“T-O-R-O-N-T-O D-R-A-K-E that’s me, you know how the story goes”…

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Drake, Drizzy, Drake Drizzy Rogers, new version of The Fresh Prince and most importantly, Toronto’s very own.  By now, you know who this dude is, and if you don’t, we forgive you, living in a cave in Tora Bora isn’t easy.  Born Aubrey “Drake” Graham and raised in our fair city, he has made a name for himself in both the music industry and TV land.  You might remember him as “Jimmy Brooks” off of Degrassi: The Next Generation.  But in recent memory, it’s because he’s been blowing up everywhere since the release of his third mixtape So Far Gone.  Not since Kardie has a Toronto artist been this huge state-side, and it’s about time!  Having released his first mixtape Room For Improvement in 2006, Comeback Season in 2007, Heartbreak Drake in 2008 and his most successful to date (and as him stating that that is when he finally found his sound), So Far Gone, his buzz (if you can call it that) has been growing in leaps ever since.  Having performed and worked with the likes of Trey Songz, Usher, Bun B, Wale, Big Sean, Lil’ Wayne and most recently…and most anticipated, Jay-Z!  But, you would think with all that buzz, it would get to his head?  According to Drake during a recent Peter Rosenberg interview in New York, his crew that he’s chosen very carefully over the course of many years wouldn’t dare let him.

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I know we’re late on this, but hey, the blog didn’t start till now, the “hardly home but always reppin’” MC/singer/writer finally came home May 13, performing at the Sound Academy.  And let us tell you, we have never seen our city give so much love and support to one of our own.  That show was literally historic in nature for Toronto’s hip hop scene, not only because Toronto wasn’t actually screwing its face, but because never has such a Toronto-bred artist blow up this big in the industry, yet still reps Toronto hard.  As he put it, “Drizzy’s home”.  Check out the videos of his home-coming show:

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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqgMKedQ1QI&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0x3a3a3a&color2=0x999999]

His much anticipated official debut album, Thank Me Later is slated to be released sometime before Christmas of 2009.  Thank Me Later, as he puts it during an interview with Complex’s blog:

“My album is not going to sound like So Far Gone. It’s a well-rounded body of work that again people will relate to what I’m saying, but the songs are made obviously to be sold to the public, so this was just my chance to think and write freely. It’s a solid hip hop album. I went left before most go left after my album comes out, so people will be like, Thank God, I thought he was about to do some weird shit. Some people go left after, when they feel more comfortable, but I feel comfortable with my talent.”

So, the next time you see him in videos performing in the US, or even his name being mentioned by people internationally…we should all feel a sense of pride for Toronto’s very own.  Hey, he reps our city like no other.  We, as a city need to finally embrace our own and rep him because, Toronto, we are definitely one of the best.

NOIR, back in business?

NOIR
NOIR

For anyone that doesn’t know the background story behind NOIR, listen up!  It all started with a store in Yorkville by the name of I-cii which was run by Peter Halpin. The store developed an almost cult like following especially from the people that swear on Japanese urban couture. So it was no surprise that when Peter closed the doors to I-cii there was a void that desperately needed to be filled.

In response to the high demand from their loyal patrons, Peter Halpin and Mary Ng opened NOIR on Bloor St. Housing Toronto’s only full Dior Homme collection (RTW and accessiories), Dolce&Gabbana, Yohji Yamamoto, Roberto Cavalli, Vivienne Westwood, Kiryuyrik, Undercover, Viktor & Rolf and Anna Molinari, just to name a few. Unfortunately, unlike fairytales, not everything has a happy ending. Many shopping enthusiasts and fashion connoisseurs alike were once again shocked this past winter when they noticed that NOIR‘s doors were closed and a notice from the building landlord stated that the tenants hadn’t paid their monthly rental fees.  As Bloor Street is one of the most expensive piece of real estate for retailers in this city (and North America), we had thought that it was the victim of the economic slump faced by all retailers.  A shame really as NOIR was an amazing gallery-style boutique that housed many of the most avant-garde and impossible-to-find collections.

Well perhaps this tale may have a happy ending after all. On one of our many trips down Bloor St. we passed by the boutique and to our surprise, the notice from the landlord was no longer posted.  So we ask: does our city get the cool and exclusive boutique (that is NOIR) back?

Store front Inside

Inside 2 Taken June 2 2009

NOIR, 151 Bloor Street West.

Summer Body-X

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This is the mother of all work-outs, you will cry, you will be in pain, you will hurt in places that you never thought you had muscles. That is the reality of P90x! They say extreme for kicks, they are serious. I’m sure some of you have seen the infomercials for this program and have figured that “here’s another gimmick in a box”, well I am here to tell you that it works!

History:

It all began with the Power 90, an immensely popular 90 day program that continues to have a huge following. The goal was to create a program for those who wanted more. It was about taking the Power 90 and turning up the flames to create a truly extreme workout program, the Power 90 Extreme, better known as the P90X! Heading it up is fitness extraordinaire Tony Horton of course! Nearly 2 years worth of hard work was poured into the research and development of P90X. With leading fitness experts designing and testing the routines, little by little the program began to take shape. The system focuses on the training science of Muscle Confusion. The technique of constantly changing up the routines you do, which prevents your body form adapting, and promotes continuous results. It’s called a training science for a reason.

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Testimonial:

For those you wondering if I have done this program I have, more importantly so has my brother. Granted I didn’t have the will power to stick with it, but once again my brother fared better than me. Hence why this testimonial is based on his results not mine. My brother has struggled with his weight from a very young age and in recent years has taken it upon himself to do something about it. So like most people he tried the gym and much like my attempts at this program didn’t last very long. That’s when he came across P90X and after watching the infomercial on T.V. felt it was the first workout program that actually seemed real. There was no gimmick no false promises. So he decided to give it a try. When my brother started the program he weighed about 200lbs, so for all you people who think you are beyond the point of working out, think again!  He developed a regiment and worked out everyday for an hour, dedicated to whipping his body in shape. There were many days when he was sore, but the pain was actually his motivation, it finally made him feel like he was accomplishing something. Like many of us that go to the gym, we rarely push ourselves beyond our comfort zone, but with P90X that happens automatically. So after the 90 days my brother did a count and took a deep breath to weigh himself. Had the program worked?

My brother weighed a wopping 175lbs, thats 25lbs in 90 days an amazing achievement for someone who has struggled to loose weight all his life. But hold up, when he was recounting he noticed that even though he was very dedicated he had actually only finished 45 days of his 90 day plan. So he actually lost 25lbs in 45 days.   Need I say more?!

Luxury…at 35,000 feet in the air.

Emirates A380-800 arriving in Pearson
Emirates A380-800 arriving in Pearson

June 1, 2009 marked a new relationship between Toronto and Dubai, as Emirates flight EK241 made a historic landing at Pearson International as the first ever Airbus 380-800 (aka. the “super jumbo jet”) to grace Canada.  The massive double-decker aircraft can carry up to 555 passengers on its Toronto-Dubai route. Its wing spans are the size of a football field.  With the widest aircraft cabin space in the world and a range of 15,000 km in the air, it’s also one of the most environmental and quietest planes in use.

Now those are the technical details. It is by far one of the most luxurious flights in the world. During the nearly 13 hour flight from Toronto to Dubai (and back), passengers are treated to the luxuries that Emirates Airline is famous for.  First class passengers are treated to an unlimited flow of Champaign the moment they board, on demand meal service with an à la carte 7 course meal, in-flight amenities such as robes and slippers and not to mention an actual bar/lounge on the aircraft.  First class passengers travel in 14 private cabins. Each cabin offers you a fully reclinable bed, closet space, a mini bar and a 23 inch LCD screen linked to the aircraft’s entertainment system (which by the way hosts over 1,200 entertainment channels for your viewing pleasure and the hostesses each teach you how to utilize the system as it takes close to 10 minutes to describe).  To top it off, and the crème de la crème of the whole experience: 2 fully equipped (and marble, mind you) bathrooms with fully operational showers! Yes, showers with hot running water!  So you can look your freshest when you arrive at your destination after that long (yet pampered) flight.  The only downside is that they limit water flow to only 5 mins for each passenger.  But they make it up by offering Bvlgari bath and body products and a large fluffy towel.

Now, not everyone can fly first class and passengers are not disappointed with business or economy as well.  Business class passengers travel with their own reclinable bed and a 5 course meal with access to the bar/lounge in first class.  Economy class passengers can expect the entertainment system (same as first and business class) to keep them occupied for the 13 hour journey.  To top it off, they have the ability to text (SMS), email and phone from their personal in-flight system all at their seats.  All classes will enjoy the same pampered treatment as soon as they board to when they disembark the aircraft.

It took over 10 years for Toronto’s Pearson International to retrofit everything from runway to gates to accommodate this aircraft.  But at the end, it looked like it paid off as Toronto is now among the exclusive and few cities (currently 1 of 5 airports in the world: London’s Heathrow, Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi, Auckland Airport, Sydney’s Kingsford Smith and now Toronto’s Pearson).  Emirates Airline had a NY-Dubai route on an A380-800 but scrapped it and replaced it with the Toronto-Dubai route instead.  This currently makes Toronto the only North American city to serve the airline’s A380-800.  Currently, Emirates will fly Toronto-Dubai-Toronto on the A380-800 three times weekly but has been in negotiations with Transport Canada to increase the frequency and expansion into other Canadian cities.  Emirates predict at least an 80% ridership for this route and there are rumours that they have expressed interest in a future model of the A380, potentially seating up to 1,000 passengers.

“We are extremely pleased to provide the A380 for our Dubai-Toronto service, which has had consistently strong demand since the three-times weekly route was launched in October, 2007.  In fact, the demand has been so high it will only allow Emirates to address some of the unmet need of the Toronto market.” Emirates President Tim Clark

It can’t get any better than this.  Sipping Champaign and filling yourself up with pâté de foie gras at 35,000 feet in the air.  And for the curious minds: a roundtrip ticket to Dubai from Toronto on first class is about $9,000-$13,000 CDN; $4,500-$9,000 CDN on business class and $900-$2,500 CDN on economy.

http://www.emirates.com/ca/English/