Sunday, 24 July 2011

Cool is Hot. Some White Men Can Dance.



Justin Trudeau stopped by the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival BBQ


One Year Later,  One Liberal Learns To Dance To A Soca Beat

It is carnival time in the city of Toronto.  Soca Music. Mas. Calypso. A million people in the hot and hot streets. More media than at the G20.  For Federal Liberals,  the world famous Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival, has always had a  huge publicity attraction.  It is sometimes their PR Waterloo.
And while Martha Reeves does say that  summer is here and the time is right for dancing in the street, it doesn't mean that a politician just has to show up to be instantly seen as being one with the people.
It was a year ago, that Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, rented a bus and rolled into town for what was then called Scotiabank Caribana.  He had a steel pan orchestra and champion calypso singer,  Macomere Fifi in tow.  They barnstormed the festival, entertaining the crowds with long speeches, soca and calypso music and spectacularly bad dancing.
Michael Ignatifieff, his wife and his team managed to get on the parade route for the Scotiabank Caribana parade.  They arrived at the judges' stand just as CP-24 TV began a live broadcast to an audience of 1.2 million people (strange coincidence?).  Ignatifieff was filmed wandering into a crowd of hot, sweaty, barely dressed female Mas players.  Most didn't know who he was, but, with the cameras whirling they began to wine with this overdressed (think business casual)  politico who at that time wanted to be the next Prime Minister of Canada.
With his wife Zsuszanna screaming at the audience, in her thick Hungarian accent, to clap for her dancing husband he began to snap raise his arms and snap his fingers, like he was a Flamingo dancer! The auidence clapped ... but in derision. They  also boo'ed and yelled that he was blocking the view. They didn't understand the Liberal version of the Soca Wine.
No hip thrusting. No torsos meeting. Instead he danced a Zombie-ike  stiff-kneed off-beat Polka.  He was off-beat. Out-of-step. He was the laughing stock of the very Diverse audience he wanted to impress, both at home on TV and in the Street.
This was  the moment, at least for that  young Caribbean Canadian community that the Liberal leader Jumped the Shark. A few months later he lost the election and left politics.  In his new teaching career he is probably happy that he doesn't have to dance for his supper.
2011.  A new festival season, albeit with a different name.  A giant Jump-UP BBQ, broadcast live on CP-24 and CFTO. It is held at the same downtown Toronto building that Ignatifieff brought his Soca tour to in 2010.  This time it is hot.  Dangerously hot. 40 degrees Centigrade in the shade.  Same dancers are in costume, all carrying water bags to keep from fainting.  By a strange twist of fate, Macomere Fifi  is live on stage.  In strolls another Liberal, this time without a bus, or a steel pan band, or a screaming wife. 
IT is Montreal MP. Justin Trudeau.   No Bay Street casuals for this Grit, he is in a long sleeve white shirt rolled up to the elbows. Sandals on the feet.  He talks briefly to the TVs, he  also talks on stage.  Unlike his former leader, it is NOT about self, it is about culture and the need for Canadians to be able to celebrate their own. It is a David Rudder like message  -- " it is not how we vote, it is how we party!"
Trudeau danced with a Hot female Mas Player.  He didn't stumble. In fact he didn't even sweat.  No salt stains under the armpits.  I check to see if they have melted the pavement. Late for a Porter flight back to the capital, he heads out the back way with people calling for more.  He hasn't won an election, but, he did win over a parking lot full of hearts!
Trudeau is the first Liberal to really understand the power of Toronto festivals this summer.  The Tories, however get it ... Big Time.  Federal MP Lisa Riatt, Provincial leader Tim Hudak and his elected MPPs and candidates have been appearing, gorilla marketing style,  at events all across the GTA.  Be it the CHIN Bikini Picnic, the Caribbean Connection free concert, the Scotiabank Caribbean  Carnival opening of the TSX or the grand Nathan Phillips Square  launch, the Tories have been working their way onto the stage and in front of the cameras.  Even though I helped organize the events,  I don't know how they wormed their way into the limelight.  I shake my head and  marvel at their understanding of live crowd sourcing.


Justine Trudeau dances with a Mas performer in the CTV parking lot 2011
Michael Ignatieff and Macomere Fifi' 2010 stop by the same CTV building




Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Images from yesterday's Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival Launch





 THE 44th SCOTIABANK TORONTO CARIBBEAN CARNIVAL IS OFFICIALLY JUMPIN' UP !!!


Successful Media Event: 75 media registered.  35 costumed Mas Dancers.  50 musicians. 15 cameras (TV, film makers and web based broadcasters), 5 radio stations and just one daily newspaper -- the Toronto Star!  Big Events? Mayor Ford danced with Mas Dancer and cut a special cake.  Michael Chan and Chief Bill Blair spoke at the opening.

There was a silent protest by the Caribana Arts Group, owners of the Caribana trade mark.  Their protest signs didn't really explain why they were there (and the typos got a few laughs) giving it a minor role in a big event.


Councillor Michael Thomson, Chris Alexander,
Mayor Ford and Denise Herrera Jackson


Jamaican Sprinter was introduced to auidence
The CEO of Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival, Denise Herrera-Jackson,
is interviewed by  Nathan Downer (CP-24)  live from Nathan Phillips Square

 This press release was issued at the press conference:



NEW NAME SAME GREAT FESTIVAL
Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival Keeps On Jumping
Festival officially opens at Nathan Phillips Square July 12 – August1

TORONTO, Tuesday, July 11 – After a three-year absence, Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival returned to Nathan Phillips Square to officially launch the Festival season! Soca artists, pan orchestrators and mas dancers in ‘full’ costume took over the public square today to officially kick-off Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival, and to unveil a new route for the mammoth July 30th parade. With new media partners and expanded programmes, this year’s festival is expected to attract more than one million people to downtown Toronto over the next three weeks. 
In 2011, because of a problem with the trademarked name Caribana, the festival is now called Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival. Today’s launch showed Toronto a new look but with the same spirit that has kept the parade vital for the past 44 years!
“We have changed the name of the festival to Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival, and in this spirit of improvement we have also updated and upgraded the parade for the first time in over a decade” said Chris Alexander, the Chief Financial Officer for the festival.  “This year our 17,000 costumed dancers, Calypsonians and pan players will follow a course that will see them heading onto Lakeshore quite a bit east of where we traditionaly hit the street.   This gives us the room to set up seating for 30,000 on Ontario Place property, so that people can enjoy watching the pageantry of playing Mas, from a comfortable seat! “
Michael Chan, Provincial Minister of Tourism and Culture was present at today’s launch and recognized Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival as the key summer cultural event for Toronto.  The Minister noted that Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival, now in its 44th year continues to be both an attraction and an economic engine for the city. 
QUOTE FROM SCOTIABANK
During today’s launch, two new media sponsors were announced.  The FLOW 93.5 is now the official radio station of the Festival and Urbanology is the official urban on-line sponsor of the festival.  They join the Toronto Star, Sway Magazine, CTV and CP24 as the official media partners of the 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival!
This year’s Scotiabank Caribana Festival events include:

Junior Carnival, July 16
: Junior Carnival provides festival goers and the surrounding community the opportunity to experience the thrills and joys as young masqueraders participate in their early festival years.  The parade route stretches from Black Creek Pioneer Village to the Yorkgate Mall  (Jane and Finch).  Close to 2,000 children in costumes will take part in the parade.  This year there are more areas along Jane Street for spectators.  It is free!   11am – 4pm.
Nation Cheong Art Exhibition, July 16-August 1: The Royal Ontario Museum and the Gladstone Hotel are hosting a duo-location exhibition by artist Nation Cheong. Cheong’s contemporary work captures the Carnival experience in Toronto from its roots in 1967 to today.
CTV/CP24 BBQ  July 21: The television sponsors of the parade are once again opening their compound to the public.  Live broadcasts, Caribbean food, performers, art and people in full Mas costumes will take over 299 Queen Street.  EVERYONE is welcome to attend this free event.
Scotiabank Caribana Gala, July 22: The fourth annual Scotiabank Caribana Gala is an evening of elegance celebrating Carnival Music and Arts. The Gala runs from 5:30 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. at the Liberty Grand Ballroom, CNE Grounds. 
The Kaiso 365 Calypso Monarch Finals, July 23: The Calypso Monarch will be crowned this year at the best and biggest Canadian Calypsonian battle for the crown.  At the P.C. Ho Theatre, Chinese Cultural Centre, Scarborough, the event will take place from 7 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Toronto Pearson Airport Launch, July 27: the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, in partnership with the Festival Management Committee will be in the airport promoting the festival to incoming tourists with Caribbean entertainment and food tastings.
Calypso Showcase at Harbourfront. July 27. West Jet Stage. Free. The showcase presents top Soca artists, Garth Burgess (steel pannist), and iconic Carnival Arts characters. 7pm
King & Queen Show, July 28: The Thursday before the Scotiabank Caribana Parade, all the Kings & Queens of the Bands meet to do battle. It is an honour for any reveler to be enthroned the King or Queen of a band. The battle runs from 7 p.m. – 12 a.m. at Lamport Stadium.
Pan Alive, July 29: A thrilling evening showcasing the musical and tonal qualities of the steelpan.  At Pan Alive, members of the Ontario Steelband Association will compete before a panel of judges at Lamport Stadium from 7 p.m. – 12 a.m.  
The Grand Parade, July 30: This showcase event features an incredible display of colours and pageantry.  Toronto will come alive with the sights and sounds of Carnival. This year’s Parade is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the CNE and follows a new route along Lakeshore Blvd.
The Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival Lime, July 31st & August 1: De Lime highlights the various cultures of all of the Caribbean people.  It’s a celebration of food, song, dance, theatrical drama and story telling at Ontario Place. Grace Tropical Rhymes on Sunday. Free!
Canada Rugby League International Test Match  - Team Canada Wolverines versus Jamaican National Team.  July 31st. This new event adds the sporting dimension to the festival. Growing in popularity in Canada, it is the most high speed, high impact field sport in the world.  Fletcher’s Field, Markham.

ABOUT SCOTIABANK CARIBANA

The Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival is an exciting three-week cultural explosion of Caribbean music, cuisine, revelry as well as visual and performing arts. Now in its 44th year, it has become a major international event and the largest cultural festival of its kind in North America. As Carnival is an international cultural phenomenon, the great metropolis of Toronto and its environs will come alive as the city explodes with the pulsating rhythms and melodies of Calypso, Soca, Reggae, Chutney, Steel Pan and Brass Bands.
Corporate sponsors of this year's festival include: Scotiabank, The Toronto Star, Sway Magazine, CTV, CP24, The Federal Government of Canada, The Province of Ontario, The City of Toronto, Tourism Toronto, The Greater Toronto Airports Authority, Ontario Place, Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario Science Centre, Toronto Public Libraries, Yorkgate Mall, Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex & Liberty Entertainment Group, Urbanology, and GraceKennedy (Ontario) Inc.
For more information about the programmes and events, please visit the festival’s official website at www.torontocaribbeancarnival.com. The Festival Office is located at 263 Davenport Avenue, Lower Level; Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5R 1E9. Contact info: Tel: 416-391-5608; Fax: 416-391-5693; Email: info@ www.torontocaribbeancarnival.com.
Scotiabank is committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work, both in Canada and abroad. Recognized as a leader internationally and among Canadian corporations for its charitable donations and philanthropic activities, in 2009 the Bank provided around $39 million in sponsorships and donations to a variety of projects and initiatives, primarily in the areas of healthcare, education, social services and arts and culture. Please visit us at www.scotiabank.com.




Sunday, 3 July 2011

No Butts About It (although judges liked his Butt!). Mr. CHIN Bikini chosen today



 Moonzir Butt Wins!
Mr. CHIN International Bikini 201l chosen today at the Scotiabank CHIN International Picnic,  the Bandshell, CNE Grounds, Toronto.

WINNER: This year’s winner is 22-year old Moonzir Butt.  The Oakville native beat out 14 other contestants in this evening’s outdoor competition. Second prize was awarded to 29-year old John Burdo and third place went to Troy Campbell.

Immediately following the crowning of Moonzir Butt, the winner and two finalists were joined on stage by Serena DiMillo, the winner of yesterday’s Miss CHIN International Bikini contest.  Pictured above are, from left to right: John Burdo, Moonzir Butt, Troy Campbell and Serena DiMillo.

The 3-day Scotiabank CHIN International Picnic is produced by CHIN radio /TV international; a Canadian radio and television broadcaster that produces and airs programming in over 30 different languages. The contribution of CHIN Radio to the cause of multiculturalism, understanding and tolerance between people of many national, racial and religious origins has been recognized and acknowledged throughout Canada.

Additional photograph (adult content) from the Men's Contest: http://www.stephenweir.com/gallery1/main.php?g2_itemId=1954

Additional photograph of Serena DiMillo with Toronto Sun reporter:
http://www.stephenweir.com/gallery1/main.php?g2_itemId=1948 

Saturday, 2 July 2011

MISS CHIN INTERNATION CROWNED (and info about tomorrow's male bikini contest and free David Rudder concert)

Miss CHIN International Bikini 201l chosen today at the Scotiabank CHIN Picnic,
CNE Grounds, Toronto.

WINNER:    SERENA DI MILLO is 26 years old.  Her background is Italian and she lives in Toronto. Serena has a BA in Accounting from the University of Guelph. She recently won Re-Max Rookie of the year for her work in real estate and said she hopes to be a role model for young girls if she wins Miss CHIN. (pictured).

1ST RUNNER UP: KATIE GIMON-VALENCIA is 21 years of age.  Her background is Colombian & Venezuelan and from Mississauga.  She speaks 3 languages including Italian, Spanish & French. She loves traveling and recently graduated from the Schulich School of Business at York.


2ND  RUNNER UP:   CRISITINA ŌDORICO. She is 25, her background is Italian and she lives in Toronto. Cristina is a fitness enthusiast and she recently competed in the Fitness Star Expo. She currently works as a full-time personal trainer. Cristine grew up attending the CHIN picnic and has wanted to enter for years.
 
 MEDIA INFORMATION FOR TOMORROW

Scotiabank CHIN International Picnic 
Day 3
Sunday, July 3 -  HIGHLIGHTS

FREE ADMISSION

BANDSHELL Stage - FREE
12:00 - International Folklore Dance Competition, with 15 cultural dance groups vying for cash prizes and the             coveted  CHIN International Folklore Dance Awards.
2:30pm - Luigi Scanga’s Echi d’Italia PART I
3:00pm - Singing sensation 14-year old ERNESTINO, direct from Italy
3:45pm – Luigi Scanga PART II featuring  DUO CAMPANARU, direct from Italy
4:45pm – CHIN DJ Karaoke contest
5:30pm – ERNESTINO, direct from Italy
6:00pm - GIORGIA FUMANTI
7:00pm – Mr. CHIN International 2011, Part 1
7:30pm – VALERIO SCANU, direct from Italy
8:00pm – Mr. CHIN International 2011, Part 2
8:30pm – RICCHI E POVERI, direct from Italy

 
CENTENNIAL Square Stage  @ Dufferin Gates


CARIBBEAN FESTIVAL


Headliners DAVID RUDDER and HALF PINT.

MCs Jai Ojah-Maharaj and Comedy Host Jean Paul.

Additional Entertainers:   
  • D'Jango, Sattalites
  • Ossie Gurley and the Truth
  • Steele and Mountain Edge
  • Caribbean Folk Performers
  • Tunka Abdurama
  • Dance Caribe.

Better Living Building Events – Admission is FREE

Shopping Bazaar  11am – 8pm with vendors and exhibitors for shop-a-holics!  Don’t miss meeting representatives of the Lingerie Football League.  They’ll be on hand to promote the League, which has ten teams spanning across America, with Toronto Triumph set to be the LFL's first international franchise.
·      Team K9 Dog Challenge Shows - 2pm, 4pm, 6pm
·      Birds of Prey Showcase – 3pm  (and 2 shows in the Midway)
·      Zero Gravity Circus -  2:30pm, 4:30pm, 6:30pm
·      Sports Ring -  3pm –  Maximum Pro Wrestling Shows

West Grounds Midway  -  11am – 11pm   Midway Rides, games and amusements
Circus Jonathan - Comic Unicyclist Juggler Circusman:  3 shows daily:  1:30 / 3:30 / 5:30  FREE!
Birds of Prey Showcase - 2 shows daily 4:30 & 6:00pm  FREE!
Scotiabank Tent, with Free face painting and prize giveaways all weekend.


Public Information:  T:416.531.7838;    or   www.scotiabankchinpicnic.com.   

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For Further Media Information: stephen@stephenweir.com 416-489-5868, 416-801-3101    or  Picnic HQ:  647.206.2390 (Theresa)

Media Passes needed for photographers wanting to cover Saturday's Bikini contest


Media Tent Is Now WEST of the Bandshell
(tent moved this morning - sorry)

For Immediate Release: June 29, 2011 • Assignment Desks / Photo Editors


(some of the Bikini Contest entrants attended a Friday afternoon VIP party at the Scotiabank Picnic and somehow ended up in the swimming pool - photo by Craigg Slowly)
 
MEDIA ADVISORY – PHOTO

OPPORTUNITIES
BANDSHELL Stage - FREE
12noon –– Miss CHIN International Bikini Pageant 2011, featuring MC Frank Spadone, and music entertainment by Abby Tobias & Sole Power, and Ashley Martinez

2:00pmPORTUGUESE Festival, featuring PACO BANDEIRA, direct from Portugal;  and the first ever, Johnny Lombardi Portuguese-Canadian Singing Contest, featuring some of the most talented singers from the Portuguese community in one amazing show -  Lindsay Camara, Miguel Domingos, Maria dos Anjos, Paulo Filipe, Soraya Mejdoubi, Tony Ferreira, Stephanie Tavares and Steve Vierira, accompanied live by the band “Unique Touch”. 

8:00pm - ITALIAN Entertainment, featuring VALERIO SCANU and RICCHI E POVERI, Direct from Italy

CENTENNIAL Square Stage @ Dufferin Gates
12noon - 7pm -   HISPANIC FESTIVAL featuring Puerto Rican “Salsa King”, singer Henry Fiol;  local salsa bands Conjunto Lacalu;   Lucho y Juan de Sedas “Los Selectos”, plus Carlos Cruz, and Fantasia.


Better Living Building Events – Admission is FREE
Shopping Bazaar  11am – 10pm with vendors and exhibitors for shop-a-holics!  Don’t miss meeting representatives of the Lingerie Football League.  They’ll be on hand to promote the League, which has ten teams spanning across America, with Toronto Triumph set to be the LFL's first international franchise.
·      Team K9 Dog Challenge Shows - 2pm, 4pm, 6pm
·      Birds of Prey Showcase – 3pm  (and 2 shows in the Midway)
·      Zero Gravity Circus -  2:30pm, 4:30pm, 6:30pm
·      Sports Ring -  5pm  Maximum Pro Wrestling Shows

West Grounds Midway  -  11am – 11pm   Midway Rides, games and amusements
Circus Jonathan - Comic Unicyclist Juggler Circusman:  3 shows daily:  1:30 / 3:30 / 5:30  FREE!
Birds of Prey Showcase - 2 shows daily 4:30 & 6:00pm  FREE!
Scotiabank Tent, with Free face painting and prize giveaways all weekend.

PICNIC Grounds feature a MOLSON COORS & YELLOWTAIL Wine and Beer Garden.  And dozens of FOODS OF THE WORLD kiosks serving up a variety of international food fare including Italian, Asian, Latino, Portuguese, Indian, Caribbean and Canadiana mainstay.

Public Information:  T:416.531.7838;    or   www.scotiabankchinpicnic.com.   

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For Further Media Information: stephen@stephenweir.com 416-489-5868 / 416-801-3101   or  Picnic HQ:  647.206.2390 (Theresa)

45th Scotiabank CHIN International Picnic
EXHIBITION PLACE ● FREE ADMISSION ● CANADA DAY WEEKEND
JULY 1st, 2nd, 3rd 2011
www.scotiabankchinpicnic.com    

Friday, 1 July 2011

Pick up your media pass for the Scotiabank CHIN picnic weekend

 Lenny Lombardi and this year's contestants in the Scotiabank CHIN Bikini Contest


Pick Up Your Press Passes for  Scotiabank CHIN Picnic Friday July 1 (Canada Day Program Below), July 2 (Bikini Contest) and July 3rd (Caribbean Programming) at the Media Tent.
Please visit the media tent pitched just east of the Bandshell Stage.  11.30 - 7pm
(and yes, this is not one of my articles, but, because of Tweet problems I had to post this release on my writing blog)
Below is the line-up for Friday



MEDIA ADVISORY – PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES

Scotiabank CHIN International Picnic – Day 1
Canada Day – Friday, July 1 -  HIGHLIGHTS
FREE ADMISSION
BANDSHELL Stage -  FREE
12:00pm - Canada Day Flag Raising Ceremony and National Anthem presided by Commander Davies Of The Canadian Navy, and Chris Korwin-Kuczynski, Board Director of the Royal Canadian Military Institute in Toronto
12:15pm - Chinese Festival with headliner Kenneth Ma Kwok Ming
3:30pm - South Asian Festival with headliners, Bollywood Playback singer Richa Sharma
and Pakistan pop/bhangra recording artist Jawad Ahmad

CENTENNIAL Square Stage @ Dufferin Gates - FREE
1pm – 3pm Polish Festival the “NON STOP” Band; The WHITE EAGLE FOLK DANCE ENSEMBLE with Ted Zdybal, Artistic Director;  Ballroom Dancers from “RYTM” Dance School;,  16-year old singing sensation KASIA KACALA; and special performance by KRYSTYNA PIOTROWSKI.  

4pm – 7pm -  Filipino Festival with headliner Pilita Corrales direct from Cebu Philippines. Plus Canadian talent: Ma-Anne Dionisio from Miss Saigon; Karen Tan; Emilio Zarris; Roy Tugbang and the Champions, and dance troupe Culture Philippine of Ontario.

CYCLING RACES:  Roadways through Exhibition Place (Start/Finish at Better Living Building)
Free Audience Admission.   8am-4pm – Midweek Club Cycling Races (preregistration www.midweekclub.ca)

Better Living Building Events – Admission is FREE
Shopping Bazaar  11am – 10pm with vendors and exhibitors for shop-a-holics!  Don’t miss meeting representatives of the Lingerie Football League.  They’ll be on hand to promote the League, which has ten teams spanning across America, with Toronto Triumph set to be the LFL's first international franchise.
2pm, 4pm, 6pm – Team K9 Dog Challenge Shows
3pm – Birds of Prey Showcase
2:30pm, 4:30pm, 6:30pm – Zero Gravity Circus
3pm – Sports Ring -  Ontario Boxing Tournament – 2 hours of boxing matches produced by ATLAS BOXING CLUB and Adrian Teodorescu and featuring boxing clubs from across the GTA and Ontario

West Grounds Midway  -  11am – 11pm   Midway Rides, games and amusements
Circus Jonathan - Comic Unicyclist Juggler Circusman:  3 shows daily:  1:30 / 3:30 / 7:30  FREE!
Birds of Prey Showcase - 2 shows daily  4:30 & 6:00pm  FREE!
Scotiabank Tent, with Free face painting and prize giveaways all weekend.

PICNIC Grounds feature a MOLSON COORS & YELLOWTAIL Wine and Beer Garden.  And dozens of FOODS OF THE WORLD kiosks serving up a variety of international food fare including Italian, Asian, Latino, Portuguese, Indian, Caribbean and Canadiana mainstay.

10:30pm - Fireworks can be viewed from the Scotiabank CHIN Picnic Grounds courtesy of Ontario Place

Public Information:   www.scotiabankchinpicnic.com     T: 416.531.7838

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For Further Media Information: stephen@stephenweir.com 416-801-3101   or  Picnic HQ:  647.206.2390 (Theresa)

Text Box: 45th Scotiabank CHIN International Picnic
EXHIBITION PLACE ● FREE ADMISSION ● CANADA DAY WEEKEND
JULY 1st, 2nd, 3rd 2011
www.scotiabankchinpicnic.com