Anyone who follows my blog knows that the Toronto International Film Festival is a yearly event for my daughter and I.  In fact, I’ve had so many people comment on how they respect my relationship with my daughter as I have included her in everything that I do on my blog.    In actual fact, our yearly adventure together is how my simple online journal turned into a blog long before she started writing on it.

This year will mark our 5 anniversary of celebrity stalking, movie watching, and junk food eating fun.  We are both looking forward to it again this year.

This year I’m having a bitter-sweet time as I prepare for this adventure.   She’s now seventeen, growing up, and wanting more freedom for herself.  Will this year be the last time we share this experience together?

So in remembrance of the  years gone by, I celebrate TIFF through the eyes of a mother who is seeing her daughter growing up with her dreams in tow.

2008  – The year of wonder

Christina at Toronto Film Festival 2008I was reading in the KW Record about the Toronto Film Festival.  I had always been curious about the festival and asked my family if they would like to take a trip down to check it out.

My husband and son considered the day a snooze fest as Christina and I toured Bloor Street. We were amazed when we encountered many celebrities leaving the Intercontinental Hotel.

The next day, it was raining and I asked Christina if she would like to go down again.  She was ready to rock and roll.   That day we met so many celebrities and had a chance face-to-face with Jennifer Aniston, who was promoting her movie Management.  We were hooked.  We agreed that the following year, we would make it a weekend getaway.

2009 was the year of non-stop fun


Christina and I had visitors this year who shared a hotel with us.   We still had our agenda in mind and stuck to it.  Christina met many celebrities as she was simply her outgoing and personable self.

Another great opportunity was Christina being invited to attend a session with Drew Barrymore at Much Music.  This was the first time I allowed her to venture alone without me.  She was with our friends, but a Mom always worries.

I think the best experience this year was Christina’s self-confidence and compassion for others.  Despite being slightly awe-struck with some of the celebrities she met, she viewed them as human beings.

We are just humans trying to make it through this thing call life afterall!

2010 – A friend joined us for the first time

Christina-TIFF-Juliette LewisThis year Christina asked if she could bring a friend.  I was a little reluctant but felt that she would probably enjoy the experience more with one.

It was actually a lot of fun. I waited until the last-minute to get a hotel room and was floored by the prices.  We settled for a room off of Lakeshore which was the size of a closet.  I slept on the couch cushions and the girls slept on the pullout.  To this day, when we are driving down Lakeshore, we giggle about our glorified closet experience.

Again, Christina met so many people.  This year, she also was very interested in the efforts of those people behind the scenes.  She made a vested effort to understand all of the things that TIFF represented.   We did not see a movie but took in all that Toronto had to offer that weekend that was low-cost and family friendly.

We came home spent, happy, and ready to start Fall in great spirits.

2011 – The year I felt the distance

Gerard-Bulter-TIFF-ChristinaChristina brought a friend with her again last year.  It was also time to introduce her to some of the movies that TIFF had on their schedule.  Christina and Carissa went to a Gala at the Elgin Theatre, while I joined a friend at the Roy Thompson Hall to watch Take This Waltz.

We also took in some of the restaurants within the city.    TIFF was very different this year as most of the events were moved south near the TIFF Bell Lightbox.  Celebrities were hard to find and being near the Red Carpet was ridiculous.

Christina was even punched in the face by a woman my age.  She handled it so well but that’s not to say that I didn’t try to hunt the woman down after.  (I didn’t find her)

Later in the week, we drove back down to Toronto to view another movie together.  I have to say that this was a trademark year since we took it all in!

2012 – Looking forward to the Toronto International Film Festival again!

I’m hoping that this year will be just as special as every other year.  It’s a busy event and trying to do everything we want to do is always a challenge in three days.   I think the moments that I will treasure the most is the preparation, excitement, and the satisfaction that we feel when we return home.

We can’t wait to see people who we’ve seen every other year.  We can’t wait to see some of the films and take in the city with my daughter again.  We’re hoping to be able to review a few films and possibly interview some talent sans media pass.

This experience may some day come to a close, but I hope that Christina and I can create other experiences as she grows older, becomes more independent and less accessible.

The only advice I can give to a Mom with a young girl is to start early with rituals.  Girls tend to wander away with their friends a little quicker than boys do (at least that is what is happening in my home).   Having a ritual has made our relationship stronger, honest, and pure.

There is nothing she can’t share with me.

There is nothing I wouldn’t do for her.

There is nothing like a mother/daughter relationship.

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