Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

The Runnymede Theatre as a Shoppers Drug Mart

As a kid, I saw many films at the Runnymede Theatre. I saw a Star Trek there, the second Poltergeist movie, a Lethal Weapon, Beatlejuice, and a bunch of others. It was a great little theatre on Bloor near Runnymede.

Then, it became a Chapters. Chapters did a great job of paying tribute to the old theatre. We were all pleased.

Then, it became a Shoppers Drug Mart. Last Thursday afternoon, I popped my head in to see how it looked.

I'm pleased to report SDM did a fine job maintaining the old infrastructure. Here are some pics that show the Runnymede Theatre is alive and well, it's just selling cosmetics and ibuprofen now.

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The Final Days of Captain John’s

Captain John's, the floating restaurant in the water at Yonge and Queen's Quay, will be gone by May 26. It'll be tugged through the Welland Canal to Port Colborne where it will be dismantled for scrap. These are indeed the final days of Captain John's.

Captain John's Restaurant has been around all of my life. I've never been inside, but I've walked or biked by it hundreds and hundreds of time. I always found the idea of a restaurant in a boat rather charming. I agree it needs to go, but I can't say I won't miss it.

Anchor's aweigh, Captain John's.

Captain John's

On the side (pun intended), and relevant considering my previous entry, there's a glaring misspelling of the word "everyday" on the east side of the sign about brunch that always irks me. I've got to get a pic before it's too late.

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The GTA Housing Correction That Never Seems to Come

Toronto home prices are awfully high, and getting higher. This past April, for example, prices were up 10% year-over-year.

Detached home sales saw a 17 per cent spike across the GTA, with sales gains stronger (18.2 per cent) in the 905 regions than the City of Toronto (up 13.8 per cent.) The average price of a detached remained above $1 million in the 416 region, up 9.2 per cent year over year in April to $1,056,114. The average detached price was up 13.1 per cent in the 905 regions to $729,961.

Sales of semi-detached homes climbed by almost 15 per cent across the GTA and prices hit a new high of $727,875 (up 3.5 per cent) in the City of Toronto and $489,796 (up 10.5 per cent) in the 905 regions.

For years I've read and listened to economists claiming a housing correction in the GTA is imminent. This bubble has to burst, and every year someone predicts that is the year it'll happen. Every year comes and goes with housing prices rising.

A smart first-time home buyer would be wise to wait until the correction before entering the market, but is that so wise if the correction never comes? If detached home prices are up 17% this year, you'd have been far wiser to buy last year, unless your crystal ball works better than mine.

Is anyone out there waiting for the bubble to burst before buying a home in the GTA?

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Andrew Wiggins: 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year

The 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year is GTA native Andrew Wiggins. This is the first time a Canadian has won the award.

Wiggins averaged 16.9 points and 4.6 rebounds while playing all 82 games for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

andrew-wiggins

Nice start...

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Rainy Day Activities in Toronto

Living in Toronto has one major drawback and that is receiving more than its fair share of rainfall. There’s nothing worse than a rainy day to dampen your spirits especially if you had an exciting outdoor activity to look forward to. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot still enjoy yourself when the clouds decide to open and leave you soaked through and wishing the rain away.

So when the rain begins to pour run yourself to the closest theatre or cinema, where in Toronto there is no shortage of. If you happen to be facing a regrettable downpour in August then why not check out the excellent line-up at the Summerworks festival. There is music, dance, exhibitions, live art shows and a whole host of special presentations and concerts. If none of the main festivals such as Summerworks or The Toronto Fringe are out of season then you can always head to the Soulpepper, Tarragon or Annex theatres to see what’s on.

If you can’t find a show or a movie to go and check out then you can always head on over to TIFF's Film Reference Library. The library is full of thousands and thousands of various movie related books, scripts and magazines to keep any avid movie lover content for hours on end. If you like your entertainment a little more visual then there’s also thousands of viewing stations where you can watch endless TV shows and movies.

For those with more of a competitive streak you may be interested in heading to just one of the increasingly popular board game café locations around the city or a local bingo hall. On the other hand you may just to sit around and play a few games with your friends at an online casino.

Whilst it may be teaming down with rain outside this doesn’t mean you cannot still enjoy a sporting activity. There are plenty of indoor sports you can participate in with both family and friends on a rainy day and Toronto has plenty to offer. You can take in a game of Badminton at the Boulevard Club or perhaps some indoor tennis at Rosedale or the North York Winter Tennis Club. There’s skating, curling, swimming and even table tennis but if you would like to get involved with more of an outdoor type sport but indoors then look no further than Beach Blast or the North Beach Volleyball centre where you can play real barefooted beach volleyball on the sands without the risk of adverse weather affecting play, which is terrific fun for all the family.

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Why Ranked Ballots Are Better

John Tory supports ranked ballots in the next civic election. This is great news.

The "first past the post" system we currently have forces people like me to vote strategically instead of voting for the person they'd like to lead. For example, those who wanted Olivia Chow to win, but were afraid a vote for Chow would help Doug Ford win, would be able to rank their candidates so a vote for Chow isn't a vote for Ford.

This video explains how it works.

Ranked ballots all but sink Ford Nation, so there's that added benefit as well.

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Tower of Terror

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I Think We Made It

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The $1-million Dream

The average cost of a detached home in Toronto is now $1,040,018, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board. For the first time ever, we've cleared the $1-million mark.

I recently bought a detached home in Toronto, but I could never afford a price tag even close to $1-million. The once modest dream of owning a detached home in a nice Toronto neighbourhood is now out of reach for so many.

Digging a little deeper, it's not all doom and gloom. The average price of a home in Toronto is $596,193, if you include semi-detached, townhouses and condos. That's still an awfully high price for your average hard working Toronto family.

I have two simple questions for the hivemind.

  1. Do you own a home in Toronto?
  2. Could you afford to buy your own home if you wanted to do so today?

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The Great Toronto Fire, April 19th 1904

On April 19, 1904, the largest fire in Toronto's history engulfed a large section of downtown. 118 buildings were destroyed in eight hours.

Here's some footage of the blaze.

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