This tall, skinny house is on the market and just might sell. Depending on who you talk to, the property near Dundas St. E. and Broadview Ave. “is either a wonder of modern architecture well worth that amount, or an ugly, overpriced monstrosity.”<Toronto Star Housing Reporter DONOVAN VINCENT; photo – ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE>

The details – list price $2,999,000; 3 bedrooms, 6 baths; taxes $2,707; parking spaces – 1; land size 15 x 86 feet. <Photo above – the Wright Sisters GroupThe listing refers to the home as “truly unique” and a “modern marvel with four levels of functional minimalism.”

<The house and its neighbourhood – DAVE DUNVILLE, Vimeo>


Considered the largest diamond ever discovered in North America, it’s about the size of a chicken’s egg.

The diamond was uncovered in October/2018 in DIAVIK, Northwest Territories, about 135 miles from the Arctic Circle.  <ABOVE – the Diavik Diamond MineIt was found by Rio Tinto Group & Dominion Diamond Mine Company. “Abrasion markings on the stone’s surface attest to the difficult journey it underwent during recovery, and the fact that it remains intact is remarkable,” said the company on December 14/2018. The diamond will soon be cut and polished, once its value is determined.

The company said, “A diamond of this size is completely unexpected for this part of the world and marks a true milestone for diamond mining in North America.” The largest one ever found at DIAVIK was in 2015. It was a 187.7-carat “Diavik Foxfire”.


JANUARY/2018 – ‘The Shape of Water”, winner of 4 Oscars, was shot entirely in TORONTO and HAMILTON: Regent Cinema (formerly The Crest) went up for sale; Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St. West, was rescued from oblivion by local business owners, music promoters, and the West End community itself; Theatre Passe Muraille, founded in 1968, celebrated its 50th birthday; CNN (Style) International voted TORONTO “a design-savvy city to watch in 2018); King Street streetcar pilot project increased morning rush hour transit ridership by as much as 25% – a gain of 16,000 additional riders; much-loved ‘Sam The Record Man’ sign spun its discs again above Yonge-Dundas Square, after a decade of negotiating and restoring; Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Drive, presented the magnificent Bruschettini Carpet Collection, one of the most important private collections of Islamic art in the world; Stink Bugs invaded the Annex. More and more of them are setting up house in TORONTO.

FEBRUARY/2018 – University of TORONTO celebrated 200 years of Valentine’s Day cards; Yonge-Dundas Square’s Digital Signage Project installed 10 new high-definition screens: CIBC, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce announced plans to move its headquarters to the new financial district’s South Core sometime around 2021; Tapes of four GLENN GOULD studio sessions were released by Sony Classical – ‘Treasures for the Taking’; Archives of TORONTO opened a large exhibition on the city’s inner suburbs during the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s; TORONTO at last imposed a 4% new tax on hotels and short-term accommodations; Syrian food suddenly became very popular in TORONTO.

MARCH/2018 –  After a 14-year, $128-million renovation, ST. MICHAEL’S CATHEDRAL BASILICA, 65 Bond Street, became resplendent again; socially aware millennials are adopting rescue dogs – among them survivors of Hurricane Harvey in HOUSTON; an awesome collection of historic photos of TORONTO is now at your fingertips after great efforts by the City of Toronto Archives & Google’s Sidewalk Labs; Chicago’s mural artist JUSTUS ROE III, in a partnership with STEPS Initiative, painted up the gray concrete Roncy (Roncesvailles) Pedestrian Bridge; The Stratford-Perth Museum opened an exhibit dedicated to the life of famous hometown hero JUSTIN BIEBER; ‘Vital Signs Report/2018’ painted a clear picture that quality of life in this city varies depending on the neighbourhood, income, race, immigration status, gender, sexual identity, and age.

APRIL/2018 –  Leslie Barns opened to service and house 100 of the TTC’s fleet of 204 Flexity Outlook LRT vehicles; After six years and millions of dollars, both the Hot Docs Cinema and the Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival returned a profit; a terrorist van attack on Yonge Street in North York took 12 lives and wounded several; Terra Cotta House, 20 Jerome Street, built in 1905, is now a landmark, and the neighbourhood wants it saved; ‘The Well’ was named TORONTO’s biggest and deepest construction site on Spadina Avenue at Front Street.

MAY/2018 – For the first time in 15 years the TORONTO Zoo gave birth to six Arctic Wolf pups; After a 30-year search, Massey Hall’s Bach and Beethoven stained glass windows were found wrapped up in the basement of Roy Thomson Hall; Iconic One Spadina Crescent, 143 years old in 2018, has been restored and now houses University of TORONTO’s School of Architecture; with the death of WILL ALSOP, 70, TORONTO lost an ‘architectural friend’ in 2018, best known for the Sharp Centre for Design; the annual LGBTQ Film Festival – ‘Inside Out’ – became one of the largest in the world; Windsor Arms Hotel, 18 St. Thomas Street, in the Yorkville/Bloor West neighbourhood, has been refreshed and re-opened for business; a new financial hub – Southcore – is rapidly growing south of Union Station.JUNE/2018 – Donald Trump lowered the boom and started a trade war with Canada; eyeball to eyeball, an exasperated German Chancellor ANGELA MERKEL stared down Donald Trump at Quebec’s G-7 Summit; another birth at the Zoo – 46-year-old Charles & 20-year-old Ngozi delivered a baby Western Lowland gorilla; the TORONTO Reference Library mounted an exhibit on Canadian comic book superheroes; a Progressive Conservative majority government, headed by Doug Ford, a controversial premier to say the least, won the provincial election.

JULY/2018 – Yorkdale, TORONTO’s most successful shopping destination, is reducing its carbon footprint with an array of solar panels; a mass shooting on Danforth Avenue took two lives and wounded fourteen; Ryerson University’s City Building Institute examined TORONTO streets and found some great ones; the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough told Americans how to have sex in a canoe; MOMA MARKOVICH (1902-1977) captured Ontario’s transportation history, one painting at a time.

AUGUST/2018 – The Royal Ontario Museum re-opened its Avenue Road entrance; Regina-born Murray Westgate, Esso’s ‘Happy Motoring’ television spokesman passed away; the Canadian National Exhibition, 140 years old, opened; the Ottawa Art Gallery re-opened in an impressive new building; the 150-year-old St. Charles clocktower was saved and will be part of a new Yonge Street development.

SEPTEMBER/2018 – Mississauga, TORONTO’s neighbour, landed a 260,000 square-foot television production centre to open in 2019; Shary Boyle’s 11-foot-tall vessel with legs was installed at the Gardiner Museum; Sugar Beach umbrellas moved north and connected with Daniels City of the Arts; cyclists were using pool noodles to keep cars at a safe distance; Scabrorough’s Guild Park displayed architectural relics from TORONTO’s past; Paris unveiled the Uritrottoir – the Sidewalk Urinal; TORONTO welcomed a bevy of movie folks to the annual International Film Festival.

OCTOBER/2018 – Mayor John Tory scored a huge re-election victory, thanks partly to Doug Ford; Westbank and Allied Properties got approval for a very big and distinct development on King Street West; city council was cut in half by Premier Doug Ford; University of TORONTO’s School of Cities partnered with India’s Tata Trusts to open a research centre in India; on October 17th marijuana usage became legal from coast-to-coast-to-coast in Canada; in 2018 the TORONTO Dance Theatre celebrated a half-century of extraordinary creativity; the Royal Ontario Museum began building 5,000 square-feet of exterior space, gardens, outdoor seating, and an open-air stage; the MZTV Television Museum in Liberty Village opened an exhibit on the forgotten television genius Philo T. Farnsworth; the TTC kept trying to keep drivers out of the Queens Quay streetcar tunnel; Canadians pondered whether or not they’d won the NAFTA agreement with the US and Mexico; an artist studio building on Dufferin Street was demolished.

NOVEMBER/2018 – Ontario Place lights up with work by 20 local artists; TORONTO Transit Commission (TTC) took delivery of its first new generation hybrid electric buses; a Magnetic Levitation train could be on its way to the Zoo; Premier Doug Ford revealed his plan for the province to take over TORONTO’s subway; TORONTO Public Library created a digital map celebrating the works of local poets; the first phase of Daniels Waterfront City of the Arts opened for business; TORONTO racked up an all-time record of 95 deaths from gun violence; the El Mocambo neon sign was re-installed; the New York Times wrote about TORONTO’s notorious Matharoo sisters; Manulife displayed 11,800 Canadian flags on its lawn for Remembrance Day; Richard Florida said TORONTO Is a ‘city state’ and should start acting like one; in the mid-terms Democrats won the House of Representatives in Washington DC; TORONTO did not win the Amazon HQ2 competition; the Art Gallery of Ontario raised $2-million for Canada’s first permanent Yahoi Kusama ‘Infinity Room’; the annual Santa Claus Parade was another huge success.

DECEMBER/2018 – The Prince Edward Viaduct is now 100 years old; TORONTO Community Housing staggered under a debt load; attendance records on the new subway stations showed Highway407 & Downsview Park aren’t performing that well; construction for Barbara Ann Scott Park downtown was well underway; imaginative designs for skyscrapers began to appear; Sidewalk Labs released its development plan for Waterfront TORONTO’s Quayside neighbourhood; and TORONTO went Christmas shopping. <ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, 2018 has been a very good year for our great city.  MERRY CHRISTMAS ONE & ALL!>


ANN IRELAND, Canadian novelist
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, celebrity chef and television personality
ARETHA FRANKLIN, the Queen of Soul
BARBARA BUSH, US First Lady, wife of H. W. Bush
BERNARDO BERTOLUCCI, Italian film director/producer
BILLY GRAHAM, preacher, counselor and confidant to several US presidents
CHARLES AZNAVOUR, singer, very popular in Quebec
DAN MALONEY, Toronto Maple Leafs coach & player
DOUGLAS RAIN, actor and Stratford Festival founding member
GALT MacDERMOT, Canadian-born composer
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, former US president
GEORGE JONESCU, ‘Big Band Sunday Night’ host on Zoomer Radio
GORDON CHONG, former Toronto councillor
JOHN McCAIN, American hero and maverick
KATE SPADE, fashion designer
LINDSAY KEMP, choreographer
MARGO KIDDER, Canadian actor and activist
MIKE McDONALD, Canadian stand-up comic & actor
MILOS FORMAN, film director
MURRAY WESTGATE, Canadian television spokesman for ESSO in the 50;s & 60’s
NANCY RICHLER, Canadian novelist
NANCY WILSON, jazz singer
NANETTE FABRAY, singer, dancer, television personality
NEIL SIMON, playwright and screenwriter
NINALEE ALLEN CRAIG, Toronto resident, the woman in Ruth Orkin’s “American Girl in Italy”
PAUL TAYLOR, choreographer
PENNY MARSHALL, actress, television and feature film director
PHILIP ROTH, novelist
ROBERT INDIANA, pop artist
ROGER BANNISTER, British record-breaking runner
ROY CLARK, country music star
SMOKE DAWG, Toronto rapper
STAN LEE, creator of Spider-man
STEPHEN HAWKING, physicist and cosmologist
STEPHEN HILLENBURG, creator of Spongebob SquarePants
TAB HUNTER, Hollywood movie star
TOM WOLFE, author and journalist
VERNE TROYER, short in stature, played Mini-Me and several others
VIC DAMONE, singer
WILL ALSOP, British architect who desined Toronto’s Sharp Centre at OCADU
WILL VINTON, inventor of Claymation stop-motion animation using putty or clay
WINNIE MADIKIZELA-MANDELA, South African politician & activist . . . and so many more. Part of a list compiled by TORONTO’s NOW Weekly and CBS.


A very good friend of mine
Told me something the other day
I’d like to pass it on to you
‘Cause I believe what he said to be true
He said

We’re here for a good time
Not a long time (not a long time)
So have a good time
The sun can’t shine every day

And the sun is shinin’
In this rainy city
And the sun is shinin’
Oh, isn’t it a pity
And every year, has it’s share of tears
And every now and then it’s gotta rain

We’re here for a good time
Not a long time
So have a good time
The sun can’t shine every day
And the sun is shinin’
In . . .

SING ALONG with YouTube – https://www.streetdirectory.com/lyricadvisor/song/upuowo/were_here_for_a_good_time/



Dumped on the city by former premier MIKE HARRIS and his Progressive Conservatives a couple of decades ago, Toronto Community Housing Corp. (TCHC) is now in way over its head.  TCHC home to 110,000 tenants; number of properties – 2,100; massive repair backlog; broken units closed, communities fractured; bouts of poor management; projected repairs – $1.6-billion over 10 years; value of public assets owned by TCHC – about $9-billion.


It’s inevitable I suppose if you build a subway station in a field there won’t be a lot of users. Such is the case with the TTC’s Highway407 station, constructed between two major highways.  Transit blogger STEVE MUNRO believes “it’s only ever going to be an interchange station for buses.”  It’s one of two least-used stations on the entire subway network – with an average 3,400 riders per day.

<PHOTO ABOVE – Highway407 Station>  The second under-performing station is Downsview Park with 2,500 passengers daily. There’s not much development around this federally-owned green space. Top-of-the-line is York University station with 34,100 boardings and disembarkings every day. Finch West follows with 17,700 and Pioneer Village, which also connects with York U., comes in at 17,300.<PHOTO – soon-to-be downtown straphangers on Line One>  So far, the investment of $3.3-billion for six elaborate stations – two of which are under-performing – one of which is outside TORONTO’s boundaries – seems wasteful – especially when the inner city desperately needs a Downtown Relief Line (DRL).

TORONTO should consider London’s UNDERGROUND, a super subway system, which in large part is above-ground outside the city centre. In London’s suburbs there’s even room for express trains, by-passing several stations on their way into the core. Way to go, LONDON!

And all that tunneling underneath TORONTO’s sparsely populated regions. Why?  Could it have something to do with politics?  I wonder.


What better way to pass some time and warmup than by visiting the Allan Gardens Conservatory, south of Carlton, east of Jarvis. This year over 40 varieties of poinsettias are on display, along with thousands of flowering plants from around the world.

The flowers are grown in the City of TORONTO High Park greenhouse. Admission is free.