Saturday, April 25, 2015


Forget the explorers you learned of in school! All that sloshing around in leaky sailing ships - not to mention the scurvy! Those were your grandmother's explorers.

The social media personification of the modern day explorer goes by the name, Freaktography. This anonymous person is today's breed of explorer, choosing to seek out and show the wonders and mysteries of our own backyards.

Living by the urban explorer's code, "Take nothing but pictures - leave nothing but footprints", Freaktography uncovers and reveals the secret lives of rural and urban abandoned homes, factories, hospitals and other institutions.

Once, while exploring an abandoned house with a friend, they came upon a yellow shopping bag with tightly rolled bundles of American and Canadian bills totalling almost $7,000. After some research, they found the granddaughter of the owners and delivered the found money to her - every dollar. The money had been saved over many years of running a roadside fruit stand.

Born in Niagara Falls, now living west of Toronto, Freaktography has a life outside of documenting decay. He is a student of military and music history. "I guess my love for all things history can explain why I am so passionate about documenting the present state of the past" he says of his urban exploration photography.

When he is not exploring, he spends time with his 8 year-old daughter and his fiancé - he is planning a 2016 wedding!

FREAKTOGRAPHY FUN FACT(S):  When he was 18, he cut off his long hair and joined the army for three years. He has 12 tattoos. He was in a high school band called, Foolish Child. He once had a collection of KISS memorabilia that took up his entire basement! He has since sold the collection.

Check out Freaktography's work:


Friday, April 24, 2015


They came. They ate. They Drank. They met Debbie!

Mike, who works for Autodesk in Toronto, and his friend Dan from Scotiabank were invited to dinner at Fusilli Ristorante for an evening of great food and wine tasting. It was there they met Debbie Shing who was hosting the wine portion of the evening for Mark Anthony, merchants of fine wine.

Mike and Dan were two of many people to come for the evening's event in the small downtown east Italian restaurant. It took no time for the stories to start! Both were filled with stories of their friendship, their antics and their families. Debbi, a relative newcomer to Toronto - from Vancouver, took it all in and soon a new friendship was born.


Thursday, April 23, 2015


It is not every day you see a Canadian librarian in a remote part of the African continent covering a story about a young man building windmills to provide his village with much needed electricity.

Such is the scope of Peggy Mackenzie's interests.

Born in Montreal​, Peggy completed a masters in history before moving to Toronto to work at the Archives of Ontario​. With an interest in research, a love of history and a keen eye for detail, she is an excellent research librarian. Shortly after her contracts were up at the Ontario Archives, she began work at the City of Toronto Archives​ where she worked for seven years.

A job at The Toronto Star​offered her a chance to explore her passions for writing and travel in addition to research. Peggy pitched a story idea and together with photographer Lucas Oleniuk, traveled to the African country of Malawi​. As a Library and Research Specialist, the Star was home for many years before the continued downsizing reached deep into their library.

Peggy is currently a part-time librarian at St. James campus of George Brown College​. 

PEGGY FUN FACT: Peggy and her husband have, for several years, been taking Scottish country dancing lessons. Peggy says of her husband, "He was listening to his wife nag for years" so he signed them up and have been gracing the dance floor ever since!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Paying tribute to the fight his mother went through surviving breast cancer,  Kyle Murdock dedicated himself to boxing, finding an outlet at the gym.

Born in Toronto, Kyle is vice president of sales for real estate brokerage company. In 2007 he was overweight and out of shape. He took his 256 pounds to the Kingsway Boxing Club where he worked out through boxing and conditioning classes to be the trim 185 pounds he is today!

After his mother survived her bout with breast cancer, Kyle joined the Fight To End Cancer and participated in the first year the Fight was held, raising money for cancer research. He is now deeply into cross fit training, training close to six times a week. This, together with his 2 year old son and his job, keeps Kyle on his game.

KYLE FUN FACT: His addiction is following Toronto Maple Leafs prospects! Every morning he checks the stats of every player in the Leafs organization! Thats dedication!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Good food, fine wine and great company. Clockwise from lower left: Dale, Jim, Lady Andrea, Jacqueline, Hernán, Carlos, Not visible, David, Elton, Sir Paul and Kathy.

11 friends enjoy an evening of wine tasting at Fusilli Ristorante in Toronto’s Corktown. The evening was spirited and boisterous, matched only by the four dishes matched with carefully paired wines. 

Giuseppe Pelligra, chef & owner of the restaurant hosted the evening together with Debbie Shing, territory manager of Mark Anthony fine wine merchants. The result was a packed house and for all, a good night.


Monday, April 20, 2015


With a heart and soul as big as Northern Ontario where she lives, Samantha Therien stands next to the willow tree planted in 2009 honouring her grandmother. It was eight feet when planted, but now is 16 feet and leans a little to the left with the prevailing winds.

As a young person growing up, Samantha was always influenced deeply by her "meem", her grandmother who was a registered nurse and mother to four.

Samantha's family moved to the Lake of Bays area, 3 hours north of Toronto partly to be close to and  care for her grandmother. It is not surprising that this special bond has shaped her career and future.

Samantha recently graduated from Canadore College in North Bay as a Registered Practical Nurse. She currently works on call at Muskoka Landing as a nurse, caring for elderly residents.

SAMANTHA FUN FACT: She will get back to us on that! There are so many!


Sunday, April 19, 2015


The four friends from Mississauga, Ontario, Munni, Jashan, Sharanjit and Gursharan are atop the hill at the Lions Lookout in Huntsville, Ontario. They are visiting the area for several days, enjoying spring in Muskoka.

Scrambling up the steep hill, sometimes on all-fours, and glad to be in the warming sun despite the cool wind, they take in a spectacular view. Its the perfect time to come here, to see the last of the ice, thinning in the warming spring, slowly disappear and give way to watercraft.