Toronto Veg Blog

Five Great Vegan Eats for Your Next American Vacation

By Barbi Lazarus, Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator Disclaimer: This is not another vegan fast food post. While those articles are important (and we even have a whole fast food section here at veg.ca/fastfood!), they’re often meant to highlight what you can find if no other options exist. They’re often about settling for whatever cruelty-free food you can find, assuming you need to throw out any rules you might normally live by in terms of the ethics of supporting chains that profit from animal cruelty or in terms of your own personal health and well-being. But for me, the following four chains aren’t places I settle for when on vacation; they’re places I seek out. Even when travelling to a vegan mecca like Las Vegas or a relatively veg-friendly place like Tampa, I’m looking for a Tropical Smoothie to grab breakfast or a Whole Foods to stock the room with dessert. Next time you’re travelling to a city without a whole lot of explicitly vegetarian restaurants, fear not. Just do a quick search online to find out if the city or town you’re in has these four chains nearby and I promise you won’t be settling. Read More


Filed under: Eat Veg News from the Toronto Vegetarian Association Toronto Veg Blog Travelling Uncategorised

Meet David: TVA Staff Profile

What do you do at the Toronto Vegetarian Association? As TVA’s Executive Director, I work with our volunteer board of directors to set strategic priorities for the Toronto Vegetarian Association. And I work with staff to implement those strategies to achieve our mission – to inspire people to choose a healthier, greener, more compassionate lifestyle through plant-based eating. How did you become interested in vegetarianism? One of my friends invited me to see a presentation on factory farming, which really opened my eyes about animal issues. I decided that I didn’t want individual animals to suffer just for my convenience. So I sent away for a vegetarian starter kit and haven’t looked back! What do you like most about working for TVA? Working with amazing volunteers and dedicated staff! I got involved with TVA very soon after becoming veg. The people I met and events I attended helped me learn how to cook delicious, healthy plant-based meals and where to find the best veg food in the city. And there’s nothing quite like the positive energy that comes from helping organize North America’s largest Veg Food Fest. Do you have any hidden talents? Recently, I’ve had a lot of poems… Read More


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Meet Felix: TVA Staff Profile

The Veg Food Fest is North America’s largest vegetarian festival. Having grown over the past 32 years to have more than 100 exhibitors and more than 50,000 attendees, it’s no longer feasible to have just one full time staff member devoted to planning it all during the summer. So each summer we’re fortunate to hire a Veg Food Fest Assistant to help Alyssa work with vendors and plan special events and promotions for everyone’s favourite day of the year. What do you do at the Toronto Vegetarian Association? I am the Festival Assistant! That means I help Alyssa, our Festival & Events coordinator, with planning our 32nd Annual Veg Food Fest this September. On the daily, I assist with planning logistics, marketing and communicating with vendors. On occasion, I will help Barbi with any administrative duties or helping drop-in visitors at our TVA office! How did you become interested in vegetarianism? I’ve always loved cooking and been passionate about sustainability and social justice. Until I reached university, it never dawned on me that the two were so deeply intertwined. After educating myself and meeting other veg people in  university, I knew that going veg was more what was on my… Read More


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Meet Barbi: TVA Staff Profile

What do you do at the Toronto Vegetarian Association? Everything under the sun! Communications, donor relations, volunteer coordination, fundraising, office admin, outreach coordination, help with events and the unexpected! How did you become interested in vegetarianism? As a teenager I was listening to punk rock and reading a lot of zines which spoke about vegetarianism. A book I came across in my high school library called Old McDonald’s Factory Farm solidified my commitment. What do you like most about working for TVA? Hearing exciting news about vegetarian restaurants and events, being inspired by the dedication of our incredible volunteers and writing up blog posts like these! What is a hidden talent that people might not know about you? I do cross stitch and quilting when I can find the time. I can also tell you an awful lot about cacti and desert ecosystems. What is your favourite healthy meal or snack? I love roasted veggies, especially cauliflower or brussell sprouts. What is your favourite indulgence? Savoury would be Through Being Cool’s sandwiches (any of them!). If I had to pick JUST one favourite (impossible) sweet, it might be the famous Ronald’s Donuts in Las Vegas. Read More


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Meet Janine: TVA Staff Profile

You may have noticed some new places popping up on the Toronto Veg Card lately (check https://veg.ca/directory/list/discount-list for an updated list). That’s in part due to the fact that it’s veg directory season! We’ve got Janine in this summer helping to update the Vegetarian Directory and get it ready to go to print in time for the Veg Food Fest. What do you do at the Toronto Vegetarian Association? I am helping prepare the 2017 Vegetarian Directory. Much of my job has to do with communicating with businesses and updating their listings in the directory database. The second phase of my job is to present workshops to various organizations and businesses to promote a plant-based diet. How did you become interested in vegetarianism? It started at a young age for me. I have always been very health conscious and as I grew older I learned more about the (various) benefits associated with with vegetarianism. As I am now pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health, I hope to help educate more people about the importance of healthy eating. What do you like most about working for TVA? The staff here has really made my experience as a summer student something… Read More


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Meet Alyssa: TVA Staff Profile

Earlier this week we told you all about Annie, our graphic design assistant for the Veg Food Fest. Annie works closely with our Festival & Events coordinator Alyssa. We introduced you to Alyssa a few months ago but with the 32nd Veg Food Fest less than two months away, we thought you might want to get to know her a bit better! What do you do at the Toronto Vegetarian Association? I coordinate and plan  TVA’s annual events and marketing communication campaigns. This includes our annual   Veg Food Fest and Veggielicious . I also  collaborate with TVA staff and volunteers to assist in planning  and executing our annual Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off. How did you become interested in vegetarianism? I began reducing my meat consumption in first year University due to the amazing vegetarian and vegan options at the University of Guelph campus. I was looking to stay healthy and honestly, the plant-based food offerings looked much more appetizing! I’ve never looked back since. I feel healthier and know I’m making a difference in the world. What do you like most about working for TVA? Working with the dedicated and friendly staff and volunteers motivated to make a… Read More


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Meet Annie: TVA Staff Profile

When summer rolls around at the TVA office, things pick up quite a bit. This year we’re lucky to have not one, not two but three summer assistants in the office. It’s a busy place these days! Over the next few weeks we’ll introduce you to our summer staff team so you can recognize the friendly faces you might encounter if you stop by on a weekday and at the very least, at the upcoming 32nd Veg Food Fest! This week we had a delightful Italian themed vegan potluck at our weekly staff meeting, to which Annie brought along an incredibly fresh and delicious homemade bruschetta. It turns out she’s a whiz not just at graphic design but cooking too! What do you do at the Toronto Vegetarian Association? I design all promotional graphics for the Veg Food Fest coming up this September! This includes a variety of advertisements, merch and social media banners!   How did you become interested in vegetarianism? Freshman year of university, I was thrown into an extremely fast-paced, competitive environment. The shock of it all drove me into an unhealthy lifestyle. I had no time to exercise, I barely slept and I ate terribly. So,… Read More


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Transitioning to Veganism

By Janine Jivani, Vegetarian Directory Assistant One of the things that I love about the Toronto Vegetarian Association is that they offer a variety of ways to learn about eating a plant-based diet no matter if you’re already veg or not. I was recently hired as a summer student (to work on the 2017 Vegetarian Directory and facilitate workshops), and I’ve learned so much more in the past couple of months than I would’ve ever thought. I have been a vegetarian ever since middle school and tried going vegan quite a few times- but always found myself giving up because I didn’t have the right resources, know the right foods to eat, or what recipes I could use to help me transition (like vegan Mac & Cheese!). I decided that this summer would be a perfect opportunity to transition to a vegan diet. At TVA I’m surrounded by amazing staff members and other summer students that have helped me learn so much about being veg. On top of that, TVA has a wealth of books, pamphlets, online materials, and other great sources of information which is making my transition much easier. Through working on the directory here at TVA I’ve opened my eyes to the large number of vegan-friendly restaurants and other… Read More


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Vegan Camping: It’s All About the Food

By Barbi Lazarus, Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator Camping season arrived weeks ago, but there’s still a couple of months to go. Perhaps for you camping is all about quiet, peaceful days and nights, swimming, sitting around a fire or taking scenic hikes. And those are all good reasons for a weekend away. But camping doesn’t mean you have to give up delicious and decadent food. With each passing year, the ideas and choices for what to bring camping continue to grow to the point that I now find myself having to cut things out because there simply aren’t enough meals and snacks available over a weekend to eat it all! Here are some of our go-to camping meals and snacks to keep you fueled for a weekend of hikes and swims, and to keep you company aside a warm fire in the evening. Note: Items in italics assume you bring along a Coleman stove and frying pan. Breakfast bread and peanut butter fruit (see fruit suggestions) tofu scramble (we bring a scramble flavour mix from a recipe already mixed up in a tupperware or ziplock bag and then the tofu is ready to be fried up) home fries (same… Read More


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A Guide to Vegan Ice Cream in Toronto’s Veg Village

By Barbi Lazarus, Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator The latest Veg Out: Toronto’s Vegetarian Podcast gave a fabulous rundown of the increasing vegan options for ice cream around the GTA. With so many options to choose from, it’s hard to decide where to go when you feel like treating yourself to something cold and creamy. Imagine what it’s like for me, famous for my sweet tooth, working just around the corner from what’s been dubbed “veg village”, where there are FIVE places serving up vegan ice cream all within a couple blocks of each other. One might wonder how they can all stay in business at the same time. Isn’t the vegan ice cream market saturated in Kensington? But once you take a closer look, you’ll realize that each place offers something unique and special, making them all worth a visit this summer. I’ve recently designated Thursday as my Veg Village treat day, so that I can make sure I try them all before fall rolls around. Here’s a little guide to what distinguishes these great options from one another. Cosmic Treats: Anyone who thinks vegans are depriving themselves has clearly never stepped into this retro style diner… Read More


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