(Canadians, and those closely associated with Canada are marked with an asterisk)
Diahann Carroll, actor
Carol Channing, actor
Doris Day, actor, singer
Albert Finney, actor
Peter Fonda, actor
Robert Frank, photographer
Graeme Gibson, author*
John Mann, Spirit of the West singer*
Dave Bookman, Toronto radio personality*
Red Kelly, NHL hockey legend*
Karl Lagerfeld, fashion designer
Katharine Mulherin, Toronto gallerist, artist*
Jessye Norman, opera singer
D.A. Pennebaker, filmmaker
Rip Torn, actor
Agnes Varda, filmmaker, artist
John Kastner, filmmaker*
Jean Vanier, disability advocate*
Jackie Shane, singer*
Ron Joyce, co-founder Tim Hortons*
Norman Chin, Toronto restauranteur*
Margaret Lyons, CBC executive*

Grumpy Cat, personality
Gloria Vanderbilt, actress, artist, designer, author
Caroll Spinney, puppeteer, Sesame Street
Harold Prince, producer, director, 21 Tonys
Tim Conway, television actor, Carol Burnett Show
Jim Fowler, naturalist
Georgia Engel, Georgette on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Kaye Ballard, comedian and singer
Toni Meyers, IMAX filmmaker, writer, director, producer*
Joe Schlesinger, CBC correspondent*
Michel Legrand, pianist, film composer
I.M. Pei, architect
Michael J. Pollard, actor, ‘Bonnie and Clyde’
Jacques Chirac, French president, mayor of Paris
Valerie Harper, ‘Rhoda’, actor
T. Boone Pickens, oil magnate
Ross Perot, Texas billionaire, ran for US president


<FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ANY OF THESE STORIES, JUST ENTER KEY WORDS & THEY’LL APPEAR> JANUARY – The University of Toronto is planning a new tower on St. George Street.JANUARY – A gay conductor from Montreal, Yannick Nézet-Séguin is now the music director of NYC’s Metropolitan Opera.JANUARY – Zayell Johnston’s ‘crazy notion was to walk 9,000 kilometres (5,600 miles) across Canada.JANUARY – An Alberta Clipper comes to town – it’s a really big snow storm.JANUARY – Toronto-based ‘Rainbow Railroad’ confirmed that Chechnya is attacking its LGBTQI people yet again.JANUARY – Premier Doug Ford compared residents in Toronto’s ‘bubble’ to Ontario’s “real people” in other parts of the province, while trolling for votes.FEBRUARY – The fast-paced 2019 Academy Awards telecast proved that a host isn’t necessarily needed.FEBRUARY – NETFLIX has arrived in the Portlands, renting studio space and planning a production hub.FEBRUARY – Toronto Public Library’s ‘Dial-a-Story is on the line 24 hours a day. Call 416-395-5400.FEBRUARY – Toronto shows interest in buying the giant Hearn Generating Station from a private developer.MARCH – The University of Toronto received a $100-million gift for A.I. and emerging technologies. Donors – Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman, co-owners of Indigo, a Canadian bookstore chain.MARCH – Toronto’s largest retrofit is Union Station, and when it’s finally finished will be Canada’s largest transportation hub.MARCH – Quebec’s new government (la CAQ) has banned religious symbols in a move to secularize.MARCH – Toronto will honour Terry Fox, athlete and Canadian hero, with a waterfront installation in 2020.MARCH – A Micro Pop-Up Museum opened at Yonge/Dundas Square, above Shoppers Drug Mart, celebrating Yonge Street nightlife in the’50’s and ’60’s.MARCH – Holder of two Michelin stars, sushi chef Masaki Saito is leaving New York City and opening a new restaurant in Toronto’s Yorkville.APRIL – Organized by ‘Don’t Mess With The Don’, hundreds of volunteers spent a Saturday picking trash in the Don Valley. APRIL – Every little bit helps.  A cartoon Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears on ‘The Simpsons’.APRIL – Prince Edward Island, birthplace of Confederation, home of Ann of Green Gables, elected enough Green Party members to form the province’s Official Opposition.APRIL – One of Canada’s oldest cinemas, dating back to 1911, re-opened at 1035 Gerrard St. East.APRIL – Boarded up for over 100 years, Massey Hall’s stained glass windows, all 93 of them, will soon be reinstalled.APRIL – Notre Dame de Paris burned and the world mourned Paris’s loss. The enormous stained glass windows, sculptural decorations, the organ and altar (all were saved), the roof, the spire (destroyed).APRIL – ’Stackt’, Canada’s largest shipping container market, opened where Bathurst meets Front Street.APRIL – Dream Weaver Premier Doug Ford announced a $28.5-billion transit ‘phantasmagoria’. Some of it may actually get built.MAY – Bad news in Movieland – the beautiful  Humber Cinema was demolished to make way for a 12-storey condo building.MAY – After closing 13 years ago, the Paradise Cinema re-opened following major surgery.MAY – An 85-storey condo tower will soon occupy the block at Gerrard and Yonge Streets. The project is now under way.MAY – Architect I.M. Pei, renowned for his precision geometry and designer of the CIBC tower in Toronto, died at the age of 102.MAY – Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservative government are sinking in a Campaign Research Poll.MAY – From Principal Dancer to Artistic Director, Karen Kain marked 50 years with the National Ballet of Canada.MAY – Another African Penguin, one of the world’s most endangered species, arrives at the Toronto Zoo.JUNE – High winds and waves submerged parts of the Toronto Islands into Lake Ontario.JUNE – The Fairmont Royal York Hotel, celebrated its 90th birthday.JUNE – Perfect weather and the Pride Parade brought enormous crowds out to celebrate.JUNE – June 17th was a day of thanks to the Toronto Raptors, this year’s NBA champions.JUNE – Matilda, the shy penguin, made her debut at the Toronto Zoo.JUNE – University of Toronto’s ‘Boundless Campaign’ raised $2.641-billion from more than 100,000 alumni, soaring past its goal of $2-billion.JUNE – The new College Park and Barbara Ann Scott wintertime ice trail opened.JUNE – The ingenious Dutch created a floating dairy farm in suburban Rotterdam.JULY – Torontosavvy reported on the specialized Newfoundland Buick, a hot seller in 1956 in St. John’s.JULY – The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, a peaceful refuge for retired donkeys, isn’t far from Toronto.JULY – In Halton County, there’s a full-sized electric operating railway and a vintage transit museum.JULY – The largest collection of Caribbean photography – 3,500 images – was acquired by the Art Gallery of Ontario.AUGUST – The last two workhorses on Queen Street – aka the articulated light rail streetcars (ALRVs) – were retired on Labour Day.AUGUST – The Royal Ontario Museum livened up Bloor St. West with a new plaza.AUGUST – ’Plum Blossom From The Bitter Cold’ – history of Chinese Canadians exhibit at the Toronto Public Library’s TD Gallery.AUGUST – A self-guided touring book about suburban Scarborough was released by the city, and it’s free.AUGUST – A unique state-of-the-art Wildlife Health Centre opened at the Toronto Zoo.AUGUST – Amtrak, the American passenger railroad, is seriously proposing a Toronto to Chicago service on its Wolverine Line.AUGUST – Author Lee Shimano published a book about the Canadian National Exhibition.AUGUST – The 22 kilometre Waterfront Trail no longer has a missing link. The gap has been closed.SEPTEMBER – The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is reshaping Toronto’s skyline with its CIBC Square.SEPTEMBER – 103 construction cranes are at work in Toronto – more than any other North American city.SEPTEMBER – Toronto welcomes immigrants who have first rate tech backgrounds, according to OZY, a US media company.SEPTEMBER – Fred Herzog, one of the best when it came to photographing a Canadian city, died on September 9/2019 at the age of 88.SEPTEMBER – Fred Knapp’s Roller Boat was the strangest craft ever launched in Toronto.SEPTEMBER – Toronto is rebuilding itself with scaffoldings, demolitions, and traffic jams city-wide.OCTOBER – A Canadian Impressionist art exhibition toured European cities. OCTOBER – After a 14-year, $128-million reno, St. Michael’s Cathedral is resplendent once again.OCTOBER – Mayor Anne Hidalgo of Paris is conducting a war on cars and taxis – and winning.OCTOBER – Little Canada, ‘Our Home and Miniature Land’ is a new attraction coming to #10 Dundas St. East.OCTOBER – Toronto is now ranked as the second biggest housing bubble in the world – UBS, Swiss Investment Banking Co.NOVEMBER Toronto’s Shelter Bus is a repurposed coach optimized to provide a safe and comfortable place for the homeless to sleep, shower and eat overnight.NOVEMBER – US News Top 20 – For the second year in a row Canada ranks #1 in the world for being a good place to live.NOVEMBER – A Picasso portrait of DORA MAAR, signed and dated June 13, 1941, titled ‘Femme au Chapeau’ – sold in Toronto for $6.8-million at the Heffel fall auction.NOVEMBER – Toronto street artist birdO brought more colour and life to Yonge and St. Clair with a 10-storey mural in his signature surrealist style.NOVEMBER – Another in a series of guide books published by the city – this one is about North York and it’s free.NOVEMBER – 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.NOVEMBER – Toronto is the fastest growing urban region in Europe or North America. It adds 100,000 to 125,000 people annually.NOVEMBER – Some stylish millennials have taken a liking to anti-Baby-Boomer clothing.DECEMBER – CJRT-FM celebrates its 70th year – first as an educational radio station, and now Toronto’s Jazz-FM. It’s been broadcasting since November 1, 1949.DECEMBER – For over a century Simpson’s and Hudson’s Bay have celebrated Christmas and the Holidays with animated windows.  This year’s is totally different.DECEMBER – The federal and provincial governments are granting $1.4-billion to supplement rental housing, which could help 300,000 low-income Canadians. Toronto Community Housing will benefit certainly. . . . and thanks for checking out torontosavvy.  Much appreciated.


The OSBORNE COLLECTION OF CHILDREN’S BOOKS (BEFORE 1910) began with a visit from British librarian EDGAR OSBORNE.He was greatly impressed by the range and quality of children’s services within the TPL (Toronto Public Library) system.OSBORNE donated his personal collection of some 2,000 rare books in 1949. The numbers have grown to over 80,000 rare and notable modern children’s books. Now there are several collections within the collection.The oldest artefacts include a 14th century manuscript of Aesop’s fables, 16th century school books; Florence Nighingale’s childhood library; Queen Mary’s children’s books; penny dreadfuls, chapbooks, Puritan works, and fifteen-century traditional talesLillian H. Smith library is located at 239 College Street, not far from the University of TORONTO.


DERMOPHIS DONALD TRUMPI is officially an underground amphibian, named after the US president and his persistent climate change denial. The name was chosen by the boss of EnvironBuild, a sustainable building materials company, who paid $25,000 at an auction for the right. <PHOTO – in the EnviroBuild image above, the amphibian is wearing Trump’s hair>  Naming rights were auctioned to raise money for the Rainforest Trust.The scientists who found the 10cm worm-like creature have agreed to use the name when published in scientific literature.<PHOTO ABOVE – The 10cm-long Dermophis donaldtrumpi. by Abel Batista/Rainforest Trust UK>  The shiny animal is particularly susceptible to the impacts of global warming and is therefore in danger of becoming extinct because of its namesake’s climate policies, the Rainforest Trust told The Guardian.


CJRT-FM has been on the air since November 1, 1949 as Canada’s first educational radio station on the FM band. The commercial-free station was part of Ryerson’s School of Broadcasting and Electronics, with input from the University of TORONTO, the Ontario Department of Education and some boards of education. Needless to say, the ratings weren’t sky-high.In the 1960’s Radio and Television Arts students were required to produce and broadcast live programming for CJRT. This included writing and producing half-hour radio dramas, complete with sound effects and music. I know about this because I had to do one myself. Plenty of sweat was involved. <CJRT control room photos are from Ryerson University’s Archive>Making a long story short – in the 1990’s, along came Mike Harris and his Progressive Conservative provincial government. He cancelled funding for CJRT-FM.  Suddenly, the station had to fend for itself, and that’s when independent JAZZ-FM91 was really born.These days the station promotes live concerts, is funded largely by donations, and reaches a wider audience than ever. In a way, Mike Harris did ‘the little station that could’ a real favour.


There’s something totally different this year on Queen Street West as Hudson’s Bay windows show us the inner workings of Santa’s up-to-date toy factory. The display.has been totally modernized, and the kids are giving their approval. One of the windows is even interactive. Push a button and a robot responds. These windows have always been great fun for grown-ups too.


What is CBRE? The short form stands for Caldwell Banker Richard Ellis, an American commercial real estate and investment firm.Among its findings – 1) TORONTO tech occupations have grown 54% from 2013 to 2018, with about 230,000 jobs in the field . . . .  2) average income has grown from 2013 by 10% to $81,828 . . . . . 3) the number of tech degrees in computer science, math, statistics and tech engineering, has gone up by 42% in TORONTO between 2012 and 2017.OTTAWA came in second place for tech talent, with Vancouver, Waterloo Region, and Montreal trailing behind.