MONTREAL, OUR NEARBY MAJOR CITY, IS MAKING GOOD USE OF ‘THE GREEN ALLEYS MOVEMENT’

The Green Alleys Movement has grown quickly since May 22, 2021. A green alleyway is a people-friendly space created by residents to promote social interaction among neighbours and friends. 

The first true green alley, however, wasn’t developed until 1995, in the trendy and artistic Plateau-Mont-Royal borough.  Numerous cities in the United States and Canada have been reclaiming alleyways from garbage and crime by greening the service lanes, or back ways, that run behind some houses. Eleven of the nineteen boroughs have at least one Green Alley Project sprouting up somewhere in Greater Montréal – developed with the help of engaged neighbours. . . . . .  Toronto, Canada’s largest city, is loaded with alleys or laneways. These days some Torontonians are having houses built within their laneways. Maybe we can make them even more useful. Green Alleys anyone?

 

THEY’RE AT IT. CONCORD SKY IS GEARING UP FOR THE FUTURE – WHERE YONGE MEETS GERRARD ST. E.

Here comes redevelopment of several small storefronts, south of Gerrard on Yonge Street, by Concord Adex, with plans calling for an eighty-four-storey tower featuring a mix of retail, office and residential space. Concord Sky at 391 Yonge St. is being designed by New York’s Kohn Pedersen Fox with architects Alliance of Toronto. Set for one of Canada’s tallest skyscrapers and designed by world-renowned KPF architects, Concord Sky provides unmatched views of the Toronto skyline and proximity to all the city has to offer.

“We put our name on Concord Sky and intend to be exceptional stewards of this property for future generations..”  said  Terry Hui, Concord Adex / Concord Pacific President and CEO (CNW Group/Concord Pacific.  Concord Sky’s prime downtown location at 391 Yonge will offer convenience as far as the eye can see when it’s completed in 2026.

 

VIA RAIL TO HAVE SIEMENS’ NEW TRAINS IN TIME FOR HARSH CANADIAN WINTERS – “ALL ABOARD SOON!”

The trains are fitted with LED lighting, USB ports, wider seats, quiet zones, bike storage and flexible luggage space. Canada’s Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said. “The new fleet will offer comfort and efficiency for the workers, families and tourists who travel on these tracks.” . <Photo above – One of 32 new Siemens trains doing some testing.> The fleet is fully accessible for passengers with reduced mobility. Braille seat numbering has been fitted to the interiors along with companion seating, at-seat emergency call buttons, larger fully accessible toilets and an integrated wheelchair lift. <Photo above – An economy class interior>. The push-pull trains are formed of five coaches. The entire fleet is expected to be delivered by 2024 and will replace existing life-expired trains. <Photo above – The Business Class interior..>. VIA Rail Canada launched the first of its 32 Siemens trains in Ottawa on November 30. The fleet will operate on the Quebec City – Montreal – Toronto – Windsor corridor as part of a contract awarded in 2018.

THE YONGE-UNIVERSITY SUBWAY LINE MAY SOON INCREASE ITS LENGTH BY EIGHT KILOMETRES

A quote from Marcus Gee, Globe and Mail columnist – The Yonge Subway Line will eventually pass its current Finch Avenue northern terminus. It now has attracted developments along its hubs, such as . . . . . . . . . The 407 Toll Highway in the city of Vaughan, and then would end up in suburban Richmond Hill. Developers can’t wait to start building along this connected new section. They can demand a higher price for homes and offices next to a subway that will take them to and from the heart of downtown. Building projects along a subway line means that people can get to their homes or work without using a car. Toronto’s booming region can accommodate thousands of new residents without worsening urban sprawl. Urban planners are calling what is happening along Yonge and in other cities “transit oriented development.” This idea is being pursued in cities all over the world. Marcus Gee says “The real madness would be to build a subway all the way to Richmond Hill and put nothing else there.”

‘CARS OVER BIKES’ ONCE WAS A “WAR” IN TORONTO, BUT TIMES ARE CHANGING FOR THE BEST MAYBE

<Photo above – In Toronto cyclists use Pool Noodles for protecting themselves from cars, trucks and drivers. Photo, Twitter – Chris Borkowski. It came to this.> Cycling or walking downtown was once a death-defying feat. Not so much any more. The city launched a three-year plan to upgrade cycling infrastructure by installing the largest single-year expansion of on-street bike lanes in Toronto’s history. At their best cyclists can now travel smoothly, for instance from High Park to Dawes Road without entwining themselves in-and-out of traffic. In Summer/2020 the Bike Share Program added 300 more electric cycles to their fleet. Across Toronto now there are 6,850 rental bikes, 625 new stations and 12,000 docking points. Some advantages for most bikes – 1) Good exercise, 2) Improves the Environment, 3) A possible way to avoid gridlock.

On the other hand, the suburbs aren’t so sure and traffic can be challenging. Cyclists don’t always abide by regulations, and speeding cars can cause mayhem. It depends on the operator. <Info. from Toronto Life, November,2020>   

 

CANADIAN THEATRES ARE DOING THEIR BEST TO GET BACK INTO ACTION (WITH LIVE AUDIENCES)

*At their best Canada’s theatre companies have been facing more shutdowns because we’re way deep in the pandemic.
*Newfoundland, Ontario and Quebec – were shut down again.
*Calgary – avant-garde theatre festival, cancelled its’ 36th edition.
*Metro Theatre in Vancouver, announced at the last minute it would be rescheduling until March the comedy ‘Nunsense’.
*Vancouver Arts Club rescheduled the new comedy ‘Made in Italy’
*The Firehall Arts Centre is now one of the only spots in Vancouver where audiences can catch a live show.
*Grand Theatre in London, Ontario – ‘Room’, Emma Donoghue’s adaptation of her novel with Scottish songwriters Kathryn Joseph and Cora Bissett.
*Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto – will show part of a rejigged Mirvish Productions Season, with ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ replacing the departed Leopoldstadt.
*The Frank Theatre Company, Vancouver’s oldest professional queer theatre company, is running an audio adaptation of ‘I Cannot Lie to the Stars That Made Me’ by playwright Catherine Hernandez.
The ray of hope to be found in Canadian performing arts now comes from companies postponing rather than cancelling shows. Many are hoping that stages will operate again in March.

<From J. Kelly Nestruck, Opinion Section, The Globe and Mail, Ontario Edition, January 13, 2022.>

PETER SMITH, MY BROTHER-IN-LAW WHO LIVES IN NOVA SCOTIA, CELEBRATED HIS BIRTHDAY IN “THE WOODS”

Peter welcomed our extended family who made themselves comfortable in the woods. They’re allowed 20 people to gather outdoors, so family members could legally enter the woods to roast hot dogs over a fire pit.  Everyone enjoyed doing that. My sister, Sharon, identified all 16 of them, the closest I’ve been with my family in person for some time now. I’ve been looking forward to visiting them soon. Meanwhile for fun, here’s who in the picture.
Starting left from the red chair – Heidi, Naomi, Mark, Phoebe and Ian behind Mark, Charlie, Luke, Dave (Peter’s brother), Peter himself (in the red jacket), Andrea with Caroline on her knee; Sharon herself (blue cap), Jordan, Vanessa, Greg and then back to the empty chair.  Isaiah was the photographer, hence the empty chair.  The trucks belong to Mark and Greg, Fortunately the weather was quite fine. I thank my sister, Sharon and Isaiah for this photo, and a very Happy Birthday, Peter!

A CAR STUCK IN OUR STREET – TWO SHOVELS IN OUR GARAGE – DUST PANS ONLY WAY TO REACH THEM

We had to manage both getting out of the house, and then in through the garage door to access those shovels. And for that the dust pans were most helpful. Once outside we went to work, first using the dust pans, and then sweeping and shoveling. And it’s snowing again! <Photos by Ross Winter>

THREE WAYS OF PRESENTING “A STARRY NIGHT” – ORIGINALLY PAINTED BY VINCENT VAN GOGH

< Dutch Post-Impressionist, Vincent van Gogh and his oil-on-canvas, captures two lovers and “A Starry Night Over The Rhône”. The view is from the quay on the east side of the river.> The piece features short, painterly brushstrokes, a colour palette, and a focus on luminescence. This treatment helps explain why it’s so famous and, for the public, a fine piece of art. It resides in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Another “Starry Night” has received plenty of attention, especially by viewers from Toronto and other parts of Canada. The CN Tower occupies the left side of the painting, along with a row of Downtown skyscrapers. And yes, the star giant swirls are very much there too. Ted Hamer, a Toronto artist, designed his “Starry Night” originals in a more modern style.

A POPULAR SERIES OF EXAGGERATED CARDS WAS REPRODUCED BY TORONTO’S CDN. POSTCARD CO.

For sure there is a market for popular series of wildly exaggerated postcards. From SteFan Buszynski, a resident of Orillia, Ontario and there’s Marcel Rousseau, who assembles a weekly series of historic postcard views and photos. Some were previously published by OMAH, The Orillia Museum of Art and History, and in a book ‘Postcard Memories Orillia’. A choice was made here to show three examples of “tall tale” or “exaggerated” postcards sold in Orillia in the 1940’s. Originally produced in 1908 by photographer William H. Martin of Ottawa, Kansas, U.S.A. these postcards became so popular that his company was allegedly turning out 10,000 a day<Postcard #1 – shows off Orillia’s giant cabbages> <Postcard #2 – Sports fishermen are pulling in a giant one, with an axe to help them out.> And <#3 – Close by here’s a load of fancy poultry about to be pulled off by a loyal horse with a wagon.  And those were the three chosen ones.