Friday, 28 March 2014

Downtown unique condo project in Toronto sticks to it's knitting


It happened this evening in the Bloor/Dufferin district. A century old Toronto yarn factory, hidden at the end of an inner city lane is going to be retooled rather than torn down. The ancient building, vacant for years, will soon house 16 urban/art condo suites.

For now the building is gloriously empty with high high ceilings, battle worn brick walls and a polished concrete floor. Tonight was the hip, avant-garde sales launch. There was a yarn bar, a yarn art installation and three swings in the middle of the room where three yarn bombing models swung and knit in mid-air (acquired taste for sure).

The action was hot and heavy with potential buyers showing strong interest (and waving cheque books) with the project. CITY TV got in the action with their cameraman getting footage of the swinging party!

There is a model suite already installed at the Lanehouse project featuring a living room with an 18-ft high ceiling and an overlooking bedroom loft. The unit will eventually have a private rooftop terrace.

CITY TV cameraman sits on a swing beside Yarn Bombing model at Lanehouse Condo launch

Master Bedroom of the Lanehouse condo. Window at left overlooks living room as seen  below
Bedroom's floor-to-ceiling wall looks down into the living room and lane
Lane from 50 Bartlett Avenue runs west to the front of the condo project

Wednesday, 19 March 2014




When in doubt use the word BACON.

Often times it is difficult to get people to read your press releases. I have found if you can use the word BACON somewhere in your release, you will get a lot more people opening your emails and reading your PR Bumpf! 
Doesn't matter what you are trying to promote, bacon works magic. Mutton. Head Cheese. Chicken's Feet and Roast Beef just don't seem to cut the mustard.
This is not a new PR tip,   just check out the picture above, it is from a 1926 press release campaign.
As a publicity stunt, a woman climbed into a giant hot frying pan with two slabs of bacon tied to her feet. She is holding an enormous wooden spatula and smiles at the crowd, even though it is really really hot. All part of promoting a Chehalis, Washington event.


A Facebook Self-Promotion lesson! 

Drive around the city until you find a company that has the same name as you do. Get your photographer (George Socka) to snap a picture that makes it look like you own the place (But do I really look like a guy that is all wrapped up in Minerals and Oil?)


Everything old is new again (except the dead fish in the picture)

Best way to win a client’s heart? Use your well honed PR skills. It is an old strategy but still true today -- give away swag. In the 1890s it was a freshly caught cod! Nowadays it is memory sticks, baseball hats, free lunches and hockey game tickets.

(I found this picture in the University of Miami Archives - it is part of a trading card programme, copies of paintings were given away  with each purchase of a bag of coffee. It was 1896, and the concept was developed by the Arbuckle Brothers coffee company in the US.)


PUBLIC RELATIONS TIP #1 How to make yourself look thinner on Facebook

Get your son to take a picture of you standing beside a mural of Bibendum, (the Michelin Man). Doesn't hurt to be holding a can of Diet Coke either.
Andrew Weir took this picture of me on the streets of Windsor, Ontario (where a cartoon mural of Bibendum makes total sense!).

Monday, 17 March 2014

Leanne Simpson first winner of Emerging Writer Award

News Release • Monday, March 17, 2014 • Toronto, Ontario

Writer, scholar, storyteller and First Nations activist Leanne Simpson named recipient of inaugural RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award 

Leanne Simpson, a writer, scholar, storyteller and activist for Indigenous Peoples has been named the recipient of the inaugural RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award. Ms. Simpson was nominated for the Award by Thomas King whose book, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America won the 2014 RBC Taylor Prize. Established jointly by RBC and the Taylor Prize to promote emerging talent in non-fiction, the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award consists of a $10,000 cash prize, as well as the opportunity to be mentored by the 2014 RBC Taylor Prize winner.
 “For me, Leanne Simpson was an obvious choice,” said Thomas King. “She is a gifted writer who brings passion and commitment to her storytelling and who has demonstrated an uncommon ability to manage an impressive range of genres from traditional storytelling to critical analysis, from poetry to the spoken word, from literary and social activism to song-writing. She is, in my opinion, one of the more articulate and engaged voices of her generation.”
Leanne Simpson holds a Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba and is an instructor at the Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge, Athabasca University. She has published over thirty scholarly articles and authored five books that draw upon her extensive knowledge of Indigenous Peoples. She has also written articles for Canadian magazines and newspapers. In 2012 she won Briarpatch Magazine’s Writing from the Marginscompetition for short fiction.
Ms. Simpson is a member of the Alderville First Nation (Rice Lake, Ontario). For the past 15 years, she has worked with Indigenous communities and organizations in Canada and internationally on environmental, governance and political issues. Her third book,Dancing On Our Turtle’s Back (AK Press) stresses the importance of illuminating indigenous intellectual traditions in order to transfer that relationship to the Canadian state.
“Thomas King is a gifted writer, performer, story-teller and one of my biggest influences,” said Leanne. “His impact on my generation of Indigenous artists and writers is profound and I will be forever grateful to him for his brilliant body of work. His work lifts Indigenous peoples up, he makes us laugh out loud, and most importantly, he speaks our truths. With this award I can continue the work I started in Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back, and along with many others, move towards creating a just relationship between Indigenous nations and Canada.”
 “I am so pleased that Thomas King selected Leanne Simpson to be the first recipient of the RBC Emerging Writer Award,” said RBC Taylor Prize Foundation Chair, Noreen Taylor, “Mr. King has worked with Ms. Simpson in the past and has developed an evident regard for this talented individual. It is exciting to consider how this writer, with known strengths in other forms of storytelling, will find new creative strengths and develop new vehicles of communication as she ventures into the heady challenge of non-fiction writing.”
“RBC Wealth Management is proud to support the new Emerging Writer Award and the wonderful opportunity it provides aspiring Canadian authors,” Vijay Parmar, President, RBC PH&N Investment Counsel said. “Thomas couldn’t have selected a more deserving winner in Leanne Simpson. We believe this kind of artist-to-artist mentorship is simply invaluable, and key to cultivating Canada’s new generation of writers.”
The RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award was established to provide recognition and assistance to a Canadian published author who is working on a significant writing project, preferably but not limited to literary non-fiction. Through mentorship from the nominating author, and the cash award, it is intended that the writer will be able to progress toward the creation of a first draft.
The Trustees of the Charles Taylor Prize Foundation are Michael Bradley (Toronto), David Staines (Ottawa), and Noreen Taylor (Toronto). The Foundation gratefully acknowledges the support of RBC Wealth Management as its presenting sponsor; along with its major sponsor Metropia; and greatly appreciates the support of its media sponsors The Globe and MailMaclean’s magazine, CNW Group, The Huffington Post Canada; Global Television,Quill & Quire magazine, and; and in-kind sponsors Ben McNally Books, Event Source, IFOA and The Omni King Edward Hotel.

For further information please visit:
Facebook: | Follow us on Twitter: @taylorprize

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Issued by / Media Contact:
Stephen Weir & Associates, Publicists, RBC Taylor Prize
Stephen Weir: Direct: 416.489.5868 | cell: 416.801.3101 |
Linda Crane: Direct: 416.727.0112 |

Thursday, 13 March 2014

RBC Taylor Prize About To Hit The Toronto Airwaves

NEWSTALK 1010 presents the third in a three part series:
“In Conversation with the RBC Taylor Prize Finalists”

Interview with 2014 RBC Taylor Prize winner, Thomas King airs this Saturday, March 15th on 6:00 pm program

TORONTO: March 14, 2014: A feature interview with Thomas King, who this week won the prestigious $25,000 RBC Taylor Prize, will air on NEWSTALK 1010 this Saturday, March 15th at 6:30 pm.  The author of “The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America” will talk candidly with host and Toronto communications specialist, Stephen Weir. 
Stephen Weir
Mr. King, a former radio comedian (Dead Dog CafĂ©), talks with wit and humour, about how the history of Native people that Canadians studied in school and saw in film and on television is not the history “Indians” know.  He tells listeners it is time we all got over the Tonto and Iron Eyes Cody archetypes and saw the history of our indigenous peoples the way it really happened.
Thomas King

Thomas King has written a book which Prize jurors, Coral Ann Howells; James Polk; and Andrew Westoll found: “subversive, entertaining, well-researched, hilarious, enraging, and finally as hopeful as this very personal take on our long relationship with the “inconvenient” Indian.  King dissects myths (noble Hiawatha, servile Tonto, the Sixties nature guru) against the tragic backdrop of real Indians abused in mission schools, penned together on reserves, and bludgeoned by vicious or ham-fisted government policies. A sharp, informed eye is cast on Riel, Crazy Horse, and Sitting Bull, on the dark and tangled stories of Native land claims, on Alcatraz, Will Rogers (a Cherokee), and the maid on Land o’ Lakes butter; on Batoche, on Wounded Knee. In this thoughtful, irascible account, and in characteristically tricksterish mode, King presents a provocative alternative version of Canada’s heritage narrative.”
Ben McNally
The first interview on this Saturday’s program will air at 6 pm with RBC Taylor Prize Finalist, David Stouck.  Host Ben McNally of Toronto’s Ben McNally Books, will talk to the author about his short listed book, “Arthur Erickson: An Architect’s Life”.  The interview with the 2014 RBC Taylor Prize winner, Thomas King will follow.

David Stouck
This is the third year NEWSTALK 1010 has presented its series, “In Conversation with the RBC Taylor Finalists”.  In previous years, the show aired as “In Conversation with The Charles Taylor Prize Finalists”.  Each year, all finalists for the Prize come to Toronto to be interviewed. The series runs for three weekends leading up to and following the RBC Taylor Prize winner announcement.

 This weekend’s hour long show is the final segment. The three-part “In Conversation with the RBC Taylor Prize Finalists” can be heard on podcast here:  

For information on the RBC Taylor Prize visit:
For further information about the RBC Taylor Prize:
Media contact:
RBC Taylor Prize publicist
Linda Crane: 416-727-0112 |

Monday, 3 March 2014

NEWS Advisory Attention: Arts Editors & Assignment Desks

RBC Taylor Prize to Announce 2014 Winner, Monday, March 10th
Luncheon: 12 noon / Announcement 1:30 p.m.

Why:  One of this year's RBC Taylor Prize finalists will be announced as the 2014 winner of the $25,000 RBC Taylor Prize. The winner will be announced shortly after 1:30pm.

Where: The Omni King Edward Hotel, Sovereign Ballroom,
Main Level, 37 King St. East, Toronto     

Who: Meet 2014 RBC Taylor Prize Finalists:
Charlotte Gray (The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Country)
Thomas King (The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America),
J.B. MacKinnon (The Once and Future World: Nature As It Was, As It Is, As It Could Be)                 
Graeme Smith (The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan);David Stouck (Arthur Erickson: An Architect's Life)

Prize Jurors and Foundation Members available for interviews:                 

British-based university professor and literary critic, Coral Ann Howells; Editor, author and professor, James Polk; author, English and creative writing instructor and 2006 Charles Taylor Prize winner, Andrew Westoll; RBC Taylor Prize Founder, Noreen Taylor; Prize Trustee Dr. David Staines
Since 2000, this prestigious national book prize has been a driving force behind the growth and recognition of literary non-fiction. Now in its 13th awarding, the Prize celebrates Canada's rich literary heritage, and the exceptional authors who captivate us with their stories. The Prize commemorates the life and work of the late Charles Taylor, one of Canada's foremost essayists.

With the support of its sponsors, this privately funded Prize is presented annually to a Canadian author whose book best demonstrates a superb command of the English language, an elegance of style and a subtlety of thought and perception. The Prize has been awarded annually since 2004.

For more information visit: and follow us at


Media contacts and to confirm attendance, coverage requirements & interviews:
Stephen Weir, (416) 489-5868, cell: (416) 801-3101,
Linda Crane, (416) 727-0112