Selected Portfolio

Hey Toronto, what’s up with all the progress?

This originally appeared on the online version of Post City on October 9, 2013.

Progress

Toronto is a vibrant, progressive city, and it’s changing every single day. New tourist attractions like the Ripley’s Aquarium are popping up. Bold, architecturally interesting developments like the Mirvish+Gehry towers are being proposed. And new, innovative urban solutions to the city’s retail and residential needs are seemingly unveiled every day.

It needs to stop.

Indeed, the time has come, with our eyes so squarely focused on the future, to ask if we are losing sight of our past. That’s why I’ve founded the Committee to Keep Everything the Same Forever (CKESF).

Sure, the CKESF understands that the population of Toronto is rapidly expanding, and that the city’s infrastructure must be updated to accommodate the growth. But we’d like to counter by pointing out that hey, old buildings look prettier. Continue reading “Hey Toronto, what’s up with all the progress?”

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Seven types of TTC commuters who suck

This was originally published on the online version of Post City on September 11, 2013.

TTC

It’s nearing that horrible time of year when I admit to myself that I am too wimpy to cycle and I hang up my bike in favour of a Metropass. Accordingly, it seems only fair that I issue advance notice to those people who have always made my ever-delayed commute the claustrophobic hell that it is. Offenders, consider yourselves warned: here are seven TTC commuters that I want to punch in the face.*

1. Lollygaggers. Allow me to congratulate you on the fact that you clearly have nowhere to be today. It’s evident, as I rush to get to my office by 9 a.m., that you’ve made better choices in life, affording you either a boss who doesn’t care what time you show up or the ability to spend the day bird watching and/or picking wildflowers. Have a fantastic day, but for the love of God, please consider that the people walking behind you might have to be somewhere. Find second gear or get out of the way. Better yet, just stay asleep for an extra hour in the morning. Surely the non-thing you don’t have to do today will still not be there later. Continue reading “Seven types of TTC commuters who suck”

10 ways to cure a hangover in Toronto

Originally published on blogTO on July 5, 2013

Hangover cure Toronto

Given that I so frequently provide guidance on how and where to drink in Toronto, it seems irresponsible that I have yet to provide any advice on how to handle the after effects, namely your hangover.

So, while I don’t provide any guarantees that any of these will actually work for you, the following handful of great local options for the morning (or afternoon) after drinking might just help you fight the pounding in your head and the taste of death in your mouth after your next epic night on the town. As for the stains on your shirt and the shame in your soul, well, you’re on your own. Continue reading “10 ways to cure a hangover in Toronto”

Anthony Rose would like you to stop calling his cuisine “comfort food.”

This article was originally published online and in the print edition of Post City Magazine as “Chef Profile: Anthony Rose, the man behind Rose and Sons and the newly opened Big Crow.” 

(Image: Connie Tsang)

Although he’s become known for upscale versions of the sort of simple fare that’s currently enjoying a moment, Anthony Rose, of Rose and Sons, is hesitant to slap any labels on his dishes. The 40-year-old chef-cum-restaurateur confesses that he has simply always preferred serving the food that he most enjoys making. If people find his food comforting, so be it — just don’t call it comfort food.

“It’s such a bullshit term,” he says. “For me, it’s just the only way I know how to cook. I’ll go out to eat molecular food, but I just don’t know how to do it, and I don’t really want to learn.”

Instead, Rose has taken the upscale approach to classic food that helped him make a name for himself for six years as the executive chef at The Drake Hotel. His first restaurant, Rose and Sons, which opened last year, has already made waves — both good and bad. Continue reading “Anthony Rose would like you to stop calling his cuisine “comfort food.””

In Toronto Pubs, Breweries Battle for Beer Taps With Persuasion and Cash

This post originally appeared on Torontoist on January 2, 2013.

Beer industry insiders say big breweries spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year trying to influence what your bartender decides to put in the fridge.

Photo by The Nexus, from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.
Photo by The Nexus, from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

You may think, when you go to a bar, that your choice of beer is entirely yours. But that decision may have been made well before you even put on your drinking pants—and not by the bar owners. According to industry insiders, it’s often the brewers who dictate what’s on tap.

In fact, insiders say, sometimes it’s brewers, not bar owners, who cover the expense of putting in those very tap lines. Because in Toronto, and across Ontario, keg-fridge space is expensive real estate. Continue reading “In Toronto Pubs, Breweries Battle for Beer Taps With Persuasion and Cash”

Dear Toronto Sun

August 8, 2012

Mr. James Wallace
Editor-in-Chief
Toronto Sun
c/o Sun Media Corporation
333 King Street East
Toronto, Ontario
M5A 3X5

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I am long-time, loyal reader of your great publication and the reasons behind my writing you today are two-fold: Firstly, I’d like to congratulate you on your tireless dedication to the sort of journalism that real Torontonians like me need and appreciate, and secondly, I’d like to ask you for a favour.

I read The Sun daily because I appreciate your devotion to unbiased coverage of those politicians currently bringing some much-needed straight talk to city council. Your refusal to join ranks with Toronto’s more liberal media outlets who continue to slander the likes of the brothers Ford and Councillor Mammoliti just because they frequently speak without thinking and don’t kowtow to the wishes of their own constituency is refreshing. Too often Toronto’s other papers lazily use facts and quotes just to paint an unflattering picture of those politicians with whom their beliefs don’t align. The Sun, on the other hand, never lets facts and quotes dictate the story. Continue reading “Dear Toronto Sun”

Pyramid

I was part of The Second City Training Centre’s comedy writing program in 2012. We shaped scenes we wrote in order to build toward a final show that took place in August of that year where 19 actors brought our brilliance to the stage of the Second City. 

Because so many students in my class actually lasted through the entire program (nine of us in total) we each had just 7 minutes of showtime dedicated to our individual scenes. Accordingly, a large amount of the scenes we wrote never saw the light of day–which is a shame since I think some of them were at least mildly amusing. Here is one of them. 

Pyramid
by Ben Johnson
Draft #1
March 13, 2012


BABU m
AKIL m
GUARD m
JAFARI m

BABU and AKIL are pushing a massive rectangular block. Continue reading “Pyramid”