Now a famous solo artist inspired by the sound of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Nat King Cole, and Tony Bennett, Micah Barnes hails from Regal Heights Village’s very own Oakwood Collegiate Institute. During his high school years in the late 1970s, this jazzy Pop singer songwriter made a name for himself in the cabarets and jazz clubs of Queen Street. For the duration of the 80s, he was a variety actor in television shows, films, radio productions and even live theatre. His worldwide debut, however, was with The Nylons, an acapella pop group. Barnes toured as a member of from 1990 to 1996.
His musical touring led him to Venice Beach, California. It was here that he launched the solo career which would propel him into his current success in a variety of genres. He toured the United States following his internationally popular #1 dance hit “Welcome to my Head” in 2003, a collaboration with house music artist Thunderpuss. Rolling Stone magazine thus labeled him “an indie artist to watch” and Barnes has since returned to Canada to tour his recent releases, which reintroduced the Oakwood alumni and his listeners to his initial jazz-like style. He has served as an esteemed vocal coach to many successful entertainers, including Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany.
Micah has attributed much of his introduction to the music world to his father, famous composer Milton Barnes, and his mother, Lilly Barnes’s broadcasting career. Micah’s brother is also a jazz composer and drummer, and thus, after dabbling and finding success in an impressive portfolio of genres, it’s only natural that he would return to the beloved jazz scene his family is enthralled in. His jazz relaunch album, titled “New York Stories,” Barnes promotes as both a “love affair with New York… its musical history and the way that jazz has taken shape in that city over the years” and the shift in his goal from entertainment of a crowd to entertainment of each unique emotional journey his music creates for his listeners.
We celebrate Micah Barnes for his amazing talent and we are honored that he is an alumni of our very own Oakwood Collegiate Institute.
by Sydney P.
Second only to a cold and rainy day, arguably the best time to curl up with a good book is the beachy month of July. The beckoning of a backlogged summer reading list boasting all those titles you promised you would get to months (or years) ago now joins forces with the debilitating heatwave of the past several days for a draw book lovers and casual readers alike could have difficulty resisting. And why resist? After all, it’s a short jaunt for members of the Regal Heights community (another plus under the reign of heavy humidity) to Ayerego Books for all their poolside novel- not to mention cookbook, comic book, crafting, botanical, body building, espionage, medieval, and just-about-any-other-kind-of-book needs.
The quaint bookshop, specializing in social sciences and historical biographies but with an extremely diverse variety of other genres, subject matter and volumes to share, was born in a former dentist’s office in 1995. After a year, they relocated their quirky collection to a more suitable space in the art-rich area of Queen Street West for all of 17 years before finding their way to Regal Heights in 2012. A colourful vendor with a colourful history to match, Ayerego Books is the perfect place to go whether you’re just browsing for a casual literary fling or in search of obscurely specific information about mountaineering.
Too ridiculously hot to venture outside, even for such a small journey? Check out their website to browse their collection and purchase directly online. You’re bound to find your next paperback adventure. Here are just a few examples of what they have to offer.
The Arcanum: The Extraordinary True Story –
This surprisingly enthralling account of the chance invention and cutthroat economic warfare sparked by porcelain in 18th century Europe reads like a storybook drama. A tale of a king who imprisons an alchemist under demand to produce gold, the rise of the highly valued black-market material and the descent of a real society into fantastical anarchy in a battle for economic power and status. Pretty exciting stuff for the mundane tea set in your parents’ china cabinet.
The Remarkable Past: Tales from My Country and the Wild Frontier – Pierre Berton
The first installment of two collections of the captivating stories of historical Canadian figures you won’t find in any standard textbooks. These tales sound nearly fictitious; from empowering to wacky, Berton’s accounts will make you proud of your heritage. Who said Canadian history was boring?
The Stormy Petrel – Mary Stewart
A classically melodramatic 90s romance novel, this might be more your speed if you wander in looking for some lighter summer reading. All the mysteriously seductive energy you expect from such a book (and not much philosophical substance, hopefully), the premise of the love triangle in an evening thunderstorm on a small island cottage- it’s all here in one convenient volume, among several others.
With a Daughter’s Eye: A Memoir of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson
Cultural anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson cultivates the story of her childhood as the daughter of renowned anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson. It is commonly loved for its raw humanity and simple message beyond insight into her parents’ discoveries about something much more universal and heartwarming: the uniqueness of a family’s love.
Convinced? Regardless, delve into the physical or virtual shelves of Ayerego Books and see for yourself that they likely have to offer exactly what you’re looking for. Maybe you simply didn’t know you wanted to learn the turbulent history of black market porcelain.
This is the first in our series of highlighting some of the great businesses in Regal Heights Village that really offer that Royal Treatment.
With lovely warm weather sweeping across Toronto and boasting with it an antidote for the winter blues and hibernation mindset which plagues many during the colder months, the time has come once again to venture outside and explore all the community has to offer. Still, debatably the only thing better than luxurious weather is luxurious food to accompany a stroll through your local streets. Fortunately, such a prospect doesn’t require you to venture far to find some excellent treats and refreshments to fuel your day in the sun- or to be the main event! These businesses are creatively pushing the envelope with what it means to be a modern establishment, and how that doesn’t necessarily demand compromise of quality and service.
Specializing in dark chocolate and coffee products, this luxury store was originally established in Mexico in 2004, opening its Toronto base in 2006. They aim to revolutionize the very roots of luxury chocolate and maize-based food, but also to maintain sustainable, eco-friendly and culturally-mindful growing and production practices. Their community and forest gardens in indigenous occupation areas of Mexico produce organically shade-grown cacao and coffee, as well as vanilla, chilies, cardamom, allspice, achiote, and, from their local gardens, mint, maple sugar, apples and pumpkin seeds. Drop by for delicious chocolate, tortillas, tamales and more, all served in reusable and compostable packaging.
This all-day brunch hub already sounds like a great idea (who doesn’t love brunch?), but to sweeten the deal, all of your favorites are served on, between or inside waffles. Even bacon. However, the menu is a hot commodity served best with a side of their showcase of the local arts and culture scene. They offer opportunities for up-and-coming artists to display their work on the establishment’s walls for six weeks at a time. What can possibly overwhelm the allure of waffled sandwiches, waffled eggs Benedict, waffled potatoes, waffled French toast, waffled waffles, and, what’s more, deluxe waffled dessert, accompanied by some incredible artwork true to your own community?
A beautiful florist studio with a diverse array of plants, bouquets and- coffee? May Flowers is a specialty flower shop which offers delicious cafe-style sandwiches and pastas for a wholesome, serene atmosphere to offer customers. After all, nothing quite says “summer” like the scent of fresh-cut flowers, and what with all the exquisite blooms they have to offer, it’s a bit like having an indoor garden picnic. The adorable establishment has hosted several weddings, offers various floral arrangement workshops, and is devoted to the ideal of self-care and nurturing the mind, body and soul. They even serve wine.