Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

Toronto Boom Town (1951)

Toronto Boom TownToronto Boom Town is a film by Leslie McFarlane for the National Film Board of Canada. It studies the contrast between the sedate Toronto of the turn of the century and the thriving, expanding metropolis of 1951.

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The Rolling Hills of Pearson

The Rolling Hills of PearsonI don't own an iPad, nor an iPhone, so I'm not as interested nor up-to-date with the Apple iOS 6 news. But I am an observer of technology trends and it's been impossible to surf the web without hearing about the Apple iOS 6 Maps controversy.

Apparently, Apple has replaced the Google Maps with their own, and the results have been unfortunate. Here's a nice collection of the mistakes found. In a nutshell, Google Maps is better and those who upgraded to iOS 6 want their Google Maps back.

Here's my personal favourite image from Apple iOS 6 Maps. These are the rolling hills of Toronto Pearson International Airport.


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As a Texan Visiting Toronto

As a Texan Visiting TorontoIn 2012, I've spent a good chunk of time in Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris and Dublin. I visit these cities as a tourist, doing some homework, marking up a map and hitting the streets with my camera. I don't visit Toronto this way, as I've always lived here.

I often wonder what it would be like to see Toronto as a tourist sees Toronto. On Reddit today, there's an interesting post from a Texan who visited Toronto and fell in love with this city.

Forgive me for ranting but...I have been all over the planet and after spending a few weeks here.... Toronto is hands down my favorite city of all time.

Living in Houston provides me with extremely minimal public transportation, and I drive 100 miles a day between my home and job. If you take public transportation in Houston, you are most likely homeless, or at least impoverished. The TTC may have its downsides, but it is phenomenal compared to systems in NYC, Sydney, San Francisco, etc. The subway may look small in scale compared to these other cities, but the quality of service is simply on another level. I can step outside and walk 10 feet to the Ossington/Davenport bus stop, and be all the way across the city on the subway in 15-20 minutes.

The level of cultural diversity in Toronto is also extremely pleasant to me. Korea town and China town seem so much more comfortably integrated into the cityscape. We have a large section of Houston which is considered "China town", but it simply isn't integrated at all within the city, and is quite a distance away from downtown. Also, we certainly don't get to enjoy the scent of stinky tofu wafting through the air for miles around.

The parks and green areas proliferate within Toronto, and impress on me that Canadians do truly value the impact that such places have on everyday life. Spent quite some time in Christie Pitts and High Park just drinking with friends, and enjoying some of your fine beverages (LOVE that nasty Faxe 10, Holstein Maibock, Holstein Festbok, ciders,and anything Molson). Truly wish the US would switch to the Canadian style of measuring alcohol content.

Speaking of beer, didn't matter if the prices were on average triple what I pay in Texas, the Victory Cafe in the Annex had one of the finest selections of beer I've come across. The beers on tap by Great Lakes brewery and Flying Monkey had me coming back daily. The Highlander Scottish Pale Ale was killer as well. However, for food, I was on a hunt to find the best poutine in the city.

Two poutine places stuck out to me as ever-dependable. "Come and Get It" and Smoke's. Smoke's seemed like it was going to be similar to a typical chain restaurant in the states, but the quality of their Country Style poutine (bacon, chicken, cheese curds, mushrooms, carmelized onions, gravy) blew me away. I was going back to Bloor St for that poutine at least twice a week. Also Spent quite a bit of time at Future Bakery enjoying their Chicken Schnitzel.

Finally, the one thing that made Toronto stand out the most....was the people. I know Canadians from surrounding/rival cities (politely) talk a lot of crap about Torontonians, but for a big city, it had the most kind population I have ever experienced. Even the small cities outside of Houston don't come close to the friendly feel of Toronto. My whole life I've always assumed that southerners are the most friendly people ever, and Torontonians made us look like Parisians....or New Yorkers..(ones that don't give away Gotye tickets). Everywhere I went there were community events going on, free food being given out in neighborhoods, and just an endless amount of effortless diversity. However, this kindness did not always extend to some places....cough (subway in korea town) cough, but overall, I felt immediately right at home.

There is so much more I could rant on about....the museums...the art galleries...Timmies.....the amount of amazing shows...Honest Ed's.....the GRAFFITI....but I've already spent too much time redditing on the clock at work, so I'll cut it short. In the end, I would have to designate Toronto as New York city, but cleaner, more beautiful, and with a VASTLY lower population of douchebags. I would choose Toronto over NYC a thousand times over. Also, your used video game shops have the best selection I have ever seen. I miss the city already, and hope to be returning soon for some Toronto winter action.

Peace out y'all, and never take your city for granted.

P.S - Excellent bud.

OH and I forgot....this video is the best single depiction of the city I have ever seen: Toronto Tempo.

What do you think of his observations? Do we take Toronto for granted?

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Cold Tea Code for Beer?

Cold Tea Code for Beer?I just read a comment on Reddit that suggests if you order "cold tea" after the 2am cut-off for selling alcohol in bars and clubs in Toronto, they'll serve you an unmarked teapot with cold beer in it.

I had never heard this before. Toronto, I must know....

Is this true? Have you ever experienced it first hand?

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2012 Toronto Shooting Locations

2012 Toronto Shooting LocationsThis map of Toronto shootings thus far in 2012 comes courtesy of Toronto Police Service. Gunfire erupted at a block party on Danzig St., in the Morningside and Lawrence Ave. E. area of Scarborough, just before 11pm last night, killing 2 and injuring 21 others.

Here's the map.


What strikes me is how evenly spread out the shootings have been. It's remarkably balanced.

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Captain John’s Restaurant Ordered to Shut Down

Captain John'sI've never been to Captain John's floating restaurant in the water at Yonge and Queen's Quay. I've walked by it a hundred times but never felt the urge to go inside.

Now, it's possible I'll never get that chance.

Waterfront Toronto rescinded its lease for the watery slip at the foot of Yonge St. Tuesday and warned “Captain” John Letnik that he has until July 27 to remove everything, including the ship’s weather-beaten signs.

At the same time, the City of Toronto shut off water to the ship and a health department inspector ordered the restaurant closed because staff would be unable to wash utensils or their hands.

It seems Letnik owes more than $500,000 in back taxes, rent and insurance on the slip and 300-foot ship. Is this the end of Captain John's Restaurant, a Toronto landmark since 1970?


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World's Biggest Bookstore to Close

World's Biggest BookstoreIndigo Books and Music won't renew their lease for the World's Biggest Bookstore on Edward Street near Yonge and Dundas. When the lease expires at the end of 2013, it will likely become a suburban type big-box store, like a Home Depot or Best Buy or Wal-Mart. The World's Biggest Bookstore will be no more.

I haven't been in many years, but in my youth a trip to Sam the Record Man would often be followed by a trip to the World's Biggest Bookstore. It's always been there, and it's sad to see it go, but things change and books, like music, have gone digital. As Bobby would say, the times they are a changin'.


The best part about the World's Biggest Bookstore might just be that name. What kid doesn't want to visit the world's biggest bookstore? It turns out, that name is a lie. The current Guinness record-holder in the category of largest bookshop is a Barnes and Noble on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

I don't know what to believe any more...

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A ROM Exhibit in 2035

A ROM Exhibit in 2035Titled as found on Reddit.


The pic is a spoof of some new Apple thing announced at the WWDC. You fanboys can have your closed systems... I doubt I'll ever buy another Apple product in my lifetime.

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Andy Gray's @si_vault Toronto Picture Dump

Andy Gray's @si_vault Toronto Picture DumpAndy Gray from Sports Illustrated is tweeting Toronto-centric pictures this afternoon.

I'm a Toronto-centric kind of guy who loves sports (and gets Sports Illustrated every week), so I'm collecting them all here along with Andy's accompanying tweets and some commentary from yours truly.


AG: Jack Morris, Dave Stewart, Todd Stottlemyre & Juan Guzman pose at a 1993 SI photo shoot

TM: Damn, I miss these days. I once stalked Stottlemyre at the CNE to get his autograph.


AG: Toronto Argonauts owners Bruce McNall, Wayne Gretzky and John Candy attend a 1991 game

TM: The kids and I just watched Planes, Trains and Automobiles. A few months ago, we watched Uncle Buck. I miss John Candy.


AG: SI photographer John McDonough took this great shot of Vince Carter

TM: Nope, I'm still not ready to make nice.


AG: Felix Potvin and his cat pose for a 1982 (sic) SI photo shoot

TM: Of course, Andy meant 1992. Speaking of stuff I miss, damn I miss Felix Potvin and this Leafs team that made the Conference finals twice in the early 90s.


AG: How amazing was this Toronto promotion (from 1946 Knicks-Huskies game)?

TM: I hate the name "Raptors" and wish we had gone with "Huskies".


AG: Get your cigar, recline your La-Z-Boy. We're going with Toronto photos all day. David Wells is excited!

TM: I saw STP and RHCP with David Wells... sorta.


AG: Tie Domi and Lyle Odelein get acquainted during a 2000 game between the Leafs and Devils

TM: My old pal.


AG: Marcus Camby poses for a photo at Raptors Media Day in 1997

TM: I can't believe Camby is still playing. He's old... he's my age!


AG: Blue Jays shortstop Danny Ainge in action

TM: NBA star Danny Ainge started at third for the Jays back in 1981. Here are the other starting third basemen in Blue Jays history.


AG: Joe Theismann in action with the Toronto Argonauts during the 1972 season

TM: This is the first photo, outside the Huskies ticket, that doesn't bring back memories.


AG: Cousins Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter in 1999

TM: T-Mac never seemed happy.


AG: Kelly Gruber celebrates Toronto Day at the SI Vault (for @GrubersMullet and Gruber lovers everywhere)

TM: Kelly, Kelly, Kelly, Kelly, Kelly.


AG: Roberto Alomar lays out for a catch during the 1992 World Series against Atlanta

TM: The greatest Blue Jay of all-time.


AG: Toronto fans celebrate after the Blue Jays won the 1992 World Series

TM: I'll never forget.


AG: Jesse Barfield and his son let their Soul Glo before a 1996 (sic) Blue Jays-Orioles game

TM: I loved Barfield, and I love this picture. There's my Exhibition Stadium in what is likely 1986. Barfield had a cannon for an arm.


AG: Wendel Clark scores a goal during a 1993 Caps-Leafs game

TM: All heart.


AG: Canadian legend Tim Horton played 18 seasons for the Maple Leafs in the '50s and '60s

TM: That's right, kids. Tim Horton was a Leaf. In fact, he was one of the greatest Leafs.


AG: Dave Keon and Pierre Pilote chase down a loose puck during a 1967 Maple Leafs-Blackhawks game

TM: I missed Keon's entire career, but I caught his return.


AG: Brian McNamee stretches out Roger Clemens before a 1997 Toronto-Baltimore game

TM: Roger Clemens, part of baseball's lost generation.


AG: How did Chris Bosh let SI take this photo of him?

TM: Bosh was more Vince than we realized. Go Celtics!


AG: SI's Chuck Solomon with a great aerial shot of Joe Carter scoring the winning run of the 1993 World Series

TM: Joe touched 'em all, and it's been all downhill since then.


AG: Toronto Day is over as I have to meet Robbie Alomar at his Skydome hotel room for dinner. Hope you enjoyed

TM: Fess up, Toronto. How many of you slept with Roberto Alomar?

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Never a Dull Moment: A Week in Toronto News

A Week in Toronto NewsToronto is a big city, but this past week we've had more than our fair share of news that transcends our borders. Many of us are wondering "what's next?".

Luka Rocco Magnotta
The MSM learned the name Luka Rocca Magnotta on May 30 when the Torontonian was identified as the suspect in the murder of Lin Jun. Yes, the murder took place in Montreal, but this story had a strong Toronto slant because he was born and raised here. I wrote about him, and I'm pretty sure he was reading and left a comment. More on that in the comments here. I'm glad he's now behind bars in Berlin.

Union Station Flooding
Nobody got hurt, but it was pretty big news in this city and the pictures were popular outside Canada. Here are some Photoshopped images from June 1.

Janitor Tries to Blow Up St. Joseph’s College
This story got lost in the shuffle, but it's pretty chilling. A janitor at St. Joseph’s College, an all-girls Catholic high school, cut the school's main gas line with the intention of blowing it up. Thankfully, his plan failed.

Eaton Centre Shooting
On Saturday, an argument made its way to a very busy food court in the Eaton Centre where Ahmed Hassan was gunned down. Seven others ended up in hospital as a result of this altercation. The suspect has turned himself in and the Eaton Centre is open for business once more.

I think that covers the more sensational stories from this city over the past week. It's enough to make me long for the days when we had nothing better to discuss than what to call Gay-Straight Alliances in schools.

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