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Everything that went down at last week’s artsy launch event for recreational cannabis brand AltaVie

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Everything that went down at last week’s artsy launch event for recreational cannabis brand AltaVie
Photo Credit: Ryan Emberley

Last week, hundreds of Toronto creatives gathered at the Only One Gallery in Parkdale to celebrate the launch of a new premium recreational cannabis brand: AltaVie. Owned by MedReleaf, one of Canada’s largest licensed cannabis producers, the new wellness-focused brand caters to those searching for physical, emotional and mental enrichment. The event and overall campaign rallies consumers to “Just Say Now” – to make the most of every moment and embrace mindfulness as a lifestyle. It will be available upon legalization, but AltaVie currently sells a cannabis-flavoured toffee called Cannabis Crunch in grocery stores, letting sweet-toothed shoppers get a taste of the future.

Everything that went down at last week’s artsy launch event for recreational cannabis brand AltaVie
Photo Credit: Ryan Emberley

MedReleaf is known in the medicinal marijuana industry for its unbeatable quality, and has won a ton of awards, including Top Licensed Producer at the 2017 Canadian Cannabis Awards. The brand carries exclusive cannabis varieties from around the world, and is constantly researching and developing new plant breeding programs and treatment options for patients. The same impeccable standards will apply to AltaVie, giving the new recreational brand some serious industry cred, and letting customers have total confidence in the top-notch calibre of their products.

Everything that went down at last week’s artsy launch event for recreational cannabis brand AltaVie
Photo Credit: Ryan Emberley

The immersive evening was the kind of laid-back, effortless bash that had the ideal mix of thought-provoking programming and fun-loving entertainment. The night kicked off with a private media preview, during which MedReleaf’s VP of Strategy, Darren Karasiuk, talked about the brand’s position in the market leading up to legalization, and their Director of Digital Marketing and Commercialization, Linda Burlison, discussed the importance of ending the stigma surrounding women and cannabis—to major cheers from the room. The launch event, which brought together a group of strong female artists not afraid to talk about the many benefits of cannabis, was the perfect way to start breaking down those barriers. Burlison captured the crowd’s excitement when she said that soon enough, we’d be able to tell our grandchildren where we were when cannabis prohibition ended.

Everything that went down at last week’s artsy launch event for recreational cannabis brand AltaVie
Photo Credit: Ryan Emberley

Poet Cleo Wade then set the tone for the evening with a reading from her new book, a collection of poetic musings called Heart Talk. She read “The time has always been now,” which says (among other things) that the time is always right to embrace your path, live with wild freedom and make waiting something you just don’t do anymore. She then quoted her brother, who once told her, “When I’m obsessing about the past, I’m depressed; when I’m worrying about the future, I’m anxious. It’s only when I’m in the present moment that I can be filled with gratitude.” She also professed her love for Toronto and, while she was in town, had dinner with fellow poet and “Canadian queen and soul sister” Rupi Kaur.

Everything that went down at last week’s artsy launch event for recreational cannabis brand AltaVie
Photo Credit: Ryan Emberley

Briony Douglas, the evening’s curator and one of the local artists featured, led a panel discussion with all the artists, during which they chatted candidly about their personal mindfulness habits. For Tahsin Dhirani, a.k.a. Tahsin the Good, it’s all about finding quiet time for movement, meditation and writing. “Speaking your truth does wonders,” she said. Wade said she’s a deeply ritualistic person, and absolutely has to have time to herself in the mornings. For Douglas, the act of working on her art is, in itself, a meditation. Illustrator Alpo Snow, on the other hand, is most at peace when he’s drawing or skateboarding, and photographer Natasha Wiseman prefers to listen to music or go to the gym. After the panel, meditation and mindfulness teacher Cassidy Thedorf led a calming group session where everyone closed their eyes and watched their thoughts for a few minutes.

Everything that went down at last week’s artsy launch event for recreational cannabis brand AltaVie
Photo Credit: Ryan Emberley

Following the media event, the space was opened up to the main guest list, and was packed with attendees ogling the artwork, mingling with the artists and sipping wine. A DJ was spinning uplifting the tunes, and servers were handing out gourmet snacks like Vietnamese spring rolls and grilled shrimp. Artist Melysa Gorlicky spent the night working on a live painting in one corner that attracted quite the crowd of onlookers. The major theme in many people’s conversations was that mindfulness doesn’t have to involve typical activities like yoga or meditation—as long as there’s a positive result, there should be zero judgment or shame in whatever someone does to appreciate the present moment. As Wade mentioned, “it can be sitting on the couch with Netflix and Chinese food, if that’s what works for you.”

AltaVie is a premium recreational cannabis brand from parent company MedReleaf. Visit altavie.ca to learn more.

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