Stick to your knitting Minnan-Wong, Keesmaat is out of your league

“Stick to your knitting.” Reaction to this phrase can be mixed — and it completely depends on the context in which it is used.

For example, using it in a business meeting to indicate that employees should play to their strengths while allowing others to do the same is a commonly acceptable use of the phrase. “Stick to the knitting” when used by a professional colleague to describe an incredibly accomplished woman who has her foot in all aspects of her craft can come across as derogatory, sexist, and downright rude.

Toronto Deputy Mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong is being accused of sexism for using the phrase in relation to outgoing Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat in an interview with the Toronto Sun last week. Minnan Wong said this in response to Keesmaat’s use of Twitter and how she debates municipal affairs publicly on the platform.

The history of “stick to your knitting” is a bit obscure, but the phrase has been used widespread in the business community since the mid 1800s. Many business professionals use this phrase when giving advice to young entrepreneurs. Stick to what you know and let others stick to what they know. That way you have the benefit of different experience instead of pretending to be an expert in all fields.

And yet, many politicians get in trouble for using this common phrase — and it’s all because of the context. Especially considering most of the time it’s used to describe women.

Despite its history, the phrase in itself is slightly derogatory. The person who uses it is telling their co-worker they don’t value their opinions. As a woman, this is especially offensive because women fight hard to be heard in the first place. In the case of Keesmaat, she has expertise in city building and most of her tweeting revolves around different aspects of this field. To say she shouldn’t have an opinion on how the City of Toronto is run and/or built is a bit farfetched and, frankly, sexist.

There is also the democracy angle that makes the use of this phrase even more strange. Minnan-Wong decided that posting discussion on city affairs on Twitter was not appropriate, but isn’t public discussion a foundation of democracy? Keesmaat has previously told Women’s Post that defending her planning choices and discussing them with the public was a critical step for accountability. In that case, her activity on social media is an extension of her role as city planner and an active citizen.

“If you have planners gone wild you could end up in a totalitarian type of environment, so the due diligence that comes from the vigour of being questioned by councillors and by the public is an essential part of the planning process from my perspective,” she said.

Why shouldn’t Keesmaat, or any person for that matter, use social media as a platform for public discussion? If everyone on Twitter was told to stick to their knitting, then it would be a pretty boring place. The whole purpose of social media is to allow people to share information and opinions.

And then there is the final point — why would Minnan-Wong care about the social media habits of a city staff member who is leaving their position in a month’s time? The only reason to use this phrase is to remind them that once they leave city hall, their opinions shouldn’t matter. Well, what does that mean for the rest of us? I hope Minnan-Wong’s constituents don’t have any opinions they want to share or ideas they want to suggest, because it appears like he won’t be listening to them.

Ultimately, Minnan-Wong made the same mistake many politicians make — trying to create a sound bite using clichés, hyperbole, and commonly used phrases in order to capture the attention of the media and the public.

Looks like he did — just not in the way he expected.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Where to go stargazing for celebrities at TIFF 2017

Toronto is getting glamorous! The Toronto International Film Festival is in town and along with several red carpet premieres, there will be lots of hot and exciting things to do in the city. The official TIFF guide  can help you choose the best film, but if you are just into stargazing and possibly meeting celebrities, check out some popular places to explore for TIFF 2017.



This popular King-West restaurant has attracted a lot of attention since it opened in 2015. Managed by Executive Chef Susur Lee, this resto-lounge lists Toronto’s very own Aubrey “Drake” Graham as an owner. This comes as no surprise since the star is often spotted here when in town with his celebrity friends. Drake is expected to be in town for this year’s TIFF, as he is the executive producer on a basketball documentary called The Carter Effect.



Comfortably located at the Shangri-La Hotel on University Avenue, this popular Asian-themed restaurant is familiar to many famous faces. The distinct menu features modern Asian dishes with a Canadian touch. In the past, celebrities such as George Clooney and Johnny Deep were spotted dining here.


This hotspot made its debut after TIFF 2016 and is nestled in the heart of Yorkville. As you can guess by the name,  this restaurant serves up delicious steaks among other bites. This year, the restaurant will host the Creative Coalition Spotlight Initiative gala on September 8. This gala is organized to honour certain celebrities that have contributed in some form. This non-profit charity is concerned about issues in the creative community. This year they will honour Jason Biggs, Zachary Quinto, Julienne Nicholson and Matthew Newton.


It won’t be right to have this list and not mention the official restaurant at the TIFF Bell Lightbox building. Located on the second floor at the spacious King-West space, this restaurant serves up authentically Canadian dishes in an upscale environment.



With so much happening for TIFF this weekend, there are expected to be lots of glamorous after parties hosted by celebs. On September 8, King-West hotspot Everleigh will be hosting musical sensation Akon. Akon has sold over 35 million albums worldwide and he’s come to share some of his talent in Toronto for TIFF.


This rooftop bar has gained a lot of momentum since its debut in 2016. What makes this party place lively is its location 16 storeys up in the busy King-West area and a sprawling 16,000 sq. ft lounge space. With an indoor and outdoor dining space, and a glamorous rooftop pool, this hotspot also boasts a great view of the CN tower. In 2016, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, and John Legend all attended the Hugo Boss party hosted for La La Land.


RBC House

RBC is an official sponsor of TIFF so its no surprise they will be hosting many parties for the celebs. Storys Building at 11 Duncan street will be the location for RBC House and will lay out the red carpet for many A- listers. Expected to make appearances are Nicole Kidman and Penelope Cruz. RBC House will also host many press junkets and a RBCX music party headlined by Canadian rock band, Arkells.


The Drake Hotel

This boutique hotel on Queen West is often more than just a hotel. With three levels of partying, the Drake Hotel has a lot of offer. From delicious brunches and a café in the day, the main level of the hotel bar often hosts live bands or dj’s by night.


Bisha Hotel Toronto

This newly opened hotel is sure to be busy during the TIFF weekend. This luxury hotel located on Blue Jays Way in the heart of the city has a stunning rooftop pool and patio — 44 floors high. This hotel is classed as a luxury 5-star experience, so expect celebrities to be checking this one out.


Ritz Carlton Toronto

The Ritz is a classic hotel name and one where you may see many stars. This luxury five-star hotel is in the heart of the city, and just steps away from the official TIFF headquarters. One of the many delights you can enjoy at this hotel is their themed afternoon tea. This September there will be a Great Gatsby theme. Afternoon tea at the Ritz will cost you $54 dollars per person, but it’s a small amount to pay to possibly see a famous face.

The Four Seasons Toronto

This classic hotel is in the heart of Yorkville. After changing locations, they reopened doors in 2012. The Four Seasons is now located at the corner of Bay and Yorkville avenue and is also home to the Four Seasons private residences. Soaring 55 stories above the city, this hotel often has many special offers and packages such as a bed and breakfast package, a spa package and even a limited ‘Canada turns 150’ credit. These packages only require a stay of 1-2 nights.

The Hazelton Hotel

This Yorkville luxury hotel is only a few doors down from the Four Seasons, but is still a celeb favourite. Blake Lively, Ben Affleck, Julia Roberts, and Brad Pitt have all reportedly stayed here. If you want to scope this hotel out, the best bet is having a drink at the hotel’s famous ONE restaurant, featuring a lovely tree lined patio.


Where have you gone for stargazing? Let us know in the comment below!



Ryerson University gets unique with gender-neutral residences

Most university students have already settled into their dorm rooms for the new academic year. However, students going to Ryerson University in downtown Toronto may find the organization of those dorm rooms a bit different.

Ryerson has decided to no longer segregate students based on gender. As a new student you don’t have to self identify; you can now choose an all gender option as a rooming choice. Once you choose all gender, you will be matched with another person who specified that preference.

This decision at Ryerson follows the steps taken by the Ontario University Application Centre to remove the mandatory gender question when completing an application.

The experience of moving away from home and into a university residence can be traumatizing. Students are unsure of what to expect and their whole social environment changes. Ian Crooskhank, the director of Housing and Residence Life, is hopeful this change will make students more comfortable, as they no longer are forced to confirm or make a choice based on gender.

Ryerson isn’t the first school to adopt gender-neutral policies. For the upcoming school year in California, the San Jose Unified School District will make similar changes. The school district will ensure there is at least one gender neutral bathroom on all campuses at the end of the academic year. This comes in response for demands to change the state law. The gender- inclusive restrooms are an accomplishment for the on-campus LGBTQ community. However, gender neutral locker rooms are not allowed.

Just a few days ago, popular high-end retailer, John Lewis , announced some clothing changes. The department store will remove boys and girls labels from children’s clothing. This move is a push to stop reinforcing gender stereotypes on children. This is the first major retailer to make this move. The gender- neutral clothing option for children will now feature the label ‘Boys and Girls’ clothing on the items. In July of this year, Target stores in the U.S unveiled a new gender neutral clothing line for kids after dropping two brands.

In response to the all gender decision at Ryerson campus housing, Director Crookshank remarked in an official release:

“People come from everywhere and have different journeys, and I think it’s important anytime we can take something that has traditionally been structured to put people in boxes, and open up those boxes, that creates a huge sense of empowerment for those who might otherwise have been marginalized.”

Let us know in the comments below your thoughts on gender- neutral options.

Woman of the Week: Lauren Doughty

Lauren Doughty joined CBRE, a commercial real estate company, 11 years ago as a summer student. She had just graduated from the University of Guelph and was planning on travelling abroad, but she abandoned her post-graduation travel plans when she was offered the job, deciding to test out the industry to “see if she liked it.” Since then, she got her real estate license and moved up within the same team — from summer marketing assistant to senior partner.

“Every day is completely different,” she said. “That’s what I love most about being part of land services group. Experiencing new projects and new challenges.”

As Vice-President of CBRE’s Land Services Group, Doughty represents the Toronto market for land services, focusing on selling development land. She has transacted over $1 billion in land dispositions, focusing on the GTHA with clients like Infrastructure Ontario and the Toronto Lands Corporation.

Doughty’s success can be attributed to how she handles her client relations. She says it’s important to think long-term and not push too hard to land the deal. It’s all about making the client feel like they have your undivided attention.

I think it’s more than just a deal,” she said. “You can’t be short sighted to try and get a deal for your sake, it’s about the client and the best decision for them. In real estate these transactions are really relationships, so that when the next deal comes there is no one else that they would rather go to.”

Some of the big projects Doughty has worked on include a transaction at Bloor and Dufferin on behalf of Toronto Lands Corporation and the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). One of the things she loves about working with organizations like the TDSB is that it is community driven. The process involves meeting with city planners, various consultants, and speaking with the residents who live around the area about what they would like to see in the future development.

“I think what’s so rewarding about what I do — selling these properties and seeing what’s built on them and how it benefits the community,” she said. “Selling land for hospitals or run down buildings that are being torn down and turning it into something much more useful and vibrant in the community is what I really enjoy about it.”

Doughty spends a lot of time studying the housing market and says the numbers being reported in the media don’t accurately represent what’s happening in Toronto. The problem isn’t with the “housing bubble,” she says. It’s with supply and government oversight.

“Our inventory for new homes has dwindled down because there is so little supply and every new project that comes in gets sold quickly. When something does come in, it gets picked up really quickly.”

To compensate for the lack of supply, CBRE is looking at selling sites outside of the 416 areas like Kitchener, Waterloo, and Barrie — anywhere that is inside an urban boundaries and accessible to Go Transit so that those commuting into the downtown core of Toronto can still afford a home.

“When I started working here in 2006, we had listings out in geographical areas I hadn’t even heard of. Over the years we really focused on selling sites in the 416/905 municipalities. As of recently we have started working across the Greater Golden Horseshoe because there is so little supply of developable land within the GTA. People need to move out of this region for affordability reasons. When, in Markham, a townhouse now costs $1.5 million – homebuyers need to go to these out- of-golden-horseshoe areas.”

Her biggest concern is the new Ontario Municipal Board reforms and how that will affect zoning for sites that are in the process of getting approved.

In her free time, Doughty tried to volunteer her time with numerous organizations benefiting women. She just finished her term as Program Co-Chair with the Urban Land Institute and previously volunteered with Toronto CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women). Part of CREW’s mentorship is a program called Real Jobs, which allows high school students to learn more about careers in commercial real estate.

“At that age, I remember not knowing what to do. I would love to see more women get into real estate, whether its development or brokerage.”

Doughty still loves to travel — her latest adventure was three weeks in Asia — and spending time at the cottage. She is currently renovating her own house with her fiancé.

Jennifer Keesmaat leaving position as Toronto Chief Planner

Toronto Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat has announced she will be leaving her position with the city as of Sept. 29th “to pursue other interests.”

“It’s been an honour to work with Mayor Tory, Council, City staff and my remarkable team in the City Planning division over the last five years,” said Keesmaat in a statement. “I promised myself that after five years in public service I would review my future options. I look forward to new challenges in the important business of city building now enriched by invaluable lessons, new friends and colleagues acquired while serving the people of our great city, Toronto.”

Keesmaat has been a strong leader for the City of Toronto. She was never afraid to confront her colleagues in council or on committees, answering their questions with poise. When asked about how she deals with the politics of city building, Keesmaat always answered with respect for the democratic process and government accountability. With her aide, Toronto has begun its transformation into a more liveable and walkable city. One example is the council-approved Transit Network Plan, which will connect all regions of the GTA together under the “motherlode” of transit plans. And then there is the King Street Pilot, something that may revolutionize how Torontonians view the downtown core.

During her tenure, she also started a podcast called Invisible Cities, which touches on numerous aspects of city building. Through this podcast, listeners are able to hear her passion and the joy she gets from discussing things like density, green spaces, and automated cars.

In July, Women’s Post presented Keesmaat with the City Builder Glass Slipper Award for her dedication and leadership. It was an absolute pleasure to have her as a partner and Women’s Post wishes her the best of luck in her future endeavours.

Metrolinx announces Phil Verster as new CEO

Thursday afternoon Metrolinx announced that Phil Verster, an experienced rail operator hailing from the United Kingdom, would replace Bruce McCuaig as CEO.

“Mr. Verster has graduate degrees in both engineering and business and a post-graduate diploma in law,” Prichard said. “He has operated, built and electrified commuter rail. He has the expertise and executive experience we need to deliver on our ambitious agenda, leading the 4,000 employees of Metrolinx and working with all of our partners. We are delighted the Mr. Verster has chosen to join Metrolinx.”

Verster is an engineer with vast experience in infrastructure management and operations for passenger rail systems. Prior to joining Britain’s Network Rail in 2011, he worked with Southeastern Trains and the UK division of Bombardier Rail. He also spent five years at Irish Rail, including some time as Deputy CEO.

From 2015-17, Verster ran Scotland’s ScotRail, overseeing the delivery of $3 billion of new electrification and has served as managing director of Network Rail’s East West Railway.

For Metrolinx, the decision to hire Verster was an easy one. According to Rob Prichard, Chairman of the Metrolinx Board, the Board itself was looking for someone with deep expertise in the field and significant executive experience delivering infrastructure.

“What stood out to us the most is what [Verster] has done successfully exactly what we need to do, which is to operate, expand, and build services and infrastructure, and to do that while maintaining existing services at the same time,” Prichard said.

Prichard also clarified that Metrolinx was not “searching the world for a politician.” For Verster, the politics behind the transit-agency is not his first priority. His first priority is to listen and get to know the people in Ontario and Toronto.

“My number one priority is to listen,” Verster said at the press conference. “And not only to listen to our different levels of management, but to listen to the front line people who day in and day out deliver for us on an ongoing basis.

“I’ll spend a lot of time getting to know the local politics and local communities. In the end, we as Metrolinx aren’t political. We serve only one master and that master is our passengers,” he said.

Verster was chosen unanimously by the Board of Directors of Metrolinx. He will start his new position on Oct. 1 2017.

The Arbour to be first wooden mid-rise in Toronto

In the Fall of 2012, George Brown College opened its doors to the Daphne Cockwell Centre for Health Sciences. Located at the heart of Toronto’s harbourfront in the Queens Quey and Sherbourne area, the stunning architectural design was built to encourage health care graduates with state of the art labs, a rooftop terrace, and tall glass panels meant to introduce the flow of light and wellness. In 2024 , the college hopes to welcome another striking design structure, known as ‘The Arbour’, as part of a sustainability improvement project. The Arbour will be the first 12-storey wooden-framed structure in the heart of Toronto.

The structure is expected to be a carbon-neutral wood building that will produce the same amount of energy it consumes. This balance results in a climate-friendly building adaptable to external changes in temperature. This building is one part of George Brown’s plan to create a low carbon campus by the Toronto shorelines.

The low carbon footprint will create low output of greenhouse gas emissions, often linked as the main cause of global warning and climate change. This is a step in encouraging healthy business practices in the City of Toronto. Adrienne Galway, executive advisor to the president of George Brown College, told Women’s Post that colleges such as George Brown play a critical role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. “This building will be a living laboratory for a low carbon future.” Galway noted that students will have a chance to learn about design, construction , electrical components, and the science behind tall wooden structures by being in one.

While the concept of tall wood buildings may be new to Toronto, George Brown has been following similar designs in Europe, Japan and Australia, where engineers are starting to use more wood to construct buildings. The building will be a unique landmark for the Toronto waterfront with the use of renewable resources and unique beauty.

Vancouver based architect Micheal Green is the lead designer behind contemporary wooden buildings and has studied the science behind the design. To ensure the safety of tall wooden buildings, the wood is treated to have the properties and strength of steel. These massive panels of wood can be fire resistant and even safe during earthquakes.

Safety precautions and testings have been done on other tall wooding buildings, such as the 18-storey student residence Brock Commons building at the University of British Columbia. The building  is set to be open in September 2017 and will be the tallest building in the world made of wood.

George Brown has currently placed a request for qualifications for architects. In the fall, interested and qualified parties will be invited to bid. This design competition will allow an architect to work along with the college to help bring the Arbour to life.

George Brown continues to work on their low carbon campus design and in 2018 they will open a building focused on the future of design. For more information visit georgebrown.ca

Spike in drug overdoses in Toronto continues

Toronto Mayor John Tory held an emergency public health meeting in early August after a spike in deadly drug overdoses in the city. There have been 20 overdose cases since July 27, with six occurring in the same week. The mayor said these deaths were preventable and are causing devastation to families and to various Toronto neighbourhoods. But, what exactly is the culprit behind this deadly string of overdoses?

The suspected drug is thought to be fentanyl. Police suspect people may be buying drugs laced with fentanyl without the buyers knowledge. The rise of fentanyl drug use in Toronto is all too familiar in other parts of Canada like Vancouver, that have been dealing with the rise of this deadly drug. This opioid, often manufactured In China, has made its was to the streets of Toronto. The effects offer a bliss-like state similar to heroin, but with fatal consequences.

Fentanyl is often mixed in with other drugs like cocaine or molly, and people are none the wiser. People assuming they are partaking in casual drug use can find themselves with the highly addictive fentanyl in their bodies.

Fentanyl hydrochloride is an extremely potent pain reliever and has been used in the medical community for decades. It is even offered in some pharmacies in patch and lollipop form. Because fentanyl is so potent, the white powder can be easily mixed with cocaine, powdered sugar, and can be passed of as heroin or even OxyContin tablets.

It is clear there is a drug problem in Toronto that is causing deadly harm. The next step is addressing the issue and possible solutions. The most commonly used opioid receptor and reverse overdose drug is Nalaxone. Nalaxone will be offered at safe injection sites in the city at safe injection sites set to open this fall. Toronto Public Health has set up an interim site at their downtown office for safe injections, where drug users can be monitored and take their drugs in a safe environment. Future permanent sites are planned at various spots in the city and will be granted federal exemptions from the Controlled Drugs and Substance Control Act under the Health Minister.

Harm reduction and outreach workers applaud the effort in establishing safe injection sites, but many feel the City of Toronto is too big for the number of sites being proposed.

Over the weekend a pop-up overdose prevention site appeared in Moss Park to start offering assistance. Zoe Dodd, a harm reduction worker said 24 people visited the site since the tent opened and workers even helped save the life of one man who overdosed in the tent.

What are your thoughts on the drug overdose epidemic taking place in the city? Leave a comment below.

Summertime in Toronto: It’s time for Carnival

It’s summertime Toronto! And while there are many festivals being hosted this year, one of the most notable events (and one that shouldn’t be missed) is Toronto’s Caribbean Carnival. This year, the exciting street festival will be celebrating 50 years —50 beautiful years of shared cultures, music, costume, dance, and yummy Caribbean foods.

Formally known as ‘Caribana,’ this Caribbean festival is one of the biggest events in North America with guests from the United States and various Caribbean islands.

If you are unfamiliar with the culture of Carnival itself, traditions date back to the abolition of slavery on August 1 in 1834, in the British Caribbean territories. The first noted display of Carnival in the Caribbean was in the late 18th century, on the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Trinidad’s Carnival is often held right before Lent on the Christian calendar, as the word Carnival itself means “farewell to meat”. To this day, Trinidad remains a focal point of Caribbean festivities, producing the catchiest Soca beats and featuring the most intricately designed costumes. However, most countries have moved away from the traditional Lenten celebration and have chosen to feature the festival during the summer months.

Carnival yellow blue green

These traditions have spread globally and have made a big impression in Toronto, a city already known for being culturally diverse.  The Caribbean diaspora in Toronto also helps to keep the Toronto Caribbean Carnival season alive with locally-based costume designers that organize events for the public to play Mas in the streets. Some local costume designers and bands that will be displaying their work on the streets during this years festival include, Tribal Carnival , Carnival Nationz, Louis Saldenah, Toronto Revellers, and Venom Carnival just to name a few.

Carnival red outfit

In all, the festival stretches four weeks, with activities starting on July 7 and ending with the final event on Aug. 6.

If you want a true, wild, and exciting taste of Carnival, the grand parade on August 5 will be the main highlight, as colourful bands, costumes, and joyful revellers take over the parade route along the Toronto Lakeshore. This may be overwhelming for some, but Women’s Post has five tips to help you enjoy your first Toronto Caribbean Carnival experience.

  1. Get a costume: Carefully plan and organize the Toronto Caribbean Carnival events you would like to participate in. If you want to play Mas in the streets with a registered band, you must buy one of the designated band costumes and follow their procedures. Paying and registering for a band is better than being a street ‘stormer’ crashing the party. Otherwise dance from the sidelines.
  2. Remember to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate ! This August is marked to be one of the hottest summer months in Toronto and partying in the sun for extended hours can be draining and dehydrating.
  3. Wear sunblock: It’s that simple. No matter your ethnicity.
  4. Monitor your belongings: The streets will be busy and if you will be dancing and having fun, keep the minimal and essential things you need close to your body.
  5. Have Fun! : Put your inhibitions aside for one day and party in the streets to lively Caribbean music, dance, move your hips and don’t be too shocked if a fellow party-er will come to give you a wine or two ( not the drink but an actual dance where you gyrate your hips ).

Let us know how you are preparing for this year’s Carnival and leave some comments below. Enjoy the fetes !

Celebrating Women: Martha Lowry

Craft liquor is becoming a big business in Canada, with new distilleries popping up in big cities across the country. Despite the popularity gain, it’s still very much a male-oriented field, even in Toronto where is seems as though there is a beer or spirit festival every month. Meet Martha Lowry, the only female distiller in Toronto, who recently launched Mill Street Brewery’s first ever Small Bach Gin.

Women’s Post sat down with Lowry to talk about how her work with Mill Street and how she became a distiller.

Q: Congrats on recently launching the first ever Small Bach Gin at Mill Street Brewery in Toronto. Tell us what the process was like for you?

A: Thank you! I am very excited about the gin. The gin was a long time in the making with many test batches on my trial still. When thinking about how to make the gin I started by thinking about what botanicals I would want to use. Gin always contains juniper and typically has coriander. I knew I also wanted to include hops because they have so many different flavour possibilities. I was sure I could find one that would work with the bright and fresh gin I was dreaming of and I thought it would be a great connection to our brewing roots here at Mill Street. After I found my favourite hops I experimented with all kinds of botanicals, wanting to create something complex but not muddled. I settled on my ten botanicals after many trials and combinations of flavours.

You are the only female distiller in Toronto – how does make you feel and was it difficult to follow your passion?

It makes me very excited for the industry. I think we are only going to start seeing more women in distilling. I can’t wait for the day when I see a whole crew of women running a distillery. So far, I have been really fortunate in that I have, for the most part, been met with people who want to help me on my journey. Sometimes I get a bit of surprise, and not full understanding, but not too much has really stood in my way.

You are a handful of female distillers in Canada what would you say to someone who wanted to follow in your career footsteps?

Reach out to women’s industry groups and connect with as many women in the industry as you can. The women I know in the industry are amazing, strong, passionate, and we tend to look out for one another. Do a lot of research and reading, and tasting (the fun part)! Try to get yourself into a distillery to see it all in action and decide if it is something you love. There are a million different ways to get yourself into distilling. See what others have done and figure out if that is a path that can get you there.

What kind of skill set does one need to be successful in what you do?

One of the best parts and craziest parts of my job is that you are doing a million things at once. So you must be good at multitasking and prioritizing. A small distillery means that you get to do everything, which keeps it wonderfully fun and wonderfully busy. You must have a good palate and confidence to make decisions on product flavours. A love of people is a must. I work alone, but I am constantly interacting with the public on tours and tastings. A strong science background is necessary to understand distilling. Although I do know distillers who are more artistically-minded than science-minded and make great products. It’s all about the balance between science and art for creating flavours.

Tell us about the type of craft gin you make? Is it for everyone and which food pairings does it taste well with?

Mill Street Small Batch Gin is new distilled gin. It is smooth, citrusy, and fresh and a real crowd pleaser. It has the classic juniper, but it is dialled back to let the other botanicals shine through. This is the kind of gin that can convert gin haters. At first taste, the craft gin is very fresh, like zested citrus, reminiscent of lemon drop candies, accompanied by floral notes of violets and rose. The gin is smooth and sweet, with a top note of grapefruit zest. A peppery spice comes in the middle, along with a bottom note of angelica and hops giving an earthy, celery note. The juniper comes through as a fresh pine note and the gin finishes leaving a lingering floral note. The gin has ten botanicals: Juniper, Coriander, Citra hops, Lemon zest, Grapefruit zest, Angelica, Liquorice, Orris root, Rose petals and Grains of Paradise.

I would recommend pairing this gin with sushi, smoked salmon, waxy baby potatoes, grilled chicken, and soft cheeses such as buffalo mozzarella or goat cheese.

How did you come with the popular citrus flavour for summer?

I love a citrusy gin in the summer. All I crave are bright fresh flavours in the summer. I eat a lot of salads out of my garden in the summer, sipping a fresh bright gin alongside a caprese salad is probably my favourite summer evening.

Is there a typical day and what do you like most about your job?

I don’t have typical days. Which is one of the best things about my job. My favourite thing is definitely coming up with new recipes. I have a blast exploring flavours and running test batches through my lab size still. It feels like the world is your oyster when you are making something new.

When people ask you what you do as a career is it an unique title to have as head distiller?

It is. Often people do not know what “distiller” means. Most people assume it has something to do with beer, a fact that is confused by the fact that I did work as a brewer for a time. Being a distiller leads to many interesting conversations after the question “and what do you do for a living” at dinner parties.

What is next for you?

I want to keep expanding Mill Street’s Whisky program, putting down more barrels and playing with different malts and yeasts to create really unique casks.



Did you enjoy this profile? Subscribe to our newsletter to have them delivered right to your mailbox!