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This past month, the CreativeMornings global theme was COLO[U]R, and here in the Toronto chapter, we decided to take the theme very literally.

Enter Tiffany Pratt. On her website, Tiffany describes herself as, “… a fairy godmother. [Whose] joy is to sprinkle possibilities everywhere [she goes], into everything [she does], and elevate the world to a more beautiful place.” Before meeting Tiffany, you might imagine that this is somewhat of an exaggeration, but when she enters the room, you immediately know that it is not. Tiffany Pratt literally embodies the spirit of everything colourful and good in the world – she is glitter and rainbows and hearts and unicorns all wrapped up into one amazing, warm, and genuine human being. Tiffany Pratt will greet you with a bear hug even when you’re covered in bike sweat. Tiffany Pratt will bring you cocoa when you’re sick.

Bright and early on the morning of her talk, Tiffany led a crew of volunteers in transforming 918 Bathurst into a colourful wonderland. Every free surface was draped in streamers, and every chair was donned with a wooden rainbow beaded mandala bracelet, which had been made in a CMTO volunteer craft night with Tiffany earlier in the week.

CMTO 31 Tiffany Pratt (by Laura Crowell)
(Image by Laura Crowell)

Attendees filtered in, and after a brief introduction by CMTO’s Trailblazer Christina Hug, Tiffany Pratt took to the stage.

CMTO 31 Tiffany Pratt (by Yvonne Bambrick)
(Image by Yvonne Bambrick)
CMTO 31 Tiffany Pratt (by Laura Crowell)
(Image by Laura Crowell)
CMTO 31 Tiffany Pratt (by Yvonne Bambrick)
(Image by Yvonne Bambrick)

There were so many amazing quotes from this month’s event, and I’m sad to say that not many of them were actually captured in my personal notes or on the twittersphere. I attribute this to the fact that the air at 918 Bathurst was so filled with magic, that being wrapped up in tweeting about it rather than being present seemed like it would not have been true to the spirit of the event itself.

But if I can paraphrase, some of the overall lessons learned went something like this:

  • When you wake up in the morning, stand tall, take a deep breath, raise your arms to the sky, and imagine rainbows shooting from your fingertips.
  • You can be all the things; you do not have to pick one path in life, nor should you. Do all the things, and be all the things.
  • Plant seeds today, and tend your garden, because you never know when the seeds you’ve planted will come to fruition. Sometimes a project that you start today will finally all make sense and hit its stride years down the road.
  • Everything in life is a balance between shit and luxury.
  • Be true to yourself. Love completely and with abandon. See beauty in everything.

Tiffany’s energy as she spoke on stage, about her journey as a designer and in life, had the audience absolutely captivated. She is so incredibly passionate about what she does and the world around her, that listening to her talk, you can actually feel yourself starting to believe that you are stronger and more capable than you had previously thought. This is how Tiffany Pratt is a true Fairy Godmother; not just for all of her glitter and colours, but because being around her will make you believe that anything is possible, and it will make you believe in yourself.

To end, I will leave you with the same Roald Dahl quote with which Tiffany Pratt, overwhelmed with emotion, closed this month’s talk: “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

———-

See more photos at http://bit.ly/1sggGEq

Thanks to Shutterstock sponsoring September’s event!

If you’re involved with the creative community here in Toronto (or anywhere else in Canada for that matter), you’ve probably heard of Cossette. Started in 1972 as a small Communication-Marketing firm in Quebec City, over the years Cossette has expanded to include offices across Canada and now in the US.

Along with this growth in footprint and reach, Cossette has also garnered a slew of impressive clients and awards, positioning themselves as highly sought after innovators in the field of marketing communications both here at home, and abroad. But as they say, with great power comes great responsibility – and Cossette takes this responsibility seriously.

On August 18th, Cossette announced an official ongoing sponsorship relationship with the Toronto CreativeMornings chapter (adding on to its existing sponsorships with Vancouver and Montreal). As stated in their press release announcing this new partnership –

“Realizing our potential means constantly seeking out new and exciting perspectives on creativity and how it will impact our future and the world around us,” says Glen Hunt, Chief Transformation Officer of Cossette in Toronto. “Cossette was built on a foundation of independence, innovation and entrepreneurialism and we are proud to support a program that reflects that same spirit by celebrating and inspiring the creativity in all of us,” adds Hunt.

Thanks for having our back, Cossette! Looking forward to a strong and happy relationship over the next year!

Photos from CreativeMornings Toronto #29 with Graeme Stewart.

Photos by Luana Suciu (luanasuciu.com)

Graeme Stewart M.Arch OAA MRAIC CAHP is a registered architect and Associate with ERA Architects. Graeme has been involved in numerous urban design, cultural planning, revitalization and architecture projects with particular focus on neighbourhood design and regional sustainability.

His international research and design work was instrumental in founding the Tower Renewal Project; an initiative in modern heritage examining the future of Toronto’s remarkable stock of mid-century tower neighbourhoods, with the City of Toronto, Province of Ontario, United Way, University of Toronto, and other partners.

He is a regular lecturer in the Toronto Area’s Universities and Colleges and is the co-editor of Concrete Toronto: A Guidebook to Concrete Architecture from the Fifties to the Seventies.

Graeme is also a founding director of the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal, an interdisciplinary urban research organization focused on furthering research related to Toronto’s urban future. In 2010, Graeme was the recipient of an RAIC National Urban Design Award and in 2014 the Jane Jacobs Prize for his ongoing research and design work related to Tower Renewal.

The Toronto area contains the second largest concentration of high-rise buildings in North America. The majority of these are modern concrete residential buildings, built during the City’s post-war expansion. The Tower Renewal Project is an initiative to re-examine these buildings’ remarkable heritage, neighbourhood histories, current place in our city, and future potential in a green and equitable Toronto. Learn about Tower Renewal. Sponsor: (Mailchimp)
Venue Partner: 401 Richmond (401Richmond.net/)
Breakfast Partner: Sense Appeal Coffee Roasters (senseappeal.ca/)
Merchandise Partner: Swipe Design (swipe.com)

Photos by Luana Suciu (luanasuciu.com)

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TWITTER: twitter.com/Toronto_CM
FACEBOOK: facebook.com/CreativeMorningsTO
BLOG: creativemornings.com/to
E-MAIL: bit.ly/cmtomail

More details about this talk

Well… I did say that “SEX is the great inspirer” in the last post, so now I need to back it up. But instead of boring you with historical references to art and sexuality, or an incomplete study on how SEX has inspired artists and creatives through human history, I’ll share what tomorrow’s speaker, Sonya Barnett, finds inspiring.

(yeah, we asked her)

Without further ado, here’s a brief list of Sonya’s SEX inspiration:

- Clayton Cubbitt’s Hysterical Literature, or you try reading while having an orgasm.
- The Invention of Pornography (book review), self explanatory ;)
- Can Pornography Be Art? A discussion on New Statesman
- A collection of vintage erotica, or forget vegan smoothies, THIS is what Pinterest was made for.
- Gardens of Pleasure, the largest collection of erotic art from ancient China is on display at Sotheby’s Gallery Hong Kong
- The Kama Sutra Alphabet by French illustrator Malika Favre, or methinks I need to brush up on my ABCs…
- The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, or a bit of the history of how humans have tried to supervise public morality. This reminds me of a new book -> Sex and Punishment: a 4000 year History of Judging Desire

And if the above really piqued your curiosity, here’s some extra SEX resources…

- The Origins of Sex: a History of the First Sexual Revolution, by Faramerz Dabhoiwala. Named “Book of the Year” by The Economist, The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Observer, The Sunday Herald, Hindustan Times. BBC History Magazine, Brain Pickings.
Here´s another Guardian review, and a Brain Pickings post.

Some other illustrated SEX book posts by Brain Pickings:
- “Legendary Anthropologist Margaret Mead on the Fluidity of Human Sexuality"
- Susan Sontag on love and sex.
- Alain de Botton’s “How to Think More About Sex”, a tremendous book in explaining why sex is mesmerizing and how it grounds us. (a review)
- The first ejaculation in history: Death & Sex, by Tyler Volk and Dorion Sagan. Here´s an interview.
- An ABZ of Love: Kurt Vonnegut’s Favorite Vintage Danish Illustrated Guide to Sexuality… wow!

- @AmigoJor


You see it in every billboard. It’s written in every pop song. The greatest works of film and literature are sprinkled with its power. SEX. No other human topic captures our collective imagination like the act (or the thought) of getting it on.

But behind the obvious allure of SEX, beneath our hormones and the natural impulses that put SEX at the centre of our thoughts and daily actions, there lies a mountain of history, cultural traditions, man-made rules, and taboos that mediate (or even repress, or enhance) our experience of SEX.

And if SEX is the great inspirer, the impulse behind some of humanity’s most daring creations, then we need to discuss it. We need to hear from every corner of the world about it’s creative potential, about it’s impact. Most importantly, we’re curious to know, with the advent of the internet and all things instant, where SEX is taking us as we venture into this 21st century. After all, we are the Tinder generation.

So, why did Toronto pick SEX? Well… why not. We live in one of the most diverse and progressive cities in the world, but with some lingering conservative Protestant traditions. So perhaps this is a way to challenge that old perception of Toronto and show off our own sexual revolutions.

It is no accident that Toronto will host WorldPride 2014, the first North American city to host a pride festival of this scale. Toronto is also the home of SlutWalk, a global movement that has caused a widespread conversation about sexual violence and dignity.

Aaand that brings us to this month’s speaker. Sonya Barnett is an activist and advocate for sex-positivity, and describes herself as an “artist, speaker, and sex educator”. Sonya founded The Keyhole Sessions (NSFW) “as a safe and welcoming community for people to experience the union between sex and art”. She also co-founded SlutWalk to combat victim-blaming, slut-shaming, and sexual profiling. Sonya won Feminist Porn Awards in 2013 and 2014 for her erotic art, and rumours say that #CMTO attendees may or may not be subjected to the screening of award-winning porn.

So as proud Torontonians, we felt like challenging our own audience with a topic that taps into our private thoughts and behaviours. We also wanted other Creative Mornings organizers to think about SEX. We wanted them to live and breathe SEX and show the world how to address a complicated topic with grace and creativity. More importantly, after a month of talks about SEX in 30 countries and 75 cities, we hope that the month of April 2014 will be forever remembered as the time when Creative Mornings chapters everywhere pushed their creative boundaries.

With this firm conviction in mind, our only hope is that things do get a little awkward. #fingerscrossed

To date, CreativeMornings/TO has been very successful at coalescing Toronto’s creative community around informal and unstructured learning and inspiration. Month after month, our events continue to sell out in minutes with waitlists longer than the number of attendees, but we’re still not reaching the full potential of this community.

Toronto is a massive city, the fourth largest in North America, with a bustling diverse population of more than 2.5 million people. While we continue to serve the creative heart of Toronto by hosting our events centrally, we could do more to feature and showcase creativity in every corner of Toronto.

That’s why we’re proud to announce CreativeMornings/Toronto/POPUPs. Smaller events which feature local creativity to a local audience, that are showcased to the world via creativemornings.com.

We hope to host at least two POPUP events this spring and summer, and hope you’ll come along for the ride. To get involved in planning these events, please get in touch with CreativeMornings/Toronto Trailblazer Christina Hug or contact us at toronto@creativemornings.com.

Hi there, we’re CreativeMornings Toronto, a monthly breakfast lecture series for Toronto’s creative community. We connect, inspire and delight young creatives with lectures, discussions, and environments that allow them to do something special: become more of themselves.

We’re seeking four passionate leaders within Toronto’s creative communities to take us into our third year, but also to grow our audience, stature and influence over Toronto’s creativity.

Please read more about the available positions:

A CONNECTOR to share our creative efforts with the community,
A STEWARD to enable our events with partners and sponsors,
A COORDINATOR to bring our gatherings together, and
A TRAILBLAZER to take us to new heights.

The CONNECTOR will share our creative efforts with the community by:

  • Upkeeping creativemornings.com/to with event & chapter details
  • Sharing creative opportunities and event recaps on our blog
  • Profiling speakers, attendees, volunteers and other community builders
  • Growing our community through opportunities for media outreach

The STEWARD will enable our events and community by creating co-beneficial partnerships with:

  • Organizations who will partner, sponsor and support our events
  • Creative events, festivals and movements with whom we strengthen our community
  • Stunning spaces, places and venues in which we inspire our audience
  • Caterers who will provide the best coffee and breakfast in the city

The COORDINATOR will be the engine that brings our community together, by:

  • Managing any and all event logistics
  • Finding photographers and videographers to capture our events
  • Recruiting and managing an amazing group of volunteers
  • Preparing pieces of flair like IceBreaker Nametags and other unique elements that make our community special

The TRAILBLAZER will take our community to new heights by:

  • Spreading our unique model to benefit underserved areas of the city
  • Working with a small group of creative entrepreneurs to envision, prototype & build true connectedness and collaboration amongst Toronto’s creative community
  • Inventing, creating and building opportunities for creative enlightenment

All positions will require about 5-10 hours/month of work, and are expected to be on the organizing team for at least a year.

Interested in one of these positions? Send an e-mail to: toronto@creativemornings.com & tell us why this community is so important to you.

Can’t commit the time just yet? We’re always looking for more volunteers. Fill out this form to get involved.

If you’re interested in a specific position, please add a few thoughts about how you would improve CreativeMornings with you at the helm.

Please submit your interest before January 6th.

We can’t wait to hear from you.

*Toronto photo courtesy Shutterstock.

Welcome to the home of CreativeMornings Toronto! Browse previous lectures, meet members of the community, and stay in touch!

Photo Courtesy: Shutterstock

creativemornings:

This October, we’re excited to announce our theme of “Play.” The theme was chosen by our organizer Jade Tang and the Auckland team and depicted by Auckland-based James Stewart for our monthly illustration.


The speakers this month touch upon multiple aspects of play from Max Tempkin, founder of Cards Against Humanity (Chicago), Tomáš Pilař, a young Opera Director (Prague), to Jemma Kahn, the primary illustrator and principal storyteller in ‘The Epicene Butcher’ who will be performing her take on Kamashibai (Johannesburg).


As always, free tickets are available starting the Monday before the talk.


Game on.

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