Category Archives: cherries

Thanks & Good Night

Cherries on Top has been an amazing way to get to know Waterloo Region and the wonderful people and events that make the community such a special place. I bid a fond farewell to Cherries and to Kitchener-Waterloo and thank all for their support in making this blog a success.

Never fear, there are still WONDERFUL things happening in Waterloo Region and I am as big a fan as ever. The people, the events and the vibe continue in full force. I encourage you to explore my blog roll for other local blogs.

Connect with me on twitter @kirstiepaterson (all other accounts can be discovered via About.Me).

See you soon.



Leave a comment

Filed under cherries, reflections


Stroll City

via Akimbo

Talk about timing! With my current tweeting life taking on a “things I am discovering in TO” aura, Micaleff’s @strollcity project couldn’t come at a better time. Not only can my tweets enter into a larger conversation, I can take advantage of the collective knowlege of Toronto’s twiterati in real time. Very neat.

Read the full project statement here>

Stroll City on the TTC – about the city, for the city. An interactive discussion with author Shawn Micallef, from June 1 – 22.

For three weeks this June, Shawn Micallef (Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto) explores the city on foot and invites Torontonians to tweet their responses and discoveries, alongside his own @strollcity.

From June 1 – 22, Micallef will be tweeting his discoveries through the Twitter handle StrollCity. Torontonians are encouraged to walk the city, respond to his tweets with comments, and share their own discoveries @strollcity over the course of these three weeks.

Stroll City tweets will appear in an ever-changing spot that runs every 10 minutes on the Onestop TTC network of screens, visible to over 1 million subway commuters daily.

‘Shawn Micallef is one of the sharpest of this sharp-eyed breed of with-it young writers, architects and men and women about town who love big cities and see things in Toronto that most of us miss.’ – Globe and Mail

Leave a comment

Filed under cherries, cool whip, social media

Brain and Body Reunited

Yes, it has been a long, long time since we’ve last met and not a day has passed that my inner social media maven voice hasn’t screamed at me for ignoring my fledgling blog. Ironically, my absence has been more to do with having so many new experiences to write about, than lack of material.

Those of you who know me IRL know that I have made the move to Toronto where I have gleefully started as an online communications manager for one of my top “I’ll work there some day” companies. If our relationship is purely digital, I’ll also tell you that it was very hard to leave the Gallery and KW despite the allure of the city and the perfect fit of my new job.

KW really sucks you in if you allow it. It is a great community with people who really do care. It is very easy to get involved with the ongoing shaping, in fact it is mandated by peer pressure. These collective efforts will surly lead to KW becoming one of the best places anywhere to live – if not today, soon.

So it has taken a good two weeks to fully reunite 100% of my brain with my body – now sitting in Liberty Village. I do love it here and can’t wait to complete our move, the 5th in 5 years (yikes); that I hope will signal the start of a longer term relationship with our new home.

So far, I’ve been living in a tree lined enclave in Parkdale and heading back to KW on the weekends. We get the keys for our new place, in Port Credit, June 1st, which will necessitate another quasi move as THE move won’t happen until the 2nd weekend in June. It all makes me very tired.

So for now, I am wrapping my head around this new reality and working to commit some of my new experiences to paper in a timely fashion. So far this has involved “testing” many of the surrounding eateries (and the yoga and fitness studios in response) and exploring Toronto’s west side on foot. I’ve already RSVP’d for a dozen industry events (although I am brooding about missing MESH today) and look forward to meeting Toronto’s movers and shape’rs.

It’s going to be quite a ride.

Creative decorating on an electrical box in Parkdale.

Creative decorating on an electrical box in Parkdale.

Leave a comment

Filed under cherries, cool whip

Mark your calendars.

A Certain Light Series
A Certain Light Series by Melissa Doherty

Two upcoming KW art happenings of note are Melissa Doherty’s Open Studio, April 29-30th, and Jennifer Gough’s FUEL on May 14th at 7:30 p.m.

Doherty’s Open Studio is a great opportunity to meet the artist and see the inner workings of her Tannery workspace. I am always amazed by the near photographic quality of her work and the gorgeous colors. The Open Studio at 121 Charles Street West, Studio 430 B,  runs from 10am-5pm on April 29 & 30th. Check out her website for more info on her work and studio.

Local artist Jennifer Gough of Minds Eye Studio Art is curating FUEL, a show that brings together nourishment for the mind and the tummy. In celebration of her studio’s 5th anniversary, Gough invited area artists to submit work for the group show which also benefits the Food Bank of Waterloo Region (exhibiting artists to be announced).  Sponsors are providing door prizes and attendees are invited to bring a donation for the food bank. Billed as an evening of “art, community and enlightenment” FUEL on May 14th at 7:30 pm should be a fantastic gathering of local artists and aficionados. Find out more here>

Leave a comment

Filed under art, cherries, events, Kitchener-Waterloo, kwawesome

Doers and Makers

Steel Rail Session 2010

Steel Rail Sessions 2010


This post is going to sound like a love fest, and it is. This week I have once again been struck by the sheer force that is the doers and makers of KW. They come in all forms and attack and create all manner of things. But they DO things that make this community what it is and what we want it to be – an exciting, interesting, welcoming, challenging, slightly bizarre and dynamic place.

In a recent conversation, I was, as I often seem to, defending KW’s honor. Someone was poking fun and I wasn’t having it. I started to list all of the amazing people and events that I had encountered since moving here a year ago. Had they heard of the Steel Rails Sessions? How about TEDxWaterloo? Could they take a great idea, and because of intense support from community players make it happen in a month or two? No. Well there you go. I can. And many do.

Gabrielle Clermont, who in addition to engaging in creative spacemaking via Treehaus, is a serious  serial doer. Hilary Abel of RQ Magazine and the Steel Rails Sessions (#2 coming soon) always seems to be plotting something amazing. Urbanely Urban’s Terre Chartrand is convening an Art Space Round Table discussion on April 14th. The KW Awesome Foundation just launched to support others who want to do cool things in the community. The Cute Gecko folks are involved all over town lending their expertise and time to numerous groups that do things for others. Jennifer Gough of Minds Eye Studio Art is organizing FUEL, an art show that melds local art with the Food Bank. Diane and Lisa AKA Those 2 Girls launch MeFest 2011 this Saturday and last month Ramy Nassar, Amy Vandenberg et al. ran a very big do, TEDxWaterloo. And that’s just a small sample of what’s “going on” in KW which is in addition to all of the other stuff that happens via organizations, municipalities, etc.

Bully for us KW. Anything is possible, if we really, really want to do it. Enough said.


UPDATE: More doers and makers that you should check out: Kwartz Lab an amazing hacker/maker space,  makebright a maker who writes about it all, MonsterFarm who is working with me on a serious “make” (details soon), THEMUSEUM who does and does and does, Little Mushroom Catering who does and makes a ton for the community on her own dime and BearfaceDesign that makes things that I love (have you met Bon Mot?).


Filed under cherries, Kitchener-Waterloo, kwawesome, waterloo

Vlogging 101

Video Blogging

Video rules as a powerful communications tool. There is nothing like being able to express your of the moment experience with your audience, or experiencing someone else´s. And as it turns out, voyeuristic tendencies are more widespread than we´d ever thought. In 2010 YouTube exceeded 2 billion views a day with more video uploaded in 60 days than all 3 major US Networks created in 60 years. We´re using YouTube to connect to all sort of information and, in addition to cute cat videos, we´re learning from other´s expertise, showing off what we´re doing and experiencing reality as it exists on the other side of the globe.  Making  the jump from video consumer to maker is easier than ever with the advent of low-cost digital cameras of the stand alone and even mobile phone variety.

In my communications role at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery (a non-profit) I find great value in video, although given my budget and time constraints vlogging is my only option – highly produced and expensive video productions are out. Vlogging or video blogging, roughly defined as the capturing of an experience, if done with energy, passion and clear message can be powerful content, populating your social media properties like Twitter, Facebook and blogs. As I rely heavily on free communications channels like these to get our message out, video is a cost and time effective way to engage and connect with a wide audience.

All you need to get started with vlogging is a message, some basic equipment and real energy and passion.

What´s your message?
Great video turns your message into something people can relate to. When real energy, passion and enthusiasm comes together on camera your audience gets caught up in it. One of the best´organisational videos I´ve seen is Craig Kielburger´s well digging video for Free the Children. He not only demonstrates the organisation´s message, he literally shows you why you should support them. (Check out my own of the moment plea). When it comes to message the keys are easy to navigate: keep it simple, concise and real. Get out the essential information, tell people where to find out more and provide a call to action like donate now or come to our event. If you are not comfy in front of a camera find someone who is, but make sure they share your passion. And do it all in under 3 min.

The right camera for you.
Finding the equipment that fits your needs and budget can still be tricky. There is a lot to choose from, and with the rapid advancement of digital film, I´m always hesitant to pay any more than I have to. I choose the Kodak Zi8 HD Pocket Video Camera ($168) for the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery for a couple of reasons. It had built-in usb arm that allows one click uploads to YouTube, eliminating the need for a double upload (once to the computer, then to YouTube). The reviews also gave it a thumbs up when it came to sound, and as one of the only cameras under $350 with an external mic jack (an additional $25 at The Source) I felt confident that I could capture both candid and more formal moments. Best of all it is easy to use, can be strapped to a tripod (perfect for solo recordings), is HD and has a decent editing software package included.

Harnessing knowledge and passion.
I recently tagged along on a Gallery tour looking for a photo op. Kate, the tour leader completely blew me away, she made the exhibitions come alive with her insight and commentary. The next week we filmed a mini version of that tour to provide a virtual intro to the exhibitions. I think she´s as good on camera as off because her knowledge (the accessible expert voice), energy and passion are very clear. If you´ve got it – share it.

So you´ve filmed and uploaded your video, now what? Spread the word – use your social media and in person networks to let people know that it is there. Post a link on Facebook, tweet about it, include it in your eNews, put it on your blog or website, get your friends to post it on their sites. Videos go viral because word of mouth passes them around. You may not get a million views, but those that watch it will not only know who you are, they will “feel” it, making them more likely to engage with your organisation or brand again.

Creating video can seem daunting, but once you´ve done it a couple of times  it becomes a lot of fun.

I want to hear about your experiences vlogging, the good – the bad – and the ugly. Suggestions, ideas?


Filed under cherries, cool whip, social media

Epic Dog Walk

From last Sunday’s EPIC, and very snowy, dog walk at Snyder’s Flats with @commonthreadnat @Paddy_Mack @benjaminbach @Mindseyestudio @ScienceSteph @kirstiepaterson @those2girls @kwsarah plus doggies.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Filed under cherries, cool whip, fun