Seniors ‘Snail Strut’

charity snail strut for seniors

Seniors take part in the annual St. Hilda’s Foundation ‘Snail Strut’ Walk in Toronto. The walk is geared towards people who are 85 years and older. The goal is to raise money for repairs to their seniors’ residence.

Eva Altay, at 103 years old, was the eldest of more than 115 participants in the event. The average age is 97. Ms. Altay has been living in St. Hilda’s Towers Retirement Residence for 21 years and credits the facilities for her good health and sharp mind. “It’s the secret to why I’m so old. It’s because they keep me well,” said Ms. Altay, who also volunteers at the residence. “When I was younger, I could do much more, but now I just help with little things.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/seniors-strut-their-stuff-in-support-of-charity/article19254768/

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Holt Renfrew: Under the Skin of Luxury Shoes

museums galleries luxinside x-ray

In a travelling exhibit, high-end retailer Holt Renfrew partnered with the French Embassy to reveal what the highest price items are made of. Combining art and science, Paris-based journalist Laurence Picot used a medical scanner and photography to examine fourteen top luxury items.  These included the new Hermès saddle, the S.T. Dupont lighter and Pierre Corthay shoes.

“LuxInside – Traces of Man” offers an inside view of excellent craftsmanship.  “The principle behind luxury products is that you should not see signs of human innovation or the work that went into them,” Picot explained. Nevertheless, she was fascinated by the manufacturing processes and the people involved. Unsurprisingly, luxury retailers were unwilling to reveal the inner qualities of their designs. This only set Picot and a collective of artists and scientists onto an investigation that “diagnoses” the talent, the traces of what man has produced.

You may have wondered aloud at the $1,000 price tag for a pair of red-soled Christian Louboutin heels. There’s more to luxury than meets the eye. It is the use of a very durable, costly metal — originally patented for the aircraft industry — to structure the heel and sole, resulting in a heel that will properly support a women’s ankle and stand the test of time.

The exhibit arrived in Canada after its tour of Europe and South America.

http://www.fajomagazine.com/exclusives/luxinside

http://strategyonline.ca/2014/05/22/holt-renfrews-see-through-exhibit/

Photo Source:

http://www.blogto.com/fashion_style/2014/05/this_week_in_fashion_luxinside_exhibit_ideal_charity_fashion_show_and_designer_sample_sales/

Bata Shoe Museum: The Rise of Sneaker Culture

museum galleries Bata out of the box

The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto is a cultural gem in a shoe-box-like structure designed by famed architect Raymond Moriyama. Boasting a collection of 13,000 shoes and related artifacts, the museum has four galleries, with displays ranging from Chinese bound-foot shoes and ancient Egyptian sandals to chestnut-crushing clogs and glam platforms.

The current special exhibit “Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture” explores the history of the sneaker with some 120 running shoes from the past 150 years. On view are some of the rarest sneakers from the archives of Adidas, Nike, Reebok, PUMA, Converse and England’s Northampton Museums and Art Gallery, with the largest collection of historical footwear in the world. On loan are shoes from rap music legends Run DMC, sneaker guru Bobbito Garcia aka Kool Bob Love and Dee Wells from OSD (Obsessive Sneaker Disorder).

Now termed a “status symbol and icon of urban culture,” the historical beginnings of the sneaker are shown from its emergence in the 19th century to becoming “one of the most democratic forms of footwear” in the 20th century.

http://www.torontosun.com/2014/01/15/out-of-the-box-at-torontos-bata-shoe-museum

www.batashoemuseum.ca

DIY Shoe-Making

Shoemaker DIY

The recent enthusiasm of the Maker Movement – tinkerers, craftspeople and cottage industrialists – has made DIY a prevalent, profitable enterprise. Further, advances in technology (e.g. 3-D printers by MakerBot) have eliminated barriers to the business boom in the basement. Even shoe-making is ripe for reinvention.

Sarah Eldershaw, a Toronto shoe-maker, developed a mail-order kit for DIY footwear.  Her “Shoe String Assemblies” are available online.  Each pack contains a needle and thread, a rubber sole, a pair of laces, instructions and a handful of leather bits. The hide (all vegetable tanned to avoid toxins) is pre-punched to make stitching easier. Unlike most shoemaking, there’s no glue involved (not even in the shipping packs, which are held together with the laces), and the design doesn’t require a last, the form required to mold most footwear.

Eldershaw’s invention, which she calls “Moxfords”, was a graduation project from OCADU (Ontario College of Art and Design University).  It was also a winner at the competition sponsored by Association of Chartered Industrial Designers of Ontario. Judges were impressed that Eldershaw wore her prototypes throughout the 12-hour event.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/home-and-garden/design/introducing-footwear-for-the-diy-crowd/article18778150/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maker_movement

Standing for American Values

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Hilary Clinton’s latest book launch is well under way. She spoke to the Toronto Region Board of Trade yesterday (June 16, 2014) and participated in televised interviews with CBC and CTV.

In her book ‘Hard Choices’ and in an interview last week in New York, she revealed that decision making often pits U.S. strategic interests against bedrock U.S. values. The interviewer asked: “Where did you stand on that continuum when you began your job as secretary of state and where do you stand now?”

She responded, “I had hoped there was a way to more closely align them. We could do more to get our values and our strategic interests to be coinciding. I worked very hard to do that. But I also came to realize what generations of American diplomats and leaders understood before me: that often it’s not possible and often you have to make that hard choice – stand for your values and be ready to take the consequences.”

When, for example?  “In my book, I describe how we let blind [Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng] into our embassy. It was a perfect example of being forced to make a decision that was primarily a values decision and believing we had done enough to firmly ground our relationship with China in a broader discussion about where we could work together, where our disagreements would persist, that the relationship was strong enough to withstand what would be a difficult, confrontational experience for both sides.”

 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/stand-for-your-values-on-the-hard-choices/article19175854/

Photo Source:  https://www.google.ca/search?q=hillary+clinton+images&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=wgefU5qCC5e2yASnxIG4BQ&sqi=2&ved=0CBsQsAQ&biw=1228&bih=589

 

Recognizing Ability: A Foot Artist

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Daniel Laflamme grabs a water bottle with his foot and bends over to take a sip. Then he adroitly places a paintbrush between his toes and begins to paint.  Deaf and mute, Laflamme, who has cerebral palsy, communicates through his painting. 

In 2006, the Quebec City artist was in Toronto to help publicize an exhibition by Canada’s Mouth and Foot Painting Artists.  The organization sells replicas of the painters’ works on greeting cards and calendars to help the artists live independent lives.

At the organization’s headquarters on St. Clair Avenue West, Laflamme showed off his prowess as an artist. Bent over like a pretzel on the floor, he painted with authority and skill as he worked on a still life of flowers and a fruit bowl.

Then he stopped to get more paint. He used one foot to bring the palette of paints closer to him.  Holding his paintbrush between his toes, he dipped his brush in the paint and then began once more to delicately apply color to his masterpiece.

 

Quoting: Debra Black, Toronto Star, July 7, 2006

Photo by: Rick Eglinton, Toronto Star, July 7, 2006. Photo Source: http://thestar.blogs.com/photoblog/2012/05/yonge-and-eglinton-no-longer-intersect.html

Feeling Concrete (or Snow) Under His Toes

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Journalist Thane Burnett went barefoot to feel the true grit of Toronto’s streets. He was a neophyte to the unshod lifestyle; his 10 little ‘piggies’ were always wrapped up tight while going to market — or anywhere else. For this one-day experiment on the pavement, he walked with Barefoot Moe, an expert on the ropes (and over the cracks).

Their conversation and the bare bottom walkabout did not convert the journalist.  He certainly did his research, presenting facts and anecdotes on the increasing popularity of going barefoot. However, as he walked he glanced enviously at the shoes on a homeless man and at the tiny ones on a baby. The article gives clear voice to Barefoot Moe’s enthusiasm. But, once the journalist was alone, he frantically washed his feet in an office washroom sink and quickly donned his black-leather shoes.  Once a shoddie, always a shoddie? 

No flip flopping in this story.

 

Adapted from:  http://www.theobserver.ca/2009/08/25/barefooters-take-to-the-road

Photo Source of Barefoot Moe:  https://www.google.com/images?hl=en&q=barefoot+Moe+images&gbv=2&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ei=cyxDU9noD4a9yAGHsoGwBw&ved=0CBsQsAQ