Tag Archives: Brand Standards

Where Should you go to Learn about the World Today?

Photo from the Nat Geo Series at Roy Thomson Hall

In the 80’s and 90’s people subscribed to National Geographic Magazine to learn about the world and all the places they wouldn’t necessarily travel on a regular basis. The magazine was smaller than traditional magazines and looks more like a book with glossy pictures. It featured a yellow border around the cover page and is primarily purchased by families with children.

National Geographic Magazine was usually a child’s first look at foreign places across the globe. It was also super exciting for children to browse through when it arrived in the mail each month.

Since I always found the magazine to be interesting and informative, earlier this year, one of my employees said I might be interested in a speakers series at Roy Thomson Hall called National Geographic Live.  Every few months, National Geographic Live has an event involving a speaker discussing a specific topic, somehow related to the world we live in. During the presentation, the speaker captivates the audience with stunning photos and video about the places they are speaking of, not to mention their personal experiences.

Roy Thomson Hall is an intimate theatre in the heart of Toronto that seats almost 3,000 guests. The theatre provides great acoustics, comfortable seating, and excellent service in all of their departments from the ushers, to the box office and the ticket takers.

Roy Thomson Hall is one of the few larger venues in Toronto that runs their own box office and they are always a pleasure to deal with.

For the National Geographic Live events, tickets aren’t necessarily expensive. The lower priced tickets start at $19.50 and if you buy in-person there is no service charge. These presentations are great for a nice afternoon or evening out.

The series is available Sunday afternoon or Monday and Tuesday evenings in January, March, and May 2017. This is a great way to hear some amazing stories, see sensational photography and learn about the world we live in.

National Geographic Live Speaker Series

Roy Thompson Hall


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Why Did David Cross the Road… to try Darosa’s Chicken!

Darosa's Logo

I often have to remind myself… you can’t judge a book by its cover, and sometimes have to take the plunge when it comes to trying smaller or obscure businesses.

A perfect example of this is how for many years I drove by a small restaurant called Darosa Cafe, which looked like nothing more than a small hole in the wall with greasy food.

One day when I was stopped at a red light, I noticed Darosa’s was full.  To my surprise, I also noticed they sell Portuguese chicken made on a churrasqueira (a Portuguese barbecue grill).  I was thrilled to discover this because I am very fond of Portuguese chicken.

I decided to try Darosa’s and was delighted I did!  The first time I went there was this past summer during the Euro Cup.  When I went to Darosa’s the Portugal game was playing on the televisions within the restaurant, so  there was some added excitement being in a Portuguese restaurant during the game and I’m sure their customers appreciated this.

Darosa’s is known for their barbecue chicken, grilled chicken, steak and fish.  When you order an entrée, it comes with your choice of traditional side dishes like potatoes, rice, vegetables, salad and fresh baked bread.  Darosa’s also has a liquor license and sells beer and wine to complement your meal.  In addition, Darosa’s provides customers with fast, friendly and polite service.

That said, one of the best parts of this restaurant, is their prices!  They offer amazing value for the money you spend.  A half chicken dinner and pop only costs around $12.00!

Darosa’s attracts lots of different clientele…some looking for a quick bite, and others looking for a longer, leisurely meal.  The restaurant also caters to those wanting to head home, by offering take-out.

One last thing that I love about Darosa’s is that the owner is often working in the kitchen, which makes me feel like the food will always be fantastic!

Whether for breakfasts or a late dinner, check out this delightful restaurant…..just don’t cheer too loudly for a team other than Portugal.

Darosa Cafe – Restaurant Churrasqueira


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Social Media Safety…..How to Protect You and Your Family Online

Last year my daughter’s school had an issue with bullying on the Internet and Social Media.  The principal at her school immediately hired Paul Davis, an expert on cyber security and safety, to speak with the kids and parents on the subject.

Paul is frequently asked to speak to police organizations and the military but most of the time he speaks to schools.  Typically, when Paul speaks to schools he presents one speech to the children during the day and another to the parents in the evening.

I can tell you from experience, most parents, myself included, do not have a clue about the risks associated with social media and / or internet security.  For example, did you know there is a minimum age for opening a Gmail, Instagram, Hotmail and Facebook account?  Given that kids in grade four, five, and six, already have accounts on such sites, it seems that most parents are in the same boat as myself.

Then there’s the scenes that play out everyday…..someone posts on Facebook, “seven days to Disney”, then six, then five, etc.  The next thing you know they are posting pictures of their epic holiday, and when they get back to their house, they can’t figure out how someone knew they weren’t home and broke into their house.

And that’s not nearly as bad as the people who don’t realize how posting a general, everyday, photo could provide detailed information that will allow a predator to identify a child’s name, school and more within seconds.  Davis explains this to parents by stating predators don’t need to be talented to retrieve this information and that people are not always who they claim to be.

Social media can be a really useful tool for adults and children when we create rules and boundaries.  During Davis’ presentations he suggests different rules for children and adults for safe Internet usage, so it’s important that both the kids and the parent’s attend the event.

Paul is in high demand and he is booking presentations well into 2017.  Whether for a school or a community group I highly recommend Paul Davis to anyone who cares about the safety of themselves and their children.

Paul Davis Social Networking Safety


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Toronto Zoo is the Habitat for Everyone

For many years, I’ve been a big fan of what is considered a crown jewel of the GTA…The Toronto Zoo.

The Zoo is a place that I never get tired of visiting, over and over again. Every time I go there, whether for the arrival of a new baby animal, the beautiful scenery, or to just walk, jog, or hike around, there’s always something new and interesting going on. 

Aside from just visiting with the family, the zoo also has a number of education and camp programs, which include: school visits, zoo camps, youth badge programs, adult programs, and overnight stays. Whether it’s the Critter Cruisers for toddlers aged 2 to 4, the EnviroRangers program for ages 4 to 14, or the adult Zoo Membership program, there truly is something for everyone and every age group.

An exciting and upcoming event this weekend is International Migratory Bird Day, when The Toronto Zoo, in collaboration with Parks Canada, will be helping visitors learn to identify local birds as well as provide short guided bird walks. As for the rest of this month, you can look forward to World Turtle Weekend, the Walk to Make Cystic Fibrosis History Day, and the Raise Your Glass For Rhinos event.

While the zoo is an amazing place to visit at any time of year, one tip that I have for you is to consider going during either the early spring or the fall. At these times of year the weather is neither too hot nor too cold and the animals are generally more active.

Toronto Zoo
2000 Meadowvale Road
Toronto, ON M1B 5K7
(416) 392-5929


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LED Bulbs are a Bright Idea

Normally, I would highlight a business or an organization, however this week, something has been on my mind, as I’ve been debating about the usage of LED bulbs.

While some people say that LED bulbs help them save money, others say the opposite. Most people say that the bulbs save the most energy and last longer if they are of good quality, however, the biggest challenge to their acceptance may be that they are expensive.

That said, there are occasionally significant savings on the bulbs, by keeping an eye out for sales and online coupons. By applying this method, a $15.00 to $20.00 LED bulb could become only $5.00 to $7.00, which makes it easier to justify the purchase.

One thing to keep in mind is that you may run into an issue with the dimmer switches, which must be compatible with the new bulbs.  I’m told that some dimmers can cost up to $100.00, so you have to keep this in mind when considering a changeover.

Recently, when one of my friends built a new house, it was twice the size of their old one, but they have insisted that they are paying the same electricity bill as the old house, mainly because of the new LED bulbs.   

The debate continues, but I am nonetheless very happy with my LED bulbs. They save on energy, can be purchased at a significant discount, and have the bonus of helping the environment.  In the end, whether you are converting one room at a time or all the rooms at once, LED bulbs seem like a bright idea.

Toronto Hydro Corporation
500 Commissioners Street
Toronto, ON M4M 1B4
(416) 542-8000


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Best Buy Is Plugged Into Customer Service

A few months ago, I went into Best Buy because my daughter needed an iPad keyboard case.  Since there was a case on sale and it was a brand name that we had trusted over the years, we bought it immediately.  A couple of weeks later, however, the case had a crack in the corner, so we had to return to the store for a replacement.

During the second visit, my daughter chose a case of the same brand as last time, but decided on a different colour.  Apparently, this colour case was not on sale and was approximately $30.00 more without then discounted model.   When we were doing the exchange, I informed the employee about what had happened to the last case, and she immediately obtained approval from a supervisor to provide the added courtesy of allowing my daughter to choose the different coloured replacement at no additional cost.  When my daughter and I left the store, it was with a smile on both of our faces.

Our smiles turned into frowns when a few weeks later, the case had yet another crack.  Perhaps it was due to a manufacturing issue, as the crack was in the same location as the last one.  By this time, my daughter was very upset and annoyed with the brand (note to brands…even 10 year olds have a say in certain purchase decisions).

When we went back to Best Buy once more, we picked out a new case, made by a different company.  Although this case was now $10.00 more than the previous case, we reasoned that it would be worth it if it worked properly.  At the service desk, I again explained why we were back at the store, and that this is now the third time in less than a month that we were having issues with the original product / brand. Immediately, the employee apologized for what had happened and did an exchange for us, again obtaining management’s approval to exchange the product at no additional cost to us.  Once again, when we left the store (a third time), my daughter was happy with her new case, and I was happy with not having to pay again and again for an item.

The Best Buy employees that we encountered were efficient, pleasant, and knowledgeable and clearly attempted to put the customer first.  With the increase of online retailers, sales and electronic stores like Best Buy have taken a hit, however, based on my recent experiences with the store’s excellent customer service, I would suggest that there are still numerous benefits to doing business with such a company.

Whether it is the chance to actually experience the product before you buy it, the company’s willingness to price match, and perhaps most importantly, demonstrated commitment to putting the customer first, I believe the company is heading in the right direction.

Best Buy certainly seems to be plugged into customer service….well done!

Best Buy Canada


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Union Lighting & Furnishings Brighten My Day

When my wife and I bought our house, several years ago, it was in great shape, but required some updates to the decor.  Since one of the areas we wanted to update was the lighting fixtures, a friend suggested we visit Union Lighting & Furnishings. When we arrived at the location, we were met with a huge showroom that had lights for every price and every style.  We were able to find just about everything that we needed, fairly quickly, with the help of knowledgeable employees.  Ever since then, we have always gone back to the store for any of our lighting needs.

Recently, we decided to make the move to LED bulbs, and switch over all of our pot lights…over 40 bulbs!  Since the bulbs were on sale, and I had government coupons for $5.00 off (to a maximum of five bulbs_), I went straight to Union Lighting & Furnishings.  However, I soon discovered that because I needed 50 bulbs, in order get the government discount, I would have to visit the store again and again.  I was confused as to why the government wanted to promote the purchase LED bulbs, yet only limit them to 5 at a time….but that’s a discussion for another time.

Union Lighting & Furnishings, however, were the light at the end of the tunnel.  They honoured the discount for all the bulbs in one visit, and assured me that they would take care of the accounting and added work on their end.  On top of that, it turned out that the sale was only held for the previous generation of LED bulbs, and not the new ones that I had been informed about by an employee, but Union Lighting & Furnishings honoured that as well.

From my first visit to the store over eight years ago, I have been amazed by the company’s commitment to excellent customer service.  Whether it’s their product knowledge, the availability of a large selection of styles and models, or the way that employees go above and beyond to guarantee the satisfaction of their customers, Union Lighting & Furnishings truly brightens my day!  I highly recommend giving them a visit for all of your lighting needs.  You won’t be kept in the dark 🙂

Union Lighting & Furnishings
1491 Castlefield Avenue
York, ON M6M 1Y3



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