U. OF T. HAS LAUNCHED A MEMORIAL FUND FOR THOSE WHO DIED IN THE TRAGIC JET CRASH NEAR TEHRAN

The newly endowed Iranian Student Memorial Fund honours the memory of those who died in the crash of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 in Tehran. Six students from the University of Toronto were among 57 Canadians who died – along with another 119 on the manifest.

(Photo by Nick Iwanyshyn)  President Meric Gertler said “The University of Toronto continues to mourn the heartbreaking loss of so many members of our community, and to offer our sympathy and support to their families, friends, classmates and professors.”

THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO is dispersing$10,000 scholarships in memory of each of the 57 Canadian victims. Criteria for the scholarships will be based on academic merit and financial need, and recipients will be determined in consultation with the schools and families of the victims. – <IMAGES – U of T Magazine>

THEY HELPED US, & NOW WE’RE HELPING THEM – CANADIANS BATTLE AUSTRALIA’S FIRES FROM HELL

<Canadian and American firefighters arrive at Melbourne International Airport, January 2/2020><Canadian firefighters and specialists have a photo taken on arrival at Brisbane, Queensland, December 31/2019><Dozens of firefighters from all Canadian provinces gathered in British Columbia for transport to Australia. They were deployed for 38 days.>

<Canadian wildfire specialists are shown in this handout image in Vancouver before being deployed to New South Wales, Australia on Thursday Dec. 19, 2019. CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Ctre-Riel McGuire – mandatory credit.>

THE WORLD LOST MANY WONDERFUL PEOPLE in 2019 – MAY THEIR SOULS REST IN PEACE

THOSE WHO’VE LEFT US IN 2019
(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

A FORM OF IMMORTALITY? – A BLIND, WORM-LIKE AMPHIBIAN HAS BEEN NAMED AFTER DONALD TRUM

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.

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.

IN BOTH CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES BILLIONS OF BIRDS ARE DISAPPEARING

“The skies are emptying out,” says the New York Times. Bird numbers are down by nearly three billion over the last 50 years, and it isn’t only exotic and rare birds that are disappearing. Many common species are going too.TORONTO’s buildings are killing millions of them annually due to fatal light awareness. In other words, they collide with our city’s skyscraper forest.Every spring and fall, day and night, hundreds of thousands of birds overfly the city, to and from the southland.  Unobstructed until they reach Greater Toronto, these tiny spirits are suddenly confronted by hundreds of buildings – some 70-80 storeys high, and oftentimes illuminated. Millions annually plummet to their deaths from these structures.<ABOVE – the four North American bird flyways.  TORONTO is in the Atlantic Flyway>FLAP (or the Fatal Light Awareness Program) is TORONTO-based.  It’s been valiantly fighting to save the birds, and is having some success.  Through research, education, rescue, rehabilitation, and now the courts, FLAP is challenging developers to be much more environmentally friendly.In an earlier New York Times article, “Toronto Looks to Save Casualties of Urban Skies”, October 28/2012,  Ian Austen writes: “There is no precise ranking of the world’s most deadly cities for migratory birds, but TORONTO is considered a top contender for the title . . . (Professor Daniel Klem Jr., an ornothologist at Muhlenberg College in Allentown Pa.) was quick to say that the city also leads North America when it comes to addressing the problem.FLAP volunteers rise before dawn every day, and head out carrying butterfly nets and paper bags.  They rescue injured birds before the city wakes up for another day. The dead are wrapped in paper, and taken to FLAP headquarters.  The injured are treated, and later released on the shores of Lake Ontario.  More than 164 species have collided with Greater TORONTO’s buildings in the last 15 years.<ABOVE – an injured Ovenbird being treated.  It will eventually be released.>  To find out more about TORONTO’s Fatal Light Awareness Program (or FLAP), call 416-366-3527 or check their website – https://flap.org/  Volunteers and contributions are always welcome.  <PHOTOS –SARA SCHARF & J.P. Moczulski>

THE KIDS ARE FIGHTING MAD, AND THEY’RE NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS FILTHY CLIMATE ANYMORE

Led by Swedish activist GRETA THUNBERG, an estimated 500,000 people marched through Montreal on Friday, calling for action on climate change. Same was true in TORONTO, Ottawa, Hamilton, Victoria, Halifax, etc. “We are millions striking and marching around (the world) and we’ll keep doing it until they listen,” Thunberg said.<On a fence at Spruce Court Co-Op, Cabbagetown, TORONTO>