Five Ladies and Two Brothers – Ritz to Ursa

At times unbelievable events begin to feel not just familiar but pre-ordained.

In the tick of the madness of the Toronto International Film Festival, in the luxury of the Ritz Carlton, racing back from the lobby, as I made my way through the Ritz Bar to it’s patio outside, Steph, Brenda, Ioanna, Corinne and Leanne caught my eye. How our conversation started is cloudy and vague to me. What I do know is that the ladies were a kaleidoscope of smiles, energy, and gimlet eyes, that would make anyone stop and say “hi”. I did just that.

The ladies informed me that they were celebrating two of their birthdays, and I believe I offered them a bottle of wine, which they declined as they would soon be off to dinner at a Queen Street, West restaurant Ursa. A friend had said so many great things about it they told me, “Wow, you’re going to Ursa, I know the chef” I said, “let me call him and let him know you are on the way”. It was one of those Hollywood moments, when you run into someone at a restaurant or bar, and make certain they are looked after wherever they are going.

The Ritz Bar and the hotel itself was in full swing, it was the second last day of Tiff, the band Kiss were off to dinner as well, and my friends had begun to arrive, not to mention that the cast and crew of ‘English Vinglish’ were getting ready for the evening gala screening.

I called Ursa, asked for Jacob,( that is chef Jacob Sharkey Pearce), who with brother Jonathan Lucas and their team make this fine restaurant run. As soon as I had Jacob on the phone I handed my cell phone to one of the girls, so they could talk to the chef directly. But hello, what about cocktails? Now I wanted to see what day it was, and as it was Friday Robin Goodfellow would be working the bar. I wrote Robin’s name down for the ladies, and let them know they would be looked after with great cocktails.

Later in the evening as things were rolling the band Kiss had returned from dinner at Scaramouche Restaurant, and if you thought you were in the tick of things at earlier in the evening now things were really taking-off, the red carpet in full swing, and it was then I got a call from Corinne, she wanting to know if they should come back to the Ritz Bar for wine. I had not checked my emails earlier as I had one from the ladies that was as follows.

Hey Tim,
Thanks from the ladies at URSA !
Your friends are taking care of us – excellent food and drink. Let us
know if we’re welcome to share the fabulous wine you were talking about
with you and your friends Gene. Paul, Eric etc….


…Gene, Paul, Eric being the band members of Kiss. “Absolutely, come over”. The wine in question was that from my friends vineyard Ravine Vineyard, which is a fabulous place to go chill eat and drink wine in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region. This was Tiff, it was Canada, and I was keeping it Canadian (represent!).

I did not see the girls arrive, but as I floated through the Ritz Bar I saw the ladies sitting at my favorite table, in the corner, I made certain they got wine, and introduced them to Doc McGhee best known for working with KISS, Bon Jovi and Mötley Crüe. The latter two groups experienced their rise to stardom under his management. He has also worked with Hootie & the Blowfish. Things were set, the ladies back at the Ritz Bar, in good hands and who wouldn’t be entertained by the stories of Doc McGhee.

Now that is what I call a birthday night out.

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