THIS AND THAT, FROM HERE AND THERE, AT HOME AND ELSEWHERE

On TORONTO’s waterfront, this group of rotating fan sculptures has been installed. It’s the work of Vancouver artist THENA TAK, and the public is welcome to wander through the assemblage. ‘Winter Fanfare‘ is part of the Waterfront Ice Breakers Festival, on until February 25.

The Spire of DUBLIN is a large, stainless steel, elongated cone, which can be seen from almost everywhere in the Irish capital. The Spire doesn’t seem to honour anyone or anything. It’s just there.

Cavalia Odysseo & the Canadian National Institute for the Blind gave a number of blind kids the thrill of their young lives this past summer. They were surrounded by horses under the big top in MISSISSAUGA, Ontario. “For them the sense of smell, feeling the hair and brushing them adds to their memory bank,” said Ruth Millard of the CNIB. <PHOTO – Toronto Sun>

When fire gutted the artsy Sag Harbor Cinema (everything but the sign) on LONG ISLAND, the populace, butcher, baker and candle-stick maker conjured up $8-million to restore the theatre so the town “wouldn’t become just another restaurant capital.”

It’s nearly impossible for first-time home buyers to get a foothold in EDINBURGH. The Scottish capital is a very popular tourism destination with its multitude of arts festivals. The city finds itself overrun with AirBnB’s, squeezing the locals out of the housing market. Average rental for a 2-bedroom flat stands at $1610 CAD per month. A one-bedroom $1200 CAD.

“MY WINNIPEG” or “WINNIPEG, MON AMOUR” is an exceptional movie about the prairie metropolis. Frigid in winter and a mosquito haven in summer, the city is home to, among other things, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, North America’s largest Icelandic community, the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, and film director/producer GUY MADDIN. Maddin’s salute to his home town combines reality and fantasy in documentary style, and you’re never sure which is which. I’ve seen “My Winnipeg” several times.

PHOTO ABOVE – ‘This Is Winnipeg’ – https://thisiswinnipeg.wordpress.com

THE NEW YORK TIMES ‘BUSINESS DAY’ ON WHY TORONTO MADE THE ‘PLAYOFFS’ FOR AMAZON’S HQ2

The New York Times correspondent in Canada – IAN AUSTEN – wrote “regardless of the outcome, the announcement that the city remains a contender, shows how much progress TORONTO and the surrounding region, have made in establishing themselves as a major technology centre.”

TORONTO has two important virtues, in addition to becoming a technology hub. One is Canada’s immigration policy. Mayor JOHN TORY said when he was in New York recently, he found American executives were very interested in Canada’s unlimited visa program for certain skilled workers. Visas are granted at lightning speed, compared with the complicated American system.

TORONTO’s second asset is its publicly funded university and college system. The University of Waterloo has long been recognized as a top technology school; the University of TORONTO is a major centre for research in Artificial Intelligence. The province of Ontario has increased funding for AI programs by $30-million CAD.

TORONTO’s bid proposes several potential sites for HQ2, among them the largely abandoned Docklands <ABOVE> that will include a forthcoming Google-related technology redevelopment. “We don’t know what they’re expecting from us,” said the mayor. “There has been no playbook or playoff schedule supplied to the 20 finalists.”

TORONTO (+GTA) IS THE ONLY CANADIAN CITY ON AMAZON’S TOP 20 (out of 238) SHORT LIST FOR HQ2

We’re up against stiff competition for a second AMAZON headquarters (HQ2). On the short list – Columbus, Indianapolis, Chicago, Denver, Nashville, Los Angeles, Dallas, Austin, Boston, New York City, Newark, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Montgomery County, Raleigh, Northern Virginia, Atlanta, Miami and TORONTO.

“Today (January 18/2018) we are announcing the communities that will proceed to the next step in the HQ2 process. Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough – all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity.” – AMAZON

AMAZON expects to invest over $5-billion in construction and grow HQ2 by as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs. It will be fully equal to SEATTLE’S HQ1. As well, tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in investments in the surrounding community would no doubt follow.  In the second and final round, AMAZON representatives will communicate directly with finalist cities.  It will be their opportunity to be even more outspoken on why they should be chosen.  The winner will be selected before year’s end.

MAYOR JOHN TORY – “We’ve made the playoffs. There’s lots more work to do to win the Amazon HQ2 bid . . . We are excited to have this opportunity to be able to tell TORONTO’s unique story.”

RIVERDALE FARM ANIMALS PASS THE TIME WAITING FOR SPRINGTIME’S VISITORS

RIVERDALE FARM is open year ‘round, but some of the larger animals spend the winter months in warmer places. The smaller ones are inside the barns, and make a visit still worthwhile.

The Farm is located in Riverdale Park West at Sumach & Winchester Streets in Cabbagetown. The eastbound #506 streetcar from College subway station travels to Sumach Street. Walk north a couple of blocks from there.

WHEN TORONTO HAD 3 (NOW 4) MAJOR DAILIES, THE TELEGRAM WAS THE CONSERVATIVE ONE

<Selling The Telegram on Bay Street, November/1931 – City of Toronto Archives>. The Telegram was a popular afternoon broadsheet newspaper, published from 1876 to 1971. It was very right-wing and supported the Conservative Party, both federally and provincially.

<Yonge Street as it was before the subway opened, ca1950’s – York University Archives>

In the fifties and sixties, The Telegram gave a way-in to many young reporters graduating from Ryerson University’s School of Journalism. Some stayed with newspapers, while others went on to television, radio and book writing.

When The Telegram shut down, it was a major blow to the industry. Its subscriber list was sold to the TORONTO Star for $10-million, and the Star also took over its Front Street building, which was later sold to the Globe and Mail.  York University holds an archive of about 500,000 print and 830,000 negatives taken by Telegram photographers. 13,000 of them are searchable online.

<ABOVE – The lively hodge podge that was Yonge Street in the 1960’s. Note the red and yellow city bus & the old Edison Hotel sign – York University Archives>

<ABOVE – The Telegram building, 1950’s. on a romantic-looking Bay Street at Melinda – City of Toronto Archives.>

GOOD NEWS FROM TORONTO’S MUSIC LAND – HUGH’S ROOM LIVE IS COMING BACK STRONG(ER)

One year ago HUGH’s ROOM, 2261 Dundas St. W., seemed to be down for the count. But 12 months later, the revamped music venue is up and running. Thanks to local business owners, music promoters, and the West End community itself, nearly $150,000 was raised, putting the club back on its feet again.

Supported by a collective of volunteers, the new Hugh’s Room Live needs to host 20 concerts per month with an average of 120 people per night, said BRIAN ILER, chair of the board, “We’re not there quite yet, but if we can do that we’ll be successful.”

Tickets & the concert schedule http://www.hughsroom.com

THEATRE PASSE MURAILLE, ONE OF TORONTO’S RED BRICK THEATRES, IS NOW 50 YEARS OLD

Founded in 1968 and housed in a designated historical building at 16 Ryerson Avenue, Theatre Passe Muraille has long been an incubator for Canadian playwrights and actors. The premises was originally the home of Nasmith Bakery and Stables.

In 2007 the building was purchased by the City of TORONTO in a partnership deal with Artscape, a not-for-profit arts group that builds and develops different kinds of creative spaces. Theatres are among them.

Passe Muraille’s founding principles included the idea that theatre shouldn’t be about real estate. Plays can be made and staged anywhere – in barns, churches, bars, lofts, even in former bakeries. As well – theatre should endeavour to mirror social change, and that’s been a guiding principle of the company ever since. <PHOTO ABOVE – Kristintbooth>In 1984 KEANU REEVES appeared in Brad Fraser’s play “Wolfboy” at the Passe Muraille.  The story, about a teenager with wolfish tendencies, became a cult hit – and was later made into a musical.  At about the same time, Keanu was a correspondent for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s youth magazine “Going Great”.  He now has a star on Hollywood Boulevard and the rest is history.To learn more about Theatre Passe Muraille and its 50th birthday celebration go to http://www.passemuraille.on.ca

CNN (STYLE) INTERNATIONAL HAS VOTED TORONTO “A DESIGN-SAVVY CITY TO WATCH IN 2018”

Why TORONTO? – “When Google’s parent company Alphabet in October, announced that its urban innovation unit Sidewalk Labs would develop a 12-acre site . . . into a new high-tech district ‘from the internet up’, using data and sensors, TORONTO became one of the most talked-about cities in the world overnight. It will arguably be the one to watch in 2018.”

“TORONTO – tech star of the north.” – CNN (Style) International, January 10/2018.

NOT EVERYONE IS PLEASED, BUT RUSH HOUR RIDERSHIP ON THE KING STREETCARS HAS SHOT UP

The reports are in, and it appears the King Street streetcar pilot project has increased morning rush hour transit ridership by as much as 25% (a gain of 16,000 additional riders). On-street parking has been outlawed, and car drivers are forced to make right turns off King at most major intersections.

City stats show a decrease in journey times by as much as 14%.  Increased ridership of course means crowded streetcars. And some businesses along the Bathurst to Jarvis Street route are unhappy. The city is working to come up with a solution.