We are delighted to announce the 7th annual Get Lit event! Please mark you calendars for Wednesday April 22nd at 6pm. More details and reader list coming soon! Please follow us across social media in the meantime. We look forward to seeing you soon.
MuchMusic host and front man of Polaris Prize-winning band Fucked Up
Damian is a normal dude with average to below average musical ability that through a series of fortune events has found himself fronting a Polaris winning, critically lauded punk band called Fucked Up and hosting the acclaimed (albeit sparsely viewed) The Wedge on Much Music.
Despite this success, he remains firmly planted in the knowledge that it can be fleeting and thus finds stability from his growing family and growing record collection.
Globe and Mail investigative reporter and author of the much-talked about Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story
Robyn Doolittle is Globe and Mail investigative reporter and author of the much-talked about Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story published by Penguin Canada in February 2014. She began her career covering crime and moved to the municipal-politics beat during the 2010 mayoral election.
She is one of three reporters to have viewed a video of Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoking what appears to be crack cocaine. A graduate of Ryerson University’s journalism school, Doolittle has lived in Toronto since 2002.
With over 10 years as one of the world’s foremost 100m hurdlers, Perdita is an Olympian, World Champion and national record holder in the sport of Track and Field. A recent graduate of Seneca College’s postgraduate Broadcast Journalism program, she also holds an honours degree in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
A much sought after public speaker, Perdita has been a guest host on Global’s The Morning Show, hosted her own active living segments on TheLoop.ca and has been a Sport Analyst for CBC, Canada AM, and TSN.
Perdita is an ambassador for Right to Play and she received The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work with the humanitarian organization.
In her spare time the Pickering, ON native, loves international travel, scrap booking, and mentoring young athletes. She is a videojournalist at CHCH in Hamilton.
Artist, fashion designer and 2014 CAFA Womenswear Designer of the Year
Canadian-born Jeremy Laing spent his childhood on an army base in Germany. He learned to sew at age 13 by watching his mother, and has been making clothes ever since.
Jeremy's self-taught method, which combines organic and geometric approaches to pattern making and construction, was honed while studying in Toronto, on exchange at Westminster University in London,and through an apprenticeship with Alexander McQueen. Following his apprenticeship, Jeremy worked freelance developing showpieces for five of McQueen's collections, demonstrating his strength in innovative pattern making, garment construction, and the use of textile to create form. In 2011, Jeremy was a finalist for the prestigious ANDAM Fashion Award.
In Jeremy's view, garments are a sum of parts, all functioning in relation to one another and, ultimately, to the body. His collections often stem from his elaborations on simple principles of construction and form, drawing simultaneously from couture and tailoring traditions.
Jeremy currently lives and works in Toronto, Canada.
Journalist and co-host of the CBC's Lang & O'Leary Exchange
Award-winning business journalist Amanda Lang is CBC’s senior business correspondent, reporting for its flagship nightly news program, The National. She is also co-host of The Lang & O’Leary Exchange, a daily business program airing on CBC News Network. She also occasionally anchors The National.
Lang studied Architecture at the University of Manitoba, before becoming a journalist.
Her first job in journalism was for the Globe and Mail, and subsequently Lang joined the Financial Post newspaper, where she became the paper’s New York correspondent. In New York she made the leap to television, where she first was part of the team that launched BNN and before long wound up at CNN as a reporter and anchor. She returned to Canada in 2002 to re-join BNN, and has been with CBC since 2009. Her new book, “The Power of Why,” (HarperCollins, October 2012) explores the connection between curiosity and success.
Creative director of Viva & Co, New Yorker cover artist and children’s author
Frank Viva runs a branding and design agency in Toronto. He is a frequent cover artist for The New Yorker, sits on two college advisory boards, and is past president of the Advertising & Design Club of Canada. His first picture book, Along a Long Road, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award and named one of The New York Times’ 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books, School Library Journal’s Best Books, and Toronto Public Library’s First & Best.
His latest book, Young Frank, Architect published by The Museum of Modern Art in New York, was on several best books of 2013 lists including The Huffington Post, Gizmodo, Frizzifrizzi and Designers and Books. He is working on a second book for MoMA which will launch in the fall of 2014.
Adam van Koeverden started kayaking at the Burloak Canoe Club in Oakville in 1995 when he was thirteen years old. Adam was Canada's lone double medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympics at the young age of twenty-two. Adam captured a gold medal with a victory in the K1 500m event one day after racing to a bronze in the K1 1000m. He was chosen as Canada's Closing Ceremonies flag-bearer, and the 2004 Lou Marsh Award winner for Canadian Athlete of the year. More recently, in August 2007, Adam became the World Champion in the K1 500m, earning a silver in the 1000m K1. In 2008, Adam carried the flag for Canada into the bird's nest stadium at the summer Olympics in Beijing, China.
Adam is currently preparing for the 2011 World Championships en route to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England.
Adam is also an athlete ambassador for Right to Play as well as for the David Suzuki Foundation. He has spoken on behalf of the World Wildlife Fund and at many schools on the importance of healthy and active living, community involvement, and about his experiences as a Canadian Olympian. Adam graduated valedictorian of his class in 2007 from McMaster University, with a Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology. More Info ›
Carol Off is a Canadian television and radio journalist, associated with CBC Television and CBC Radio. She has been a host of CBC Radio's As It Happens since 2006. Previously a documentary reporter for The National, Carol also hosted the political debate series counterSpin on CBC Newsworld.
She is the vice-president of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. She was awarded ACTRA's John Drainie Award, for distinguished contributions to Canadian broadcasting, in 2008.
Carol has also written several books on the Canadian military, including The Lion, the Fox, and the Eagle (2000) and The Ghosts of Medak Pocket: The Story of Canada's Secret War (2005, ISBN 0-679-31294-3).
In 2006, she released a book, Bitter Chocolate, about the corruption and human rights abuses associated with the cocoa industry. She claimed that French-Canadian journalist Guy-André Kieffer, who was kidnapped in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, in 2004, had been murdered for exposing Ivorian government corruption in connection with cocoa.
Carol got her start in journalism as a staff writer for The Gazette, the student newspaper at The University of Western Ontario.
More Info ›
Michael Bryant is the father of two young kids, a former politician, and a lawyer. For ten years, he was the Member of Provincial Parliament for St. Paul's in mid-town Toronto, and served in the McGuinty Government's Cabinet in various portfolios, including Attorney General for four years. Born and raised in Victoria, BC, Bryant was educated at UBC, Osgoode Hall Law School, and Harvard University. He taught law at King's College (University of London), Osgoode Hall, and University of Toronto, where he is an Adjunct Professor and Senior Research Fellow.
He practiced law in NY, Vancouver, and Toronto, and presently serves as Senior Advisor at Ogilvy Renault in Toronto. Michael loves to read and reads a lot; he loves to fish but doesn't fish much; for many years, he was an amateur boxer and a decent trumpet player, but now just jogs randomly and plays guitar for fun.
Founding partner of KPMB Architects
In the Skin of a Lion, Michael Ondaatje
A founding partner of KPMB Architects, Marianne McKenna’s diverse range of internationally acclaimed projects reflects her goal to work with organizations that want to transform society and encourage community building. Her past projects include the Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, which was the ambassador for Canada at the 2002 Green Building Challenge in Oslo, Norway; an integrated vertical campus for Concordia University in downtown Montreal; and the Royal Conservatory’s TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning in Toronto which earned KPMB its eleventh Governor General’s Medal, Canada’s highest honour for architecture.
Current projects include the University of Waterloo Quantum-Nanotechnology Centre, the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, and the Walker Arts Centre at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT).
Marianne established and taught the first Professional Practice Course at the University of Toronto’s Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Design, and Landscape to educate students on the pragmatics of practice, inclusive of finance, marketing, and management. She has juried a range of art competitions for integrated artworks and currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Institute of Contemporary Culture (ICC) for the Royal Ontario Museum.
More Info ›
The Globe and Mail's Margaret Wente is among the best-read (and most controversial) columnists in Canada. She is responsible for starting dinner-party debates on subjects as diverse as the decline of men, the trouble with education, and the war in Libya.
Margaret has been a full-time columnist with the Globe since 1999. Before that, she was the editor of several leading business publications, including Report on Business.
She has won a variety of journalism awards and is the author of two books, An Accidental Canadian and You Can't Say That in Canada.
Margaret grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and came to Canada with her family in 1963. She received a BA in English from the University of Michigan, and an MA from the University of Toronto. She lives in Toronto with her husband, Ian McLeod. More Info ›
Dr. Carolyn Bennett
Member of Parliament, St. Paul's
The Bear Came Over the Mountain, Alice Munro
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, MP, MD, was first elected to the House of Commons in the 1997 general election and was re-elected in 2000, 2004, 2006 and again in 2008, representing the electoral district of St. Paul’s. In December 2003, in the wake of the SARS outbreak, Prime Minister Paul Martin appointed Carolyn as the first-ever Minister of State (Public Health). As Minister, she set up the Public Health Agency of Canada, appointed the first Chief Public Health Officer for Canada and established the Public Health Network which enabled all provinces and territories to work with the federal government on protecting the health of Canadians.
Carolyn served as Chair of the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament and with the sub-Committee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities (Human Resources Development Committee).
Persons with Disabilities (Human Resources Development Committee).
Carolyn also served as Chair of the Liberal Women’s Caucus. Most recently, Carolyn was the Health Critic for the Official Opposition and currently serves as Critic for Democratic Renewal.
Prior to her election, Carolyn was a family physician and a founding partner of Bedford Medical Associates in Toronto. She was President of the Medical Staff Association of Women’s College Hospital and Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto, and she has served on numerous medical boards.
More Info ›
CEO, Habitat for Humanity Toronto
The Man Without a Country, Edward Everett Hale
Neil began his career in project management at Tridel Construction, Canada's largest condominium developer. In September 2000, he made a radical career change by joining Habitat for Humanity Toronto; at the time, he was the youngest CEO of a Habitat affiliate in the world. Since that time Habitat for Humanity Toronto has accelerated its building program from an average of half a house per year to 84 under construction in 2009 alone. The Habitat Toronto ReStore operations have grown from $250,000 in 2000 to over $2.5 million in 2009.
Neil Hetherington holds degrees or certificates from University of Western Ontario - Huron College, Seneca College, Harvard Business School and the University of Virginia - Darden Business School.
Neil enthusiastically builds with Habitat for Humanity both locally and internationally, and has worked on Habitat homes in over 15 countries.
Neil is the grandson of the late General Arnold Brown, the International Leader of The Salvation Army.
Neil currently is a director of the Churches on the Hill Food Bank, Camp Kwasind as well as a volunteer at Out of the Cold. He writes a monthly column for the Toronto Star, is a licensed and active pilot, and in his spare time enjoys numerous sports and furniture-making.
More Info ›
Former Canadian Ambassador to
Afghanistan, Conservative Party candidate
Executive Board Chairman, Get Lit
CEO, Blue Ant Media
Co-Founder and Chairman, Samara
Michael MacMillan co-founded Atlantis Films Limited in 1978. In its early years, Atlantis was primarily a film and television production house, winning an Oscar in 1984 for its short film Boys and Girls and an Emmy in 1992 for Lost in the Barrens, amongst many other awards. In 1993 Atlantis became a broadcaster with the launch of its first network, Life Network. In 1998 Atlantis acquired Alliance Communications in a reverse takeover and the company became Alliance Atlantis Communications. Under Michael's continued leadership, the company operated 13 Canadian television networks including HGTV Canada, Showcase, History Television, Food Network, and Life Network. The company also distributed and produced movies and television programs including the hit series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
In 2007, Michael retired from Alliance Atlantis after selling the company to Canwest Communications and Goldman Sachs.
Michael has been involved in numerous community and industry organizations over many years. Current community organizations he is involved with include: Toronto East General Hospital, Human Rights Watch, The Toronto International Film Festival and Upper Canada College.
Michael is a co-owner of Closson Chase Vineyards in Prince Edward County, Ontario, and operates his other business interests through Southhill Strategy Inc.
He lives in Toronto with his wife, Cathy Spoel, and their three daughters.
Owner of Grano restaurant, Host Salon Speakers Series
For the last twenty years, Roberto Martella has greeted neighbours, friends, and celebrities alike at the North Toronto restaurant that he and his wife, Lucia, operate on Yonge Street just south of Eglinton Avenue. Grano is a mix of culinary and cultural expression, a meeting place where musicians, artists, academics, entrepreneurs, writers and wine lovers come together under the spell of Roberto's gracious and warm hospitality. Roberto is the consummate host, connecting together food and ideas and people, all the while championing the best of Canadian and Italian culture.
Grano is much more than just a restaurant; Roberto has brought people together through Italian language classes, the well-known Grano Series (a salon series of current events), literary readings, mentoring dinners that bring new young artists and musicians together with the older establishment, a TV show called Cooking with Saints, and numerous other planned and spontaneous gatherings of the interested and interesting. Roberto says, "In Canada, our institutions have failed to bring us together. We need to get out of our psychic enclaves and recognize how much we share in common."
President, Ramsay Inc.
Bob Ramsay is the President of Ramsay Inc., a communications consultancy whose services range from business writing to journalism to presentation-training to people-herding. He is also the founder of RamsayTalks which brings some of the world’s most interesting people to Toronto audiences, from Sanjay Gupta and Samantha Power to Eric Schmitt and Howard Schultz. He's married to Toronto physician, writer and adventurer Jean Marmoreo.
Journalist, writer, observer
Until April 2014, Amy was The Globe and Mail's fashion and lifestyle journalist in Toronto and then, from 2011, in Paris. She studied media criticism at New York University, graduating in 2002 summa cum laude, phi beta kappa. After interning at Universal Music, Grey Advertising and Us Weekly, she returned to Toronto and began writing for Flare magazine and The Toronto Star. As a freelancer, she contributed pieces on fashion, design and social trends for the Globe and Mail's Style and Toronto sections beginning in 2004 while also contributing to the National Post newspaper and nearly every Canadian lifestyle publication. In 2006, she became Features Editor for the twice-yearly Holt Renfrew men's and women's magazines.
Amy joined the Globe and Mail as the paper's style reporter in March, 2007. Regular features spanned fashion, design, fragrance, fitness, travel, food and social trends. Among her standout profiles: Valentino, Christopher Plummer, Tom Ford, Scott Schuman, Christian Louboutin, Kelly Cutrone, Philippe Starck, Dries Van Noten, Marc Ecko, Victoria Beckham, Sarah Jessica Parker and more. She has covered the Toronto International Film Festival extensively and spent eight days on the Olympic Torch Relay through the interior of British Columbia in 2010. Since 2011, she has been following the fashion circus at the prêt-à-porter and haute couture fashion weeks in Paris, as well as New York and London. Music industry profiles -- Ciara, Miguel, J. Cole, Wyclef -- add an additional layer to her portfolio. She appears regularly on television and has moderated various lifestyle and author panels. She currently divides her time between Paris and Toronto, penning a monthly column for Flare and writing regularly for Wallpaper.com. During fashion show seasons, she reviews for Style.com.
COO, Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited
A bilingual business executive, Justine is the the Chief Operating Officer and Broker of Record at Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited in Toronto. Justine has a proven track record in the private sector combined with government policy experience. Recent key achievement includes the successful revamping and expansion of a $1.6B luxury real estate brokerage. Able to effectively bridge the gap between private industry and public service by combining business acumen with strong understanding of government policy and active involvement in politics.
Adept at understanding and managing the unique needs of multiple stakeholders through active listening, diplomacy and strong negotiation skills. An effective and inspiring leader and a strong community builder in the arts and in the non-profit sector. Justine is the Vice-President of the Board of Directors at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto and sits on the Advisory Board for Women of Influence and the International Advisory Board for Christie’s International Real Estate. In the spring of 2014, Justine was the PC Candidate for the riding of St. Paul’s in the provincial general election in the province of Ontario.
Advisory Board Chairman, Get Lit
President, Planeta Earth Sciences
Keith is known most for being the past CEO of NexCycle which quietly became one of North America's largest glass and plastic recycling companies. Now he is involved in a number of start-ups.
He is the father of two boys and married to the CBC's Susan Ormiston. He has run two marathons and thinks he should read more...so he was a perfect fit for Get Lit.
As a classically trained Chef and “street-educated” Restaurateur, Heather Chell has been working on or in restaurants for the vast majority of her life.After receiving her formal education and training at Dubrulle French Culinary School in Vancouver, B.C. Heather went on to build, cook in, lead, create, consult for, own and operate a number of successful restaurants across Canada, taking her as far south as the British West Indies.
Most recently, her insatiable appetite for pursuit the of excellence has taken her back to her native Toronto, where she specializes in the art and psychology of hospitality and refined comfort food. Currently, Heather is the lead at one of Toronto’s top restaurants, La Bettola di Terroni, who has earned critical acclaim as one of our city’s best known and well respected restaurants. Heather currently resides in Toronto with her chocolate lab Kaizen, who is always enthusiastic about clean up time in the kitchen.
Raised and educated in Ontario (Bachelor in Photographic Arts from Ryerson and Bachelor of Education from Nipissing University), upon graduation Jeff taught a high-school course in website design for youth-at-risk. He went on to work as a photo editor and website designer for Adbusters magazine in Vancouver, where he won a Webby Award for his work on adbusters.org More recently he worked as a photographer, photo editor, and blogger at Maclean’s magazine in Toronto.
For the past 15 years, Jeff has taken a self-portrait a day, and a video about these photos produced by Time magazine went viral, with over half a million people viewing it around the world.
Maggie writes. Mostly for advertising. Sometimes for awe-inspiring environmental and arts groups. When not at the helm of her ever-expanding freelance empire, she spends her time making semi-successful attempts at self-improvement. That may explain the decent down-the-line backhand and respectable shot from the point.
She is married to John Foote (dashing Emerg Doc) and has two shockingly tall kids.
She thinks Get Lit is the bomb.
Product & Marketing Strategist
A recent returnee from London, UK where he lived for the past 15 years, Chris has been involved in the development and promotion of leading-edge consumer technology
for the past two decades. Most recently, he was responsibile for launching Hailo, the taxi app, in cities in North America, Europe, and Asia. Also former senior music industry blogger,
Chris is a passionate believer in the power of the written word to inspire, entertain, and educate. His recent reads include: 'Consider the Lobster and Other Essays' by David Foster Wallace,
'I Dreamed I was a Very Clean Tramp: An Autobiography' by Richard Hell, and 'The Goldfinch' by Donna Tartt. Chris is graduate of Bishops University and lives in downtown Toronto where he is an avid
defender of freedom of the press, rock biographies, and the Oxford Comma.