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December 9, 2003
WinterCity Backgrounders
  
Jonathan Abrahams' love of good food began with his grandfather, a professional
caterer. As a young man he traveled throughout Europe, North Africa and the
Middle East and worked in Spain, Greece and England. It was on these travels
that Jonathan developed his taste for interesting flavours and his cooking and
presentation style. After returning to Toronto he worked with a variety of
young chefs in hip Queen Street eateries, introducing new food to young
palates. Currently, Abrahams is the chef at the City Grill and the Duke of
Richmond.

For more than 70 years, generations have been charmed by the heartwarming
stories of Babar(TM) and his family in Celesteville. The world's beloved
pachyderm first appeared in The Story of Babar(TM) by Jean de Brunhoff. Jean
enhanced the original framework of his wife Celeste's tale of a young
charismatic elephant called Babar(TM) who leaves the jungle and visits a big
city. Millions of Babar(TM) books with more than 1000 titles have been sold
worldwide, and more than 30,000 different publications have been based on
Babar(TM). Today the award-winning TV series is seen in 150 countries.
http://v1.nelvana.com/babar

Big Daddy G, a.k.a. Dave Glover, is the Canadian-born blues guitarist who
exploded onto the blues music scene in 1998 with his 4Blues release. Joined by
the talented Tortoise Blue on harmonica, Hammond organ & vocals, together they
offer one of the best high-energy, jumpin' live blues shows in Canada. Big
Daddy G was nominated for a 2001 Juno Award for Best Blues Recording and was
nominated for a 2002 Maple Blues Award for Electric Act of the Year.
http://www.bigdaddyg.com

Les Commandos Perçu is a band of percussionists and pyrotechnists from
Toulouse, France. They manufacture their own instruments and special effects
based on the motion and rhythm of their musical repertoire. Le Concert de Feu
(The Concert of Fire) contains a fire dialogue made of rhythms and joyful
explosions. http://www.commandospercu.com/

The Dave Murphy Band became one of the most popular acts on the Toronto club
circuit over the last decade because of their musicianship and energetic
performances. At the clubs the group enjoys playing Blues, Funk, Rock and Soul
classics and their own original music. The band has been performing at the
legendary Orbit Room in downtown Toronto on Sundays for the past five years,
and has opened for some great performers, including Jeff Healey, The Barenaked
Ladies and James Brown. http://davemurphyband.com

Winner of the 2003 Juno Award for Best Blues Album, Jack de Keyzer has earned a
reputation as one of the best musicians in the country. With a unique ability
to effortlessly blend music from different genres and eras, De Keyzer has
recorded and toured with the likes of Bo Diddley, Etta James and Otis Rush. His
stage shows are full of high-energy blues, funk and soul and showcase his
talents as a soulful singer-songwriter and an electrifying guitarist.
http://www.jackdekeyzer.com

A twenty year veteran of the children's music business, The Doug Barr Children
Show leader Doug Barr has written, produced and recorded three children's
albums and his songs have been covered by many Canadian artists including
Sharon, Lois & Bram, CBC Television's Mr. Dressup and Markus. A consummate
children's performer, Barr has added writing for television and film to his
list of accomplishments. A permanent fixture in the Canadian children's music
industry, Barr continues to tour children's music festivals across Canada.
www.dougbarr.com

Downstroke is a big sound band with horns and two front singers always delivers
a great show that combines funk, Motown, soul and R&B to create a total party
experience. http://www.downstroke.ca

Inversion is transforming extreme acrobatic artistry by turning conventional
ideas of entertainment upside down. Creating amazing performances with cutting
edge choreography, cirque style acts and Inversion bungee, Inversion
Entertainment Group is revolutionizing traditional entertainment by injecting
it with edgy high-flying acrobatic feats and gravity defying artistry.
http://www.inversionentertainment.com

The Kidz Kidding trio delights the whole family with their action-packed shows
and winning combination of music, comedy and family fun. Their unique,
entertaining and educational recordings earned them a 2002 Juno Award
nomination for Best Children's Album. Kidz Kidding has set themselves apart
from other family entertainers through their elaborate musical arrangements and
multi-style compositions. http://www.kidzkidding.com

Canada's favourite food celebrity, Ken Kostick, brings a sense of humour to the
kitchen with his spicy banter and no-nonsense approach to cooking. Kostick
translated his love of cooking for his friends into a successful career with
two wildly popular cooking shows, five best-selling cookbooks and a line of
kitchen equipment. Born in Winnipeg, Ken Kostick had careers in fashion and
travel before becoming a full time cooking show host and cookbook author. A
best selling author, Ken was also the co-host, creator, and executive producer
of the popular cooking show, "What's For Dinner?" http://www.kenkostick.com

The Kratt Brothers, Chris and Martin, travel around the world searching out
some of the planet's most unusual wildlife on their wildly popular
award-winning shows Kratts' Creatures, Zoboomafoo and Kratt Brothers Be the
Creature. Favourites of critics and audiences alike, their mission is to blaze
new territory combining wildlife conservation, scientific understanding,
adventure sports and old fashion fun. http://www.krattbrothers.com

As the host of the hit show, Savoir Faire, Nik Manojlovich is one of Canada's
foremost party planners and inspires viewers to celebrate life's special
occasions with extravagant entertaining and gracious hospitality.
http://www.savoirfaire.ca

Concert performances by Markus are a blend of boundless energy mixed with joy
and laughter. Involving and engaging his audience right from the start, a
Markus concert is a fun filled performance of music and stories that capture
the imagination and gets toes tapping and hands clapping. Markus performs
hundreds of shows across North America each year. Markus sings about the joy of
music, family and friendship. http://www.markusmusic.com

McKenna is the brand name of a powerful expandable music and entertainment
package. At the dynamic heart and core of McKenna are two of Ontario's most
loved and talented brothers, Ryan and Joel McKenna. Ryan's soulful baritone and
Joel's soaring tenor compliment each other in a way that only brothers' voices
can. McKenna delivers the explosive passion of a world class concert to the
applause of delighted audiences in pubs, restaurants and lounges everywhere.
www.mckennamusic.com

After five successful years on air, Table for Two has been a pioneer among food
shows. The unique format combination of famous chef and celebrity guests with a
charming host to pull it all together has won this Canadian show international
accolades. Growing up in St. Catharines, a small city in the Niagara region,
Joanne Meral was introduced to the world of gastronomical delights at a tender
age via the family's restaurant. http://tablefortwo.net

Naked Brunch provides audiences with a high-energy show filled with their
favourite top 40 hits. The band's members are hugely accomplished with
performance credits with such artists as Kim Mitchell, Sass Jordan, Punjabi by
Nature, Tom Cochrane, Lisa Dalbello and more. The musicians in Naked Brunch
also have numerous radio, television and film credits and have been
instrumental in some of the city's most critically acclaimed musicals such as
Rent, and Les Miserables.

The 13-members of Toronto-based band Neu Jenarashun produce pulsating,
irresistible rhythms with their unique blend of soca, calypso, reggae, soul,
R&B and dancehall. These talented instrumentalists have become known for their
tasty vocal stylings and their precision-packed horn-lines. Neu Jenarashun has
released three recordings in their four-year history: Feeling It, Mr. Music Man
and My Kinda Music.

Pan-Tiki Sound System features some of Toronto's top, young internationally
minded jazz players including Nick "The Brownman" Ali (trumpet), Mark Mosca
(steel-pan drum and vibes), Luis Guerra (keys), and Chendy Leon, Pedro Ojeda
and Ruben Esguerra (timbales, drums, congos and bongos). The group has already
graced stages at the Downtown Jazz and Montreal Jazz festivals with their
non-stop, improvised hour-long sets. www.pantiki.com

Gurth Pretty graduated with honours from the Culinary Management program at
George Brown College in Toronto. His career has led him to work in restaurants,
spas, and wineries in Canada and the United States. In Ireland, he was the
personal chef for a Canadian diplomat, creating exquisite meals with Canadian
ingredients. Currently, Pretty is the director of the Harvest Kitchen Cooking
School in Oakville, ON and Toronto District Chef for Williams-Sonoma Canada. He
has consulted on the production of television shows such as Emeril Live and
Summer's Best. Pretty is a recipient of the Canadian Food & Wine Society Award.
http://www.epicureanexpeditions.com

Launched in 1969, Sesame Street © is the award-winning educational program
beloved by children, trusted by parents, and honoured with 91 Emmy(TM) Awards -
more than any single television show in history. Sesame Street, the home of
such famous characters as Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and Elmo, has grown to
include the hugely successful television series, live stage shows, educational
workshops and toys. http://sesamestreet.com

Bringing together a rich and diverse musical experience from five different
countries and spanning several decades, the members of Son Aché met in Toronto
to interpret and compose their favourite music; Cuban son montuno, the root of
contemporary salsa. The group's sound is solidly based in the Cuban guajiro
tradition of guitars, percussion and vocals. Reflecting the particular
strengths of the musicians, the chemistry of the group is revitalized by
incorporating more aggressive high-energy rhythms. Son Aché has a contemporary
urban edge that broadens the appeal of son music to a wider audience of dancers
and music lovers. http://www.sonache.com

Strawberry Shortcake(TM) is a sweet but spunky little redhead with enough
optimism to fill a strawberry field. Ginger Snap(TM) is the best cookie chef in
the world and her house and bakery are made of cookies. An inventor, her
greatest invention is the amazing cookie maker machine. None other than Orange
Blossom(TM) tends to the orchards in Orange Blossom Acres. Orange Blossom is a
special friend of the earth. Her house is built in a fantastic orange tree
covered with fragrant blossoms and luscious large oranges.
http://www.strawberryshortcake.com

Opened in 1974, the Toronto Zoo was founded for the purpose of exhibiting and
conserving a diversity of species within the animal and plant kingdoms. The Zoo
is 287 hectares (710 acres), and is divided into zoogeographic regions. There
are four major tropical indoor pavilions and several smaller indoor viewing
areas, plus numerous outdoor exhibits. In total, there are 10 kilometres of
walking trails to explore. There are currently over 5,000 animals representing
just over 450 species at the Toronto Zoo. http://www.torontozoo.com

A sculptor and commercial artist, Transe Express Company artistic director
Gilles Rhode built his first giant mobile in 1990 for the show Mobile Homme.
That show opened the 1990 Olympic Games in Albertville and has been touring
ever since. Transe Express Company biggest coup was the show they created for
the Millennium celebration in Paris. Called 2000 Strokes of Midnight, the
outdoor spectacle brought 1000 drummers from all over Europe to play alongside
airborne mobiles, carousels and acrobats.
http://www.lefourneau.com/artistes/transe_express/index.htm

Who's Your Daddy have only been around for four years but their members have
been playing around Southern Ontario for the past 15 years. They are all
seasoned musicians who bring great style and showmanship to the stage. Once
they take to the stage in their disco outfits, audiences are virtually
propelled back to a time with disco balls, hot dance floors, afros and
bellbottoms.

Zero Gravity Circus is an innovative performance-based company with a long
history of unconventional, high-impact presentation. Zero Gravity Circus'
fantastical take on the circus tradition creates a spellbinding and
unforgettable experience for each audience. Incorporating talent from across
Canada and around the world, Zero Gravity Circus features an entertaining
variety of traditional and non-traditional circus style disciplines. The troupe
has participated in successful product launches and promotional campaigns and
starred in internet and television commercials. www.zerogravitycircus.com

In keeping with the city's thriving festival scene, Toronto Special Events is
launching a new winter festival, WinterCity. Built on the foundation of the
long-running WinterFest, WinterCity creates a new tradition of winter
exuberance. Running from January 30 - February 12, 2004, this 14-day
celebration gives center stage to the city's renowned culture, creativity and
cuisine. With stellar free indoor and outdoor programming, the hugely popular
prix fixe restaurant promotion Winterlicious plus tons of winter programming
and discounts at Toronto's attractions, WinterCity provides the perfect
opportunity to sample the diversity Toronto has to offer.

For more information on WinterCity and other events produced by Toronto Special
Events, call Access Toronto at 416-338-0338 or visit
http://www.toronto.ca/special_events.

Media Contact:
Amber Authier
Event Supervisor, Marketing
Toronto Special Events
416-395-7318
aauthie@toronto.ca



 

 

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