The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party was a popular children’s birthday-party venue that was run out of several locations in North Toronto in the 1980's. Whisked away in a hearse, throngs of elementary-school children were led through a "magical underground kingdom" by teenaged attendants, participating in whipped-cream fights and shopping-cart bumpercars, with no parents allowed. [more inside]
Yonge Street: Toronto Rock & Roll Stories. This documentary series by Bravo tells the story of Toronto's early rock scene, when "the Devil's music" stormed Toronto and Yonge Street became an essential destination for musicians, singers and music fans not only in Toronto but across Canada and beyond. [more inside]
SlutWalk Toronto (featured on the Blue) has come and gone and spawned imitators. Already though, some feminists are questioning it's efficacy and impact on both men and women.
CN Tower EdgeWalk, June 2011; YouTube, 2.00. For CAD175 you can harness up and walk around the five-foot-wide edge of Toronto's CN Tower, 356 metres/1,168 feet above ground level. [more inside]
Toronto's new alt-weekly The Grid has kicked up a storm of controversy this week with their cover story Dawn of a New Gay, which focuses on a new breed of "post-mos" who sneer at the traditional trappings of homosexuality and gay activism. Torontoist responds, and one of the subjects of the article has denounced his involvement in the piece.
Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto (previously, previouslier, and previousliest) is cracking down on graffiti in Hogtown with a Graffiti Abatement Program. However, with small business owners facing steep fines for failing to remove graffiti, independent removal services charging handsomely to remove it (with power washers which can damage building facings and which also sweep aerosol paint residue into the sewers and Lake Ontario) and taggers being regularly presented with fresh canvasses to work on, which starts the cycle once again, the system seems insupportable. [more inside]
There will, of course, be some 9-1-1 worthy mistakes in the beginning, such of those who think keeping a harem of hens is no more difficult than ranching gold fish.
"If a hen that appreciates Wagner and Rachmaninov can make me breakfast, she sounds like a pretty good companion to have around" - Toronto Standard reports on the pros and cons of a recent vote to determine if hens can be kept as pets.
Just before the Toronto G20, Byron Sonne was arrested on a wide range of charges (previously). Nearly eleven months later, he has been granted bail. [more inside]
At a Toronto show on May 7, Paul Simon offered his guitar to a fan, inviting her onstage to sing. [more inside]
Down and out in Toronto and New York: Freelance film critic Steven Boone recounts his experiences with the soup kitchens of Toronto and New York in First rate, second rate: In and out of the soup kitchens of Toronto and New York
Phil dances in the Eaton Centre. Looks like Phil takes videos of himself dancing in various Toronto locations.
The licensee must cease broadcasting on [February 12, 2011], by no later than the end of the broadcast day.
After over 18 months of infighting, including a seven-month lockout where it was "broadcasting without any community involvement or reflection, oversight or management, or apparent control", CKLN -- Toronto's first campus radio station -- has had its licence revoked by the CRTC, Canada's broadcast regulator. [more inside]
Kelley Turgeon's painting of Toronto's iconic streetcars won a contest for the Toronto Star Emerging Artist Cover Contest. Along with $2500 in prize money for the contest winner, the winning painting was also published Friday on the front page of the newspaper. Photographer Brian Labelle noticed because he had taken an eerily similar photograph in 2007. [more inside]
New Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (previously and previously) announced today that he is canceling the Transit City LRT construction plan so the city can concentrate on building subways. The fact that millions of dollars have already been spent and that new subway lines might not be finished until 2020 is apparently beside the point. What matters, according to Ford, is that “The war on the car is over.”
In tonight's semi-annual Munk Debate in Toronto, Tony Blair and Christoper Hitchens square off over the topic "Is religion a force for good in the world?" For those who couldn't get tickets, you can watch a live webstream (PPV, $5) of the debate this evening, starting at 7pm EST.
The Complaints Choir phenomenon, started by the Finnish artists Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, has spread all over the world since last we paid it any attention, from Birmingham to Helsinki, Hamburg, St. Petersburg, Poikkilaakso, Bodø, Penn State, Canada, Juneau, Gabriola Island, Sointula, Jerusalem, Melbourne, Budapest, Malmö, Chicago, Florence, Copenhagen, Vancouver (2), Philadelphia, Sundbyberg, Milano, Åland, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Rotterdam, Basel, Umeå, Ljubljana, Gdansk, Arizona State University, Washington, DC, Horace Mann School, Durham-Chapel Hill, Auckland, Toronto theatre students, Kortrijk, Cairo (2), St. Pölten, Maribor, Port Coquitlam, Ústí nad Labem, Columbus & Kauhajoki (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). For more information, including a 9 step guide to forming your own complaints choir, go to the Complaints Choir website. Finally, here's the Singapore Complaints Choir, whose performance was banned by the Singapore government.
Out My Window (trailer) is the new web documentary from the Highrise project, one of the world's first interactive 360° documentaries. Delivered entirely on the web, it explores the state of our urban planet told by people who look out on the world from highrise windows. With more than 90 minutes of material, Out My Window features 49 stories from 13 cities, told in 13 languages.
When he first saw a video of a Toronto constable threatening to arrest a G20 protester for blowing bubbles, one YouTube user was so livid, he couldn’t stop writing comments. In fact, the man, who uses the alias “theforcebewithme,” can’t even remember writing the specific comment that now has him defending a $1.2 million defamation lawsuit launched by Toronto’s now notorious “Officer Bubbles.” Const. Adam Josephs seeks to compel the Google-owned YouTube to reveal the identity of the person who created and posted the videos as well as any information it has on the 24 other users who made allegedly defamatory remarks. [more inside]
As mentioned previously, Toronto's mayoral candidates are almost farcical, with the most boring candidate caught in a sex scandal, another candidate who has the world's worst case of foot in mouth disease, and another who thought that presenting himself as a Mafia Don was a good idea. Thankfully, there's still Steve Murray. Because Toronto deserves something. If only he hadn't missed the registration deadline. [more inside]
Meet Rob Ford, the frontrunner in Toronto's mayoral electoral race. He has complained about city spending on AIDS prevention, claiming that only homosexuals and drug users are at serious risk of getting AIDS. He says he supports the views of a right-wing pastor who thinks that same-sex marriage will "dismantle" civilization.He has called Asian people "Orientals" and suggested that they are taking over, then when rebuked explained that he thought this was a positive thing. He has suggested that Toronto cannot handle any more immigrants and that in a "perfect world" Toronto's population would remain even. He recently suggested banning marathons from public streets. And now, he has released his long-awaited financial plan with a bizarrely bad Youtube video where he stammers his way through a series of savings promises that simply do not add up. So what should we do when Rob Ford becomes mayor? That's easy. Make lots of Photoshop memes.
The dream of Icarus has been one shared by many throughout history. University of Toronto Engineering students made history this week when they successfully flew a human-powered aircraft with flapping wings continuously. The flight of the Snowbird is beautiful to watch. [more inside]
The sixth and final Scott Pilgrim graphic novel, subtitled 'Finest Hour' is being released tonight. There is a block party in Toronto to celebrate this fact. While waiting for your copy to arrive or the party to start, why don't you... [more inside]
The Toronto 18. "The [Toronto] Star was the first to break the news, just over four years ago, that an al-Qaeda inspired homegrown terror cell had been busted in Toronto. ... Numerous publication bans have kept the full story from the public. Now, with the case over, we can present the complete narrative of the Toronto 18: Who they are, how they met, what they did." This is a great example of how to present long-form journalism online.
Prior to the G20 last weekend in Toronto, the Government of Ontario met in a closed session. Police Chief Bill Blair announced on Friday June 25th that, in this session, a law was passed giving police new powers to demand identification from -- and conduct unwarranted searches of -- anyone approaching within 5 metres of the security fence that had been erected around the downtown core. This law was enforced all weekend; there were more than 900 arrests. Now that the G20 has passed and the proceedings of the closed government session are coming to light, it's become apparent that the law never existed at all. Bill Blair has now acknowledged that he made the whole thing up to "keep the criminals out." [more inside]
"Trying to do something he knows he really can't do for no good reason tells you a lot about Peter Van Loan" MeFI's own mightygodking snagged an official accredited journalist title via Torontoist in order to post reports and interviews from the controversial G20 Conference.
Byron Sonne, a respected computer security specialist, has been arrested on G20-related charges.. [more inside]
Beloved Toronto independent bookstore This Ain't the Rosedale Library is at risk of closing. A rallying of the community might stay the execution, but what happens next? [more inside]
Tracy Wright, a wonderful gem of the Toronto theatre and film scene, has died.
In preparation for the upcoming G8/G20 summit in Toronto, security forces (who have already removed mailboxes, bus shelters and garbage bins, as well as shutting down cell-phone towers) are removing saplings from the streets on the theory that they can be uprooted and used as weapons by protesters. RCMP Constable Wendy Drummond explains that it is "like child-proofing your home." [more inside]
The G20 summit is fast approaching (June 26-27), and already it's shaping up to be a very expensive pain in the ass. For anyone living in or coming to Toronto during the summit, a guide to How the G20 Will Affect Everyone, from Cyclists to Tourists.
We saw a post about the Little House back in 2007. It sold for $139000 then. About a year ago it sold for approximately $173000. Now, it's up for sale again at reportedly $180000. It's been renovated and now has it's own site complete with a gallery, history, and celebrity endorsement.
At 9 a.m. on a clear day in April, Ismail Atievand his friend, D.J. Pataeve, armed themselves with two cameras and walked forty-two kilometres from Yonge and Wellington Streets in Aurora to the point where Yonge Street begins at Queens Quay in Toronto—a journey that took them fourteen hours to complete.
Tim Perlich was the senior music writer for Toronto's NOW Magazine for 20 or so years. The two parted company for unexplained reasons earlier this year. For those who love or hate him (and there are plenty in both camps), he's now blogging about all things music at The Perlich Post.
If the worlds of upmarket foodie porn and hip-hop collided, what would you find at the crash site? Behold, The Rhyming Chef, who will threaten local cows and sing you through the preparation of dishes like the Barbuda Get Laid Salad. [more inside]
Toronto's Open Civic Data. The city of Toronto has released its data to the world via the new Open Toronto initiative: geographic data for a variety of civic divisions, lists of licensed business, public transit stops, routes & schedules, a SOAP-based geocoding API and more.
Paul Giamatti and Matt Damon star in Resident Hunting: Shoot ’Em Up by the Dozen 2. For decades, Toronto has been a cheap, versatile city in which to shoot movies. Most of the time, Toronto pretends to be some other place – mostly New York. Using DVD screencaps, city blog Torontoist takes a sightseeing tour through over 50 films shot in Toronto that mostly pretend to be set somewhere else, from (yes) Good Will Hunting to the HBO version of Grey Gardens. [more inside]
The Toronto Rock and Roll Revival festival was held forty years ago today. Performers included: the Doors, Alice Cooper, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry. The highlight for many was the appearance of John Lennon. Lennon was backed by the Plastic Ono Band, then comprised of Eric Clapton, Klaus Voorman, and Alan White (w/occasional vocals by Yoko). "We're just gonna do numbers we know because we've never played together before." D.A. Pennebaker filmed it . YouTube videos of Lennon's set: Blue Suede Shoes, Money, Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Yer Blues, Cold Turkey, and Give Peace a Chance. [more inside]
Despite a reputation as an effective multi-cultural city, Toronto continues to have difficulties successfully integrating its communities of African heritage. In response to significantly higher than average high school drop-out rates in those communities, some academics suggested the creation of "black-focused public schools" [PDF] as means of re-engaging black youth with education. Needless to say, this caused debate, controversy, and even anger, but the first afro-centric public elementary school will open this month.
In light of the recent tragic death of a cyclist in Toronto, even normally well-balanced MeFites have polarized in the bikes vs. cars “war”. But according to Guillermo Penalosa, the fight is really about better urban design. He helped to radically reinvent the transit and parks infrastructure of Bogata, making it of the best cycling cities in the world. The recent changes to Broadway in New York were influenced by Bogota's success. Gil now advises the Project for Public Spaces and is Executive Director of Walk & Bike for Life. Their solution to the pedestrians vs. cars vs. bikes battle is simple: better urban planning (previously on MeFi) that gives everyone their own safe space. Not sure if your city's infrastructure is up-to-snuff? Apply the 8/80 rule. In the meantime, keep safe out there.
Late last night, a cyclist was killed in Toronto. "Ontario's former attorney general Michael Bryant ... will be charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death, a police source tells the Globe, after a collision left a 33-year-old cyclist dead." Accounts vary, but the sequence appears to be 1) Some collision and argument between the cyclist and the driver; 2) The cyclist grabs the driver's door and hangs on (or he may have been caught on the car accidentally) while the Saab convertible drives on; 3) The car drives into the opposite lane, across a construction zone, and the cyclist is battered against mailboxes and light posts; 4) The cyclist falls under the car's back wheels and is killed. [more inside]
One Bark at a Time: An amateur's notes on giving voice to abandoned dogs -- sometimes in a good way, but other stories will break your heart.
Jackie Shane could rock the Sapphire Club. He was part of the Toronto Sound of the sixties, and made his mark not only for his soulful voice, but also for his flamboyent, gender ambiguous appearance (video). His song Any Other Way went to Number Two on the Canadian Billboard chart in 1963, and was his biggest hit. While his discography was short and he has faded into obscurity, he has been recognized by the queer community and music bloggers as a trail-blazing performer. In My Tenement, Comin Down, You Are My Sunshine, Stand Up Strait and Tall, Don't Play That Song.
At the Toronto Humane Society, veterinarians say animals die suffering unnecessarily in their cages while pleas to euthanize them are dismissed. Dozens of staff, volunteers and veterinarians have quit in protest. ... A note written by a staff member or volunteer on the medical chart of a cat, animal ID A127495, admitted last fall, reads: "Died Oct 19 3:15 am. Gasped and jerked and cried last breaths, because there was no one in shelter to euthanize or treat. This is not humane." ... [THS president] Mr. Trow says he strives to keep euthanasia rates low for ethical reasons. “How can anyone suggest that, because he might be here longer than anyone would want, that it's better to put [a dog] down?” Mr. Trow asked. “I think that's a strange suggestion, don't you? You live here as long as you can.” Images (yes, they're disturbing.) Video of a puppy adopted out with a broken leg. The THS web site. [more inside]
The Toronto Star tested people's honesty by leaving 20 wallets in various places around the city. How many of them were returned? [more inside]