TORONTO IS NOW CANADA’S TRADING HUB FOR CHINESE CURRENCY – A BIG WIN FOR THE CITY

YUAN3TORONTO and VANCOUVER were rivals in a two year competition to become Canada’s trading hub for the Renminbi (or Yuan), China’s currency. TORONTO, because of its prominent financial sector, won the contest.

YUAN1Other cities around the globe including London, Frankfurt and Seoul are already offshore trading hubs, but Canada is the first in the Americas to be designated.  The Canadian Chamber of Commerce estimates that the hub could boost Canada’s exports to China by as much as $32-billion and cut Canadian importers‘ costs by as much as $2.75-billion over the next decade.

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THE MATADOR CLUB, A GENUINE TORONTO HONKY TONK, IS ON ITS WAY BACK

MATADOR2      They were going to turn it into a parking lot, but not anymore. The storied Matador Club, 466 Dovercourt Road, is making a comeback in 2015.

MATADOR5<PHOTO – R. Jeanette Martin/NOW magazine>  This after-hours club, known locally as a “booze can”, was a go-to late night destination for musicians of all stripes including Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Joni Mitchell, Stompin’ Tom Connors and Leonard Cohen.  Catherine O’Hara and Indiana Jones (aka Harrison Ford) paid a visit, as well as garden variety locals who wanted to stay up late, have a few drinks, do some dancin’ and party. There was live music every Friday and Saturday night from 1:30 until 5:30 am.

MATADOR6k.d. lang’s official video for “Turn Me Around” (1987) features the Matador sign and street frontage as well as long shots of the stage and its dusty cowboy boots.

MATADOR1Founded in 1964 by ANN DUNN, the after-hours dance venue was shut down in 2007. Present-day owner PAUL McCAUGHEY will keep the hallmark sign and restore the century-old building into “a high-end, mature and elegant music/event space.”

MATADOR7Leonard Cohen’s 1992 music video “Closing Time” was – in a way – a love song to The Club Matador.

“Closing Time”
Ah we’re drinking and we’re dancing
and the band is really happening
and the Johnny Walker wisdom running high
And my very sweet companion
she’s the Angel of Compassion
she’s rubbing half the world against her thigh
And every drinker every dancer
lifts a happy face to thank her
the fiddler fiddles something so sublime
all the women tear their blouses off
and the men they dance on the polka-dots
and it’s partner found, it’s partner lost
and it’s hell to pay when the fiddler stops:
it’s CLOSING TIME
Yeah the women tear their blouses off
and the men they dance on the polka-dots
and it’s partner found, it’s partner lost
and it’s hell to pay when the fiddler stops:
it’s CLOSING TIME

Ah we’re lonely, we’re romantic
and the cider’s laced with acid
and the Holy Spirit’s crying, “Where’s the beef?”
And the moon is swimming naked
and the summer night is fragrant
with a mighty expectation of relief
So we struggle and we stagger
down the snakes and up the ladder
to the tower where the blessed hours chime
and I swear it happened just like this:
a sigh, a cry, a hungry kiss
the Gates of Love they budged an inch
I can’t say much has happened since
but CLOSING TIME

<PARTIAL LYRICS “CLOSING TIME” – Writer(s): Leonard Cohen
Copyright: Sony/ATV Songs LLC, Stranger Music Inc.>

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<That old upright piano has seen a lot of use – photo R. Jeanette Martin/NOW magazine>

MAYOR TORY: “(I DID NOT FALL) OFF SOME TURNIP TRUCK PULLING INTO DOWNTOWN TORONTO.”

TORY&FORD2 Mayor JOHN TORY has drawn the proverbial line in the sand.  He will not help former city councillor DOUG FORD raise any money to pay off his campaign debts. Mr. Tory made it clear that Ford’s attack ads during last fall’s election campaign offended him deeply, and he’d be nuts to “raise money which would finance, in effect, quite directly the running of ads that called into question my character.”  In the past the Mayor has helped several former rivals for the mayor’s chair – David Miller, David Soknacki, Jane Pitfield, and even Rob Ford (Doug’s notorious brother).  But Doug Ford’s personal attacks crossed the line.

TORY&FORD1“I think people would call into question whether I was thinking straight if I went out and helped raise money to pay off a debt incurred to run ads to attack me over and over again, all day – most of the money was spent on that,” said the Mayor.

TORONTO PHOTOGRAPHER CAMERON MCLELLAN TAKES E.T. ON A TOUR OF THE CITY

ET5 Photographer CAMERON MCLELLAN’s better idea. Just for fun he and a friend dragged a life-sized replica of E.T. (a Christmas present) around TORONTO last week and took pictures of him on the subway, in Yonge-Dundas Square, the Galleria, and on Bathurst Street across from Honest Ed’s.  “People all over the city were asking to take selfies with E.T.,” McLellan told Metro News.

ET4ET3ET1Above, a less kindly version of E.T. taken in LONDON last fall. He really, really wants to go home.

‘WEIRD ILLUMINATED SKY PAINTINGS’ (W.I.S.P.’S) ARE CREATED WITH LED LIGHTS AND DRONES

WISPS2 Drones have been getting some pretty bad press lately.  But they can do other things besides dropping bombs or hunting down terrorists. In fact, a drone is capable of showing us the world as we’ve never seen it before. A new art form has appeared, using drones and LED lights to create trails of light and colour in the sky.

WISPS3Fortunately or unfortunately Transport Canada has put the kibosh on flying drones near airports, heliports and aerodromes, as well as night time flying by hobbyists. These are a few TORONTO W.I.S.P.’s captured before the ban went into effect.  You’ll no doubt recognize the CN Tower, the back side of the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Sharp Centre for Design at OCADU.
For more information on TORONTO’s drones and W.I.S.P.’s – http://www.yongestreetmedia.ca/features/drones121514.aspx

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MAYOR JOHN TORY PLANS TO FIRE-UP TORONTO’S MUSIC SCENE ASAP – AFTER SXSW VISIT

AUSTIN2      <Mayor Tory receives the Key to the City of AUSTIN from Mayor Steve Adler>  MAYOR JOHN TORY, returning from four days in AUSTIN, Texas during that city’s SXSW Festival: “If TORONTO could ever do for music what has been done for film, in terms of having a signature event (TIFF) and building up the industry with year ‘round jobs, this would be a huge contribution to all aspects of life in the city.  TORONTO is going to be a bit more complicated because our city is bigger (than AUSTIN) and our traffic is bigger . . . but it’s incredible . . . all that music coming out of all these places and all that music on the street,” said Mr. Tory.

AUSTIN4JESSE KUMANGAI, a member of TORONTO’s music-advisory council and who works for concert promoter Live Nation: “The mayor has seen how the music industry interfaces with the community. He gets it and he’s very result-driven and I don’t think he’s going to let another year-and-a-half slip away (since then-mayor ROB FORD visited SXSW).”

AUSTIN7Mayor Tory and his contingent met with IBM, Google and AMD, three major tech companies now growing in AUSTIN thanks partly to the city’s embrace of the music industry and the quality of life there. <BEN RAYNER at SXSW/Toronto Star, March 22/2015>

TORONTO’S GROWTH RATE WILL ACCELERATE IN 2015 BY 2.8%, THE STRONGEST IN 5 YEARS

Toronto_by_neomThe Conference Board of Canada predicts a growth rate of 2.8% for TORONTO this year and 2.9% in 2016. This makes T.O. #5 out of 28 cities, a rise from 10th place in 2014. Unemployment is expected to fall to 7.8% from 8%.  The Pan Am Games will boost tourism, condo and new home construction will continue, and manufacturing should recover at an accelerating pace, the Board says.