Distillery District- SOMA Chocolatemaker

Yes ladies, if you like chocolate, this is a must see, smell and taste! Voted “Best of Toronto” by NOW Magazine and “Best Chocolate” by Toronto Life, you can see what they mean as soon as you walk in the door. The soft mixed with the spice, the nutty and fruitty are some of the aromas that will tantalize your senses.

Located in building 48, it was once used as a storage facility.

It also sells some of the best ice cream in town. With such interesting combinations of flavors, like Ontario Blueberries and Madagascar Vanilla, it soon becomes a summertime destination. Great for last minute gifting, it has pre- made packages or you can create your own.


Distillery District- Bergo Designs

There’s more cool stuff here then anywhere in the city! From poached egg holders, to wall- mountable fireplaces, wallets that prevent identity theft and binary watches!

This place is a gold mine for those who can’t resist the coolest, most unique thing, that no one else will have. I’ve been in the store many times and still haven’t seen everything, and everytime I see something new there seems to be some really cool story behind the item. Amazing industrial design!

Bergo is in building 47A. An addition to join buildings 47 and 48, it stays true to the original industrial architecture of the adjoining buildings yet futuristic enough to last without becoming an old ‘fling’. Definitely worth another date!

It is also worth noting that it was designed by architects Jamie Goad and E.R.A..

Some may have heard the name before!


Distillery District- Distill Gallery

Distill Gallery, Canadian Art, Craft and Design
Voted by Toronto Life as “The Best Place to Find Stuff Made by Local Designers”, the Distill Gallery is located in buidling 47, between The Boiler House and Bergo Designs.
The building’s history dates back to the mid 1880s, when it was built as extra storage facility. It was then that the Canadian Government enacted a new regulation that required whiskey producers to age their product for at least two years. This caused the need for  a lot of extra storage almost overnight. Before that, the product was consumed and sold raw. Yikes!!!
If you take a walk inside the building you can still see some of the original catwalks that used to serve for the workers and supervisors to inspect the tanks. Some really amazing stuff in there.
The store itself has some neat crafty like accessories and it truly feels all Canadian! 

Do we realize all the opportunities?

This is a post about a guy named Taurel. He has been praised over and over again for the great job he does. He is consistent, corteous and an all around great employee and human being. He treats people with respect, he is pleasant to be around and the list goes on.

Taurel is our host at Pure Spirits. He is what all of us wish a host will be when we go to a restaurant. He is what we proudly call ‘our host’. But this talent is his own. No one taught him to be nice, or care, or go above and beyond his job description. He just loves people and has an amazing attitude when he comes to work. He owns the place. He runs it as if it were his own business. And it shows!

So what is this all about? Well, eventhough we cannot have a team of all superstars, we can hire the people with the right attitude. Skills can be taught, attitude can’t.

If we’ve hired based on attitude, 90% of our work is already done. Fair enough that some skills and experience are required to be able to perform at a better rate, but are we locking in on everyone’s individual potential? Are we picking one staff member at a time and developing them? And if so, what are we developing in them? Areas where they are weak or areas where they need some polishing? Do we try to control results or influence their thinking?

I am currently reading a book titled, “13 Fatal Errors Managers Make”. It’s an older book, but plenty of it’s points are existent in today’s corporate world.

Without getting into full detail on each one, here is a list of chapters of the book.

  1. Refuse to Accept Personal Accountability
  2. Fail to Develop People
  3. Try to Control Results
  4. Join the Wrong Crowd
  5. Manage Everyone the Same Way
  6. Forget the Importance of Profit
  7. Focus on Problems Rather Than Objectives
  8. Be a Buddy, Not a Boss
  9. Fail to Set Standards
  10. Fail to Train People
  11. Condone Incompetence
  12. Recognize Only Top Performers
  13. Try to Manipulate People

Try and accept the ones that you know apply to you and I will be writting a summary of each chapter for us all to better understand some of the underlying reasons of why we make these ‘just silly’ mistakes. And don’t fool yourself to think that this is all common sense, that these don’t apply to you. It gave me some great perspective on some actions and reactions around work.

It’s helped me and I know it can help you as well.  

“Be the change you want to see in the world”- M. Ghandi


do unto others….

Now this may not be anything related to our group of restaurants, but it does relate to our neighbourhood and an industry colleague.

Kevin and his wife are not only residents of 33 Mill, they are also the new proud owners of a small little place called “Caffe Furbo” (depending on the context furbo means- crafty, clever, smart, sharp, astute and sly).

It’s half the size of the Cannery, probably the size of the cellar in BH, but it’s a little spot where the coffee is unmatched on site and for the croissant lovers, they bake them fresh every morning. Custard, apricot or chocolate, which is really Nutella, are all great reminders of back home.

Kevin, the Italian of the two, is a great embassador of what you would come across travelling through a small town in Italy. Relaxed, pay after you have finished your coffee, smoke outside kinda guy.

He was in the finance world and his wife represents photographers as their agent. This is their first adventure in the food and beverage world and I’m sure they would appreciate a welcome to the neighbourhood.

I know that we are making amazing progress in the energy of our work place, so lets take it a step further and start doing unto our neighbours as …


it feels good to be good

Thank you Ruben for your words of inspiration!

Recently our team has been involved in a project that as simple as it may seem, is not.

Happiness Project 2011, began in mid March, with the intent to make us, as managers, more aware of our thoughts, words and consequently, our actions.
Our end goal was to create the ultimate work environment for us and our staff, which in turn would, has and will continue to result in many memorable experiences for our guests.
It was not a simple task as I said earlier. Dropping all your faulty perceptions of each other, letting your walls down and showcasing your vulnerability to your co- workers is not on anyone’s agenda when they leave the house. And should it be? If you asked me a month ago, I would have to go with the everyday M.O. of doing my job and basically try and separate work from home. As a wiseman once said, if we are spending most of our lives in the restaurants that we manage, or at work in general, it only makes sense that we get to know each other on as many levels as we each feel comfortable with. And so it was! We embarked on this journey of self- discovery and self- disarmament. If you think gold gives you the best ‘bang’ for your buck, you’re right, but if you want your team to grow, investing in a project like ours is the perfect catalyst for unheard of  dividends.
Like any ball, it took a few kicks for it to get rolling, but once it passed that first snowbank, it hasn’t stopped!
I don’t mean that we are constantly telling our life stories. Some are, some aren’t. To each their own. However what has truly developed in our team, was that we started living the ever so common cliches, “One team, one dream!”, “Yes is the answer. What’s the question?”. We actually started living these! That on it’s own has to speak volumes for what has been unleashed and what is happening where we work.
Give it a shot. You might like it!

matina- “lead with luv”

I am just finishing a book that I think really hits on all the things that I experienced in my years of working for the Four Seasons Hotel and in my opinion sets them apart from their competition.

The top points that I got out of this book are:

The Golden Rule – “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”  (this is the first thing that the Four Seasons talks about with employees in their orientation on the first day of their job).   It is really what sets one company apart from another and it is something that cannot be taught, but rather something that people have in them.    I remember the interview process at the Four Seasons and each employee meets with a minimum of 4 managers before they are hired to ensure they fit the company’s culture.  

“Today, if you don’t take great care of your customers, somebody else will”   and the truth is, it is a lot easier to keep customers, rather than going out to find new ones.  

Anytime you seek to influence the thinking, behaviour, or development of people in their personal or professional lives, you are taking on the role of a leader.  The book talks about the difference between a manager and a leader and gives examples based on Southwest Airlines methods of “leading” their teams.    Ideally, you want everyone in the organization thinking and acting as leaders and not managers.    If you were to ask someone who had the most impact in their lives and who they looked up to the most, you will rarely ever hear them say a manager that they had.   In most cases they will tell you about someone who influenced them and led them in some way.     

As well, the book talks about how important it is for employees to have direction.  “Leadership is about going somewhere – if you and your people don’t know where they are going, your leadership doesn’t matter”.  It then gives a great example of Alice (from Alice in Wonderland).  When Alice was searching for a way out of Wonderland and came to a fork in the road, she asked the Cheshire Cat “would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”.   The Cat says “that depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” to which Alice replied that she didn’t care.   So the smiling Cat told her in uncertain terms, “then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

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