I also write for / Scriu si pentru

I also write for / Scriu si pentru

Revista Tango Romania

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Summer and the City by Candace Bushnell

I missed Candace, I really did. Last year I read all of her six books, one after another, in one single breath – Sex and the City, Four Blondes, Trading Up, Lipstick Jungle, One Fifth Avenue, The Carrie Diaries. I enjoyed all of them and wanted for more so much. When I got to the last page of the last book, I felt a sorrow for having read all of them and I wished there were more.

But what made me not to be entirely sorrowful about it was the knowing that there WOULD be more. Ever since I found out about The Carrie Diaries sequel, I was excited at the prospect of reading yet another book by my beloved Candace Bushnell, and I could hardly wait for it.

The Summer and the City book was released on April 26th this year, and I bought it on that very day when it first showed up in the bookstores. I enjoyed it so much!

Carrie Bradshaw is in New York now, attending writing classes and making her way to being a writer. New York City dazzles her with the beautiful parties, beautiful people, chic vintage stores and everything that is about the big city where the big success awaits her. Or maybe not? Turns out, becoming a writer is more difficult than she thought it would be. She has only 60 days of the summer to make her dream come true, or she would have to face Brown College in fall. But she will not give up.

Meanwhile, her new life in New York City is so exciting, that she can’t get enough of it. She met Samantha Jones, who helped her when she was robbed, and who promptly became her best friend (and her best teacher) in town. Guess what – Samantha Jones is engaged. Would you ever have thought of Samantha Jones being engaged to be married? Not in a million years! Yet she is. While reading the book, I was thinking – how come Samantha Jones is engaged??? It’s SO NOT Samantha! Stay tuned.

Carrie gets lucky, as she finds her stolen purse. Turns out, the purse got dumped by the robbers, and a girl from New York found it along with Carrie’s address book, so this girl calls Carrie to let her know about the purse. The two agree to meet in front of Saks; the purse finder says she can’t be missed, as she has red hair. When I read “red hair”, a flashbulb lightened in my head – Miranda, this must be her! So Carrie goes to Saks to meet the girl and get her purse back, but the red-haired girl doesn’t say her name. While reading this chapter, I was thinking, come on, wasn’t this supposed to be Miranda? Some more suspense to the story… So I expected to find the red-haired girl in the next chapters, and there she was (when she and Carrie meet again) – it really was Miranda, Carrie’s second friend of the famous foursome.

By the end of the summer, Carrie is ready to do a reading event, when she would have a public listening to her newly written play for the first time. This is the chance she has waited for, this is her opportunity to make it as a writer in New York. It depends on THIS if she is going to stay in New York and write, or go to Brown College.

So she reads her play in front of a number of people, but at the end it is not the way she expected it to be. Nobody seemed impressed by her writing talents, so she decides to go back home, and then to that dreaded college. But while on her way home, she gets a call inviting her to write a column in New York – her famous Sex and the City column in New York Star, or New York Observer should we say? She made it, Carrie Bradshaw made it as a writer in New York!!!

When returning to New York to start her new life as a columnist, she meets Charlotte, who was reading the Brides magazine (talking about Charlotte), and so the beloved foursome is complete – Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte.

While reading the book, I enjoyed rediscovering some of the girls’ stuff that we already knew from the previous Sex and the City books and movies. Like Carrie’s famous quote, “I can’t help but wonder”, a quote she used in her writing many times throughout the TV series and the two movies. Or Miranda snoring (remember Los Angeles in season 3, or Abu Dhabi in the second movie?). Or Samantha showing the finger at the beginning of Summer and the City the book, as well as in Sex and the City the second movie (the ’80 memory flash). Also, Winnie Dieke, one of the characters from Four Blondes, makes a cameo appearance in the book, as a journalist for New York Post who would cover Carrie’s reading event. It is not the first time when Candace Bushnell’s characters come back in the following books, this way making all her books related to one another as a whole epopee. And what about Samantha being engaged to be married? Forget about it, it will never happen!!! The engagement is broken and the wedding is called off, due to Samantha’s faulty fallopian tubes. Of course she wouldn’t get married, don’t we know that about Samantha? So, no wonder her adversity for marriage and weddings throughout the whole Sex and the City story, after being rejected by her fiancé like this when she was in her twenties.

Of course, I noticed some differences between this new story about Carrie, and the other stories that we already know – Sex and the City the book from 1996, the TV series from 1998-2004, the two movies from 2008 and 2010. For instance, according to the second movie, Carrie meets her friends in New York in a different sequence (first Charlotte, then Miranda, then Samantha), as opposed the other way around from Summer and the City – when she first meets Samantha, then Miranda, then Charlotte. Then Charlotte’s story from Sex and the City the book published in 1996 is a bit different from Summer and the City written by Candace Bushnell this year and Sex and the City created by Michael Patrick King – there was Charlotte, the English journalist, as opposed to the totally American Charlotte. But who cares about little differences – read the book and enjoy it!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Revista Flare Canada, mai 2011

Numarul din mai 2011 al revistei canadiene de moda Flare ne aduce multe noutati din lumea modei, tendintelor, frumusetii, celebritatilor, despre care as vrea sa scriu in acest articol.

Pe coperta revistei din aceasta luna o vedem pe actrita Zooey Deschanel, purtand o rochie Prada in stilul Stripe din actuala colectie de primavara-vara 2011. Pe Zooey o cunoastem din filme precum 500 Days of Summer sau Yes Man. De asemenea, Zooey Deschanel este imaginea Rimmel London pentru campania de publicitate a rimelului Lash Accelerator.

Flare Canada, mai 2011 - actrita Zooey Deschanel

Designerul american Michael Kors aniverseaza 30 de ani de cariera in moda in acest an, si mai multe evenimente de celebrare in onoarea creatorului de moda au avut loc atat la New York, cat si la Ambasada Statelor Unite din Paris.

Michael Kors

Cat despre stilurile si tendintele pe care Flare Canada ni le propune in aceasta luna, una dintre noile tendinte pentru acest sezon este stilul Flight Club, in printuri dragalase cu fluturi – bluze, rochii, lenjerie, pantofi, posete, bijuterii, accesorii. H&M, Alexander McQueen, Fossil, Lanvin, Carlos Miele se numara printre casele de moda care ne propun acest stil.

Carlos Miele, colectia butterfly print, primavara-vara 2011

Alexander McQueen, colectia butterfly print, primavara-vara 2011

H&M, colectia butterfly print, primavara-vara 2011

Un alt trend propus de revista pentru aceasta vara este stilul stelar – imbracaminte si accesorii in printuri si modele stelare. Christopher Kane, Comme des Garçons, Miu Miu, Zara si alti designeri ne aduc acest stil pentru actualul sezon. Dintre toate colectiile stelare lansate in acest sezon, cea de la Miu Miu a atras cea mai mare atentie.

Rochii stelare Miu Miu, colectia de primavara-vara 2011

Rochii stelare Miu Miu, colectia de primavara-vara 2011

Geaca stelara Miu Miu, colectia de primavara-vara 2011

Alte trenduri in voga in acest sezon sunt cel floral si cel japonez. Va mai aduceti aminte de rochia de inspiratie japoneza semnata Vera Wang si stilul japonez prezentat in Flare Canada martie 2011 de care va spuneam acum cateva luni? Tendinta de inspiratie nipona este in continuare preferata in lumea modei. Trendul floral ne este propus de Jil Sander, Louis Vuitton, Dries van Noten, Miss Sixty, Stella McCartney, Miu Miu, si alti designeri; iar cel japonez ne este propus de Christopher Kane, Vera Wang, Nickolas Kirkwood, Alexandre McQueen, Akris, Sears.

Jil Sander, trendul floral, colectia de primavara-vara 2011

Christopher Kane, trendul nipon, colectia de primavara-vara 2011

Revista Flare Canada, in colaborare cu brandul canadian de incaltaminte si accesorii Aldo, au creat un nou pantof, Flare & Aldo shoe, care este disponibil in unele magazine Aldo din Canada la pretul de $135. O petrecere de celebrare dedicata noilor pantofi Flare & Aldo a avut loc in Toronto pe 26 aprilie 2011, iar incepand cu 27 aprilie acestia au fost lansati in magazinele Aldo.

Pantofii Flare & Aldo

Dintre stilurile clasice prezentate in acest numar al revistei (versus cele uni-sezon descrise mai sus) sunt rochia cocktail si trendul alb. Trendul alb este mentionat aproape in fiecare revista de moda pe care le-am citit in ultimele luni. In aceasta vara se va purta, din nou, alb.

Emma Watson purtand o rochie de cocktail Valentino

Rochii albe H&M, colectia de primavara-vara 2011

Unele din brandurile si casele de moda canadiene prezentate in acest numar al revistei sunt Sears, Jessica by Sears, Roots, Aldo, Smart Set, Danier.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Noua colectie Swarovski, toamna/iarna 2011-2012

Colier Player, $575

Saptamana trecuta am fost invitata la un nou eveniment marca Swarovski – lansarea noii colectii de toamna/iarna 2011-2012, care va fi disponibila pe Swarovski.com si in magazinele Swarovski din Canada incepand cu august 2011. Este a treia lansare de colectie Swarovski la care am fost prezenta in ultimul an – toamna/iarna 2010-2011, primavara/vara 2011, toamna/iarna 2011-2012.

Noua colectie Swarovski poarta denumirea de Wings of Fantasy si cuprinde bijuterii (coliere, pandative, inele, cercei, bratari); posete; liniile Hello Kitty, Disney si Erika & Eliot; brelocuri; accesorii pentru barbati; ochelari de soare; accesorii de Craciun si altele. Noutatile acestei colectii, care au fost introduce de Swarovski pentru prima oara, sunt o linie de ceasuri de mana si un nou parfum, Aura by Swarovski.

Numele bijuteriilor si accesoriilor din fiecare colectie Swarosvki de pana acum au urmat o anumita litera a alfabetului. De exemplu, bijuteriile din colectia de primavara/vara 2010, Out of the Blue, au primit nume care incep cu L – Lychee, Lacquer, Laser, Levity, Line, Lullaby, Luxurious, Lagoon, Loona, Lithium, Luminous, Liz, Live, Lully, Logan, Lady, Liquid, Liddy, Lightness, Lorelei, Lucia, Lunatic, Louxor, Lunar, Let It Rain, Laetitia, Lavender, Loop, Love Hearts, Ladybird, Lala, Logo, Louella, Lucky, Lasso, Lazy, Look, Louise, Lolita, Lucien, Loyal, Link.

Numele bijuteriilor si accesoriilor din urmatoarea colectie Swarovski, cea de toamna/iarna 2010-2011, Under the Blue, au primit nume care incep cu M – MonteCristo, Maniac, Mustang, May, Manhattan, Meteor, Medicis, Megan, Marrakesh, Magic, Melbourne, Milady, Mimosa, Monarch, Micha, Mathilde, Mineral, Mix, Melissa, Maestro, Midori, Mambo, Marica, Miracle, Maggy, Marie, Martini, Marylou, My Bag, Merry, Maurice, Miss, Mosaique, Marilyn, Monroe, Mister, Maeva, Matador, Madison.

Colectia de primavara/vara 2011, Wings of Poetry, a purtat nume care incep cu N – Nova, Nelia, Nikita, Noisette, Naturally, Nightingale, Niagara, Nocturne, Neo, Naia, New York, Nasty, Nascent, Newborn, Nevermind, Naïve, Nebulous, Nadja, Nature, Nil, Noble, North, Neon, Night-Time, Noon, Neverland, Nascent Parallele, Nostalgia, Nice, Neutral, Naughty, Nao, Narrow, Nuance, Nirvana, Nobly, Nymphe, Norman, Night, News, Newton, Nano Crown, Nightfall, Nevada, New England, Nation, Nectar, Neva, Nude, Nacre, Natalie, Nereid.

Colectia tocmai lansata, Wings of Fantasy, poarta nume care incep cu P – Prelude, Planet, Paloma, Parade, Pony, Pastel, Prodly, Phenix, Philippa, Panache, Passenger, Polly, Protect, Prism, People, Pigment, Purple Red, Pamela, Preciuous, Pulp, Platinum, Player, Pure, Poem, Poetry, Powder, Pepper, Pin-Up, Paradise, Palace, Perfection, Poison, Peace, Promise, Party Time, Prima Dona, Patchwork, Power, Phase, Punk, Print, Playtime, Pretty, Pattern, Pleasure (conform cataloagelor Swarovski).

Iata si cateva piese din noua colectie Swarovski:

Bratara Player, $390

Cercei Player, $160

Colier Paradise, $400

Bratara Paradise, $340

Colier Palace, $800

Inel Palace, $360

Cercei Palace, $210

Colier Panache, $440

Bratara Panache, $300

Cercei Panache, $210

Colier Proudly, $1,150

Cercei Proudly, $280

Colier Poetry, $1,250

Colier Poem, $440

Bratara Poem, $420

Inel Poem, $260

Cercei Poem, $175

Colier Promise, $150

Colier Promise, $150

Colier Prelude, $525

Bratara Prelude, $340

Cercei Prelude, $145

Colier Purple Red, $330

Bratara Purple Red, $340

Inel Purple Red, $240

Cercei Purple Red, $130

Colier People, $950

Inel People, $420

Mai multe articole despre bijuteriile si accesoriile Swarovski puteti citi aici.

Sursa poze: Swarovski

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Ziua Mamei, 8 mai 2011


Astazi in Canada este Ziua Mamei. In ultimii 2 ani, de cand sunt si eu mama a unui copilas splendid, am resimtit si m-am bucurat de frumusetea acestei zile mai mult decat in anii trecuti, inainte de a se naste Alex.

Azi dimineata sotul meu John mi-a facut cea mai frumoasa surpriza de Ziua Mamei. Cand m-am trezit inainte de 9am, eram doar eu cu Alex in dormitor, nici urma de John. L-am strigat crezand ca poate e in living, dar nu era acasa. Ma gandeam oare unde a putut pleca, deoarece duminica la 8 dimineata nu este nimic deschis in oras. In scurt timp a aparut – avea in mana un buchet superb de trandafiri rosii, o cutie mare de gogosi de la Tim Hortons, si o felicitare pe care Alex, copilul meu de un an si 8 luni, a facut-o vineri la gradinita pentru mine, ajutat de educatoare.

Alex si ceilalti copii de la gradinita pe care o frecventeaza fac desene si confectioneaza felicitari pentru parinti cu ocazia fiecarei sarbatori, ajutati de educatoare. Chiar ma gandeam sa va arat odata felicitarile si desenele pe care le-a facut pana acum; le-am pastrat pe toate. Ultima oara am primit de la Alex felicitarea de Paste, acum 2 saptamani. Au mai fost felicitari de Halloween, Craciun, Sfantul Valentin. Vinerea aceasta John l-a luat pe Alex de la gradinita. Desi stiam ca urmeaza Ziua Mamei in 2 zile, uitasem ca probabil Alex a facut o felicitare la gradinita. John a pastrat felicitarea, nu mi-a aratat-o vineri sau sambata, si mi-a dat-o azi dimineata, impreuna cu trandafirii si gogosile. Fara sa vreau, ochii mi s-au umplut de lacrimi. Oh Dumnezeule, ma gandeam, ce frumoasa e felicitarea!

Le doresc tuturor mamelor o zi superba, sa fiti iubite si apreciate nu doar de Ziua Mamei, dar si in fiecare zi! Mama, la multi ani!

Interview with Dancer Tré Armstrong

May 1st, 2011, Liberty Grand, Toronto – Children’s Aid Foundation launches the new Ignite the Spark Fund, honoring Canadian Celebrities as “Sparks” – inspirational Canadians.

The dancer Tré Armstrong wass one of the Spark celebrities honored by Children’s Aid Foundation at the inaugural event of the Ignite the Spark Fund launch. Tré is actively involved in giving back to the community and passionate about helping youth to get active, and is honored by this recognition.

Tré Armstrong has channeled her passion for dance into a successful career. She will return this summer, as a judge on CTV's "So You Think You Can Dance Canada" show. A dancer, choreographer, actress and TV personality, Tré is a proven entity in the industry. Her love and understanding of urban dance and hip-hop has brought out the inner teacher in the artist. Tré has traveled the world sharing this knowledge through workshops, seminars and classes in hip-hop, urban and freestyle dance.

Tré's competence and work ethic has made her a "go to" choreographer for various artists, including Sean "Diddy" Combs, Kreesha Turner, Jason Derulo, “So You Think You Can Dance Canada” and MTV. Tre’ has also worked with Jay-Z, Megan Fox, Jessica Alba, Sean Paul, Neyo, Sarah Brightman, Phylicia Rashad, Missy Elliott, Jason Derulo, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Wyclef Jean, Rihanna, and most recently, she completed the choreography for Ludacris' new Breakaway music video, directed by Director X.

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Tré Armstrong at this exceptional event, and in the following she is going to talk to us about her inspirational work and the charitable projects she gets involved in.

Victoria West: Tell us more about your involvement in Children’s Aid Foundation projects.

Tré Armstrong: In 2010 I was asked by the event producer and the foundation to join their gala team as Creative Director and Choreographer. It was a blast and we were nominated for a few awards too, a great bonus. I think somewhere in between my name was pulled up for consideration for an honoree award as a luminary in entertainment. This was for the Children's Aid Foundation's newest fund, the Ignite the Spark Fund, created by Andrea Weissman-Daniels and Mark Daniels. I was more than thrilled to say the least.

VW: What does the Spark honor from Children’s Aid Foundation mean to you?

TA: It represents the notion that the path I am on is a positive one, a journey that includes giving back to the community through dance and performing arts. It makes me happy to know people are listening and watching as free dance programs are made available to youth in the community.

VW: You are known as a celebrity giving back to the community. What other similar projects have you been involved in?

TA: Currently, I host a free day of dance called the Give Back. It's back on this summer at the National Ballet School with over 20 classes to choose from. I also host a free dance program called D-Tour. This is a unique urban dance program for either all-girls or all-boys aged 14-19. Participants get to create their own dance moves while learning from professionals in the dance and entertainment industry, plus their dance is a showcase at the end of the program for close family and friends. This has all lead up to the creation of my new not-for-profit foundation called the Tré Armstrong Give Back Foundation.

VW: Why do celebrities choose to involve in Children’s Aid Foundation projects, as well as other projects alike?

TA: We understand that we are human, just like everyone else, and like other people we too have a past. Our past, at times, pushes us to reach out to family, friends and public organizations for help. Since we have a voice and a platform that others are willing to listen to we have a duty at times to support foundations that provided help for people in many forms of need. Some of those people may have been us.

VW: You are a judge for “So You Think You Can Dance” show – do you consider it to be a milestone in your dancing career? Has it impacted your career as a professional dancer in any way?

TA: Of course becoming a Choreographer and Judge on So You Think You Can Dance Canada was a milestone, a huge one at that! Coupled with my past work I now have a larger voice that more people listen to and I am thankful to be able to have opened up my not-for-profit foundation and pursue opening up a dance studio/community hub for youth in Brampton, Ontario.

VW: You are also known as being passionate about helping youth to get active. How do you think you impact the lives of the young talented who come to compete at “So You Think You Can Dance” show?

TA: All I know is how to be me: empathetic yet stern. I will always treat others with respect and only ask that others do the same in return by taking in how and what I say/do. I love to develop our future dance monsters. It's a pleasure to watch them grow and it's an honor to be a part of the process. How I impact their lives, is out of my hands.

Tré Armstrong

Tré Armstrong and her mother

Photo credit: Victoria West

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Ignite the Spark Fund from Children’s Aid Foundation Canada Honors Canadian Celebrities for Being Sparks and Giving Back to Community

Last Sunday, on May 1st 2011, Children’s Aid Foundation launched the new Ignite the Spark Fund, a charitable fund that aims to support Canadian socially disadvantaged children in having access to dance, music, visual arts, sports and other programs. Six Canadian celebrities who are actively involved in Children’s Aid Foundation projects were honored by the Ignite the Spark Fund as “Sparks” – inspirational Canadians who give back to community and who help other Canadians to discover their potential. The event took place at Liberty Grand in Toronto, and the celebrities honored as Sparks were featured in a dazzling fashion show.

The six Spark celebrities are Arlene Dickinson, marketing professional and CEO of Venture Communications; Debra McGrath, actress; her husband of 22 years Colin Mochrie, actor; Tré Armstrong, dancer, choreographer, actress, “So You Think You Can Dance Canada” show judge; Andrea Martin, actress; Nick Ugoalah, sportsman. Children and professional models also participated at the event and in the fashion show. Arlene Dickinson, Debra McGrath, Colin Mochrie, Tré Armstrong and Andrea Martin also participated in The Heart Truth Fashion Show that was held in Toronto on March 24th this year (days before Toronto Fashion Week), and which takes place in our city annually.

The master and mistress of ceremonies at this event were Toronto TV stars Anne Mroczkowski and Leslie Roberts, co-anchors of the News Hour at 6 on Global Toronto.

The featured fashion designers who provided the outfits for the fashion show during the event were Carolina Herrera, J. Mendel, Lanvin, Jil Sander. Some of the sponsors of the event were Telus, Flare Canada fashion magazine, National Post newspaper, Town Shoes, Manulife, CIBC, and many others.

I had the pleasure of being invited to cover this fabulous event by Tré Armstrong’s Public Relations representative, and of course I did not miss the opportunity to be there.


There are other $75,000 Canadian children being served by child welfare organizations, but only 2% have access to dance, music, visual arts, athletics and other enrichment programs through the Children’s Aid Foundation. Most of these disadvantaged children have traumatic beginnings to their lives, and they need help overcoming their circumstances. Opportunities to explore personal interests are essential to a normal childhood. Self-discovery is vital to the growth and development of all children, and even more so for “children in care”. How else can they determine what life has to offer, where to place their energies, and where they might find their passions?

The Children’s Aid Foundation currently provides funding for enrichment programs in nine cities across Canada – Toronto, Ottawa (Ontario), Montréal (Québec), Halifax (Nova Scotia), Winnipeg (Manitoba), Regina (Saskatchewan), Edmonton, Calgary (Alberta), Vancouver (British Columbia), but this is just the tip of the iceberg. It isn’t enough to reach all children throughout the country. Founded by Andrea Weissman-Daniels and her husband Mark Daniels, in association with the Children’s Aid Foundation, the Ignite the Spark Fund’s goal is to provide additional funds for programs in many more cities across Canada. Currently, expansion efforts are made in Kingston (Ontario), Québec City (Québec), Moncton, Charlottetown, St. John’s (Atlantic provinces), Saskatoon (Saskatchewan), Fort McMurray (Alberta), Victoria, Kelowna, Penticton (British Columbia).

What is most unique about the Ignite the Spark Fund is the flexibility for each child to enroll in any activity they have an interest in. Caseworkers, in consultation with the child, the child’s guardian, parent or foster family apply for funds that can be used in any artistic or athletic activity of choice that will offer the emotional or physical expression needed for the child’s healthy development. If an activity proves not to be enjoyable for a child, they can try a different one, all the while learning more about their strengths, skills and passions. Many children served by child welfare organizations remain in the system for a number of years before either having issues at home resolved or finding new loving homes. It is the vision of the Ignite the Spark Fund to continue to support them in their activity through these years, as they mature and develop their skills and identity. This includes specialty clothing, supplies and equipment where needed.


Alrene Dickinson, marketing professional, CEO of Venture Communications

Arlene’s unique spark is her ability to look beyond the limitations of “now”. Whether it was the economic limitations of her childhood, the trials surrounding becoming a divorced single mother of four young children, or taking on the glass ceiling, Arlene has continued to approach every challenge in her life with a faith in her abilities and determination to rise above it all, resulting in her becoming one of the most powerful women in our country. But what is also most remarkable, is the humility and grace she has never lost in the process. For at-risk children, to believe that they have the personal power to make life better is not a natural thought. It is something they have to find within themselves and it comes from having had the opportunities to see themselves excel. Children’s Aid Foundation honors Arlene Dickinson as a Spark for being a glowing example of what hope can do to transform a life.

Colin Mochrie and Debra McGrath, actors

Having been a bit of a loner as young man, the shy half of this dynamic duo, Colin, found his voice and direction in life after receiving his first laugh in a high school play. For Debra, the expressive force behind the couple, her love for performance was always evident and easy to identify by teachers and mentors. Their individual career pursuits lead them, not so surprisingly, into each other’s arms where they’ve continued to build a life together with love, laughter and a son named Luke. As worthy of recognition as these two successful Canadian comic actor/writers are, it is the most recent chapter of their personal lives however, that makes their story most inspirational. Having recently become godparents to a former foster child, Colin and Debra have embraced their roles of real life Spark Igniters. You only have to hear them speak about their various activities with their godchild to know how powerful the experience is for everyone. Children’s Aid Foundation honors Colin Mochrie and Debra McGrath as Sparks for being living examples of the difference we can make by just opening our hearts.

Tré Armstrong, dancer, choreographer, actress, “So You Think You Can Dance Canada” show judge

Tré embodies the true definition of what happens when a spark is ignited in a young person. Although having lived as a child in a home full of a mother’s love, the physically aggressive behavior of her father created an environment of anxiety and dysfunction. Despite this destructive influence on Tré, her innate love for dance and music revealed itself and was noticed by her mother. The simple act of being put into dance classes ignited was has tuned out to be a powerful life force for Tré, propelling her into not only a career she loves, but fueling a fire within her to help other challenged young people find their own inner creative spark. Children’s Aid Foundation honors Tré Armstrong as a Spark for the passion with which she embraced her gift and for using it to create opportunities for a new generation of young people.

Andrea Martin, actress

Andrea is of course best known for the laughter she brings to all of our hearts through her abundant musical and comedic talents. Having achieved international acclaim and success is reason enough to single her out as an inspirational talent, but it is the origins of her talent and the journey of self-discovery that are celebrated today. As a young Armenian child, Andrea’s exotic qualities made it difficult for her to blend in with the other children in her community. This lack of acceptance, so familiar to the at-risk children, would have continued to undermine Andrea’s confidence had it not been for her introduction to the magical world of children’s theater. Because of her opportunity to escape into the walls of a place where different was the norm and imagination the greatest skill, Andrea was able to not only flourish in those early years, but to embrace her unique qualities. The result of course is a lifetime celebrating all of her originality whether as a comedienne, actress, musical theater performer… or mother. Children’s Aid Foundation honors Andrea Martin as a Spark for her embracing of all that makes her different and the example this projects to all children who struggle to fit in, in the hope it will bring them happiness.

Nick Ugoalah, sportsman

Nick’s extraordinary life story is a shining illustration of the power of thought. Most people never experience even half of the loss and anguish Nick did as a young boy and teen. To then rise to the ranks of a gold medal wrestling champion and subsequent newly crowned Chie of his Nigerian village, is nothing short of exceptional. However, it’s when you speak to Nick personally, that you see where his special spark lies; it lives in his optimism and conviction in seeing only the best in life. Children’s Aid Foundation honors Nick Ugoalah as a Spark for his courage as a young man to ask for help when no one could see the truth; for his ability to focus on what would bring him joy and success and not harp on the darkness of his past.


Arlene Dickinson

Debra McGrath and Colin Mochrie

Tré Armstrong

Andrea Martin

Nick Ugoalah


The material for this article was kindly provided by Children's Aid Foundation.
Photo credit: Victoria West