Monthly Archives: January 2022
UNEXPECTED NEWS WHERE ALEXANDER STREET COMES CLOSE TO YONGE IN DOWNTOWN TORONTO
Who would have thought? Toronto’s venerable ‘queer’ theatre and company. <Photo above – from The Toronto Star>. Buddies in Bad Times is in need of a new Board of Directors. The previous Board ended up in a burst of departures – directors and employees nearly all. The company is known for its achievements. Among them Toronto’s Luminato Festival, The Edinburgh International Festival and The Festival Cervantino in Mexico, as well as a regular series of productions for the locals. However Buddies has been without an artistic director since September, 2020. Both The Globe and Mail & The Toronto Star, on Saturday, January 29, 2022, published in-depth stories about this “state-of-affairs”.
TORONTO STAR – ONLY IF COVID-19 CONDITIONS MAKE IT SAFE TO EXPLORE ‘A WINDSOR WONDERLAND’
Jessica Huras is working on a series of daytrips and longer drives highlighting experiences you can have in Ontario, and show you why it’s ‘Our’s to Discover’. Windsor is first on the list. These are ten specials beginning with 1) The Ambassador Bridge; 2) The Windsor Sculpture Park; 3) Armando’s Pizza; 4) The Walkerville District; 5) Hiram Walker & Sons Distillery; 6) The Art Gallery of Windsor; 7) Riverfront Trail; 8) Gladstone Commons; 9) The Anchor Coffee House; and 10) the drive back to Toronto.<The top photo above – The Art Gallery of Windsor features more than 4,000 pieces of contemporary art with a focus on Canadian works.>
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.
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.
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.
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!