Toni Grates was raised in a small community outside of Syracuse, New York by a strong single mom, who doubled as her elementary school principal. Entrepreneurial and resourceful from a young age, she spent lots of time daydreaming about how to get around, in and through things (both literally and figuratively).
She is the Founding Director of The Travelling Stage: an arts education company celebrating its 20th season that brought dance, drama and music to over 5 million students across Canada and the USA this past year.
She’s a graduate of York University (theatre), the Randolph Academy (musical theatre) and the Humber School for Writers (creative writing).
She’s a member of SAG-AFTRA, ACTRA, AEA and a certified actor-combatant through Fight Directors Canada.
She’s worked as an actor and a writer for YTV and CityTV, has performed on stages across North America and has appeared in many commercials.
Her first book, STRETCH: The novel formerly known as Namaste, Bitches, is available in paperback on Amazon in Canada and the US and at Indigo. She has also written a screenplay adaptation of the novel.
Toni is the recipient of the DCDSB’s Distinguished Alumni Award for 2020. She’s also a sessional instructor at Brock University where she teaches dance and drama education for the Faculty of Education.
She is forever grateful for her childhood experiences with the Girl Scouts, where she learned how to set goals and believe in herself.
Most importantly, Toni is the very proud mom of two hockey playing and fully dramatic boys named Isaac and Jude.