NATHAN PHILLIPS SQUARE – DAY AND NIGHT IT’S THE BEATING HEART OF THE CITY

<ABOVE – a lone skater on the Square’s ice rink as the sun comes up. PHOTO – Bryan Blenkin>

<BELOW this year’s Official Christmas/Holiday card features Nathan Phillips Square>

<ABOVE – Finnish architect Viljo Revell, shows his design for New City Hall to Professor Takamasa Yoshizaka in 1960; PHOTO – Gilbert A. Milne>

<ABOVE – Opening Night for New City Hall in 1965. Unfortunately Mr. Revell, the architect, had passed away the previous year.>

In 2007 an international design competition was launched to bring the square into the 21st century. The rebuild was accomplished by a consortium of mostly TORONTO firms. Architects and designers from Perkins + Will and PLANT Architect Inc. over-hauled everything, installing new fountains, a permanent stage, moving the Peace Garden with its full-growth trees, and planting a green roof around the third level of City Hall itself.

<ABOVE –  the Square, site of the city’s Christmas Tree, fireworks on Canada Day and at midnight on New Year’s Eve.  The TORONTO sign was inaugurated for the PanAm/ParaPanAm Games and has now become a popular photo-taking site – rivaling the CN Tower.>

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HOTTEST TICKET IN TORONTO – JAPANESE ARTIST YAYOI KUSAMA @ THE ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO

<YAYOI KUSAMA with Pumpkin/2010>

The show doesn’t open until March 3, 2018 (it closes on May 27), but already thousands of tickets have been sold (zero to 18,000 in the first few hours). Only around 120,000 slots are available.

‘Infinity Mirrors’, has been touring the United States, from the HIRSHORN MUSEUM in Washington, D.C., to the SEATTLE ART MUSEUM to the BROAD MUSEUM in Los Angeles.  And soon it will be in TORONTO.

<Life (Repetitive Vision), 1998. Installation @ Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, 2017 © Yayoi Kusama. Photo by Cathy Carver>

The TORONTO Star says “It all amounts to a perfect storm: Unprecedented demand running headlong into the scarcest of time.”

<Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, 2013.  © Yayoi Kusama>

With an oeuvre of painting and sculpture best described as candy-coloured fantasia, 88-year-old Yahoi Kusama’s work has helped make her into an Instagram superstar.

BRIAN GABLE’S EDITORIAL CARTOONS IN THE GLOBE & MAIL BRIGHTEN UP EVEN THE DARKEST DAYS

He seldom – if ever – fails to hit the proverbial nail on the head. The Globe and Mail’s editorial cartoonist BRIAN GABLE was born in Saskatoon, studied fine art at the University of Saskatchewan, then education at the University of Toronto. After teaching for a while, he freelanced as a cartoonist in Brockville and Regina, then became the editorial cartoonist for the Globe – Canada’s national and most prestigious newspaper – in 1987.

<CAPTION – Canada’s jet fighter purchase – “We’re weighing all options.”>

<Ye Royal Public Relations>

Mr. Gable won National Newspaper Awards in 1986, 1995, 2001 and 2005.

This year he was named a Member of the Order of Canada for his “outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.” Thanks Brian Gable for putting a smile on Canadian faces from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

<SUCCESSFUL PARENTING STRATEGIES>

<CAPTION – “White House vows not to participate in 2017 fad – the upside down Christmas tree.”>

U OF TORONTO STARTUP, Tréxō Robotics, IS OUT TO HELP KIDS WITH STROKE, SPINE & BRAIN INJURIES

<MANMEET MAGGU & RAHUL UDASI of Tréxō Robotics  – photo by Chris Sorensen>

A prototype exoskeleton created by Tréxō Robotics, a UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO startup, consists of robotic legs that can be attached to any walker. It gives kids with Cerebral Palsy, spinal cord injuries, and other immobilizing conditions a chance to escape the bounds of a wheel chair and move about on their own. The device suits some better than others.

“Our robotic legs attach onto the walker, ensuring support along with powered walking, so that a child can walk (outdoors for) longer periods.” CEO Manmeet Maggu told the Daily Mail. The robo legs assist the knees and hip joints by using battery power to help propel the child forward.

  The invention was inspired by Maggu’s nephew, Praneit, in INDIA, who was told he’d never walk again because of Cerebral Palsy. In the six tests so far, Praneit was among the successful ones.

For project information – https://www.utoronto.ca/news/u-t-startup-trexo-robotics-takes-another-step-forward-children-s-iron-man-exoskeleton

WHEN IT COMES TO SUPPORTING THE ARTS, TORONTO IS A CHEAPSKATE

“MONTREAL is at $78 per-capita. TORONTO is still trying to get to $25. It’s embarassing and it’s shameful. Montreal had reached $55 by 2009; Vancouver $47.”JACOBA KNAAPEN, executive director of TAPA, the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts.

According to the Toronto Arts Foundation, arts and culture contribute $11.3-billion dollars annually to TORONTO’s GDP. The $25 per capita arts funding is overdue.

<PHOTO – Mayor JOHN TORY contributes to a painting by artist PETER FARMER at the Evening For The Arts>