Co-founders Ijaz Jamal & Chris Palivan met in the Event Management Program at George Brown College back in 2013.

They instantly bonded and developed a professional friendship beyond the classroom. As soon as Chris graduated in 2014, he and Ijaz ventured into business together with a lot of perseverance and diverse experience to co-found the first ever Toronto Cider Festival in September 2015. Together with Shalini Soares, this trio is responsible for leading the vision of growing the Toronto Cider Festival into the world’s largest cider festival, while supporting its local community.  

This is a family run endeavour, guided by heart, passion, and soul.  Our family has since grown into a core group of highly talented and dedicated individuals,

all of whom have come together on this journey and are motivated by the opportunity to create an unforgettable cider experience for our guests. 


Here’s a little bit more about our Toronto Cider Festival family, along with some insights into why they’re super excited about celebrating cider in Toronto 

Co-Founder & Event Management

As a cider advocate, with over 10 years of experience in Customer Service and Hospitality, Chris dedicates his life towards taking on new experiences, living life to the fullest and inspiring others to do the same. Motivated by these desires, his goal is to have a lasting impact on his community while expressing his passions to create memorable experiences. Therefore, along with his business partner, Ijaz Jamal, he co-founded the Toronto Cider Festival as a means to create an atmosphere where Torontonians can learn about and enjoy cider; all while having a great time. He is driven to live a life without boundaries, enjoying passions like travelling the world, climbing mountains and scuba diving; living a live beyond his wildest dreams

His Favorite Cider:  Brickworks Ciderhouse & Heritage Estate Dragon's Gold

Co-Founder & Event Management

With over 20 years of experience in the events world, Ijaz dedicates his time towards giving his community the opportunity to have amazing experiences

and passes along his extensive knowledge as a Professor of Event Management at George Brown College. He is also extremely passionate about

his daughter, football, and is a huge cider enthusiast of course! Along with his business partner, Chris Palivan, he co-founded the Toronto Cider Festival

in an effort to provide Toronto with an opportunity to appreciate and express their love for cider in a fun environment

bringing the community together as a huge cider family. 

His Favorite Cider:  Waupoos from The County Cider Company & Pommies Cider

Media Relations, Marketing, Communications & PR

As a major cider lover, Shalini is excited about letting the world in on the cider secret.

With over 9 years of experience in Sales, Marketing and PR, she brings with her an abundance of experience and has been a key member of the Toronto Cider Festival family since its initial conception in 2015. She is driven by her desire to have an impact on her community and be part of growing cider awareness in Toronto.

Her life changed when she discovered cider and relinquished her reliance on Beer or Vodka-OJ at social engagements. Therefore, she hopes to be able to create this experience for others in her community and open up a whole new world of refreshing cider beverages to them. She also has a soft spot for art and scuba diving and a passion for travel adventures, having journeyed to over 20 different countries over the past 20 months in search of cider across the globe. 

Her Favorite Cider:  Magnotta Small Batch Cider & No Boats On Sunday

Volunteer Management

As a graduate from the Special Events Planning program at George Brown College, Isobel dedicates her time to working on community events and internal engagement events with Canadian Tire. She has an immense love for cider and joined the Toronto Cider Festival family as a leader in volunteer recruitment and management since its inaugural year. She also has a passion for good food, travelling and life long learning. She is happiest when discovering and learning about new unique ciders and finds being able to contribute towards a community’s unique experience through the Toronto Cider Festival extremely rewarding.

Her Favorite Cider:  Brickworks Queen Street 501 & Angry Orchard Hard Cider

Volunteer Management

A graduate of the Event & Meeting Management program at George Brown College, Tami spends her time putting the right speaker in front of the right audience at Speakers’ Spotlight. Tami joined the Family in 2015 when her best friends Shalini &  Chris started their Toronto Cider Festival journey. Working closely with Isobel in Volunteer recruitment and management, Tami ensures there is a strong and dedicated team on-board to run the festival each year. She brings her boundless energy, positivity and leadership skills to this position. She also has a passion for being outdoors whenever she can and enjoys snowboarding,

hiking, biking, and sampling the latest cider!

Her Favorite Cider:  Thornbury Elderflower Cider

Logistics & Procurement

Rahim brings 8 years of valuable logistics and procurement experience to the Toronto Cider Festival, having contributed significantly to organizations such as IBM and the World Partnership Walk in Vancouver. He has been a part of the Toronto Cider Festival family since its inauguration, making sure that everything needed for logistical efficiency and smooth functioning, is available at the event and miraculously disappears after the event. He also enjoys making sure that all the clients and guests at the Toronto Cider Festival are having an amazing time. He pretends that he likes long walks on the beach, when in actuality he’s extremely passionate about talking and making up elaborate wildcards on Evil Apples… wait till he starts talking about cider.

His Favorite Cider:  Blood Orange Cider from The County Cider Company & Shiny Apple Cider