Heels on Wheels: Magda Olszanowski

Photo by Molly Crealock
On location at Gladstone Hotel

Bicycle by OPUS

This Heels on Wheels originally appeared in dandyhorse magazine issue #2, Spring 2009. Order this issue here.

Name: Magdalena Olszanowski

Age: 20 something

Occupation: former Marketing coordinator at the Gladstone Hotel, freelance photographer, label co-owner of Synaptic Plastic, co-producer of Sensoria and Philomath, a monthly music and multimedia night.

What is YIMBY?

YIMBY is an acronym for Yes, In My Back Yard, meant as a contrast to the nimby phenomenon. The YIMBY Festival is where people interested in citizen based community development can exchange ideas. Christina Zeidler founded the festival in 2006 as a result of her work with neighbourhood groups, particularly Active 18, who were responding to unchecked development in the Queen West Triangle. She realized that many groups are unfairly labelled NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard), when often they are the ones sharing information and making sure that people don’t get left behind in the city building process. I took on the role as coordinator of the festival in 2006 and producer in 2007.

What is your favourite room at the Gladstone?

The Canadiana Room because it’s aesthetically inviting and transforms the room into a totally different place, yet it’s still Canadian with the antler lamp and the woods behind you. I am not a camping person, so simulacra is as close to nature as I will get.

Do you have any tips for fashionable cyclists?

If you don’t want the toe of your shoe to get scuffed, throw on a pair of slippers to ride in and carry your other shoes in a basket. I have ridden with my D&G gold peep-toe heels before. Big mistake.

Any tricks you use to arrive safely and in style?

Always wearing my helmet of course! It’s great that nowadays there is a variety to choose from, so it can match your wardrobe. I am the most painful broken record when it comes to lecturing my peers about wearing a helmet. My brain means so much to me!

What is one thing you’d like to see the city do to improve cycling?

I’d love for the city to take cycling culture more seriously. Proper education about cycling, including promotion, should be mandatory in high schools. Growing up I was too afraid to ride around the city, as were many of my friends, because we didn’t know better. Oh and, of course, more bike lanes please!

Favourite bike-y quote or mantra?

When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.
– H.G. Wells

The Gladstone Hotel hosts the alternative design event Come Up To My Room from January 26-29, 2012. Currently in its 9th year, the event features the creations of artists and designers who share what's in their heads in 11 rooms and 14 public space installations. Also part of the event are design talks and tours.

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