Toronto’s Top 20 under 20 - part 4


The consumer activist: Rachel Parent
age 15

In 2011, Rachel Parent chose genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as her speech topic for school. The speech sparked something in the young activist, and she sprang into action, demanding mandatory GMO labelling on all food in Canada in order to inform our choices as consumers.

She also took on Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary in a televised debate on GMOs that aired on CBC.

Parent has spoken out in schools, in the media and on her website of the importance of GMO labelling and will continue until it becomes the law.


The cellist: Daniel Hass
age 17

The cello was not Daniel Hass’s instrument of choice when he was four years old, but thankfully, his parents persuaded him to try it.

“I just had a natural affinity for the cello, so I progressed quickly,” says Hass, who is studying for a bachelor‘s degree at the New England Conservatory in Boston.

Hass performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in Roy Thomson Hall but says he would love to add Carnegie Hall in New York City to that list. What’s next? Hass says he’d love to play in a professional string quartet.


The fighter: Carley Allison
age 19

At 19, Carley Allison has been through more than most. The young singer fought off a rare tumour in her throat last year, but now the cancer is back and has spread to her lungs.

“The hardest thing I have gone through during this process is realizing that, no matter how much I want to be a normal teenager, sometimes that is impossible,” she says.

But Allison isn’t battling her illness passively. She continues to stay active, and in November she sang the national anthem at a Maple Leafs game. “Watching them play got me through the worst of my first round of chemo.”


The programmer: Ian Lo 
age 17

A minimum age limit of 18 did not stop Ian Lo from competing in the MasterCard N>XT Developer Challenge. The Crescent School student and his team not only competed, but walked away with the People’s Choice Award for creating the app Nimja, which is available on the Google Play store.

The app allows your smartphone to process payments by tapping a credit card on the back of the phone.


The fashionista: Julia Thompson
age 17

Julia Thompson has already produced two fashion lines, held a charity fashion show and was accepted to Parsons, one of the most prestigious design schools in North America.

The Bishop Strachan School alum began sewing at the age of 12 with her grandmother, and the hobby turned into a passion that has shaped her future. Now at Parsons, Thompson is building her skill set in art and design.


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