THE TOLLKEEPER’S COTTAGE – RESCUED & REBUILT BY VOLUNTEERS – IS NOW A HERITAGE MUSEUM

In the 1800’s private companies were contracted to build, improve and maintain roads in (what was then called) Upper Canada.  This was costly, so to pay for upkeep, all users were charged a small toll.  A tollkeeper’s cottage – the oldest survivor anywhere in Canada – was discovered in 1993 attached to a house in the Davenport/Bathurst Street neighbourhood.  <PHOTO ABOVE – cottage when discovered, with original window intact, 1996>

In 1996 the Community History Project rescued the cottage and transported it to a temporary location inside the Toronto Transit Commission’s Wychwood Barns site.  A Tollkeeper’s Fund was setup while volunteers searched for a permanent site.  <PHOTOS> – Cottage transported to the TTC Wychwood Barns & volunteers apply replacement clapboard with handmade nails; cedar roof goes on; chimney rebuilt with handmade bricks, 2002/2003>

The Cottage was eventually moved to 750 Davenport Road, where it sits today, surrounded by its very own namesake park.  Additions were made to the rear of the building, providing space for a museum and interpretive centre.  The Cottage is a block or so from the very unique Wychwood Park neighbourhood.  <PHOTO BELOW – Opening Day, July 1, 2008>

For background info and museum opening times: http://www.tollkeeperscottage.ca

THE LUNGS OF WEST-END TORONTO – HIGH PARK – 400 ACRES (161 HECTARES) OF RECREATION & NATURE

Opened in 1876, served by the subway’s Line 2 and the #506 streetcar, TORONTO’s High Park is a mixture of nature and recreation, with a dash of theatre, a museum, a zoo, bike paths, formal gardens, a lake (Grenadier Pond), hiking trails, educational facilities and playgrounds. It’s the largest park entirely within city limits and stretches from Bloor Street West to The Queensway, north of Lake Ontario.

Colborne Lodge, designed and built by John George Howard, now a museum, was the residence of Mr. Howard and his wife Jemima Frances Meikle. The Howards named their property High Park because it was situated on the highest point of land along Humber Bay.

High Park Zoo is home to Bonnie and Clyde and their family of three.  These two Argentinian capybaras became front page news when they went on the lam in 2016.  They eventually returned to the Zoo and found time to produce three little ones.

High Park Zoo has many other animals including llamas, and its free.

The amphitheatre at High Park is home to Shakespeare under the stars.  The upcoming season is #35 and it’s free.

The Jamie Bell Adventure Playground Castle was burnt to the ground by some firebug destroyer.  It was completely rebuilt by television star MIKE HOLMES and his crew, and reopened a couple of years ago.

The story of High Park and how it came to be, is summarized in this excellent Wikipedia posting – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Park

MAYOR JOHN TORY THREATENS TO STOP PLANNING ON A YORK REGION SUBWAY EXTENSION

TORONTO’s mayor JOHN TORY is standing up for the City against provincial politicians when it comes to extending Line 1 into York Region. In short, he wants planning to pause until funds are forthcoming for a much-needed Downtown Relief Line (DRL).

The TORONTO Transit Commission (TTC) is very much involved in this. “If we are uncertain that the Relief Line will be funded or not, then why would we be devoting our time working on the Yonge Street north extension because the two are very much interconnected? That project is a regional project and it won’t do anything for commuters in the City of TORONTO. Not one thing,” Tory said. “The Relief Line must be well advanced and funded before we can even consider an expansion.  That extension will only add more passengers to the Yonge St. subway, and without relief, I can’t allow that to happen.” – MAYOR JOHN TORY

And here’s the rub – the extension project is backed by suburban politicians north of TORONTO, including influential Liberal cabinet ministers in Premier KATHLEEN WYNNE’s government.  Ouch!

LORI BLONDEAU’S “ASINLY ISKWEW” IN DEVONIAN SQUARE PORTRAYS A POWERFUL ‘ROCK WOMAN’

Ryerson University temporarily gave its Devonian Square over to Lori Blondeau’s ‘Rock Woman’ (title is a translation from the Cree language) for Contact/2017.

The images were adhered to 2-billion-year-old boulders transported from the Canadian Shield to downtown TORONTO. The raison d’etre – issues of displacement, environmental preservation, indigenous history and connection to the land.

TORONTO SHORT STORIES – APRIL 29 TO MAY 6/2017

The TORONTO skyline in the late 1960’sMark Blinch/Reuters

TORONTO skyline as it was in February/2017 and it keeps on growing – by Razz/urbantoronto.ca

TORONTO, MONTREAL & everything in between was drenched by continuous downpours this week. Lake Ontario rose higher than it’s been in 3 decades.  There were fears the Don River <PHOTO ABOVE> would overflow its banks.  Didn’t happen.

What are the 23-year-olds up to these days? This one climbed a construction crane in the middle of the night, sat down on the hook and waited to be rescued. Firefighter ROB WONFOR risked his life by climbing the tower in two difficult hours, descending the crane’s cabling (!) and bringing MARISA LAZO safely back to earth where police were waiting.  <PHOTO ABOVE – Tyler Anderson/National Post>

We love you, NEW YORK CITY, but the “rhetoric” coming out of Donald Trump’s White House is turning us off. His diatribe against Canada’s dairy & softwood lumber industries and NAFTA aren’t helping matters. Predictions are that The Big Apple will see 300,000 fewer foreign tourists in 2017, and 17,000 of those will be Canadians.  Fred Dixon, CEO of NYC’s official tourism organization says “We recognize there are challenges at the border . . . We want to remind everyone that New York City is welcoming and that we are a diverse and safe city, a sanctuary city like TORONTO, and we value the same things.”

For the first time in history, there are as many seniors as young people in this country, and they’re living longer than ever before. This phenomenon will have ripple effects on everything from the cost of benefits to the age of retirement as Canada tries to find its footing in the new age of aging. – TORONTO STAR, May 2/2017