TORONTO SHORT STORIES – DECEMBER 1-10, 2016

sonycentre1Newly installed sculptures at the SONY CENTRE for the PERFORMING ARTS, 1 Front Street East

sorry-montreal1MONTREAL apologizes to TORONTO for the noise. Our neighbouring city celebrates its 375th year in 2017, and we’re invited to join the party, which may get loud at times. This cheeky advert is popping up around T.O.

“Dear neighbours from Toronto and New York, we’re turning 375 in 2017 so we’ll be celebrating all year!” reads the message. For full details go to http://www.joinmontreal375.com

eatoncentre2The tallest Christmas tree in town – if not the country – is at the Eaton Centre.  It stands 108 feet.

toronto1Who has the hottest real estate market – TORONTO or VANCOUVER? The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) comes out ahead in a new outlook report for 2017. Average prices in the GTA are expected to rise 8% compared to 2% in Greater Vancouver, the first time in several years that TORONTO has led the pack.

torontozoo1Madagascar’s ring-tailed lemurs are the stars of December’s Enrichment Extravaganza at The TORONTO Zoo. Every Saturday at 1:30pm in the African Rainforest pavilion visitors can learn all about these bug-eyed primates.

toronto2TORONTO is a tough place to find affordable housing, and even worse for Syrian refugee families who are trying to find jobs, learn English, keep their children in school and pay very high rentals. Ontario has received more than 14,000 Syrian refugees in 2016, 5,500 adults have taken English As A Second Language classes and 4,600 children have been enrolled in schools.

scarborough1ROBERT McDERMOTT, a real estate agent, has launched a “Free Scarborough Campaign” because amalgamation has been “a dismal failure. We’ve lost the ability to manage our own affairs. We’re being dictated to by a centralized government in downtown TORONTO.”

Scarborough and surrounding municipalities were forced to amalgamate with the city in 1998 by Conservative premier MIKE HARRIS and his provincial governmentIt’s been – for the most part – an unhappy marriage all around.

purpleonion2They’re at the gates! Site of YORKVILLE’s Purple Onion Coffee House in the 1960’s (Yorkville Ave. @ Avenue Road) is being eyed by a developer who wants to erect a 30-storey condo tower. “There couldn’t be anything more alarming,” said MARY MACDONALD, a planner and manager of heritage preservation services for the city.

For details go to http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/developer-wants-to-build-on-yorkville-heritage-site-1.3884437

canadausa1America’s interest in Canada has gone way up since the US election. Some of that’s due to the low Canadian dollar, but not all. Border crossings went up to 9.8-million US visitors in 2016 – an increase of 9.4%. Kayak saw a 15% increase in flight searches over last year. This year there was a 210% spike in searches for one-way flights among eight US and Canadian airlines.

shopsclosed1More small businesses have closed on lower Yonge Street.  In downtown TORONTO that means developers and more condos are on the way.

factcheck2University of TORONTO librarians Heather Buchansky and Eveline Houtman have developed a guide to help journalism students determine whether an internet news item is true or a fake.
<PHOTO – Geoffrey Vendeville, U of T News>

factcheck6CLUES – 1) If you’ve never heard of a website, look at the “About Us” section for more info; 2) Google the headline to see how other news sources are reporting the story; 3) The use of ALL CAPS and poor web design should make you suspicious; 4) When sites end in unusual ways, such as “.com.co” they’re probably fake.

Helpful websites – http://www.FactCheck.org & http://www.PolitiFact.com & http://www.Snopes.com

deloitteA striking work of art in the lobby of the new Deloitte building on King Street West at Yonge.  Actually it’s one of two giant mosaics created by artist MICAH LEXIER.  1.6-million separate ceramic sticks were made by 30 people over several months, and then painstakingly assembled.  “The challenge was to make a (piece) that could be seen by driving by, but that would also work up-close.”  – the artist.  It certainly does all of the above.

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