My Blog, The City

A Lady’s Survival Guide to Beerfest

So, you’ve decided to get a ticket to the Toronto Festival of Beer to see what all the fuss is about? As a two-year veteran, I can say, with confidence, that you will most likely enjoy yourself, especially if you love beer and people watching. But there are a few things you should know so you can get the most out of the experience.

How it works

The best thing about the festival is enjoying beer outside in the city. The second best thing is trying tons of cool new beer –but don’t worry: your favourite standbys from the big brands are also there. Ticket prices include a small glass stein and 5 tokens.

Once inside you’ll want to buy more. One token will get you half of a stein so that you can taste a new beer before fully committing to a full glass, which is two tokens.

There are also guided tours and “hoptimized” VIP tickets for the event. If you’re a true beer connoisseur, this is definitely worth it, but for the average enthusiast, you’ll have enough to taste, see and hear without needing special privileges, but getting a VIP package would be an amazing idea for a bachelor/bachelorette party.

Pick the right day

You have the option of attending during the day (Saturday and Sunday 1:30 – 8pm) or night (Friday 4:30 – 11 pm). Both have their perks: Friday is a great party at night, while Saturday and Sunday allows you to enjoy a brewski under the sun. Sunday is the least busy day if you hate lineups and crowds. When you decide on a day, buy your tickets online early, because Friday and Saturday sell out pretty fast. I would also recommend being on time. Lines can get longer as the day goes on and you don’t want to be left with an empty glass as soon as you get there. Having a buzz helps the queues go by faster.

Getting there (and getting home)

If you want to get to Bandshell Park at Exhibition place right when the festival starts, get to Dufferin station earlier than you need to, just in case you don’t make it onto the first few buses (it’s overcrowded at times). In terms of getting home, consider downloading Hailo, a free app that makes getting a licensed cab a cinch. You ask for a cab at your address, and you can watch it arrive in real time. It can also take payments through your phone so you don’t have to fumble with cash or a credit card at the end of your ride. There’s usually a lot of taxis around the festival though, so if you leave a few minutes before closing you shouldn’t have too much trouble grabbing one.

Bring the right stuff

A few things I’d recommend you bring to Beerfest:

-Sunscreen. You can find shade if you need it but better safe than sorry!

Hand sanitizers/wipes. Trust me on this one…

-A light sweater/jacket. For the same reason your mom always tells you to bring one. You never know if you’ll catch a chill, and the festival runs rain or shine!

-Flat shoes. You’ll be walking around on a lot of grass, so heels are not a good choice.

-Cash. You can pay with credit and debit at most food stalls and the ticket booths, but cash makes the process easier and faster.

-A blanket. There isn’t a ton of seating so it can be nice to make your own if you want to relax

-Download the Festival of Beer app. You’ll want the interactive map of the site and details of the food and beer exhibitors if you’re looking for a specific brew.

Extra tips you should know

-Don’t bother to pre-drink. It’s completely unnecessary for the amount of alcohol you’ll be ingesting, especially if you go for the full duration each day. Also make sure you eat a hardy meal beforehand. You will probably still want a snack while you’re in there, and while most of the food is pretty darn good (and is getting better every year!), it isn’t all cheap. This year a margherita pizza from Pizza Libretto saved my life.

-Give every beer a try. Part of the fun is the tasting. I tend to stay away from the fruit-flavoured beers, but this year I gave Fruit Stand Watermelon Wheat beer a try, and it was unexpectedly delicious and refreshing.

-Pee early in the night or day. The longer you wait, the busier the port-o-potties get (and the more unusable they become). Also, your toilet seat will most likely be covered in urine (Thanks boys!). You can squat and hang onto the door handle for dear life, or bring travel-sized sanitary wipes. Bypass the washing sinks and bring your own hand sanitizer if you’re a real germaphobe. Half of the time they’re out of water, and then you just touched one of the grossest surfaces there for nothing.

-If you’re looking for the place to be post-festival, you could head to William’s Landing, which is pretty much the closest bar people tend to flock to. It’s not a place I normally go, but it has an awesome rooftop patio to continue your outdoor drinking escapades.

-Hashtag your tweets and Instagram pictures properly: @TOBeerFestival #beerme #TFOB2013


Life in Publishing

Job Search Tip #8: Fake It Till You Make It


This may be a controversial tip, but I do truly believe in faking it till you make it (FITYMI). This doesn’t mean pretending or lying about your skills or abilities to get a job, but rather forcing yourself to do things that may initially make you uncomfortable or scared to get to where you want to be. It’s about boosting your confidence so that you believe in yourself. If you’re insecure or scared no one else is ever going to trust in you or believe in you.

This could be as simple as getting a new wardrobe to fit in at your new workplace, although FITYMI doesn’t require going into credit card debt to make it seem like you’re successful on the surface. It also doesn’t mean losing your own sense of style but rather dressing in a mature way that says you’re ready to handle responsibility. It could also mean buying books about your industry and taking night courses to improve yourself and learn more. Attending industry events, networking and learning more about your field is another important way to FITYMI. Who cares if you don’t know anyone else? Act like you belong and work the room. Start a blog to show off what knowledge you do have and position yourself as a leader in the field.

Very soon you won’t be faking it anymore.

Life in Publishing

Job Search Tip #7: Be A Bit Dramatic

My next tip has been inspired by all of the great TIFF movies I’ve seen so far (I give both Jeff, Who Lives At Home and Like Crazy 4/5 stars). You need to stand out in the crowd. Have some flair. Possess a certain je ne sais quoi.  Add a bit of drama to the job application process.

However this doesn’t mean acting strange or gimmickey (unless you’re in marketing. Then you need to assess the situation based on the company you are applying to). Some subtle suggestions? Change up your resume by switching the fonts to something other than Times New Roman and making your name really stand out. Wear one bright colour in the interview through a ring, shoe or tie. Have a flashy or funny website that says something about you and your interests.

Do not go overboard and make yourself look nuts by sporting a crazy outfit or tap dancing in your interview (unless they ask you to). You want to show personality as well as professionalism. Super conservative and formal work places probably aren’t the best place for trying these out, but as humans we generally respond well to drama and storytelling. Being remembered can be hard when lots of people are being interviewed so a bit of pizazz is okay. Just make sure you have the substance beneath the flash by doing your homework.

Life in Publishing

Job Search Tip #6: Let Bad Experience Roll Off Your Shoulders

It’s a cruel world out there and getting your dream job (or any job for that matter) requires cunning, strategy, and sometimes ruthlessness. You’re competing with others for your livelihood. That’s why it’s hard to take bad things that happen to you in the job search lightly. A rude HR person (plentiful, despite the fact that they are supposed to be “people” people), a candidate who talks about you behind your back, or a reference who screws you over are all things that can derail your employment plans. One thing you could do is retaliate, talk back or complain about what has happened. I highly recommend the complaining but only with close friends and professional confidants you can trust. Calling the HR person’s boss isn’t going to get you the job they may have unfairly denied you or change their personal bias. Bad mouthing another candidate will make you look petty no matter how subtle your insult is. Pissing off any reference can close a number of doors to you.

Tread lightly with all professionals relationships, vent when you need it and then just try to let things go. If you have been seriously wronged it is important to speak up, but you have to weigh first if it’s worth possibly losing future opportunities with that company. Unfortunately most of the time you just need to pick yourself up and forge ahead.

Life in Publishing

Job Search Tip #5: Relax a little.

Finding a job is actually a full-time job in and of itself. So every once and awhile you need to cut yourself some slack, stop hitting refresh on the job board web page and step outside. See from friends. Call your mom. Your whole life can’t be work, and it won’t be even if you get the job (well, hopefully it won’t be). Plus the desperation and frustration will come through in an interview. I’m not saying don’t take every opportunity seriously but cut yourself some slack. You’re not the first person to be without a job for awhile and chances are this won’t be the last time you’re between opportunities (by choice or not). You have other things going on in your life that are important too!

Life in Publishing

Job Search Tip #4: Always Send A Thank You Card. Always.

People will say thank you cards are unnecessary after an interview and some recruiters even say that thank you cards sway them one way or the other. But I would argue that even if you don’t get the job HR people will always remember those who send them a thank you card and maintain contact with them. Thank them for their time, remind them about something you chatted about, and show that you appreciate their consideration. Write it immediately after the interview and either drop in a mailbox or give to the receptionist to hand in for you. Nothing too flowery or long, and make sure you sign your last name as well.


Life in Publishing

Job Search Tip #3: Be Prepared At All Times For A New Opportunity

I’m a bit of a believer in karma. I think sometimes when you are truly ready for something good to happen, it will. That being said you need to be ready to receive it!

So if you’re on the job hunt make sure you have an interview outfit that’s well-fitted, pressed and ready to be worn at the drop of a hat. Get thank you cards and stamps, and printer ink for resumes. Make sure your voicemail is appropriate and that your roommate knows job prospects may be calling (so they don’t answer with “S’up homeslice?”). Double-check that your list of references is up-to-date. Make sure your LinkedIn profile, portfolio and resume are all current as well. A little feng shui may not hurt either.