Happy Birthday, MCL!

Holy whoa. Two blog posts in less than 24 hours. Rare but necessary as I just realized that today is the one year anniversary of My City Lives and I just have to send out my love. For those of you who don’t already know, MCL is an online platform that lets you capture and share your daily experiences around the city on video. Presented on an interactive map, these web stories show exactly where each video was filmed so you can learn more about the city based on the stories of others. It's unique and poetic and downright brilliant.

I had the pleasure of collaborating with MCL on behalf of blogUT to shoot some videos exploring the University of Toronto campus. I live and breathe that campus and this city and I just loved being able to document the everyday spaces that make for those simple but extraordinary moments that is la vie.

With MCL Co-Founder Adil & blogUT video partner, Coleman.

I often blog about my travels and love for other cities (see below) but the truth is, Toronto is in my blood. The vibrance of this city just makes me swell with pride and a quick scan through the many videos on the MCL website will show you just what I’m talking about. From our many coffee shops (a staple in my life) to the spaces of innovation, from the obscure spots to find your hipster girlfriend to our Corktown "ukelele jams", MCL captures what makes this city, well, live. It's more than a website, it's a place of discovery.

So with that, happy birthday, MCL! Thanks for bringing in the human dimension that makes our city the pure awesome that it is. Here’s to growing old and grey and taking on more cities than that interactive map of yours can even handle ;)

Sending my love to my friends at MCL (apologies for my sad Photoshop "skills")

Love for Social Media Week

Last week was the second annual Social Media Week, gathering people in nine major cities around the world to join a burgeoning conversation about the emerging trends in online and mobile technologies. It's been an entire year since I was first slowly dipping my toes in this exciting and fast paced world! I remember attending a few events last year to broaden my mind on what social media was all about and to connect with the vibrant tech-savvy community in Toronto.

It's been quite the ride since then and this year I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to actually host an event with Journalists for Human Rights. Of course, I stuck to my passion and what I know best and put together a talk about using social media to spread human rights awareness with my friend and education superstar Carissa MacLennan. We tried to keep our session as intimate, interactive, and hands-on as we could to really drive home our point that though social media is an incredibly powerful tool, there is no law that says it will inevitably produce good. When dealing with something as crucial as human rights, we have a responsibility to use social media in a critical, purposeful, and effective way and our Rights Media framework is a conceptual toolkit that is meant to do just that.

Below is a condensed version of our presentation (minus the many media analysis activities our attendees so brilliantly deconstructed!) to give you a sense of how exactly you can achieve this.

On behalf of jhr, a huge thank you to the SMWTO organizing team and the staff at St. Andrew's Club and Conference Centre for making the whole planning process of this event an absolute breeze on my part! You're all rockstars in my books. And of course, thanks to those who came out and engaged in this very important conversation...hope you'll keep the dialogue going!

Until next year ; )

Workshopping it out.Starting our talk. Photo from @amirad

The Better Side

So Toronto played host to the G20 this weekend and I guess we can all say that it hasn't been all lollipops and rainbows. Hell, it got pretty damn ugly out there (still is as I write this actually) and though the violent elements that took place this weekend cannot be ignored, to give them even more attention would simply give credence to the shit-disturbers who had nothing substantial to contribute. We've seen the ominous photos of the police cars set on fire and the windows that were broken and vandalized repeatedly. And um, I'm done with those, thanks. So how about the other side of the story?

In an attempt to show the more positive and even playful side of this weekend's G20 madness, here are a few of my favourite photos. Is this a fair representation of what went down in Toronto this weekend? Maybe not, but neither are the violent images that have overshadowed the relatively peaceful protests. I'm not trying to paint a naive and pretty picture here but how about giving some much deserved air time to the good that did go down this weekend and paying a little homage to the overwhelming majority of real protestors who went out to fight for real issues?

You can click on the photos to see their original source. If you've got to them on the comment section!

Photo by Nancy Paiva of Torontoist.comPhoto from the Globe and Mail

Photo by Tomasz Bugajski of blogto.comPhoto from @nowtoronto

Photo by Fifth_BusinessPhoto by Lynda ~

Photo by Richard Lautens from the Toronto Star

Au Naturelle


So I decided to commune with nature and the cold winter air yesterday and took a trip out to Peggy's Cove, Lunenburg, and Mahone Bay. Now I'm not your outdoorsie kinda girl but it was definitely nice to get out of the city and see the natural world in all its glory. When we first got to Peggy's Cove I'm telling you, the same feeling of awe that I felt when I visited (dare I say it?) the Grand Canyon rushed right through me...the amazing grandness and immensity of the landscape is more than enough to put you in your place. In the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives it's easy to get lost in it all and forget that there are things much bigger than ourselves. Being right smack dab in the middle of the vast expanse definitely helps to put things into perspective. Cliché? Maybe. But it was my moment of zen.

Before getting there I was a little worried about it being off season and beyond freezing but I'm actually really happy I went there this time of the year instead of the summer time. I can just imagine how packed the place would be with all the tourists and though I'm sure I would've enjoyed it nonetheless, there's something different about seeing a place when it's empty. There's a certain je ne sais quoi about it...a kind of romance of solitude. It's like I had the entire ocean all to myself as I was walking along the rocks...

...But now I'm back in Toronto and back to the daily grind. Loved getting away even if it was just for the weekend. Loved spending time with my mom just hanging out, chatting, chowing down on seafood, and sippin' on lattés like nobody's business! It was refreshing. The pace of life in Halifax is definitely different from here in the city and as much as I enjoyed my quiet time for self-reflection...can't deny that I'm glad to be home. There's nothing quite like the feeling of interconnectedness, of knowing that there's always something exciting happening somewhere, and of being right in the centre of it all! What can I say? I'm just a big city girl and Toronto...I love you.