An environmentally-friendly hotdog stand on Wellesley Street at Church

The owner of this little hot dog stand has been cleaning up after litterbugs, protecting a neighbouring tree, and doing his best to improve the urban environment.

HOTDOG1HIS SIGN READS – “Hello, dear friend, how are you today?/You know that I am a tree/My brother and I live in the cement box that you can see/with a limited amount of earth./We work for you./We clean the air so you can breathe easily./We want to ask if you do not throw your cigarette buds in our home,/the buds will poison us./We can help you so you can get clean air/and we just want some help too.”

Every city should have a poet laureate. George Elliott Clarke is our fourth.

POETLAUREATE1George Elliott Clarke, TORONTO’s new poet laureate, teaches literature at  the University of Toronto.  His recent awards include the Portia White Prize and a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellowship.  Professor Clarke is the author of numerous books, the latest of which is ‘Red’ – which joins his previous ‘colouring books’ – ‘Blue’ and ‘Black’“Red rings with Clarke’s lush voice, full-throated and unparalleled.” – Amazon.

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Astronaut CHRIS HADFIELD photographs Aurora Borealis, Sarnia & London

From the International Space Station, Canadian astronaut CHRIS HADFIELD continues to send us incredible photography of Planet Earth at night.  BELOW – 1) the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis over Canada and the United States;  2) SARNIA, Ontario, Chris’s hometown, and 3) the nighttime magic of LONDON, capital of the United Kingdom. 

JOHN M. LYLE, leading architect in the Beaux Arts style, worked here

At the corner of Bedford Road and Bloor Street West, JOHN M. LYLE’s architectural studio has been reconfigured into a Starbucks.  The yellow-brick facade has been restored, and inside you can read about Mr. Lyle and his many contributions to Canadian architecture.

LYLE1LYLE3JOHN MACINTOSH LYLE (1872–1945) was a leading Canadian architect in the Beaux Arts style and was involved in the City Beautiful movement.  In TORONTO, his best known creation is the Royal Alexandra Theatre, as well as Union Station, bank buildings, and Runnymede Public Library.  In KINGSTON, he designed the granite and Indiana limestone Memorial Arch at the Royal Military College of Canada.

LYLE2A recently published book by Coach House Press, A Progressive Traditionalist, celebrates the life and work of Mr. Lyle, who was awarded the Ontario Association of Architects Gold Medal of Honour, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. From 1941 to 1944, he served as president of the Art Gallery of Ontario.

They all laughed . . . until Pearson International Airport began canceling flights.

PEARSON<Pearson International Airport, February 7/2013; photo – Frank Gunn, Canadian Press>  The usual jibes about TORONTO and snow came blowing in yesterday.  The city, hit with a major blizzard, was fighting to dig itself out.  Canadians in other parts of the country thought this was a big joke . . . until Pearson International Airport began canceling/delaying flights – up to 800 – causing airline chaos from sea to shining sea.  Pearson is the ‘centre of the universe’ when it comes to national and international air travel in Canada.  Funny, eh?

A Quebec writer has discovered Ontario . . . and (gasp) TORONTO!

Time to brush up your French.  Jean-Louis Roy has written a new book – “Chers Voisins – ce qu’on ne connait pas de l’Ontario” (“Dear Neighbours – what you didn’t know about Ontario”), and it’s all about us.  Mr. Roy, a polymath, former editor of Le Devoir, head of la Francophonie, Quebec’s agent-general in Paris, and president of Rights and Democracy in Montreal, has painted an indepth picture of Quebec’s next door neighbour and major trading partner – O-n-t-a-r-i-o, and its capital city, T-o-r-o-n-t-o.Columnist, JEFFREY SIMPSON: “What he finds is a province that has transformed itself into something he calls post-multicultural.  TORONTO, the focus of the book, he discovers to be a city where ethnicities blend and meet with more harmony than almost anywhere else on the planet.  The transformation of TORONTO impresses him, as does the city’s cultural and intellectual life . . . TORONTO is ‘une ville metisse’ (a city of mixed ancestry), its population mixture an ‘essential category for the current century and also a funamental tenet of humanity: diversity.”Wow, Monsieur Roy, you’re making us blush!  <PHOTO – Jean-Louis Roy, Radio-Canada/Marie Sandrine Auger>