COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS YOU DON’T COMMUTE ON CHINA’S G-4 EXPRESSWAY

We have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Weekend. If nothing else, be thankful that you weren’t stuck in this 50-lane traffic jam on China’s G4 Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway.  The culprit: a new checkpoint that forces traffic to merge from 50 lanes down to just 20. This is more than a nightmare – it’s carmageddon!

Vehicles are seen stuck in a traffic jam near a toll station as people return home at the end of a week-long national day holiday, in Beijing, China, October 6, 2015. Picture taken October 6, 2015. REUTERS/China Daily CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA - RTS3HL4

<Vehicles are seen stuck in a traffic jam near a toll station as people return home at the end of a week-long national day holiday, in Beijing, China, October 6, 2015. Picture taken October 6, 2015. REUTERS/China Daily CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA – RTS3HL4>

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THERE GOES THE BLOCK! LOW-RISE TO HIGH-RISE, EAST SIDE OF YONGE, ALEXANDER ST.TO MAITLAND

501YONGE1 501YONGE5 Two condo towers with street-level retail are on the way for this block, perfectly illustrating the rapid transformation of TORONTO’s main street from low-rise to high-rise. Teahouse2, a two-tower Lanterra condo complex in a prime location will open in 2018, replacing this two-storey strip of restaurants, offices, a tattoo parlour and low-end clothing store on the east side of Yonge.

501YONGE6Up to now all heritage buildings along Yonge (or in a few cases their facades) have been saved from the wrecker’s ball. This strip, built in the 1950’s, has no heritage value – but several small businesses have been forced to move.

THERE’S ‘AN UNCOMMON TYPE OF AN UNCOMMON THING’ IN TORONTO’S ANNEX – A TUXEDO SQUIRREL

TUXEDOSQUIRREL1An extremely rare black and white squirrel is getting more than its 15 minutes of fame in The Annex and the TORONTO press. The unique little rodent has a white nose and ears. Its paws and tail are a mixture of white and black.  Alana Johns, a professor at the University of Toronto, took these pictures on her way to work. “I had never seen anything like it,” she told Metro News. David Sugarman of the Ontario Science Centre commented “the nice symmetry of of its colouration is quite special. It’s an uncommon type of uncommon thing.”

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CBC’S ROSEMARY BARTON (“ELECTIONS ARE MY OLYMPICS”) DEMANDS THE STRAIGHT GOODS

ROSEMARYBARTON11At home on both CBC radio (“The House”) and CBC News Network’s “Power and Politics”, Rosemary Barton doesn’t shy away from politicians and the issues of the day. She asks direct questions and expects direct answers.  “Do you not understand my question? Are you afraid to answer the question? I’ll ask it again.” – that’s our Rosie.

ROSEMARYBARTON7When a politician is in Ms. Barton’s operating theatre, you know there’ll be blood – usually a little, occasionally a bloodbath. She’s done her homework, or members of her behind-the-scenes-crew have done their’s, knows where the bodies are buried and who buried them – and will happily dig them up.

ROSEMARYBARTON8Dale Smith on The Canadaland website – http://www.canadalandshow.com – writes that Rosemary is the host that this country really needs. “She regularly cracks jokes and is open to public dialogue from viewers on social media, where she also presents a friendly and funny persona . . . but she has shown a willingness to be assertive when Members of Parliament don’t respond to questions with a clear answer.”

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TORONTO FOUNDATION’S VITAL SIGNS REPORT/2015 – GOOD OR BAD? YOU DECIDE.

VITALSIGNS1

City of TORONTO population 2,808,507
TORONTO Region (GTA) population 6,055,724
TORONTO housing market is “severely” unaffordable
Average two-bedroom apartment rents for $1,264
Close to 80,000 TORONTO households are waiting for affordable housing
Arts and culture contribute $11.3-billion annually to TORONTO’s GDP
Youth unemployment rate reached a high of 21.65% in 2014
87% of TORONTO’s elementary schools have teacher-librarians
Torontonians possess more higher education degrees per 100,000 than residents of other global cities (Los Angeles, London, Amsterdam)
The GTA smashed 2 tourism records in 2014, with the highest-ever overnight visitors, 14.3-million
City of TORONTO’s GDP grew by 3.12% in 2014
Youth crime rate in the Region decreased 44.9% between 2004 and 2013  The Vital Signs Report –  http://www.torontosvitalsigns.ca . . . .  .  TORONTO FOUNDATION: “Do we have a high quality of life here in TORONTO?  Answer: it depends.  For some of us, the city is a welcoming and supportive place to live.  For others, life here is challenging.  And increasingly, for many of us, the future is very uncertain.”

VOLKSWAGEN “BEETLE SPHERE”/2013 BY SCULPTOR ICHWAN NOOR WAS AHEAD OF ITS TIME

BEETLESPHERE1 Sculptor ICHWAN NOOR, born in Jakarta in 1963, is known amongst friends as ‘The Maker’. He explores a variety of shapes with intricate workmanship techniques.  Noor received public acclaim for “Beetle Sphere” at Art Basel Hong Kong in 2013.
To see more of his work go to http://www.ichwannoor.com

WEST MEETS EAST AS A VANCOUVER DEVELOPER HELPS REBUILD TORONTO’S BERCZY PARK

berczy6 The St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood is one of TORONTO’s smartest. It has excellent transit, an award-winning indoor market, theatres, cafes, restaurants, many historic buildings, a cathedral and several hotels. It’s prime real estate, and that’s why Vancouver’s Concert Developments has chosen to build a 58-storey luxury tower at 88 Scott Street.

berczy3Concert is giving the city $3-million for Berczy Park upgrades; a further $1.3-million to widen sidewalks; and $200,000 for art in the park. There’ll be a gravel area for dogs, a water fountain that uses recycled rain water, tree canopies and sculpture.BERCZY1Best news of all, the Berczy Park project is underway. There are shovels in the ground as local politicians are fond of saying.

berczy988 Scott Street is being constructed on the former site of the 1951 Royal Sun Alliance building. Its facade was dismantled and preserved, and will form 88 Scott’s podium of retail and commercial spaces.  Berczy Park is named after WILLIAM BERCZY (1744-1813), an Upper Canada pioneer and painter. Born in Germany, he sailed to Canada in 1792, opening a business in YORK (now TORONTO). Berczy was a surveyor, architect and painter. He cleared part of the TORONTO townsite, erected houses and a magazine, built 15 miles of Yonge Street and 30 miles of roads in MARKHAM township, and cleared 24 miles of the Rouge River waterway for navigation.  He was stranded in NEW YORK CITY during the WAR OF 1812, died there, and is buried in TRINITY CHURCH in the WALL STREET district.

berczy8  <ABOVE – ‘The Battle of Trafalgar’ by William Berczy/1806, Hudson Bay Company’s art collection; a re-imagined Berczy Park by Claude Cormier + Associates>