Yes, it is the week successive to Labor Day… Oh how we lament the passing of yet another too-short summer. But! September means TIFF! Tonight is the opening night of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Above is the trailer for American Pastoral, which is world premiering tomorrow night at the fest; starring Ewan McGregor (also his directorial debut… no big deal), Jennifer Connelly, and Dakota Fanning. And yes, it’s based on the novel of the very same name by Philip Roth, but you already knew that, didn’t you. I’m going to be at the premiere of All I See Is You on Wednesday night, but oh, how I wish I could see this masterpiece above as well. I’m telling you, the trailer itself could win a short-film competition.

OK more to come in the following week. I’ll definitely do a review of All I See Is You. Happy festival season, everybody!

personal life

toronto, toronto

my peeps!

just want to share some photos of my city with y’all. all images are mine.


Toronto skyline



Hockey Hall of Fame (and the CN Tower in the background)



Cocina Economica (Corktown)



Cocina Economica (exterior)


Brookfield Place



Hearn Generating Station — Fun fact, Pacific Rim was filmed here



Fairmont Royal York Hotel



Neighborhood off of Danforth, in the East End



Gooderham Building — Toronto’s flatiron building, and yes CN tower lurking in the background once again



Dominion Public Building — built between 1926 and 1935



And of course, the CN Tower deserves a photo of its own.


What city are you from? What buildings are you most proud of?



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views from echo


Views from echo 📷: @ceelobeck

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last week I went to a halsey concert. I think it was the whitest concert I’ve ever been to– I turned to my friend and asked: you think we’re the only ethnic people here? it was a great performance. you guys wanna see pics?

what concerts gave you the buzziest memories? let me know in the comments!


Located in Toronto, Ontario, Adam Fullerton’s fixtures and installations are not only stylish and utilitarian, but also reincarnated from items seen as “unglamorous”.

Read my full showcase on Houseporn.

All images courtesy of Adam Fullerton Creative Design and Upcycling.

architecture, writing

Adam Fullerton Design In Toronto Creates Upcycled Treasures

design, writing

How the TTC plans to transition to digital ticketing, one experiment at a time |

Earlier this year, when the TTC told us about its digital ticketing aspirations, we didn’t consider how rudimentary its first crack would be.

Available during the Pan Am Games and beyond, TTCconnect, available for iOS and Android, is an app in which users can pay for and display two types of daily passes for access to streetcars, subways and buses around Toronto.

It’s simple, and that’s the point. According to Micah Bergdale, founder and CEO of Bytemark Inc., developer behind the app, the opportunity for the TTC to dip its toe into the digital ticketing space has been a long time coming. “The product needed to be simple and straightforward,” he said, acknowledging that Toronto’s transit authority has been comparatively slow to adopt any form of mobile payments. Though Bytemark is the de facto developer of digital payment solutions for North American transit agencies, for TTC this is nothing more than an experiment. “They wanted to see what kind of traction it would get.”

Despite the app’s simplicity, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. Bytemark facilitates the account creation and payment processing for its users, allowing TTC riders to purchase a day pass or group pass at home before heading out for the day. It even issues digital tokens that, like any credit card payment, can be checked for fraud. Riders merely need to open the app and show the animated TTC ticket while boarding the vehicle.

Bytemark’s solution is meant not to replace or impede other forms of digital ticketing, namely Presto, but to complement it. As the TTC discontinues paper tickets and tokens, moving towards a fully digitized system that works across the entire Metrolinx ecosystem, TTCconnect is a way to fill in the gaps.

In fact, Bytemark owns the entire Metrolinx digital ticketing stack, which means it’s eligible to create mobile payment experiences for all 17 transit authorities across the network. And while Presto will eventually replace physical currency, it’s unlikely to take the place of specialty tickets like day passes, which require manual inspection by the drivers.

And now that TTCconnect exists, it can become a portal for all of the Commission’s public interactions on mobile. Indeed, while the app is barebones today, it will soon carry disruption notices, coupons and other marketing materials.

Bergdale says that digital ticketing is just one piece of the payment cycle, too. On Future Railway in the U.K., Bytemark has undertaken to bring Bluetooth into the mix, allowing phones, even screen off and tucked away in a pocket, to communicate with a terminal. In other markets, the company is experimenting with Beacons, an especially prescient move given today’s announcement, and plans to more thoughtfully integrate location-based coupons and promotions in coming versions.

In short, customers disappointed with the narrow scope of TTCconnect can rest easy: this is just the beginning of a long and slow process for the traditionally conservative transit authority, but Bergdale assures me there is a lot more to come.

Unfortunately for him, and for the TTC, someone has already constructed an app that mimics the functionality of the TTCconnect app. At this point it’s iOS-only, and can only be loaded on to a jailbroken iPhone, but there’s no reason to think a similar product won’t come to Android soon enough.

While the adoption is likely to be minimal, its presence speaks to the transient, and likely incomplete nature of solutions such as this. Mobile payment solutions like Apple Pay, which upon launching in the U.K. today will interact with the Oyster network, are much more secure, and long-term, solutions.

— Written by Daniel Bader

This is all well and good, but how about non-smartphone users? Our parents/grandparents who are still using flip phones, and not to mention, are perfectly happy with them? People with phone plans that don’t offer them data? Prepaid folks? I would love to see technology being integrated into the public transit system in Toronto, trust me, I do; but phasing out tickets and tokens altogether may not be the way to go.

But that’s just my two cents.

via How the TTC plans to transition to digital ticketing, one experiment at a time |

art, review, SPOTLIGHT

Falling Slowly… for the Toronto Cast of Once

Where should I even begin with this group? I saw the Toronto production of the musical Once on Friday night. To say they put on a great show would be an understatement. Some background info– I’m not familiar with the book or movie. I knew of their existence but I was initially only interested in watching the show put on at the Ed Mirvish Theatre.


That changed when everyone in the audience sprang from their seats to give the cast a standing ovation, myself included. I had already had high expectations upon entering the theater; having read overwhelmingly positive reviews of the Toronto production’s performance. The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail gave the performance 4 out of 5 stars, while NOW Magazine gave it 5. I looked up the movie on Rotten Tomatoes, and upon seeing that it rated 97% on the tomato meter, I knew I had to go see it.


I was not disappointed. The most impressive part of this production is that the cast is kept to a minimum– there are no separate dancers or musicians. Rather, every actor on stage is also a talented singer or musician (or both), and damn can they dance. Equal parts funny and touching, Once keeps you smiling both for the humor and the beautiful music.


My friend and I were originally going to get the $69 tickets, but when we bought the tickets, there were no more $69 seats for the night we picked, so we “settled” for the $29 seats. The guy told us that the seats would be to the side, on the second row, but we brushed that off as him trying to make the situation sound better than it was. Imagine our surprise as we got to our seats that were literally in the second row, separated only by one row in front of us from the stage. The stage was literally 3 feet in front of us. I’ve circled our seats in red in the picture above. You can see from the picture at the top of the post how good we had it.


I went home happy with the songs still stuck in my head, so I decided to listen to them again on YouTube. I stumbled upon some videos from productions of the same play in different cities, and compared the performances of the lead actresses to that of Trish Lindström’s. Lindström did an excellent job of making the character her own, injecting little mannerisms and movements in to her performance. There’s one idiosyncrasy in particular that I loved while watching in my seat, and I only realized its genius after watching other productions of Once. In one scene, Lindström picks up the male lead’s guitar case. Instead of grabbing it by its handle, she chooses to use her entire arm to pick up the case, in turn hugging the neck of the guitar case to her body. The eager yet clumsy movement is made even funnier when she repeatedly hoists up the case, shifting its weight in her arm, as if she was holding a child that didn’t know to latch on to her neck. This wonderful and inefficient guitar-case-carrying technique was absent in all the subsequent videos I watched, which only made Trish Lindström’s performance shine more brightly in my mind.

I also looked up the actor who played the male lead’s ex-girlfriend… I may or may not have really liked the dress and cowboy boots she was wearing. I found out that not only does Stephanie Cadman do theatre, she’s also an award-winning, tap-dancing fiddler. Not to mention, she’s in one of my favorite Canadian country bands, Belle Starr. Here’s a video of Cadman tap-dancing all over Toronto to Bach played by Lara St. John that is sure to put a smile on your darling face. The joy with which both women perform is infectious.

Clearly, Once was a show I enjoyed thoroughly. It only gets better as you do your research and see the other projects the cast is involved in, and it is a show I would recommend to anyone thinking of going.

Have you seen Once? Are there any shows you loved or would like to see? Leave it in the comments below!