Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cool playgrounds: Jamie Bell Adventure Park in High Park

Firing up imaginations

By the entrance of the large playground with wooden castle structure in Jamie Bell Adventure Park, in High Park, you'll see Arthur's sword in a stone! 

It was added by Mike Holmes after the popular contractor volunteered to restore the burned section of the beloved wooden castle in 2012.

Almost time to see the cherry trees in full bloom. Check this blog. (From the playground, walk through the little zoo to Grenadier Pond and go down the cherry tree lane by Grenadier Pond.)

More about the playground on www.torontofunplaces.com.

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About the author: How it all started!

First, I lost my babysitter...
When I suddenly lost my babysitter, my son was two. I chose to quit my job in communication at TFO (the French side of TVO) and started to explore the Greater Toronto Area, kid in tow. 

Having just moved to Toronto from Montreal three years ago, I still had a tourist mentality and was thrilled to discover so many fun things to do and see  with my son.

I soon realized that all the Toronto guides were written for tourists, not really useful for local parents. My marketing background kicked in (I've got an MBA in marketing from McGill University). I decided to fill the need for a guide for local parents and launched into a major exploration of Toronto and its surroundings. My daughter was born 4 years later and joined the club.

The resulting guide, Toronto Fun Places... for families, was self-published under Word-of-Mouth Production. It is currently in its 5th edition and has sold over 40,000 copies in the GTA. (I now hook up with moms of younger children to continue my research.)

It was followed by two guides Toronto Urban Strolls... for girlfriends 1 & 2. But that's another story.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Amazon.ca: Look inside!

My Toronto guides on amazon.ca
Look inside!

For those of you who would like to have a better look at my three Toronto guides, amazon.ca had the great idea to create a Look inside option for its visitors' benefit. 

The Look inside option allows you to browse through a large selection of pages from the book when you click on its cover. 

Search inside!
The Look inside option is more than just a way to look inside. It also comes with a cool little feature: the "Search inside this book" section at the bottom of the left column.

Write a keyword or the name of an attraction, ex.  "Toronto Zoo", (in brackets to narrow down the research) and a list of pages within the guide where Toronto Zoo is mentioned will appear in the left column. If the page is part of Amazon's selection for the Look inside option, there will be a link allowing you to see that page in the large frame. 

This goes for every book on Amazon, when featuring the Look inside option. 

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Toronto walks families will enjoy

As the author of Toronto Fun Places, I never loose sight of what would be fun for kids in an outing.

In my new guide Toronto Urban Strolls 2 (with 24 walks, in the bookstores next month), I've added a series of TOP-3 STROLLS suggestions to help readers select a stroll according to their current needs.

Here's my TOP-3 STROLLS to explore with kids:

Visit the author's website torontofunplaces.com

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(April 10) Book at the print shop

The book is done, but the stress is not over

Phew! Now, "all" I have to do is wait for the books from the print shop. And it is a very stressful time!

There's this little voice inside every author and publisher (and proofreader!) saying "Wait and see what kind of stupid typo you left in there!"

What can go wrong?
Aapart fromm typos and erors of atten... (will you look at that!), I've had all kinds of other problems at this stage. 

Once, the 5,000 copies of Toronto Fun Places I reordered (after having sold out 5,000 copies in a few months) were not properly glued (German binding I think they call it)! I had to recall them all from the bookstores and wait for properly glued books, loosing a bunch of summer sales in the process.

In the 5th edition of Toronto Fun Places, the photos on a couple of important pages, including "A word from the author" were badly printed, despite the fact that I approved perfect PDFs. (It's a case of changes made in one file used to print the proofs but not communicated to the print shop.) For this one, I got a credit off the next printing job!

Left is what I approved, right is what I got:

So you see why I can't relax just yet.