The Furniture Bank

This afternoon, I was given a tour of the Furniture Bank at 25 Connell Court near Kipling and Evans. It's quite remarkable what's happening there. Here's what they do in their own words, and then I'll follow that up with my own words and photos.

Furniture Bank is committed to offering a hand to the formerly homeless, women and children escaping abusive situations, and newcomer families and refugees. In fact anyone in need of a fresh start.

We work in partnership with over 90 community agencies and shelters to assist individuals who require furniture and household goods for their homes. All items selected by our clients are provided to them free of charge.

Our partner agencies play a critical role by helping to screen potential furniture recipients. This helps us focus on our commitment to ensuring those who transition out of displacement are given the best possible chance to succeed in life.

It all starts with you. Let's say you have a dining room table and chairs you no longer need, or a couch you're replacing, or a television you're upgrading, or dinnerware, or any furniture or household items you're willing to part with, you donate that to the Furniture Bank. You can drop it off, or pay a nominal fee to have it picked up. And before you squawk at having to pay a fee to get your donations picked up, just know that the bulk of their financing comes from those fees.

The Furniture Bank

Your donations arrive at the Furniture Bank and are inspected. Some may be ready for the showroom floor immediately, other items may need cleaning or some additional tlc. I saw chairs getting fresh paint, new upholstery, and other such repairs. Electrical items are tested by an electrician. Once the furniture or household items are deemed ready for primetime, they're put on display in the showroom.

The Furniture Bank

The Furniture Bank

The Furniture Bank

Here's a few pictures of the showroom. Shoutout to Endy Mattresses for donating every mattress that's returned within their 100 day window.

The Furniture Bank

The Furniture Bank

The Furniture Bank

Families in need book appointments through a partner agency and spend time in the showroom deciding what they want for their home. The chosen items are then delivered to the recipient.

The Furniture Bank

It's remarkable what's been happening a short 15 minute bike ride from my home without me realizing. If I was clueless, you may be as well. The Furniture Bank needs your furniture and housewares, but they could also use your money. To donate money, visit https://www.furniturebank.org/create-a-home/. All donations come with a tax receipt.

The Furniture Bank

If you're in the GTA and would like your donation picked up, visit https://www.furniturebank.org/furniture-pickup-request-2/. If you'd prefer to drop it off yourself, visit https://www.furniturebank.org/furniture-dropoff/.

The Furniture Bank furnished the homes of more than 10,000 marginalized neighbours in 2018 and provided meaningful work for over 20 individuals facing barriers to employment. I tip my hat to them!

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Flying Drones in Canada Legally and Safely

There are new rules for flying drones in Canada. These come into effect on June 1, 2019. Before we look into these new rules, let's understand that "drone" is a term used to refer to any type of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS).

You're not going to be able to legally fly your drone without a drone pilot certificate. it's just a question of whether you need advanced training or basic training. You need advanced drone training if:

  • You are 16 years old or older;
  • Your drone weighs between 0.25 – 25 kg;
  • You want to fly in controlled airspace;
  • You always stay under 120 metres (400 feet) above ground level;
  • You want to fly within 30 metres (100 feet) horizontally from bystanders or fly over them; and
  • You will always keep your drone in sight.

Find a dependable drone training expert and learn to fly your done safely and legally.

Drone pilots must follow the rules in the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs). Part IX – Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems contains most of the rules that apply to drones. You should read these regulations in full before you fly your drone for the first time.

Drone pilots must carry a valid drone pilot certificate and only fly drones that are marked and registered.


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Mimico Mountaineers vs. St. Michael's College Kerry Blues

In my hood, many kids grow up playing lacrosse. It's not uncommon to spot automobiles sporting a Mimico Mountaineers bumper sticker.

Forever I've seen the St. Michael's College Kerry Blues logo. I just assume these cars belong to the proud parent of a St. Mike's student athlete.

Only recently did I realize how similar these two logos are, and that I often don't really know which one I'm seeing. Here's a quick comparison.

Mimico Mountaineers Logo


St. Michael's College Logo


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I Choo-Choo-Choose You

HeartHappy Valentine's Day. I choo-choo-choose you.

I Choo-Choo-Choose You

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The Ugly, the Bad, and the Good

2018 was a year of personal growth, and as it comes to a close, I'm awfully proud of where I'm at heading into 2019. I have four healthy, smart and sweet kids, a strong and healthy marriage, a personal best for KMs biked and I'm feeling great physically and psychologically.

It wasn't all wine and roses, however... here's the good, the bad, and the ugly, but to end on a positive note, it's the ugly, the bad, and the good.

The Ugly

The last thing I expected heading into 2018 is that I'd be unfairly shit on by Dean Blundell. That was ugly. I plan to leave that garbage in 2018.

With that Blundell crap came trolling, but not from Blundell supporters. It's coming from Doug Thompson and his "yellow board" friends and I'm not quite sure why. Luckily, I have industrial strength scrub brushes and am determined to persevere.

The Bad

The Molly Johnson episode was bad. Her attitude threw me off my game and I wasn't able to do my thing. At least I learned a great deal from it and am a better host today because of what happened in episode 368.

The Mike Stafford incident was unfortunate, because I thoroughly enjoyed both his visits and have always been a fan. The question I asked Lou Schizas that set Stafford off is a question I'd ask him again, so I'm not sure I could have avoided this conflict. It was pretty innocuous, and not worthy of my new "turd in a basement" moniker.

I was restructured out of a full time gig I'd had for seven years. I received a stellar review just a week before hearing the news and was literally told my job was moving to Atlanta. That made it easy to not take it personally, but it still sucked.

The Good

There was plenty of good in 2018. As mentioned, my family is healthy and well-adjusted, I'm feeling good and the aforementioned restructuring led me to begin the next chapter in my life.

I launched my own digital services company. TMDS has been my sole source of income for four months now and it's been a wonderfully rewarding experience. I'm learning so much as I build this business from scratch, and I'm incredibly optimistic about what's in store for 2019. I'm striving to continuously improve Toronto Mike'd, passionate about helping others podcast, and continuing to provide digital marketing services and content to a variety of different businesses. And most importantly, I'm responsible for my own calendar and betting on myself.

That's a quick summary of the good, bad and ugly I experienced in 2018, but I'm jazzed about what's around the corner in 2019. Happy new year to each and every one of you, and thanks for your continued support!

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Happy Birthday, Cheryl!

Happy Birthday, Cheryl!The first comment left on this blog by Cheryl was "I want to say I am happy. I live in Toronto, but am a Habs fan. That's just the way it is. I love my Habs and I also like the Phoenix Coyotes. I hate the Leafs." That was November 1, 2009, and little has changed.

Cheryl still lives in Toronto, is still a Habs fan, still hates the Leafs, and I hope she's having a happy birthday today.

happy birthday cheryl

For the visually impaired, the image above is a birthday message for Cheryl from her teams:

  • Phoenix Coyotes
  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Brooklyn Nets
  • Cleveland Browns
  • Baltimore Orioles
  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Montreal Canadiens
  • Phoenix Suns
  • Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Cleveland's baseball team

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Oldest Tee Shirt I Still Wear Regularly Turns 20

I'm a big fan of tee shirts. I wear a tee shirt or two just about every day of the year. Even in the dead of winter I'll wear a tee shirt under my jacket.

I'm guessing I have about twenty tees in my current rotation. The oldest one I still wear regularly is now twenty years old. It's a Pearl Jam shirt I bought when I saw them at Molson Park in Barrie back in '98.

My Concert Going Shirt

Not surprisingly, I love getting free tee shirts. Send me a tee (medium, please!) and I'll probably wear it. Is there anything better than a free tee?

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Palma's Kitchen

Today, I paid my first visit to the newly opened Palma's Kitchen at 3485 Semenyk Court in Mississauga. I biked there, so I arrived nice and hungry.


This brand new eatery is right next door to the old Palma Pasta hot table. It looks amazing, sells hot and fresh food, as well as fresh grocery items. Heck, you can even get a nice cup of coffee.


I lunched with Anthony Petrucci, whose family owns the business. This was a serious investment but built on a solid foundation of excellent Italian food. And I'm a sucker for these fiercely independent operations. This is my kind of restaurant.


So if you're in Mississauga, or close enough, check out Palma's Kitchen. And if you come at lunch, you might even see me plowing into a steaming hot slice of lasagna.



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Big Mo

Ever since I moved into my current home almost five years ago, I've mowed my lawns with a manual push mower. The trick, I've learned, is to do it frequently, because it can be difficult if the grass gets too high.

My neighbour is going through a rough patch and hadn't mowed his lawn yet this year, so when he knocked on my door this morning asking for a little help, I was more than happy to rise to the occasion, but my push mower wasn't. Here's the challenge I faced an hour ago.


I was wondering who I could borrow a power mower from when I remembered Big Mo. Many years ago, when my mom got rid of her grass lawn, she gave me Big Mo, an old electrical mower that had seen better days. I don't use electrical mowers, but instead of throwing Big Mo in the trash or giving him away, I let him collect rust in the back of my shed. He's been there, undisturbed, for almost five years.

I don't know why I kept Big Mo, but today, I was glad I did. Although it took a while, because the grass was so long I had to take it down in small slivers, Big Mo saved the day.


And now that the lawn is nice and short, I promised my neighbour I'd maintain it with my push mower.

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Rankin/Bass Productions When It Was Videocraft International

Tis the season for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the 1964 stop-motion animated Christmas special from Rankin/Bass Productions when it was known as Videocraft International.

When Elliot Cowan visited me last April, he gave me an old Rankin/Bass brochure from his father, Bernard Cowan. You may recall all characters were portrayed by Canadian actors recorded at RCA studios in Toronto under the supervision of Bernard Cowan.

Here are pics I've taken of this old Videocraft International brochure.


Rankin/Bass Productions 2


Rankin/Bass Productions 4

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