IN ITS 5TH YEAR ‘CHRISTIE PITS FILM FESTIVAL’ PRESENTS ITS BIGGEST-EVER SCHEDULE

CHRISTIEPITS1Christie Pits, 750 Bloor Street West at Christie, is a 22 acre park boasting baseball diamonds, basketball courts, a soccer/rugby football field, an ice rink, splash pad – and now one of the largest summertime outdoor film festivals.

CHRISTIEPITS3Founder EMILY REID – “I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished. I think we’re really challenging our audience with less than mainstream titles. This is the most ambitious program we’ve ever put on.”  The Christie Pits Film Festival runs from June 26 to August 28. Subway stop – CHRISTIE. For more info go to http://www.christiepitsff.com

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MAYOR JOHN TORY’S APPROVAL RATING REMAINS STEADY AT 74% – 18 MONTHS AFTER BEING ELECTED

JOHNTORY1A new Forum Research poll conducted on June 14 by phone, suggests most Torontonians approve of the work Mayor John Tory is doing. 74% after 18 months in office.  Not bad, Mr. Mayor.  Approval was highest among residents 65 and over, those who earned between $100,000 to $250,000, and who had completed post-graduate studies.

John Tory At Pride Week Event

THE SHOW IS OVER & NOW THIS MASSIVE ‘MUCH MUSIC’ SET IS BEING DISMANTLED – QUEEN ST. WEST

MUSIC1MUSIC2The set is a big one and took 5 days to assemble on three downtown streets. Today this tangle of cables, cameras and lights is being dismantled, but last night it was music’s glamourous epicentre. The weather was perfect and the crowds came out – as they always do.  Until next year.

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“I COULD BE HAPPY LIVING IN A STUDIO APARTMENT” – DONALD J. TRUMP, PLAYBOY/1990

TRUMP1But he settled for this instead. Trump’s triplex is a marble-and-onyx-covered ode to Versailles that he calls “comfortable modernism.” It is a $100 million penthouse that sits atop the Trump Tower on Manhattan’s 5th Avenue. PHOTO – Scott Frances/Otto

TRUMP2If nothing else Donald Trump will be remembered for his quotes – just like a certain mayor TORONTO once had. To quote The Donald . . . “The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.” . . . . . “Bing bing, bong bong, bing bing bing” – Lincoln Day speech on political lobbying, 2015 . . .  . . “We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with winning.” . . . . . . “They’re remaking ‘Indiana Jones’ without Harrison Ford, you can’t do that. And now they’re making ‘Ghostbusters’ with only women. What’s going on?”

FLAG3“I love Neil Young, and he loves me! We have a great relationship.”
“”With Canada, you’re talking about a massively long piece (of wall). You’re talking about a border that would be about four times longer (than Mexico’s). It would be very, very hard to do.”  <BELOW – “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.”Graeme MacKay, Hamilton Spectator/editorial cartoon>

Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator - Wednesday February 10, 2016 Poll: Trump, Sanders lead ahead of New Hampshire's vote Donald Trump continues to lead the Republican race in New Hampshire on the eve of the vote, the final CNN/WMUR tracking poll finds. On the Democratic side of the race, it remains Bernie Sanders' primary to lose, with the Vermont senator holding a 26-point lead over Hillary Clinton. The field of candidates vying for a second place finish behind him is finally beginning to separate, according to the survey. Trump holds 31%, down two points from the February 3-6 release, but within the poll's margin of sampling error. READ: The full CNN/WMUR tracking poll results Behind him, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio earned 17% support -- within the margin of sampling error of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 14%, but significantly ahead of the fourth and fifth place candidates in the poll, Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 10% and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 7%. Behind Bush, Carly Fiorina stands at 5%, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 4% and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 3%. Aside from Trump, none of the Republican candidates moved more than 1 point in either direction compared with the previous CNN/WMUR tracking poll. About three-quarters of the interviews conducted for this poll were completed before the Republican candidates debated Saturday night, their final such match-up before Tuesday's election. Although the post-debate sample size is too small to produce a separate estimate of the vote, interviews conducted Sunday and Monday found no drop in support for Rubio, and actually showed a slimmer margin between Trump and Rubio. There has been little movement in the last two days in the other metrics tested in the survey, with about two-thirds still saying they expect to see Trump win on Tuesday (64%), and about a third saying they would never vote for Trump (32%). (Source: CNN) http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/08/politics/donald-trump-bernie-saTRUMP1PHOTO  – http://www.opengeek.org

ONCE TORONTO’S BALLET & OPERA HOUSE, THE SONY CENTRE IS CANADA’S LARGEST ‘SOFT SEAT’ THEATRE

SONYCENTRE2  <Opening Night, 1960, City of Toronto Archives>  The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, once the O’Keefe, later the Hummingbird Centre, opened on a cold Saturday night in October, 1960.  Onstage – the Broadway-bound musical  “Camelot”, starring Julie Andrews, Richard Burton and Robert Goulet.

SONYCENTRE1Some features: 3100 custom designed seats; a year-round Sony Store; affordable restaurant and bar; the largest mural in Canada – R. York Wilson’s “The Seven Lively Arts” (painting, sculpture, architecture, music, literature, dance and drama); a gold painted ceiling and 1700 cherrywood panels in the auditorium; a huge stage and orchestra pit; 189 freshly polished solid brass doors; and 2000 lights in its spectacular marquee.  Subway stop – KING or UNION

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EXPLORE REMNANTS OF TORONTO’S INDUSTRIAL PAST ALONG THE LOWER DON TRAIL

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For those of us who love rusting steel, defunct bridges, underpasses and commuter rail lines along with a smattering of graffiti and wildlife (as in geese, ducks, frogs, etc.) TORONTO’s Lower Don Trail is ready-made.LOWERDON9The Lower Don Trail is a key part of the Pan Am Path, a legacy project from the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. North, south, east and west, the Trail/Path runs through several communities and a variety of topographies – river glades, green parks, tunnels, under and over bridges, etc. Some sections are ugly – others strikingly beautiful.

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TORONTO’S BEAVER BAR PAYS TRIBUTE TO ORLANDO’S ‘PULSE’ SHOOTING WITH LOGO REPLICA

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Thanks to The Beaver, a queer bar/restaurant, 1192 Queen Street West, an idea put forth by designer ROB SHOSTAK, is now reality. A replica logo in the window pays tribute to Orlando’s PULSE gay nightclub.  On his Instagram site Mr. Shostak writes “This is Pulse. Every queer space is Pulse. When one of our safe spaces is attacked, all of our safe spaces are attacked.  The Beaver is my local bar. I’ve been going there for 10 years ever since I moved here, and it’s a space where I feel at home. In the end, every queer space is a Pulse.”  <PHOTO ABOVE – Rob Shostak/Instagram>

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DOLLYPARTON1DOLLY PARTON in TORONTO this week: “I really feel bad that things are going on like that in this world.  I guess it’s always been crazy, it just seems to be getting so much worse now.  “I do have a gay following.  I’m a patron saint for a lot of drag queens.  Some of them look more like me than I do.  I once lost a Dolly Parton look-alike contest on Hallowe’een.  As far as what happened in ORLANDO, it’s horrible.  It’s a hate crime, looks to me . . . We should love one another more.”

IT’S STILL POSSIBLE TO WATCH “MOVIES UNDER THE STARS” IF YOU KNOW WHERE TO LOOK

DRIVE-IN11In all of Canada there are only 52 drive-in theatres left, down from 250. In the United States there are 336, where there once were 4,000. Surprisngly there are quite a few drive-ins scattered around the Greater TORONTO Area.  For a different kind of movie experience – watching the sun go down and seeing a first-run feature on a giant screen – add a ‘drive-in night out’ to your bucket list.

DRIVE-IN10<The Mustang Drive-In, GUELPH>  Today there are drive-ins in Toronto, Hamilton, Oakville, Barrie, Newmarket, London, Guelph, Oakville, Newmarket and Port Hope. In the not-so-distant past the city by itself had 10 of them, but with urban sprawl, increasing land values, and $80,000 to install one digital projector, most have found the operating costs crippling.

DRIVE-IN1<Port Hope Drive-In was built in 1952.  It’s still going strong.  PHOTO – Terry Lagler>  “I can’t make a drive-in look sexy at two in the afternoon. But when the sun goes down, and the kids are on the swings, and you can smell the popcorn and the neon comes alive, it really is quite special.” – BRIAN ALLEN, president of Premier Operating Drive-Ins

DRIVE-IN2<The Polson Pier driving range and drive-in, Port Lands, TORONTO>

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WHAT COULD BE MORE CANADIAN THAN RICHARD JOHNSON’S PHOTOS OF ICE HUTS?

RICHARDJOHNSON9For the last nine years RICHARD JOHNSON has been taking pictures of ice huts – those little cabins found on the frozen waters of Canada’s northland. The huts are occupied by local anglers, who while away the hours hoping for a nibble on their fishing lines dropped through a hole in the ice “floor”.

Ice Hut 504, Shields, Blackstrap Lake, Saskatchewan, 2011 - From the Series "Ice Huts" by Richard Johnson © 2007-2011 Richard Johnson Photography Inc, www.icehuts.ca, 416-755-7742

<Ice Hut # 504, Shields, Blackstrap Lake, Saskatchewan, 2011>

RICHARDJOHNSON5<Ice Hut # 497, Anglin Lake, Saskatchewan, 2011>  Inside it’s cozy and warm; outside temperatures can sometimes hover around -40°. With a stiff wind blowing there’s a real danger out there of frost bite, and winter storms can move in without warning.

Ice Hut # 321-La Baie Des Ha! Ha!, Quebec, 2010 - From the Series "Ice Huts" by Richard Johnson - www.icehuts.ca

Ice Hut # 321, La Baie Des Ha! Ha!, Quebec, 2010; ALL IMAGES © Richard Johnson

RICHARDJOHNSON2<Ice Hut # 665, Deer Lake, Newfoundland, 2014>

RICHARDJOHNSON1Richard Johnson’s TORONTO gallery and digital photo printing centre is located at 894 Broadview Avenue, a short walk north of Danforth Avenue. You’ll find more ice hut photography at http://www.icehuts.ca  . . . .  ALL IMAGES © Richard Johnson