Friday, 12 October 2018


Commffest community film and arts festival celebrates Antigua and Barbuda Sunday October 14, 2018

Commffest community film and arts festival presents, as part of its thirteenth year, "Antigua and Barbuda Day" of film screening, live music, poetry and food, on Sunday, October 14, 2018, from 3 to 7 pm at the Lucy and Thornton Blackburn Conference Centre, 80 Cooperage St. in Toronto's historic Distillery District.
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In Toronto Sunday: Antigua Minister of the Arts Darryl Matthew

A number of Antiguan and Barbudan artists and government officials will be on hand, including
New York based filmmaker Dr. Noel Howell screening his film "Little Rude Boys", as well as answer audience questions; Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Sports, Culture, National Festival and the Arts Darryl Matthew, alongside the island's Director of the Festival Commission and it's head of Marketing and Toronto Consul-General Ann Marie Layne. Poet Clifton Joseph and musicians Naomi Smith, Dylan and Edan Smith will perform, in addition to discussions on the Antigua and Barbuda Film and Arts Festival 2019 and Antigua and Barbuda's hosting of regional arts festival "Carifesta" in 2021.
Award-winning Dr. Howell is a key part of the burgeoning film industry in Antigua and Barbuda.
Howell graduated from the Film School of New York University. His 2009 feature film Redemption of Paradise was named best Caribbean film at the 2010 Jamaica International Reggae Film Festival.
In February 2010, he was appointed roving film ambassador for the Motion Picture Association of Antigua & Barbuda.  In 2014 Howell established a mathematics award with the Ministry of Education in Antigua and Barbuda, providing nine outstanding public school students with $500 each for outstanding performance in mathematics.
"Little Rude Boys" is a coming of age family drama set in Antigua in which a sick grandmother is duped into taking care of her fourteen grandchildren over the summer as numerous situations there's then to destroy her family.
This will be Dr. Howell's first screening in Canada

Thursday, 4 October 2018

RBC Taylor Prize announces its 2019 jury

October 3, 2018 • Toronto, Ontario: For immediate Release
 RBC Taylor Prize Announces New Jury for 2019
Canada’s Most Prestigious Non-Fiction Prize
The Trustees of the Charles Taylor Foundation are pleased to announce that the jurors for the 2019 RBC Taylor Prize are: Camilla GibbRoy MacGregor and Beverley McLachlin.

Camilla Gibb is the author of many books, including a memoir, This Is Happy, which was shortlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize, and four novels, including Sweetness in the Belly, shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and winner of the Trillium Award. She most recently wrote and produced the documentary Evidence of a Father for CBC Radio. She is the June Callwood Professor in Social Justice at Victoria College, University of Toronto, and holds a PhD in social anthropology from Oxford University.

Roy MacGregor has been a journalist for 45 years, winning multiple National Newspaper and National Magazine Awards, as well as twice receiving the ACTRA Award for television screenwriting. He is the author of more than 50 books, 30 of them in the internationally successful Screech Owls hockey mystery series for young readers. His book Home Team: Fathers, Sons & Hockey was shortlisted for the Governor-General’s Award. His most recent book is Original Highways: Travelling the Great Rivers of Canada, which was just shortlisted for the Ottawa Book Award. In 2005, he was named an Officer in the Order of Canada.

Rt Hon Beverley McLachlin was appointed Chief Justice of Canada on January 7, 2000. She is both the first woman in Canada to hold this position and the longest serving Chief Justice of Canada. She retired on December 15, 2017. Throughout her judicial career, she has covered countless areas of the Canadian legal system. In addition to her duties at the Supreme Court, Ms. McLachlin has chaired the Canadian Judicial Council, the Advisory Council of the Order of Canada and the Board of Governors of the National Judicial Institute. She is the author of numerous articles and publications. Her debut mystery novel, Full Disclosure, was published in spring 2018.
Noreen Taylor, Prize Founder and Chair of the Charles Taylor Foundation, remarked: “In today’s environment of fragmented media and constant accusations of “fake news”, literary non-fiction remains a critical medium for writers and readers — a trusted source of nuance and thoughtful argument. Our esteemed jurors will read over 120 submissions and deliberate over which books to include in December’s long-list for the 2019 RBC Taylor Prize.
Key Dates: The Longlist will be shared on Wednesday, December 12, 2018; the Shortlist will be announced at a news conference on Wednesday, January 9, 2019; and the winner revealed at a gala luncheon on Monday March 4, 2019.
The RBC Taylor Prize recognizes excellence in Canadian non-fiction writing and emphasizes the development of the careers of the authors it celebrates.

 About The RBC Taylor Prize:
Established in 1998 by the trustees of the Charles Taylor Foundation and first awarded in 2000, 2018 marks the seventeenth awarding 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 leatherbound version of their shortlisted book at the awards ceremony.
The Prize provides all the finalists with promotional support to help all of the nominated books to stand out in the media, bookstores, and libraries.
Earlier this year, Tanya Talaga won the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize for her book Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City, published by House of Anansi Press.
Ms. Talaga selected Alicia Elliott as the 2018 recipient of the RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writer Award. This award, featuring a $10,000 cash award, and mentorship from the naming author was established in 2013 to provide recognition and assistance to a Canadian published author who is working on a significant writing project in literary non-fiction. Ms. Elliott, a Tuscarora writer living near Brantford ON, has been widely published. Her essay "A Mind Spread Out on The Ground" won the National Magazine Award in May 2017, and her story "Tracks" has been longlisted for the 2018 Journey Prize.
The trustees of the Charles Taylor Foundation are: Vijay Parmar, David Staines, 
Edward Taylor, Nadina Taylor, and Noreen Taylor. The Executive Director is Su Hutchinson.
The presenting sponsor of the RBC Taylor Prize is RBC Wealth Management. Its media sponsors are The Globe and Mail, CBC Books, Cision, and Quill & Quire magazine; its in-kind sponsors are Ben McNally Books, Event Source, Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA), The Omni King Edward Hotel, and the Toronto Public Library Board.
To download high-resolution images of the trustees and the jury
For general information about the Prize please go to:
Follow the RBC Taylor Prize on Twitter at
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Caribbean Tales Film Festival Wrap-up

Winning viewers for Caribbean Movies in Toronto and Trinidad

By Stephen Weir
The biggest news for the just completed Caribbean Tales Film Festival (CTFF), took place not at home in Toronto but in Port of Spain, Trinidad. It was announced last week that Frances-Anne Solomon, the head of the CTFF, and a filmmaker herself had just won the People’s Choice Award at the Trinidad and Tobago International Film Festival
Francis-Anne Solomon
Ms. Solomon, in addition to spearheading the Toronto festival, has been hard at work all spring and summer completing her own film.  That movie, HERO -- Inspired by the Extraordinary Life and Times of Ulric Cross, was previewed and premiered at the CTFF in Toronto and then rushed down to Port of Spain to be shown in competition in their T&T film festival a week later.
The film is the first Trinidad / Canadian feature length film to be premiered and previewed in both country’s keynote festivals in the same year.  The movie tells the story of a man who leaves T&T in 1941 to join the RAF, where he becomes the most decorated WW11 West Indian serviceman.  Post war, Cross moved to Africa to work as a government lawyer for several emerging countries.
HERO opened the 13th annual CTFF early in September and set the bar high for the 30 films that were screened over a two-week period at seven screenings. Overall, organizers are happy with the results of this year festival. There were new programmes added, there was expanded outreach to Hamilton filmgoers, and attendance, with one notable exception  (an evening of LGBTQ theme films) was strong.
  Our LGBTQ screening is always the lowest attendance, from what I saw on the other nights our screenings were quite successful with full cinemas,” Maya Bastian, the festival’s Marketing and Partnerships Manager told the Caribbean Camera. “I worked hard to increase numbers at our LGBTQ screening this year, and we did have an improvement”.  
This year for the first time, there were three feature length films –  (US) Bruk Out, Rockers (JA) and Green Days by the River (T&T) that were shown weeks in advance of the festival at the Royal Cinema to perk up interest in the coming Caribbean festival.  AS well, there were more community showings of Caribbean films in 2018 in a variety of locations including Hamilton, Regent Park and Harbourfront. 
“Rockers was very successful! It's part of a partnership we have started with The Royal Stompbox music series,” continued Ms. Bastian. “CTFF is in talks to do more screenings like this and the sold-out dance hall documentary Bruk Out screening we held in March.”
Last week a full house packed the Scotiabank Theatre for the closing night of the Caribbean Tales Film Festival and the screening of It Stays With You directed by Cahal McLaughlin and Siobhan Wills. The film was shot in Haiti’s Cité Soleil, a severely economically depressed neighbourhood to examine the impact of the 2005-2007 crackdown on criminals that left scores of civilians dead or injured.

“As the 13th annual Caribbean Tales International Film Festival comes to a successful close, I am proud to be a part of the continued celebration of our Caribbean filmmakers “and our stories,” said Associate Festival Director Diana Webley, “The winners of this year’s awards encompass everything that our theme calls for by leading the way, spreading their message and focusing their light on change.”

Winners in the following film categories were announced: 

BEST Feature - Unfinished Sentences directed by Mariel BrownBEST Documentary - Incursion directed by Sasha-Gay Lewis.BEST Short Film: Kinto directed by Joshua PaulIntersect Award: Passing directed by Lucah Rosenberg-Lee and J. Mitchel ReedCaribbean Spirit: Hearts of Steel directed by Gayle WilmotCineFam Award: Sin Ayo directed by Elizabeth Francisco


Friday, 28 September 2018

Timeless Herbal Care Makes First Shipment of Medical Marijuana to Canada


Jamaican medical marijuana producer Timeless Herbal Care has successfully delivered the first shipment of extracted medical marijuana oil to Canada. This marks Jamaica’s first international legal export of extracted medical marijuana.  The shipment to Canada was authorized by an import permit issued by the Government of Canada through Health Canada for Jamaica; and an export permit issued by the Ministry of Health in Jamaica.

According to the Honourable Minister Audley Shaw, the Jamaican Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries “Jamaica is uniquely positioned to be a global player and I am committed to providing the leadership and resources required for opening the international markets including Canada and Europe for our licensed and regulated Jamaican companies.”
 The Minister’s statement was echoed by Lincoln Allen the CEO of the Jamaica Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) who has also identified this international export opportunity as a major target for the CLA.

According to Mr. Allen “the CLA is fulfilling it’s mandate and commitment to enabling timely development of the framework to position Jamaica as a global leader for the export of medical cannabis.”
The Import permit from Health Canada was obtained on behalf of Jamaican Timeless Herbal Care who was then granted an export permit by the Ministry of Health in Jamaica. According to Courtney Betty President and CEO of Timeless Herbal Care; “Timeless continues to be a trailblazer in Jamaica and the accomplishment of landing the first shipment of extracted oil which was cultivated and extracted at our facilities in Jamaica is a fulfillment of a mission we began five years ago.”
“I am proud of our local footprint in Jamaica which provides us with access to the largest potential legal cultivation market in the world though our own licensed facilities, and the other licensed Jamaican cultivators: the Christiana Potato Growers Co-operative and the country’s indigenous community, the Maroons.”
 Timeless is further strengthened by a strong team of international partners including O.penVAPE and New York City’s Mount Sinai hospital who are helping to guide the company in producing the highest grade extracted oil which can be used for clinical trials leading to the development of true medicinal products for the world.
With today’s announcement and the commitment of both Minister Shaw and the Licensing Authority, Jamaica is rapidly moving to taking it’s rightful place in the trillion-dollar medical marijuana industry. Several key Jamaican programs will be announced in the weeks to come.
For more information on Timeless Herbal Care Ltd., visit:, or call: 876.754.2121.

Media Contacts:

Theresa Betty, 416-907-0978Stephen Weir, 416.489.5868

Saturday, 22 September 2018


Attention Media  October 3, 2018

Innocence Canada Reception for the Wrongly Convicted, their families, dignitaries and pioneers of innocence work around the world  5:00 – 8:00 p.m.  Convocation Hall Law Society of Ontario, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario

Toronto, Ontario:  On October 3, 2018, Innocence Canada and the Law Society of Ontario will host a reception in recognition of its 25th Anniversary and the 5th Anniversary of Wrongful Conviction Day. 
Family members of Donald Marshall Junior, Canada’s first recognized exoneree, will attend, as well as ‎Jim McCloskey, founder of Centurion Ministries and a long-time stalwart and pioneer of the innocence movement.
Other special guests include John Artis, wrongly convicted of a triple murder in New Jersey along with his co-accused the late world championship boxer Rubin Hurricane Carter; Mike and Helen Kalaugher innocence activists in New Zealand; Jim Coffin, whose father Wilbert Coffin was hanged in Quebec in 1959; and Ron Moffatt, who was wrongly convicted in Toronto in 1956 at the age of 14.
MPP Rick Nicholl and Chief Justice of Ontario George Strathy will attend amongst other members of the judiciary, lawyers, and past and present members of Innocence Canada.
In conjunction with the various events hosted by organizations around the world, 20 confirmed landmarks to date will be illuminated in recognition of Wrongful Conviction Day. Among these will be the CN Tower, Mississauga Absolute Towers, Niagara Falls, BC Place, Baltimore City Hall Dome, Mid-Hudson Bridge and the Peace Bridge. 
Many cities across Canada have proclaimed October 2nd, 2018 as Wrongful Conviction Day. At the federal level, MP Ali Ehsassi will be recognizing Wrongful Conviction Day in the House of Commons.
The highlight of the evening’s reception in Toronto will be the introduction of the wrongly convicted. Amongst those attending are William Mullins-Johnson, Rob Baltovich, Tammy Marquardt, James Driskell, Leighton Hay, Ron Dalton, Réjean Hinse, Maria Shepherd and Dinesh Kumar.
The evening will also include the presentation of:
The Rubin Hurricane Carter Champion of Justice Award: to highly-respected lawyer and human rights advocate Marlys Edwardh and a former Board member of Innocence Canada.
The Tracey Tyler Award: will be presented to Halifax Examiner reporter Tim Bousquet.
The Donald Marshall Junior Award: the first recipient will be Donald Marshall Junior.  Marlys Edwardh who was a leader of his legal team will be presenting the award to him posthumously.  Accepting the award will be Terry Marshall, Donald's brother, and Donald's former partner and life-long friend, Jane McMillan. The Donald Marshall Junior Award will be presented annually to an exoneree who has shown great courage, determination, tenacity and endurance in staying the course to prove their innocence.
The evening will also feature reflections on the innocence movement by Jim McCloskey; founder of Centurion Ministries; and James Lockyer; co-founding member of Innocence Canada.
Since its inception in 1993, Innocence Canada has helped in the exonerations of 22 Canadians.  These innocent individuals combined spent more than 210 years in prison.
"Twenty-five years ago, when Innocence Canada was being formed I was sitting in a maximum-security prison for a crime I did not commit, as were many others who have since been proven innocent and released through the efforts of this fine organization. I invite all Canadians to take a moment to celebrate the remarkable achievements Innocence Canada has contributed to our nation during the past twenty-five years. The only objective of the organization has been to correct grave miscarriages of justice and to restore freedom to the victims of those terrible mistakes. The past quarter century has demonstrated the fallibility of our justice system and the continued need for an organization dedicated to correcting the worst mistakes. As a nation we should be proud of the work done to date and appreciative of the continuing efforts to catch, correct, and contain the mistakes inherent in our justice system."
Kirk Makin, Innocence Canada’s other Co-President had this to add:
"It takes many years and a tremendous amount of effort to overturn one wrongful conviction. Time and again, this organization has pulled together to make it happen. As long as the justice system remains short of perfection - and it always will - Innocence Canada will be here to help those in need."

For more information and interview requests for exonerees and Innocence Canada representatives please contact:

Win Wahrer  
1-800-249-1329 x227 416-504-7500 x 227, Cell: 416-459-2065                                                    @innocencecanada  
Issued by Stephen Weir on behalf of Innocence Canada by Stephen Weir

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Matrix Mortgage Global Ranks No. 144 on the 2018 Growth 500

Canadian Business unveils 30th annual list of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies

Toronto, ON (September 13, 2018) Canadian Business and Maclean’s today ranked Matrix Mortgage Global No. 144 on the 30th annual Growth 500, the definitive ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies. Produced by Canada’s premier business and current affairs media brands, the Growth 500 ranks Canadian businesses on five-year revenue growth. Growth 500 winners are profiled in a special print issue of Canadian Business published with Maclean’smagazine and online at and
Matrix Mortgage Global made the 2018 Growth 500 list with five-year revenue growth of 610%.
“The companies on the 2018 Growth 500 are truly remarkable. Demonstrating foresight, innovation and smart management, their stories serve as a primer for how to build a successful entrepreneurial business today,” says Deborah Aarts, Growth 500 program manager. “As we celebrate 30 years of the Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies program, it’s encouraging to see that entrepreneurship is healthier than ever in this country.”

“Matrix Mortgage Global is honoured to be recognized amongst the top growing companies in every industry sector on the Growth 500 Ranking and as the top mortgage brokerage in Canada.” says CEO, Shawn Allen. “Our success is a direct result of our Solution Based Lending approach to providing clients across Canada with private and alternative financing for real estate. The Canadian mortgage landscape has gone through many changes in our 10 years of operations. Our mandate has remained constant as a reliable source of alternative financing to Canadian homeowners.”   

About Matrix Mortgage Global

Founded in 2008, Matrix Mortgage Global is Canadas premiere mortgage brokerage with over $1.1B in mortgage originations. Matrix provides mortgage financing to Canadians by connecting private investors with borrowers who have been left out by their traditional lending institution. In 2018, Matrix was recognized by industry peers at the Canadian Mortgage Awards as the #1 Private Lending Brokerage in the country and received accolades from the Prime Minister’s Office for their service to Canadians. For more information go to

About the Growth 500

For 30 years, the Growth 500 has been Canada’s most respectable and influential ranking of entrepreneurial achievement. Ranking Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies by five-year revenue growth, the Growth 500—formerly known as the PROFIT 500—profiles the country’s most successful growing businesses. The Growth 500 is produced by Canadian Business.Winners are profiled in a special Growth 500 print issue of Canadian Business (packaged with the October issue of Maclean’s magazine) and online at For more information on the ranking, visit

Media contact:

Laura Martin
Chief Operations Officer
Matrix Mortgage Global

Issued on behalf of Matrix by Stephen Weir