Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

Maple Leaf Stadium

Maple Leaf StadiumIf I could go back in time and visit one Toronto landmark that no longer exists, I'd attend a baseball game at Maple Leaf Stadium.

Maple Leaf Stadium existed at Bathurst Street and Lake Shore Boulevard West and seated about 13,000 people. The field was natural grass, of course, and it was home to the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball club from 1926 to 1967.

When the Maple Leafs left Toronto for Louisville, Kentucky after the 1967 season, they decided to demolish Maple Leaf Stadium rather than maintain it in a city without a professional baseball team. You'll find apartment buildings there now.

Here are some photos of old Maple Leaf Stadium, courtesy of the City of Toronto Archives. It's a shame we didn't keep her.

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It's interesting to note that Harold Ballard considered buying the team and stadium after the 1967 season, but decided the price was too high. The NHL Maple Leafs haven't won the Stanley Cup since.


John Tory Elected Mayor of Toronto

John ToryJohn Tory has won Toronto's 2014 municipal election.

Voter turnout was a record 64.3%.

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Toronto's Mayor Has Little Power Beyond Consensus Building

Toronto's Mayor Has Little Power Beyond Consensus BuildingThe last four years have been a political nightmare for this city, but it has shed light on how little power Toronto's mayor actually holds. The mayor of Toronto is more of a figurehead with merely a single vote at council. As we learned first hand, you're better off with no mayor than a bad mayor, but a bad mayor can cause little actual damage beyond embarrassment and shame.

There are three candidates who will share the bulk of votes cast in this municipal election, and only one would make a lousy mayor. Doug Ford has demonstrated time and time again that he would be unable to work with council and other levels of government to reach consensus and move this city forward. And when you can't do that, you've given up your primary power as mayor. We'd be far better off with no mayor than Doug Ford as mayor.

That leaves Olivia Chow and John Tory, and I believe both would make fine mayors of this city. Yes, my values and ideals better align with Chow's, but John Tory would represent this city with dignity, would work well with council and other levels of government and would help us rebuild after four years in the wilderness.

Only five days to go...


Rob Ford Exits Mayoral Race, Doug Ford Enters Mayoral Race

Rob Ford Exits Mayoral Race, Doug Ford Enters Mayoral RaceRob Ford is no longer running for mayor of Toronto, and instead will run for his old Ward 2 councillor post. You know, the gig he once told Doug was "part-time work". His brother Doug has added his name to the list of mayoral candidates, but he has even less of a chance of winning than Rob did.

It was clear Rob Ford was going to lose this election. Doug, who is even less popular, doesn't have a chance. Never a dull moment these days in Toronto municipal politics.

Update: This was predicted back in July.


My Thoughts on the 2014 Toronto Municipal Election

My Thoughts on the 2014 Toronto Municipal ElectionI tried to ignore this mayoral race throughout the summer, pledging to plug myself back in after labour day. Now that I'm back, it's clearer to me than ever that this city I love needs to send Rob Ford a message that we deserve a mayor with far more self-control and self-respect.

The past four years under Ford have been extremely divisive. He's pitted the downtowners against the suburbs, he's refused to work with council and he lies so often and effortlessly, it's shocking. His ignorant refusal to participate in the pride parade and frequent racist and bigoted comments have made him a laughing stock. I'm not even going to mention the videos of him smoking crack, the skeezy activities with his buddy Sandro Lisi, his firing from the Don Bosco football team, and the objectifying comments he's made about his own wife.

But even without the circus sideshow antics, Rob Ford is bad for business. His policies are short-sighted, often presented without appropriate research and sufficient details, and he's completely ineffective as a leader. We simply can't afford to make this mistake twice.

Ideally, David Soknacki would win on October 27, but he won't. Of the favourites, my preference is Olivia Chow, but like many Torontonians in 2014, I'm willing to alter my vote in a strategic effort to keep Rob Ford out of office. I'm willing to vote for John Tory, and here's why.

All I want in a mayor is a sensible, intelligent person who is willing to work with council to reach consensus. I want my mayor to represent all Torontonians, regardless of sexual preference, skin colour, gender or even income and postal code. I want a mayor who unites the city, and moves us forward without providing embarrassing content to late night talk show hosts. Both John Tory and Olivia Chow fit this mould and both would make fine mayors.

My values better align with Olivia Chow's, but if Olivia Chow and John Tory split the anti-Ford vote, it gives Rob Ford a chance. That's not a chance I'm willing to take.


Jeff Healey's Grave

Many moons ago, an old Irish relative was visiting my grandmother while I was visiting her in Gilford, Ontario. This gentlemen proceeded to tell me that jazz and blues-rock vocalist and guitarist Jeff Healey was related to us somehow. I forget the details, but Jeff Healey was supposedly my second cousin twice removed or something to that effect.

Today, while visiting Park Lawn Cemetery, I found Jeff Healey's grave site and took a couple of pictures.

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It's worth noting that in the early stages of planning my wedding, while we were picking the music, I made an impassioned plea for Jeff Healey's Angel Eyes. It didn't make the final cut, but I still think it's a sweet ditty.


Toronto As Seen From the International Space Station

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[via @astro_reid]


54-40 Live in Southwest Toronto for Free

54-40 Live in Southwest Toronto for FreeI like 54-40. They had a string of hits I dug, including "Baby Ran", "I Go Blind", "One Gun", "Miss You", "Nice to Luv You", "She La", "Radio Luv Song", "Assoholic", "Ocean Pearl", "Love You All", "Lies to Me" and "Since When". Rather prolific, weren't they?

They're playing a free show this coming Sunday at 9pm at Colonel Sam Smith Park. If you don't know Colonel Sam Smith Park, it's a great park in New Toronto.

This is all part of Lakeshore Mardi Gras so you also get lots of food, a midway and fun activities for kids. But I'll be going to see 54-40.

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The Rogue BiWay

The Rogue BiWayWhen I was a kid, there was a BiWay on Annette street just east of Jane. If a kid came to school wearing BiWay brand Champion's Choice clothing, the kids would let 'em have it. If you don't remember the BiWay, it was a discount department store chain that was shuttered for good back in 2001.

Although the BiWay doesn't exist anymore, there is one rogue BiWay that survives to this day. I snapped this picture yesterday on Lake Shore just west of Islington.

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At least this rogue BiWay added the word "Zone" in small type and changed the logo. A mere five years ago, this is how that Rogue BiWay on Lake Shore appeared.

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TTC Subway Hacks the Next Gen Won't Require

TTC Subway Hacks the Next Gen Won't RequireI took my oldest son to the Blue Jays game today, and we rode the subway to Union Station. On the Yonge–University line, both ways, we enjoyed the new Bombardier subway trains, and that got me thinking... This next generation of subway riders will never require the Red Rocket hacks we all knew and loved.

Anyone who has a regular subway route knows exactly where on the platform to board so when you reach your destination the doors open right across from the exit. This was always part of the game. It's a hack we all knew.

But the new subway trains allow you to walk between the cars while inside, so you can enter anywhere and simply walk to where the exit will be. It no longer matters where you board, as you'll see from this pic I snapped earlier today.

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And any TTC subway veteran knows which side the doors will open on before you get to the station. All the guesswork has been taken out of the equation as the new subway trains give you the answer. My son will never know that feeling of getting ready to exit only to realize the doors are opening on the opposite side.

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The game, by the way, was awesome. Stroman was brilliant and the Jays won. James is happy.

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