AN INGENIOUS IDEA FROM MONTREAL WHERE 365 TAXIS HAVE BEEN BRANDED WITH A “BONJOUR” LOGO

While visiting MONTREAL last week we were surprised to see two-toned city taxis with a large “bonjour” on both sides. “The taxis are our ambassadors to the city,” said AREL SALEM, chair of the Taxi Bureau. “At the very least, people can now easily spot one.” The new paint job and logo costs about $1500., and the drivers themselves are paying the bill. Visitors take notice, it’s an expensive idea, and the city should chip in. <PHOTO ABOVE – Ross Winter>

TORONTO STAR & TORONTO PUBLIC LIBRARY’S VINTAGE PHOTOS OF THE SANTA CLAUS PARADE

TORONTO’s Santa Claus Parade, founded by Eaton’s Department Store in 1905, is one of the largest Christmas parades in the world.  The outdoor spectacular attracts hundreds of thousands every year – in person, and on US and Canadian television.<The man himself, date unknown><Bird’s Eye view of the parade, 1962><A 50-foot dragon with flapping wings, 1985, photo-Reg Innell><Cartoon mouse, 1976, photo-Graham Bezant><The Pinnochio float, 1962, photo-Don Dutton><Santa and his reindeer, 1979, photo-Keith Beaty>

ONE OF A SERIES OF BOOKS PUBLISHED BY THE CITY – THIS TIME IT’S ALL ABOUT NORTH YORK

Recently I featured a SCARBOROUGH guide book. Since then, two more publications on self-guided touring within the inner suburbs have been produced. This one is about NORTH YORK, once a city, now a ‘division’ amalgamated with TORONTO. You can find this publication, as well as another on EAST YORK, in the book rack, ground floor, Toronto City Hall. BELOW are some excerpts from ‘Explore North York’.AGA KHAN PARK, ISMAILI CENTRE & MUSEUM – 77 Wynford Drive (page 6). This is the city’s newest cultural hub. The formal gardens across from the Museum feature reflecting pools and facilities for festivals, film screenings and other events. Learn more about the park at http://www.agakhanpark.org NOOR CULTURAL CENTRE, 123 Wynford Drive (page 8) – Once the Japanese Cultural Centre, designed by celebrated architect Raymond Moriyama, the building is now a centre for Islamic learning and culture. For more information – http://www.noorculturalcentre.ca The RAINBOW TUNNEL MURAL (page 9) is often noticed by northbound drivers on the Don Valley Parkway. The original was painted in renegade fashion over 40 years ago by Norwegian B.C. Johnson in memory of his friend Sigrid. It’s an upside down smile for Sigrid to look down on from above.TORONTO BOTANICAL GARDEN, 777 Lawrence Avenue East (page 14). Consisting of 17 award-winning themed gardens spanning nearly four acres, the park features a range of indoor and outdoor programs for all ages. EDWARDS GARDENS is adjacent at 755 Lawrence Avenue East. For more info – http://www.torontobotanicalgarden.ca FOUR SEASONS by Douglas Coupland, southeast corner of Sheppard Avenue and Don Mills Road (page 24). Inspired by Laurentian pencil crayons, 48 to 60 feet high, the Vancouver artist’s creation represents the four seasons. Other cones are placed intermittently.WINFIELDS’ NORTHERN DANCER PAVILION & THE CANADIAN FILM CENTRE, 2489 Bayview Avenue (page 30). Docent tours of the Film Centre can be booked in advance by calling 416-445-1446 x312. The Winfield estate was once the home of E.P. Taylor, a businessman who formed Canadian Breweries in 1930; developed Don Mills; built the O’Keefe Centre; bred champion horses, including Northern Dancer. For more information – http://www.cfccreates.com TORONTO CENTRE FOR THE ARTS, 5040 Yonge Street (page 36) – The building is one of the city’s premiere performing arts facilities – home to the 1,856-seat Apotex theatre, the 1,025-seat George Weston Recital Hall, a studio theatre, and two art gallery spaces.LEE LIFESON ART PARK (page 37) is named after two well-known Willowdale musicians – Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of the rock band RUSH. They’ve produced gold and platinum records and have received numerous awards.GIBSON HOUSE MUSEUM, 5172 Yonge Street (page 42). The mid-19th century, red brick Georgian Revival farmhouse was once home to David Gibson – surveyor, farmer and political reformer – born in Scotland. It’s now one of ten historic sites owned and operated by the City of TORONTO.MILLER TAVERN, 3885 Yonge Street (page 49), This Georgian-style commercial building was constructed in 1857, replacing a former hotel that burned down in 1856. It survived floods, Hurricane Hazel, a gambling den, threats of demolition, and was finally purchased by the City of TORONTO, and is now a familiar landmark.BLACK CREEK PIONEER VILLAGE (page 61), offers a collection of many of Ontario’s oldest heritage buildings, some dating back to the early 1800’s. For more information on the village, and how to get there go to – http://www.blackcreek.ca

THERE ONCE WAS A MONARCH FLOUR MILL & SILO ON MAPLE LEAF QUAY – IT’S NOW DISAPPEARED

ABOVE – Monarch Flour Mill, Harbourfront and the Marine police unit. It’s one of two silo or grain elevator complexes that dominated TORONTO’s waterfront between Spadina Quay and Maple Leaf Quay.They lasted for a couple of decades, and then disappeared. Demolitions began in the 1970’s and eighties to remove what the city considered eye sores, and unfit for redevelopments that eventually took over.

<ABOVE – The York Quay Centre at Harbourfront, 1980’s to 1998. Totally different from the grown-up waterfront we see today. <Photo project – City of Toronto Archives & Sidewalk Labs>

HEAVY SNOW ON BALSAM AVE. IN THE BEACH NEIGHBOURHOOD – WILLIAM KURELEK (1927-77)

WILLIAM KURELEK RCA is one of Canada’s best known painters. The son of Ukrainian immigrant farmers, he grew up during the Great Depression on farms in Alberta and Manitoba. He worked in construction in Edmonton and Thunder Bay, and as a waiter at TORONTO’s Royal York Hotel. Books of his work have titles like ‘A Prairie Boy’s Summer’, ‘Lumberjack’, ‘The Last of the Arctic’ and ‘O Toronto’. Many of Kurelek’s paintings were produced to accompany children’s storybooks.

REMEMBERING A 19-YEAR-OLD ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE PILOT & POET ON THIS NOVEMBER 11TH

<ABOVE – Official Royal Canadian Airforce portrait of Pilot Officer JOHN GILLESPIE MAGEE JR.> In October/1940 young Magee joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and received flight training in St. Catharines, Ontario and RCAF Station Uplands in Ottawa. From there he went to England as a commissioned pilot officer. Having trained as a Spitfire pilot, he was assigned to make a high altitude flight ‘into the stratosphere’, which he did. Upon landing, Officer Magee went into his quarters and wrote ‘High Flight’ on the back of a letter to his mother.HIGH FLIGHT’ by John Gillespie Magee, Jr., November/1941
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew –
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.John Magee Jr.’s name, along with many others who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force, World War II – is displayed in the Memorial Chamber of Canada’s Peace Tower in OTTAWA on page 37. He died in an accidental mid-air collision over England in 1941 at the age of 19.

F.Y.I. – THERE’S A CRUNCH IN TORONTO’S RENTAL MARKET – TOO MANY RENTERS, NOT ENOUGH UNITS

F.Y.I. (for your information) RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) Economics Report estimates that as of 2018 TORONTO had a deficit of 9,100 rental units, compared to 6,800 units in MONTREAL and 3,800 units in VANCOUVER. The rental market is considered balanced when the vacancy rate is 3%, but in TORONTO, the average is below 1%.“Rental supply is unlikely to come close to demand in TORONTO in the coming years. Due to the high cost of owning, we project the number of renter-households will increase by an average of 22,000 per year.” – RBC Economics Report

NOW, TORONTO’s WEEKLY, HAS PUBLISHED ‘ITS BEST OF EVERYTHING IN THE CITY’ PAGES

These are some of TORONTO’s recommended locales, chosen by NOW readers . . . BEST LIBRARY – Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street, http://www.tpl.ca
BEST PUBLIC SPACE – Toronto Island Park, http://www.toronto.ca
BEST SKATING RINK – Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St. West, http://www.toronto.ca
RUNNER UP – The Bentway, 250 Fort York Boulevard, http://www.thebentway.ca
BEST FLEA & LOCAL MARKET – St. Lawrence Market, The Esplanade, http://www.sundayantiquemarket.com
BEST NEIGHBOURHOOD – Parkdale

SOME STYLISH MILLENNIALS HAVE TAKEN A LIKING TO ANTI-BABY-BOOMER CLOTHING – WHO KNEW?

Now we have a rift between generations on both sides of the Atlantic. Baby Boomers, born between 1946 & 1964, played outside, got spanked, respected their parents, didn’t punch the teacher, belonged to cadets, paid 50 cents for a haircut, 15 cents for a double-feature, tattoos were out, bubble gum was in, avoided the ‘f’ word, went to church, traded comics, played road hockey, etc. And many of us took early retirement because it was available.‘OK BOOMER – Have a Terrible Day’. “If they take that personally,” said a 17-year-old to the NY Times, “it’s just proof that Boomers take everything we do as offensive. It’s just funnier.”<CARTOON ABOVE – 30-year-old Boomer>  . . . . OK Boomer products available bed sheets, phone cases, stickers, pins, etc. They’re all over the internet.

ABOVE – “OK Boomer Have a terrible Day.”  A 20-year-old college student says “It’s funny you think I respect your opinion, when your hairline looks that disrespectful.” A 19-year-old designer: “We have a different perspective. A lot of Boomers don’t believe in climate change or that people can get jobs with dyed hair, and a lot of them are stubborn in that view.”