Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

A Small Wrinkled-Ass Paper Bag for Trinity Bellwoods Park

A Small Wrinkled-Ass Paper Bag for Trinity Bellwoods ParkOffiicials are going to crack down on alcohol consumption in Trinity Bellwoods Park. That got me thinking about Major Bunny Colvin and his paper bag monologue during the second episode of the third season of The Wire.

Here it is if you're unfamiliar with The Greatest Show On Television, Ever™.

And if a small wrinkled-ass paper bag isn't available, a tallboy fits perfectly in a Tim Horton's extra large cup.


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Every Rib Vendor Sign at Centennial Park's Ribfest

Every Rib Sign at Centennial Park's RibfestWe biked to Ribfest today at Etobicoke's Centennial Park. In addition to the tasty ribs and pulled pork sandwiches, my favourite part is the big signs promoting each vendor.

If you weren't able to make it to Ribfest this year, here are the signs you missed.

Sticky Fingers

Sticky Fingers

Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers

Silver Bullet

Silver Bullet

Horn Dawgs

Horn Dawgs

Hawgs Gone Wild

Hawgs Gone Wild

Crabby's BBQ Shack

Crabby's BBQ Shack

Bad Wolf Barbecue

Bad Wolf Barbecue

Camp 31

Camp 31

Billy Bones BBQ

Billy Bones BBQ

Bibb's Bar-B-Q

Bibb's Bar-B-Q

Pistol Pete's Smokehouse

Pistol Pete's Smokehouse

Blazin BBQ Ribhouse

Blazin BBQ Ribhouse

Jack Your Bones

Jack Your Bones

Kentucky Smokehouse

Kentucky Smokehouse

Gator BBQ

Gator BBQ

Uncle Sam's BBQ

Uncle Sam's BBQ

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Ford Brothers Blame Media, Channel Sarah Palin

Ford Brothers Blame Media, Channel Sarah PalinNow that Rob Ford and Doug Ford are both mired in controversy, most of it the result of solid investigative reporting by trustworthy journalists working for award-winning publications, it's clear their attack plan is to blame the media.

Rob Ford has twice dismissed the very serious crack smoking allegations against him as Toronto Star attacks. He essentially wants you to believe Kevin Donovan and Robyn Doolittle risked their entire careers to make this up in an effort to bring the mayor down. Even if you dismiss the fact that Gawker broke the story, this notion is absurd.

Now Doug is making the media rounds after the Globe published an investigation that was 18-months in the making. Doug Ford, it has been revealed, was a drug dealer, and Rob Ford's new top secret Directory of Operations and Logistics was his right-hand man. I've seen Doug on CBC and heard him on the radio and it's crystal clear he's taking a page out of someone's "how to rally your tea party base" handbook.


The gotcha liberal media is at it again, right Rob and Doug? I'd love to see a little humility and accountability from our mayor and his councillor brother, but instead they seem hell bent on blaming the media for all their many follies.

They've got a show on 1010 that airs at 1pm. It's really more of a 2-hour ad for their agenda, and today, if you bother to tune in, you'll just hear 2-hours of denial and media blame.


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Rob Ford Has Fired His Chief of Staff

Rob Ford Has Fired His Chief of StaffToronto Mayor Rob Ford has fired his chief of staff, Mark Towhey. No reason has been given. He was relieved of his duties and escorted from the premises by security this afternoon.

Meanwhile, it's been an entire week since three reporters from two different publications revealed what they witnessed in a video that allegedly shows Rob Ford smoking crack, calling Justin Trudeau a "fag" and the students at Don Bosco "just fucking minorities". It's been a whole week, and our mayor has said almost nothing. He hasn't admitted he has a problem nor strongly denied the allegations. I'm convinced his strategy is to avoid the issue in the hopes it will simply blow over.

Has Mark Towhey been fired because he disagreed with this awful strategy? Has Mark Towhey been fired because of this crack controversy?

With Rob Ford still in office, we have many questions but few answers.

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Video of Rob Ford Smoking Crack Cocaine

Video of Rob Ford Smoking Crack Cocaine: GawkerThis entry will contain no editorializing. I'm merely going to report facts.

Gawker just wrote about a video of Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. John Cook, the author, has seen the video, supposedly taken within the past six months.

Here is what the video shows: Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto, is the only person visible in the frame. Prior to the trip, I spent a lot of time looking at photographs of Rob Ford. The man in the video is Rob Ford. It is well-lit, clear. Ford is seated, in a room in a house. In one hand is a a clear, glass pipe. The kind with a big globe and two glass cylinders sticking out of it. In the other hand is a lighter. A slurred voice off-camera is ranting about Canadian politics in what sounds like an attempt to goad Ford. "Pierre Trudeau was a faggot!" is the one phrase the lodges in my mind. Ford, pipe in one hand and lighter in the other, is laughing, and mildly protesting at the sacrilege. He seems to keep trying to light the pipe, but keeps stopping to laugh. He is red-faced and sweaty, heaving with each breath. Finally, he finds his moment and lights up. He inhales.

You may recall the recent controversy when Sarah Thompson described Rob Ford's behaviour as that of a man on cocaine and the even more recent allegations that Rob Ford has a substance abuse problem.


The photo above from the Gawker story "shows Ford hanging out with a number of people. The gentleman standing to his right, flipping the camera the bird, is Anthony Smith. Smith, a 21-year-old college student, was killed two months ago outside a Toronto nightclub in a gangland-style shooting".

Update: The Toronto Star's Robyn Doolittle and Kevin Donovan have also seen the video and believe it to be Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. They have many more details here.

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Tourist in Toronto

Tourist in TorontoThe following guest blog entry was written by Mark.

If you don’t have much time in Toronto, make your trip a truly Canadian experience and only visit that which you won’t find elsewhere.

While Toronto has some of the best museums in North America like the Royal Ontario Museum, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection is the only major public art gallery devoted to collecting and exhibiting only Canadian art. The permanent collection consists of almost 6 000 artworks by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven, their contemporaries, and First Nations, Inuit and other artists who have made a contribution to Canada’s artistic heritage.

Learn about Canadian origins and head down to the Black Creek Pioneer Village – a recreation of life in 19th century Ontario. Here, you can explore more than forty historic 19th century buildings, decorated in the style of the 1860s with period furnishings and actors portraying villagers. The village is populated with ducks, horses, sheep and other livestock and is mostly self-explored, although many of the individual sites will have a guide inside to explain details of the structure.

If you’re not familiar with the country’s national winter sport, the Hockey Hall of Fame, dedicated to the history of the sport, is a great introduction to the game. Even better, go watch the Toronto Maple Leafs take to the ice.

Get on a streetcar. Toronto has the largest streetcar system in the Americas in terms of track length and ridership. It’s also the only large-scale streetcar system existing in Canada. While they might not be as efficient as the subway system, the streetcar is still a great and unique way to get around town and a good opportunity to see some sights and sounds.

Walk. Toronto has plenty of eclectic neighbourhoods worth seeing. If you want a little more information, take one of the free walking tours with the Tour Guys and explore the downtown core. The city also has designated Discovery Walks which highlight both the natural and human history of the region. These can be found with brown circular signs along the route and highlight other regions such as the Belt Line, Garrison Creek and the Humber River as well as the downtown core. While there are places to enjoy the night life, the city is currently debating the development of a new casino resort. Until it’s established, rather keep your gaming to the likes of Jackpot Capital Blackjack online and keep your Toronto tour truly Canadian.

Eat - lots! Toronto is considered to be one of North America's top food cities. It has the same variety as New York or San Francisco, while the compact, safe, and clean downtown core ensures that many renowned food neighbourhoods and restaurant venues are within a quick and pleasant walk's distance of one another.

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Last Call at the Gladstone Hotel

Last Call at the Gladstone HotelRight after Mad Men on Sunday night, I clicked over to TVO to watch Last Call at the Gladstone Hotel.

I had seen the documentary about the dramatic transformation of Toronto's oldest working hotel from post-war flophouse to its current incarnation as a hip, artist-driven boutique hotel before, but wanted to give it a second viewing.

It's as awesome as I remembered it. If you have an hour and are curious about this intimate portrait of the effects of urban renewal on the poor, click here and watch it now in its entirety.

Here's the trailer:

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How I Remember it Sometimes Snows in April

How I Remember it Sometimes Snows in AprilIt's snowing in Toronto right now. It sometimes snows in April. This image reminds me of that cold harsh reality.


That picture was taken April 7, 1977, before the first regular season game in Blue Jays history at old Exhibition Stadium.

Speaking of April 7, 1977, this is the late great Tom Cheek calling the first home run in Blue Jays history. It was hit by Doug Ault who would add another before the day was through.

A tremendous shot!

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Director of Operations, Logistics and Gravy?

Director of Operations, Logistics and Gravy?You've likely heard the news that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has hired his old football coach as Director of Operations and Logistics.

Dave Price was Ford’s high school football coach back when he was a student at Scarlett Heights. Now, Dave Price is Director of Operations and Logistics, and Toronto taxpayers are paying his 6-figure salary. Trust me, titles like that don't come without a 6-figure cost.

You're likely wondering what the Director of Operations and Logistics is responsible for at City Hall.... Ford won't say. His staffers won't say, either.

Sounds like respect for the taxpayer to me!

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The Problem With Rob Ford and His Camp: Kevin Donovan Speaks

The Problem With Rob Ford and His Camp: Kevin Donovan SpeaksKevin Donovan is an investigative reporter at the Toronto Star. He has won three Canadian Association of Journalists Awards, one Michener Award and three National Newspaper Awards and you might know him as the guy who broke the ORNGE story.

Kevin Donovan co-wrote the Star story that Rob Ford was asked to leave a gala event celebrating the Canadian armed forces last month, because organizers were concerned he was impaired.

It’s an open secret at city hall that the mayor has battled alcohol abuse. Those closest to him are concerned for his health and the impact it has on his job as mayor of Canada’s largest city. Current and former staff have told the Star of repeated attempts to persuade the mayor to get help for more than two years and as recently as November. All attempts have been rebuffed.

Kevin Donovan appeared on Humble and Fred's podcast this morning. Listen to what he had to say and then meet me after the jump.

In response to this story, Rob Ford has called it "an outright lie". His brother and unofficial spokesperson, Doug Ford, has also denied the allegations. Doug and Rob both believe the Toronto Star is out to get them and anything the Star writes that puts Rob Ford in a negative light is a lie.

Make no mistake, I don't take delight in the fact our mayor has a substance abuse problem. I sincerely hope he gets help, and my issues have always been with his flawed logic and regressive approach to city planning. He's a leader who won't raise a flag for the Pride Parade, but won't miss a photo opportunity with the pandas. He's a leader who will scream "subways, subways, subways" but won't tell you how we'll pay for the subways. And when an investigative journalist presents overwhelming evidence about our mayor being asked to leave a gala event, even confirming it with councillor Paul Ainslie, chair of the government management committee and a strong ally of Ford, Rob Ford, his brother and his camp stick with plan A: deny, deny, deny.

In this instance, it's a true shame. Rob Ford needs help, and step one is acknowledging he has a problem. Until Rob Ford accomplishes that, my fear is this will only get worse.

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