Archive for June, 2015

June 30, 2015

Thesis Defence!

Ready to begin The day finally arrived for me to defend my thesis! I defended on Wednesday June 3rd at 10am. My parents, some good friends from Maranatha, and a few friends from school came and watched. In the gallery I set up a mini exhibition of four posters with a table of coffee and snacks from Monigram. I presented for half an hour and then sat down and answered questions posed to me by a panel of critics that included my supervisor, two committee members, and external reader. I was very nervous for the presentation and it threw me off that I couldn’t see the audience. I finally felt like myself again when I sat down for questions. I feel like the presentation could have been better, but this was a learning experience and I’m sure I will improve with practice! Afterwards the panel left to deliberate and came back to announce that my thesis was accepted with only a few small revisions. My thesis document is now available for download from UWSpace. I will also have a link to a video of my presentation up shortly! Presenting The panel

June 30, 2015

Thesis Posters

Poster 1



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June 26, 2015

Pulp Paper Art Party 2.0

Paper stalactites

Paper stalactites

You know you have lived in Toronto for a decent amount of time when you start attending events for the second or third time. I went to this years Pulp Paper Art Party mainly because my awesome sister was selected to create one of the paper installations in collaboration with one of her fellow makers Agnes! The party was great! This year it was held at the Jam Factory just east of the Don Valley. Jen and Agnes made an ornate cardboard fireplace, portraits with ornate frames, and an elk head. They also had an interactive piece that was a bear rug woven from folded paper cut from old encyclopaedias. Many people sat down and contributed throughout the evening. My other favourite piece was a cluster of paper stalactites that had a twisted accordion structure. It was possible to pull on a string and make some of them contract, but then because the bottom was weighted they would slowly expand again. There was also a performance piece that occurred a few times throughout the evening and the performers created beautiful, fanciful hats made of paper and gave them to spectators. The music was fantastic just like two years ago. This year featured the Box Car Boys and A Little Rambunctious, both that have an Eastern European gypsy jazz sound. A Little Rambunctious would ask for made-up song titles and then they would invent a song and lyrics on the spot! It was impressive! A highlight of the evening was when Chris requested the song title “Whales in Flight”, hoping to see if he could stump them. Nope. The music sounded like mythical whales were quite literally in flight.

The Smoking Room by Jen and Agnes

The Smoking Room by Jen and Agnes

The bear rug

The bear rug



June 26, 2015

May 2015 Birthdays

Now that I look back, it feels like spring went by in a flash, but at the same time while I was working on my thesis I thought it would never end. I don’t think I’ve ever been in such a difficult place as the final two months of my thesis. I discovered that I don’t do well working independently for too long of a time and that I get my normal joy and energy from collaboration. My schedule most days looked like this: I went out to a cafe every morning and worked on my thesis, then came home in the early afternoon and worked on my thesis in the dining room. Then after dinner I worked on my thesis in my room. I injured my back playing soccer and so for three weeks I wasn’t comfortable sitting down for long periods of time which made it even more difficult to apply myself. I was so tired of it but was encouraged by the light that I could see the end of the tunnel. I’m not sure how I managed it, but I still found time for some fun with friends, especially in May when there are always so many birthday celebrations.

On the first weekend of May I went to Niagara to celebrate Kate’s birthday. She invited a group of us to hang out at the Niagara Food and Wine Expo in Niagara Falls. I met Kate and Emma on Friday night in Toronto because they were in the city to see the Once musical, and got a ride with them back to Kate’s place. We also picked up Emma’s friend Mike (a.k.a Mr. Turner) on the way. We arrived at home pretty late and so after trying Kate’s jello shots we called it a night. The next morning Mike and Emma made waffles for breakfast and then we lazied around on the patio until the mid-afternoon when we left for the expo. We purchased tickets that could be used at the various food and wine tables. Throughout the afternoon I tried mostly white wines and for food tried some somosas, a piece of savoury cheesecake, a mini chicken pie, and a memorable panna cotta (I still intend on trying to make this myself this summer). While we waited for other friends to arrive, Emma, Mike, Kate and I did a free cheese-tasting. Later after Kate’s parents arrived we tried a wine-tasting organized by a winery called Small Talk Vineyards. I really liked their Shiny Cider that is a blend of reisling and apples. Mrs. Dirks took note that I liked it, and so when the tasting was over she poured glasses of cider from the many empty seats and gave me an overly full glass to walk out with! Soon Jen, Cam, and Andrea joined the party. We were all sitting at a table when all of a sudden some Carribean style dancers and drummers came out and performed right beside us! It was a fun weekend!

Food and Wine Expo

The following weekend Vikkie celebrated her birthday by inviting a group of friends to paint at a painting lounge. I wasn’t sure what this entailed, but it sounded like fun. It had been a long time since I had done painting. The paint lounge is a place where groups of friends can go and socialize and order refreshments while doing painting for an hour or so. It is possible to paint what you want, or you can pick a picture to copy or provide inspiration. I painted a very bright and abstract image of two birds sitting on flowering tree branches. I forgot how much I enjoy painting! Afterwards we went and grabbed Vietnamese food.

Bird painting

Birthday Lunch

That same afternoon my dad picked me up to go visit my parents to celebrate mothers day along with our birthdays. On the way home we stopped at an aquarium store and bought gold fish for the pond. Sunday afternoon was beautiful and we sat outside and Al barbecued delicious sausages.

I celebrated my birthday in Toronto on the weekend of the 23rd by planning my third birthday Toronto bar rooftop gathering (here is my post from birthday bash 2.0). I chose Paupers which ended up being a bad decision because it was a cold evening and they didn’t have heaters (blogTO lies!). We managed to find some seating inside but it wasn’t the same! It was great to catch up with school and church friends and find a time to relax from the endless thesising!

June 22, 2015

Toronto Winter 2015

I’m publishing this a few months too late since it is a post about things I was up to this winter. I haven’t been as diligent with my blogging while in the final stretch of finishing my thesis. Even though I spent most days working away on my thesis, I still had some great times with friends that I want to remember.

Window view


To celebrate New Years I went to the annual Devos party. This time it was in Brantford at their new house. It was great to see friends from Maranatha again and to see Dave and Shirley’s new place. I counted it as the fourth Devos new years party I’ve been to! This year for the first time we didn’t follow the tradition of running to the stop sign and back in our bare feet.

Another party I went to was Andrea and Cameron’s engagement party in February. It was a chance to meet up with an interesting blend of architecture and highschool friends. I got a ride there with Emma and it was snowing like crazy. On the way home we had a little scare when we spun out on the road and were pushed lightly into a snowbank. We would have been stuck for hours if we had to call CAA, but miraculously there was a Tim Hortons a stones throw away where a guy and his buddy with a tow truck were chatting in the parking lot. They towed us out of the snow bank right then and there free of charge. Hooray for kind and generous human beings!

That same night I went to Wilson’s birthday party that was in a Condo event space in Liberty Village. It was great to meet new people both inside and outside of Grace Toronto church. The evening went by too fast. Nothing quite passes the time like a glass of wine, good conversation, a DJ, and dancing!

In March I went to a party celebrating spring at an architecture colleague’s apartment that they call the ‘Loft’. It was a musical talent showcase and social evening. There was some amazing music that included some Tabla drumming that originates from northern India and Mark’s musical talents on guitar.

Hotpots and other delicious meals!

On January 20th I went to Rachel’s place for a Hot Pot dinner with Rachel, Vikkie, and Jacky. It was a long time coming because we had talked about it since the four of us went hiking in the Adirondacks last August. When I told them that I had never had hot-pot before, they decided they would remedy that by having a gathering in the new year when I would be back from Africa. Hot pot is asian cuisine that involves a big pot of boiling broth in the middle of the table and then a bunch of raw meet, seafood, vegetables (mushrooms and greens),  and noodles to throw in. After they are ready then you fish them out and dip them in a dipping sauce that is a mix of all sorts of ingredients like soya sauce, garlic, raw egg, oyster sauce, peanut butter, and the list goes on. It is a fun way to share a meal! It reminds me of hot oil fondu. I guess this is the year of hot pots because a few weeks later I was invited last minute with John-Paul to another one at Joe’s place.


For the Winterlicious festival in Toronto Vikkie, Petra, Joy, and I went to Czehoski on Queen West. The food was delicious and I liked the atmosphere. I didn’t know this at the time because it was winter, but apparently they have a cozy little rooftop patio.

I joined a small group at my church (a.k.a Grace Gathering or GG) when I moved to Toronto in January and we met every Wednesday evening and went through a study on the book of Mark that was following the Sunday sermons. We  always shared dinner together before jumping into the study. It was a great way to grow more relationships with people at my church who live mostly in my part of town. To celebrate Melissa’s birthday our GG went to the Real Jerk on College street for Jamaican food. Yum!


On January 22nd I went to Toronto’s Design Offsite festival (TO DO) opening party at a shop called Smash in the Junction. It was a really awesome space. I arrived too early (a common fault of mine in the architecture scene because early means arriving before midnight) but since people intrigue me I approached and spoke to a bunch of strangers. I met an interior designer and a guy who writes for a neo-noir webseries called Haphead. Finally some archi-folks arrived and it was nice to reconnect!

That following Sunday after church I went with a group of people from Grace to Come Up To My Room, an alternative art event at the Gladstone Hotel. This was the fourth time I had seen either this exhibition or their twin event Grow Op, and I was a bit disappointed by this year’s exhibits. One of my favourites was Fiber Optic by Lizz Aston, a layered hanging textile. Another one I liked was Lazer Harp by Menalon and The New Beat that allowed people to play notes by putting their hand across a set of laser strings. I did wish the piece was more spatially engaging though like the sculpture Andrea and I came across in Montreal. There was an exhibit called In A Space that I didn’t care for as a collection, but there were one or two pieces I liked such as big crumpled up squares of black paper that were then re-opened and exhibited like art pieces, and a scarf with perfect geometries that was hanging on two nails to distort the forms.

Fiber Optic

Bent geometries

On February 4th I went to an exhibition and panel discussion at the Urbanspace Gallery called Mapping Ground: Representing the Urban Imaginary. The lectures and discussion were very interesting and offered excellent precedents and new ways to think about my own work. The exhibition itself didn’t offer me much insight. To me the maps seemed curated as art pieces rather than as functional maps (I even noticed that the maps were colour-coordinated although each was created by a different contributor). I think the maps lost something by being separated from the original work that would have included associated legends, diagrams, and other information.


I actually remained quite active over the winter. I joined a soccer team made up with a few people from Grace that I have played for in the past. This time it worked out really well because many of my teammates live in the east end and could give me rides to games. We remained undefeated until the playoffs! Unfortunately I injured my back and was unable to play in the playoff games.

I took advantage of the short winter by going skating quite a bit. Monarch park is close by and has a skating rink with unsupervised public skating every morning. I would often go at nine and start my work an hour later. There would usually be only one other person there. I would just dance around while listening to some tunes on my phone.

Vikkie and I went skating together twice. The first time we went to Greenwood Park where they have an ice rink with an ice path beside it. It’s a nice option because there is no barrier around it and so it’s possible to skate anytime. The second time we went to the rink at the Harbourfront Center. We met a quirky guy on the rink who spent hours and hours on the rink doing a bunch of crazy skating tricks on hockey skates and liked to skate circles around people. He was talented and so it was kind of fun to watch him though I think he got on some people’s nerves. Vikkie and I also picked up where we left off watching the TV show Once Upon a Time. This season the characters from the movie Frozen were thrown into the mix.

Skating 11001462_10153174905582845_1509153606_o (1)

On the first weekend of March I went skating on the Saturday with Tamar at Nathan Philip Square. It was crazy busy but there was a great energy and we had fun just skating around and chatting. The next day I went skating again, this time at Kew Gardens park at Beaches with Andrea and Cameron. It was so warm that we had to avoid a slushy patch of ice.

I had a few sporting firsts this winter. On a weekend in February I went cross-country skiing with Wilson, Esther and John-Paul up at the Mono Nordic Ski Club in Orangeville. I enjoyed it for the cardio and also the beautifully calm and scenic, snowy landscape. I’m glad I had the chance to cross-country ski since I didn’t have the opportunity to go down-hill skiing this winter.

Another first was playing ultimate frisbee. A team from my church asked me to play when they were short a female player. They knew that even though I couldn’t throw the frisbee well, I would at least be able to defend. I actually surprised myself when I dove for a frisbee in the end-zone and made an epic catch!

And that’s it for my 2015 winter fun!