‘STARBURST’ – spreading the positive message of Magic, Luck and Friendship

‘Starburst’, Allen Lambert Galleria, Yonge Street south of Wellington.  Through paintings, sculpture, large scale installations, public playgrounds, live performances and publishing, the goal of artists, SAMUEL BORKSON and ARTURO SANDOVAL, is to “create moments of spiritual awareness and powerful, joyous interaction.”  Check out their amazing website. . . . . .  http://www.friendswithyou.com

Charles Thomas Connors (1936-2013), an all-Canadian patriot, has left us.

He’s gone now – having passed away yesterday – but the legendary STOMPIN’ TOM CONNORS left behind 61 albums of Canadiana folk hits to remember him by.  What red-blooded Canadian hasn’t heard Bud The Spud, Sudbury Saturday Night, Canada Day, Up Canada Way – and his all-time gift to the National Hockey League – The Hockey Song.  Stompin’ Tom received the Order of Canada in 1996, and was put on a postage stamp in 2009.  Canada’s Prime Minister, STEPHEN HARPER tweeted “we have lost a true Canadian original.  R.I.P. Stompin’ Tom Connors.  You played the best game that could be played.”

STOMPIN'TOM1Stompin’ Tom was married to LENA WELSH on November 2, 1973.  The wedding was shown live on Elwood Glover’s CBC television show, followed by lunch, a screening of Connors’ concert film, and a party for 600.STOMPIN'TOM2Born in SAINT JOHN, New Brunswick, he was adopted by a family in SKINNERS POND, Prince Edward Island, and lived there until he was fifteen – PHOTO – http://www.dorothysteward.netSTOMPIN'TOM3Stompin’ Tom was a regular performer at TORONTO’s Horseshoe Tavern on Queen Street West.

UNDERPASS PARK helps tame a cross-town expressway

One of TORONTO’s most innovative urban parks, UNDERPASS PARK, is a two and a half acre mixed-use space tucked beneath the Eastern Avenue ramps to the Gardiner Expressway.  It’s the largest park built under an overpass in Canada, and was designed by VANCOUVER-based landscape architects Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg.  Created under the auspices of WATERFRONT TORONTO, this park transforms the emerging West Donlands neighborhood into a fun space with its avant-garde public art, recreational areas, and contemporary green space.

University of Toronto’s 16th president is a passionate believer in our city.

After an extensive international search, the University of TORONTO has named Professor Meric S. Gertler its 16th president.  <PHOTO OPPOSITE by Brian Summers/The Varsity>  Obviously a TORONTO booster, the former dean of arts and science believes “the biggest challenges (for Toronto) are going to be in areas of infrastructure, particularly transportation.“It’s pretty obvious that we have under-invested in all forms of transportation structure for a long time, particularly public transit.  If there is anything the university could do to inform those debates, I think it would be a great service to the city region.”

Welland’s DANIEL ROMANO is putting the ‘country’ back into country music.

DANIEL ROMANO, is working hard to put old time country music back on top – and he’s succeeding admirably.  His third album, “Come Cry With Me”, has just been released.  It’s packed full of fresh-sounding, original songs done in a half-century-old-style.  Fitted out in cowboy hats, boots and rhinestone suits, acoustic guitar in hand, DANIEL’s music takes us back to the days of Ray Price, Porter Wagoner, Loretta Lynn, Kitty Wells and Hank Snow.

273 movie & TV productions pump $1.28 billion into TORONTO’s economy

HOLLYWOODLAND2012 was a hot year in Hollywood North.  TORONTO’s film and television industry set a record last year, and business looks just as strong for 2013.  Twenty-one productions are underway or are about to begin, including 9 domestic and foreign television series, and two pilots.  Karen Thorne-Stone, president and CEO of Ontario Media Development Corporation: “It’s a record.  Again.  In terms of the entertainment and creative cluster (which takes in publishing and broadcasting), it’s well over $12 billion a year to the provincial economy, and that’s bigger than agriculture.” – Business, Toronto Star, March 2/2013

Knit-bombers strike – at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre on Alexander Street!

They’re making our city beautiful just in time for the winter blahs.  Knit-bombing is a movement whose goal is to reclaim and personalize public spaces.  It’s kind of 3-dimensional, arts and crafts graffiti – cozy without being complacent.  Fabulous!  Make yourself at home.  Full credit to Buddies’ team of volunteer knitters + 2 textile experts: Isidra Cruz, Katy Grabstas, Kesta Graham, Marcia Johnson, Kristy Kennedy, Michael Mackid and Dylan Uscher of Dylanium Knits.  http://www.buddiesinbadtimes.com

‘Pedestrian Penalty Cards’ . . . protecting the sanctity of our sidewalks

New Yorkers CORY BORTNICKER (Emmy-winning writer) and ANDY JIMISON (illustrator) recently introduced their Pedestrian Penalty Pack.  These ten little cards focus on city sidewalks and how to use them.  Says Cory: “When you walk around on sidewalks with lots of other pedestrians, it’s very easy to get frustrated by the lack of etiquette.  I want to turn street rage into something fun.”  Hand them out to rule-breakers – if you dare. . . . .  http://www.pedestrianpenaltycards.com


Onstage at the Opera House – Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts

OPERA1<PHOTO – Debbie Ohi/Inkygirl, City of Toronto>  Blinds drawn <below> to keep out the winter sun, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts occupies a full city block on University Avenue at Queen Street West.  TORONTO’s Opera House is Canada’s only purpose-built theatre for grand opera.  The Canadian Opera Company and National Ballet of Canada perform here.