Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ethical Travel Tips from FOUR PAWS: Many holiday attractions are connected to animal suffering

From a media release:

Ethical Travel Tips:
FOUR PAWS - Many holiday attractions are connected to animal suffering

Boston, July 2017 – When traveling, it’s easy to get lost in the idea, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Taking part in different cultural customs are new and exciting experiences. Unbeknownst to many travellers, however, is how often animal cruelty is associated with tourist attractions and cultural practices.

Elephant and camel rides, bull fighting, taking selfies with a lion cub, and visiting circuses all contribute to exploiting animals and giving money to those who do. FOUR PAWS urges vacationers to take animal welfare into consideration when planning your vacation. Be wary of these signs and take proactive measures to ensure your vacation is both fun and ethical!

Young Animals

“The alarm bells should sound as soon as there is a possibility to take selfies or other pictures with a baby animal,” warns Thomas Pietsch, FOUR PAWS Wild Animal Expert. Animals in this environment are used solely for profit. “Some of the most popular tourist attractions offer rides on elephants, ponies, donkeys or camels. These animals may be exposed to the sun and heat for the whole day without getting enough fresh water or shade. It’s important to know that elephants in particular are often mistreated as babies to make them docile. The will of these animals is downright broken,” states Pietsch.

Many petting zoos, a common attraction in the U.S. and abroad, do not have species-appropriate enclosures for animals. Baby and adult animals are often kept in deplorable conditions without regard for the animal’s comfort or natural instincts. In particular, lion cub petting farms in South Africa have an added element of cruelty. “Tourists are excited about petting a lion cub, but they don’t know that the cute cubs will likely grow up to become victims of the canned hunting industry,” Pietsch explains. Canned hunting involves lions that are bred in captivity, raised by hand, then hunted and killed within a fenced area with no chance of escape. By paying to pet cubs and take pictures with them, tourists are unknowingly contributing to this cruel industry.” The link between lion cub breeding farms and canned hunting facilities is far too inhumane. The end result: these animals are bred to die.
Tiger cub at a breeding farm


In some countries, a high number of stray animals roam the streets. Visiting tourists may want to help these animals by feeding them, not knowing their efforts are causing more harm than good. Feeding strays causes the animals to get used to a human food source and contributes to increased growth of the stray animal population. Once the summer season is over and tourists are gone, these animals no longer have a food source and more animals are left hungry. Uncontrolled stray populations can pose risks to humans and animals through aggressive conflicts, spread of diseases, and other welfare problems.


FOUR PAWS recommends steering clear of sports or contests involving animals. These events include traditional bullfighting in Spain and Portugal and other dog, bear, or rooster fights in other parts of the world. Orchestrators of animal fights share the view that the audiences’ entertainment is based on the torment of animals. These events are cruel in themselves, but also involve prior mutilation of the animals involved. For bull fights, bulls are goaded deliberately through means of aggravation. This includes being punched in the kidney area, having their genitals pierced with needles or being injected with drugs to disorient them before a fight. The end result? A gruesome death typically resulting in the animal choking on its own blood.
Stray dogs in Bulgaria; Photo by Mihai Vasile


Most cities have taken to banning animal circus performances. However, some still allow it. It is important to avoid these events and be familiar with the practices animals are forced into. Circus animals must adapt to abnormal surroundings and perform unnatural behaviours. Solitary animals like tigers or bears may be penned up together while social animals like elephants are kept alone – chained up for hours on end – until they need to perform. The keeping and transportation of these wild animals in circuses result in the saddest forms of captivity. Most of their life is spent in cages or tiny enclosures, moving from place to place and causing extreme stress for the animals. As long as the audience keeps visiting and spending money to keep these “big tops” in business, animals will continue to suffer.

Alternative solutions

FOUR PAWS suggests that animal loving tourists visit national parks or animal sanctuaries if they want to get closer to nature. In South Africa for example, FOUR PAWS runs LIONSROCK, a species-appropriate sanctuary for big cats that were rescued from zoos, circuses and inappropriate private keeping conditions.

• LIONSROCK also provides accommodation for tourists (

When in an area with a large stray population, FOUR PAWS suggests tourists donate to a local animal shelter to support proper care for the local strays.

Last but not least, Pietsch advises caution when buying souvenirs, stating, “Many shops sell items made from ivory, turtle shell, exotic animal leather or coral. Buying such products adds to the danger of extinction of protected species.” Importing souvenirs made from endangered species is illegal and according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), is punishable by fines and other penalties.

Travel cruelty free!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Morgan Street Whisky Stones - Stop Watering Down Your Drinks!

From a media release:

Unique, Handcrafted Whisky Stones To Keep Your Drink Colder, Longer...Without Watering It Down
Morgan Street designs unique handcraft whisky stones to preserve your drink and your dignity.

Support their KICKSTARTER campaign

MONTREAL -- Ice cubes are either too warm at the first sip, or it melts and waters down the drink.  The Morgan Street Company designs uniquely-shaped chilling stones to preserve both drinks and dignity.
Morgan Street Whisky Stones
Their story begins in 1880 at the Simon Powell and Son’s Distillery where an engineer built a pressure cooker that was intended to improve efficiency.  One day there was a clog in the line and the boiler exploded.  Witnesses say that the clog was blown through the roof almost straight up in the air.

It landed 175 feet west of the distillery. On Morgan Street.

The founders (William Yin and Sam Zaghal) love this story because the history of alcohol is filled with risk-takers and innovators.  They honor them by designing the best drinking accessories for the world’s whisky-lovers, tequila-shooters, bourbon-gulpers, scotch-soakers, gin-sippers and vodka-guzzlers.

On Kickstarter the founders have set a goal to raise $CA 20,0000. The various sets of chilling stones start at 19 USD.  The stones come in unique shapes:
  • Skulls 
  • Tetradecahedrons (14 sides)
  • Large cylinders 
  • Hexagons
  • Cubes 
The chillings stones are made from soapstone. The material has high specific heat capacity which keeps a drink colder for longer.

The company is building a brand and has plans to create other unique accessories.  Morgan Street wants to build a community and eventually create their own liquors.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Cavalia Odysseo in Mississauga - Ticket Deal

Ticket Discount
To July 23 2017

Use code SOCIAL at for 15 percent off VIP and Gold tickets for Odysseo in Missisauga. #'OdysseoSAUGA

The word "breathtaking" is over used these days and has lost a lot of its real meaning, but this show puts the real thrill back into it with spectacular staging, 60 talented riders, and of course, 65 gorgeous horses.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Toronto Travel News: The hotly anticipated Broadview Hotel officially soft opens on July 27th 2017

From a media release:

Toronto Travel News:
The hotly anticipated Broadview Hotel officially soft opens on July 27th 2017

Toronto, ON – The Broadview Hotel, a partnership between Streetcar Developments and Dream Unlimited, announced today that it will officially open its doors on July 27 for a soft-opening to welcome patrons over the summer as they roll out their full offering. Behind the iconic 126-year old façade lie 58 guestrooms, a lively lobby Café + Bar, The Civic a ground floor restaurant opening late summer, a striking Rooftop lounge, and 4,000+ square feet of event space. A charismatic gathering spot with a rich and storied past, The Broadview’s revival celebrates local east end culture with a hint of old-world grace. Rooms start at $309 CAD and can be booked at

“We are delighted to have visitors explore and experience what we have been crafting, curating and creating within the walls of The Broadview Hotel,” says Les Mallins, President of Streetcar Developments and hotel proprietor. “Our vision is to create a destination that honours the building’s history and transforms the space into a landmark hub that reflects east end culture. The building has been a cornerstone in the community and we’re excited to welcome people back inside.”
The Broadview Hotel's restored façade.
Photo credit: Michael Rousseau
Award-winning studio DesignAgency’s approach to comfort blends classic elements with unexpected eclectic accents. Designed to offer a warm welcome, each room features bold, luxurious textiles that add subtle nods to the past.  Guests will be greeted by king-sized beds, a feature in every room, topped with luxury linens; an evening turndown service ensures guests are settled in for maximum relaxation. In some guestrooms, stunning terraces act as a garden-like haven for those seeking a private outdoor urban getaway.

Guests will enjoy a variety of carefully selected amenities including a mini bar equipped with locally-sourced goods curated by local coolhunter, Good Neighbour.  As guests get comfortable they can set the mood using the in-room vinyl record player, complete with a thoughtful album selection featuring a variety of genres from jazz to hip hop provided by neighbouring partner, Tiny Record Shop.  Another local partnership with luxury, plant-powered skincare brand, Graydon Skincare will allow guests to pamper themselves from head to toe during their stay.

All of the guestrooms will feature artwork curated through a partnership with Tatar Art Projects and Project Gallery. “The team at The Broadview Hotel was keenly interested in using local artists throughout the hotel,” says Darren Alexander, President, Tatar Art Projects. “Guests will be engaged via subtle storytelling throughout the public spaces and guestrooms. Each piece has been carefully selected for its relevance.”

Dine and Drink
The Broadview Hotel’s food and beverage program, conceptualized by notable restaurateurs Erik Joyal and John Sinopoli, will make dining an experience celebrating Toronto’s past and future.

“Each of our menus are distinct, inspired by different elements from Toronto’s past. There will be a focus on seasonal ingredients, with each menu telling its own story,” says Sinopoli, Executive Chef. “At The Broadview, we will honour traditional notions of hospitality and conviviality, whether it's enjoying a simple classic cocktail or a multi-course experience, we want you to feel the warmth of our welcome.”

The Broadview Hotel offers a classic approach to hospitality, one that is welcoming and attentive. Service will be provided by a keen team of professionals who will be stylishly outfitted in technical apparel by Canadian fashion brand Kit and Ace.

The Café + Bar, located on the main floor, will serve locally roasted coffee, a wide selection of pastries and confections to start the day, with flavourful salads and other light options served for lunch. As evening falls, the Café will transition into an elegant Bar, offering a raw bar and an exciting menu of sparkling wines and innovative cocktails.
The Broadview Hotel Oysters & Sparkling Wine.
Photo credit: Paula Wilson
Situated atop the hotel, The Rooftop offers 360 degrees of uninterrupted views of the Toronto skyline and local east end neighbourhood. Perfect for summertime gatherings, the laid-back yet sophisticated space allows guests to sip drinks and nibble snacks under open skies or underneath the architecturally stunning pyramidal skylight. Fresh flavours are highlighted through dishes, such as the Bay Scallop Ceviche, which features white sweet potato, lime and chili leche de tigre, salted cucumber, crispy garlic and cilantro. The Rooftop is also an unforgettable location for celebrating any occasion day or night.

Event Spaces 
In Lincoln Hall, exposed brickwork and steel-beams provide 3,000 square feet of characterful event space on the second floor of the hotel. The venue, equipped with a custom bar and dedicated kitchen, can accommodate up to 150 guests for seated dinners and up to 270 for cocktail receptions. Extend the party to Lincoln Terrace, a 1,000 square foot outdoor space overlooking Queen Street East.

The Broadview also offers event space in The Tower, the crown of Riverside’s architectural showpiece. Its vaulted ceiling, warm wood tones and historic windows provide a gorgeous yet intimate setting for private dining.

The Broadview Hotel welcomes guests to the east end. For more information or to book a room or event, please visit,

About The Broadview Hotel
Located in the heart of Riverside at the corner of Queen St. E. and Broadview Ave., The Broadview Hotel is a boutique hotel, restaurant, lobby Café + Bar and Rooftop bar opening in July 2017. The Romanesque Revival-style building constructed in 1891 is a heritage property, as designated by the City of Toronto. Cleverly reimagined as a charismatic gathering spot, each space is infused with the spirit of the east end: it’s a place where international travellers relax alongside local residents. Drawing from The Broadview’s iconic façade, visitors and community members will enjoy a uniquely crafted hospitality experience.

About Streetcar Developments
Since 2002, Streetcar Developments has designed and developed a series of mixed use, community-centric projects in some of Toronto’s most beloved neighbourhoods. Along the way they have earned accolades for being a different kind of developer who invests in exciting neighbourhoods, improving the quality of entire communities. With an unwavering commitment to build a more liveable and culturally rich Toronto, Streetcar eagerly accepts its responsibility to do its part to ensure this great city achieves its potential.

About Dream
Dream (TSX:DRM) is one of Canada’s leading real estate companies with approximately $14.5 billion of assets under management in North America and Europe. In Toronto, Dream has successfully developed numerous residential projects including Pure Spirit, Clear Spirit, & Gooderham Condominiums in the Distillery Historic District; Canary District, and The King Edward Private Residences.

Instagram: @BroadviewHotel
Twitter: @BroadviewHotel
Facebook: The Broadview Hotel
Hashtag: #BroadviewHotel

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Recently released: Les Techno - Whatever Happened to Les Techno? EP (Independent, May 1 2017)

Recently released:
Les Techno - Whatever Happened to Les Techno? EP
(Independent, May 1, 2017)

Buy it on iTunes

Les Techno's press material ironically quotes a record A&R guy who told him,  "You know, genre mixing in this business is dangerous." It's advice he luckily never heeded for this intriguing new release.

Trophy Wife is the first single from the EP, a jangly mixture of trippy beat, guitars, and sampled harmony vocals. The song becomes a densely textured layering of elements. It's a sound that gives a nod to older genres, but weaves them into something new. He calls it "post-punk" in his literature, and it's as good a label as any.

The essence of what makes compelling music - melody, harmony, groove - are here, just mixed into unexpected combinations. Who Do You Believe? leans heavier into the psychadelic left field, where Soul of the Machine is an alt-rock anthem.

Vocally, he reminds me of Karl Wallinger (World Party) both stylistically and in terms of sound. He's fluid, with a mannered delivery that works in his music. At times, he adds a harsh edge that brings him closer to U2's Bono.

Old House is a stand out track, an inventive concoction that again layers sounds and rhythms. The lyrics take familiar ideas and give them a new spin.

I knew that you were disappointed
I read your lipstick on the wall
We both knew it wouldn't last forever
Though they said we had it all

The fifth track, Salvation, is a “paradise garage” house record remix of Who Do You Believe? that links back to other recent work in the studio. He wrote and produced reggae dance-hall records for Georgie Blacks ("Kickup Unwine"/ RCA) and Willie One Blood (RCA), techno dance records for Stimulator ("Are you a Freak?"/ PowWow), and a latin hip hop record for Daniela ("So Hot, Too Hot"/ Invasion). He produced tracks for hip-hop artist Dry White Toast and pop singer Lizzie Tripp.

While working on his "studio tan," Les made hip-hop tracks with rap artists Onyx (Def Jam/Sony) (among others). He worked with R&B artist Ava Cherry and with the late, legendary funkmaster Bernie Worrell on a record to benefit the Aids Health Crisis Center in New York City (Downtown, Virgin/EMI). You can hear his classic hip-hop influences in Trophy Wife and in Soul of the Machine.

More recently, Les Techno wrote songs and played in the NYC band “The New Irrelevants”, which became a fixture in the NYC metropolitan bar scene for a few years.


Jazz: Danii Roundtree - New Single 'Crave' & Upcoming Release 'Memoirs'

Jazz CD
Danii Roundtree - Memoirs
Release date: TBA Summer 2017

• Check out the first single, 'Crave' on Spotify
Keep an eye out for the release on her FB page

Smooth jazz with a retro flavour and sparkling vocals that light up the tracks are what you can expect from Memoirs, the upcoming release by vocalist Danii Roundtree. In keeping with the old school musical genres Danii explores on the release, the lyrics are entirely inspired by her memories. In the press materials, she says,

"Memoirs is an album written from true life events. We all have that one love story that ends before it starts. And I just so happen to be a singer/ songwriter who documents through song. This album is literally a collection of my memoirs. All the records are personal. The sound has a throwback feel that is Jazz-oriented with Funk and Soul elements; cleverly coined as 'Retro'. I hope to one-day transition into acting, so I wrote the album as though it was a never-ending Retro movie soundtrack. Ultimately, with the end goal of its contents being put in television, film, commercials, and one day becoming its own short film."

Begun with an intro that's half spoken, half sung, Crave, the second single off the upcoming release, showcases Danii's fluid vocals, particularly in a sweet high range against an old school RnB groove.

The first single was released last year. Good Day Lover features Jai Black, and the song has a smooth jazz feel, with shimmery effects, keyboards, and a poetic horn line that complement her sweet soprano.

Juke Box Boogie goes right back to the early days of the Jazz Age  for its inspiration, while Magic and Caroline both hypnotize with a relentless Motown era groove. My Man is definitely a show tune in waiting, with its upbeat swing and a Broadway finish.

Pillow Talk is reminiscent of Golden Era songs like Fever, the Peggy Lee classic, in its bouncing jazzy rhythm. Danii adds horns and keyboard to create a lush arrangement that beautifully complements her voice. She achieves a nice tonal range along with her multi-octave range when it comes to pitch, from a sultry alto to a rich soprano. It's that effortless sounding vocal fluidity that makes every track stand out on its own merits.

Danii's a native of Atlanta, Georgia. She began singing and performing at age 11, turning pro in 2009, and she's been building a reputation locally for her live performances since then. In May of 2017, she made her debut at the 40th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival, and plans on many more live gigs leading up to the album's release sometime later this summer.

As an actress, her credits includ Motown The Musical, Shakin the Mess Outta Misery, Aint' Misbehavin, Porgy & Bess, Lucky Stiff, Smokey Joe's Cafe, Purlie, The Laramie Project, and RAGTIME.

Memoirs is a polished collection of tracks with Danii's voice to raise the music well above the masses of new releases. It will be interesting to see more of her work in the years to come.

Socal media:
Twitter: @daniiroundtree

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Upcoming release: Andrew Goldring - Morning Light (Independent, July 1 2017)

Upcoming release:
Andrew Goldring - Morning Light
(Independent, July 1, 2017)

Buy the CD

Andrew Goldring offers a memorable entry into the psychadelic Americana/singer-songwriter canon with Morning Light, his upcoming EP. It's the Salt Lake City, UT native's first release as a solo artist, after spending the last 5 years or so fronting two different bands. Morning Light is self produced, and mixed/mastered by Philip Shaw Bova (Feist, Andy Shauf, Bahamas).

The result is a lush sound with a layered texture. Goldring has a well defined sound that takes over your brain waves. Cosmic Dance, appropriately enough, is languid and trippy, a layered synth-pop sound with an anthemic melody. The vocals are whispery against the ebb and flow of the music.

Maybe God just speaks in images
Reflections painted on our eyes...

As a writer and composer, Andrew offers well crafted songs and thoughtful lyrics. He ponders universal questions with a fresh perspective, including the well worn topic of love. From Let Me Be,

You were like a ceiling, hanging above my head
But you could string my heart strings 
Till the end of all reason
Now my mind keeps on spinning...

Beautiful Lie is a standout track, a beautiful listen with soaring, poignant vocals and a mournful mood wrapped up in a slow, deliberate, and hypnotic beat.

He's just returned from a successful tour of the southwestern US this spring, and is currently preparing for the release of Morning Light on July 1, 2017. The EP will be released on CD,
Digital, and a limited edition 10” Vinyl pressing. Andrew's music has been featured on NPR affiliate KUER’s RadioWest with Doug Fabrizio, and regularly appears on Utah community radio station KRCL.

Personnel: Andrew Goldring - Drums, Bass, Keys, Guitar, Vocals. Christian Lucy - Additional Keyboards.

  • Cosmic Dance
  • Let Me Be
  • Beautiful Lie
  • Morning Light