Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

Toronto's Mayor Has Little Power Beyond Consensus Building
Published by Toronto Mike on October 22, 2014 @ 10:40 in Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

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...

Comments 53 comments
Rob Ford Exits Mayoral Race, Doug Ford Enters Mayoral Race
Published by Toronto Mike on September 12, 2014 @ 13:02 in Rob Ford Watch, Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

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.

Comments 71 comments
My Thoughts on the 2014 Toronto Municipal Election
Published by Toronto Mike on September 5, 2014 @ 13:19 in My 2 Cents, Politics, Rob Ford Watch, Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

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.

Comments 67 comments
Jeff Healey's Grave
Published by Toronto Mike on August 22, 2014 @ 14:32 in Music, Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

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.



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.

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Toronto As Seen From the International Space Station
Published by Toronto Mike on August 21, 2014 @ 10:32 in Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus


[via @astro_reid]

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54-40 Live in Southwest Toronto for Free
Published by Toronto Mike on July 28, 2014 @ 11:33 in Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

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
Published by Toronto Mike on July 22, 2014 @ 16:12 in Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

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.

Rogue Biway

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.

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 4.02.45 PM

Comments 21 comments
TTC Subway Hacks the Next Gen Won't Require
Published by Toronto Mike on July 19, 2014 @ 21:31 in TTC ~ Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

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.


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.


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


Comments 7 comments
The Science of Rock 'n' Roll at Ontario Science Centre is Awesome
Published by Toronto Mike on July 12, 2014 @ 17:33 in Reviews, Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

The Science of Rock 'n' Roll at Ontario Science Centre is AwesomeToday, I took my kids to the Ontario Science Centre to see the IMAX film "Island of Lemurs: Madagascar" and check out The Science of Rock 'n' Roll experience. Both were pretty awesome.

"Island of Lemurs: Madagascar" is what you'd expect from a Morgan Freeman narrated IMAX movie about Lemurs, which is to say it's excellent. There's a lot about these cute little guys you likely don't know, and all of it is rather fascinating, and I'm a sucker for anything IMAX.

Psyched for the Science of Rock N Roll at the Ontario Science Centre

But the real attraction at the Science Centre these days is The Science of Rock 'n' Roll exhibit, and it's only here for a limited time. If you love music, you could easily spend an entire day reading about the history of rock, watching the many informative videos (narrated by Alan Cross, no less) and mixing, recording your own music.



The kids loved the hands-on interactive components, as did I. The hardest part is letting them have their turn.


Any time you can combine rock with science, you've got the perfect activity for the kids this summer. Throw in an IMAX film and you've got yourself a day to remember.


Comments 3 comments
Sam the Record Man Sign Resurrected at Yonge-Dundas Square
Published by Toronto Mike on July 10, 2014 @ 11:50 in Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

Many years ago, Sam the Record Man at 347 Yonge Street closed. Ryerson bought the building and promised to save the sign. We Torontonians love our signs.

Sam the Record Man

City council voted this morning to have the sign reassembled on the roof of 277 Victoria Street, a city-owned building on the east side of Yonge-Dundas Square, and have Ryerson University pick up the bill.

blogTO gives us an idea of what this will eventually look like. I'm cool with this. How about you?


Comments 7 comments

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