CLAUDE CORMIER IS THE MAN BEHIND BERCZY PARK’S REDESIGN & MUCH-LOVED DOG FOUNTAIN

He’s one of Canada’s best-known landscape architects, and his work can be found across Ontario, Quebec, and recently Chicago and Houston. A graduate of the University of TORONTO, Guelph and Harvard universities, Claude Cormier now has 50 different projects under way, including another TORONTO creation featuring 20 cast-iron cats. It will be part of a massive redevelopment on Front Street West at Spadina Avenue called The Well<PHOTO ABOVE> Smiley, is named for a blind golden retriever that worked in the St. John’s Ambulance therapy dog program in TORONTO.

‘The Secret to a Great Urban Space’ is a fascinating story by JASON McBRIDE <@jasonmcbride68>; photos by JAIME HOGGE at http://www.jaimehogge.com in the University of Toronto Magazine. It’s well worth taking the time to read about this Canadian landscape architect’s methods and philosophy.

As for the dog fountain – “We did our research and found dogs everywhere in art history,” Cormier says. “It goes back 5,000 years!”  You’ll find the complete story here –
https://magazine.utoronto.ca/people/alumni-donors/the-secret-to-great-urban-space-claude-cormier-landscape-architecture/

PREMIER DOUG FORD CALLS TORONTO ”THE BUBBLE”, AND TO MY WAY OF THINKING HE’S SPOT-ON

I’m sure the premier’s comment was meant to garner approval and votes in a speech he recently made before a Rural Ontario Municipal (ROMA) conference. DOUG FORD compared residents of TORONTO “the bubble”, with Ontario’s “real people” in other parts of the province.

TORONTO is indeed ‘the bubble’ for Ontario and – for that matter, the country itself. It’s the financial centre, economic engine, largest city, transit hub, technology centre, a multicultural nirvana, top television & movie-making production centre, with a few million taxpaying residents, four daily newspapers, two airports, four universities, five concert halls, pro hockey, baseball and basketball teams, two opera companies, at least five major hospitals, Canada’s largest zoo, second largest art gallery . . . and a premier who seems to wish he was mayor.

“Ford lives in the “bubble”, his daughter sells cannabis oil in the “bubble”, almost 3 million of us live in the “bubble”. There is only one person I wish didn’t live in this “bubble” with me and that’s Doug Ford!” – HEATHER CORRIVEAU, retired art teacher<Our TORONTO is not called The Big Smoke for nothing.>

“ATLANTIC CANADA’S FOOD GUIDE” BY CARTOONIST MICHAEL DE ADDER, HALIFAX HERALD, NOVA SCOTIA

Fish and chips, shrimp, jigg’s dinner, oysters, donairs with sauce on the side, cod tongues, fried pepperoni, poutine rapee, fried clams, salmon, lobster, tomalley, Digby scallops, rappie pie, apple pie, seal flipper pie, partridgeberry pie, toutons, molasses, strawberries, dulse, blueberry grunt, mustard pickles, bakeapples, cranberries, apples, potatoes, luskinikn (aka four cent bread) . . . and beer.  MICHAEL DE ADDER – “So I couldn’t fit everything on here – i.e. fishcakes, bologna, fish and brewis, timbits . . . etc.”

Meanwhile, the new Canada Food Guide’s cover shows an image of a plate, half of it covered with fruits and vegetables. The other half is divided into whole grains and “proteins,” a new category that contains meat, dairy and plant-based foods such as chickpeas and tofu.  The online Canada Food Guide from the Government of Canada – https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/

WHAT IS AN ‘ALBERTA CLIPPER’? TORONTO IS ABOUT TO FIND OUT

An ALBERTA CLIPPER is a fast-moving winter storm originating in the lee of the Canadian Rockies. It brings snow, high winds and cold temperatures typically to the Northeastern United States, the Upper Midwest, the Great Lakes and the central provinces of Canada.

<PHOTO – Springbank Mechanical>  These storms are named after 19th century sailing ships known as “clippers” because of their speed. Clippers are usually dispatched from ALBERTA.

<PHOTO – @streetsoftdot . . . @tylersjourney . . . “Streetcars on Spadina Avenue”>

TORONTO-BASED ‘RAINBOW RAILROAD’ CONFIRMS CHECHNYA IS AGAIN ATTACKING ITS LGBTQI PEOPLE

What is the Rainbow Railroad? It’s a Canadian charitable organization, founded in 2006, based in TORONTO, that helps LGBTQI individuals escape persecution in their homelands.  In 71 countries, queer and trans people face criminal charges under colonial-era anti-gay laws that can result in life sentences. In eight countries, the death penalty can be applied. LGBTQI people are outed in the media, attacked by mob violence, sexually assaulted, or rounded up in state-sanctioned crackdowns by police.

From KIMAHLI POWELL, Executive Director – “Two people are dead and at least 40 have been detained in what appears to be a second wave of a state-sponsored crackdown on LGBTQI people in Chechnya“Since the reports first surfaced two weeks ago, we’ve been connecting with our partners on the ground, such as Russia’s LGBT Network . . . Those who’ve managed to escape (from Chechnya) are still experiencing serious trauma as a result of the humiliation, torture and abuse that they faced there,” Powell says.

Over 1,200 people have asked for help in 2018. To date, Rainbow Railroad has assisted more than 600 individuals’ escape to safe countries.  Several of them now live in TORONTO. For up-to-date information go to https://www.rainbowrailroad.com/

AFTER MUCH RESEARCH, PHOTOGRAPHY & LABOUR “STREET-ART-TORONTO – THE MAP!” IS ‘LIVE’

It seems that everywhere you go in TORONTO street artists have been at work. The city is now home to some of the best murals and public art in laneways, streets and parks – (if you don’t mind my saying) anywhere.

<‘HOME’ by Sean Martindale & Joshua Barndt, 251 Ranee Avenue, created in 2012To help find many of these art works & to discourage tagging, StreetARToronto (StART) & Civic Hall Toronto have created an easy-to-use online map. The current database is focused on work painted from 2012 to 2018.

<By Shayone Panth, Danforth Avenue at Paramount Road, 2012><By Dan Bergeron and Paul Aloisi, 550 Bayview Avenue, 2012>

<By Community Centre 55, GRIP Crew, 147 Lee Avenue, 2018>

<BELL utility box, by Andre Kan, Torresdale Avenue at Finch Av. West, 2015In addition to identifying the artist & organizations responsible, the database includes stories and themes behind each unique piece of art. Individually and collectively these murals were designed to celebrate TORONTO’s motto “Diversity Our Strength”.

<By Aisha Ali, Purdon Drive @ Wilmington Avenue, 2015Additional filters will be installed and the growing database will be updated regularly to add more artwork, so check back often!  To learn more – https://www.toronto.ca/services-payments/streets-parking-transportation/enhancing-our-streets-and-public-realm/streetartoronto/   . . . . .  StreetARToronto – The Map!https://streetart.to/

‘THE LESLIE ST. SPIT’ ALLOWS TORONTONIANS TO EMBRACE NATURE, ESPECIALLY ON WEEKENDS

The Leslie Street Spit, TORONTO’s ‘artificial-natural’ habitat, extends 5 kilometres into Lake Ontario at the foot of Leslie Street.

The Spit was created largely from construction excavations, and is now home to numerous wild animals, birds and butterflies, as well as weekend joggers, cyclists and hikers.

<PHOTO ABOVE – constructing the Spit, 1990 to 1994, City of Toronto Archives>TOMMY THOMPSON PARK is on the man-made peninsula, and contains some of the largest existing natural habitat on the TORONTO waterfront. Wildlife, especially birds, flourish in the park, making it one of the best nature-watching areas in the GTA.<PHOTO – view of the city from the park, January 16/2019>  The Park contains 10 kilometres of accessible paved trail.<PHOTO – Toronto at night from Tommy Thompson Park>

<PHOTO by Frank Lennon/Toronto Star via Getty Images>  Who was TOMMY THOMPSON (1913-1985)? The Park’s namesake was a TORONTO Parks Commissioner who really loved his job. Among many of his achievements was the conversion of Toronto Island into one enormous park. He’s best known for a sign in the city’s spotless network of parks – “Please Walk On The Grass”.For detailed information on The Spit, Tommy Thompson Park & other parks in the region (including opening times and photographs) go to – https://trca.ca/parks/tommy-thompson-park/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI3oOh852J4AIVR57ACh1vowCuEAAYASAAEgL_yvD_BwE

TWO STRIKING PHOTOS OF STREETCAR TRACK-LAYING THROUGH POSH ROSEDALE – AUGUST 7/1916

<The image above, was taken from atop the Canadian Pacific Railroad Bridge, looking toward Shaftesbury Avenue along Yonge in the Summerhill neighborhood. Along both sides – a strip of Rosedale shops. The Rosedale Hotel sign is on the far right – and that was the clue.>

<This photo is closer to Shaftesbury Avenue, looking south toward the Canadian Pacific Railroad Bridge fading in the distance. The bridge is still there and so are some of the buildings. Again the Rosedale Hotel sign shows up – on the left.>

<ABOVE – the last run of a streetcar on Yonge was the day the subway opened.  That’s it passing through Davisville . . . PHOTOS – City of TORONTO Archives/Sidewalk Labs>The CP Railroad Bridge, still in use by freight trains, accommodates Summerhill’s blue Christmas tree annually.  The clock tower on the left and the building below, formerly a train station, is now an up-scale LCBO liquor store.