International Women’s Day: Ladies of The Kingsway

It’s International Women’s Day and what better way to celebrate than getting to know some of the ladies of The Kingsway BIA. ⁣
⁣Each of these women have an incredible story. How they started their business, the challenges they have faced and overcome and how they empower others. ⁣
⁣We hope you enjoy reading these stories and feel inspired to chase your dreams
Happy International Women’s day from The Kingsway ⁣


Henny Varga

Simply Chic

Entrepreneur and owner of Simply Chic European Lingerie – a staple on Bloor Street West for over 36 years, the go-to source in Toronto’s West End for exquisitely crafted fine lingerie, nightwear, swim wear and cruise wear. A 25 year Certified Mastectomy Fitter, Henny also specializes in breast prostheses and post mastectomy services.
When not busy working at her boutique Henny spends her free time with her 4 children and grand children.

Mary Mathias

Salon Allure Spa

Owner stylist Mary has been designing hair for over 25 years and is a specialist in all aspects of Hair Colour and Hair Design. Her passion and a desire to deliver an exceptional salon experience with a team of talented stylists has contributed to Mary’s continuing success. Amongst her many accomplishments include being an example to her daughters that woman can be leaders, motivators, and successful in the business world.

Christine Peters


Christine Peters is the founder and owner of Lemonwood, a boutique chain of luxury apparel and accessories with six locations in Ontario. A highly respected
entrepreneur who has devoted her entire professional life to sourcing and product development, she connects with carefully chosen factories around the world, which help empower women, are run by women, or are socially responsible in their
use of sustainable materials

Jennifer Huggins

Kingsway Boxing Club

She opened Kingsway Boxing Club in 2005 when she was just 21 making it her mission to make
boxing accessible to all. Now the club has clients of all ages from 5 to 80 plus. The pandemic was a challenging time with over 15 months of closures but after reopening they are going full steam ahead with initiatives including running their first youth camp. Jennifer is also the Founder and Executive Director of the Fight To End Cancer and
has raised over $256K putting a total of 1.92 million dollars donated to the cause.

Joan Brachman

Footloose Dancewear

Joan opened her store in 2008 to cater to the dance community in the West End. Since then the store has become a staple, offering quality products for all types of dance, gymnastics and recently fitness. After launching an online store during the pandemic, Joan not only works with several dance studios and programs in the local area but also distributes fashionable product lines as well as dance essentials across Canada. She is also a long standing member of the BIA Board of Management.

Marcie Papasodaro

Casual Affairs Clothing

Marcie started her business at just 23 years old. What began as a unisex clothing store is now a Kingsway staple having been in business for over 35 years.
A mother-daughter run business, one of their challenges during the pandemic is getting clients out of their track sets and dressing up again! They owe a lot of their success to loyal clients of the Kingsway who have become more like family.

Cathy Beaulieu

Beaulieu Vision Care

Practicing in the Kingsway since 1986 Beaulieu Vision Care is a full service eye boutique. Cathy started the business with the expertise in optical and desire to give the best vision care everyday to their fantastic customers that make her come to work loving every minute of everyday. Eye glasses say so much about a person, finding the best fit for each person is another reason why she stills loves her job.

Melissa Dias, Melissa Renshaw & Anza Humayun

Appletree Learning Centre

For this International Women’s Day, Appletree Learning Centre is pleased to feature our wonderful administration team of women. Pictured here left to right: Anza Humayun, Melissa Dias and Melissa Renshaw. These three women run the show behind the scenes at the centre, working collaboratively to ensure that all students at Appletree receive exemplary instruction tailored to each individual student’s needs.

Nyla White

Designer Exchange

Designer Exchange was founded in 2016 with the idea of bringing a luxury shopping experience to The Kingsway area. The store has focused on the re-sale of luxury consignment goods for women. Over the past 6 years, the store has been female-owned and operated. Today, we celebrate the founder Eva White, her daughter and owner Nyla White and store manager Emily for continuing to support women, celebrate high fashion, and empower sustainability.

Dragana Lakic

Cakes and Bakes Shop

Owner and Master Baker of Cakes & Bakes Shop at The Kingsway. With a passion for baking, her and her team of pastry chefs work all day to bring you exquisite selection of pastries, cakes and cupcakes baked fresh daily! Not to mention this creative bakery also specialises in creating custom cakes, cupcakes with new flavours every week, hot chocolate bombs and sweet treats for all occasions.

Dr. Hilary & Dr. Cassandra

Kingsway Wellness

Dr.Cassandra Pope (RMT) and Dr. Hilary Chambers (ND) opened Kingsway Wellness in May 2021. Highly qualified and experiences in the areas of massage therapy, naturopathy and the diagnosing and treating digestion and autoimmune disease, they founded Kingsway Wellness a beautiful clinic that is patient-focused, business-savvy, and a place where we could support and empower other women in healthcare to reach their full potential. They have now grown to a team of four practitioners and have even completed a full renovation during the pandemic!

Lorendana Bruno

Coloured Soul Yoga & Wellness

Lorendana opened her yoga studio with the goal of not just having a flexible body but
to help discover the value of a flexible heart, mind, and soul with like-minded people.
In 2019 she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Rather than getting stuck in illness, she
flowed with inspiration and confidence. She realized that her practice intuitively
prepared her to connect with body and soul. Today, she embraces what every day brings before her.


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