Saturday, April 18, 2015


From homestead to home rule, Mary Kirley has had a front row seat to upheaval and triumph around the world.

Growing up on a small farm near the town of Lindsay Ontario, her high school years were spent dreaming of escape. 

Mary moved to Toronto in 1984 to study public policy at York University. When her partner, a journalist, was offered a posting in South Africa, she couldn't say, “No”.  She had just started her first ‘real’ job as a policy analyst for the Ontario government, but the call of Africa was too compelling. 

For the next four years Mary witnessed the crumbling of the apartheid regime, riots in the townships, the breathtaking beauty of Cape Town and the release of Nelson Mandela.

A new posting for her partner, a new part of the world, and another seismic event in history was next. Berlin, a city in flux after the collapse of Berlin Wall, and then to London, where she lived close to the home of John Keats. 

In 2007 another move took her to Beijing and into a world completely different from her own. She studied Mandarin and learned to navigate the city of 22 million on her own. "I loved being ‘on the road,’ never knowing what would happen next, a stranger in a strange place”.

Mary is currently working on a new adventure!

MARY FUN FACT: While at university she had a summer job for two years as head cook at a camp where she plated hundreds meals. She has been cooking ever since.


Friday, April 17, 2015


Caught just before heading out to taste some wine, Giuseppe Pelligra stops to say Hello. This warm and hospitable chef & owner of Fusilli Ristorante is a constant in this ever-changing city.

Born in Canada but moved to his parents home in Sicily when he was eight years old, Giuseppe grew up inspired by the land, the people, the wine and food of Italy. After university and meeting his wife, we wanted a change and to explore the country of his birth. He moved back to Canada. 

With two children, he has had a successful neighbourhood restaurant in Toronto's downtown east side for the last 27 years. Given Toronto's fickle restaurant culture, he is a survivor. Fusilli's has been serving savoury classic Italian food here since 1988. Though he has been here for a long time, he is always experimenting with new dishes and new wines.

When he is not wearing his apron, he is socializing with friends, camping, enjoying family walks and sports. He enjoys golf but says he's not very good - but plays for the enjoyment of getting out with friends and to enjoy beautiful surroundings.

Next time you are in Toronto's Corktown neighbourhood and have a hunger for good Italian fare in an intimate restaurant, Giuseppe will welcome you and make you feel like one of the family.

GIUSEPPE FUN FACT: When he is not working the restaurant, he rarely eats Italian food! "Its food I already know! So he explores and enjoys the tastes of other countries.


Thursday, April 16, 2015


Blushing slightly at the attention, Brenda Rutherford rolls her head slightly to the right, looking up. The memories and stories come come flooding back.

Born in Kitchener, Ontario in 1962, but raised in Cobourg until 1979, Brenda studied Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at The University of Guelph. She moved to Toronto in 1984 to work at the Ontario Cancer Institute. There, she studied the structure of proteins and protein-DNA complexes using Electron Spectroscopic Imaging and high resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy.

During the millennium year, she traded the world of small molecules for the world of small people, immersing herself in the world of parenting, raising two accomplished children. "No stone was left unturned, we participated in
as much as possible”. As a family, they navigated the complex world of sports and classical music and the always frustrating public school system. So far she has made it to the point of launching her youngest off into the world, “Life just keeps on getting more interesting”.

An active volunteer, Brenda coordinated school fundraisers, was a classroom helper, lugged hundreds of kids to sporting events, worked in a figure skating office, managed a minor hockey team, was Treasurer of the Adam Beck Community Centre Advisory Group and delivered Meals on Wheels.

BRENDA FUN FACT:  At the age of 30 she and a friend found themselves at a sex show while in Thailand. Saving women from exploitation almost became her life's mission. Maybe it still will become her mission...


Wednesday, April 15, 2015


As a result of the 1915 Armenian genocide, its surviving citizens scattered to neighbouring countries. It was to Tehran, Iran that one family fled and where Sharis Shahmiryan was born. At the age of three, the family moved to Barcelona, Spain, then a couple of years later, on to Canada.

Even before graduating from the York University/Sheridan College design programme, Sharis was scooped up by the Toronto Star art department where she left her mark on the look of the paper in print and interactive design.

Now a producer and designer at Post Media, Sharis uses her skills to elevate reader experiences when interacting with the tablet app for the Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen and the Calgary Herald among others. "I love designing for tablet. Designing for the iPad is a mix of design and the senses. You think of how the reader will interact with your design".

When not working as a visual journalist for Post Media, Sharis is a part-time teacher for the York/Sheridan programme where she gives back and shares her passion for information design and data visualization. In addition to tennis and swimming, Sharis is a dedicated volunteer for the Armenian Community Centre where this photograph was made.

SHARIS FUN FACT: Using her keen visualization skills, she recently she scored a bullseye when at an axe throwing range. "No one messes with me anymore"!


Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Born in Toronto, Nicholas Theodorou is a Toronto-based photographer. I met up with him at the Kingsway Boxing Club in Etobicoke in Toronto's west end, one of a few photographers covering the day's events.

Nicholas became interested in boxing after another photographer introduced him to the gym and to Jennifer Huggins' The Fight To End Cancer. In addition to photographing people and events, Nicholas is interested in personal growth, nature and the out-of-doors.

NICHOLAS FUN FACT: He can juggle! "I can juggle up to 4 things, balls, the rounder the better. It's good for stress relief".


Monday, April 13, 2015


Quite possibly a replacement for Daniel Craig in the James Bond legacy, or looking like he stepped off the set of Dr. Who, Grant Ford is a significant member of another British institution - Sotheby’s.

A great music lover, Grant was born in 1970, a not-so insignificant year in classic rock history. The year Jimi Hendrix died that year as well as the year US National Guardsmen gunned down four unarmed students at Kent State University, inspiring the Crosby Still Nash & Young protest anthem, Ohio. 

Though born in London, he now lives just outside in the countryside with his wife and two daughters. He manages British and Irish art for Sotheby’s UK, mainly 19th and 20th century paintings. He is often on the road keeping in touch with those who have beautiful paintings and who may wish to allow Sotheby’s to auction them.

For a company that began in the 1744, Sotheby’s stills uncovers surprises. Musing on a colourful life, Grant says, “Still in this modern world, I am confronted with great surprises which make every day a non-groundhog day”!

With such a high pressure career, Grant winds down by enjoying time at home with his family.

GRANT FUN FACT: Grant has been featured as a specialist on the British version of the Antiques Roadshow.


Sunday, April 12, 2015


Originally from Wales, Mike Clegg is a wanderer. His life thus far has been spent traveling and working to afford to travel.

While working in London, he met a Canadian girl and moved with her to Canada. When a teaching job came up for her in Vienna, they couldn’t say no and will soon be moving there.

Mike grew up in Buckingham and went to university in Canterbury. He has held several jobs, including television, but it is travel and photography that are his passions. While in Europe, he hopes to be able to expand his current freelance photography. While there, travel will also factor largely not his plans. You can check out his work here:

MIKE FUN FACT: Mike did spend a night in jail. But its not what you think! The place in which he was staying was actually an old jail converted into a hostel.