with other oddities like milk in bags, free health care and poutine. Sam revels in the ‘oddity’ of Canadian living and relishes the perspective that study in the United States has afforded her. She loves her hometown of Toronto for its heart, its charm and its dirty little secrets. Sam may be young at heart, but she may also be 90 at heart. Most of her wardrobe has been compiled from the respective closets of her mother and grandmother–okay, she snagged her grandfather’s legwarmers too. A list-loving cat lady with a sharp wit and a heart that belongs somewhere in the mid-20th century, Sam is an aspiring performer whose idea of a good night involves the simpler things: friends, Scrabble and a glass of wine. That’s a great time in any city. (Especially in Tel Aviv, where she’ll be studying abroad in the fall. L’Chayim! Break out the Manischevitz!). Favourite Place in Toronto: The Skydome, before it was the Rogers Centre (because the Mr. Sub Hat Switch and seventh-inning Kiss Cam were integral to her childhood rearing). Mary Dytyniak Mary Dytyniak is a girl caught between two worlds. The burbs’ as she likes to call them, and downtown Toronto. Highly drawn to Toronto by the queer scene, stellar coffee shops, eclectic bars and lively neighbourhoods, Mary endures a two-hour commute from Mississauga to be in the heart of it all. Although she does consider herself an artist, Mary does not use a Mac Book, rejects the term hipster and loves to eat all things meat. Mary is also a young novelist, having published her first book “Guys Just Don’t Kiss Like That” with Life Rattle Press. She encourages anyone who is curious about what it’s like to switch teams to give it a read. Favourite Place in Toronto: Queen & Roncesvalles – A second home to her, she frequents the area often to grab espresso at Cherrybomb, kielbasa and danishes at Benna’s bakery and a good night’s rest at her Aunt’s three-storey home. Gabi Pirraglia When she isn’t writing communications strategies or coming up with witty subject lines for emails, Gabi spends her days scouring the city’s best thrift stores and shops for well cut jackets and leather purses. Her keen eye for style and aesthetic means friends come to her for style advice, tips and guidance. She uses her working knowledge of fashion and communications to help them choose pieces that reflect who they are and the message they are trying to convey. Gabi is a firm believer in using individual style to communicate who you are and what you are all about. She also advocates the use of proper grammar and wearing gold sequins in the afternoon while drinking Earl Grey tea. Favourite place in Toronto: The Distillery District at Christmas time. Iris Leung Raised in North York and still living in the quasi-burbs, Iris Leung swipes her metropass on a daily basis in order to explore the cultural treasure trove of downtown Toronto by transit and by foot. An avid reader of fantasy, a very recently reformed coffee addict (now lives for tea), and a lover of hidden gems (whether it be vintage/thrift finds, local bands at clandestine dive bars or scrumptious eats tucked away in a quiet neighborhood), Iris loves Toronto for its brutal honesty – it never pretends to be something it isn’t. Although she works as an admin drone by day and has only had finance stories published, Iris aspires to be a lifestyle writer and sees TheSceneinTO as a great opportunity to kick start the dream. Favourite Place in Toronto: Kensington market, no matter the weather. www.irismtleung.com @irismtleung René Samulewitsch René Samulewitsch @VIPRene is a globetrotter with a hunger for adventure, but at heart, he will always be an urban tourist with big love for Toronto. When not busy with his day job as a PR strategist, he spends his time exploring the city’s culture and entertainment venues. Rene has a passion for sharing experiences, and truly believes in the power of word of mouth. Favourite place in Toronto: Kensington Market in the Summer as there’s always something new to discover. Queen Street for the urban vibe and King Street to let loose and party. Sarah Chan Sarah Chan never wants to own a car. Steadiest on her own two feet, it is her preferred method of travel to explore the streets of the city where she lives and works. She grew up as a tomboy, listening to 680 News and with a mother who could not cook. Via strange magic, she is now hardly ever found wearing pants (opting for dresses and skirts, not public indecency), lives for the performing arts and is eating – always eating. Sarah often takes her walking talents, her love of street style, art galleries, opera and her insatiable appetite around the world. A constant sufferer of cabin fever and wanderlust, for which the only cure is hopping on board an airplane. Sarah is very particular with customs agents around the world where they are allowed to stamp her passport. Favourite place in TO: A moment of rare silence at the crosswalk at Wellington and Spadina. Angela Walcott Angela Walcott has come to the realization that Toronto is like no other. While her hometown may be relatively young, this little city that could has continued to grow and amaze exponentially. Angela believes the more eclectic one’s style, attitude and outlook on life the better. An avid traveller who vows to visit South America one day, she toys with the idea of taking up Cantonese for fun. Her bucket list is forever growing and sadly has more items listed under ‘to do’ than ‘already done’. She has a healthy respect for Black Friday shoppers south of the border and loves creating poetry by using random phrases from the morning paper. She loves playing devil’s advocate; painting; ad-libbing; and she admires those who can multi-task. Angela dislikes buses that are late, library material that goes missing, subways that stop in tunnels and the ending to Hubert Selby Jr’s novel ‘Requiem For A Dream’. Writing has allowed her to gain insight and she has come to the conclusion that life is never the “same old, same old”. Always trying to adopt a new perspective, the world she saw yesterday is light years away from how she will view it today and ultimately perceive it tomorrow. Favourite Place in Toronto: Yonge and Eglinton is the best place to stroll, check out the shops and take a mini historical tour, but Harbourfront Centre is hands down her favorite spot. It’s like a chameleon that changes visually with the seasons — unleashing an exotic mix of art, crafts, music, dance and tantalizing culinary treats. Amanda Lee Amanda Lee is a small-town girl from Australia who landed in Toronto in 1996. Although she cant bring herself to swap her love of Vegemite for Clamato juice, she now calls Toronto and the GTA home. A grown-up gap year motivated Amanda to start travel writing and has since written articles on everything from trekking through Laos, a Vegas Wedding and how to toilet train your child while stuck on a long-haul flight. Amanda has worked in the arts as a publicist and enjoys sharing her love of Toronto’s vibrant arts and culture scene, as well as writing about travel, family and lifestyle. Favourite Place in Toronto: An independent coffee shop that can whip up a mean flat-white, the Trinity Bellwoods stretch of Queen Street West, the inside of a theatre, nestled in a book shop, and Pearson Airport (if it means I’m off on an adventure; less so if I’m there to chauffeur someone).