Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

Toronto Valentine's Day Cards

heartAbout four years ago, I had a pretty good idea. I wanted to create Toronto-centric Valentine's Day cards featuring local prominent figures, past and present.

Here are the few I threw together. Feel free to take this torch and run with it. We've still got time.

Gord Zanta maestro Vince

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Ford Moved Transfer Station Fence Lines to Thwart Picketers

city hall cardinalI've mentioned I have a Toronto City Hall informant. I call him / her Cardinal. Cardinal just sent me an email following the city's deal reached with CUPE local 416 to avert a strike.

Here's Cardinal's email, in its entirety.

just so you and your blog followers know.... ford claims that there is no money in the budget for anything, yet they spent $20,000 at each transfer station to move the fence lines to within 15m from the road so that in the event of a strike/ lockout, the people picketing couldn't park on the property and would be fined for parking on the street. Also, they had warehouses rented out so that they could dump the city's waste there. That sounds like gravy to me.

I'll just leave this here without comment. The Super Bowl is about to start.

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Rob Ford Loves Subways

cityhallIt's all about subways. Just ask our mayor Rob Ford.

From the National Post:

The power struggle over what transit to build in Toronto continues at City Hall, with Mayor Rob Ford telling reporters, at his weekly weigh-in: “It’s all about subways.” An excerpt of the scrum follows.

Reporter: Mr. Mayor, some people at 11 o’clock are discussing the legal standard of scrapping Transit City and they are saying you may have overstepped your boundaries. What do you say?

Mayor: I didn’t overstep my boundaries, I did what the taxpayers want. They want subways, that’s it. They don’t want streetcars. I was out in Scarborough over the weekend, people came up to me and said, they want subways. That’s it.

Reporter: Is there any wiggle room for you on this issue?

Mayor: It’s the taxpayers. The taxpayers want…I was elected on subways, they want subways, I was out on Saturday, people want subways. That’s it.

Reporter: Do you think you’ll win this vote? It doesn’t seem like you have the votes.

Mayor: It’s all subways. It’s all about subways.

Reporter: What are you going to do though if council votes against that?

Mayor: All about subways. So, it’s the taxpayers that elected me to get the subways in and that’s what we’re going to do.

Reporter: So, you think that gives you authority to, if council votes against that.

Mayor: It’s like winning an election. So if they voted me in, that means [stutters a bit] I don’t win an election? It doesn’t make sense.

That makes sense. I'm so proud of our mayor when he argues so eloquently. Really, you can't argue with his logic, which clearly proves he had the authority to cancel Transit City.

By the way, on Rob Ford's first day in office, I wrote that he did not have the authority to cancel Transit City. He's one vote out of 45. That's it.

But you can't deny his love of subways. Rob Ford loves subways.


All About Subways (Don't Make Sense) rap remix!

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Freezing Fog: What the Hell is That?

snowI'm about to head out to see American Idiot, so I checked the weather via my Ubuntu Linux desktop. Here's what I saw:


Freezing fog? What the hell is freezing fog?

According to the National Weather Service:

Freezing fog occurs when the water droplets that the fog is composed of are "supercooled". Supercooled water droplets remain in the liquid state until they come into contact with a surface upon which they can freeze. As a result, any object the freezing fog comes into contact with will become coated with ice. The same thing happens with freezing rain or drizzle.

That's some scary shit right there!

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Toronto Hacks

cntowerOver on Reddit there was a discussion about people's best Toronto hacks. Basically, any hacks for saving time, money or effort in Toronto.

Here's a few of the hacks posted there.

  • You can get a dozen free bagels on your birthday at What a Bagel
  • There's a change machine at the TD bank at Coxwell and Danforth. They take zero commission and you don't need to be a TD customer.
  • Morton's Steakhouse (on Avenue, just north of Bloor) has a bar where you can get free steak sandwiches if you're drinking. The drinks are fairly expensive but totally worth it for the sandwiches. They have a dress code though so you have to wear a suit.
  • Amsterdam brewery at Bathurst and lake shore is open till 11 every night and on holidays. Great for when you need to buy beer and the LCBO is closed.
  • Follow the GO bus. E.g. if a GO bus ahead of you decides not to take the DVP, you definitely don't want to take the DVP. Bail and take Don Mills instead. They have the advantage of radios and measurements, they know when things are bad enough to make alternate routes faster.
  • If you're getting on the subway at a stop where the doors are going to open on the other side for the rest of the line (i.e. getting on at Bloor, going eastbound) during rush hour/anytime when its busy, instead of trying to be one of the first on in hopes of finding a seat, be the very last to get on so you can have the sweet door spot. This works at Bloor, Bay, St. George, Union, Eglinton, Sheppard and I think a few other places.
  • Pretty sure this is illegal but you can actually very easily get behind the large Indigo sign at Yonge and Eglinton. You turn left onto the first street north of Eglinton. there is a stair well that is locked but the wall next to is super low hop over and push the door open. the stairs lead up and around behind the sign lots of space. Kinda a cool place to have a smoke.
  • Not really a hack, but in Scotia plaza on the corner of Bay and King I believe, there is an amazing little barbershop that is straight out of the 30's. It's called Truefitt & Hill and it's located inside the plaza. Great place to get an old fashioned cut, shave, and even shoes shined.
  • You know these corn beef keys? You can use them on the 25 cent carts if you happen to not have a quarter on you. I used to work at a grocery store and always spent my quarters that day and needed a few to bring all the buggies in. Just push the key into the slot with the round part going in, and once you hear the click just take it out.
  • Use Bayview/Pottery road/Mortimer rd. Best way to bypass Bloor for a quick trip from east to west end.
  • The Park Hyatt on the North-West corner of Avenue & Bloor has a tiny little lounge on the 18th floor that's open to the public and is absolutely the best place in the city to go with your laptop to spend a few relaxing productive hours. There's a small rooftop patio directly overlooking the ROM crystal and with a beautiful view of the core. Inside, there's a few small tables, a short bar, and a couple couches. For $5 you can get a coffee that they'll continue to refill for as long as you're there and they bring you free snacks (spiced olives, warm roasted almonds, and mixed crunchy snacks). If you get hungry for something bigger, there's a reasonably priced tapas menu (the oregano feta fries are great). There's free wifi, lovely decor, and the staff are super friendly.
  • You can get into the ROM for free on Tuesdays if you are attending a Canadian post-secondary institution.
  • I haven't done this in a couple years, but they almost never lock the pool at The Grande Hotel on Jarvis. After 11 pm, just walk in and take the elevator to the basement. The door is closed, but not locked. We use to swim, use the sauna, and just hang out. Hopefully it's still like this.
  • In the city and need a public restroom? Just make note of any nearby upscale hotels. They all have nice, clean spacious, private bathrooms off the lobby and no one ever looks at you twice. Everyone just assumes your supposed to be there or they don't care. I like the Royal York, the King Edward, the Sheraton, etc. Also, they're 24/7.
  • At the Inter Continental hotel by the Metro Toronto Convention Center on the 12th floor (or was it 8th...) there's actually a little cafe that serves light drinks and can serve various foods (though they do server a full breakfast in the mornings). It also has wi-fi and the staff is nice (since they probably don't see too many people I guess). There's free daily papers too.
  • Not really that secret, but if you are in the financial district and need to go north on the yonge line, walk to st patricks instead and you get a seat during rush hour.
  • The Beer Hunter compiles all the places to buy booze in Ontario, complete with hours and locations, usually open way later than the LC and Beer Store.

Do you have any good Toronto (or GTA) hacks to add?

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Protip: Use a Bigger Lock

city hallThe city had all those love padlocks removed from Toronto’s Humber Bridge yesterday. 40 or so of these symbols of eternal love got snipped with only a couple remaining.

This photo from the Toronto Star shows one of the survivors. It was simply too big for the clippers.


Moral of the story: use a bigger lock

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Leafs Sold to Rogers and Bell, No Longer Pension Plan Puppets

leafsSo this just happened...

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has sold its 79.53 per cent stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment to Rogers Communications and BCE for more than $1.2 billion. BCE is fancy talk for Bell. That's right, Bell and Rogers now each own 37.5% of MLSE, which owns, among other things, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Raptors, TFC and the Toronto Marlies.

A couple of thoughts immediately spring to mind... These partnerships between Rogers and Bell make me very nervous. We need them to hate each other, right? It can't be good for the competitive landscape, for those of us who need Internet access and mobile talk and data plans and cable tv, when these telecom behemoths keep jumping into bed together.


And what will become of Pension Plan Puppets, the go-to Leafs blog in these parts? I hope they keep the name for tradition, the way we secular folks still call this Santa holiday Christmas.

But what matters most, of course, is will this help my Leafs win the cup? Since we've already given Brian Burke autonomy and let him spend the cap, I'm thinking it won't make a difference. At least it won't hurt...

What do you guys think of the sale of MLSE?

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Rob Ford vs. Toronto Star

city hallI have one more photoshopped Rob Ford football kick that I'd like to share. This was emailed to me by Patrick Corrigan, editorial cartoonist for the Toronto Star.


I agree with Torstar chairman John Honderich when he says the blatant attempt by the mayor to block the flow of public information to one newspaper cannot go unchallenged. The blackout on press releases and notifications of public events is a clear and blatant abuse of power.

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Rob Ford's Football Kick Photoshopped

cityhallPrior to the Metro Bowl at the stadium formerly known as Skydome, Rob Ford kicked things off... literally. Here's the picture from the Toronto Star.


Over on Reddit, the redditors had some fun photoshopping Rob Ford all over the place. It sort of became a thing, so I thought I'd group a bunch of them here, for folks who actually know who Rob Ford is.














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Shark Fin Soup Banned

city hallToronto city council has voted in favour of banning the possession and consumption of shark fins. The final vote was 38-4, with only these four voting against the ban:

  • Rob Ford
  • Giorgio Mammoliti
  • Doug Holyday
  • David Shiner

If you're unsure what the shark fin controversy is about, check out this video of Gordon Ramsay from his special "Shark Bait".

If I understand Rob Ford's argument correctly, we should allow the sale of shark fin soup because it's important to Chinese culture. Once more, Ford's premise is faulty. Many an inhumane and abusive practice has been associated with a particular culture and it's our role as a progressive and civilized society to cease tolerating and condoning these barbaric actions. A shark fin ban makes sense as something we can do to reduce the demand for shark finning.

According to wildlife conservation much of the sharks' fin trade uses fins cut from living sharks, called finning. Because shark meat is worth much less, the now finless and often still-living sharks are thrown back into the sea to make room for more of the valuable fins. In the ocean, the sharks either die from suffocation or are eaten because they are unable to move normally.

Violating the ban will result in a fine of between $500 and $100,000. Good move, Toronto.

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