Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

Non-English Mother Tongues in Toronto

Non-English Mother Tongues in TorontoMy mother tongue is English. In fact, it's the only language I speak fluently. Boring, isn't it?

According to this treemap, many Torontonians grow up speaking a language other than English. If you want to read the smaller boxes, here's the very interesting source PDF.


Did you grow up speaking a language other than English? If so, which language?

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My Six Favourite Toronto Albums

cdA list of the top 50 Toronto albums is making the rounds, so I thought I'd chime in with my six favourite Toronto albums.

With apologies to the Rheostatics, Rush and Blue Rodeo, these are my top six.

Everything I Long ForHayden - Everything I Long For

Favourite Tracks:
"Bad As They Seem"
"In September"

Love JunkThe Pursuit of Happiness - Love Junk

Favourite Tracks:
"I'm an Adult Now"
"She's So Young"
"Hard to Laugh"

Shakespeare My ButtThe Lowest of the Low - Shakespeare My Butt

Favourite Tracks:
"Henry Needs a New Pair of Shoes"
"Eternal Fatalist"
"Bleed a Little While Tonight"

YelowtapeBarenaked Ladies - The Yellow Tape

Favourite Tracks:
"Brian Wilson"
"If I Had $1000000"
"Be My Yoko Ono"

Symphony in EffectMaestro Fresh-Wes - Symphony in Effect

Favourite Tracks:
"Let Your Backbone Slide"
"Drop the Needle"
"Tear it Up"

FlukeRusty - Fluke

Favourite Tracks:
"Groovy Dead"
"Wake Me"

And Neil Young's Live at Massey Hall 1971 isn't on this list because although he spent his formative years in Toronto and recorded this masterpiece in Toronto, I'm having difficulty swallowing it as a Toronto album. And yes, some of you hate rap and will ridicule me for including the Maestro on this list. Go ahead, I have thick skin.

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Anthony Bourdain - The Layover: Toronto

Anthony Bourdain - The Layover: TorontoShared without comment, this is The Layover with Anthony Bourdain visiting Toronto.

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Rob Ford Removed From Office #holyshit

Rob Ford Removed as MayorAn Ontario judge has ruled that Rob Ford violated the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act and will be removed from office.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Charles T. Hackland said in a ruling released Monday that Ford violated the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act when he spoke and participated in a council vote regarding a financial penalty he was ordered to pay. The penalty relates to donations he solicited for his football charity.

The ruling Monday takes effect in 14 days because Hackland said he recognized the decision "will necessitate administrative changes in the City of Toronto."

This quote from Judge Hackland's ruling is most damning:

It is difficult to accept an error in judgment defence based essentially on a stubborn sense of entitlement and a dismissive and confrontational attitude to the Integrity Commish and the Code of Conduct. In my opinion, the respondent's actions were characterized by ignorance of the law and a lack of diligence in securing professional advice, amounting to wilful blindness.

Everyone knows how I felt about this mayor. I'm just sorry he's got another 14 days and possibly longer with appeals, etc. Earlier today I said I'd be flabbergasted if Ford was removed from office. Right now I'm flabbergasted, and it feels so good. There's hope for this city once more.

And to Mr. Ford I have but two words: good riddance.

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SFW Toronto City Porn

SFW Toronto City PornHere's a gorgeous view from the crane that was building the Four Seasons Yorkville Residences here in Toronto.


[via Reddit]

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Best Toronto Ghost Story

halloweenMy favourite Toronto ghost story, without a doubt, is the story of a ghost named Reznikoff who haunts University College at the University of Toronto, my alma mater. Here's the haunting tale of Ivan Reznikoff.

According to accounts, the ghost, "a heavy, thickset figure, with black curly hair and a beard," typically appears on the road in front of UC's main entrance or near the Roundhouse on the western side of the building. His appearances are said to indicate approaching disaster, such as a Fenian raid in 1866, and the death of two faculty members in 1892. The so-called phantom was often "seen" flitting about around Valentine's Day and Halloween.

Ivan Reznikoff and Paul Diabolos were sculptors who worked on the construction of UC. Reznikoff, a muscle-bound Russian from Poland, had been saving his money and planned to marry his long-time girlfriend, but then discovered that she had been conducting a secret affair with Diabolos. A good-looking Greek from Corinth, Diabolos had somehow convinced her to steal Reznikoff's hard-earned cash and run away with him out West.

Furious, Reznikoff confronted and attacked his co-worker on the UC construction site. But Diabolos, armed with a knife, killed him and dumped his body down a well. Denied a proper burial and ticked off about the whole betrayal/murder episode, Reznikoff began a long career of haunting the historic college.

As legend has it, a gash in the door that leads to University College was the result of an axe swung by Reznikoff as he pursued Diabolos. Several years ago, I revisited my old haunting grounds and took a couple of photos.

Ivan Reznikoff Vs. Paul Diabolos

Ivan Reznikoff Vs. Paul Diabolos

If you have a better Toronto ghost story, I'd love to hear it.

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Len Lives!

It's My NeighbourhoodSteal My Sunshine was catchy enough to make SLS2. Don't believe me? Revisit the preserved Smells Like Sour database and see for yourself.

Steal My Sunshine came out in 1999, and I haven't heard much from Len since. Toronto band Len is siblings Marc and Sharon Costanzo and they've got a new video for a new single "It's My Neighbourhood" that's chock full of Toronto scenery.

Len lives.

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Tallest Buildings in Toronto

Tallest Buildings in TorontoOn our way to the stadium formerly known as SkyDome yesterday, my son asked me a question. The CN Tower is the tallest building in Toronto, but what comes in second place?

I wasn't sure what the next tallest building in Toronto was, but Wikipedia helped me out. Here's a list of the ten tallest buildings in Toronto:

  1. CN Tower - 553 m
  2. First Canadian Place - 298 m
  3. Trump International Hotel and Tower - 281 m
  4. Scotia Plaza - 275 m
  5. TD Canada Trust Tower - 261 m
  6. Commerce Court West - 239 m
  7. Toronto-Dominion Tower - 223 m
  8. Bay Adelaide Centre West Tower - 218 m
  9. Shangri-La Toronto - 214 m
  10. Ritz-Carlton Toronto - 208 m

Of course, the CN Tower isn't technically a "habitable building", but there's no way I'm not including it on this list. Afterall, there are 7 habitable floors in that pod!

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The Oldest Building in Toronto

The Oldest Building in TorontoThis handy Wikipedia list tells me the oldest buildings and structures in Toronto. After our discussion yesterday about the Mirvish - Geehry condo project, I clicked over to learn about the oldest building in Toronto.

It's The Scadding Cabin, found on the western grounds of the CNE. It was built by the Queen's York Rangers in 1794 on behalf of John Scadding, who served as clerk (essentially, an executive assistant) to the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe.


Rumour has it they're going to tear down The Scadding Cabin for a new condo tower... but don't quote me on that.

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The Real Tragedy If David Mirvish and Frank Gehry Build Their Condo Tower

The Real Tragedy If David Mirvish and Frank Gehry Build Their Condo TowerDavid Mirvish and Frank Gehry have proposed a triple-tower condo development on King Street West. I've seen some outrage on Twitter and elsewhere that the Princess of Wales Theatre would have to go to make this possible. Losing the Princess of Wales Theatre is the least of my concerns...

I'm far more upset that we'd lose four century-old buildings along King Street West. These include the Eclipse Whitewear Company Building at 322 King St. West, the Anderson Building at 284 King St. West, the E.W. Gillett Building at 276 King St. West and the Reid Building at 266-270 King St. West.

The past couple of weeks, I've been looking at century-old buildings on King and Queen Streets. I love them... and wish Toronto had preserved more of them. On my recent trips to Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam and Dublin it was the preservation of old buildings that captured my heart. Toronto is part of the new world, but we do have beautiful old buildings, and I hate the thought of tearing down four of them for yet another condo.

The Princess of Wales Theatre is getting all the press, but it's only been around since 1993 and other venues will sprout up to support our theatre scene. But once we tear down the Eclipse Whitewear Company Building, Anderson Building, E.W. Gillett Building and Reid Building, there's no turning back.

I hope David Mirvish and Frank Gehry build their condo somewhere else.

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