IN THE ‘GOOD OLD DAYS’ TORONTO’S CHILDREN HAD THE RUN OF THE STREETS

In a growing, dirty and dangerous city, children created their own playgrounds. Photographers found them in laneways, backyards, behind houses, on construction sites, sitting on stoops and staircases and playing chicken with streetcars.

For immigrant children in The Ward (officially known as St. John’s Ward), TORONTO’s downtown slum, the street was where they played, watched and wandered. Here they were masters of their own destiny.The Playground Movement in Canada began in the early 1900’s. TORONTO’s Cherry Street Playground opened in 1909, St. Andrew’s and Elizabeth Street playgrounds in 1913. A department of social work was established in 1914 at the University of Toronto. The Ward became the site of early health and hygiene planning and slum clearance.  PHOTOS – City of Toronto Archives – Website – http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=7cb4ba2ae8b1e310VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

<PHOTO ABOVE – a modern playground in newly renovated GRANGE PARK, behind the Art Gallery of Ontario.>

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AN UNIDENTIFIED CALIFORNIAN SHOWS THERE’S STILL GOODNESS IN THE WORLD

With raging wildfires all around, an unidentified driver pulled over to the side of the road, and risked his/her life to save a rabbit. How magnificent is that! – December 7/2017

To understand what it’s like to open your front door and come face-to-face with a wildfire, read this chilling account – ‘Doom Season in Los Angeles’ – by Hector Tobadec, New York Times, December 8/2017
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/08/opinion/sunday/fires-los-angeles-california.html

A TOWER TRIO, 65-95 STOREYS TALL, HAS BEEN PROPOSED FOR TORONTO’S WATERFRONT

Three towers will form a portion of Pinnacle One Yonge, a project that includes five new buildings & the renovation of an existing block. The property being designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, will cover two city blocks.  The northern part of the site, currently a car park, will host the three residential towers, a hotel, community centre, affordable housing and retail. There’ll be an underground connection to Union Station.  To the south, two new office buildings reaching 35 and 22 storeys will join the current Toronto Star building completed in 1971, which will be refurbished & reclad.

“THERE’S A DIRECT LINE THAT GOES BACK TO CKDH” – IAN HANOMANSING, ANCHOR OF CBC’S “THE NATIONAL”

What is CKDH you might ask? It was, and still is, a small-town radio station in AMHERST, Nova Scotia. After a lengthy career as a reporter, documentarian and news reader IAN HANOMANSING, born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, is now a co-anchor of CBC television’s The National – the network’s hour-long, prime time nightly newscast.  <ABOVE – Ian on the left is next to co-anchors Andrew Chang, Adrienne Arsenault & Rosemary Barton>

Beginning his broadcasting career at CKDH – “For somebody like me to walk in the door of a radio station, looking for a job with my long, unusual last name – not only did (Station Manager Geoff De Gannes) hire me, but not once did (he) suggest I change that last name to something that might be a little more radio friendly.” <PHOTO BELOW – IAN on the air at CKDH in 1979; photo Ron Bickle>

Hanomansing to De Gannes – “You gave me an opportunity that you didn’t have to. (The CKDH job) was essential to where I ended up.”

IAN walking into CKDH looking for a job in 1979, was preceded by your faithful ‘torontosavvy’ blogger 20 years earlier. I was in high school at the time, and managed to land a non-paying gig hosting a Saturday afternoon show for teens <PHOTO ABOVE, me at the mike in 1958>.

From there it was on to ‘The Malt Shop’, also for teenagers and then a Sunday shift that nobody else wanted, and after that Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, commercial radio and television in Montreal & Toronto, and finally 3 decades producing and directing public television.  It began for both of us in a 250-watt radio station (later 1,000-watts, and now 23,000 watts). We bow to you, CKDH!

ONCE PART OF A GAS PUMPING STATION, THE BERKELEY ST. COMPLEX NOW HOUSES 2 THEATRES

As Jane Jacobs once said “new ideas need old buildings”, and the Berkeley Street Complex, 26 Berkeley Street, personifies that comment. Built as a Consumer’s Gas pumping station in 1887, the venerable structure contains two theatres, a large rehearsal space, props and wardrobe facilities and administrative offices.Demolition wreckers were on their way in 1971, but thanks to the efforts of TOM HENDRY, co-founder of TORONTO Free Theatre, the building was saved. It’s partly owned by the City of TORONTO, supported by the Toronto Arts Council Strategic Funding, and is an East Side base for the Canadian Stage Company.

LABOUR OF LOVE – MATT GREEN HAS BEEN WALKING NEW YORK CITY SINCE AT LEAST 2012

When it comes to walkin’, no one can beat MATT GREEN, a former civil engineer and native Virginian.  He has already walked across the United States, from Rockaway Beach NY to Rockaway Beach, Oregon. Then he took on The Big Apple, all 8,000 miles of streets in all five boroughs.

<THE SENTINEL OF CONEY ISLAND – Parachute Jump>. I first came across Matt’s website in March, 2012. Since then he’s added a multitude of new photos, maps, videos and commentary. You can join Matt on his travels through New York at http://www.imjustwalkin.com

<DO NOT JUMP – an old painted plea for noggin safety at the 169th Street F train station.>

<12 WEST 129TH STREET – erected in 1863, stands as rare survivor of Harlem’e early history.>

<RED HOOK RAT PATROL, HICKS SQUAD – a feral cat condo on Hicks Street.>

<TOWER OF SHIPPING CONTAINERS @ Pioneer Works – the second floor is home to a recording studio and a number of what appear to be electric hairbrushes.>

<SMITH & 9TH – THE HIGHEST SUBWAY STATION IN THE WORLD, 191st Street in Upper Manhattan. Renovations are complete. Here’s a look at the finished station.>

<LIVING BESIDE THE ‘A’ TRAIN>

<YOU & YOUR DOG WILL BE ON CAMERA>

COLLYER’S MANSION – named after New York City’s most famous hoarders. The reclusive brothers – Homer and Langley Collyer – lived out their lives in a jam-packed Harlem row house. The NYC Fire Department still uses the term “Collyers’ Mansion” to refer to a dangerously overstuffed dwelling.  “At its core, my walk is an oxymoron: an exhaustive journey through an inexhaustible city.”  – MATT GREEN

U OF TORONTO STARTUP, Tréxō Robotics, IS OUT TO HELP KIDS WITH STROKE, SPINE & BRAIN INJURIES

<MANMEET MAGGU & RAHUL UDASI of Tréxō Robotics  – photo by Chris Sorensen>

A prototype exoskeleton created by Tréxō Robotics, a UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO startup, consists of robotic legs that can be attached to any walker. It gives kids with Cerebral Palsy, spinal cord injuries, and other immobilizing conditions a chance to escape the bounds of a wheel chair and move about on their own. The device suits some better than others.  “Our robotic legs attach onto the walker, ensuring support along with powered walking, so that a child can walk (outdoors for) longer periods.” CEO Manmeet Maggu told the Daily Mail. The robo legs assist the knees and hip joints by using battery power to help propel the child forward.

  The invention was inspired by Maggu’s nephew, Praneit, in INDIA, who was told he’d never walk again because of Cerebral Palsy. In the six tests so far, Praneit was among the successful ones.  For project information – https://www.utoronto.ca/news/u-t-startup-trexo-robotics-takes-another-step-forward-children-s-iron-man-exoskeleton