Family Day 2017 at the Art Gallery of Ontario.


agoKite-making, skipping ropes and short films, oh my!

Kids take over the AGO for Family Day

 

WHAT:          On Monday, Feb. 20, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) once again transforms into the Kids’ Gallery of Ontario (KGO), with a jam-packed line up of artful activities inspired by the ongoing exhibition Francis Alÿs: A Story of Negotiation. Programming highlights include kite-making and bubble wrap-bursting, Gallery tours, family yoga, exciting interactive performances by the SOAR children’s skipping team and a screening of Small Cave, Big Cave, a new short film written by two Toronto seven-year-olds.

For more programming details and information on how to book discounted family passes, visit http://www.ago.net/family.

WHEN:          Feb. 20, 2017

Activities take place from 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.; please visit ago.net/family for a complete schedule of activities and times.

WHERE:       Art Gallery of Ontario.  317 Dundas St. W. Toronto, ON

TICKETS:     Admission is free for AGO members and children five and under. A special discounted family pass is available for advance purchase at www.ago.net/family for only $39. A family pass admits two adults and up to five youths (ages six to 17). Individual tickets are $11 for youth ages 17 and under, $16 for seniors and $19.50 for adults and can be purchased at ago.net, in person and over the phone at 416-979-6648.

 

The Urban Daddy: Bringing The Modern Dad To the Blogosphere


#TBT Tuesday to being featured in the Canada Writes series on “great Canadian Blogs” by the CBC.

http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/2014/08/bringing-the-modern-dad-to-the-blogosphere.html

By day, Warren Orlans is a mild-mannered tax consultant, shoehorning in time to be a hands-on dad to his three young children and to helm an impressive backyard vegetable garden. But by night (10 p.m. to 2 a.m., to be exact) he morphs into The Urban Daddy, blogging on everything from why a child whose age is less than your shoe size feels the constant need to correct you to the parenting situation that leads you to eat a nibbled, warm banana.
As part of our Canada Blogs series on great Canadian blogs, we chatted with Warren about handling your private blog going public, falling asleep mid-post and why daddy bloggers may be coming out of the woodwork.

When and why did you start The Urban Daddy?
I started The Urban Daddy in 2004, just before my first son was born. I wanted to keep a diary of my wife’s pregnancy, what it was like being a father for the first time, and other related, or non-related, events that caught my attention at that time. The blog was kept private for four years until a colleague caught wind of it and it became very public.
I also started writing The Urban Daddy to work on my grammar and punctuation, which were not strong points for me in school. I have come a LONG way from my earlier posts, and the few who followed me from post #1 through post #1,000 have commented on the huge difference in my writing.
You’re a very hands-on dad. What kinds of reactions do you get from people about this? Do you find there’s still some bias towards dads being so involved in parenting?
I am as hands on as I can be because I love being a dad, and I want to spend more time with my kids than my father was able to. I know life can be very short—my dad passed away at the age of 62, so he was at our wedding but did not get to see any of my children. I do not want my children to not have had the opportunity to know me, to learn from me and to be taught some of the wonderful traits that were passed on to my from my mother: respect, consequences of actions, and that others are entitled to their own opinions and sometimes it’s best to listen, smile and not say anything.
I also see many other dads hanging around their kids’ classes, at least in my community. I see it more and more. I don’t judge those who can or cannot be there—we all have choices to make—and I do not feel that there are people judging me for being there as often as I am. Or maybe I just convince myself that anyone judging me must be thinking how successful I am that I have the free time to participate in my kids’ lives so much.
There are a lot of “mommy” blogs out there, but not so many “daddy” blogs. Why do you think this is?
I usually do not mention my blogging because I long felt that I was a “fraud” by blogging standards, being a “daddy blogger.” Early on I was at a gathering with a bunch of friends (all new dads as well) and one father said, “I think people who blog are narcissistic and do so only to brag about themselves.” From that point on, I kept it to myself.
Nowadays, especially after being featured in The Globe and Mail and Canadian Living, I don’t hide anything. It’s what I like to do no matter what anyone thinks.
I do have mothers coming up to me and asking me if I blog, and the reaction from them is usually one of surprise and support. I get a lot of positive feedback from mothers and from involved dads, who by choice or necessity are more involved than dads who leave for work before their kids wake up and who return home after the kids are in bed.
You tell a lot of personal stories about your wife and family. Where do you draw the line in what you do and don’t write about?
When my blog was hidden, I had no boundaries, until one day a colleague at the government asked a very personal question that they would have only known to ask through my blog. From that point on, I treat each and every post as if it were very public and I think about how my kids would feel as adults reading it. Would they want me talking about embarrassing things, or just telling stories and highlighting milestones?
How does your family feel about your blog?
My family likes the blogging—some more than others—because I relay stories about my children that I’ve sometimes forgotten to tell them. I also do not air dirty laundry on my blog, so there are very few posts where I am venting about my family.
I think they are amazed at the attention The Urban Daddy has been getting over the past few years more than anything. I have never seen myself as a writer, and I appreciate each and every person who takes the time to read and comment on posts because there are so many other things they could be doing, but they are reading my ramblings, and I appreciate it.
You have another blog, inTAXicating. What’s the story of this blog?
InTAXicating came to me while I was working in the government and learning about how the Internet would help the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) collect money and educate taxpayers. As I progressed through collections, I was a Resource Officer for five years and that role was very technical, requiring me to understand and interpret the Income Tax Act and Excise Tax Act.  In order to get the level of understanding of legislation, I started re-writing the text into “English” and posting that on my blog.
So you have a day job, two blogs, and three kids. How exactly do you find time for all of this?
I don’t. Having my own business has made blogging as The Urban Daddy very difficult, and I have almost 200 posts sitting in my draft folder, in need of a good review. Prior to that I would generally blog from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and I would schedule my posts to come out during the course of the week. When my first son was born, I was doing my MBA online and 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. was my time to work once everyone went to sleep, so I maintained that time as my time to get posts written.
Now I find I have so much work to do for my business that I spend time working on that instead of the blogging. But it changes, and sometimes I get extra time to bang out a post or two.
I’ve started going back to edit old posts, and I’ve found some where I clearly fell asleep in the middle of typing but posted them anyway. It’s a great reminder of my exhaustion back then.
What advice would you give to aspiring bloggers?
Do not get discouraged and do not write for others. Write for yourself first and try not to fret when only one or two readers come by your blog in a day, week or month. It takes time to build up a following. Reply to comments, follow other blogs, read them if you have the time and figure out what you want from your blog.
If you want to win awards, get hundreds of thousands of followers and use it to step up to a more prolific role, then stick to a topic or theme and write about it, and it only.
If you want your blog to be a journal to look at as your kids get older or to record things you might need, then write for the love of writing. If more comes of it, just say thank you and continue doing what you love doing.

 

The Absolute Best Hockey Instructor on the Planet: Dusan Kralik’s Creative Hockey development


I just signed up my middle and only child who plays hockey for March break hockey camp with the absolute best hockey instructor on the planet, Dusan Kralik, and his Creative Hockey Development program.

My son, you see, is entering his 3rd year in organized hockey, his 4th year skating at all, and all of his improvements have been due to his desire to get better (certainly not to my pushing him) and because Dusan is an amazing human being.

Dusan, has a very lengthy background in hockey, and he would have been a fantastic pro player if it wasn’t for injuries.

Instead of moving past hockey, Dusan moved to Canada from his native Slovakia and wound up playing on my ball-hockey team where we won a whole bunch of championships.  Playing with one healthy hip, Dusan was magical in the arena, and when I finally got to see him on the ice, I was in awe.

He’s incredibly talented, unbelievably gifted, and he’s trained many, many current NHL players whom you might have heard about – Subban, Tavares, the Tanev brothers, just to name a few.  In fact this past April, he trained Conor McDavid prior to the World Cup.

If he can train them, he can train my son.

Dusan is not just an on-ice genius, as he has presented at International Coaching Symposiums, has had many a conversation with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, and each summer he travels to Carolina to train the Carolina Hurricanes prospects.

Dusan, is a future GM in the NHL, so it’s best to get him while he’s still training!  Dusan travels worldwide to train – I know he trained the Israeli Hockey team, as well as the men’s and woman’s hockey teams for Seneca College.

His website is under construction, but I strongly recommend you follow him on Facebook, here; https://www.facebook.com/CreativeHockeyDevelopment/

If I’m lucky, he’ll let me assist at the camp as I did last year with some of the coaching (not on ice), or I’ll just look forward to watching the expert work his magic with a bunch of wide-eyed kids.

 

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year, for all of us here at The Urban Daddy!  Okay, so that’s just me, but it sounds better when it’s coming for a bunch of people, right?

You might have noticed a few changes around here if you arrive at the blog via the URL http://www.urbandaddy.wordpress.com.  The theme and cover photo have been changed again and I’m taking this blog back to basics which means more content and less focus on what the heck I’m saying and how it’s being written.

I miss the old days when I would throw up a post and the only reader and only comment would be from my sister who would edit it for me in her comment.  LOL.

You might also have noticed that little “R” inside a circle after “The Urban Daddy” and that is because I have registered the trademark “The Urban Daddy”.  After 1200 posts covering over 12-years, it was only a matter of time, right?

Another new change is the URL.  You can access this blog via http://www.theurbandaddy.ca as well, as I finally had enough time to activate that URL which I’ve owned for the past 5-years.

I hope everyone has a healthy, wealthy and peaceful 2017, and I’d like to end this post with a tidbit of wisdom from my now 7-year-old daughter, who blurted this out on New Years’ Day for some unknown reason;

 

“In order to have money and not be poor when you are older, you need to earn and save money now when you are young!”

 

A fiscal conservative at the core!

 

The Amazing South Street Burger Co. Experience


My kids and I were invited to attend a local South Street Burger Co., for the launch of their “Dinner Just got Better” campaign, which was fantastic and quite informative.

Back on October 28th, South St. Burger launched a new creative campaign that distinguished the brand as the ‘better’ dinner choice, focusing on their commitment to best-in class burger customization, fresh, high-quality ingredients and top-notch sides as essential differentiators in a highly competitive market.

This event proved that to be true, and then some…

We learned that South St. Burger’s core philosophy is “Better Burgers. Fries. Shakes.”  We also learned that there is no need to compromise for ‘fast,’ when it comes to eating well.  We learned that the toppings are fresh, the food so tasty and the shakes get both adult and children’s approvals.

Jay Gould, the founder and President of South Street Burger Co., said “We know our target is strapped for time at the end of their day, but keen to find ‘better’ meal options for their families that include fresh ingredients and don’t compromise on taste.”

The campaign highlighted all the ways South St. Burger makes dinner ‘better’ – from its fresh, 100% Angus beef, additive-free burger raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics, to its gourmet topping combinations and use of garden-fresh ingredients, to fresh-cut fries and hand-scooped milkshakes.

Does it make a difference?  Hell, yes.

Can you taste the difference?  See above.

Is it worth visiting again, and again and again.  Yup.  So very worth it.

I’m sure you have seen their eye-catching product photography and cheeky headlines, such as ‘A burger a day keeps the Kale away’ and ‘Like Frozen Burgers? Keep Walking’ on their Facebook, or Instagram pages.

So, I took my middle child to the event because, well, he LOVES his food, and not just in that – he’ll eat large quantities of anything, kind of way – and for a week prior to the event he kept checking in to ensure we were still going, and the night of the event, when it was time to create our own burger, he already knew how many toppings were available and what was good on the menu to eat with the burger because he “researched” that.

So we made burgers, had professional pictures taken of them, and then ate, ate, ate.

My son’s has a knack for building the perfect burger – he called it the “Boss 2.0” and it photographed well, but tasted even better.  The food was incredible and we learned what differentiates South Street Burger Co. from all the rest, and that is the quality of the products they serve.

Our experience was so pleasant that we’ve been back every week since then for a burger and have not been disappointed in the quality of the burgers or the quality of the toppings.  It really opened our eyes to what we should expect in a burger and gave us a few locations to visit and eat well.

ABOUT SOUTH ST. BURGER
South St. Burger serves premium food in a contemporary, loft environment. The menu features fresh 4oz and 6oz beef patties made with 100 % Angus beef, are additive free, and raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics. Grilled chicken breasts, veggie burgers as well as Oktoberfest sausages and all-beef hot dogs are also on the menu. Sides include hand-cut french fries and poutine, and hand-scooped milkshakes made from real, premium ice cream. With 30 traditional and gourmet condiments, from dill pickles to dijon horseradish, guacamole and mango chutney, customers can personalize their orders at no extra charge.

Premium toppings include a selection of five real cheeses, grilled ginger glazed pineapple, Applewood smoked bacon, and sautéed mushrooms.

There are 35+ restaurants in Canada including six franchised restaurants in Alberta; plus a location in Dubai. South St. Burger was recently named one of Canada’s Best Managed Private companies for their fourth year in a row.

For more information on South St. Burger, please visit http://www.southstburger.com.

With great food, healthy food and great press like that, how can you not give SSBC a try.  You won’t be disappointed.

Disclaimer: Along with the pleasure of being introduced to SSBC, we ate like royalty and were give a gift card to return to the restaurant.  My son, has a new favourite place to eat and he lights up whenever he sees a restaurant because he knows he might have the opportunity to eat a delicious meal / snack.