Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

Toronto as Part of the Pacific Rim

Toronto as Part of the Pacific RimThis is what it looked like behind City Hall yesterday. Guillermo del Toro is filming his big budget film Pacific Rim here, and I thought this photo was pretty cool.


Fellow Wire fans will enjoying hearing that Pacific Rim stars Stringer Bell.

That's good. That's like a 40-degree day. Ain't nobody got nothing to say about a 40-degree day. Fifty. Bring a smile to your face. Sixty, shit, niggas is damn near barbecuing on that motherfucker. Go down to 20, niggas get their bitch on. Get their blood complaining. But forty? Nobody give a fuck about 40. Nobody remember 40, and y'all niggas is giving me way too many 40-degree days! What the fuck?

[via Reddit]

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Toronto Wildlife: What Have You Seen?

cntowerI'm going to steal a topic I heard on Mike Stafford's show yesterday. I accidentally tuned in to a repeat of his show in my car last night and they were discussing the influx of possums in Toronto recently.

I saw my first possum about five years ago, but haven't seen one since. Here's the wildlife I've seen in the city of Toronto.

  • Raccoons
  • Squirrels
  • Fox
  • Possum

I've heard stories of coyotes, but have never seen one myself. Someone called into Stafford's show to report seeing a deer, but that's never happened to me, either.

What wildlife have you seen with our own eyes in the 416?

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8-bit Toronto According to Google Maps

8-bit Toronto According to Google MapsFor April Fools Day, Google Maps has introduced a new view they call "Quest". Quest mode lets you see everything in 8-bit.

"8-bit Quest Maps is our Beta Maps technology and has certain system requirements. Your system may not meet the minumum requirements for 8-bit computations.

Here's how Toronto looks in 8-bit, according to Google Maps today. Click to embiggen.


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Boys Without Girls

Boys Without GirlsThis is a nice little parody of the Pet Shop Boys' West End Girls. The draw is great Toronto footage and better-than-you'd-expect lyrics.

I didn't even know there was a Bessarion Station!

Good job, Red Gecko Productions.

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Disappointment With Our Teams Par for Course

Disappointment With Our Teams Par for CourseI sat down this evening to write about my supreme disappointment with our professional sports franchises. Then I remembered I wrote this entry two years ago. Disappointment with Toronto's teams is par for the course.

Last night, I watched the Raptors because of all the Linsanity hype. I was pretty confident we'd blow that lead, and we did. We're now 9-21 and will miss the playoffs yet again.

I then flipped over to the Leafs game and watched us lose our fourth in a row. My daughter is turning 8-years old this summer, and the Leafs haven't played a playoff game in her lifetime. With us clinging to 8th in the conference and slipping fast, I wouldn't bet on playoff games this April.

And don't get me started on my beloved Blue Jays who haven't played a meaningful game in September since '93. That's almost 20 years ago.

It's more of the same here in the T dot, where an 8th place finish in the conference is the stuff dreams are made of.

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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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