Saturday, August 15, 2015


Originally from Yokohama, Japan, Misuzu Ochiai came to Canada six years ago to study English. She studied well since her English is excellent. Her mother and older sister sill live in Japan. She has a cousin, also in Toronto who is now studying English.

Misuzu is a hair stylist in North York and enjoys what she does cutting and styling men and women's hair. Asked if I need a haircut she tips her head from side to side evaluating the most diplomatic response! Yes!

Appearing well rested, one would not assume she only just returned from a visit to Japan a few days ago. An active woman, she enjoys playing Frisbee and going out with friends enjoying the outdoors. In addition, Misuzu loves to travel. Spain, Peru, France, Korea, Turkey are among the countries she enjoys.


Friday, August 14, 2015


All smiles and effervescent, Shaunda Ryan is one of the thousands of support staff working behind the finish lines of the Toronto Pan Am games.

Originally from Saint Vincent, Shaunda came to Canada at the age of 10 when her father sponsored her in 2004 for better opportunities and education. She has finished Hospitality Management at Seneca College and is thinking she may change and go into a medical profession next. "I just know I want to go into the medical field, maybe a nurse," she says considering all options. But for now she is taking the summer to decide while keeping athletes rooms clean, fresh and welcoming after a day of competition.

SHAUNDA FUN FACT: Many of the athletes she meets on her rounds ask if she speaks Spanish. The Cuban team members, knowing Shaunda does not speak Spanish have animated conversations with her all through Google's translation software. Where there is a will, there is a language. Breathless, she runs for her bus to head home.


Thursday, August 13, 2015


Behind their office building in downtown Toronto, Jason and Bo and another colleague (not pictured) enjoy a few laughs, and conversation during an afternoon break. Both men are from the central China city of Wuhan, capital city of Hubei province.

Working for Hydro One, the Ontario hydro utility which provides Ontario with electricity, Jason and Bo spend their days going over technical drawings and designs. One can imagine this to be a highly technical and detailed job. 

To balance their duties by day, the find time to enjoy life beyond their desks. Being modest, Jason, a golfer says he is "average" on the golf course. Bo and his camera-shy colleague de-stress on the badminton court.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Spending their last high school summer relaxing and enjoying friends and family, Yanely Soriano and friend Windrick Maranan hang out in Underpass Park in Toronto's downtown east side. 

A student at St. Joseph's Collage in Toronto, Yanely looks beyond high school. "I want to study to be a marine biologist. I just like animals more than people," she says of what she would like to study. Smiling over to Windrick on his swing, she admits, "He's ok, for a human, but I won't be studying him in future courses."

Quiet and observant, Windrick laughs at the teasing, a gentle friendship that began in elementary school. Laid back with an easy smile, Windrick looks forward to a career in the culinary arts. Not far away is George Brown College where they offer an excellent programme. "I really like baking. When I was little, I used to like watching Cake Boss! I like those baking wars on TLC too". 

YANELY FUN FACT: "I went night swimming once. We snuck into a pool, hopping over the fence when I was in grade 9," she reveals of the night she and a friend went swimming at the Riverdale outdoor pool. "It was cool. The lights were off. Only the lights from the street were glowing into the water. It was really fun, but we were nervous about being caught".

WINDRICK FUN FACT: Nothing aquatic for Windrick, but a good tale of swine. "Once when I was visiting a friend's cottage, we went to a nearby farm and took one of their piglets at night," he says of their caper, still looking slightly nervous! "The next morning we returned the piglet to the farmers and they were relieved". Describing their evening with the pig, Windrick says they were curious about the animal and played with it. "We just fed it water. We didn't know what else a piglet eats"!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Dragon about town, Dave is seen here at a fundraising even for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation where people have raised huge sums of money only to have their hair cut off – all of it! Somehow Dave escaped to comb another day! 

For three seasons, Dave has also come into our homes as one of the Dragons on Dragon's Den. This hit CBC television series features entrepreneurs who enter the nouveau-grunge den with hope in hand for Dave and others to invest in their business ideas.

Author of the huge best selling book, The Wealthy Barber, David Chilton is an impressive man in every respect. He is sincerely interested in everyone he meets, greeting them with an enormous handshake, comforting smile and a sense of humour.

Originally from Sarnia, Ontario, David and his family call the Waterloo region of Ontario home. It is here he runs his financial planning and publishing businesses. With his expert knowledge of personal financial management, he has returned recently with the sequel, The Wealthy Barber Returns – on shelves now.

DAVID FUN FACT: David's humour and affability shows in his love of treats. In a late night email to The Hello Project he proclaims: "I think Nibs are the greatest food ever!" We have yet to determine if he prefers black or red. Researchers are on it!


Monday, August 10, 2015


There is the saying, "You can't really understand another person's experience until you've walked a mile in their shoes." For journalist, Katie Daubs​, she has done that. Many times. She has walked miles to live the experiences in her stories. Whether living underground with no fresh air for two weeks or walking hundreds of miles along Europe's Western Front – Katie lives the stories she loves to tell.

Growing up in the small town of Forest, Ontario​, Toronto must have seemed a jungle after graduating from journalism at Carlton University​ in Ottawa, Ontario​. Natural, empathetic and curious are the things that make people stop and open their hearts, homes and lives to Katie. 

One story she worked was the challenge to stay inside and underground for two weeks without breathing fresh air or feeling a fresh breeze on her face, all the while connecting with those who travel Toronto's subterranean city. She walked miles every day from one end of the city to the other – all inside. She met a pastor who used to be a pro football player, the barbers who cut the hair of transnational executives, gave directions to lost visitors and helped an elderly woman who came to the city to search for her long lost brother. She became known as Toronto's Pathologist after exploring the PATH system and the other tunnels and subways that make up almost 20 miles of underground Toronto.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I, Katie and photographer Richard Lautens​ set out to walk the Western Front. Along the route she met those who were touched by the sacrifices of tens of thousands who died. Her gentle spirit and insightful story telling took us into people's homes and lives. Each day we read her dispatches and smelled the lush grass, felt the rain and listened as tearful stories were told. Walking hundreds of miles took everyone back to live those days through her experiential journalism.

On here epic journey through Europe to tell the story of the Western Front, Katie remarks, "That was the project that really got me interested in historical reporting. By walking that physical landscape, which is really all the remains from the first world war because everyone is dead. I saw how important it was to interact with history in a modern way by talking with people who are there now and finding decedents and creating links to the past."

KATIE FUN FACT: "I have never grown out of my picky eating!" She says, laughing about her quirks! "I don't like some things on the plate touching other things. I get weird looks everywhere when I order food." Having written about her eating habits, for The Toronto Star​, she once again touched the hearts of many. She discovered she was not alone – there is a huge community out there of adult picky eaters! "There is an actual condition, I don't have it". With that she sets of to Subway​ to get a pizza sub. The man behind the counter was very kind and gave Katie her toppings in separate containers!


Sunday, August 9, 2015


Let's face it, the impression on has of Russians through film and other media, is that they are tough, resilient and not afraid of anything. Ok, it's a generalization, but for Svetlana Yanina, nothing could be farther from the truth. For her, one innocent, small and unthinkable thing will bring this woman to her knees!

Born in Moscow, Russia she came to Canada in 2009 as a visitor. She loved it here so much that she now calls Canada home. "Now it is 2015, and I'm still here and I love it," she says of the country and city that has adopted her. She is especially proud because she is now a Canadian citizen with a passport and a year's worth of museum and art gallery passes issued to her with her shiny new citizenship!

She recently left her job as a legal administrative assistant to pursue a career in freelance photography. She is an active member of the enthusiastic and active group, TorontoCLICKS. As well, she is often participating in other photo walks such as FujiTuesday, a dedicated group of urban photographers embracing the Fuji system for their work.

Fearless and good-natured, Svetlana will embrace anything and everything enthusiastically. Photographically, she will endure mosquito-filled nights, long distances and other discomforts to "get the shot" or to push her photographic abilities. However, there is a dark and looming spectre that can, if confronted with, will send her running in fear...

SVETLANA FEAR FACT: Her partner and close friends know the darkness that haunts Svetlana. This is potent knowledge and is used on occasion to keep her grounded or for sheer amusement! The Hello Project had never heard of this rare condition so we went to the one source that could shed light on the subject – Google! Sure enough, her condition is documented and is known as Ranidaphobia. The term does not exactly jump out at you, but the phobia does! It is the fear of frogs! Ribbbit!