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Archive for October, 2014

City Favourite Halloween Haunts

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Toronto might be the city of neighbourhoods, but in October that all changes as the city makes way for  the walking dead, ghouls, witches, monsters and a startling cast of very scary characters.

If you’re aching for some macabre fun this Halloween, you’re sure to find it just around the corner this year as Toronto salutes its dark side.  Here’s a look:

In its tenth year, this Toronto fan favourite, kicks off at 3 p.m. from Nathan Phillips Square on October 25. The Toronto Zombie Walk, which saw 6,000 undead stagger and lurch their way along city streets last year, includes a parade, a zombie photo booth and a stall that lets you slather on blood to better your look. Best of all, the event is free and open to everyone.

Halloween with a healthy twist is offered up thanks to the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, which hosts Monster Dash Toronto, a night run in which participants get to don costumes and raise funds for a good cause. The event, which is for all ages, takes place on October 26.

Speaking of films, how about the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, which runs at the Scotiabank Theatre from October 16 to 24. Celluloid thrill-seekers can get their adrenaline rush thanks to this line-up of international horror, sci-fi, fantasy and shorts.

Here’s wishing you a fiendishly ghoulish Halloween.

Pizza Pie That’s Authentically alla Napoletana

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

The fact that Alessandro Tarallo recognized a little slice of his native Naples on the west side of Bathurst between Dupont and Follis speaks to that quintessential neighbourhood feeling that residents in and around the area hold so dear.

A block south of Freeman Real Estate, Napoli Centrale Pizzeria at 964 Bathurst is one of the new kids on the block. A full-service, licensed pizzeria since last December, Alessandro decided to open his own 75-seat pie place largely because he couldn’t find Neopolitan pizza like they make back home.

That’s not to say he didn’t try. Neopolitans or Napolitans, as Italians say it, are big pizza gourmands so Alessandro and his wife began their search in earnest a few years back when Alessandro first visited Toronto chasing love after meeting his then girlfriend, a Toronto resident, while vacationing in Cuba. While he found some very good dining spots, the pizza was not as authentic as he would have liked.

“Some pizzerias use the word Neopolitan and sometimes they’ve never even been there,” says the 35-year-old. “It’s like advertising authentic sushi made by an Italian.”

While he thought Toronto was short on authentic Naples-style pizza, he credits Romolo Salvati, the owner of two Via Mercanti pizzerias in the city, as a sort of mentor. Of his location Alessandro says: “I prefer more to be in a neighbourhood than on big busy main street. When I found this old property it reminded me of my city. Naples is very old and this area on Bathurst made me feel comfortable.”

The Neopolitan pizza tradition is an ancient one in Napoli, which holds unique characteristics.

For example, when people from Naples order pizza in a restaurant they never order it to share.

It’s typically one pie per person.

The dough is also quite different, light and fluffy, and made from the highest quality, additive-free flour. Alessandro likes to use flour from the Caputo flour mill in Naples. Founded in 1924 and now run by the family’s third generation, Caputo is committed to the long-heldpizzeria-300x300
milling traditions of Naples and is the leading brand of the special type “00′′ fine flour used for pizza making. It’s known as The Flour of Naples.

Alessandro’s family owns supermarkets in Naples so his love of food is a natural evolution. He and his wife are the proud parents of a brand new baby boy, Andrea. Now that he’s a father, it makes him more open to the appetites of the children who visit his restaurant.

“I love it when I see kids eating our pizza,” he says. “A lot of parents bring their kids here and I think once they try our pizza, they won’t go back to eating the other stuff. We make quality, we use fresh products and ingredients. It’s handmade with love.”

For more information or to read the menu visitwww.napolicentralepizzeria.com.

The Scary Side of Real Estate

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

With the spectre of Halloween hanging over our heads, we thought, what better time than now

to discuss the prospect of buying a home that was the scene of a grisly murder, horrific suicide

or the site of some other unsavoury incident or activity.


The first question you need to ask yourself is do you care if the previous owner was found

hanging from the rafters or that the house was a drug den for meth heads. If not, go on your

merry way. But if learning that a tragic murder occurred within its walls bothers you perhaps

you’re best to ask a few questions first.


Realtors are obligated to disclose information about homes that are stigmatized – the term

used for a property that buyers avoid for reasons that have nothing to do with its physical

condition. But if an agent doesn’t know the house’s history, then there is nothing that holds the

realtor culpable.


Unfortunately, in Ontario a seller is not legally obligated to disclose any information about

murders, suicides, or any other gruesome fact that might have happened in the home. There

have already been many calls for clearer legislation, but this area of the housing market

remains rather grey. Drawing a clear line between important and unimportant information can

be difficult. For example, if neighbours believe a house accommodated an illegal marijuana

grow op, though never proven in court, does that make the house stigmatized?

It’s thought that stigmatized properties or houses widely believed to be haunted thanks to a

murder or suicide typically drops in value. A Realtor.com survey from October 2012 showed a

surprising 29 per cent of consumers would consider buying a haunted home on one condition

– that the home was substantially discounted at 20 per cent or more off an otherwise similar



According to Toronto real estate lawyer Mark Weisleder, in the city’s red-hot real estate

market, an Ossington Ave. house took 16 months and several listing agents before selling in

2013 for $73,000 below the asking price of $973,000. The reason? The single-family house was

the scene of a murder in 2011.


Interest in stigmatized properties has prompted the start up of several websites such as

www.DiedinHouse.com, a U.S.-based site founded in 2013 that claims to instantly search over

118 million death records. There is a fee involved and currently the site is not set up to search

properties outside of the U.S.


The scary side of real estate is well documented by Silicon Valley realtor Mary Pope-Handy in

her Haunted Real Estate blog, which offers scads of info on eerie properties, spirits and the

supernatural, properties that would be deemed stigmatized.

Housecreep.com is a crime discovery website developed by Toronto brothers Robert and

Albert Armieri. Visitors can submit an address and see whether a crime was committed on the

property. The site currently has over 24,000 addresses entered and about the same number of

events listed.


Weisleder says it’s not a bad idea for sellers to sign a clause saying that they are not aware of

issues relating to murder, suicide and grow ops. You can also scour the internet for info about

a property’s past. But your best line of defense involves shoe leather. Speak to neighbours in

the area of the house. They’re likely to tell you if those walls witnessed more than their share of

criminal or objectionable activity.

Pony Ride Event

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

The FreemanTeam®, Kate Hobson and Alex Beauregard sponsored awesome Pony Ride events. Kate Hobson’s event was held at Shaw Street PS and Alex Beauregard’s event was held at Palmerston PS.


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Art that Awakens You

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Even if contemporary art isn’t your thing, you’re sure to have fun joining in with the regulars who attend this annual all-night celebration of art.

Expect about a million of them.

In its ninth year, this very popular, free art exhibit known as Scotiabank Nuit Blanche is produced by the City of Toronto in collaboration with the city’s art community. But artists naturally come from far and wide with about 400 mounting art installations and projects throughout the city. Starting on October 4, from sundown Saturday to sunset Sunday morning, the city comes to life during a 12-hour window in which throngs come to view more than 120 art exhiimagesbits scattered throughout Toronto.

Montreal’s Chelanie Beaudin-Quintin offers up a rather unusual inspiration in Screaming Booth, a private booth that lets you scream your fool head off in anger, frustration, happiness – whatever emotion strikes you. Festival goers are encouraged to let it rip inside the bright yellow booth, which will be located at Dundas and Spadina.  The artist came up with the idea for the screaming booth because she noticed a lack of spaces within urban settings in which people are free to express emotions.

Independent Toronto curator Magda Gonzalez-Mora has created Before Day Break, which includes 12 projects located in and around historic Fort York.  The exhibition examines the intricacy of everyday life and the perception of reality. Through these works, the artists reflect on different conditions that impact our ability to understand the world.

The Night Circus, which takes place at Roundhouse Park and Bremner Road, features 10 projects curated by Denise Markonish, curator at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Mass. Inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s book of the same title, the exhibition offers the spectacle of magic with an aura of darkness bubbling underneath. Artists astonish and entertain during this night circus that vanishes with the break of dawn

Heather Pesanti, senior curator at the Contemporary Austin in Austin, offers an exclusive performance-based exhibition for the first time ever at Scotiabank Nuit Blanche called Performance Anxiety. Curated in the spirit of symphony, events will take place throughout the night at Toronto City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square. Pesanti’s exhibition reflects the sensation and emotion an individual feels when facing the public.

For more detail on each artist and each exhibit go to www1.toronto.ca and search Nuit Blanche.





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