Toronto’s PATRICK CHAN brings home ‘gold’ – 3rd World Championship in a row!

Patrick Chan<Patrick Chan Friday night in London, Ontario; PHOTO – Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press>  22-year-old PATRICK CHAN has won his third World Figure Skating Championship, the first man since Russia’s ALEXEI YAGUDIN (1998-2000) to win three consecutive world titles.  His score: 267.78.

While TORONTO slept, the TTC was up testing its new streetcars

In the wee hours of Thursday morning, TORONTO TRANSIT COMMISSION engineers were testing the first of 204 new streetcars, scheduled to go into service in 2014.  The new cars are much longer than today’s fleet, measuring about 30 metres (approximately 90 feet) from end to end.  According to the TTC, all went well.  <PHOTOS – Toronto Transit Commission>  “Around 1:30 a.m., (my) fantasy became a reality.  At a red light at Dundas and Spadina, there it was: the gleaming, red and white test car, like a visitor from some strange and advanced cityscape, making its way south on Spadina’s dedicated tracks.  The 30-metre-long mini-train, capable of reaching speeds up to 70 km/h, moved slowly, almost cautiously, flanked on either end by two of its out-of-service ancesters, which functioned as bodyguards . . . A simple U-turn put the streetcar in our rearview mirror.  It sped off into the night, disappearing from sight, back into the future.” – an encounter with TORONTO’s new test streetcar on a late-night trial run, by Rob Duffy/The Grid

St. Michael’s Boy’s Choir – 190 voices strong – sang for POPE FRANCIS in April.

CHOIR1St. Michael’s Choir School, founded in 1937, is sending its famous boy’s choir to perform for newly-installed Pope Francis.  Some 190 students sang at Vatican City’s Basilica of Saint Peter on April 7 – as part of a mass conducted by the Archbishop of TORONTO, Thomas Cardinal Collins.  The appearance will mark the first Vatican performance for St. Michael’s Choir School in 16 years.  The school is located at 69 Bond Street.


The Peruzzi Altarpiece: star attraction at the AGO’s Early Renaissance show

On loan from the North Carolina Museum of Art, the PERUZZI ALTARPIECE will be one of 90 artifacts from 14th-century FLORENCE on exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario, March 16 – June 16/2013.  After 4 months in LOS ANGELES at the J. Paul Getty Museum, the show – “Revealing the Early Renaissance – Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art” – will make its only Canadian stop in TORONTO.ALTARPIECE1The Peruzzi Altarpiece by Giotto di Bondone and Assistants

There’s a 1960’s-era $30 million apartment atop a Bloor Street office building.

Thanks to stable prices and a low vacancy rate, TORONTO’s real estate market is booming.  But the sale of a multi-million dollar penthouse is a novelty, and still makes big news.

CIL1<Bloor Street West in 1960, CIL Building with apartment on top, behind streetcar>  One such apartment  (953 square metres, 30 foot ceilings, four bedrooms, reputedly designed by American architect PHILIP JOHNSON) rests 13 storeys above Bloor Street West on top of the old CIL office building.  It was put there by businessman NOAH TORNO and his wife ROSE, who thought that living above an office building was a cool idea.  They were encouraged by friends who had an apartment above Bergdorf-Goodman in NEW YORK.The building’s present owner, JON LOVE, estimates there are probably fewer than 100 people in TORONTO who could buy the landmark condo.  But foreign buyers – mostly from Russia, the Middle East and South America – are willing and able.  Last year, the new Four Seasons penthouse on Bay Street sold for $28 million to a foreign buyer – a Canadian record.The World’s Richest Cities/2012, according to KNIGHT FRANK.  List of inhabitants with at least $30 million in net assets.
1.  New York City – 7,580
2.  London – 6,015
3.  Tokyo – 5,440
4.  San Francisco – 4,590
5.  Los Angeles – 4,520
6.  Hong Kong – 3,205
7.  Osaka – 2,970
8.  Paris – 2,860
9.  Chicago – 2,615
10.  Mexico City – 2,585
11.  Washington – 2,395
12.  Houston – 2,295
13.  Beijing – 2,285
14.  Mumbai – 2,105
15.   Dallas – 2,020
16.  Delhi -1,945
17.  Sao Paulo -1,880
18.  Toronto -1,765
19.  Rio de Janeiro -1,740
20.  Shanghai -1,415

Torontonian COLETTE WHITEN receives $25,000 Governor-General Award

The 14th annual Governor-General Awards in Visual and Media Arts have been handed out.  TORONTO sculptor, COLETTE WHITEN, 68, received one for her achievements in sculpture, embroidery and installation art.  One of her best known works in our town is La Scala, at Charles Street and Bay.  Named after a popular restaurant (since demolished), the sculpture features the figures of 9 women ascending an invisible 2 storey high staircase.  Artists: Colette Whiten and Paul Kipps.


A gift from the New York Times ‘Style’ magazine to TORONTO’s ‘Monkey’s Paw’

Writer JODY ROSEN, and photographer ANDREW ROWAT have published a three-page story with accompanying pictures in the March/2013 issue of the New York Times ‘Style Magazine’.  This kind of publicity you can’t buy – especially if you’re running a smallish bookshop several kilometres from the centre of TORONTO.  The article focuses on The Monkey’s Paw, “an oddly modern antiquarian bookshop next door to a laundromat” in the West End.  “It’s a tiny shop, specializing in the arcane and the absurd, and may just be publishing’s great new hope” in the face of BigBoxMerchandising and the internet.

paw22KANSAS CITY native, STEPHEN FOWLER, 48, says “this  isn’t the store where you’ll find the book you were looking for.  It’s the store where you’ll find the book you didn’t know you were looking for . . . You have these hip 26-year old downtown TORONTO kids – they’ve actually never been to a bookshop.  They come here and they’re like: ‘It reminds me of a scene in Harry Potter.’”PAW4During her visit, Ms. Rosen checked out the BIBLIO-MAT, which has been photographed countless times.  It’s Mr. Fowler’s experiment in randomization.  You put a $2 coin into the slot, there’s a buzzing sound, a bell rings and out pops a book.  The idea being that even the cheapest book can offer pleasure.  You’ll find The Monkey’s Paw at 1229 Dundas Street West, one of several independent bookshops in our city – miraculously still doing business.PAW3<PHOTO – Andrew Rowat/New York Times Style Magazine, March/2013>

Crane operator ROBERT MacFARLANE’s birdseye view of TORONTO

MACFARLANE1From his perch, atop the 58-storey L Tower, crane operator ROBERT MacFARLANE takes in this view every day.  Foreground – Bay Street highrises; background – CN Tower, Rogers Centre, and the western suburbs.  The crane gives him a 360 degree unobstructed view.  “Every day there is beauty on the lake, and little swaths of the city that will light up while everything else is in shade.  I just gotta get that picture.”