THE LIGHTS ARE ON AT ONTARIO PLACE UNTIL MARCH 17TH FEATURING WORK BY 20 LOCAL ARTISTS

ONTARIO PLACE celebrates winter with intricate ice sculptures crafted by Mother Nature herself, spectacular lighting, bonfires, skating, displays of light art created by TORONTO artists, movies on the giant Cinesphere IMAX screen, and fairy lights on the West Island.

For information on what’s on and where – http://ontarioplace.com/en/winterlightexhibition/

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BEATRICE WHITE, FLY-SWATTING CHAMP, LIVED IN TORONTO & WHACKED 500,000 FLIES ONE SUMMER

From the Cabbagetown Regent Park Museum – In August 1912, BEA WHITE of Regent Street, spent several weeks whacking or trapping flies, ridding her neighbourhood of the pests. She earned $50 (about $1250 now) for her efforts.

Why target the fly? To call attention to the unsanitary conditions that caused sickness and death in TORONTO’s overcrowded inner city. And why so many flies? Blame it on the horse.  In this pre-automobile era horses produced piles of manure, perfect for breeding the “queen of the dung hill”

The contest was halted when organizers discovered some competitors were breeding flies to be killed. <IMAGES – City of TORONTO Archives>

FROM MY ATTIC – ‘FORTUNE’ MAGAZINE/1974 – A STORY ABOUT ‘SURPRISING TORONTO, THE NEW GREAT CITY’

EDMUND FALTERMAYER writes – “Canadians have seen their metropolises become better than ever. The most stunning improvement has taken place in TORONTO (1974), where a formerly tedious provincial capital has emerged as the world’s newest great city.”

<PHOTO – 1960’s skyline with the Admiral neon sign>

“In the 1950’s and 60’s TORONTO was so dull that a good time was a weekend in BUFFALO. TORONTO (1974) is a new sort of Fun City without angst or affectation – a place where the residents feel wondrously spared from the urban troubles to the south.”

<POSTCARD – the skyline in the 1970’s from the Gardiner Expressway>

TORONTO (1974) is in amazingly good repair. The new downtown skyscrapers are bordered, not by a wide zone of decayed housing and glass strewn lots, but by flourishing neighborhoods, that are some of the city’s chief glories.”

TORONTO (1974) has reined in suburban sprawl, kept its transportation in balance, and made sure that its streets stay safe and clean. In 1953, over-riding suburban objections, the province established a metropolitan government, which not only planned the region’s growth but also builds such basic facilities as arterial roads and trunk sewers.”

<PHOTO – Highway 401 interchange – Chuckman’s Nostalgia>

“In transportation, TORONTO (1974) has created the best of two worlds. There are a goodly number of expressways, including one twelve-lane monster (the 401) where the prevailing speed limit outside of rush hour is 75 miles-per-hour (121 km/hour). But these roads all go around the old urban core.”

<PHOTO – an all-red subway train by Robert Taylor, 1970’s>

“TORONTO’s subway system, begun in the early 1950’s, is needed to lure motorists out of their cars. The trains are immaculate, quiet and frequent. With fares subsidized at 25 cents, the average citizen rides the subway, buses and streetcars 158 times a year.”

<PHOTO – when police cars were yellow>

“Strict controls over handguns and comparatively unclogged courts get credit for the low TORONTO (1974) crime rate. A high level of maintenance deters littering and vandalism. Government has done a lot of things right.”

<PHOTO – an East York bungalow>

“Horrific inflation of housing prices is the one big blot on life in (1974) TORONTO. If this goes on, the non-affluent will be driven out of suburbs as well as the inner city. Mortgages in the TORONTO area carry a 12% interest rate; unpretentious new single-family homes recently sold for $65,000.”

<PHOTO – building the CN Tower – Photoscream>

To wind up his story, EDMUND FALTERMAYER wrote “ TORONTO may never reach the size of ‘world cities’ such as New York or Paris. But it has nonetheless won a secure place in the big time. Until something better comes along, the civilized city is still where many of the world’s civilized people prefer to be.”

<PHOTO – the waterfront, north of Billy Bishop Island Airport, in the 1970’s>

FROM TORONTO’S TRANSIT FILE – SOME GOOD NEWS & SOME MAYBE NOT-SO-GOOD NEWS

The TORONTO Transit Commission (TTC) has taken delivery of its first new generation hybrid electric bus. Currently undergoing testing and operator training, this model is the first of 55 hybrid buses to be delivered by the end of 2018.

200 more hybrid electric buses & 60 all-electric buses will be delivered by the end of 2019. For more information – http://www.ttc.ca/green

A Magnetic Levitation train could be on its way to TORONTO ZOO. Magnovate hopes to install North America’s first Maglev – a silent, friction-less climate-controlled vehicle that would move along the route of the former Domain Ride, shut down in the 1990’s.

The Maglev’s technology incorporates safety features like automated control, regenerative electrodynamic brakes and a fail safe emergency braking system. If approved, the Zoo would serve as a prime site to exhibit technologies, and would also be a welcome new attraction for visitors.

The bad news might be Premier DOUG FORD’s plan to take over the TORONTO subway system and hand it to his provincial government. Ontario would build and maintain the present system and increase the subway’s reach throughout the city and beyond.  There are advantages and disadvantages.

In a Globe and Mail column titled ‘Ford’s wild plan to spend billions on suburban subways’ MARCUS GEE writes “what’s much more troubling than the uploading of the subway system is the Ford government’s nutty plan to run subways far into the suburbs . . . The suburban districts that Mr. Ford dreams of just happen to run into the 905 area code around TORONTO that his party relies on for much of its support.”

New York State has a plan similar to Ford’s. As a result, the state government has the power to siphon off funds that should go to support New York City’s massive transit system – and put them elsewhere. This of course includes the subway, now in a serious state of disrepair <photo above>. The state governor is pretty well running the MTA, with some rather unfortunate results.

A situation like this could easily happen here if DOUG FORD has his way.

Read the entire New York Times article on how-not-to-run-a-subway at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/18/nyregion/new-york-subway-system-failure-delays.html

TORONTO PUBLIC LIBRARY HAS CREATED A DIGITAL MAP CELEBRATING THE WORKS OF LOCAL POETS

The TORONTO Poetry Map is a collection of poetic excerpts written about different parts of our city. It’s simple to use. Just click on a neighbourhood and a verse pops up, along with a link to books where the poem was published.

There are about 200 poems on the map running the gamut of emotions.
To operate the map go to http://www.torontopoetry.ca

GREENWOOD STATION
We bought a house. Beneath it, thunder.
Our neighbour says, take a bath,
put your head under the water and the train
is in there with you. In the tub, water
belongs to us, warm, fourteen feet
to the street. Moves in the pipes. Belonging
or not belonging, the new house works,
fitted into the city’s plug.
Sewage treatment down hill.
Greenwood station at the top.
– RONNA BLOOM, book of poems, ‘Public Works’; photo by Shelbie Vernette-Grant

THE JUNCTION
Temperance dried up these streets
in nineteen oh something
& thirst became the hidebound
neighbourhood legacy –
oasis reversed.
– GLEN DOWNIE, published in ‘Loyalty Management’

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
Look they’ve knocked down
that brick building
near the university
where we sat sometimes at night
and talked
about the way things would someday be.
– SUZANNE BOWNESS, published in ‘The Days You’ve Spent’

LIFE IN FOREST HILL
Here at the confluence
of Forest and Hill
our Cadillac-driving neighbours never wave
in their flow to and from Bay St.
– JOHN OUGHTON, published in ‘Gearing of Love‘

ZOOMER RADIO HAS LOST A TOP PERSONALITY WITH THE DEATH OF GEORGE JONESCU

Sunday nights won’t be the same now that Zoomer Radio’s GEORGE JONESCU has passed on. ‘Big Band Sunday Night’ on 50,000-watt AM740 & 96.7FM, reached well into the northeastern United States and large parts of Ontario. George was in the driver’s seat every Sunday night playing music from the 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.

For at least the last 5-7 years I seldom missed Sunday nights with George.  May the show continue.  It’s a winner.When it came to the big bands, Mr. Jonescu had an encyclopedic memory.  He minimized chatter, and focused on the music itself, much of which came from his personal collection. Despite blizzards and other inclement weather on the notorious 60-mile stretch between Barrie and Toronto, he always made it for show time.

GEORGE JONESCU’s 65 years in the radio business took him to Montreal, Sault Ste. Marie, Barrie, and TORONTO. He once said, “Being a broadcaster affords a platform which must always be used with responsibility and sensibility, if not, it is an indulgence.”  Farewell GEORGE.  We won’t forget you.