Reflecting on this childhood, Chris Keating sometimes feels as if he didn't exist. His parents' divorce left him with very little tangible evidence of his formative years, so he's spent his adult life as a photographer making sure children can look back fondly at warm family memories. Chris Keating and his Calgary staff have made this a reality for more than 3,000 families since opening the doors to Towne Photography in 2006. There, the professional photographic crew shoots posed and candid shots of families, children, couples, and babies at picturesque parks or against their studio backdrops, and they also snap triumphant graduate portraits, intimate prenatal shots, and provocative passport pics that make border crossing a breeze. Their ironclad guarantee allows unsatisfied clients to request reshoots, reprints, or resizing on all photographs, and they vow to remake or recapture any artwork that sustains damage over the years. Chris also takes his photographic knowledge on the road to conduct Betterphoto Workshops across the United States and Canada, teaching novice photographers how to artistically preserve their most precious memories.
Wanting to fuse Mediterranean hospitality with modern elegance, the owners of Zemra Bar Lounge took design plans into their own hands, opening their walls and stage to local artists and musicians. Subdued light bounces off red and goldenrod walls dotted with paint, highlighting the friendly wait staff as they bustle between the dining room and kitchen. Inside the culinary chemistry lab, chefs Ghandour and Brunke prepare pastas, steaks, chops, and seafood from a menu of fine Pan-Mediterranean fare. To compliment the cuisine, the chefs recommend a variety of wines or one of the bar master's signature cocktails. Events such as the open mic on Wednesdays and live music on Fridays create a festive atmosphere while reflecting the local community, their talents, penchant for creativity, and ability to whistle in Italian.
By fusing together a bistro, jazz club, and art gallery, The Gallery Studio Cafe remains dedicated to owner Derek Houghton's vision of supporting local artists. Chef Carol, The Gallery Studio Cafe's certified cuisine concocter, assembles an array of tapas, soups, sandwiches, and brunch fare in her open kitchen, allowing diners to watch as Carol preps their meals and sharpens her samurai swords for vegetable chopping. Comfy European white leather furniture cozies up beside the café's real fireplace amid canvases crafted by local and international artists displayed throughout the expansive gallery space. In addition to jazz performances four nights a week, ranging from Thursday-night acoustic renditions to Saturday-afternoon sessions, The Gallery Studio Cafe hosts abundant musical events, including swing music every second Wednesday of the month and whenever Fred Astaire's ghost drops by.
Meet Market Adventures propels singles out of the grocery aisles or from behind the computer screen to help them interact with like-minded individuals during a slate of social events and getaways. Throughout Canada and the United States, participants embark on interactive outings such as pub-crawls, horseback riding, and sushi-making classes that encourage mingling and casual conversation. Clients can also head out on longer adventures to the Grand Canyon, the Costa Rican jungle, or to a dude ranch, which, in spite of its name, is not only for surfers.
In addition to attending in-person events, members can also take advantage of free online services such as online dating, personal matchmaking, and advice and articles from dating experts.
Bartenders lean over the illuminated bar, pouring beers from the tap or tipping bottles into ice-filled glasses. Inside Seneca Pub, flat-screen TVs overhead broadcast local sporting events, and the smells of battered fish and chips and rich poutine fill the air. The snap of a cue ball breaking a rack resounds across the large, open space, where theme nights feature stand-up comedians or lying-down tragedians.
Oasis Aqualounge is an adult's playground, spa and lounge located in the heart of downtown Toronto. You can sun, soak, enjoy a cocktail and ignite your relationship at Oasis, day or night.
The Yummy Tummy Soup Company puts smiles on the faces of Toronto's tummies with its healthy, homemade chicken noodle soup and other assorted treats, delivered to a location of your choosing within the greater Toronto area (shipping costs apply). With this deal, you'll get Yummy Tummy's Simply Soup Package, a pre-made bundle of delicious doldrums-destroyers. The package contains a two-litre jar of Yummy Tummy chicken noodle soup and a package of Yummy Tummy crackers. Your additional batch of cookies offers a choice between the scratch-made “Best Ever Apple Crumble” cookie (especially delicious when heated) and the double-chocolate-cheesecake cookie, or get a half dozen of each. With its comfort-food warmth, this package is ideal for boosting the spirits of bummed-out best friends or for ramping up the recovery of flu-ridden family members quarantined in the town dungeon.
Voted the best city spa in 2010 by Chatelaine, sweetgrass spa seizes luxury services back from the exfoliated fists of men by offering its therapeutic treatments to women only in a comfortable environment. During the 30-minute facial, sweetgrass spa’s friendly aestheticians will remove the clutter clogging clients’ skin vents while moisturizing and revitalizing the skin to leave visitors with a fresh-off-the-lot new face shine. The 30-minute relaxation massage eases pain and pressure through firm yet gentle strokes and gliding motions that improve circulation and relieve built-up tension. Arrive early to enjoy the indulgent spa amenities at sweetgrass, including a whirlpool, a sauna, and a pool with an underwater treadmill, as well as towel service and a guest change room with lockers containing spa attire.
Samovar Room melds vodka and voluptuousness to give patrons an upscale, Russian-influenced night on the town. Ignite imbibing with an item from Samovar Room's drink menu, such as a vodka-infused lychee martini ($9) or the Sparkling Pear ($11), made from pear vodka and sparkling pear juice. For guests seeking further forays into distilled derring-do, Samovar Room offers vodka tastings, with three standard vodkas ($32) or three premium vodkas ($42) available. Both options are served with Russian bread and pickles as well as smoked salmon. Samovar Room's edibles extend beyond vodka-accompanying sidekicks, however, with a full dinner menu using local and seasonal ingredients. Split steamed mussels ($12) with the doctor to your Zhivago, or opt for a roasted boneless chicken ($17) with vegetables and fries. Caviar is also available (prices vary).
Legendary actor, singer, author, philanthropist, and force of nature William Shatner captains generations of fans on a warp-speed ride through seven decades of his wild career in How Time Flies: An Evening with William Shatner. A fixture of television more vital than the remote control, Shatner has owned acreage in the hearts, minds, and living rooms of fans since the times of phaser prohibition. Best known for his seminal roles as James Tiberius Kirk, T.J. Hooker, and Boston Legal's Denny Crane, Shatner's inimitable chops, charming machismo, and genuine love of his fan base permeates this special evening of memoirs and bon mots. During the show, the unparalleled Renaissance man enchants audiences with his live autobiography, recanting Star Trek secrets, Esperanto anecdotes, and possible dirt about Adrian Zmed, gifting the audience with his unique singing skills between orations of memories and monologues.
Bees’ Knees Dance offers adult dance courses, specifically geared toward beginners, in a fun and low-pressure environment. Students can put their sextet of drop-in dance classes ($10 each) toward either of the studio's timeless styles—jump, jive, and wail through the lighter-than-air Lindy Hop moves of swing dancing, or shake, rattle, and roll through a sock hop of the mind with rock ‘n' roll dancing. The one-hour classes are led by a fearless brigade of instructors ready to take on even the most inexperienced of toe-tappers. And with six to 30 students in the typical class, you'll enjoy social interaction far more pleasant than your ill-fated attempt to hand out free hugs at the zoo. The fall schedule (beginning in September) has classes offered Monday through Thursday, with summer classes held on an abbreviated basis—see the schedule page for up-to-date info on current offerings.
FastLife’s team of matchmaking gurus employs innovative couple-creating techniques to run their themed speed-dating events that help single professionals aged 25–50 mingle and meet potential partners and friends. FastLife's staff meticulously plans events based on proprietary client compatibility reports, inviting clients to events based on potentially spark-generating similarities in age, personality, and recurring dreams about each other. Each private rapid-fire session unfolds in one of the city’s upscale environs such as Atelier Noir and Libra Lounge—granting 20 men and women a chance to spend 5–10 minutes at a table getting to know one another via small talk and public diary readings. Should guests find a match, FastLife staff facilitates an exchange of personal details to enable future rendezvous. Under FastLife’s dedicated helm, events generally proffer at least one match for 90.1 per cent of attendees.
Shiatsu and LaStone therapist of Transense Healing Arts Holistic Centre employs two distinct therapy treatments to help clients reduce pain and discomfort. She uses her knuckles, thumbs, palms, knees, and elbows as instruments of relaxation, drawing from shiatsu techniques and Japanese-style acupressure to pinpoint and expunge stress. Alternatively, she uses heated basalt rocks formed from volcanic lava during LaStone therapy, loosening up knotted muscles.
Her experience stems back to the Aveda Institute in Victoria, B.C., where she graduated from in 1998 in esthetics. Since 2000, she has added LaStone therapy to her repertoire, which allows her to stimulated the autonomic nervous system and increase oxygen in the body. Her subsequent interest in shiatsu led her to Shiatsu School of Canada, which enables her to continue her journey of educational growth through her daily practice.
In real life, smiling is one of the easiest ways to be friendly and flirtatious. This is also true on the online dating site Lavalife.com, whose free Smile tool can be used to send a grin to any members who appeal to you. Once the virtual connection is made, guests or members in any of Lavalife.com's three communities—dating, relationships, and intimate encounters—can communicate through a variety of platforms, including voice and mobile. To help users find matches among millions of profiles, Lavalife.com offers customized searches with various filters, including age, location, languages spoken, and Star Wars versus Star Trek. Lavalife.com enforces strict privacy rules for its 18 and older clientele, and its customer-service team mans phones and email 24/7 to answer any user questions.
Since 2002, 25Dates.com's staff has created age-specific dating events like this for straight, gay, and lesbian singles in LA, Chicago, New York City, and all across Canada. At a typical event, they set up attendees with 25 one-on-one dates at stylish downtown venues, each lasting three minutes. After each mini-date, participants write "yes" or "no" behind the ID number of the person they just met. 25Dates.com then finds mutual matches and exchanges the two parties' contact info. In addition to countless happy case studies, more than 75% of participants find at least one match, a number that has caught the eye of myriad press outlets.