Tag Archives: Michael Wekerle

Dragons’ Den Season 11 audition tour announced

From a media release:

It’s time for entrepreneurs across Canada to polish their pitches to be part of DRAGONS’ DEN’s extraordinary 11th season on CBC-TV. This February, producers will hit the road on a 33-city audition tour to find the country’s best businesses in need of a Dragon investment.

As seen on DRAGONS’ DEN last night, auditions will be open to the public and kick-off in Toronto on Feb. 6 in the Barbara Frum Atrium at CBC’s Toronto headquarters (250 Front St. W.). All audition dates and cities are listed below, and venues are listed online. Tour dates will continue to be updated through the DRAGONS’ DEN website (cbc.ca/dragonsden/auditions).

The audition tour will welcome participants of all ages, with businesses at any stage of development. Aspiring entrepreneurs should prepare to pitch their concept to the DRAGONS’ DEN producers in five minutes or less. If they show the producers they have what it takes to pitch in the Den, they could be invited to Toronto to face the Dragons. Prospective pitchers are encouraged to apply online and bring a completed application form to the audition.

Online auditions are open now and will continue in-person throughout February, March and April across the country. Producers will be on the lookout for entrepreneurs in the following cities:

Feb. 6 – Toronto, Ontario
Feb.10 – Guelph, Ontario
Feb. 10 – Regina, Saskatchewan
Feb. 11 – Windsor, Ontario
Feb. 12 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Feb. 13 – London, Ontario
Feb. 13 – Vancouver, B.C.
Feb. 13 – Winnipeg, Manitoba
Feb. 17 – Richmond, B.C.
Feb. 17 – Cranbrook, B.C.
Feb. 18 – Calgary, Alberta
Feb. 19 – Nanaimo, B.C.
Feb. 20 – Edmonton, Alberta
Feb. 20 – Sudbury, Ontario
Feb. 20 – Victoria, B.C.
Feb. 24 – Burlington, Ontario
Feb. 24 – Collingwood, Ontario
Feb. 25 – Prince Edward County, Ontario
Feb. 26 – Kingston, Ontario
Feb. 27 – Barrie, Ontario
Feb. 27 – Montreal, Quebec
Feb. 27 – Ottawa, Ontario
March 2 – Grand Prairie, Alberta
March 2 – Oshawa, Ontario
March 3 – Moncton, New Brunswick
March 4 – Abbotsford, B.C.
March 4 – Charlottetown, P.E.I.
March 5 – Halifax, Nova Scotia
March 5 – Hamilton, Ontario
March 5 – Vancouver, B.C.
March 9 – Waterloo, Ontario
March 10 – Kelowna, B.C.
March 12 – Calgary, Alberta
March 12 – Niagara, Ontario
March 18 – Quebec City, Quebec
March 19 – Montreal, Quebec
April 2 – Toronto, Ontario


Review: Wek and Vij bring new fire to Dragons’ Den

With nine seasons under its belt, you’d expect Dragons’ Den to be a little, well, long in the tooth. Less than fiery. Lacking bite. You would, however, be wrong.

The secret to the veteran CBC show’s success is its skill at being able to mix a feisty bunch of outsized Type-A personalities on its panel of Canadian entrepreneurs. I must admit that I was a little worried for the franchise after Kevin O’Leary and Bruce Croxon exited, the former to focus on Bell Media projects and ABC’s Shark Tank where he’s been doing double duty with former Canuck Dragon Robert Herjavec. O’Leary, the Simon Cowell of the reality show, would be hard to replace.

So producers didn’t bother trying to find someone to fill O’Leary’s expensive loafers with the same personality. They went glitzier. A little more rock ‘n’ roll. With hair. Enter financial whiz Michael Wekerle and celebrity chef Vikram Vij, who capably fill those empty spots on the panel. Wekerle–a.k.a. Wek–is a sight to behold. With his shiny, patterned suits, tattoos, blonde hair and gravelly voice, he commands attention in Wednesday’s first new episode. He’s quick with a quip and a comment and prefers to go last in his bids to budding entrepreneurs.

Vij brings a West Coast calm to the panel–the ying to Wekerle’s yang–but don’t let his soft demeanour and smooth tone fool you. This is a man who has built a culinary empire and isn’t afraid to let you know how he truly feels. Two dudes found that out the hard way when they attempted to get some cash for their new tablet-form energy drink.

“Are you trying to kill me?” Vij asked after reading the chemical ingredients. “If I had to drink this … I’d barf!”

The new duo get along just fine with veteran panelists David Chilton, Arlene Dickinson and Jim Treliving. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t take long for Wek to bond with Treliving over the energy drink pitch. Wek was worried the stuff would be bought by kids and mixed with booze and was vocal about it. Treliving admitted he hadn’t thought of that and backed out of the deal.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom with regard to pitches in Wednesday’s return. Everyone but Vij was tossing out offers to a woman who had come up with a mining outfit tailored specifically for females on the crew, a brilliant idea. Not so brilliant? A rake that refused to stand on-end as advertised and a pillow that wrapped around the wearer’s head like a fuzzy helmet so one could nap anywhere. The creator of that admitted he had been “really tired” when he came up with the idea.

Dragons’ Den airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBC.