Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Top Running Trails in Toronto

In the Greater Toronto Area, a Metropolitan area of over 3 million people stretching along the shore of Lake Ontario nearly 50 kilometres east to west and 25 kilometres north, runners have many options for running trails and paths away from cars and trucks.

One great place to run is on the trails on the Toronto Island, a short ferry ride from Downtown Toronto (that's a good illustration of Toronto Island on the left).  No vehicles at all and on the south side the trail turns into a Boardwalk that runs along the water and numerous beaches...in the summer a great way to end a run is with a refreshing swim in Lake Ontario.

Other trails include the Humber River Trail system that runs right by our home in Etobicoke.  The paved trail actually runs from well North of Highway 401 right down to Lake Ontario generally following the Humber River the entire way.  Where it meets Lake Ontario it joins with the Lakefront trail system that heads west into Mississauga and East right through Downtown Toronto and points East.  For more detailed information on the Running Trails in Toronto, check out this article from blogto:  The top 5 Running Trails in Toronto.

These two photos below capture the running experience of a couple of the Running Trails.

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Walking along the Humber River

Stopping to smell the roses...in this case to take a few pictures...is one of the benefits of walking along the trails that run along this part of the Humber River near home.  While spring is not normally my favorite season (I'm a Summer guy), it's refreshing to see the world come alive again after this long and hard winter.  I shot these pictures recently on a recent walk.

A couple of weeks ago this was frozen and covered in snow.  A couple of weeks from now this stream running down into the Humber River will be totally green.

The Humber River is running very high this year.  This is not surprising given the amount of snow cover in Toronto and in the head water area north of Toronto.

The geese are back!  Basking on a spit of rocky ground in the centre of the Humber River as the sun breaks the crest of the valley.

Until next time...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

In conversation with...Digital Media

In a recent conversation with a senior Digital Media leader in Toronto we heard about the challenges in the business as well as learned about what brands she likes and why.

What are the top 3 hurdles you face in your business?
  • Working with stale dated third party audience metrics in combination with an industry that is slow to change.
  • The downward pressure on margin and the upward pressure on expense.
  • Expanding the personnel skill set to match the evolution of the media platforms and marketer needs.
What are the top 3 issues Brands or Businesses face in Digital Marketing?
  1. Fulsome data integration of  all communication activities on one data management platform
  2. Extracting actionable business intelligence
  3. Ensuring that the relevant performance indicators are established and acted on 
    We've heard about the 'Talent Gap'.  Where do you see the talent gaps in the Marketing industry?
    • Data analysts, search scientists, consumer insight strategists, and strong cross channel account planners are in high demand in the media advertising industry.  In addition there is an increasing need for articulate individuals who can digest complex data sets and explain their meaning in a pragmatic and understandable fashion.
    How are Canadian Advertising Agencies coping in the Digital Marketing Age?
    • Major Canadian media agencies have been adapting well to the exploding digital commercial offerings.  Digital teams are growing to include planning and  buying  experts in social, mobile, video, SEO SEM and programmatic trading. Agencies are employing dashboard architects and data analysts to extract the business intelligence generated by the data management platforms. There is no question that the learning curve is steep and the resource requirements puts a strain on the operating structure of the agencies but evolved digital  thinking  is an absolute necessity in this digital marketing age. 
    If you had a crystal, what do you see are the major business issues in 2014?
    • In the business of media planning and buying the business issues include:
      • Commercial Audience Measurement: Changing the currency standard  of buying and selling  from cost per maybe (CPM) to cost per customer contact (CPCC)….a better gage of ROI
      • Commercial talent protocols: Evolving the ACTRA commercial rules and regulations into a world of commercial message access anywhere, anytime, anyhow.
      • Accountability: Increased vigilance on the veracity of the online commercial offering: (.Click fraud, blog  fraud, viewability et al)
      What's the most innovative marketing campaign you've seen recently?
      • Old Spice: Why? Reinventing, repositioning, “your fathers/grandfathers brand” is a challenge. What is old is new again….the new and evolved brand positioning speaks to the “world” on so many levels.
      • Interac: Why? Bold, hard to miss, makes the point, fully integrated.
      What brands do you personally follow and why?
      • WestJet: Why?  A maverick Canadian business that defied and continues to defy the category odds …a David and Goliath story. Brand communication that combines care with a wink and a smile and strong call to action.
      • Newfoundland Tourism: Why? Always beautiful creative messaging that evokes the soul of the place and beckons you to come….strong emotional resonance

      Chris Morales

      647 393 3855

      Linkedin:  Chris M Morales 

      Tuesday, April 15, 2014

      You have to walk before you can run again

      Sally allowed me to go walking
      with her last Saturday
      About 10 minutes into my walk with Sally and Tia last Saturday I uttered, "Oh, oh".

      With the best intentions on an absolutely fabulous Saturday afternoon, I decided to accompany Sally on an 'Easy Walk'.  Two miles out and back to the shops on Bloor Street West.  She in her walking garb, me without my walking cast on my right foot.

      I like walking along with her on her walks.  Over the past year she has become quite the accomplished walker.  Head-to-toe in her Running Room gear she is super prepared. And loves recording and tracking her progress with her Map My Walk Smartphone App activated.

      I on the other hand was much more casual.  Jeans, T Shirt, light jacket, bare feet and...Sandals!  The sandals were a well worn in pair of very comfortable Naot's but never the less, I was way too casual for what turned out to be a 2.5 mile walk.  At 10 minutes into the walk after my 'Oh, oh' I asked Sally to slow down!  She smiled mischeveously and noted, "That's a role reversal".  But slow down she did.  I know how to run...this walking was going to take some practice.

      We made it through the first mile with me grimacing as my foot muscles strained for the first time walking without the support of the walking cast.  No pain from the mended bones;  that was good.  At that point, Sally deposited Tia and I on a street-side bench to 'rest for a bit' while she went shopping.  I didn't resist or complain.  Tia and I sat basking in the sun.

      The mile and a half back home went much better but once home I was bushed!  The sunshine and fresh air was great but I needed to put my feet up once we got back home.  Even though I slowed her down, Sally was pleased with her walking progress this early in the season.  Next Saturday...assuming she allows me to tag along...I'll lace up my running shoes.

      Until next time...

      Tuesday, April 8, 2014

      The Crazy World of Facebook Running Friends

      Have you ever wondered about what goes on on Facebook?  Wonder no more.  I recently shared a blog post on my Facebook page and what happened next amazed even me.  Below is the conversation thread between four of my running friends and I.  As you will see, this really is stream-of-consciousness stuff.  Or as Sally would dryly note, 'Stream-of-Unconscious'.  Jack Kerouac eat your heart out!

      Reality really is better than fiction.

      Until next time...