Meet Darren Berger

Darren describes himself as having a passion for food, laughter and sports. Originally a Montrealer (he speaks English and French, as well as Hebrew), Darren still feels the pull from his Quebec roots, even after being in Toronto for 18 years. “My two kids were born here, but I’ve made sure even they are Habs fans!”

A tale of two cities

Darren moved to Ontario to get his CA with the intention of moving back, but, as luck would have it, he wound up staying. “I love Toronto. It’s diverse, with some phenomenal pockets. Still, I miss Montreal,” he admits. “It’s smaller than Toronto and culturally unique.” If asked where to get a good bagel with cream cheese in Toronto, his response is “Montreal.”

There’s no question which province he prefers for downhill skiing. One of his best memories was an impulsive trip to Mont Tremblant in late May, where he and some friends were able to enjoy spring skiing in the morning and then head to a buddy’s cottage to waterski in the afternoon. “Of course the water was freezing, so we went from T-shirts for the winter sport to wetsuits for the summer sport.”

A taste for “qualified” risk

Darren doesn’t mind a hint of danger in his sporting ventures. He’s done heli-skiing, where a helicopter flies you to a mountain top and drops you to ski down on fresh snow. “You get some avalanche training at the base before you go and it’s not too dangerous as long as you stick with the guides. I don’t mind pushing things a bit if it’s a “qualified risk.” On a safer scale, Darren has done a fair amount of camping with his young family, especially around Ontario’s provincial parks.

Weekend warrior handyman

Darren relishes the DIY woodworking challenges that come with being a homeowner. “I came by it naturally as my Dad loved to tinker and fix things. When I lived in Montreal, I loved going to the local Pascal’s to shop for tools and materials.” Memorable projects include the railing and banister on the porch of his first house, as well as an intricate entertainment unit he made from oak— “to my wife’s relief, that never made it to our second house.” Part of the fun for Darren is finding innovative ways to tackle a new challenge. His best advice is just having the courage to take on a small project first, with whatever help you can get from YouTube or local retailers. “And remember…measure twice, cut once!”

Kids in the new social media age

On the entertainment front, Darren is a Ray Donovan fan, a series he follows on Crave. From a broader perspective, he marvels at how the film and TV industry have been disrupted. “People can stream things anywhere and anytime. In social media, “there is so much content out there you could spend the whole day on LinkedIn alone.” As a father of young kids, he wonders how they will learn to use all the powerful new tools at their disposal. “How do they decide what to look at? There is rich content out there, but there are dangers as well that kids need to understand.”

Reinventing at Farber

Darren has been at B. Riley Farber for about a year now. “The people here are great, with real support for one another. And everyone is encouraged to try something – just bring it up and it will be explored if it makes sense.” Asked about Farber’s 40-year legacy, Darren surmises that “It’s not just about lasting – success also comes from constantly reinventing.”

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