Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

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. And, if you are a newbie when it comes to putting money in pre-construction condos, here are some things to know before investing.

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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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