Friday, 31 July 2020

Miss Dolly, David Rudder and Macomere Fifi Are All On Board for the Friday July 31st Emancipation Day Underground Freedom Train Ride Live and Online

July 30, 2020 ... This year’s 15th annual Freedom Train Ride is going live and virtual! Get on board live on A Different Booklist Cultural Centre’s YouTube page beginning at 10:45 PM on the eve of Emancipation day, Friday July 31st, 202.0

The Emancipation Day “Underground Freedom Train” Ride is symbolic of the role of the Underground Railroad within Canada’s history. This train ride is recognition of the historic date of Emancipation Day on August 1st when slavery was abolished in the British Empire. It is also a celebration of the power and potential of the peoples of African descent.

A Different Booklist Cultural Centre (ADBCC) and the 2020 Freedom Train Ride Committee are pleased to announce this year's Conductor, Ms. Dorothy Sharp. Dorothy Sharp is a pillar in the Ontario Black Community. Affectionately known as "Ms. Dolly", she is over ninety years strong and is the matriarch of a family that has made significant contributions in Canada.  

David Rudder
Joining Ms. Dolly online are two well known Soca and Calypso performers – David Rudder and former Calypso Monarch winner Macomere Fifi (Eulith Tara Woods).  Both Mr. Rudder and Ms. Woods will be singing live during the event broadcast.

"We are excited about bringing the train ride to a virtual platform and the world's stage," said Itah Sadu, Founder and Chair of the Freedom Train Ride Committee. "This year we are connecting with people nationally and internationally with the theme of diasporic crossings and relationships, and furthering the conversations on reparations for people of African descent.  We have traveled by foot, by bus, by train and by water, and now we are traveling virtually."

The train ride will be held online and live on A Different Booklist Cultural Centre's YouTube page from July 31st, 2020 at 10:30 PM to August 1st, 2020 at 12:15 AM. 

Fifi crowned Monarch

Everyone is welcome on this Underground Freedom Train Ride to celebrate Emancipation Day.  Sponsors of this year’s digital ride include the African Canadian Heritage Association, The Coalition of Black Trade Unionist, the TTC, A Different Booklist Cultural Centre and the Zero Gun Violence Movement.

For Further Information Contact:

Itah Sadu
A Different Booklist
Twitter @FreedomTrainTOR

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Tree of Life now on the Jamaica Exchange (and Canada too)

Tree of Knowledge International Now Trading on the Jamaica Stock Exchange
TORONTO, ON, April 23, 2020 – Tree of Knowledge International Corp. (CSE: TOKI; JSE:TOKI; OTCQB: TOKIF) (the “Company” or “TOK”) is pleased to announce that the Company is now trading on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.  TOKI is the first company to be cross-listed between the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) and the Jamaican Stock Exchange (JSE).  

Tree of Knowledge International Corp continues on its growth path as the first international company to be cross-listed on the Jamaica Stock exchange (JSE:TOKI). The Jamaica stock exchange was named by the Bloomberg in January 2019, to be the best performing stock exchange in the world (

The listing was recognized by Jamaica’s Minister of Industry and Trade Audley Shaw: “TOKI now provides the bridge between Jamaica and the world for Health and wellness as well as providing members of the Diaspora with the opportunity to invest in Jamaica through this public listing.

“The CSE has been sharing knowledge and ideas with the Jamaica Stock Exchange with a view to providing new opportunities for companies on both exchanges in the capital markets of Jamaica and Canada” stated Rob Cook, Senior VP of Market Development of the Canadian Securities Exchange.  “The cross-listing of growing companies like TOKI on the JSE is one of the opportunities that we contemplated and the CSE congratulates TOKI on taking this step.”

Mrs. Marlene Street Forrest, Managing Director of the JSE, commenting on TOKI’s listing stated, “The listing of Tree of Knowledge International Corp. has come into being due to the hard work we have been doing in Canada. In spite of the challenging times, we are seeing some very positive results and I am encouraging Jamaicans to continue to look to the markets for wealth creation as exciting times are ahead.”

Along with its local partner in Jamaica - Timeless Herbal Care, TOK has already received approval from Health Canada to import specific cannabis strains into Canada which will be used to formulate pain relief products for the Canadian and international markets.  Pursuant to a joint venture between the two companies, these products will be developed in an EU/GMP certified Health Canada licensed facility allowing access to the Canadian Market as well as the coveted European Union market.  Dr. Kevin Rod, Medical Advisor to TOKI board of directors, explained:  "Jamaica has many unique medicinal plants with special characteristics that are relevant to our current global health challenges. Our aim in collaboration with local universities, experts and partners is to bring those unique plant strains to the forefront of research and medicine.”
According to Timeless CEO, Courtney Betty:  “This listing culminates 10 years of vision and leadership. I thank Marlene Street Forrest for building one of the best exchanges in the world, giving members of the diaspora great confidence in investing in Jamaica and helping to build the country”.

About Tree of Knowledge International Corp.
TOK is a public company that delivers pathways to innovative, science-based health and wellness solutions.  The Company is a leader in pain management, spanning from seed to patient.  Built upon an extensive network of scientific and medical research, TOK is an advanced leader in the development, processing, and distribution of focused products and treatments for pain relief. Tree of Knowledge spans the globe with its multidisciplinary pain clinics, research partners, consumer CBD products, and education and advocacy programs – all working in harmony to bring health and wellness to the world, while creating value for shareholders and partners. 

For further information please visit:

Or contact: Tree of Knowledge International Corp.
Michael Caridi, Chairman Tel: +1 (917) 295-1374
Stephen Weir: 416-489-5868

Friday, 21 February 2020

The Last RBC Taylor Prize / Ben McNally Books & Brunch

Book event to be held Sunday March 1st at 10 am in Toronto

TORONTO, Feb. 21, 2020 /CNW/ - The RBC Taylor Prize and Ben McNally Books are presenting the 20th annual Books & Brunch featuring the five finalists for the 2020 RBC Taylor Prize on Sunday, March 1st at 10:00 a.m. in the Vanity Fair Ballroom of the Omni King Edward Hotel in downtown Toronto.
The Brunch is an opportunity for the public to meet all five finalists and hear them discuss their books.
A tradition since the first awarding of the Prize in 2000, this event always sells out. This is the last year for the Taylor Prize and therefore the last year for the Taylor Prize / Ben McNally Books and Brunch. Tickets are now on sale for just $60.
The authors of the five books shortlisted for the 2019 RBC Taylor Prize who will speak and their books are:
The Mosquito by Timothy C. Winegard
The Reality Bubble by Ziya Tong
Highway of Tears by Jessica McDiarmid
Had it Coming by Robyn Doolittle
Bush Runner by Mark Bourrie
What: The 2020 RBC Taylor Prize Shortlist Books & Brunch presented by Ben McNally Books
When: Sunday, March 1, 2020 at 10:00 am
Where: Vanity Fair Ballroom, 2nd Floor, Omni King Edward Hotel
Tickets: $60 purchased in advance by calling Ben McNally Books 416.361.0032
The annual Taylor Prize will be awarded Monday, March 2nd at a gala luncheon. The Prize consists of $5000 for each of the finalists, and a further $25,000 for the winner. The finalists and the winner are supported by an extensive promotional campaign.
The media sponsors are The Globe and Mail, Cision, Quill & Quire magazine, and Howl Radio. In-kind sponsors include Ben McNally Books, Event Source, Toronto International Festival of Authors, and The Omni King Edward Hotel.
Our thanks to CNW Group for sponsoring this announcement.

For further information: Media contact: Stephen Weir & Associates; Stephen Weir: 416-489-5868 | cell: 416-801-3101 |

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Margaret Atwood and the RBC Foundation to unveil 2020 Shortlist Wed Jan 8 at King Eddie

RBC Taylor Prize will announce 2020 shortlist Wednesday January 8

The trustees of the Charles Taylor Foundation request the media to attend a conference to announce the finalists for the final 2020 RBC Taylor Prize. The 30-minute press conference will take place Wednesday, January 8, 2020 10 a.m. sharp in the Consort Bar (Main Level) of The Omni King Edward Hotel, 37 King Street East Toronto, ON M5C 1E9.
There will be five finalists on this year's shortlist, which the jury will select from the 12 longlisted books announced in early December 2019.
Who: Noreen Taylor, chair of the Charles Taylor Foundation and Prize founder. Presenting Sponsor Vijay Parmar, president of RBC PH&N Investment Counsel, RBC Taylor Prize 2020 Juror Margaret Atwood
What: RBC Taylor Prize Shortlist Announcement Event
Why: To hear the names of the shortlist authors/books and celebrate all 12 books on the RBC Taylor Prize longlist of Canadian Literary Nonfiction works.
When: Wednesday, January 08, 2020 at 10:00 am sharp
Where: The Omni King Edward Hotel, Main Level Consort Bar, 37 King Street East, downtown Toronto
The longlist Books for the 2020 RBC Taylor Prize are:
Rush to Danger: Medics in the Line of Fire by Ted Barris, published by Harper Collins Canada
Bush Runner: The Adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson by Mark Bourrie, published by Biblioasis
The Grandmaster: Magnus Carlsen and the Match That Made Chess Great Again by Brin-Jonathan Butler, published by Simon & Schuster
Had it Coming: What's Fair in the Age of #MeToo by Robyn Doolittle, published by Allen Lane
We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir by Samra Habib, published by Viking Canada
In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience by Helen Knott, published by University of Regina Press
Highway of Tears: A True Story of Racism, Indifference and the Pursuit of Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls by Jessica McDiarmid, published by Doubleday Canada
The Regency Years: During Which Jane Austen Writes, Napoleon Fights, Byron Makes Love and Britain Becomes Modern by Robert Morrison, published by W.W. Norton
Overrun: Dispatches from the Asian Carp Crisis by Andrew Reeves, published by ECW Press
The Mongolian Chronicles: A Story of Eagles, Demons and Empires by Allen Smutylo, published by Goose Lane Editions
The Reality Bubble: Blind Spots, Hidden Truths, and the Dangerous Illusions that Shape Our World by Ziya Tong, published by Allen Lane
The Mosquito: A Human History of our Deadliest Predator by Timothy C. Winegard, published by Allen Lane
About The RBC Taylor Prize:
2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the RBC Taylor Prize, which commemorates Charles Taylor's pursuit of excellence in the field of literary non-fiction. Awarded to the author whose book best combines a superb command of the English language, an elegance of style, and a subtlety of thought and perception, the Prize consists of $5,000 for each finalist, and a further $25,000 for the winner. All authors are presented with a custom leather-bound version of their shortlisted book at the awards ceremony.
The trustees of the Charles Taylor Foundation are Vijay Parmar, David Staines, Edward Taylor, Nadina Taylor, and Noreen Taylor. The Manager is Sheila Kay. The jurors for the 2020 RBC Taylor Prize are: Margaret Atwood, Coral Ann Howells and Peter Theroux.
For further information: For further information: Media contact: Stephen Weir & Associates, Stephen Weir: 416-489-5868 | cell: 416-801-3101 |, @sweirsweir

Wednesday, 11 December 2019



 by Stephen Weir
Two years ago Lego artist Ekow Nimako built a statue of a girl on top of a galloping black unicorn.  The 8ft by 6ft sculpture, made with over 80,000 black Lego bricks, became the symbol of Scarborough at Toronto’s annual all-night Nuit Blanc festival.

Nimako collaborated with filmmaker Director X, to create the art piece they dubbed Cavalier Noir. The statue stood as a symbol of a bold and fearless future for the hood.
Turns out the Lego artist had just begun to think big and to think black.  Earlier this fall the Montreal born Scarborough raised Ghanaian-Canadian was at Toronto’s Aga Khan Museum to see the opening of his exhibition Building Black: Civilizations.

Nimako channels Africa’s remarkable history and its powerful future into an alternate universe sculpture. It is an art piece where the ruined medieval Mauritania city of Kumbi Saleh has risen from the rubble to once again be the capital of the Ghana Empire. 

This painstakingly made monumental 30-square-foot centrepiece evokes a utopian metropolis. The Lego city is surrounded by smaller sculptures of wild animals, camels, warriors and medieval castles scenes built with over 100,000 black Lego pieces.

It almost looks like the set in the opening of the Game of Thrones TV show - Kumbi Saleh links medieval Africa’s advanced civilizations with a vision of the continent’s powerful future.

One can’t help but be in awe what Ekow Nimako can do with simple pieces of Lego. He presents highly detailed small-scale pieces to make large images of Africa 1000 years ago, somehow forging a vision of the continent 1000 years into the future.

It is not surprising that people say Huh a log while touring the gallery. And, it is not uncommon for visitors to wonder why it is all made with Lego pieces and why is it all black?

“Lego is not something you associate with Blackness or Black culture in any regard. Right?” said Nimako. “The standard yellow Lego pieces where they started still is almost synonymous for white. For me, well for me when I am going to make my art it is definitely going to be Black.”

Building Black: Civilizations fills a gallery within the Aga Khan Museum. It was commissioned by the Toronto museum to compliment their nearby Afrocentric exhibition Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time.

The Aga Khan Museum has partnered with African nations and members of the African diaspora to bring the groundbreaking show to Toronto.

Caravans is both history and art.  There are recently unearthed archaeological fragments on display. There are also items on loan from national collections in Mali, Nigeria, and Morocco. Both the Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture and Exchange Across Medieval Saharan Africa and Building Black: Civilizations exhibitions will be on display until February 23rd 2020. The Aga Khan Museum is located at 77 Wynford
Drive. Wynford Drive is located one light north of Eglinton off Don Mills Road.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Deborah Dundas to host The RBC Taylor Prize's final roundtable event

Final roundtable event before the conclusion of the RBC Taylor Prize For Literary Nonfiction's 20-year history

The RBC Taylor Prize and the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) are delighted to present the 2020 RBC Taylor Prize Finalists in Conversation on Thursday, February 27 at 7:30pm at Harbourfront Centre. The esteemed authors, representing Canada's leading works of literary non-fiction from 2019, will take part in a roundtable discussion, moderated by Deborah Dundas (Books Editor, Toronto Star), followed by an audience Q&A. The 2020 RBC Taylor Prize finalists will be announced on January 8, 2020.
The RBC Taylor Prize and TIFA are proud to collaborate on this annual event one last time in the lead up to the March 2 winner announcement of the final RBC Taylor Prize, which after 20 years will reach its conclusion in 2020. The event will celebrate the best achievements in literary non-fiction from 2019, through lively discussion with The Prize's five finalists.

The event is free to attend, however, pre-registration is encouraged at

About the RBC Taylor Prize

2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the RBC Taylor Prize, which commemorates Charles Taylor's pursuit of excellence in the field of literary non-fiction. Awarded to the author whose book best combines a superb command of the English language, an elegance of style, and a subtlety of thought and perception, the Prize consists of $5,000 for each finalist, and a further $25,000 for the winner.

About the Toronto International Festival of Authors

The Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) is Canada's largest and longest-running festival of words and ideas. Since 1974, it has hosted over 9,000 authors from more than 100 countries, including 22 Nobel Laureates. TIFA connects curious readers of every kind with leading authors and provides forums to showcase Canadian talent to the world. TIFA presents events and programmes all year round and will celebrate the 41st edition of the Festival October 22 – November 1, 2020.
The RBC Taylor Prize Our thanks Cision Canada (CNW Group) for their long time sponsorship of the Prize.

For further information: MEDIA CONTACTS: Stephen Weir & Associates, Stephen Weir: 416-489-5868 | cell: 416-801-3101 |; Amy Dennis, Head of Marketing, 416-973-4395 |
Organization Profile

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Thursday book launch involves Mom, Pop and Daughter. Cynthia Reyes' Twigs in My Hair

TWIGS IN MY HAIR - It’s a Family Affair

Award-winning journalist and author Cynthia Reyes launches her new memoir Twigs in My Hair and the latest addition to her bestselling series of children’s book Myrtle Makes a New Friend.
The launch takes place THURSDAY October 10, at 6 p.m. at A Different Booklist Cultural Centre at 770 Bathurst Street. Ms. Reyes will be joined by co-author Lauren Reyes-Grange and Twigs in My Hair photographer Hamlin Grange.
This unusual book launch brings together a family of outstanding writers and storytellers. Cynthia and Hamlin are former award-winning journalists. Their daughter Lauren is the co-author of Myrtle Makes a New Friend, the third book in the children’s series. Twigs in My Hair Myrtle Makes a New Friend, is Cynthia’s third memoir. Her previous two memoirs are critically acclaimed bestsellers. This time she explores her lifelong passion for gardens and nature and the surprising relationships and events that ensue. Twigs is a humorous and profoundly personal story and a unique twist of the memoir genre which is complemented by photographs by Hamlin.
The Myrtle story, which teaches children about friendship and encourages them to “love their shell”, was written 28 years ago but the first book was published in 2017 to delight of children and parents around the world. The Myrtle character was written by Cynthia for her nearly 5-year-old daughter Lauren.
In Twigs, readers will meet a variety of interesting creatures, both animal and human, some competing for gardening produce or gardening glory. Cynthia’s love for growing things swings from reverence to mania. But there is also a deeply emotional side to this story about what happens when a passionate gardener can no longer do what she loves.
Itah Sadu and Miguel San Vincente, owners of A Different Booklist, will host the event, which will include readings and a book signing.

About the Authors:

Cynthia Reyes is the author of the bestselling books A Good Home, An Honest House and newly released, Twigs in My Hair. In addition, her previous children’s illustrated Myrtle the Purple Turtle books have been bestsellers and have received excellent reviews. Cynthia is a former journalist, producer-director and executive producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She won national and international awards and acclaim for her work, including The Children’s Broadcast Institute Award, The Trailblazer Award and The Crystal Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film and Television. In 2016, her book, An Honest House, won the Diamond Award for book of the year, while the country of her birth, Jamaica, inducted Cynthia into the Order of Distinction, Commander Rank, in recognition of her work in Canadian and international journalism.
Lauren Reyes-Grange learned about Myrtle the Purple Turtle from her mother who told her stories when she was a child. Soon to be a mother herself, Lauren has begun reading the Myrtle books to her unborn daughter. She has collaborated with Cynthia on the second and third books in the Myrtle series and will continue to make up Myrtle stores for her daughter and all the children who love and embrace the Myrtle books around the world. Lauren is a Social Media Strategist and blogger in Toronto.
Hamlin Grange is a former journalist and broadcaster. His photographs appear in Twigs in My Hair. Over a number of years, Hamlin has been both the gardener and the photographer of the gardens we meet in the book. When not gardening, Hamlin is a diversity and inclusion strategist. He has worked with national and international clients in a wide range of sectors including film, theatre, television, post-secondary institutions, social services, government agencies and law enforcement.

For more information about either book, please visit or contact MaryAnn Isbister at 416-932-8284.