WHEN TORONTO BUILT WAR SHIPS – POLSON IRON WORKS, FOOT OF SHERBOURNE STREET, 1918

<SHIPBUILDING IN ASHBRIDGES BAY, 1918, artist – Robert Ford Gagen, Canadian War Museum, Ottawa>

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TORONTO SHORT STORIES – MARCH 21-31/2017

The three green cubes at the foot of Sumach Street, TORONTO landmarks since 1996, are up for sale. Unfortunately they’re sitting on a prime piece of land and could go for over $3-million. The home was last sold in 2002 for $265,000 when the neighbourhood was pretty much an undeveloped wasteland. But all of this is changing rapidly.

Hopes are high that they can somehow be saved.

<PHOTO – Eduardo Lima/Metro News>

Bonnie and Clyde, High Park Zoo’s most famous rodents, are now mom and dad to three bundles of joy. Born on February 23, the pups have been kept indoors because “they’re South American and they’re babies, so they need to stay inside,” said city spokesperson Megan Price. <PHOTO – Jason McCullough>

BETTY KENNEDY, once one of Canada’s best-known television and radio personalities, died at 91. For 27 years she hosted ‘The Betty Kennedy Show’ on TORONTO’s CFRB. And for 33 years she was the only female panelist on CBC television’s “Front Page Challenge”. Mrs. Kennedy-Burton was also a senator for seven months – retiring, as required, in January/2001 upon reaching the mandatory age.

<PHOTO – Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press>

TOURISM TORONTO has launched a new campaign – ‘The Views Are Different Here’ – promoting our city as Canada’s Downtown.
Andrew Weir, CEO of Tourism Toronto says T.O. is the most-visited destination in Canada. While other cities have vibrant downtowns “international visitors will start in TORONTO … because that’s where the planes fly. People want Canada, and they want the cities of Canada.”

Check out Tourism Toronto’s website and see their new video – http://www.seetorontonow.com/#sm.00003d3687bc0ctvw3r19grtn5c68

An in-depth front page article in Sunday’s New York Times: Canada’s Syrian refugees, sponsored for one year, have reached Month 13. What happens next? Canadians are learning to let go.

Read the 3-page article with photographs at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/25/world/canada/syrian-refugees.html

A grand piece of TORONTO architecture – the Dominion Public Building – has been sold for $275.1-million. It was purchased by Larco Investments, a Vancouver-based company that also owns Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier Hotel.

The Dominion Public building, 1 Front Street West, was the federal government’s first customs house, where imports and exports were administered and inspected. The building’s first of two phases was built from 1929 to 1931. In 1934 and 1935 the west pavilion was added.

GILBERT BAKER, the “Betsy Ross” of the Rainbow Flag died on Friday, March 31. Although the original underwent a few revisions, the design has endured for over 30 years as the international symbol of the LGBTQ community.

The first Rainbow Flag appeared at San Francisco Pride on June 25, 1978. Mr. Baker said “I knew instantly when I saw the reaction that it was going to be something. I didn’t know what or how or – but I knew.” He refused to apply for a trademark for his creation, saying it was his life’s work and his gift to the world. Mr. Baker was 65.

A LOOK AT THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF CANADIAN TELEVISION IN THE 1950’S

<Pierre Berton, Fred Davis, Betty Kennedy and Gordon Sinclair on CBC’s nationally televised “Front Page Challenge”, on air from 1957-1995 – a record>

The recent death of broadcaster BETTY KENNEDY at the age of 91 inspired me to look back at the earliest days of Canadian television. A broadcasting pioneer, Ms. Kennedy was the only female panelist on CBC television’s “Front Page Challenge”, from 1962-1995.

<Indian Head test pattern.  In the 1950’s programming began around 4pm; signoff was midnight>

The only Canadian networks were the CBC and Radio-Canada. A few local stations had connections to the national nets, but many did not. These small-market stations with many hours to fill, built their own star systems, and waited patiently for a microwave hookup.

<CHEK-tv, Victoria, British Columbia – quite an advanced setup for 1957>

<Marconi television sets, 1950’s, made in Montreal>

<A Dumont studio camera, 1950’s>

<The Dipsy Doodlers, CJON-tv, St. John’s, Newfoundland, 1957>

<The Bunkhouse Boys, CKCW-tv, Moncton, New Brunswick, 1950’s>

<“At Home with Mary Ashwell”, CFPL-tv, London, Ontario, 1955>

<Videotape was born – a revolutionary new process for recording and reproducing the sound and picture of television programs on magnetic tape – Ampex Corporation, 1957>

<Swimwear fashion show on CKCW-tv, Moncton, New Brunswick, 1957>

<Channel ID’s often featured a station’s mascot>

<Nople Bircumshaw and the lion cub, CHCT-tv, Calgary, Alberta, 1957>

<In the 1950’s television was taking over.>

THE CHARACTER OF OUR COMMERCIAL STREETS IS CHANGING AS CHAIN STORES MOVE IN

<Hard Rock Cafe, Yonge-Dundas Square>

The Hard Rock Cafe is about to become a Shoppers Drug Mart. That seems to have put at least one city councillor on alert. MIKE LAYTON doesn’t want the chains to take over, and we’re rapidly headed in that direction. Pure and simple, with sky-high rents Mom and Pop can’t afford storefront property any longer.

<The Allenby Cinema has metamorphosed into a Tim Horton’s coffee shop & On The Run>

<A Rexall Drug Store occupies the ground floor under these Victorian-era flats – it pays the rent.>

Mike Layton wants “to create an environment that’s more of an incubator for small-scale stores.” The downtown councillor is impressed by a SAN FRANCISCO policy called Formula Retail Use, in which chain stores face additional regulations – a more rigorous approval process, controls on matching the neighbourhood’s character and prohibitions in some areas. TORONTO’s Yonge Street can certainly use some of that right now.

<Yonge, south of Gerrard, will soon be redeveloped>

Mike Layton: “You can’t just have the same formula for every development. This isn’t saying no to chain stores, but there needs to be some local consideration.”

TORONTO’S ‘PATH’ SYSTEM IS THE BIG DADDY OF SUBTERRANEAN PEDESTRIAN WALKWAYS

More than 50 buildings, 20 parking garages, 6 subway stations, 8 major hotels, Union Station, the CBC Broadcasting Centre, Hockey Hall of Fame, the Stock Exchange, Hudson’s Bay department store, Canada’s six banks, Roy Thomson Hall, the Rogers Centre, the CN Tower, City Hall, the Air Canada Centre and 1200 shops and services are all accessible via PATH.

About 5,000 people work in the tunnels themselves, and a few hundred thousand in the office towers above.

Altogether, TORONTO’s PATH network is 30 kilometres (19 miles) end-to-end-to-end. It contains 372,000 square metres (4 million square feet) of retail space. By comparison, the tunnel network in HOUSTON, Texas is approximately 6 miles (9.7 kilometres) long.