DANIEL NG’S BIG IDEA – DEPICT TORONTO POLICE, PARAMEDICS & TRANSIT DRIVERS IN LEGO

legocop9 TTC streetcar driver DANIEL NG’s creative outlet is designing models – partly homemade, partly Lego – of everyday people working for the common good.

lego10“Everyday I see so many things while driving my streetcar,” he says “That motivates me into what I’m going to put into a Lego scene.”

lego11Creating these tiny figures involves buying Lego parts online, printing and gluing on patches and painting wherever needed. The idea is to share safety messages and reduce ‘tension’ between communities.

legocop5legocop3lego12legocop8legocop7For more examples of Daniel’s work check out https://twitter.com/legocopgta

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ST. JAMES TOWN – 19 HIGH-RISES, 4 LOW-RISES, THE WORLD IN A SQUARE BLOCK

stjamestown9St. James Town is Canada’s largest high-rise community.  About 20,000 people live here – on Wellesley Street East at Parliament.  Built in the 1960’s as a trendy city-within-a-city, it’s now a first stop for newly arrived immigrants.

STJAMESTOWN2STJAMESTOWN5Common languages spoken in St. James Town: Tagalog, Tamil, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Spanish, Russian, Serbian, Bengali and Urdu.

STJAMESTOWN1This may be one of TORONTO’s poorer neighbourhoods (average income $23,000), but there’s a brand new community centre, a multi-cultural elementary school, a state-of-the-art public library, and a city-centre location with excellent transit connections.  Panoramic views from these 19-32 storey buildings are among the most spectacular in the city.  <PHOTO BELOW – a car wrapped up for winter, St. James Town>

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‘TORONTO IN ART’ – 170 PAINTINGS, DRAWINGS & WATERCOLOURS ABOUT THE CITY

torontoinart1“Toronto in Art” was written by EDITH C. FIRTH in 1983 to mark the city’s 150th anniversary.  Without a doubt, it’s one of the finest collections of paintings, drawings and watercolours about TORONTO.  Copies may still be available from the publishers, Fitzhenry and Whiteside, or you might find one in a used bookshop.

IMAGES -1) University College Fire, J.E. Usher, 1890  2) Backyard Baldwin Street, Albert Franck, 1964  3) Tracks and Traffic, J.E.H. MacDonald, 1912  4) Houses on St. Patrick Street, Lawren Harris  5) Subway Construction, Eric Freifeld, 1952

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TORONTO SHORT STORIES – JANUARY 15-24/2017

brexit1Canada might soon be the most desirable place for E.U. students to attend university. A new Red Brick Research survey of 219 international students in the United Kingdom rated Canada #1 – ahead of the U.K., the United States and New Zealand.

Anver Saloojee of TORONTO’s Ryerson University said “I think definitely there will be a Brexit bump, there’s no doubt about it. They certainly wouldn’t want to spend time in a region that is unwelcoming.”

<IMAGE ABOVE – The Guardian>

alternatefacts1‘The Little Golden Book of ALTERNATE FACTS’ makes an appearance.

shopify2SHOPIFY is growing and growing fast. The e-commerce platform company has just opened its second TORONTO office downtown, near its primary headquarters in the financial district. Shopify has 300 employees right now, with a goal of hiring another 200 at its new R & D office, and another 500 by 2019.

The new R & D office is home for a large part of Shopify’s user experience (UX) design team and a big chunk of its engineering talent. Shopify Garage also calls it home.

682199_Rooster_BK6_Stamp_400CANADA POST celebrates the Year of the Rooster with a collection of specially designed stamps. To see the full collection go to http://www.canadapost.ca/roostercollection

islandtheatre2Didn’t know that – TORONTO Islands once had a cinema.  Photo above is from the City of Toronto Archives/John Milne – the Island Theatre in the 1940’s.

circus2circus4After 146 years “The Greatest Show on Earth” won’t exist after May/2017. Dropping ticket sales, high operating costs and legal battles with animal rights activists no doubt brought on the closure.

The Circus performed in TORONTO several times. <PHOTO ABOVE – horses at Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus, Coliseum, TORONTO, 1973 – photo Boris Spremo/Toronto Star>

SCARBORUGH BLUFFS IS BOTH A GEOLOGICAL WONDER AND AN ‘ALMOST-WILDERNESS’ AREA

BLUFFS10There are many places in TORONTO where you can get away from it all.  The Scarborough Bluffs is one of them. Running 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) along the coastline of Lake Ontario, it’s home to beaches, walking trails, wild flora and fauna, a marina and some of the finest homes in the city. The highest point: 90 metres (or 300 feet).

BLUFFS9Chunks of The Bluffs fall off from time to time due to erosion.  And occasionally someone leaves the planet by tumbling over the side to the rocks below.

Bluffs5GETTING TO SCARBOROUGH BLUFFS VIA PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Bloor-Danforth subway east to Victoria Park station. Then a 12 or 12B Kingston Rd bus east to the Brimley Rd/Kingston Rd intersection. From there the Scarborough Bluffs are about a 10 minute walk south on Brimley Rd.

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ANSHEI MINSK SYNAGOGUE – PLAIN OUTSIDE, BUT A DECO MASTERPIECE INSIDE

synangogue4Typical of many TORONTO buildings, the Anshei Minsk Synagogue is dour on the outside, but a delight on the inside.  The Byzantine-style structure, with a deco interior, was completed in 1930 – a step-up from the original 1912 shtibel or small storefront synagogue typical of poorer Jewish immigrant communities of the time.  The founders were poor Jewish immigrants from Russia (mostly Minsk).

10 St. Andrew Street, Kensington Market.

<PHOTO – Robert Burley>

‘SMOKY THE BAR’, A NIGHT OUT IN 1980’S TORONTO – YOU COULD BARELY SEE THE BAR THRU THE SMOKE

SMOKYTHEBAR<Purgatorio, A Drinkingbout, National Gallery of Canada Collection, Sandra Meigs/1981>

Curator RAE JOHNSON: “It has the quality of much of the imagery of the era, with an interest in psychology and the human condition, especially its darker side.”  That’s the ’80’s for ya

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“Smoky, the bar.  Are those tears in your eyes?  No, Smoky the bar.  They aren’t tears.”