LUKE ANDERSON’S ‘BETTER IDEA’ MAKES TORONTO MORE ACCESSIBLE TO THOUSANDS

ramps1It’s a simple idea: build colourful temporary wheelchair ramps for neighbourhood shops, put a StopGap sign in the window indicating that a ramp is onsite – and going to the store has suddenly become easier.  More and more of them are beginning to appear around town.  <ABOVE – Michael Hopkins, Logan Anderson, Laura Norvak, Luke Anderson>

ramps4The ramps are made of lightweight plywood with a nonslip finish, custom constructed to fit doorways, painted red, yellow, green, blue, white or black, StopGap window sign included.  Many of the materials have been donated, and the builders are volunteers.

ramps2-1  Business has noticeably increased in shops equipped with these ramps.  People can now get into them.

For details – http://www.stopgap.ca OR lukewanders@gmail.com

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TORONTO HOLDS THE #7 SPOT ON THE NEW YORK TIMES’ “52 BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN 2016” LIST

Toronto_by_neomDAVID SHAFTEL writes: “TORONTO is remaking itself as Canada’s premier city, quietly slipping out of the shadow of Montreal and Vancouver. Last year, the Queens Quay on Lake Ontario reopened, part of the largest continuing urban revitalization project in North America.  The Junction a former industrial area, has emerged as Toronto’s most stylish neighborhood for its bars, live music and coffee shops. The city is becoming easier to visit: a train now whisks travelers downtown from the airport in 25 minutes, and Air Canada offers extended stopovers for connecting passengers. TORONTO has long been known for its cultural diversity and continues to draw major artistic and sporting events, including the Toronto International Film Festival each September, and the 2016 N.B.A. All-Star game, to be held outside the United States for the first time.”

NYTIMES1You’ll find the complete list at http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/01/07/travel/places-to-visit.html?_r=0

TORONTO EXPORTED 6-BILLION ‘HALLS’ COUGH DROPS TO THE U.S. LAST YEAR

DIDYOUKNOW2In 2015 several billion Halls Cough Drops rolled out of a plant at 40 Bertrand Avenue on SCARBOROUGH’s Golden Mile, and most crossed the border into the U.S. of A.  Does Donald J. Trump know about this?

DIDYOUKNOW1Another TORONTO factoid – Using the same tools and techniques as Formula One teams, TORONTO-based Cervélo builds what’s been called the world’s fastest and lightest bikes. At the 2008 Olympics, athletes riding Cervélo bikes won 10 medals, while in 2008 Carl OS Sastre rode a Cervélo bike to win Le Tour de France.

GREAT NEWS FROM TORONTO’S ZOO – JUNO THE POLAR BEAR CUB IS GAINING WEIGHT

JUNO1 After surviving a near-death experience JUNO the polar bear cub is now feeding six times a day and gaining weight. Her fuzzy white coat is becoming thicker and she now weighs 2.8 kilograms. For a time there it was questionable whether or not she’d survive (her brother had passed away), but thanks to excellent care in the Zoo’s Wildlife Health Centre the tiny bear is doing very well indeed.

JUNO2TORONTO ZOO is collaborating with other accredited zoos to research and understand Polar Bear reproductive biology. For more information and to help support the project go to http://development.torontozoo.com/products/1019481-help-support-polar-bear-conservation.aspx

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As well, the twin panda cubs at the Z00 are now 12 weeks old and thriving.  Pictured above – one of the cubs enjoying a good yawn.

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26 STOREYS ABOVE THE FINANCIAL DISTRICT SOMEONE’S BUILT TORONTO’S NEWEST ICE RINK

RINK2 A hockey rink has popped up on top of a downtown skyscraper. Speculation is the fully-equipped ice rink is part of Molson Brewery’s ‘Anything For Hockey’ campaign. It’s capturing the attention of hockey-mad Torontonians near the EY Tower construction at 120 Adelaide Street West.  From ground level – it’s hidden.

RINK1<PHOTOS – Dave Abell/Post Media Network>

IF BUILDINGS COULD TALK, 1133 YONGE STREET WOULD HAVE PLENTY TO SAY

cbcstudio12cbcstudio81It’s a Staples Business Depot with a glamourous past.  Buried under a red and silver facade at 1133 Yonge Street, north of Marlborough Avenue, is a former Pierce-Arrow automobile showroom <B/W PHOTO ABOVE, 1930>, and CBC television’s old Studio 4.

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North America’s longest running television quiz show – ‘Front Page Challenge’ (1957-1995) – came out of here.  Panelists Pierre Berton, Gordon Sinclair, Betty Kennedy, Toby Robins and unflappable host Fred Davis faced international newsmakers – Indira Gandhi, Ed Sullivan, Pierre Trudeau, Randolph Churchill, Shania Twain, Upton Sinclair, Dame Edith Evans, etc. 

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From 1956-66, Juliette did her live coast-to-coast variety show on Saturday nights from here.  Nightcap, a one hour late-night 1960’s comedy/satire show was another Studio 4 production.  It featured June Sampson, Billy Van, Bonnie Brooks, Al Hamel and Vanda King.

Photo: Alex Trebek 1971 Print borrowed from Darlene Hebert, Talent Resource Centre, Toronto.

Alex Trebek hosted Music Hop from Studio 4 for Canadian teens.  Alex eventually went off to Hollywood and the rest is history.  This little studio was in production several nights a week.

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  A book about 1133 Yonge Street – ‘The Pierce-Arrow Showroom Is Leaking’ by journalist and broadcaster Alex Barris is still available on ebay and several online bookshops.