TORONTO SHORT STORIES – FEBRUARY 13-27/2017

lastfarmer1The Reesors came to the TORONTO area in 1804. “It was a Mennonite family. They came from Pennsylvania. travelled up and bought land in this area. It’s been in the same family ever since,” said Dale Reesor to Metro News reporter Chris Bateman. Their farm is the last significant chunk of undeveloped land in northern SCARBOROUGH.

Shawn Micallef EventSo near and yet so far. In his new book, Shawn Micallef – among other things – brings some old skeletons out of the closet. The Rob Ford ‘administration’, the gravy train, amalgamation, the village mentality, NIMBYism, suburbs vs downtown elites, taxes, transit, gridlock, the province – the whole roiling mass.  Micallef paints a picture of a city facing serious social, environmental and economic challenges, yet also in a position to create a promising future.

stuartmclean1STUART McLEAN, CBC radio host of ‘The Vinyl Cafe’ and award-winning humorist and storyteller died of melanoma at the age of 68. Both on the stage and on radio he had millions of fans from the late 70’s to the present day.  McLean also created current affairs radio documentaries for CBC Radio’s ‘Sunday Morning’, including an ACTRA Award-winning piece in 1979 about the Jonestown massacre.

banksy1A stencil painting by BANKSY, created several years ago in a TORONTO laneway, has been saved and reinstalled at #1 York Street. The restored artwork can be found in a second-floor PATH pedestrian walkway in a condo, office and retail building, just south of the Gardiner Expressway.  The piece was created during the artist’s trip to TORONTO for the release of his film, ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’, a documentary about street art.

nandu1NANDU, the Indian Rhino calf at Toronto Zoo is one year old this month and weighs in at nearly 1,400 pounds.  His horn continues to grow and he’s still playful with his mom ASHAKIRAN. The marks you see are minor scratches as he and mom spend a lot of time playing with one another. The marks heal quite quickly and it isn’t long before they are both playfighting again.

meme5Prime Minister JUSTIN TRUDEAU meets with President Trump in Washington DC.  He neatly avoids the Trumpster’s crushing handshake.

bookmobile1TORONTO Public Library has unveiled its new technology-filled bookmobile ready to hit the streets this coming May. The $300,000 vehicle is equipped with free Wi-Fi, large computer screens and tablets – ideal for job searches and research.

realestate1TORONTO has placed 8th out of 500 cities in the 10th annual Innovation Cities Index by Melbourne-based 2thinknow consulting company. The cities are scored on 162 indicators grouped into 3 categories: culture, infrastructure and location & access to networked markets.  The Top 10 – 1) London 2) New York 3) Tokyo 4) San Francisco/San Jose 5) Boston 6) Los Angeles 7) Singapore 8) TORONTO 9) Paris 10) Vienna

HAPPY 150TH ANNIVERSARY CANADA FROM THE VILLAGE OF YORKVILLE & CUMBERLAND STREET!

2017icefest2The theme of this year’s Bloor-Yorkville Icefest is CANADA150, the year-long celebration of Confederation.  For this, the Festival’s 12th year, 20,000 pounds of crystal clear ice has been shaped into iconic images of our country – Mounties, beaver, First Nations, the Eternal Flame, House of Commons, Canada geese, etc. At night the sculptures are illuminated.  http://www.bloor-yorkville.com/icefest

2017icefest52017icefest32017icefest72017icefest82017icefest4

BANK OF MONTREAL CELEBRATES 200 YEARS WITH A 17-FOOT WATER-FREE, DIGITAL ‘WISH’ FOUNTAIN

bmo1The Bank of Montreal, headquartered in TORONTO, has installed a modern-day ‘wish’ fountain in the atrium at First Canadian Place, King Street West at Bay.

bmo2The fountain was developed by the Mosaic agency; technology and infrastructure by Globacore; web development & digital by Secret Location. Canadian multidisciplinary artists Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins created the design  – which pays homage to “flip dots”, once used for train destination boards.  Sound effects are included.

bmo6Also for its 200th anniversary, BMO has released a book on its history, titled “A Vision Greater than Themselves: The Making of Bank of Montreal, 1817-2017,” written by McMaster University business historian Dr. Laurence B. Mussio.

bmo4

TORONTO’S 3RD ‘WINTER STATIONS DESIGN COMPETITION’ OPENED ON A SPRING-LIKE DAY

stations4Photographer STEVEN EVANS took in the event on Kew, Scarborough and Balmy beaches on a perfect holiday Monday. This year, designers transformed lifeguard stands into works of art and the kids certainly seemed to approve.

stations3

stations7LISA ROCHON, Jury Chair for the competition, led visitors on a tour of the installations.

stations2Among the eight creations this year – ‘NORTH’ by Studio Perch, MONTREAL

stations8Mayor JOHN TORY showed up to take in the festivities.

stations10“COLLECTIVE MEMORY” by Mario Garcia, BARCELONA & Andrea Govi, MILAN  One of the highlights – “BEACON” by Joao Araujo & Joanna Correia Silva, PORTO.  It’s best seen at night when a shaft of light points skyward.

stations6The Beaches are easy to reach by public transport. Take the #501 streetcar eastbound to Neville Park from the Queen Street subway station. Alight at Woodbine or Leuty and walk south from there.

JAMES TURRELL’S “STRAIGHT FLUSH” LIGHTS UP THE BAY/ADELAIDE CENTRE, FINANCIAL DISTRICT

turrell1In this season of light, why not stop by the Bay/Adelaide Centre, 333 Bay Street, to enjoy James Turrell’s animated sculpture, “Straight Flush”.  Installed in 2009, it’s in the lobby on the south side.

JAMESTURRELLJames Turrell, born in 1943 in Pasadena, California, is known for his light tunnels and projects, which take on a three-dimensional quality.  “My interest is working with light and space.  I have always been fascinated with the range of light at different locations around the world.” – James Turrell

CONGRATULATIONS TO MONTREAL – CROWNED THE BEST STUDENT CITY IN THE WORLD BY ‘QS’

MONTREAL13QS, headquartered in the United Kingdom, has elevated MONTREAL to the #1 spot on its list of Best Student Cities in the World. The rankings are based on the student mix, desirability, employer activity, affordability and the opinions and experiences of students.  VANCOUVER was the only other Canadian city in the Top 10 list at #10.  Ben Sowter of the QS Intelligence Unit – “For Montreal and other Canadian cities, the actual experience that people are having when they go there is much more positive than the imagination or expectation of it before they go.”

UOFT8Meanwhile, the University of TORONTO has noticed a surge in the number of Americans visiting its website – http://www.future.utoronto.ca – since Donald Trump’s election. U of T is consistently ranked one of the top 10 public universities in the world.  https://www.utoronto.ca/news/u-t-named-best-global-university-canada-21st-world-us-news-world-report

LISTEN TO CANADA ON CBC: MUSIC, TALK, PODCASTS, VIDEOS, & RADIO STATIONS 24/7 – IT’S FREE!

cbc8CBC (the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), known locally as the ‘Mother Corp.’, boasts one of North America’s largest music libraries. Classical, jazz, aboriginal, soul, rock, pop, country, electronic – it’s all there for the listening at http://www.music.cbc.ca/# – free of charge.  <ABOVE – CBC’s Broadcasting Centre in TORONTO>

The CBC is Canada’s public broadcaster, with radio and television transmitters coast-to-coast-to-coast covering 6 time zones. CBC broadcasts daily in English, French and several aboriginal languages, largely commercial-free on Radio 1 (talk), Radio 2 (music) and Radio 3 (music) along with 50-plus web stations and a wide assortment of podcasts.  For relatively unbiased news reporting, radio documentaries, videos, sports and investigative journalism go to this address – http://www.cbc.ca

A few CBC talk programs – ‘As It Happens’, ‘Day Six’, ‘ Sunday Edition’, ‘The House’, ‘The Current’, ‘Q’, ‘The 180’, ‘The Candy Palmater Show’ and ‘The World At Six’. For an archive of interviews and other programming look under podcasts.  The CBC websites are vast. Prepare to spend some quality time browsing through them.