Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

When Dogcatchers Attack!

silverman helpsSince Silverman is no longer helpful, I'm here for you. I'm here for the working man, the downtrodden, the prisoners and the hurt.

This note comes from Amanda who is looking for answers. Read her story and offer her advice in the comments.

I work late nights at a busy restaurant in Little Portugal. I usually sleep in late to get a solid 8 hours and was doing exactly that at around 1pm on Monday, 22 August. I live above a store on Queen Street West and share a building with two upstairs neighbours and my own roommate, none of whom were home at the time.

We are diligent about locking the door to Queen Street because, well, just about anybody could climb the stairs to our homes from there! I was abruptly awoken by fists pounding my door. I jumped from my bed, terrified, in my pajamas, and grabbed my phone. I ran to the door and through the peephole could see three uniformed dogcatchers pounding away on my door.

I opened the door, concerned that a rabid lion had escaped some twilight zone zoo, and immediately the first catcher, a grey-haired man, tried to push his way into my apartment. I demanded to know who he was and what was going on, and he asked if I knew where the puppy was. Confused, I asked again who he was and he quickly flashed an ID badge in my face. I asked to see it again to confirm a name but he had pocketed it, and the three (two men and a woman) stared me down asking where the dogs were. They claimed they were from Toronto Public Health and needed to know how to get to the other apartments. I refused, told them there were no dogs, and asked who they were looking for. They then stormed upward towards the other apartment telling me to mind my own business.

I'm fairly certain that as soon as you wake a person and interrogate them in their doorway (standing in their underpants) they should be privy to a little more information. They shouted each question at me, they were patronizing and rude, and kept telling me to stay out of their way. I told them to leave, and threatened to call the police. I then asked how they got in my front door, and the woman laughed as she retorted "it was open!". Since when is any person, city employee or not, permitted to walk into a person's front door without announcement, notice, or request? Especially because I know that the door was almost certainly locked!

They proceeded to run around the sides of my building, pounding on doors and jeering "come out come out wherever you are!" what sort of witch hunt was this!? I stood on my deck, still asking who they were and what they were doing. they indicated that they were looking for another tenant who's name I'll choose not to release as I have not been able to reach them. They leered up at me and told me to get in my apartment and mind my own business. I finally shouted that an apology would have been nice, and they laughed and marched to the street. I ran down (clothed now, thank goodness) and entered the shop below my apartment. The dogcatchers had done the same to the storeowner, and he was as confused as me. By now the team had disappeared and I was shaky and bewildered, and so I tweeted. What the hell was this? Who can I complain to? And should my neighbours be concerned for their pets?

Additionally, when did any asshole with a badge earn the right to start playing cops n' robbers? Am I late to this realization?

Discuss "When Dogcatchers Attack!" (4 comments so far)

Toronto High

Toronto City HallI don't remember a figure in Toronto politics as divisive as Rob Ford. It seems you either love him or you hate him. Find me someone indifferent to Rob Ford... I dare ya.

Not to paint the Ford brothers with the same brush, but what the hell. I'll do that here. Rob Ford and Doug Ford are running Toronto High, bullying the nerds while yelling "O'Doyle Rules!"

There's the whole Pride Week thing, the KPMG report that confirmed David Miller's assertion that Toronto has a revenue problem, not a spending problem, there's the bike lane kerfuffle, the library vs. Tim Hortons debate, the "who's Margaret Atwood" cries, the finger, the privatization of libraries and a general sense that the Ford Brothers are at war against the nerds, geeks, artists and "leftists" throughout the city.

Here's an email I just received re: Toronto High.

I was planning to leave a comment on one of your posts about Rob Ford, but thought perhaps you can create a new entry instead.

I don't know if anyone else has commented yet, but don't you think Rob Ford is running Toronto like he's the president of a High School council? Ford Nation vs. the so-called 'Leftists' is becoming a Jocks vs. Geeks/Artists/Nerds type of battle that only conjures up bad memories from my highschool days.

I think you should create an entry entitled "Toronto 'High'" and make this comparison. I don't like Rob Ford, didn't vote for him, but am willing to give him a chance if he's willing to be serious about his role as a mayor representing ALL of Toronto, not just the jocks.

btw, love your blog!
~Another mike in Toronto

Then, moments later, there was this one quoting a proud member of Ford Nation.

Check out the comment from this article:

"Hey Stintz, you're a BACKSTABBER!  The Fords know how to run a city...the rest of you are a bunch of freeloading refugee leaches. The only people I see going to a library are these damn refugees and they still don't know how to talk properly! Obviously the library books isn't helping them. Cut services that cater to minorities, includes gays/disabled/bicyclists/artists/establishment types. Why should my taxes pay for there freeloading? Majority should rule!


I hope it's fake, but as of right now, it has 3 likes!

You should tweet this out to everyone.  Use social media to lay a beat down on Ford Nation down.

I too didn't vote for Rob Ford, but I'd be willing to give him a chance too if he's act like he takes this gig seriously. This is only Canada's largest and most important city. C'mon Robbie, shape up!

Discuss "Toronto High" (15 comments so far)

Rob Ford's Response to "Finger Flap"


[via Marc Weisblott's Google+]

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That Wasn't Heat, This Is Heat

sunRemember the other day when we all talked about the heat? As usual, we were ahead of the curve.

Today is the real heat. Feels like 46°C. Holy shit!


I'm sure you kids are smart enough to stay indoors with the A/C. I've got a double header to play. Another one tomorrow, too. Heat, schmeat.

How are you surviving the day?

Discuss "That Wasn't Heat, This Is Heat" (10 comments so far)

Let's Talk About the Heat

toronto heatwaveIt's hot. Let's talk about it.


But no complaining!


Discuss "Let's Talk About the Heat" (14 comments so far)

Where's Zanta?

zantaI'm not sure I miss the guy, in fact I'm fairly certain I don't, but I'm still curious...

Where's Zanta these days?

I haven't seen the guy or read anything about him in at least a year.

Here's the doc about Zanta from Pietro Gagliano.

Here's a Valentine's Day card I cooked up in 2008.


Is Zanta fulfilling his life-long dream of opening an ESL Ontario school? If you know where Zanta is these days and how he's doing, please update us here.

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Rob Ford's So Ridiculous, Even His Allies Think He's Nuts

city hallIt's shit like this, Rob Ford.

Mayor Rob Ford opposed every one of Toronto’s community grants programs at a council meeting Tuesday.

The city's grants allocations for 2011 were about to sail through council without a discussion or vote when Ford rose to say he wanted to be recorded as opposing all of the grants programs. Council then voted on them individually.

Ford lost 43-1 in votes on four of the programs: Access, Equity and Human Rights, which provides money to groups working on issues related to “race relations, gender equity, literacy, disability, sexual orientation, and Aboriginal affairs”; Community Safety, for groups that work to prevent violence in priority neighbourhoods; Community Recreation, for groups “providing activities that address gaps in available services provided by city recreation services”; and Community Festivals and Special Events.

His brother, Councillor Doug Ford, joined him in opposing Community Service Partnership grants, for groups working to improve access to services “that improve social outcomes for vulnerable, marginalized and high-risk communities.” They lost 42-2.

Rob Ford did not explain his opposition to the programs during the meeting. He has not yet spoken to reporters.

To recap, Ford declares he's not going to support any of the grants programs, refuses to say why, and gets destroyed in the subsequent votes. 43-1 until his bro steps in on one to make it 42-2.

Even Rob Ford's allies on council wouldn't vote with him. Vulnerable, marginalized and high-risk communities be damned! Ridiculous.

Discuss "Rob Ford's So Ridiculous, Even His Allies Think He's Nuts" (20 comments so far)

Rob Ford Has No Pride

city hallI gave Rob Ford the benefit of the doubt all week. Surely he'd come to his senses, follow the avalanche of good advice he received from Toronto mayors past, and march in today's Pride Parade. He didn't.

Mayor Rob Ford successfully boycotted Pride Week, avoiding all 10 days of events. He even blew off a Pride Toronto flag-raising at Nathan Philips Square so that he could meet Leafs GM Brian Burke, a man who marched in the Pride Parade last year and today in support of his late son. Now that took balls.

This is the first time the city’s mayor has missed Pride since Barbara Hall started the tradition during her term in office. Refusing to give Pride Week even 10 minutes of his time, Rob Ford went to to great lengths to ensure this proud tradition ended. Instead of sending a powerful message that homophobia is not tolerated in our city, Rob Ford gave homophobes throughout the city a poster boy for their hateful cause.

Rob Ford has no pride. What an embarrassment to this great city.


Discuss "Rob Ford Has No Pride" (44 comments so far)

What Happens to the Poo at the High Park Zoo?

zooI've written about the High Park Zoo before. If you're looking for deer, llama, various sheep and goats, yaks, bisons, peacocks and more, why drive all the way to the Meadowvale Road and 401 and spend a fortune?

The kids and I were checking out the aforementioned deer, llama, various sheep and goats, yaks, bisons and peacocks, and noticed some new signage, including an answer to the question you've likely asked yourself countless times. What happens to the poo at the High Park Zoo?


The zookeepers collect the poo every morning and take it to the manure pit. Once a week, the poo is collected by a large tractor and taken to a compost pit in the High Park service yard. There, the poo is left to break down or decompose. The poo is turned so the air can reach to the middle of the pile, and is then left to continue decomposing. The finished product is called compost and is rich in nutrients. It is then used in the gardens and flower beds of High Park to make the plants grow.

Personally, I think that story is full of shit.

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Mike Wilner on Aaron Lobel: Where's Aaron Today?

questionmarkI used to watch a little call-in sports show on Cable 10 called Let's Talk Sports. I wrote about Let's Talk Sports over six years ago if you want to read a little more about my memories of this cheesy local sports show from yesteryear.


The hosts were Mike Wilner and Aaron Lobel. We all know what happened to Mike Wilner: he's host of Jays Talk on The Fan 590 and one of the top Jays reporters in the city. But what of Aaron Lobel?

Thanks to a twitter exchange with Mike Wilner yesterday, we know what happened to Aaron Lobel, and it might surprise you.


From America Abroad Media:

Aaron Lobel founded America Abroad Media (AAM) and serves as the organization's president and chairman of the board, as well as executive producer of America Abroad and AAM Television. Mr. Lobel received a Ph.D. in International Affairs from Harvard University's Department of Government, where he was also awarded the University's top teaching award, the Joseph Levenson Prize. Prior to founding America Abroad Media, Mr. Lobel was a Research Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C.; National Security Fellow at the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University; and a National Security Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where he edited Presidential Judgment: Foreign Policy Decision Making in the White House (Hollis Press 2001).

Mr. Lobel currently serves on the Advisory Board of Business for Diplomatic Action, Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE), a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and is a consultant to the Bipartisan Policy Center. Mr. Lobel is a native of Toronto, Canada. He lives in Washington, D.C with his wife and son.

I'd still prefer to fill Mike's shoes than Aaron's.

Discuss "Mike Wilner on Aaron Lobel: Where's Aaron Today?" (1 comment so far)

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