28 / 07 / 17

Get to Know Jess Cimó: BIG on Bloor’s Publicist

We recently sat down with a few of the people behind the BIG on Bloor Festival. Here’s what Publicist Jess Cimó had to say about the festival and it’s namesake neighbourhood.

What’s your favourite part of Bloor & Dufferin?

I love that there is a cycling route on Brock Avenue (even if it’s only painted arrows) and the existence of the West Toronto Railpath.

How long have you been here?

I’m Bloordale’s neighbour, having lived on the edge of Parkdale, in Roncesvalles, for 4 years. Bloor & Dufferin has a special place in my personal history as one of the first neighbourhoods my father lived, on Paton Road, when he and his family emigrated from Italy in 1968. He remembers crossing the tracks as a short cut to get home, right across from the buildings where Pilot Coffee Roasters stands today.

What’s your favourite thing to do at Bloor & Dufferin?

Have coffee, work and think. I’ve spent hours in different coffee shops and bars in meetings with the BIG on Bloor Festival team, planning and ironing out the details for a successful 10th year. I feel that I’ve gotten to know the neighbourhood a lot better because of this.

It’s still possible to find a few quiet places in this neighbourhood, which is hard to come by with the growth that the city is experiencing and with tourism on the rise. All good things, but sometimes you need to get away to be productive, or to be with yourself for a little while.

Do you have a favourite attraction or place to eat?

I love Burdock – they brew onsite, run a bottle shop and a live music venue upstairs. They’ve recently started to bake bread. It has great atmosphere, a lot of character and an incredible new patio.

Top 3 coffee stops – Baddies, Bottle Rocket and Pilot Coffee Roasters. This neighbourhood has a lot to offer, so please don’t stop at these recommendations, try to experience everything!

What’s something people might be surprised to learn about Bloor & Dufferin?

In place of the Dufferin Mall, there used to be a horseracing track, which closed in 1955.

What’s your role at BIG on Bloor?

Publicist, promoting the festival to the media, coordinating interviews, negotiating partnerships, actively posting on BIG on Bloor’s social media channels, both before the festival and throughout the weekend, as well as running strategic campaigns to get the word out in print, on the radio and digitally.

How long have you been working with the festival?

This is my first year working with BIG on Bloor directly.

What’s your favourite part?

There’s performance art that’s accessible, often site-specific and thoughtfully curated. Carla Garnet’s JOUEZ: Participatory/ Performance Art Project is a key part of BIG on Bloor. As is How We Live In Cities, curated by Dyan Marie. It’s integral because it introduces the youngest festivalgoers to arts, culture and civic engagement.

Why is BIG on Bloor important?

BIG on Bloor Festival represents an opportunity to celebrate the neighbourhood that is Bloordale, arts, culture and community. Over the 2 day, car-free weekend, the character of Bloor & Dufferin truly emerges in a space welcoming to those of all ages and walks of life. It’s a chance to take back the street and open conversations. In our busy lives we rarely have time to reach out, and BIG on Bloor offers a place for us to do that.