Going through my draft blog posts, I came across an unpublished piece from my former life!
If you haven’t been, you’re missing out—with the decline of Toronto’s Entertainment District and the condo set looking for safe places to get their party on, the Royal Ontario Museum’s Friday Night Live (or FNLROM) has become an amazing addition to Toronto’s nightlife!
On Fridays from May 2 through June 27, from 7-11:45 PM, you can dance, explore and wander through the Museum until close—galleries are even open ’til 11 PM!
So let’s take a trip back to Spring 2012, when the ROM first started FNLROM and I discovered that the museum offered more than just a bunch of old bones!
In a time before blogging was my extracurricular activity of choice, I used to draw like a fiend. On break at work. Zipping around on buses between home, school and work. I’d fall asleep with pens and markers in hand as I tried to draw just a little more (my Mom has the ink-stained sheets to prove it!)
Once upon a time, drawing was all I’d ever do. I carried sketchbooks and supplies wherever I went, transforming my imagination into all sorts of pieces. I don’t know when I stopped, but if you’ve got a good thing going, never stop, because you never know when you’ll pick it up again.
Other than sketches in the margins of meeting notes done in ballpoint pen, my days of drawing had become a distant memory—a dream deferred, perhaps never getting the chance to see reality.
But that doesn’t mean I ever stopped thinking about it. When I daydream, it’s like an animated movie playing out in my head, all my characters playing their part in a grand sci-fi odyssey. But I never make the time to make the ideas in my cranium any more than that—mere thoughts.
Which is what made Buytopia’s invite to a Paint Nite so appealing.
What I’ve learned from the years of social media so far is that a ton of people are faking it ’til they make it, and unfortunately we eat it right up!
These days, almost everyone and their grandmother is an “expert”. The Internet’s been flooded with experts, gurus, ninjas, advocates, influencers, early adopters, grand poobahs, and whatever other titles people want to give themselves.
So after far too much time (and money) invested in everything from eBooks and videos to online courses and weekly webinars, I’ve become pretty adept at knowing the real deal when I see it.
With two of these sessions under my belt already (The Art of Marketing in 2011 and The Art of Leadership in 2012), I’ve seen some great speakers sharing their experience and insights on-stage, such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Marcus Buckingham and Guy Kawasaki. I’ve learned about what it takes to capture an audience’s attention; how to really benefit from a good analytics strategy; how to best engage with introverts (as I’m on the other end of the spectrum altogether)—I haven’t yet been able to apply everything that I’ve learned simply because there’s been so much information.
The big draw this year is Biz Stone. Yes, that Biz Stone. Yes, the co-founder of Twitter Biz Stone, headlining with a talk called Things a Little Bird Told Me: Simple Lessons About Business, Life, Service & Creativity!
The other speakers are nothing to sneeze at, either:
Seth Godin – New York Times Bestselling Author, Purple Cow, Tribes, Poke the Box & Linchpin (this man is renowned in the blogging community!)
Charles Duhigg – New York Times Investigative Reporter & Bestselling Author, The Power of Habit
Jonah Berger – Professor of Viral Marketing at University of Pennsylvania and author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On
David Usher – Juno Award Winning Musician & Creativity Expert (remember Moist???)
Do it. It just might change your life!
[Disclaimer: I got a free ticket to The Art of Marketing 2013 in Toronto in exchange for some promotion, which is awesome because I would’ve fought to include it in my learning budget anyway!]
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands:
As an event becomes more popular, you can’t keep it free forever. From its humble beginnings in February 2012 where every tweetup starts—a group of people from Twitter meeting up to go out and have a good time—After Work Drinks Toronto keeps raising the (wait for it) bar for events of its kind, building greater partnerships to make sure that anyone going can have an amazing time.
There’s only one way to start this post—I’ve never seen a tweetup get so full so quickly. By the time the event was an hour in, there were easily already 40-50 people in the bar area, ready to slake their thirsts with Mount Gay Silver Mojito cocktails (ridiculously addictive), Melville’s Craft Lager and Innis & Gunn beers and a decent selection of red and white wines!
Much like before, I volunteered my time and camera to Amanda and Graham because I believe in what they’re doing with After Work Drinks Toronto (or AWDTO for short). [Disclaimer: In return, they were kind enough to give me a free ticket, but that’s not why I offered my services in the first place.] Nothing worthwhile happens overnight, and through their hard work and diligence, AWDTO is really coming into its own. Each instalment continues to set the bar higher, and I hope we continue to see many more as we finally head into the summer!
The night went well—it was a mish-mash of food; drink, comments from our wonderful organizers (Amanda and Graham, as mentioned above) and sponsors (Mahit Lehang from First Choice Bartenders representing Melville’s Craft Lager and Innis & Gunn; representatives from Mount Gay Rum; and of course, Robin James Wynne, mixologist at Fynn’s Temple Bar); prize giveaways (none of which I won, don’t worry); caricatures (by Valerie White); music (by Matt Morgan and Craig Johnston of the Emerson Street Rhythm Band—at times accompanied by Joey deVilla); and just a lot of being social.
There was all sorts of activity going on, from discussion to dancing—if you looked out the corner of your eye, you could even see Christine helping run her weekly #RBchat Twitter chat at one of the tables! When you got in, you got an envelope containing tickets for beer sampling (of the Melville’s Fruit Beer—Innis & Gunn beer was on special for $5 a pint, though!), a Mount Gay Silver Mojito and wine; a raffle ticket; and a playing card to play in the Best Poker Hand Draw, where you’d team up with four other people to come up with the best poker hand for a prize (a clever icebreaker)! They also drew for the person who was best-dressed as voted by the crowd, with the winner going to the County in the City festival with a friend!
While not conducive to heavy foot traffic, the Fynn’s of Temple Bar definitely has all the makings of an excellent pub…
Food Was Amazing
If I wasn’t trying to take photos and mingle, I would’ve stolen plates of bacon-wrapped scallops, pulled pork taquitos and duck confit on tangy pineapple flatbread and sat in a corner all night stuffing my face. The apps were glorious, and my stomach wasn’t taking “no” for an answer! The full list of food was as follows:
Duck confit on tangy pineapple flatbread
Pulled pork taquitos
Seared mahi mahi sliders
Potato & kale croquettes
Bacon-wrapped scallops with red pepper mayo
Spicy pork dumplings
I only had time to try a Melville’s raspberry Craft Lager and a Mount Gay Silver Mojito (which, again, was utterly delicious and ridiculously addictive), but there was a ton being offered up that night:
Mount Gay Silver Mojito (a strawberry basil peppered mojito)
Beer samples: Innis & Gunn’s Melville’s Fruit Beers in strawberry, raspberry and ginger beer flavours
Whites: Henry of Pelham Spring rivalry, Domain Faively Chablis, Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc, and Uma Torrontes
The night’s entertainment were Matt Morgan and Craig Johnston of the Emerson Street Rhythm Band who were both talented and entertaining, doing a mix of crowd-pleasers (see Neil Diamonds “Sweet Caroline”, for example) and always making sure to interact with the crowd and keep the energy levels riding high! You can see some more details on the experience on Joey deVilla’s blog, who would accompany them for several songs later into the night!
Robin and his Fynn’s staff were amazing—all smiles and service as they made sure that gusts were well-fed and having a great time (I will not confirm whether the alcohol samples paid any contribution to the great time being had)!
I just missed the window to get one done, but Valerie White was super-talented, whipping up amazing profile drawings of various attendees in mere minutes for a pay-what-you-can donation to Dress for Success! Here’s some of the awesome that she whipped up:
What You Missed
In the end the event raised $383.45 for Dress for Success, and though I don’t know the specific turnout, from the photos and who I know was there, I’d guess a good 50 or so people in attendance, experiencing what AWDTO had to offer.
But that’s not what you missed.
What you really missed at After Work Drinks Toronto this time around was an opportunity to expand your social circles beyond what they are right now. The chance to meet people actually interested in exploring new things with you and not just out to give you excuses for why they can’t come (I heard of at least 2 groups of new friends going out for a bite after the event!) Events like AWDTO help remind us that we’re in control of our lives—in control of who we choose to hang around and what we choose to do with our time.
After Work Drinks Toronto reeks of possibility—so hopefully you make it out to the 9th instalment!
Change your life!
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands: