Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

My Thoughts on the King Street Transit Pilot

As you've likely heard by now, they've implemented the King Street Transit Pilot between Bathurst Street and Jarvis Street. Rules are in place to prioritize streetcar traffic and to prevent private vehicles from driving through this stretch of King.

I don't currently drive on King Street, nor do I take the streetcar there, but this is what I know. King Street is the busiest surface transit route in the city, moving more than 65,000 riders on an average weekday. The tweets I've seen from some of these 65,000 riders has been overwhelmingly positive. Commute times have been dramatically reduced and streetcars are just cruising.

king streetcar

The 20,000 vehicles who use King Street each day have and will find alternate routes. Perhaps some of these drivers will leave the car at home and take the streetcar now that it's faster, less crowded and better spaced. Common sense suggests it's far easier to move the 20,000 vehicles than the 65,000 people on streetcars.

If you used to drive KIng Street along this stretch, I'd love to hear from you in the comments. And if you're one of the 65,000 who ride a King streetcar, please let me know how things have improved.

From where I sit, this looks like it will be a tremendous success.

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Autumn is the New Summer


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New Toronto Waterfront Driftwood Art: A Giant Known as El Corazón

Toronto artists Julie Ryan and Thelia Sanders-Shelton are set to unveil their latest Waterfront driftwood installation. It's a giant that will soon have a heart. The heart is scheduled to be installed during the grand opening on Tuesday morning.

I spoke with one of the artists today and was told this giant has a name. He's El Corazón, which is "The Heart" in Spanish.

Here's a pic I took earlier today. I'll return to snap a picture of El Corazón with his heart in place.

El Corazón

If you'd like to see pictures I've taken of their Toronto sign, here's a daytime shot and here's a shot I took at sunrise to commemorate my daughter's 13th birthday.

If you'd like to visit these awesome art installations yourself, here's where you go:

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What's In a Name? Of SkyDome and the ACC

I was forced to read far too much Shakespeare in University. Not that it was bad, but it just felt too schooly, and I never liked that feeling. Of course, it's my fault for taking all those Shakespeare classes in the first place...

Billy S. gave Juliet this great line, and I think it applies nicely to Toronto sports venues.

What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet

The SkyDome cost over half a billion dollars to build, and the city and province kicked in a large chunk of that change. As a result, it never felt right when Rogers picked it up for $25 million and then renamed it the Rogers Centre. SkyDome wasn't named after a corporate entity. As a result, I usually call it "the dome". People usually know exactly what I'm referring to.

The ACC, however, was named for a corporation from day one. You may have heard of Air Canada. Changing the name to Scotiabank Arena doesn't bother me in the least. I'm more concerned with what we laypeople will call it... I'm supporting "The Cashbox".

Corporately named sporting venues is the reality of the world we live in today. We watch soccer at BMO Field and watch the Marlies play at Ricoh Coliseum and practice at the MasterCard Centre. Don't get your knickers in a knot when they swap out one corporation for another. The highest bidder usually prevails.

But that SkyDome swap still stings... that one is different.

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Flush Out of Ideas? Try the Toronto Poker Scene

Here’s a quick quiz to whet your appetite for what’s to follow! Let’s get started with 3 questions about legendary Canadian poker players:

This poker aficionado was born in Toronto, Ontario, in 1974. He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2014. His path to poker stardom was paved with uncertainty. He quit school a credit short, and decided to play full-time poker with people twice his age. He excelled at his craft, boosted his bankroll in double-quick time, and then headed to Las Vegas, Nevada. After a lackluster showing in Vegas, he returned to Toronto and rebuilt his poker bankroll.


After perfecting his strategy, and fine-tuning his poker online game, this poker ace returned to Las Vegas and by 1997 was crowned the Best All Round Poker Player at the Foxwoods World Poker Final. In 2004, he competed at 11 final tables, with 2 victories at the WPT (World Poker Tour), and a third poker bracelet at the WSOP (World Series of Poker). He has won multiple bracelets over the years and is ranked the #1 all-time money list Canadian player with total live earnings of $34,093,588, and a best live cash win of $8,288,001.


Who is he?

Here is a poker player with plenty of zing in his game. He was born in Boucherville, Québec in 1987. His forte is live poker, and he came to prominence at the Final Table of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in 2010. There he scooped up a massive first prize of $8.9. Million. He is second on the Canadian all-time money list, with total live earnings of $17,772,514 and a best live cash of $8,944,310.


This Canadian poker star regularly competes in No Limit Holdem contests and places strongly. His last major cash was for $72,876 in the $10,000.00 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo Championship event #48 on 24 June 2017.


Who is he?


She’s a pro poker player from Toronto, and she excels in poker online games and live poker games. Her total tournament winnings to date are $375,000 +, and she got her start back in 2003. Then she bested several leading poker players including Kathy Liebert, Annie Duke, and Jennifer Harman. She plays an aggressive game and is well known in all variants of the game. In 2008, she placed 238 in the WSOP main event. PS: she also dated the first guy in our quiz...

Who is she?

The Quickest Way to Learn to Play Poker


Poker is a game of skill, wit and strategy. Before you get started at the hottest poker venues in Toronto, it’s important to learn how to play poker. This 5-card draw game allows players to form the best-value hand starting with a High Card as the lowest-ranked hand, and a Royal Flush as the crème de la crème. Once you’ve got your hand rankings down, you can go about compiling the best hand given your pocket cards, The Flop, Turn and the River.

This interactive poker video explains the rules of the game in an easy-to-understand format. Getting started with a game of poker requires 2 players to place mandatory bets. These are the Big Blind and the Small Blind. These forced bets move around the table so that all players get to place these wagers. This makes poker a fair game.

The hand begins once the blinds have posted. Each player at the table will be dealt 2 cards, one at a time, face down. Players are then tasked with an important decision: Do you stay in the hand? Or do you fold? Once the Big Blind has posted, a round of betting begins. This position is known as ‘under the gun’ since the Big Blind must act first.

If you wish to stay in the hand, you call the Big Blind (match the bet), or you can increase the stakes by raising. The most common decision that experienced poker players make is to fold if they don’t have a premium poker hand. Your 2 hole cards determine whether you should call, raise or fold. A weak starting hand is typically not worth playing unless you can outsmart other players at the table.

As soon as all players have acted (made their decisions) the first 3 community cards will be dealt. These are the Flop. An additional round of betting ensues, and players will again have the opportunity to check, raise or fold. If other players choose not to match the raised bet, the bettor will win the round.

Once all players have acted, the fourth community card is dealt, known as The Turn. It is a single card, and can be used by all players at the table to form the best 5-card hand. If players decide to check on The Turn without any raises, the fifth and final community card will be drawn – the River. A final round of betting takes place after The River. These rules are the same in online poker games too.

After this round of betting, a showdown may take place if 2 poker players remain in the hand. The winner is the player with the best 5-card hand. Of course, there are many unique games of poker available to players, including Omaha Hi-lo, 7 Card Stud, Texas Holdem, in fixed limit, pot limit, and no limit variants.

Hot Poker Venues in Toronto

The Canadian poker scene is bubbling over with excitement. Toronto is one of the hottest destinations for poker players. Ontario casino poker rooms include Casino Niagara where players can enjoy Omaha Hi-Lo at 12 poker tables, Texas Holdem in limit and no limit games, and Daily Poker Cash Games.

Another popular hotspot is Casino Rama. This features 12 poker tables and it runs 24/7.

Players get to enjoy limit and no limit games of Texas Holdem poker. The online poker scene is equally popular among Toronto poker players. Poker online games offer added comfort, convenience and excitement for players, since these poker rooms are available from the comforts of home, or on the go. Plus, players get to buy in at affordable wagers, and they can raise the stakes as they see fit.

Quiz Answers:

  1. Daniel Negreanu
  2. Jonathan Duhamel
  3. Evelyn Ng

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House of Lords Closing - Vintage CFNY Ad

In the mid-to-late 90s, I lived at Charles Street and Yonge for a couple of years. I was going to school down the street, so it was awfully convenient. During this period of my life, I got every haircut at House of Lords at 639 Yonge Street (website).

As a young man, House of Lords seemed very cool. They played loud music, had a funky creative vibe and the price was right. I think it was $14 a cut back then.

House of Lords is closing for good this October after 51 years. They're blaming increasing property taxes.

Here's a great old ad for House of Lords that aired on CFNY back in the day.

House of Lords

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Humber Bay Driftwood Sign for Toronto

If you bike, jog or walk the waterfront trail just west of the Humber Bay Arch Bridge, you've likely seen the new Toronto sign that's been erected this week. Local artists Thelia Sanders-Shelton and Julie Ryan built it from driftwood that washed up on a nearby beach.


It's only driftwood, so I suggest you see it while it's still standing. I just love shit like this.


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Toronto Duck Tweet Now My Most Popular Tweet Ever

I actually prefer this pic of the Toronto Duck I took from a little west of HTO Park


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Humber's Historic Tunnel Tours - Doors Open Toronto

The southern campus of Humber College is where the old Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital stood before it shut down in 1979. Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital was its final name but it had several other names between its opening in 1889 and closing in 1979. Here's the full list:

  • Mimico Branch Asylum
  • Mimico Insane Asylum
  • Mimico Hospital for the Insane
  • Ontario Hospital, Mimico
  • Ontario Hospital, New Toronto
  • Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital

Today, as part of Doors Open Toronto, I took a tour of the old tunnels that linked up the cottages. In addition to learning the fascinating history of the hospital, there were glimpses of the original architecture and brickwork.

Here are some pics I took of the historic tunnels.







Fun fact: part of Suicide Squad was filmed in this tunnel!


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