Home - Archives for July 2015

Month: July 2015

Toronto Fringe Festival: Vanessa Mugoa’s 1st Volunteer Experience with Fringe

GEM’s Creative Writing Intern, Vanessa Mugoa, recently volunteered at the Toronto Fringe Festival. We asked her to share her experience and perspective about the event and why it’s such a great arts and culture event in Toronto.

Hello all! I am back with another blog post and this time it is on Toronto’s annual, twelve-day Fringe Festival, where I also got to volunteer!

Now for a little history on the Toronto Fringe Festival! Since 1989, when Fringe was first held, it has become so popular that it is now considered Toronto’s largest theatre festival! This year, the festival featured 148 shows in 30+ venues and/or site-specific locations, with a total of more than 1,100 performances. Another cool fact about Fringe is that all the shows are chosen at random by lottery or on a first come basis, and 100% of the ticket prices are returned to the artists. Ultimately, the Fringe Festival is about giving the under-represented voices of artists an opportunity to share their works and emerge in the performing arts world!

However, Fringe is more than just a theatre festival! Many shows include elements of dance, visual arts, spoken word, and much more. As a spectator, you never know what you will possibly see at Fringe. For example, I saw a play that was performed at the Ahimsa Yoga studio downtown and it involved the audience doing yoga with the actors throughout their performance!

As a first-time Fringe volunteer and spectator this summer, the festival was a blast! It was great to meet and work with the Fringe staff and other awesome volunteers, interact with the many spectators who attended this year’s festival, as well as check out a few fresh and innovative performances myself!

Did you attend an event at the Toronto Film Festival this year? What was your favourite performance? Tell us about it!


Design Your Life: How to beat laziness this summer!

Two months of no school means no homework to complete, no tests to study for, and no group projects to stress over. However, summer can also be the reason we become lazy. I was worried that I might slip into laziness this summer, so I made a great plan to live my summer to the fullest! Here are my tips to beat   summer laziness and make the most of summer!

Apply for a job – I applied for a job in the spring and I’m working with Toronto Youth Leadership at a Summer Camp for 3-5 year olds. I find that having a job helps improve my time-management, communication and leadership skills. It’s also encouraging me to be social.

Earn volunteer hours – Volunteering at small or big events helps you meet new people and learn new things. My fellow GEM intern Vanessa Mugoa is volunteering all over the city at local events like Luminato, The Fringe Festival and the PanAm Games, she’s learning and having new experiences that are contributing to a fabulous memory filled summer. So check for events happening around your neighbourhood to volunteer at. I’m volunteering with both GEM and FranqGirl as a Creative Writer, and it’s keeping me on my toes.

Make plans with friends – I have made lots of plans with my friends this summer to help get me outside and go to places without the worry of having to go to school the next day. There is so much happing in Toronto this summer, so making plans to go to events together that are happening around the city and in your neighbourhood is turning out to be one of the best parts of summer.

Take a trip –  Travelling opens your mind and gives you the opportunity to explore a new place with new people. Whether you go to Quebec City or Australia, there is always something to see.

Be Fearless! – I’m not going to let the next two months off go to waste by not learning something new about myself. Whether it’s through my job, my volunteer work or the travel I’m planning. The only way to grow is to put yourself out there, and that’s exactly what I intend to do.
I hope sharing my plan to beat laziness helps you to have an extraordinary summer of growth and happiness! Do you have any tips on how to get the most out of summer? All of us here at GEM would love to hear them!

Selina McCallum is a GEMgirl in the 2014/15 cohort,  student at Marc Garneau C.I. and a Digital Journalism Intern for GEM.

Luminato Festival – A Spectacular of Toronto’s Culture and Creativity

Vanessa Mugoa is a Creative Writing Intern for GEM. This summer she volunteered at Toronto’s Luminato Festival. GEM asked her to share her volunteer experience and give us a taste of what the festival was like from the inside.

During this past week, I had the pleasure of being a part of the Youth Volunteer Photography (YVP) team for Toronto’s annual Luminato Festival.

The YVP program is an educational initiative for youth between the ages of 14-18 who are passionate about photography and enjoy giving back to their community. Placed in a team with other YVP students, I was mentored by an experienced photographer as we photographed various Luminato events and played an active role on Luminato’s social media networks. We also got the chance to attend two workshops that focused on different photography techniques and the role of event photography prior to the festival.

This was my first year volunteering with the Luminato Festival, which was a very exciting and unique experience. Not only did I get the opportunity to enhance my photography skills, but also witness the many magnificent shows and performing artists as a spectator.

It is difficult to pin-point the highlight of my Luminato experience because there were a great number of amazing things to see and hear. However, one epic event was Contemporary Color, where artists, like David Byrne and Nelly Furtado, collaborated with one of ten participating high school color guard teams from across North America to compose an arena-scale staging of sport, music, dance, and culture.

In all, the Luminato Festival is not just an arts festival; instead, it is an orchestra of the cultural and creative energy that lies within Toronto. I look forward to what Luminato will bring next year.

June 23, 2015 - Vanessa Mugoa - Festival Hub
Taken at Luminato Festival 2015 by Vanessa Mugoa
June 24, 2015 - Vanessa Mugoa - Festival Hub (29)
Taken at Luminato Festival 2015 by Vanessa Mugoa
June 22, 2015 - Vanessa Mugoa - Contemporary Color
Taken at Luminato Festival 2015 by Vanessa Mugoa
June 24, 2015 - Vanessa Mugoa - Festival Hub (54)
Taken at Luminato Festival 2015 by Vanessa Mugoa