WITH A MUNICIPAL ELECTION ON THE HORIZON, WHAT HAS TORONTO’S MAYOR, JOHN TORY, BEEN DOING?

– restored adult decorum to City Hall after four years of Rob Ford’s chaos
– negotiated with the taxi industry and legalized Uber
– welcomed the first Lyft ride program outside the United States to the city
– sped up the rebuilding of the Gardiner Expressway project

– introduced raccoon-proofed green garbage bins
– got $150-million from the province to plan a Downtown Relief Subway Line
– endorsed a controversial one-stop Scarborough subway extension

– delivered the Bloor Street separated bike lanes after every survey imaginable
– repaved and/or added bike lanes to Richmond, Adelaide, Woodbine & Wellington Streets
– first time that I can remember – Montreal, Vancouver & Toronto, Canada’s three largest metropoli, have begun working together to solve mutual problems
reduced transit fares for people on the Ontario Disability Support Program; free rides for kids under 12; restored suburban bus services cut by the Ford administration
– initiated the King streetcar transit pilot project to speed up commutes – an immediate hit with riders, not so much with business owners

– kept residential property taxes below the rate of inflation (2% increase) – lowest in the Greater Toronto Area
– launched the Open Door program as an incentive to developers to build affordable housing
– increased funding for the rent supplement program
– marched every year with city councilors in the Pride Parade
streamlined Invest Toronto, Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance & city’s economic development division
– doubled the number of companies in Partnership to Advance Youth Employment (PAYE)
– kept his promise to keep Toronto Hydro a public institution

– promoted towing & ticket blitzes for traffic lane blockers
introduced full-time traffic wardens & a bike lane policing brigade
– shepherded first stage of The Bentway Skating Trail under the Gardiner through council
– supported Safe Injection sites for those addicted
– developed a climate change plan

– successfully passed city budgets with a minimum of council fights
kept his promise to hold at least one weekly press conference
– appears monthly on a CP24 television call-in show
championed the tech, film, and television industries, developed good rapport with Prime Minister Trudeau & an on-and-off good rapport with Premier Kathleen Wynne

In a year-end interview with The Toronto Star, Mayor Tory has promised to work more closely with downtown councillors if he’s re-elected in 2018.  He’s proven himself a consensus builder who doesn’t go too far left or too far right – but in his first term he often seemed more allied with right-leaning suburban councillors.  Downtowners voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Tory in the previous election.  If history repeats itself, residents of the city’s core will no doubt expect their priorities will be among his priorities.

PAINTER ROB DE LUCA SPENT 450 OVERNIGHT HOURS CREATING HIS LAUNDROMAT MURAL

The mural, in the Monte Carlo Laundromat in North York, is about TORONTO and the personalities who live here (or once lived here). Among the 400 references to the city – Sam the Record Man, former mayor Rob Ford, fashionista Jeanne Beker, radio and television personalities, Mayor John Tory, Spider Jones, disc jockeys and everyday folks.

“I had options. Stay home and get drunk, or challenge myself to create the mural, and for me it was mind therapy,” Mr. De Luca says. The response to his work has been very positive.

THE WORLD’S MEGA CITIES – INCLUDING TORONTO – ARE PULLING AWAY FROM THEIR NEIGHBOURS

North American mega cities – San Francisco, New York City, Boston, Toronto, Waterloo & Ottawa – have been linking up to places already similarly successful. HARALD BATHELT at the University of TORONTO found that “the TORONTOs, Ottawas and Waterloos will link with Shenzhen in China, with Munich and Stockholm in Europe.”

GREG SPENCER, researcher at the University of TORONTO, analyzed the global footprints of the world’s 500 largest firms in advanced industries like machinery, digital services and life sciences. Global cities stand out. Other places connect to the global economy by going through them. Smaller places are left at the mercy of global cities. “A lot of this is about power,” Mr. Spencer says.

Read the entire, fascinating story – “The Megacity, Untethered”, Sunday Business, New York Times, December 24/2017 – https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/22/upshot/the-great-disconnect-megacities-go-global-but-lose-local-links.html.   Global Cities Institute at the University of TORONTO – http://boundless.utoronto.ca/initiatives/global-cities-institute/

DEPARTURES OF THOSE WHO BRIGHTENED OUR LIVES IN 2017 – OUR THOUGHTS ARE WITH THEM

BARBARA Cook – ultimate interpreter of Broadway songs
CHUCK Berry – musician
CHRISTINE Keeler, UK model and showgirl
JIMMY Breslin – journalist & author
*JOHNNY Bower, Toronto Maple Leafs hockey legend
GLEN Campbell – musician
*ARNOLD Chang – Member of Parliament, Scarborough/Agincourt
*JULIETTE Augustina Cavazzi – CBC television star
LIZ Dawn – longtime ‘Coronation Street’ actress
FATS Domino – musician
*GORD Downie – musician, poet
DICK Gregory – civil rights activist, satirist
*ROY Halladay – former Blue Jays pitcher
*TOM Harpur – author, religion writer
JOHN Hurt – actor
*BETTY Kennedy – CFRB journalist, CBC personality
MARTIN Landau – actor
JERRY Lewis – comedian, actor
*DAVID Livingstone – fashion journalist
*BILL Marshall – Toronto International Film Festival co-founder
*STUART MacLean – CBC radio personality
MARY Tyler Moore – actor
ROGER Moore – actor
JEANNE Moreau – actor
TOM Petty – musician
DELLA REESE – musician
DON Rickles – comedian
DAVID Rockefeller – banker & philanthropist
*DAISY Sweeny, piano teacher & sister of Oscar Peterson
*JUNE Rowlands – Toronto’s first female mayor
SAM Shepard – playwright, actor
ADAM West – actor, the original Batman;     <PHOTO – Toronto Sky, PHILIP HARE>

 

MOTHER NATURE AND JACK FROST ARE WORKING OVERTIME TO GIVE TORONTO A FRIGID WINTER

Herewith some winter and holiday photos from the Archives of TORONTO and the Archives of ONTARIO.  <PHOTO ABOVE – Trinity College Gates, Queen Street West, 1916>

<Wartime snow storm on Bay Street, 1944>

<Looking in the Eaton’s window, 1958>

<TORONTO Bay, 1920, ice boats & coal smoke abound>

<Waiting for the King West streetcar, John St. at King, 1961>

<What’s more wintry than a moose in a Hudson’s Bay blanket.>

THE CBC’S RADIO & TELEVISION MUSEUM HAS CLOSED FOREVER – BUT ALL IS NOT LOST

CBC Radio’s drama studio shut down 5 years ago. And now the Radio and Television Museum & Graham Spry Theatre are going – to make way for a new children’s television studio.

The museum opened in 1994 and items on display date way back. Some will be transferred to Ingenium, an OTTAWA umbrella group that oversees three museums. Over the next year the collection will be assigned to one of them – possibly the Canada Science & Technology Museum, which already houses some 600 other CBC objects.

<An early Laugh Track Machine.  Each drawer holds 6 unique laugh track recordings.  When all 3 drawers were in use, up to 18 different laugh tracks could be mixed together to create any unique sound required.>

<The Cocktail Bar played vinyl records only, either one at a time or simultaneously.>

<No, you’re not seeing things.  ‘Mr. Rogers’ Neighbourhood’ got its start on CBC television, and then went on to PBS.  The trolley car from the famous series was bequeathed to the Museum.>

BUT ALL IS NOT LOST – TORONTO ALSO HOSTS A SUPERB “TECHNO TEMPLE FOR THE AGES”

The MZTV Museum of Television & Archive is a creation of broadcast mogul MOSES ZNAIMER. There’s nothing like it in New York or Los Angeles.

Mr. Znaimer, an on-air television veteran himself, has spent six decades chasing roughly 10,000 artifacts from the earliest days of television to the present, and his collection is open to the public.

Among the exhibits is a multiplicity of television sets, some dating back to World War II; books, magazines, toys, ephemera from North America, the UK, Germany, Italy and Russia; and Marilyn Monroe’s Magnavox from 1957.  A commemorative wall celebrates the inventors of television – John Logie Baird, Charles Francis-Jenkins, Philo T. Farnsworth, Allen B. DuMont, Vladimir Zworlkyn and NBC’s David Sarnoff.

The Museum has a tremendous collection of televisions and related broadcasting and pop culture items – including a 1928 Felix the Cat doll, which was placed on a turntable, scanned by a primitive camera and transmitted – one of the first TV stars.

The highlight of the Museum is a very rare TRK-12 Phantom Telereceiver, discovered in Israel, restored, and now on display. The TRK-12 <PHOTO ABOVE by Bill Brioux> was the first television set visitors to the 1939 New York World’s Fair had ever seen.  The museum’s address: MZTV Museum of Television and Archive, 64 Jefferson Street, Liberty Village, in the King Street West/Dufferin neighbourhood, http://www.mztv.com

THE CANADIAN ONLINE ART BOOK PROJECT “BREATHES DIGITAL LIFE INTO CANADIAN ART” – GLOBE & MAIL

Founded in 2013 and still going strong, the ‘Canadian Online Art Book Project’ makes full use of 21st century media to potentially reach millions. The Project is a registered non-profit research organization based at Massey College, within the University of TORONTO.

<ABOVE – Skating Carnival, Victoria Rink, Montreal, WILLIAM NOTMAN, 1870>. Authors of the online books are among Canada’s leading art historians, curators and visual experts. Their work is available on the site to anyone anywhere in both French and English.

A few of the many online art books – Michael Snow, Yves Gaucher, Emily Carr, Greg Curnoe, William Kurelek, Paraskeva Clark, General Idea, Harold Town, Paul Kane, Joyce Wieland, Jack Chambers, Jean Paul Lemieux, etc.

‘The Canadian Online Art Book Project’ – images, documents, podcasts, stories, videos, exhibits – is available right now at http://www.aci-iac.ca

NEW YORK CITY AND TORONTO ARE FORMING A TECHNOLOGY, HEALTH, ENERGY & FINANCE ALLIANCE

According to Forbes Tech TORONTO & New York are in the process of creating an East Coast alliance to solve mutual problems and compete with other global hubs in the technology industry.

NEW YORK is a well-established global business and creative centre, while TORONTO is home to a smaller, but equally sturdy technology community.

“TORONTO’s STEM (acronym for the fields of science, technology, engineering and math) talent is world class. Much of the world’s AI (Artificial Intelligence) talent is based here. The city actively recruits young talent from the US and around the world to further develop their expertise in Canada. Young talent that moves to TORONTO tends to stay.” – SALIM TEJA, entrepreneur & tech investor, leads venture services at MaRS/Toronto

“Networks and cities matter when you’re building a business in the financial industry. I don’t buy the idea that tech entrepreneurs can be digital nomads. Our U.S. expansion depends on us having feet on the ground in New York.” VIC MAGDELINIC, CEO of Toronto-based Overbond