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Hidden Gems Toronto

Author: Tom Scanlan

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Welcome to the Hidden Gems Toronto podcast. After retiring from a career in Communications, Tom and Sharon Scanlan wanted to give back to the city they love.  Now in its third season,  they continue their quest to shine a light on fascinating people and places  that fly under the radar but are a vital part of our city's fabric. 

27 Episodes
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Nadya brings an indigenous perspective to her award-winning photography. In this podcast you will learn that it isn't just her technical ability with the camera that makes her work so special, it's her gentle nature and empathy for her subjects that allows her to build a trust with people and that is evident in all her portraits. As she likes to say: "The camera is an extension of my arm".Thanks for listening! Please visit our website at hiddengemstoronto.netFollow us on Ins...
In this second episode of our series called "You do what for a living?" we introduce you to John Scott, affectionately known as the Clock Guy in Toronto. John is responsible for keeping many of our city's tower clocks running smoothly and chiming on time. John gives us a master class on how gems such as the Old City Hall tower clock operate.After listening to John, you will be left with a whole new appreciation of this scientific wonder known as the tower clock.Thanks for listening! Please vi...
In this podcast we launch the first episode of our occasional series about people who have interesting, if somewhat unusual occupations. And Austin Emery certainly fits the bill. Over his lifetime, Austin has attended more than 500 events dressed as a mascot. He has worn every costume you can imagine. But wait; there's more! In addition to being a mascot, he also is an accomplished sculptor who invites complete novices into his backyard and allows them to create a small sculpture which he the...
In this podcast, we interview Julia Malaniy and Marg Gadke, who are part of a remarkable group of highly skilled medical professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to treat severely injured military and civilian casualties resulting from Russia's unprovoked war on Ukraine. It is a heartbreaking yet heartwarming story of human compassion and hope. Thanks for listening! Please visit our website at hiddengemstoronto.netFollow us on Instagram at hiddengems.torontoand Facebook at h...
Jacquie Rushlow is on a mission! She is determined to rid the world of single-use plastic, one community at a time. She gave up a very successful TV production career to work full-time on accomplishing this goal. In a few short years, she has opened four outlets called The Keep Refillery, where people can bring in old plastic containers and refill them with an array of everyday, household products. And for Jacquie this is just the beginning. She is smart, inventive, and relentless in her purs...
For his entire career Peter Clutterbuck has been involved in creating and implementing social policies that have greatly impacted the quality of life in Toronto. Whether it’s poverty, mental health or marginalized communities, his finger print is on them all. Peter discusses the successes and disappointments of his illustrious career and weighs in on the state of our city from a social planning perspective.We wrap up the podcast with a chat about the upcoming election for Mayor. Thanks f...
StreetARToronto has turned our urban neighbourhoods into an outdoor art gallery. Initiated 10 yours ago as a plan to reduce graffiti vandalism, the program has engaged artists to change thousands of drab buildings, underpasses and traffic-signal boxes into vibrant colourful street art. Toronto is now a world leader in this work. And as project managerCatherine Campbell explains, the process working with artists is just as important as the final results. Thanks for listening!...
While growing up in Europe, Jean-Louis Brenninkmeijer had a real passion for miniature trains. Later on in life, he developed a similar love for the country where work brought him for a two year stint. That country was Canada. He then had the brilliant idea of combining these two passions into one, and though it took 11 years and millions of dollars to complete, the effort was well worth it.He created Little Canada, a stunning exhibit that replicates major parts of Canada in a miniature...
Tourism is an $8 trillion global industry yet very little of that money makes its way into the hands of local businesses and communities. Fortunately, there is an organization called Planeterra that is trying to change all that. They have helped create nearly 500 community-based initiatives in more than 77 countries. Each one provides travellers with a unique travel experience that also benefits the local community and many marginalized groups. Their articulate Director of Partners...
Zach Grant is the Community Director at the Church of the Holy Trinity in downtown Toronto. The church is a mere 21 steps from the Eaton Centre, the epicentre of retail consumerism in Canada. The contrast could not be more stark. Zach works with, and on behalf of, the homeless people living in Toronto. Each month there is a memorial at the Church to celebrate the life and tragic death of those living on the streets. Zach's life is surrounded by grief and rage, yet their (Zac...
The indefatigable Sarah Lazarovic has been a journalist, editorial cartoonist and author. Her book, A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy, is a lively tale of her fight against overconsumption, including going one whole year without buying a single piece of clothing. And her regular newsletter, Minimal Viable Planet, which she describes as an undepressing newsletter about how to fight climate change is irreverent, funny and very insightful. She is a much needed breath...
In this podcast we chat with the Executive and Creative Director of El Mocambo, the effervescent, Mike Chalut. Mike talks about how the El Mocambo was completely renovated into a state of the art facility, while at the same time, paying homage to its illustrious past. It seems everyone has an Elmo story and you will hear lots of them in this podcast. Thanks for listening! Please visit our website at hiddengemstoronto.netFollow us on Instagram at hiddengems.torontoand Facebook at hi...
In this month’s podcast we chat with Ben Lovatt, owner of the Skull Store and Prehistoria Museum. He proudly calls his museum the worlds weirdest recycling centre and Canada’s biggest oddity shop. When you see what Ben has on display, you will quickly surmise that “odd” barely scratches the surface. Thanks for listening! Please visit our website at hiddengemstoronto.netFollow us on Instagram at hiddengems.torontoand Facebook at hiddengems.toronto
PARTNERS IN CRIME

PARTNERS IN CRIME

2022-09-0140:30

For the past decade, Sgt. Derrick Gaudet has always referred to his police dog in the K9 unit as his partner. And why wouldn’t he? His four-legged companion, Major, has played a vital role in solving numerous complex crimes in Canada. It was Major after all who, on a cold winter’s day, found the remains of the bodies that were hidden in planters by serial killer Bruce McArthur. Derrick talks about their exceptional career together and the challenges of taking care of Major now that they have ...
FOOD FOR THOUGHT

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

2022-06-0138:34

In this podcast we tackle the issue of food waste and food production from two unique perspectives. Julia Girmenia works for a charity known as Not Far From The Tree. This creative organization has figured a way to not only salvage huge quantities of fruit that grows in our backyards, but has created a program that shares that fruit with homeowners, volunteers and people in need. Mike Gallay decided he would create a planter box where he could grow his own fruit and vegetables. Then...
FLYING ABOVE THE RADAR

FLYING ABOVE THE RADAR

2022-05-0130:14

During a stressful time in her life, Julia Zarankin went searching for a new hobby and decided to give Birding a shot. This grew into a real passion that led to her writing a fascinating book about her experience. There are more than 350 bird species in Toronto and Julia is on a quest to see them all. After listening to her insights you may be compelled to dig out your old binoculars and become a birder yourself.Thanks for listening! Please visit our website at hiddengemstoronto.netFollow us ...
BLAZING NEW TRAILS

BLAZING NEW TRAILS

2022-04-0127:28

For more than 35 years the charitable organization called Trailblazers has been providing people with visual impairments an opportunity to ride around the city and points beyond on a tandem bike. We interview John Tam who is sighted and Geza Fenyo who is blind to talk about their experiences out on the trails. They have a very inspiring story to tell.Thanks for listening! Please visit our website at hiddengemstoronto.netFollow us on Instagram at hiddengems.torontoand Facebook at hi...
WE'RE STILL STANDING

WE'RE STILL STANDING

2022-03-0137:30

The challenges facing an independent bookstore in Toronto are daunting. If book store owner Ben McNally made a list of the pros and cons of staying in business, the cons would win hands down. But fortunately for Toronto, Ben doesn't make lists; he sells books. Listening to Ben chat about his life in the book world, it is clear that he still opens a box of new books with the anticipation and giddiness of a kid on Christmas morning. After 50 years, he still loves what he does.Thanks for listeni...
A GUIDING LIGHT

A GUIDING LIGHT

2022-02-0129:05

For the past 15 years, nurse practitioner Bertha Hughes has worked in the Cardiovascular and Vascular Surgery Unit at St. Michael's Hospital in downtown Toronto. She has been a beacon of knowledge, compassion and hope for patients and their families who are undergoing traumatic and life-changing surgery. And despite all the challenges of COVID-19 and the overall state of nursing in Canada, she remains optimistic about the future of her profession.Thanks for listening! Please visit our website...
Gordon Precious is many things: a charming raconteur, an intrepid word traveller, an accomplished magician and a talented athlete, whose love of heli-skiing garnered him a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. And did we mention he is 97 years old? You are going to want to hear his story.Thanks for listening! Please visit our website at hiddengemstoronto.netFollow us on Instagram at hiddengems.torontoand Facebook at hiddengems.toronto
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