Catchin a cold at Toronto new surf shop

Aliya N Barnes in front of Elie Landesberg’s photo.
Photos by Sveta Soloveva 

Try on a juicy rash guard, flip through a surf magazine, grab a board of your dream and … go surfing!

Are the Great Lakes too cold for you? Don’t worry, Surf the Greats company got you covered. Their new surf shop and café at 276 Carlaw Avenue offers thick cold water wetsuits, surf booties, and mittens from Rip Curl. While the warmest gear keeps your body comfortable, the beach-inspired events and parties will take care of your mood. For example, until July 29th, Catchin A Cold photo exhibit showcases works from 16 artists who represent all five of the Great Lakes.

Hidden in the labyrinth of the building, the shop became one of many surfers’ favourite spots in Toronto even before it opened. Even while under construction, it hosted Toronto’s premiere of environmental movie Island Earth and welcomed adventure photographer Chris Burkard who was in to Toronto to present his surf documentary Under An Arctic Sky.

Now the shop is officially open and it offers everything surfers need for their soul and body, from surfboards, apparel, sun care, and printed matters to surf and yoga lessons, energizing drinks, and many exciting events like film screenings and live music concerts!

“The atmosphere is totally amazing,” said 20-year-old Aliya N. Barnes, who attended the grand opening party on June 29th. “It’s colourful and bright, but it still has a nice surf chill feeling. I feel like I wanna live here.”

Surf the Greats’ owner Antonio Lennert said that the physical shop is an extension of their online platform that brought many surf enthusiasts together through organizing beach cleanups and free yoga classes and offering surf equipment and lessons for the last three years.

“We started online as a media outlet to connect all different communities of surfers over the Great Lakes using hashtag ‘surf the greats’,” he said. “I feel like we’ve earned the community’s trust by giving, and now the community is giving back to us. That’s why now we have a home, and there’s so many people here and so much positivity. It just feels very special.”

Surf the Greats’ sign over the bar table is shimmers in its juicy colours, shifts from pink to blue and from blue to green. Dj Great Lake Shark (Ellie Landesberg) creates a tropical vibe with folktronica tracks until the band Gold Complex takes over with their live acoustic.

Gold Complex performs at the surf shop on June 29

Guests sample RISE Kombucha, order beer from Sweetgrass Brewing Co., and explore newly arrived surfboards and apparel. There are a couple of major brands like Vans Canada and Rip Curl, but Surf the Greats tries to stay local as much as possible and carries products from Montreal, Tofino, BC, and Toronto, along with their own brand.

Walking through the rows of beach bags and rash guards, the visitors occasionally stop and stare at the photos of Catchin A Cold exhibit. The sixteen photographs vary from black and white to colourful, and show surfers riding or waiting for waves, walking to and staring at the water. “What you see on the walls is a mix of professional photographers and people who go to beach with their phones,” said Lennert. “We tried to make sure that we represented all the Great Lakes, amateur and professional photographers, male and female photographers.” Surf the Greats announced the photo competition in the winter and, working with Vans Canada, selected the winning works out of 700 submissions.

Dj Great Lake Shark (Elie Landesberg) creates a tropical vibe at Surf the Greats’ grand opening party
“I took this photo in Scarborough, Ontario, in a very-very stormy day, and there was one surfer out in very turbulent water,” Elie Landesberg told Novella about his black and white photo. “Because the sky was so grey and the birds were blowing around the sky, I thought it was a metaphor for my life and for surfing to see somebody sitting insulated, so calm among so much turbulence and chaos.”
Lennert said Surf the Greats will host a new event every week. Many of them are free or by donation. Check out a screening of a the surf movie GIVEN on July 20, a wave forecasting workshop on July 29th, and beach yoga every Sunday morning.
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Dressing Like Your Granny Is Actually Quite Cool Now

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Well perhaps your grandma might be very cool in her own way and is still rocking normcore, but in general, grandmothers are associated with styles from the 1950s: ruffled blouses, pie crust collars, brooches and full skirts. For some reason it looks as though designers this year looked to the restrained style of Boomer generation ladies for their collections, drawing perhaps on the structure of the ’50s to find some sort of sense during this bewildering year, or perhaps to add to it. Whatever their reasons, designers have deemed these four trends as very cool and you can borrow them all from your grandmother.

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Brooches

Brooches are no longer just for the kitsch-inclined! Gucci loved the brooch for their FW16 collection, likewise Prada and Balenciaga. The lovely thing about brooches is that you can buy them in any vintage shop and stick them just about anywhere you please. Need to tie a scarf? Brooch. Need to excite an all-black ensemble? Brooch. See? Easy.

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Trademark Ruffle Dress | Photo: Net-a-Porter

Ruffles

Ruffles can also be incorporated in a number of ways. They can be at the centre of a dress, like this gorgeous number from Trademark, or they can be a small detail on the sleeve of your blouse. I say go full fun with a ruffled skirt or a ruffled shirt (yes, like Jerry’s pirate shirt).

Etro Pre-Fall 2016
Etro Pre-Fall 2016 | Photo: WWD

Neck Ties

This is a trend that Alexa Chung could always pull off, but the rest of us were tentative about. Of course, Chung had it right, It-girl that she is. A neck tie, like a brooch, simply elevates an outfit. Think about jeans and a t-shirt. Now add a pink neck tie. Voilà!

Alexander McQueen Silk Blouse €489 | Photo: Shopbop
Alexander McQueen Silk Blouse €489 | Photo: Shopbop

Pie Crust Collars

We’ve already mentioned the pie crust collar trend in its own exclusive article, but this trend is so great it is worth mentioning twice. First of all, pie crust blouses are available in every high street shop, from Zara to H&M. Second, it’s a frilly alternative to a turtleneck. What’s not to love?

Feauture Image: Gucci

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Joshua DAVID Boutique

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Photo Credit: Summer Yang

Recently, the Yonge & Eglinton area has become the new fashion scene, with new independent boutiques and established retail stores scattered along the street. While wandering throughout the North Toronto area, Joshua DAVID shop is capturing the effortlessly chic vibe better than anyone.

Co-founders Joshua Fagan and David Archer opened the very first boutique seven years ago in Montreal. Their goal is to integrate young promising designers and labels such as Alice+Olivia, Paige, and The Kooples, with the high street fashion.

Over the years, this boutique has become very successful and is now recognized by all the local fashionistas. Given the great response they got in Montreal, David and Joshua decided to expand the store’s operation and opened their second location in Toronto last year.

At their first-anniversary celebration Novella had the pleasure to meet David Archer, one of the co-founders, and got to ask him a few questions to learn more about Joshua David boutique:

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Photo Credit: Summer Yang

Liat Neuman: What is the concept behind Joshua David boutique?

David Archer: We decided to create a boutique that would consistently offer exciting new products from established and emerging designers to our loyal customer base and, also help them find what they need without spending too much time in the department store, which requires going through a bunch of racks and clothing. We live in a world full of choices, and that can be overwhelming. Our job is to facilitate everything, so the customers can easily find what they are looking for.

L.N.: Is there any particular reason why you decided to pick this location at the Yonge and Eglinton area?

D.A.: A lot of our customers from Montreal have family living in Toronto, and they recommended this area for our boutique. They know our voice, so we took their advice. However, we spent a year in Toronto before choosing the final location, tasting different neighborhoods in order to make sure that this was the best place for us.

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Photo Credit: Summer Yang

L.N.: What makes Joshua DAVID different from other similar boutiques in Toronto?

D.A.: Our store is unique because is coming from our guys’ perspective. We are always chatting with our clients to find out what they are looking for. We have objective eyes. Also, we have a close relationship developed over the years with our costumers. We have three different generations of the same family that is still shopping with us because we know what will work for each of them.

L.N.: How does the future for Joshua DAVID look like?

D.A.: I would like to see more of the private collection and maybe bring more accessories. I don’t want to lose the personal touch, so we prefer to focus on having a great store, than just opening more and more stores.

L.N.: As a buyer, could you tell us a little bit about the process that you have to go through to pick the pieces that will be showcased in the store?

D.A.: When Joshua and I are buying we always keep our customers in mind. We are going to fashion rooms and fashion weeks and pick the pieces that match our clients’ lifestyle For instance when we see a dress that our customer will probably love, we will take her size and a few months later we will invite her so she can see it and try it on.

L.N.: What are your most popular and trendy pieces in your store for this season, Spring 2016?

D.A.: I had one stunning sleeveless long vest that was totally sold out. Layering is popular too, and these two pieces in blue that look like jumpsuit from theory is another favorite set. Also, I love the jewelry line by Canadian designer, Jenny Bird. Her spring collection is inspired by architecture, and I find it very modern yet translates very well from day to night during this time of the year.

David Joshua details
Photo Credit: Summer Yang

Joshua DAVID carries everything a modern chic wardrobe needs, all in a friendly atmosphere and the support of their fantastic professional team.

Photos by Summer Yang Art.

Novellahoods: A tour of the Upper Beaches

After over three years of living in Toronto, I feel like I’m pretty savvy when it comes to getting around the heart of the city. But being a west-ender, I’ve never really had many opportunities to cross over to the far-eastern side of Toronto. This whole time, the DVP has seemed to me like the Great Wall of China. What the hell is on the other side? I imagined tumbleweeds. Or maybe factories, or subdivisions for as far as they eye could see. It was all very mysterious.

But last night I finally got the chance to explore the Great Unknown that lies beyond the Don Valley: the neighbourbood of the Upper Beaches. ~TRUMPET SOUNDS~

Streetcar Developments hosted the tour — they’re the guys who build snazzy living spaces all over the city, condominiums that promote a tight-knit community amongst residents and within their neighbourhoods. It’s a really nice company who does really nice work, and their most recent project, The Southwood, is going to continue that track record right in the heart of the Upper Beaches.

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Our tour began at the sales office for The Southwood, where some bubbly was poured and we were introduced to the concept for the condominium, which will be ready for occupancy in spring 2017. Chatting with one of the Streetcar reps, I found out that they’re building on the Upper Beaches turf because the neighbourhood is gaining a lot of momentum — especially amongst the city’s young professionals.

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RoFo? Is that u?

After downing my champagne and deciding to start saving up for one of The Southwood’s south-facing one-bedrooms (SO. PRETTY.), our tour led us out of the sales office and we headed east down Kingston Road, the main street where all the magic happens.

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Yellow House was our next stop, a charming little gallery-slash-framing studio owned and operated by an OCAD grad. Within seconds of talking to her I realized there’s a huge artistic presence in this pocket of the city, and gazing at the walls of her gallery I took in some pretty incredible work. I made a mental note to take my next artistic excursion out this way.

Up next was The Art of Cheese. This place really gave me a feel of how tight-knit the Upper Beaches community is. The owner, Bill Miller (a.k.a. “The Grand Fromage”) is a retiree who opened this tiny shop as his passion project, and he could talk for literally hours about the magic of cheese. After feeding us some beautiful San De Oro cheese and local red wine (I nearly died of happiness in this moment) he divulged all the secrets of his craft. Like, the mind-blowing fact that cheese is supposed to be eaten at room temperature — if it’s too cold, you’re only tasting 40% of its flavour. (WHAAAAT.)

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The Grand Fromage in his element

After being charmed by Bill and his cheese (and his fromage-shaped foam hat), we headed to our next stop: Collected Joy. This beautiful odds-and-ends boutique is owned by Sharon Smyl, a former marketing director who worked with Minto Group and Starbucks. She lives right around the corner from the shop, and most of the brands she carries are local.

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I adored Collected Joy. Sharon kept describing things as “exquisite” and I was just in awe of her style. Maybe I’ll get her to design my new condo at The Southwood. One day…

Second-last stop was at The Stone Pizza, where my fellow media people and I had an impromptu pizza photo shoot. The pies were, as Sharon would say, exquisite. Who would have thought to put apple slices on a pizza? And who would have thought it would taste SO GOOD?

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Finally, we found ourselves at The Beech Tree restaurant and bar. This cosy, beautifully decorated spot is like the “Cheers” of the Upper Beach. The owner, like a lot of the shop owners in the area, used to work at a desk crunching numbers all day and abandoned that job to pursue his passion. The Beech Tree blew me away — literally everything is made in-house. Not one ingredient enters the store in a bottle or package. The mayonnaise, the syrups, everything is handcrafted from scratch in their little kitchen. Swoon. Oh, and the gnocchi can attest to the quality. I was almost reduced to tears while eating this. In a very good way.

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(I couldn’t get a good photo of the gnocchi because it was dim and my photography skills are not on point)

On the walk to our ride home, we were pleasantly surprised by one final Upper Beaches experience. Farmacia Juice Bar‘s tiny cooler-on-wheels rolled up to the sidewalk and served up some scrumptious house-made juices, smoothies and freezies. As if I hadn’t fallen in love with the neighbourhood already, the owner told us that a few weeks prior, when their cart was stolen, the community banded together to find it and bring it back. It’s like the whole Upper Beaches ‘hood is #squadgoals.

So, my dear west-of-the-DVP-ers, here is my advice to you: if you’re getting bored of downtown and want to make a little escape from the city without going too far, go to the Upper Beaches. It’s not as swanky-snotty as the — er, Lower Beaches? — but it’s equally as beautiful and full of boutiques that will steal your heart. I’d live here. And maybe one day I will. I mean, who wouldn’t want to live in a charming small town that’s hidden in a huge city?