Ashley Beckerjeck and Jeff Chemij have a fondness for things that light up. Stands to reason, since both are fire entertainers by profession, artfully blazing a trail of flames, light and patterns using an array of special props. They are also the masterminds behind The Friendly Fire Store, a new source for novel LED and fibre optic circus and sports toys for the public, and fire apparatus for the pros.
Along with sourcing a wide array of products, the pair also designs and creates their own items with special attention to transforming common items into innovative toys. Stocking a wide variety of glow-in-the-dark fun, items range from LED juggling toys and hula hoops to bubble guns and skateboards. Order online or by appointment-only showroom visit. In summer, the Friendly Fire store also packs their wares into a Volkswagon bus and hits Ontario’s festival circuit.
Theatre Puts On A Fresh Face
The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema recently unveiled its new look, marquee and name after 10-months of extensive renovations that significantly upgraded amenities while preserving the century-old 710-seat theatre’s historic architecture. Enhancements include new state-of-the art projection and sound equipment, expansive screen and improved lighting.
Plush seating was installed into the theatre’s lower level and balcony seating refurbished. The expanded ground floor reception and concession areas and the second-floor mezzanine make for excellent cocktail reception space. Better wheelchair accessibility and introduction of green practices were also a renovation plus. In addition to switching to a renewable electricity system, the cinema introduced recyclable concession packaging and bottled beverages, and sells reusable drink containers for use at a new water fountain.
A love of wine runs deep in the Henderson family, with siblings Erin and Courtney crediting their father for sharing his wine passion and touring tales since they were knee high. Now, as The Wine Sisters, it’s their turn to inspire wine knowledge in others. With 15 years of combined hospitality experience, the duo-for-hire sommeliers design and lead wine experiences from tutored tastings to vineyard excursions.
“We’re the wine entertainment,” says Erin Henderson in describing their role in planning events. Luxury outings to Ontario’s grape-growing regions include a chauffeured ride to wineries for tours, tastings and exclusive access to owners and winemakers. Onsite experiences range from five-course wine-paired dinners to gourmet picnics in the vineyard, and wine-based teambuilding that sees groups blending their own vintages for tasting and judging. The pair also offers how-to-taste and wine etiquette sessions.