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Abstractions, Toronto

Fifty-or-so guests dotted a table that stretched the length of a driveway in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood on the eve of Aug. 9. The gathering was the first of a proposed series that will round-up arts-minded thinkers (mainly of the venture capitalist and start-up type variety) for a bit of dinner and discourse. This initial happening, dubbed Abstractions, had an animal-rights and vegan-living theme, and was anchored by a meal conceived by chef Roman Avril (tofu! quinoa! cashew cream pudding!). The evening was punctuated by remarks from dinner-thrower Aristotle Andrulakis, the founder and CEO of Electronica AI, and Nicholas dePencier Wright, founder and board chair of Animal Justice, an organization leading the legal fight for animals and the evening’s charitable partner. Marsha Doucette, founder of Strawless Toronto, spoke as well, about the dangers that single-use plastics have on our environment. Also attending were Glenn Chilton, CEO of NexxusTrade, and his wife, Lena, owners of the driveway-turned-dining room and the garden where drinks were served. Jonathan Russell MacArthur, a member of Fawn Chamber Creative, an opera collective focused on creating new Canadian work, presented a pair of performances that opened and closed the evening.

DesignAgency Celebrates 20 Years, Toronto

That same night, a little further downtown on King Street West, the circa 1890 Palace Arms Hotel was the location of a 20th anniversary celebration for DesignAgency, one of Canada’s leading design firms. Agency co-founders Allen Chan, Matthew Davis and Anwar Mekhayech, whose major projects include Toronto’s new Broadview Hotel, Telus Garden in Vancouver and nearly a dozen Generator hostels across Europe, were on hosting duties, welcoming a gaggle of creators and enthusiasts to the latest instalment of their annual summer block party. The long-serving rooming house for men, slated for redevelopment, got a temporary makeover for the evening: Artist Dave Setrakian reimagined the side of the hotel with a mural and some of the now derelict rooms got the DesignAgency treatment.

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Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly spelled a DesignAgency cofounder's name as Anwar Mekheayech. In fact, it is Anwar Mekhayech.
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