Symes Transfer

Over a month ago I posted about my visit to the Symes Transfer Station.

Here are some of the photos I took that cold, strange smelling, day.


Kensington MARKIT

I wrote a piece for BlogTo on the recent micro-performance interventions held in Kensington Market. Operating under the name MARKIT, these artists are protesting the proposed entry of big business in and around the market.

Interested? Click here to read

Symes Transfer Station

I’m working on a piece about Urban Exploration. It is proving to be difficult. People don’t want to talk to me and when they do they refuse to speak in person, on the phone, or give me their actual names.

The easiest part of this story has been getting the photos. And that entails getting into abandoned places, usually surrounded by fences, boarded and welded shut.

My partner-in-crime from the summer’s voyage to the Canada Linseed Oil Factory, Robin, graciously accompanied me again on a visit to the New York Pork & Food Exchange. Unfortunately, the New York Pork & Food Exchange building is gone.

Luckily, Robin and I are natural explorers and upon seeing a large dilapidated building slightly in the distance, we forged on. Yes, we may have thought it was the long-gone abattoir, but we still tried.

This is how we found ourselves inside the fence, but outside of, the  Symes Transfer Station. From the 30’s, the building used to house and burn, Toronto’s trash.

We weren’t able to get directly inside the building (there was one small basement window that could have been a point of entry, but damn was it dirty and unfortunate looking) but the outside gave us more than enough.

I don’t want to post a ton of my pics because they might be placed in Scribe Magazine, but here’s one just for context.


Guest Contributor! (A.K.A ME)

I wrote for BlogTo. It got published. This is my first published work that wasn’t through a Humber publication.

I covered a photography event, the release of the photo book “Don’t Trust Anyone Over 30.” The event was great. Wonderful work and the artists were so kind and open to speaking with me. The theme I noticed throughout our conversations was the difficulties they face as photographers in Toronto. So I went with that.

You can read it here

And a big big thank you to all the photographers I spoke with, Dylan Leeder (the photos in the article are his) and BlogTo for giving me the opportunity.

Distillery Christmas

Running from November 30th to December 16th, The Toronto Christmas Market held in the Historic Distillery District draws crowds from all over.

2012 marks the third year the Christmas Market has been running in Toronto. Lowe’s home improvement is the main sponsor of the market, with separate areas like Santa’s Lane and The South Pole sponsored by Natrel and Master Card, respectively.

I ended up at the Christmas Market with my camera while waiting for an interview source to finish her shift at a Distillery District cafe. I had originally gone hoping to grab some shots for a photo essay for Underground Toronto but upon seeing the lights proclaiming it “Lowe’s Christmas Market” I realized nothing I got there would fit under Underground Toronto’s mandate of well, underground, entertainment in Toronto.

So as I waited for the crowd to clear at the cafe I took my camera up and down the district, trying to capture something reminiscent of Christmas cheer.


The main pathway


The view down a very crowded Mill street


Mill street again


One of the many craft booths


In the centre of everything, a humongous Christmas tree.


A few families around the tree asked me to take their photos while they posed underneath it


One of the large red baubles adorning the tree.
Bonus: Reflection of the photographer


Matte ornament


More ornaments!


Another craft booth


Down another crowded side street


The Mastercard sponsored South Pole, featuring rides like this ferris wheel.


Directing those interested to the pony rides.


More of the ferris wheel


And some more ferris wheel


To the right of the ferris wheel, a carousel.


It was predominantly enjoyed young children being held up by their parents or grandparents.


Carousel riders


More carousel riders


One of the ponies at the pony rides




A young girl greets the pony




The young girl is helped onto the pony she has selected


Getting settled onto the pony


Underneath the iconic Gooderham & Worts sign


A view up the main path


The entrance to Santa’s Lane


Nothing but options

The third semester of my journalism program is days away from being over. This is the half-way point. 50% of my program is done. Even though we have another 4 months of work until we chose our final year path (print or broadcast), I’d venture to say the majority of my classmates already know which way they’ll be opting to go. Whereas for me, it’s the closer and closer we get to the deciding moment that I lose more and more of my assuredness in what direction I should go.

The (Attempted) Humblebrag

Humblebrag: “A form self promotion where the promoter thinks he is, almost subliminally, bragging about himself in the context of a humble statement or complaint.” via Urban Dictionary

I don’t know if there’s a way to say this without seeming like a total dick, but: I’ve always been good at a fair amount of things.

Academically I do well. I’m not a genius by any means, but the only subject that has totally evaded me is visual art. I cannot draw, sculpt, paint, design…anything visually artistic is beyond me.

But I’ve always been good at English. Reading and writing is my thing. I also love (and am not too shabby at…well, wasn’t) performance based arts like singing and acting. Math and Science are logical so once I get the formula I’m good. I’m also not a half-bad baker.

This is why I transferred from a regular, 2500 student high school to an arts one. Why I ended up turning down my acceptance into a university’s Communications program and spent a year off working at a theatre company. Why I got into one of the top Theatre Performance programs in the country and left of my own volition after eight weeks. When you can do a lot of things, it’s difficult to find the one that works.

And even though I’ve taken the college route and I’m studying only Journalism (and an elective here and there) the old problem of not having a stand out talent or knack for something is rearing it’s head again.


In the last weeks of the semester I had two of my teachers tell me to follow entirely separate paths. Both commended my work from the semester, said I showed promise in their respective fields and suggested I continue that way.

While both courses are ones that rely on writing, they differ greatly. One is broadcast, the other is essays.

And (of course) I like doing both of them.

The Dilemma

In less than a year I’ll be embarking on my final year in Humber’s Journalism program. In even less time than that I’ll have my path chosen and (hopefully) have an internship lined up with either a print or broadcast company. And right now I have absolutely no clue where to go.

I could be good at broadcast. More importantly I could probably have an easier time getting a paying job in broadcast. Broadcast is fast paced (as is print, but you know what I mean) and seems like exactly the environment I would thrive in.

But I like print. I like writing longer, detailed pieces. I want to be able to dream about having an opinion piece written some day. I want to be on the subway and see someone devouring a review of mine.

And when it comes to enjoying my schooling, I’ve got to say I really like sitting down with a nice long poem and going to town on analyzing it. I like discussing what I’m reading. I like poetic devices. I get a kick out of comparing character archetypes.

So what I’m saying here is, sometimes, having the option to do more than one thing gets really stressful. I know that I’m lucky and that in journalism there is the ability to do more than one type of reporting. I know I can write for a daily but do freelance magazine work when I have an idea. I know I can pull clips and edit sound for a station while moderating an online newspaper.

It’s just that when you’re facing  a final year where you have to go one way or another, leading to an internship that may or may not decide if you have a job upon graduation, it’s pretty finite seeming. It’s not be so much a “sink or swim” attitude for me as it is a fear of perpetually treading water.

Charity targets Rwandan children

While many Torontonians focused on the Grey Cup’s centennial game Sunday, others gathered to hear stories of the triumphs and future goals of the charity, Greenhope for Children.

Traditional Rwandan dancers entertain event goers.

Traditional Rwandan dancers entertain event goers.


Members and Volunteers of GFC close the evening

Greenhope, a foundation that provides scholarships for youth in developing countries, hosted a screening of their recent works in Rwanda at the Metro Central YMCA.

The documentary was filmed by Greenhope’s creative director Aiko Ortiz.
Greenhope founder Marilyn Ize-Dukuze imagines a world where all children have access to an education.

Read the rest of the story at the Humber Et Cetera