A Farewell to Legendary Stores in Toronto: Sears / Eaton’s

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As this Sunday passes, we bid a fond farewell to fabled and perhaps locally famous store at Yonge and Edward…The World’s Biggest Bookstore! Not only have we seen this one time giant fall but also we said goodbye to Sears (formerly Eaton’s) and in the near future Honest Ed’s.

To be perfectly clear this post is not to point out the politics or hardships that have led to the demise of these stores. I am just simply a fan that would like to pay tribute by sharing memories of what these places meant to me as a kid growing up in Toronto.

It was sheer irony that the week Sears finally closed its doors at the Eaton Centre, in February, coincided with Yorkdale Shopping Centre began to celebrate its 50th anniversary. A few days after Sears officially closed I snapped this picture. Hard to believe such an iconic brand was leaving us.

Maybe I’m showing my age but, I recall when this was Eaton’s not Sears. As a kid growing up in Scarborough, coming downtown to Eaton Centre was like a wonderland for me. The draw of these big stores, so many escalators, usually fast paced all the time, the two food courts, two McDonalds (yes I was easily impressed back then) and of course Eaton’s. Why does Eaton’s hold a special place for me personally you may ask?

Well, I had a family member who worked there. Visiting them was my excuse to go downtown and just be a kid with my eyes opened wide, especially at Christmas time with that Christmas tree dangling from the mall ceiling and the Santa with sled and reindeer. You could even sit on Santa’s lap, yes that’s right no Skype appointments! Eaton’s was that go to store when you wanted to be in style and it had a floor strictly dedicated to TOYS! Yes, Floor 7 a.k.a Toyland I remember you. The first time I ever saw a Nintendo or Sega Master System was on that toys floor.

Tell me you remember that shopping bag? That’s actually my Eaton’s bag I found it while rummaging through that closet most people have filled with bags and boxes that you haven’t checked in over a decade. When Eaton’s transitioned into Sears in the mid 90’s my family member sadly was no longer working at Eaton Centre and I did kind of resent Sears for a bit because of that. It didn’t matter what new Kenmore appliances they had on display I probably did not set foot into that Sears for like 2 years. Eventually, I caved and did shopping here and there but as I grew up I discovered other stores and I kind of lost touch with Sears unless I was seeking a fragrance or a watch perhaps.

When I heard Sears was closing its doors, my first reaction was ‘Hmmm will the Jays Store have awesome deals?” followed by the thought of that another piece of my childhood swept away. So for the last few months, while cutting through Sears, to either get to the rest of the mall or get to Yonge Street, I would kind of wander around and reminisce of those days but sadly I was blinded by the discount wholesaler vibe I was getting where literally everything was on sale even the fixtures and storage cases.

So I have lived through Eaton’s to Sears to now Nordstrom in 2016 wow where does the time go? While the ending for Eaton’s and Sears was kind of ugly to me I will hold on to that memory of the grade school version of me endlessly playing with the new toys in Toyland. Sometimes the simplest memories are the best ones.

Regards,

Waynie

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6 Music Videos Filmed in #Toronto That I Love

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It’s no secret that when it comes to music, Toronto knows! Or maybe it is? Toronto has a rich history with music videos by local and international artists. Artists know when they come here to Toronto they will get an energetic and real reaction from the crowd. Truth be told I am a bit of a concert fiend especially in the summer months myself.

With that in mind, I decided to compile a list of music videos filmed on the streets of Toronto. I am not saying these are the best music videos ever, but in my opinion these are simply music videos filmed in Toronto that I personally appreciate.

And in no particular order:

6. Drake – Headlines

From Drake’s second full length album ‘ Take Care’ in 2011, this was a video that used different parts of the city including the SkyDome (no never the Rogers Centre), the CN Tower and even the old Guild Inn in Scarborough. I remember when on the Gardiner Drake had a billboard for Take Care up. Getting to see the time-lapsed opening of the Dome is pretty cool on its own!

5. Stereo Love – Edward Maya & Mia Martina

When this version of the Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina smash-hit was covered by New Brunswick’s Mia Martina it was EVERYWHERE! It haunted your dreams and followed you to every club, restaurant and sometimes even Dollarama! When I watched this video for the first time back in 2010 it gave me a new appreciation for the song and Toronto. I can’t recall ever seeing Toronto being shot in that kind of way and it was impressive. Toronto looked European to me in this video.

4. Need You Now – Lady Antebellum

The first time I ever heard this song was after the 2010 Grammy Awards one of my college classes. The professor was showing us some of the effects they used in their performance to create a ghost projector kind of effect. I liked the song so I got home looked for the music video and to my surprise it was filmed in Toronto! If I’m not mistaken this single, ‘Need You Now’ really made Lady Antebellum blow up! You can see King St East, The Patrician Grill, a Beck Taxi and The King Edward Hotel. Great song, great concept and great video.

3. Let Your Backbone Slide – Maestro Fresh Wes

The year was 1989, a young rapper by the name of Wesley Williams had the audacity to make a landmark song and video which finally put Canadian Hip-Hop on the map! You can see a TTC streetcar in the background which 25 years later is still what we use. Undeniably, ‘Let Your Backbone Slide’ breathed life into young Canadians who had dreams of being hip-hop artists. This video was played on MTV in the US and if I’m not mistaken is the Best Selling Canadian Hip-Hop Single of All-Time. Yes kids, there was someone before Drake.

2. The Anthem – Kardinal Offishall

If you are from Toronto and you don’t know Kardi you need to move right now! This video was released in 2011 and it literally should be a tourism video as it shows all the best-known and lesser known landmarks in Toronto. Scarborough, Etobicoke and North York also get some love too! What makes this video even better is that the actual lyrics are a love letter to Toronto. Kardi loves Toronto and Toronto loves you back.

1. Rise Up – The Parachute Club

While this song is a bit before my time you cannot deny the power of this song. ‘Rise Up’ to me is a song demanding equality for all. Toronto has always been in the forefront for equal rights for women, minorities and the LGBT community. The late great politician Jack Layton used this song in his last political campaign. This song was a call to action and people still to this day respond to ‘Rise Up’ all over the place, not just in Canada.

Hope you enjoyed my little list, might you have any favourites?

Waynie

Being ‘Happy’ in Toronto on a Cold Winter Day!

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A friend of mine sent me a link to this video a few days ago and I gotta admit it is pretty infectious! The video was done by Flip TFO

They made -17C look somewhat enjoyable, once you keep an open mind. Dancing throughout the streets of Toronto to Pharrell Williams’ smash hit ‘ Happy’. Sadly, no one was wearing his infamous ‘Arby’s’ style hat in the video.

Really cool to see this group get everyday citizens of Toronto in on the fun too.

Sidenote, don’t forget to check out ‘This Is Not A Toy’ exhibit at the Design Exchange guest curated by the one and only Pharrell Williams going on until May 19th.
http://www.dx.org/index.cfm?pagepath=exhibitions/current_exhibitions&id=47464

Enjoy,

Waynie

A Winter Walk at Harbourfront Toronto…Or Harbour-frozen Pictures!

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I decided to go on a walk a week or so ago despite the cold temperature outside and the logic of why would I want to do such a thing in the midst of winter. Randomly, ended up at Harbourfront eventually and opted to take some pictures of Toronto’s Waterfront. Truthfully, there is quite a lot of construction happening along Queen’s Quay so I had to manoeuvre my way on the streets and lack of sidewalk to take a closer a look at the frozen version of Lake Ontario and I was quite happy with the effort! Not only did I get some cool shots, I also got a slight workout in the process. Proud to say I didn’t slip or fall once and my face didn’t freeze…well right away at least.

This was taken by the Spadina Wavedeck. It was awesome to see the visible chunks of ice with that haunting sky in the background that was good camera filtering!

HTO Park West in the summertime usually has kayakers and people enjoying the sand or laying in the sun. Winter time, not so much!

Along the pier, once you look past the ice and snow its really calm sunset.

The Natrel Skating Rink is one the coolest skating spots in Toronto. Especially, when you consider that you get to take in the view of the Waterfront while you’re skating.

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words and I feel this one speaks volumes. This picture perfectly describes what Toronto has to offer its citizens and anyone visiting us in just 3 words… More Than Enough!

Regards,

Waynie

Soca on Ice Takes Over Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre

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It’s never too cold for SOCA MUSIC! Last month was proof of that as hundreds of people braved the frigid weather to take part in the 4th edition of ‘Soca on Ice’.

Since it’s inception in 2011, as a part of Harbourfront Centre’s DJ Skate Nights, this event has been a complete success bringing together people of all ages and backgrounds who want to feel the Power of Soca delivered by Dr. Jay, ‘De Soca Prince’ who has been a groundbreaking ambassador for soca music not only in Canada but worldwide.

It was a night to enjoy some nice island vibes, take a dance on the ice and come alive as people wave their rags and flags and show their national colours!

In case you weren’t able to attend or if you did attend and want to relive it here are a few video recaps of the night when Soca ‘Tun Ova’ the Waterfront!

The Official Dr. Jay Recap:

Humber News (Trevon Marsh):