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]
People die and different folk celebrate and mourn in various ways. However, while it does seem as if everyone is blogging about baseball and boxing or UFC during these times that try men's souls'... not everyone can write about it for the CTV network. John will be missed by both Blue Jay and Expo fans and perhaps fight fans as well. Please take a moment of your time to click on some links, thank you.
If you got an email from a stranger who said they'd donate $200 to a charity of your choice if you would invite him and a friend over to your place for dinner, would you say yes? Toronto artist Franke James did, and now she now thinks it might be an interesting idea for fundraising.
Bill Ayers, arriving in Toronto to lecture on inner-city education, has been denied entry to Canada. [more inside]
Offshore wind farm stirs up a tempest. Lines are being drawn in the battle over a proposed windmill development to be built in Lake Ontario two kilometres out from the Scarborough Bluffs? Is this just another case of NIMBYism? Or are wind farms unreliable, dangerous to migratory birds, and a source of health problems for people who live near them?
NextBus uses GPS to tell you the predicted time of the next bus. Google maps show buses in real time, and you can get updates on your phone/PDA. The coverage is limited to certain agencies within the US, so these other sites might be useful: Hopstop covers subways and buses in NYC, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, DC, and more. (mobile version) Google Transit has many US metro areas in addition to Canada, Europe, and Japan. (previously) Many more locations inside. [more inside]
Remote control Toronto's City Hall by iPhone during Octobre 4th Nuit blanche. Project Blinkenlights will again transform a huge building into a computer display. This time 960 windows of Toronto's City Hall. Everybody can submit animations to be shown and there will be client programms for iPhone and OSX to receive the signal and interact with the installation. Watch the previous installations in Berlin [Mefi thread] and Paris [Mefi thread] on Google Video.
During last year's Toronto International Film Festival, there were stories about Colin Farrell taking a local homeless man on a shopping spree. This year, the Toronto Sun follows up. via
A large series of explosions erupted this morning from a welding chemical storage facility in North York (a suburb of Toronto) at approximately 4am EST. The highway 401, North America's busiest, has been closed in sections, and thousands of local residents are still being evacuated, with several of them injured. Police and fire officials are currently not sure of the possibility of further explosions and are taking precautionary measures. The whole situation has produced some apocalyptic-looking pictures.
Igor Kenk was arrested for bicycle theft in Toronto on July 17. Here's an audio documentary that includes an interview with the man himself: Steal This Bike (be warned, a lot of profanity, and a little pretentious). [more inside]
Montreal Graffiti/Street artist Roadsworth, who was arrested in 2005 and faced up to 250 000$ in fines, is back on the streets, this time with a permit and a commission. Interestingly, the title of the new piece (which stretches across multiple intersections on downtown Sainte-Catherine street) is "Défense d'Afficher", which means "No Postering". It seems as though he's commenting on the role of art and advertisement in public space, but maybe that's just my take. Thoughts? For a more in-depth discussion, read the Torontoist's article on graffiti), and for more examples, check out Vandalist, the same blog's photostream of T.O. street art, Streetsy, a great photoblog showing off various street art from around the world, and, of course, Flickr's STREETART pool.
Another one bites the dust, and Canada's largest city reaches its yearly average cyclist fatality tally, less than half-way through 2008. While Toronto is a moderately bike friendly place, its 2001 plan to join up 1074km of city bikeways within 10 years seems to have fallen flat (as have the city coroner's cycling safety recommendations). Could this be the first opportunity for the newborn Toronto Cyclists' Union to make a mark? Will a Canadian city ever join the world's best? Ah well, let's just go for a ride. In Quebec. [more inside]
In a pilot project with Canada's National Film Board, Katerina Cizek is Filmmaker-in-Residence at Toronto's St. Michael's Hospital (Flash site with videos). She directed The Interventionists: Chronicles of a Mental Health Crisis Team, a film about a unique crisis team in downtown Toronto. A mental health nurse and a police officer ride the streets of the inner city together in an unmarked police car, responding to 911 calls involving "emotionally disturbed persons." The team is a partnership between St. Michael's Hospital and two downtown police divisions. Their mandate is to de-escalate crises and avoid unnecessary arrests and emergency room visits by providing referrals, services and resources within a patient's own community. [more inside]
CityTV to apologize for photos stolen from Flickr. The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has issued a ruling that CityTV must make a rare on-air apology for broadcasting pictures taken from Flickr without crediting the photographer.
Global Warming Video, From Still Images Twenty days. Twenty thousand still images. A single message. Toronto Star photographer Lucas Oleniuk captures the issue of global warming in a video created entirely by using still images.
It's been going on in Britain for a while. Now hundreds of men in Toronto are receiving welfare for each wife. Is this what Rowan Williams has in mind?
Toronto trustees have voted in favor of an 'Afrocentric' school. City staff endorsed the plan, while other groups in the city have not been so supportive.
Toronto: Justice Denied. Mark Kingwell writes about Toronto. The article is a great read even if you've never stepped foot in the city.
The body of a Canadian soldier was transported from CFB Trenton to Toronto tonight via Highway 401, one of the busiest highways in North America. Along that 170km stretch of road, citizens gathered at the overpasses to wave flags and pay their respects as the motorcade passed by, as they have been doing since the summer. [Pics of a previous such event, found on a web forum.] Following an online petition, the government officially recognized this stretch of highway as officially designated the Highway of Heroes [pic] . The families appreciate the practice, but some people find the designation overly sentimental.
An arborist in a helicopter Arborist Todd Irvine gets a ride in a news chopper, photographing and annotating Toronto’s tree canopy – still largely in place and vibrantly colourful due to winter’s late arrival. [more inside]
Looking to buy a house in Toronto? Why not buy Toronto's smallest house (about 300 square feet), built in a former driveway. via.
David McCallum's Warbike, which chimes away as it passes by (and detects) stray wifi signals. Torontonians can ride the Warbike for free until the beginning of December as part of Interaccess. [more inside]