Tag Archives: YYZ

Toronto Bakes for Japan: People Helping People

“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” – Howard Zinn

On Sunday April 10, 2011, I had the pleasure of attending the “Toronto Bakes For Japan” Bake Sale that took place at 5 locations in Toronto. When I walked in the door, I was overwhelmed by the amount of baking that was available; and I was only at the Liberty Noodle location in Liberty Village!

Overwhelming contributions from you!

Sushi anyone!?!

My friend, Niya Bajaj, an event planner and social extrovert had taken this idea to heights that I had not anticipated. Her team of volunteers and her fellow organizer, Heena Punwani, had motivated, inspired and encouraged Toronto into putting together a massive spread of baking to help the people of Japan, following the earthquake that happened there on March 11, 2011.

There was also an auction of art, specialty baked goods and gift certificates for restaurants, spas and other locations in the city. One of the most impressive items up for auction was a cake that looked like sushi on a wooden stand! I can tell you that when I saw it, I thought it was sushi! I understand that @allcondohotels bought the sushi cake! I hope they enjoyed it! It was a very impressive item!

I also had the opportunity to visit the crew that was working at Cafe Diplomatico all day on Sunday and they had some interesting stories of their time on the patio! Their day had started in the rain, but thankfully the weather had warmed up and the sun had come out! They had provided people with snacks to enjoy while doing laundry nearby or to enjoy with their coffee on the patio. These folks had given up their day to sit outdoors and help raise money for the people in Japan. Their efforts should not go without a huge “Thank You”.

The same thanks should go to the other locations that hosted the volunteers and were generous with their support and time for the volunteers to sell their product. I had the opportunity to meet Sang Kim, and learn about his Toronto to Japan effort that helps raise spirits via sending short videos to people in Japan. Liberty Noodle played a large role in this effort and hosted a sushi making event on April 2, 2011 in conjunction with Sang. Please check out their website and visit them for dinner or one of their special events. It is now on my calendar to do so!

I really liked that all of the items were stylishly packaged. The level of care and concern that everyone had committed to their products was evident just from looking over the tables. There was a large selection to choose from and almost every item was labeled with the ingredients that went into the product. Every detail was taken care of especially for those with food allergies!

OMG! Was this ever good!

I didn

I even caught Jo shopping for some baked goods! Imagine that!

@clickflickca selecting his baked goods!

I know that I left Liberty Noodle with an armload of baked goods (that were all delicious), a good feeling in my heart! Thanks should also go to The Rivoli, Amaranto Cafe, Evergreen Brick Works Farmers Market and Yoshi’s Sweets that also hosted volunteers over the weekend.

As of writing this, the efforts of this team of volunteers was approaching $30,000 raised for the Red Cross in Japan and they are still working. If you would like to help them, please visit their website and contact them for how you can help donate. They and the people in Japan will appreciate it.

A San Francisco Experience – Day 1

I was lucky enough to receive a free trip to San Francisco from Klout and Virgin America, due to my influence on Twitter. This in and of itself was flattering, because for me it meant that there was some value to what I was contributing to the conversation on Twitter.

I was on the fence about taking the trip, for a number of reasons. I had to rearrange my work schedule; Lots of others were coming at other times; I already had my vacation for the summer planned and paid for later in August. I decided in-spite of all of that to still jump at the opportunity and claim my ticket.

From the moment I arrived at Pearson Airport (YYZ) in Toronto, I encountered nothing but friendly people.  The check-in staff for Virgin America was busy, but they were friendly and doing what they could to keep the lines moving.  I met a fellow “Klouter” in the departure area and had a great chat about food and San Francisco.  Erin (who is apparently getting engaged – congrats!!) and Deb on the flight crew were friendly and cheerful during our flight.  They took the time to talk about air travel and how much they like working for Virgin while I was stretching my legs and having a coffee!! They did everything they could to make sure that our flight was great!!

When I arrived in San Francisco, getting to my hotel was easy and efficient thanks to BART (their rapid transit system).  I dashed off to AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants and got into line for  a ticket the ballgame. Two scalpers were doing their best high pressure sales tactic on me when a fan walked up to the line, right beside me and said, “Who needs a single ticket for free”? After a quick, “I’ll take it for free”, I was on my way to a Club level seat in the ballpark, still not believing how my day was going!! The fan that gave me a ticket wouldn’t even let me buy them a beer!! I am forever thankful to them and their co-workers for their generosity!!

When I got back to my hotel, I got checked in and discovered that I had a fantastic room at the Harbor Court Hotel, that is right on the bay in San Francisco.  The view from my room is fantastic and I couldn’t ask for more. For being part of their “member” program I was given a mini-bar credit and for mentioning a “codeword” promo that they had mentioned on Twitter, I received a secondary credit!!

My day didn’t end there, but what more could you ask for in less that 24 hours!?!  This trip has restored my belief that all people at their core are willing to help their neighbours.  Sometimes you encounter so many angry and frustrated people, you begin to wonder why everyone is so angry.  I can’t tell you how happy I am now that I took this trip!!

The world is a much better place when the attitude you are shining out gets shone back at you.  I am not sure if it was the positive attitude of those I encountered that caused me to smile back at others.  I hope that it was my smile and “Hello” that maybe changed their attitude towards me. I don’t know and I guess it dosen’t matter.  What does matter is that there were people on the planet  all working at being kind to each other on July 29 in Canada and the United States.  My hope is that my story was repeated in other ways in other cities around the planet as well!! What more can you ask for??