Saturday, May 2, 2015


Born in Vancouver, Canada, Paul Brown lives in Toronto and teaches computer programming at a Brampton high school.

Beyond his high school teaching, Paul is also interested in social justice and helps run a social justice programme at the school. He is proud to say they have six students who will attend the upcoming G6 Youth Summit in Germany in June.

Paul is also very interested in photography and is Activities Director of the Toronto Urban Photography Festival. We caught up with him leading a group of photographers through the Kensington Market area.

PAUL FUN FACT: For six of the last 20 years, Paul has been a lay minister at his church.


Friday, May 1, 2015


APPOLOGIES for the late posting of today's feature Hello! As the t-shirt suggests, Anna is due to be a grandmother in a week of two after the photo was taken. 

I have been waiting to post Anna on the day her grandchild is born! I am happy to say that there will be a tiny bouncing Hello popping out within the next hour or so! It will be the youngest Hello feature yet! Obviously with not too much information and no fun fact!

Born in Toronto in 1963, Anna was privileged to have survived her childhood despite three bothers, two of them older than she. Growing up in north Toronto and living on the Don River watershed gave he an appreciation for nature. As did the years of camping every summer growing up.

Several years ago, she moved her family north to the Muskoka region to be closer to her mother who had a big influence on her life and her daughter, Samantha's life. See the Samantha post of several days ago.

Anna is a bookkeeper and keeps several clients well sorted financially. She lives in a cozy house almost entirely heated by wood even through the harshest of winters

ANNA FUN FACT: When she was in grade 4, she learned all about the extinction of dinosaurs due to an ice age. Her older brothers were very ernest in telling her she ought to wear her winter coat to bed because she missed the news that another ice age was coming any day! The winter coat worked! She is still very much alive. She is still getting over the trauma!

I know this because... I am one of her older brothers!


Thursday, April 30, 2015


Ever had a close call? Like stepping from the curb just as a car passed? Or slipped on some ice and thought you were so dead? Or maybe an electrical shock installing that outlet on which you forgot to kill the power?

Ha! You ain't got nothing on the comeback kid, Cliff Davidson!

A PhD student, an activist and the executive director of the Toronto Urban Photography Festival, Cliff is a pretty busy guy. When he is not hitting the books or socially engaged or leading photography workshops, he loves spending time enjoying the outdoors. Geocaching, snowboarding, hiking and camping are some of the activities Cliff enjoys to connect himself with nature.

I know you are dying to know the relevance of the first paragraph! so...

CLIFF FUN FACT: Though it's not really considered fun... Cliff was once dead! Yup, he was clinically dead for two minutes after drowning at the age of seven. Cliff says of his experience, "It might explain some of my, uh, shall we say, craziness"! Crazy or not, you gotta know this is pretty amazing - but not so fun! Cliff today - is indeed fun and very much alive!


Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Most university students will tell you of their regrettable experience with wine. But for Debbie Shing, her university experiences and appreciation for wine has led to a career.

A Hong Kong native, Debbie and her family moved to Vancouver when she was three years of age. Debbie has a degree in Communications from Simon Fraser University. While at Simon Fraser, she earned her way through school by working part-time in the British Columbia liquor stores. As well, she connected with several bon vivantes who introduced her to fine wines. Her path was set!

Debbie enrolled in Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), a UK-based organization and completed her certificate in 2014.

Today Debbie teaches WSET courses in downtown Toronto and at Humber College. She is currently Territory Manager for Mark Anthony a fine wine merchant company. She supplies fine wines to many of Toronto's best restaurants.

Beyond her spirited career, Debbie loves to sample good food, wine and enjoys travel. She recently returned from her first trip to Italy which has given her a new goal – to travel to every wine-producing region internationally.

DEBBIE FUN FACT: She practiced the Brazilian martial art, Capoeira for seven years while she lived in Vancouver. Watch out for her flying kicks. Really! Watch out!


Monday, April 27, 2015


"I draw stuff". This was the answer to a question about what Tonia Cowan does at the Globe and Mail newspaper! Not one to push herself on anyone or boast, this is a classic Cowan response.

Tonia is a brilliant graphics journalist who moved to the Globe from the Toronto Star many years ago. Her info graphics work is a blend of "stuff" she draws, tightly produced renderings and data, distilled from often incomprehensibly mined statistics. The result is always big, bold and crafted to give readers the big picture of complex issues that can be understood. Her skills are well recognized and can be seen breaking down electoral ridings, budgets and environmental issues among others.

Tonia recently returned from an assignment she is particularly excited about. Her work surrounding this assignment will be featured in the Globe shortly. To keep the impact of the feature great, I am not mentioning it at this time. One will have to look for it in an upcoming issue. A hint... Its cold there!

TONIA FUN FACT: Tonia is proud to say she is an expert marksman! She quickly qualifies that her prowess with hand guns and riffles is limited to fun fairs and anywhere where rows of plastic ducks or old pop bottles sit, enticing one to win a huge stuffed animal!


Sunday, April 26, 2015


The finely scripted tattoo along her right forearm reads, Made in Sudan, and is a constant reminder of the country in which she was born. It is also the country from which she and her family also fled in 1992 due to the ongoing civil war.

Amanie Illfated is an accomplished pop singer and model. Her voice is smoothly powerful and captivating. Her work as a model is colourful elegant often bold and.

This day, we found her exploring another keen interest, photography. She joined a group from the Toronto-based, Toronto Urban Photography Festival for a workshop held in the Kensington Market area.

AMANIE FUN FACT: A first for The Hello Project, Amanie is ambidextrous. You can find out more about Amanie on her website: