June 2015 Archives

« May 2015 July 2015 »

Josh Donaldson Has Most All-Star Votes in MLB History

Josh Donaldson is having a heck of a season. The Blue Jays third baseman currently ranks first among American League third baseman in runs batted in (48) and slugging percentage (.525), is second in on-base percentage (.879) and is third in hits with 84. His 18 home runs are good for sixth among all AL players.

Royals fans have been trying to vote in an all-Royals starting lineup, but Donaldson collected over 2.7 million votes last week to move into the top spot for third base over Mike Moustakas. It's not just the most votes overall this season, it's the most votes ever recorded. A great deal of credit goes to Don Cherry for rallying the troops.

There's really nothing to dislike about Josh Donaldson's game. I'd take him over Brett Lawrie every day of the week and twice on Sundays.


Voting in starters for the all-star game ends Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET. You can vote here.

Discuss "Josh Donaldson Has Most All-Star Votes in MLB History" (7 comments so far)

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 127: Melissa DiMarco

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 127In this 127th episode, Mike chats with actress and television host Melissa DiMarco about playing the principal on Degrassi, working with Robin Williams on Death to Smoochy, what she thought of Aubrey Graham before he was Drake and all the awesome people she interviews on Out There with Melissa DiMarco. This episode is exactly 51:16.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:


Catch up on all episodes of Toronto Mike'd at https://www.torontomike.com/podcast/.

Toronto Mike'd Podcast

Discuss "Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 127: Melissa DiMarco" (8 comments so far)

Great Edutainment at Ontario Science Centre

Edutainment isn't just a 1990 album from Boogie Down Productions that made its way into my collection, it's also something I'm constantly on the lookout for my kids. I seek activities that make science fun, and the MythBusters exhibition currently at the Ontario Science Centre is precisely that.

We visited yesterday after taking in a Humpback Whales doc at the Omnimax theatre. There's plenty for the kids to do as they get to perform hands-on experiments, and there's even a live show. Michelle's favourite was trying to remove a table cloth without breaking the tableware while James dug the "what gets you wetter: running or walking in the rain" experiment.




Discuss "Great Edutainment at Ontario Science Centre" (6 comments so far)

Maple Leafs Draft Mitchell Marner

With the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs have drafted Mitchell Marner of the London Knights.

I've had this feeling since April. This past season he tallied 44 goals and 82 assists to amass an astounding 126 points across 63 OHL games.

He's not big, but he's got boatloads of skill, and I'm glad he's a Maple Leaf.


Discuss "Maple Leafs Draft Mitchell Marner" (13 comments so far)

Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

Discuss "Open Mike" (36 comments so far)

Labatt's Blue salutes the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays

[via Retrontario]

Discuss "Labatt's Blue salutes the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays" (1 comment so far)

I Had the Confederate Flag in My Home

The Confederate flag is under attack. A symbol of slavery and racism, the South Carolina legislature is finally removing it from its State House grounds while stores are busy removing the emblem from shelves.

Back when I was young and innocent, I played with the Confederate flag daily. My favourite show was The Dukes of Hazzard and I loved the General Lee, the Duke boys' car. Like many guys my age, I owned a toy replica of the General Lee, complete with Confederate flag on the roof.



Discuss "I Had the Confederate Flag in My Home" (17 comments so far)

My Son Thinks He's Bob McKenzie

My oldest son thinks he's Bob McKenzie. Yesterday I got a passionate and detailed analysis as to who the Leafs might draft fourth overall and why. Some scenarios have Noah Hanifin dropping to fourth, others have us picking Dylan Strome or Mitch Marner and then there's the Ivan Provorov wildcard. My son heard an analyst calling Ivan Provorov the best defenseman in the draft and now he's preparing me for a surprise.

Clearly, after the top two picks, it's up for grabs. It sounds like a tremendous top six, and since we're drafting fourth, we're unlikely to screw this up. Friday night, my boy will have us glued to TSN Sportsnet to find out who it'll be. I'll admit, he's got me pretty excited.

In April, I hoped we'd draft Michell Marner. I still do, but I could live with Dylan Strome.

Discuss "My Son Thinks He's Bob McKenzie" (8 comments so far)

James Horner, Dead at 61

James HornerJames Horner was 61. He composed the score for such films as Field of Dreams, Braveheart and Titanic. He was nominated for 10 Oscars in total, winning twice for Titanic.

Discuss "James Horner, Dead at 61" (1 comment so far)

Teddy Bear Picnic

When I was a toddler, one of my go-to albums was There's a Hippo in My Tub by Anne Murray. My favourite cuts were "Animal Crackers" and "Teddy Bears' Picnic". For the longest time I thought that last one was an Anne Murray original.

I was way wrong. The music behind "Teddy Bears' Picnic" was written by John Walter Bratton in 1907 and the lyrics were added by Jimmy Kennedy in 1932.

Here's the first recording with lyrics, in 1932 by Henry Hall and His Orchestra with Val Rosing on vocals.

It's been recorded dozens and dozens of times. Here's Bing Crosby singing it in 1950.

Discuss "Teddy Bear Picnic" (3 comments so far)

The Best


Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.

Discuss "The Best" (6 comments so far)

Queens Quay Revitalization Project Complete!

As you may know from reading this blog, I rediscovered my love of cycling a few years ago. A great deal of my riding is done on the Waterfront Trail, which runs along Lake Ontario. I know every nook and cranny of that trail.

On the days I decide to ride east, I would always hit the Queens Quay construction at Bathurst, forcing me off the path. This has been the case for three long years, but the Queens Quay revitalization project is finally complete.

Earlier today, I rode the Waterfront Trail, which includes the Martin Goodman Trail, from the west end of the city to The Beaches (or is it The Beach now?). There were no detours or closures, and it was everything I imagined it could be. It's truly wonderful public space and ideal for cyclists.


I haven't yet explored the new space as a pedestrian, but from what I see it's going to be a fantastic place to take the kids and soak in the sun. Here's a pic I took during a recent ride there.


Full marks to everyone behind this revitalization project. It was well worth the wait.


Discuss "Queens Quay Revitalization Project Complete!" (4 comments so far)

Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

Discuss "Open Mike" (72 comments so far)

NHL Playoff Ratings Plummet 20%, but Why?

According to Numeris research, total playoff ratings were down 20% in 2015. This is despite the fact five Canadian teams made the playoffs this year, with two advancing to the second round.

Rogers, in the first year of their monster 12-year, $5.2 billion dollar deal, predicted a 20% increase this season. What happened that caused a big decline instead?

Here are a few possibilities. Let me know in the comments why you think NHL playoff viewership is down.

Chicago Fatigue
I don't know about you, but I'm tired of the Chicago Black Hawks winning. Sure, they're a great team, but it's a little like watching a re-run. Personally, I'm bored by it all.

No Leafs
Once again, the NHL playoffs was Leafs-less. Of course, they were Leafs-less last season as well, so it shouldn't have caused a year-over-year decline. Regardless, if the Leafs were in the playoffs, you know ratings would have soared. No team in the country attracts as many eyeballs.

The Jays Were Hot
While the Stanley Cup final was taking place, the Jays were winning 11 in a row, many in exciting fashion. Rogers scored some big numbers for Jays games, and you know it likely cannibalized their hockey numbers.

People Don't Like Rogers's Coverage
I'm not sure about this one, because the game is the game is the game. I sincerely believe most hockey fans just want an HD feed of the game, which Rogers provides. Still, it's possible some of the changes Rogers has made are not sitting well with viewers, causing many to tune out.

There are four possible reasons for the 20% drop. Why do you think ratings are down?

Discuss "NHL Playoff Ratings Plummet 20%, but Why?" (24 comments so far)

The Naming of Thunder Bay

Biking this afternoon, I listened to The Story from Here on CBC Radio One. One story was about the naming of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The City of Thunder Bay was formed in 1970 through the merger of the cities of Fort William, Port Arthur, and the geographic townships of Neebing and McIntyre. A referendum was held to vote on the new name, and it seemed as if "Lakehead" would carry the day. It was often referred to as "Lakehead" because of its location at the end of Great Lakes navigation on the Canadian side of the border.

The ballot, however, included three possible names: "Thunder Bay", "Lakehead" and "The Lakehead". As you could imagine, the vote split between the two and "Thunder Bay" came up the middle to win.

Check out the final tally:

  • "Thunder Bay" - 15,870
  • "Lakehead" - 15,302
  • "The Lakehead" - 8,377

I had no idea and thought that was pretty damn interesting.

Discuss "The Naming of Thunder Bay" (19 comments so far)

It's Tough to Lose this Consistently

I lost the NHL playoff pool again. You might recall I would have clinched with a Ducks win over the Black Hawks. Well, that didn't happen.

Still, I managed to hold on to first place until the final game on Monday night. I was this close to being the first poolie to win without a single player in the final. I literally led the pool for 99% of the time, until I didn't.

It's not easy losing this consistently. It's actually the second time I've been caught from behind on the final night. I've never won and have now lost about twenty years in a row.

Oh yeah, there was that one year there was no Stanley Cup playoffs. It felt good to enjoy the feeling of not losing for a spring.

Discuss "It's Tough to Lose this Consistently" (1 comment so far)

Primary School Grades Don't Matter Anyway

As part of their job action, my kids' teachers won't be entering grades into the report card system. I'm A-OK with that.

I simply don't care what grades my kids receive in primary school. I never have, and I never will. In fact, I'd be happy if grades disappeared forever from primary school report cards. These teachers with their job action are doing us a favour.

It's the comments I care about. Ideally, there would be even more meat on that bone. Tell me how my child works independently, with others, and if you believe there are any learning disabilities or disciplinary concerns. Of course, if there actually was an issue, it's not as if I'd be learning about it for the first time on a report card. A solid dialogue with the teacher would have revealed any such concerns long ago.

I'm lucky in that my grade five and grade seven children are excellent students, but even if they struggled and received poor grades, they'd be promoted. Kids today can't fail even if they try. The grades truly do not matter.

In high school, this starts to change. Universities will reject students who don't have sufficient grades, so grades become very important. Unfortunately, that means learning becomes less importance. The more importance placed on a final grade, the less incentive there is to learn and leave your comfort zone.

For example, when I was in high school, I knew the marks that the University of Toronto would look at when I applied there. I needed a math, and to satisfy other criteria, but I could cherry pick the classes I knew I could ace with minimal effort. I intentionally avoided difficult classes, because I knew the grades were all that mattered. If your goal is learning, this is counter-productive.

Withholding my children's grades this year doesn't have this parent angry. It has me grateful.

Discuss "Primary School Grades Don't Matter Anyway" (40 comments so far)

Following Sports is a Big Fat Waste of Time

How many hours have I wasted watching sports on television? So many Leafs games, so many Raptors games, so many Jays games... then there's Olympics and tennis majors and the junior and world hockey championships. Not to mention all the other events that suck me in, like Super Bowls and Stanley Cup and NBA playoffs and world and Euro cups...

It affects my moods, yet I have no control over the outcome. It costs me boatloads of money, because it's really the only reason I pay for cable television. It's time I could be spending on other things, better things.

And really, what does it matter? Most of the sports I watch are multi-millionaires playing a game so we can be marketed cola and beer. Following sports is a big fat waste of time.

But just this past week I enjoyed thrilling Blue Jay walkoff victories, a last minute game winning goal by Canada's Christine Sinclair, a plucky Lightning team making my Black Hawks sweep prediction look silly and one of the greatest individual performance in the history of the NBA finals. Seriously, what LeBron James is doing with a bunch of average teammates is mind blowing.

And that's why I watch. You never know what you're going to get, and sometimes it's incredible. I'm a slave to the spectacle.

Discuss "Following Sports is a Big Fat Waste of Time" (14 comments so far)

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 126: Roger Ashby

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 126In this 126th episode, Mike chats with 104.5 CHUM FM morning show host Roger Ashby about his years on 1050 CHUM, his move to FM, his success with Roger, Rick and Marilyn, and how long he'll run. This episode is exactly 34:40.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

Catch up on all episodes of Toronto Mike'd at https://www.torontomike.com/podcast/.

Toronto Mike'd Podcast

Discuss "Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 126: Roger Ashby" (10 comments so far)

Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

Discuss "Open Mike" (65 comments so far)

The Results of Dean Blundell's First Spring Ratings Book at The Fan 590

Happy ratings day, my radio friends! Just this morning I was chatting with Roger Ashby in my basement (I can't believe I just typed that) and he had a deadline because of a meeting he had to attend, all because it's ratings day. It's a big day for everyone in radio, whether you're Roger Ashby or Dean Blundell.

Speaking of Dean Blundell, the spring book is now complete, and I've learned how Blundell & Co. fared on The Fan 590. As discussed in great detail last month, The Fan only cares about men aged 25-54. That's the only number I'll share, because it's the only number that matters.

Blundell & Co. fell to 5.6 in May 2015. That's down almost a full point from April 2015. That also means he managed a 5.5 for the past three months combined. Again, this is well below Rogers execs' expectations.

For a little perspective, The Fan 590 managed an 8.6 last year. This year's spring book for the morning show shows a decline of over three points.

Discuss "The Results of Dean Blundell's First Spring Ratings Book at The Fan 590" (30 comments so far)

Christopher Lee, Dead at 93

Christopher LeeChristopher Lee was 93. He was a prolific actor best known for his portrayal of Dracula in a string of films, Francisco Scaramanga in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun, Saruman in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and The Hobbit film trilogy, and Count Dooku in the final two films of the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

He also served five years in World War II, was a world champion fencer, and became the oldest person to ever record lead vocals on a heavy metal track when, at the age of 88, he wrote, performed on, and released a progressive symphonic power metal EP about the life of Charlemagne.

Discuss "Christopher Lee, Dead at 93" (6 comments so far)

Black's Was Photography

Black's (now stylized as BLACKS) was founded in 1930 with a store in Toronto on St. Clair Ave. Yesterday it was announced that the last 59 stores will be closed for good on August 8.

The digital revolution has most of us taking photos with our phones (count me in that group) and few of us printing pictures. Nobody is surprised by this news, but it's still sad to see it go. Black's was photography.

Did you spot a young Keanu Reeves in that 1986 ad? Big thanks to Retrontario for the tip!

Discuss "Black's Was Photography" (5 comments so far)

Mike Kic's Voice Mail Greeting

I just learned on Facebook that my pal Jordy is cancelling my buddy Mike Kic's phone plan. Jordy was married to Mike Kic. I say "was" because Mike Kic passed away a little over a year ago.

Hearing that Mike Kic's phone plan was being cancelled meant one thing to me. If I wanted to hear his voice mail greeting again, I'd have to call now before it disappeared forever.

So I called, recorded his greeting to MP3, and shared it with Jordy and all of Mike Kic's Facebook friends. And now, I'm sharing it with you.

Discuss "Mike Kic's Voice Mail Greeting" (2 comments so far)

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 125: Matt Galloway

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 125In this 125th episode, Mike chats with CBC Metro Morning host Matt Galloway about how he ended up at the CBC, how Andy Barrie is doing, how Metro Morning is produced, the future of the CBC, the lack of diversity in Toronto talk radio and his favourite cycling trails. This episode is exactly 1:01:43.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

Catch up on all episodes of Toronto Mike'd at https://www.torontomike.com/podcast/.

Toronto Mike'd Podcast

Discuss "Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 125: Matt Galloway" (31 comments so far)

Video Hits with Samantha Taylor

Before MuchMusic appeared on my television, I got my video fix from two sources: Toronto Rocks on CityTV and Video Hits on CBC.

I preferred the rougher feel of Toronto Rocks, but I also enjoyed hearing from Samantha Taylor at 5pm. Here's a clip of Samantha Taylor hosting Video Hits in 1988, courtesy of Retrontario.

Samantha Taylor, by the way, was a pseudonym. Her real name is Myroslava Luciw. If anyone knows where she is today, I'd love to sit down and chat with her.

Discuss "Video Hits with Samantha Taylor" (11 comments so far)

8 Cities with Longer Championship Droughts than Toronto

Firstly, this entry is about NHL, NBA, NFL and MLB championships. I realize Toronto has had great success in lacrosse and has won Grey Cups recently, but with all due respect, I'm not counting them as major championships. For Toronto, I'm only counting the Maple Leafs, Blue Jays and Raptors.

That means Toronto hasn't won a championship since 1993. That's a 22 year drought. As bad as that sounds, many cities have it worse.

San Diego

Let's start with San Diego. The Chargers haven't won since 1963, the Padres have never won a World Series, and even their former NBA teams (Rockets and Clippers) didn't win a thing.
52 year drought


I'm rooting heavily for the Cavaliers in this year's NBA championship and they're currently tied 1-1 with the Warriors. The Cavs have never won a title, the Indians haven't won since 1948 and the Browns haven't won since 1964.
51 year drought


Buffalo only has the two teams, but that's enough to count. The Sabres have never won a Stanley Cup and the Bills haven't won since 1965.
50 year drought

Kansas City

Kansas City also only has two teams, but they did have a short-lived NHL and NBA franchise. Neither won a thing. The Chiefs haven't won the Super Bowl since 1970 and the Royals haven't won a World Series since 1985.
30 year drought


The Golden State Warriors haven't won since 1975, the Oakland Raiders haven't won since 1983, and the A's haven't won since 1989.
26 year drought


The Bengals have been consistently brutal throughout the years, never winning a title. Meanwhile, the Reds haven't won a World Series since 1990.
25 year drought

Minneapolis-St. Paul

The Vikings have never won a Super Bowl, the North Stars and Wild have never won a Stanley Cup, the Timberwolves have never won and the Twins haven't won a World Series since 1991.
24 year drought


The Bullets / Wizards haven't won since 1978, the Capitals have never won, the Nationals have never won and their NFL franchise hasn't won a Super Bowl since 1992.
23 year drought

Discuss "8 Cities with Longer Championship Droughts than Toronto" (10 comments so far)

Shomi Suggestions Lacking

When it comes to user experience, Shomi could learn a lot from Netflix. When I finish an episode of a series on Netflix, it anticipates that I most likely would want to watch the next episode next. In fact, it will auto-play the next episode if I let it. I find this awfully convenient.

On Shomi, when I complete an episode of a series, let's say episode 3 of season 3 of Californication, it suggests I watch random episodes from completely different shows. Why would I suddenly want to watch episode 5 from the first season of The Trip, a series I have never watched in my life?


I mean, if I were going to suddenly start watching The Trip, wouldn't episode 1 of season 1 make more sense? And if you're going to list "You may also like" suggestions, episode 4 of season 3 of Californication really should be at the top of the list.

Shomi's interface sucks.

Discuss "Shomi Suggestions Lacking" (20 comments so far)

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 124

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 124In this 124th episode, Mike chats with Elvis about his heart, the PanAm Games, smoking at Go Stations, the Gardiner Expressway and more. Elvis also reviews Dean Blundell and Co. on The Fan 590. This episode is exactly 1:11:31.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

Catch up on all episodes of Toronto Mike'd at https://www.torontomike.com/podcast/.

Toronto Mike'd Podcast

Discuss "Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 124" (9 comments so far)

Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

Discuss "Open Mike" (41 comments so far)

An Open Letter To Jack

Driving to work yesterday, I had a fun little interaction with a prick on wheels. The two wheeled variety. Let's call him by name. Let's go with Jack. Jack Ass.

See, Jack Ass incorrectly concluded that I had violated his asphalt real estate while driving by him, so Jack decided to spit on my car, which is when I decided to pull over and confront Jack.

Jack immediately pulls out a phone to film the entire incident, repeatedly citing "you can't split the lane, you can't split the lane." And you know what else you can't do? Spit on someone's car without expecting that someone's blood to get up.

Jack, I'm not a religious man, but I advise you to count your blessings. You seem like the antagonizing type who's done this sort of thing before, so it's only a matter of time before you come across a person who is just a little more volatile than me, and in the heat of the moment, between your bicyle and a vehicle, you will lose. Oh sure, you could take legal action and would probably win some kind of cash settlement, which would allow you to spend the rest of your days gloating gleefully while sitting comfortably in your very expensive wheelchair.

Ryan G / HoboGauntlet.blogspot.ca

Discuss "An Open Letter To Jack" (15 comments so far)

Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games: Still Underwhelmed

We're a little over a month away from the 2015 Pan American Games. Toronto's the host city and we'll be welcoming approximately 6,135 athletes from 41 nations who will participate in 36 sports.

The Pan Am Games are not the Olympics. The Olympics are the world's biggest stage for athletics, and I love following them closely, but the Pan Am Games fail to excite me. I keep thinking that the excitement will kick in at some point, because we're the host city, but I'm still completely underwhelmed.

I read recently that a million tickets remain unsold. That's out of 1.4 million tickets in total. That sounds about right.

Is anyone excited about the 2015 Pan Am Games?

Discuss "Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games: Still Underwhelmed" (14 comments so far)

What are Torontonians doing about Basement Flooding?

It's a serious problem. Toronto’s July 2013 flood is listed as Ontario’s most costly natural disaster to date (with a $850 million price tag). Although serious, after a similar flood of Union Station in 2012, some internet jokesters photoshopped something we Torontonians could use to laugh our way through cleanup.

Closer to Home

Still, there is no point crying over flooded stations any more than over spilt milk. Besides, not only subway stations can be flooded. So can homes, your home. Let's think about your personal castle and its foundations; let's talk 'basement.' Here are the latest tips from Toronto's updated Noah about how to keep your basement-ark safe and dry. Taking aboard two of every kind of crawling, flying, and walking critters is optional.
What causes basement flooding? Heavy rainfall and sudden spring thaw causes built-up snow to melt rapidly.

What Can I Do To Keep My Home Safe And Dry?        

  • Keep your basement drains clear.
  • Inspect your weeping tile system to ensure it is not damaged, and properly draining stormwater below & away from the home’s foundation.
  • Repair & clear leaking and plugged eavestroughs & downspouts that don’t properly carry water away from the house.
  • Make sure your lawn has a slope or tilt away from your basement foundation walls.
  • Seal your basement windows.
  • Reroute downspouts so they don’t empty into the sewer system. This downspout disconnection is mandatory.
  • Make sure your eavestrough downspout empties at last 1.8 metres/6 feet from your home.
  • Install soft-surface landscaping (e.g., shrubs, porous paving).
  • Repair all cracks or leaks in your basement foundation.
  • Ensure your connection to the city sewer system has a backwater valve.
  • Don’t pour grease into your sink. (Pour bacon grease etc. into a glass jar, and toss jar in the trash when full.)
  • Check with your home insurer to ensure that you have adequate protection against flooding.
  • Work with your neighbours to prevent someone's broken eavestroughs becoming someone else's flood.
  • Install and maintain a sump pump used to pump water from weeping tile and/or basement drains.
  • Get a building permit when doing sewage repair work to ensure that the work is done properly.

Cleaning Up

  • When you are cleaning up your basement and standing on damp ground do NOT do any electrical work like changing fuses
  • Wear gloves, protective eyeglasses, rubber boots and a mask
  • Open windows to let in fresh air
  • Dry furniture and carpets with an air-blow heater or place them in the sun
  • Disinfect walls and floors using one part chlorine bleach to ten parts water
  • Make sure the area is completely dried and aired out before re-occupying it
  • To get help with repairing flood damage look under the yellow pages under 'water damage restoration
  • Call your insurer immediately to report flood damage and take photos to support your claims
  • For damage caused by the City, send an email to clerk@toronto.ca.

City and Homeowners Working Together

Toronto's sewage system is designed to control most storms but not severe ones that flood city streets and home basements. With climate change storms are becoming more severe and frequent. Both the City and homeowners need to take action to reduce the risk of basement flooding. The City is constantly working to improve the sewage system in low-lying flood prone areas. It also offers subsidies.


The City of Toronto offers owners of existing homes financial subsidies to assist with the cost of installing certain basement backup measures. A homeowner's best friend, other than Fido, is a backwater valve that prevents sewage backup into the basement. To be eligible for the subsidy a City licensed plumber must perform the work and a building permit is needed. Your front lawn must be unpaved and the downspouts of your eavestroughs must be disconnected from the sewage system. Call #311 or email basementflooding@toronto.ca for more information.

Rainbow and the New World

Flooded streets and basements are part of the larger problem of global warming. Certainly, we need to think globally and act locally. By becoming more aware earth-citizens beginning with where we live we can recreate our own covenant with the Earth. The future begins now, it's up to us.

Discuss "What are Torontonians doing about Basement Flooding?" (1 comment so far)

Please Flush After Using

When Stella Liebeck sued McDonald's because their coffee burned her, it spawned a thousand jokes. It's likely even you told one. It's only when you dive into the details that you quickly realize it was not a frivolous lawsuit. The 88 °C coffee caused third-degree burns in her pelvic region, resulting in two years of medical treatment. I recommend the documentary Hot Coffee for more about Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants.

Today, your coffee likely has a warning on the label that it's hot. That may seem redundant to you, but it's nothing like the sign I saw on Saturday.

During my daughter's soccer practice, I used the facilities and found this sign above the urinal. It reads "Please flush after using. Thank you".


I can only imagine what led to the decision to print and post this sign.

Discuss "Please Flush After Using" (12 comments so far)

PPM Radio Rating Blind Spot

I'm always interested in the PPM rating results for our local radio stations. Often, when I learn the numbers, I'll even write about it. I just assumed PPM (Portable People Meter) dependably measured stations encountered, but apparently it has "blind spots".

This article was enlightening for this radio fan. Depending on the station's encoding, the PPM may or may not pick it up. In fact, if the station is primarily talk, it's often missed.

Voltair is a new service marketed to radio stations that promises "advanced audio signal processing to enhance the detectability of the watermark codes within the context of your programming objectives." In other words, it eliminates the blind spot so the PPM gives full credit.

In a couple of tests by Harker Research, ratings increased up to 61% when Voltair was installed. Nothing else was changed, and ratings spiked.

The most important lesson here is that the rumors about Voltair helping improve ratings are true. This is the clearest evidence that PPM as implemented is flawed.

PPM does not capture all listening, so it under-estimates radio listening–potentially by a lot for some formats.

The solution is for Nielsen to admit that the problem exists and agree to a time-table to fix it.

It is likely that PPM will never be perfect. It will never capture all listening, but missing 20%, 50%, or more should be unacceptable.

Remember, we don't know which stations are using Voltair and which are not. That makes an already imperfect system even more suspect. There has to be a better way to measure radio listeners.

Discuss "PPM Radio Rating Blind Spot" (5 comments so far)

Cycling: May 2015 vs. May 2014

For the first time since I started this year-over-year comparison, 2014 has beat 2015. In May 2014, I was training for the Ride to Conquer Cancer and put up some long rides. In May 2015, I just couldn't find the time. Here's how my cycling in May 2015 measured up against May 2014.

May 2015: 622.9 km


May 2014: 709.69 km


My goal for 2015 remains a personal best 5,000 km. I'm currently at 2267.75 km with 7 months to go.

Discuss "Cycling: May 2015 vs. May 2014" (3 comments so far)

« May 2015 July 2015 »

Want more Toronto Mike blog entries? Visit the archives.