TORONTO SHORT STORIES – MAY 15-22/2017

<BASS ISLAND property in Muskoka, listed at $10,800,000>

TORONTO’s real estate frenzy has spread to cottage country as city dwellers cash out and head north. The value of waterfront property in Muskoka, Haliburton and Orillia surged 51.4% year over year in April. The median price of $485,000 was up 30.4% from April/2016. Last week in Haliburton/Muskoka on three big lakes, there were 51 properties listed with an average price of $3-million.

“Privacy is still the key factor when it comes to price. Up here, the definition of privacy is when you can stand on your front deck naked and nobody can see you. You need 200 feet of waterfront to do that.” – Hugh Nichols, Re/Max North Country agent

Google has its eye on TORONTO’s under-developed waterfront and believes digital city-building might ‘fix’ it.

The premise – building from the ground up with new technologies brings with it potential environmental sustainability, health benefits, and even affordable housing. Google’s vision entails high-speed internet access and free wifi across the hub, self-driving cars, ride-sharing, and sensors throughout. As Canada’s largest urban area with a booming multicultural centre and a 12-acre industrial waterfront along Lake Ontario, TORONTO is in the running.

To create a city of the future from the ground up necessitates demolishing the city of the past – which puts both Montreal and Vancouver at some disadvantage.

High-speed rail – Ontario Premier KATHLEEN WYNNE says the province will set up an agency to plan, finance and build a high-speed rail corridor between TORONTO, Guelph, Kitchener, London and Windsor.

“The best time to have done this was 40 years ago, the second best time is today. Today is what we’ve got, so today is what we are working with,” said Ms. Wynne. “We are moving ahead, we are going to make this happen.”

TORONTO’s Little Portugal and Trinity-Bellwoods Park area have just been ranked #1 for music production in Canada. In a news release The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) says “”This diverse and culturally-rich neighbourhood in TORONTO’s south-western quadrant is a hub of creative musical talent, live music venues, and businesses using music to their advantage.”

<PHOTO – Canterbury Music Company, 322 Dufferin Street>

TORONTO scores a 68% home ownership rate in the ‘developed’ world. We’re behind only OSLO (69%) and CALGARY (74%). A report from the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis shows that half of TORONTO-area residents are overhoused, with 2.2-million empty bedrooms.

The city is about 350,000 bedrooms short of housing the 20% of residents who are shelter-poor.

A newborn lamb, one of three, at TORONTO’s inner-city Riverdale Farm. The Farm is located on Sumach Street, north of Carlton. You can reach it easily on the #506 eastbound streetcar. Get off at Sumach and walk north to Riverdale Park.

TORONTO again proves its key importance by landing the federal government’s infrastructure bank. The city’s Financial District will give members easy access to investors whose cash the feds need to make their bank work.

$35-billion in federal funds will be used to entice private investment in public transit, highways and electrical grids that generate revenues through user fees or tolls. Approximately $15-billion of that will be cash, with the remaining $20-billion in repayable loans or equity stakes that shouldn’t affect the government’s bottom line.

Bon anniversaire, Montréal!  Canada’s second largest city 350 miles east of TORONTO, celebrated its 375th birthday on May 17, 2017.  The Quebec metropolis is a town that seldom sleeps and the lights are always on.

They want a TORONTO subway connection and, in return, they’re prepared to favour a Downtown Relief Line (DRL). The mayors of Markham, Richmond Hill and York Region have announced they’d support JOHN TORY’s push for the DRL – if he’d support their wish for a TTC subway hookup.

Mayor Tory had threatened to stop all planning for regional subway connections which would directly affect the above municipalities.

Actor KAL PENN, who plays the press secretary on ABC’s “Designated Survivor” – shooting in TORONTO – gave the New York Times his impression of Big T.O. “It is an incredibly diverse city. They take in refugees that the United States doesn’t accept. I came back and saw not just new buildings, but entire neighbourhoods that were industrial and have been transformed into living spaces.

“There’s a neighbourhood called PARKDALE which has an interesting Tibetan population. There’s a lot of great food there, and I don’t mean fancy places where you dress up and go to dinner, but really great holes-in-the-wall. Little Portugal is another neighbourhood with really nice shops and restaurants.”

Londoner ROSE POWER sent her best wishes to TORONTO this week in a letter published by Metro News.  “I would recommend anyone wanting to enjoy great food, sights and friendly people in a safe city, really ought to give TORONTO a try!  They won’t be disappointed.  I also think TORONTO should be held up as an awesome model of multiculturalism working at its finest.”

TORONTO SHORT STORIES – APRIL 29 TO MAY 6/2017

The TORONTO skyline in the late 1960’sMark Blinch/Reuters

TORONTO skyline as it was in February/2017 and it keeps on growing – by Razz/urbantoronto.ca

TORONTO, MONTREAL & everything in between was drenched by continuous downpours this week. Lake Ontario rose higher than it’s been in 3 decades.  There were fears the Don River <PHOTO ABOVE> would overflow its banks.  Didn’t happen.

What are the 23-year-olds up to these days? This one climbed a construction crane in the middle of the night, sat down on the hook and waited to be rescued. Firefighter ROB WONFOR risked his life by climbing the tower in two difficult hours, descending the crane’s cabling (!) and bringing MARISA LAZO safely back to earth where police were waiting.  <PHOTO ABOVE – Tyler Anderson/National Post>

<Editorial cartoon by Brian Gable/Globe and Mail – ‘Three Amigos’>

President Trump – “The president of Mexico called me, who I have a very good relationship with. And also the prime minister of Canada, who I also have a very good relationship. I like both of these gentlemen very much. They called me.

“And they said ‘rather than terminating NAFTA could you please negotiate.‘ I like them very much. I respect their countries very much. Their relationship is very special. I said I would hold on the termination. Let’s see if we can make a fair deal.”

We love you, NEW YORK CITY, but the “rhetoric” coming out of Donald Trump’s White House is turning us off. His diatribe against Canada’s dairy & softwood lumber industries and NAFTA aren’t helping matters. Predictions are that The Big Apple will see 300,000 fewer foreign tourists in 2017, and 17,000 of those will be Canadians.

Fred Dixon, CEO of NYC’s official tourism organization says “We recognize there are challenges at the border . . . We want to remind everyone that New York City is welcoming and that we are a diverse and safe city, a sanctuary city like TORONTO, and we value the same things.”

SIDNEY CROSBY, Canada’s hockey hero was out of action. suffering his 4th concussion.

The Masonic Temple on Yonge Street at Davenport Road will become The Concert Hall on June 23, hosting some shows for the Toronto Jazz Festival. Opened in 1918, the building has a capacity of 1,500. Frank Sinatra once played there, as did David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, and R. E. M. among many others. It was a ballroom in the 1930’s, then in the 1960’s it became a rock palace, and eventually comedian Mike Bullard’s studio for his late-night television show. The CTV network operated the venue from the late 1990’s until 2013.

No word yet on what happens after the Jazz Festival ends on July 2.

The Canadian/American musical ‘ Come From Away’, set in Gander, Newfoundland and now on Broadway, was nominated for 7 Tony Awards including BEST MUSICAL!

Prince Philip announced that he’ll be semi-retiring from public life in August.

For the first time in history, there are as many seniors as young people in this country, and they’re living longer than ever before. This phenomenon will have ripple effects on everything from the cost of benefits to the age of retirement as Canada tries to find its footing in the new age of aging. – TORONTO STAR, May 2/2017

TORONTO SHORT STORIES – MARCH 21-31/2017

The three green cubes at the foot of Sumach Street, TORONTO landmarks since 1996, are up for sale. Unfortunately they’re sitting on a prime piece of land and could go for over $3-million. The home was last sold in 2002 for $265,000 when the neighbourhood was pretty much an undeveloped wasteland. But all of this is changing rapidly.

Hopes are high that they can somehow be saved.

<PHOTO – Eduardo Lima/Metro News>

Bonnie and Clyde, High Park Zoo’s most famous rodents, are now mom and dad to three bundles of joy. Born on February 23, the pups have been kept indoors because “they’re South American and they’re babies, so they need to stay inside,” said city spokesperson Megan Price. <PHOTO – Jason McCullough>

BETTY KENNEDY, once one of Canada’s best-known television and radio personalities, died at 91. For 27 years she hosted ‘The Betty Kennedy Show’ on TORONTO’s CFRB. And for 33 years she was the only female panelist on CBC television’s “Front Page Challenge”. Mrs. Kennedy-Burton was also a senator for seven months – retiring, as required, in January/2001 upon reaching the mandatory age.

<PHOTO – Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press>

TORONTO’s Trump Tower has been approved for sale to the San Diego investment firm JCF Capital ULC. The building wasn’t owned by Donald Trump but his organization licensed his name and operates it. The $298-million “stalking horse” bid means JFC Capital would own the property if no other bidder comes forward.

The 65-storey tower in TORONTO’s financial district opened in 2012 and has 211 hotel rooms, 74 private residences, a restaurant, spa and ground floor bar.

TOURISM TORONTO has launched a new campaign – ‘The Views Are Different Here’ – promoting our city as Canada’s Downtown.
Andrew Weir, CEO of Tourism Toronto says T.O. is the most-visited destination in Canada. While other cities have vibrant downtowns “international visitors will start in TORONTO … because that’s where the planes fly. People want Canada, and they want the cities of Canada.”

Check out Tourism Toronto’s website and see their new video – http://www.seetorontonow.com/#sm.00003d3687bc0ctvw3r19grtn5c68

CALIFORNIA and other states are planning to step up as President Trump tries to undo President Obama’s efforts on climate change. “They have powerful allies and foes. This will test California and other states like never before as they seek to wrest control of (America’s) energy future from a hostile White House.” – Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times

Shortly after Trump signed his energy plan California’s Governor Jerry Brown vowed that the president’s “outrageous move will galvanize the contrary force.” Brown and New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo are moving fast to consolidate the power of several other states and countries that are united on climate action.

An in-depth front page article in Sunday’s New York Times: Canada’s Syrian refugees, sponsored for one year, have reached Month 13. What happens next? Canadians are learning to let go.

Read the 3-page article with photographs at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/25/world/canada/syrian-refugees.html

There aren’t many left. Surface parking lots have pretty well disappeared in downtown TORONTO. Once they were everywhere, but not any more. This one is on Church Street at Wood, soon to be the site of a condo building.  Once upon a time this lot was favoured by Maple Leaf hockey fans. The Gardens were across the road.

A grand piece of TORONTO architecture – the Dominion Public Building – has been sold for $275.1-million. It was purchased by Larco Investments, a Vancouver-based company that also owns Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier Hotel.

The Dominion Public building, 1 Front Street West, was the federal government’s first customs house, where imports and exports were administered and inspected. The building’s first of two phases was built from 1929 to 1931. In 1934 and 1935 the west pavilion was added.

GILBERT BAKER, the “Betsy Ross” of the Rainbow Flag died on Friday, March 31. Although the original underwent a few revisions, the design has endured for over 30 years as the international symbol of the LGBTQ community.

The first Rainbow Flag appeared at San Francisco Pride on June 25, 1978. Mr. Baker said “I knew instantly when I saw the reaction that it was going to be something. I didn’t know what or how or – but I knew.” He refused to apply for a trademark for his creation, saying it was his life’s work and his gift to the world. Mr. Baker was 65.

TORONTO SHORT STORIES – MARCH 6-20/2017

The world’s largest rubber duck will pay TORONTO a visit this coming summer during the Redpath Waterfront Festival, July 1-3. Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s 30,000 pound sculpture made its debut in 2007, and since then copies – of which this will be one – have been touring the world. It’s 61 feet tall, 79 feet wide and 89 feet long.

The duck’s itinerary includes five other Ontario towns – Owen Sound, Sault Ste. Marie, Midland, Amherstburg and Brockville.

NOBU Hospitality, the luxury restaurant and hotel chain founded by actor Robert De Niro, famous Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Hollywood producer Meir Teper, will soon be coming to TORONTO. Two 49-storey bronze towers will be built above the current Pilkington Glass Factory on Mercer Street, and will include a hotel, NOBU, retail space and an outdoor Zen garden. The glass factory’s facade will be part of the development.

BMO Economics says TORONTO’s housing bubble will pop in 24 months. “At the rate we’re now going with 20% year-on-year price increases, assuming stable mortgage rates and continued income growth, we’ll be at 1989 valuation levels in about 24 months,” senior economist Robert Kavcic wrote last week.

TORONTO’s average house price jumped 27.7% in February/2017 from a year earlier, to $859,186. Single-family homes soared to $1.57 million on average, a jump of nearly 30% in a year.

Sidewalk superintendents gathered to watch DON, one of two tunnel-boring machines (TBMs), hoisted above ground and taken apart. It had been digging underground for nearly four years, helping to build the Crosstown LRT’s north tunnel.

The 400-tonne monster was disassembled along Eglinton Avenue. A second TBM, named HUMBER (after the river), surfaced a few days later. The TBM’s bored 16-20 metres below ground, around the clock, with a crew of six operators each.

Young people from both the United States and other parts of the world are looking to Canada for their post-secondary education. In TORONTO, both Ryerson University and the University of Toronto are reporting an 80% increase in applications from south of the border. In 2017 so far, the University of Toronto has 1,791 American applicants – up 790 over last year.

There’s been a 35% increase in student applications from England; 62% from Mexico; and 53% from the United Arab Emirates.

German Chancellor ANGELA MERKEL spent some time at the White House and left many of us wondering just what she was thinking as the day progressed. Ms. Merkel has a very expressive face, and news photographers captured a variety of candid nuances from pleasure to bewilderment.

Headline of the year from the Catskills.  In Newburgh, New York, folks were digging out from under 18-24 INCHES of snow.

Prime Minister JUSTIN TRUDEAU, his wife Sophie, former PM Jean Chretien and his wife Aline, along with Ivanka Trump and 120 ambassadors from around the world, attended “Come From Away” on Broadway.

In remarks before the show, Trudeau got on stage and said he was pleased that, “the world gets to see what it is to lean on each other and be there for each other through the darkest times.” The Canadian/American musical at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre opened to rave reviews.

Charles Edward Anderson CHUCK BERRY, one of the founding fathers of rock ‘n roll, has died at the age of 90. He grew up in Missouri during the time of racial segregation; rose to become a worldwide star; was jailed for robbery at the age of 17; lived an outrageous life; became famous for his ‘duck walk’ as well as Johnny B. Goode, Roll Over Beethoven and Sweet Little Sixteen.

“He lit up our teenage years, and blew life into our dreams of being musicians and performers,” – Mick Jagger.

<Top 10 Canadian cities viewed by Chinese buyers – Juwai.com>

Canada remains the third most popular real estate market for Chinese buyers according to Juwai.com and Sotheby’s International Real Estate.
It seems the main reason Chinese buyers want to get into the Canadian housing market is education.

They love our schools. By the end of 2015, Canada had 119,335 Chinese students enrolled in institutions across the country – up from 39,850 in 2004. British Columbia saw the biggest growth in Chinese students with a 253% increase, compared to 214% in Ontario and 209% in Nova Scotia.

After being in storage for 9 years, Ryerson University is bringing Sam The Record Man’s sign back to downtown TORONTO. The ‘spinning records’ will be shining brightly atop 277 Victoria Street, near Yonge-Dundas Square, this coming summer.

TORONTO SHORT STORIES – FEBRUARY 13-27/2017

lastfarmer1The Reesors came to the TORONTO area in 1804. “It was a Mennonite family. They came from Pennsylvania. travelled up and bought land in this area. It’s been in the same family ever since,” said Dale Reesor to Metro News reporter Chris Bateman. Their farm is the last significant chunk of undeveloped land in northern SCARBOROUGH.

donmills1Purchased 50 years ago for $27,000, this 1,500-square-foot, 3 bedroom Don Mills house sold for $2.3-million. That’s more than $1.5-million over the $1.9-million list price.

Another house in the same neighbourhood was listed for $990,000 a few weeks ago. It sold for $1.95-million. <PHOTO – real estate agent Sohail Mansoor>

Shawn Micallef EventSo near and yet so far. In his new book, Shawn Micallef – among other things – brings some old skeletons out of the closet. The Rob Ford ‘administration’, the gravy train, amalgamation, the village mentality, NIMBYism, suburbs vs downtown elites, taxes, transit, gridlock, the province – the whole roiling mass.

Micallef paints a picture of a city facing serious social, environmental and economic challenges, yet also in a position to create a promising future.

stuartmclean1STUART McLEAN, CBC radio host of ‘The Vinyl Cafe’ and award-winning humorist and storyteller died of melanoma at the age of 68. Both on the stage and on radio he had millions of fans from the late 70’s to the present day.

McLean also created current affairs radio documentaries for CBC Radio’s ‘Sunday Morning’, including an ACTRA Award-winning piece in 1979 about the Jonestown massacre.

banksy1A stencil painting by BANKSY, created several years ago in a TORONTO laneway, has been saved and reinstalled at #1 York Street. The restored artwork can be found in a second-floor PATH pedestrian walkway in a condo, office and retail building, just south of the Gardiner Expressway.

The piece was created during the artist’s trip to TORONTO for the release of his film, ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’, a documentary about street art.

nandu1NANDU, the Indian Rhino calf at Toronto Zoo is one year old this month and weighs in at nearly 1,400 pounds.

His horn continues to grow and he’s still playful with his mom ASHAKIRAN. The marks you see are minor scratches as he and mom spend a lot of time playing with one another. The marks heal quite quickly and it isn’t long before they are both playfighting again.

meme5Prime Minister JUSTIN TRUDEAU meets with President Trump in Washington DC.  He neatly avoids the Trumpster’s crushing handshake.

tourism1A new 31-page publication from Toronto Tourism celebrates the 150th year of Canadian Confederation with an emphasis on Canada’s largest city. You can find FREE copies at City Hall, 100 Queen Street West or go online at http://www.seetorontonow.com/

The book is a primer to 150 quintessential TORONTO people, places and things, experiences, happenings, food, drink, history, art, architecture, fashion, entertainment, sports, and where to enjoy them all in Canada’s downtown: TORONTO.

bookmobile1TORONTO Public Library has unveiled its new technology-filled bookmobile ready to hit the streets this coming May. The $300,000 vehicle is equipped with free Wi-Fi, large computer screens and tablets – ideal for job searches and research.

juno1Toronto Zoo’s JUNO, a 15-month-old polar bear cub, is heading west to WINNIPEG on March 1. It’s been decided that the little bear needs to socialize with other cubs close to her age. Juno was born at the Toronto Zoo on Nov. 11, 2015 but was raised by zoo staff because her mother couldn’t produce milk.

realestate1TORONTO has placed 8th out of 500 cities in the 10th annual Innovation Cities Index by Melbourne-based 2thinknow consulting company. The cities are scored on 162 indicators grouped into 3 categories: culture, infrastructure and location & access to networked markets.

The Top 10 – 1) London 2) New York 3) Tokyo 4) San Francisco/San Jose 5) Boston 6) Los Angeles 7) Singapore 8) TORONTO 9) Paris 10) Vienna

janjessen1

22-year-old film student and cameraman JAN JESSEN from Hamburg, Germany has just released a short film that captures the sights and sounds of TORONTO and the mighty NIAGARA.

Jan had this to say about our city: “I was really impressed by the diversity of the people and the architecture. In most cities, if you want to go from a neighbourhood full of skyscrapers to smart urban living, you have to drive an hour — not walk 10 minutes. We walked 20 or 25 kilometres a day and rarely took a bus.”

TORONTO SHORT STORIES – JANUARY 25 TO FEBRUARY 5/2017

crows1crows2<PHOTO ABOVE – one of the theatres & performance spaces in Crow’s new theatre complex, Joel Levy/Toronto Guardian>

Congratulations to the Crow’s Theatre Company & Streetcar Developments on the opening of their beautiful new facility in the East End. After 34 years as nomads, Crow’s now has a state-of-the-art home base and can mount a full season of theatre, music, dance, opera, comedy and classes for the kids.

In the spring of 2017, Gare de l’Est, a restaurant and patio from Erik Joyal and chef John Sinopoli will open in Crow’s spacious lobby. To learn more about getting involved as a volunteer, supporter or Crow’s frequent flyer, drop a line at info@crowstheatre.com or visit their website at http://www.crowstheatre.com

beautiful1Canada’s CHILINA KENNEDY, who is starring on Broadway in “Beautiful – the Carole King Musical” is bringing the show to TORONTO in June. She will join the first national tour of the Tony and Grammy Award-winning show exclusively for the TORONTO engagement.

“I am so excited to be playing Carole King at home! Her story is truly beautiful and the music is powerful — TORONTO audiences will love it.”

torontoeconomyIn case you were wondering, TORONTO – home to 20.4% of Canada’s population – is this country’s most important economic engine. In 2013, the year Statistics Canada put out a new data series about ‘local’ economies, TORONTO pumped out $330-billion. That’s virtually equivalent to the entire province of Alberta’s GDP ($331 billion) at that time, and within spitting distance of Canada’s second-largest province, Quebec ($337 billion). – Economist & CBC business columnist Armine Yalnizyan

Read the entire story online in MacLean’s at http://www.macleans.ca/economy/economicanalysis/torontos-economy-doesnt-get-the-respect-it-deserves/
Follow Ms. Yalnizyan on Twitter – @ArmineYalnizyan

massey1The grand old Bank of TORONTO at 205 Yonge Street may soon be up for sale. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but negotiations are in the works to turn this neo-classical temple <on the left in above photo> into a thing of beauty. It’s been locked up for about 15 years.

The building is designated as a heritage site with both the exterior and white marble interior protected.

revival1Revival 629 Film Studios will build a new 7,500 square foot studio called Revival XP. This studio, at 629 Eastern Avenue, will cater to those making music videos, television commercials and virtual reality (VR). The state-of-the-art facility will offer 40-foot ceilings, green walls and lighting grids.

Mitchell Goldhar, joint owner of Revival 629 said in a press release “With over 240,000 square feet in 11 studios over an 18.5-acre site in the heart of the Film District, Revival is one of the largest film operations in Canada.”

georgeorwell1George Orwell’s novel ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’ is resurging again.  These days it’s nearly impossible to buy a copy.

MICHAEL SHELDEN, writer and professor at Indiana State University, wrote ‘The year of living dangerously, again’  published in Canada’s Globe and Mail on Saturday.  You’ll find his article at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/george-orwells-nineteen-eighty-four-in-the-age-oftrump/article33776339/

trump2More than 1.6-million Britons have signed a petition calling for Trump’s state visit to the UK to be cancelled. The president’s immigration ban targeting Muslim-majority countries pushed the numbers way over the top. The matter will be debated in the ‘Mother of Parliaments’ on February 20 – NATIONAL POST, February 1/2017

lightfestival1lightfestival6lightfestival2 . . . and it’s free.

muybridge1<IMAGE – Eadweard Muybridge>

Greater TORONTO Area real estate was off-and-running in January/2017. In the 905 outer suburbs AURORA is the hottest neighbourhood where prices increased 55% to $1,415,649 last month.  NEWMARKET saw a 52% increase in the price for a detached home and five other municipalities saw prices climb over 40%.
The average price for a detached home in the entire Greater TORONTO Area – GTA (a very large sample of sales) is still up 28% over last year.

“A 28% annual increase in house prices is not normal, not sustainable and if left alone to run its course will eventually end badly for all.” – John Pasalis, President & Broker of Realosophy Realty Inc.

TORONTO SHORT STORIES – JANUARY 15-24/2017

HOUSING1If you’ve got it, flaunt it – and that’s what they’re doing in some TORONTO neighbourhoods. Sotheby’s International Realty Canada released its annual luxury home sales report this week. The city had a 95% gain in sales of $4-million plus properties in 2016.

BRAD HENDERSON CEO of Sotheby’s: “There’s no question that in TORONTO anything above $2.5-$3-million is considered luxury – so at $4-million plus, it’s definitely the luxury market.”

16,534 homes were sold in the GTA (Greater TORONTO Area) in the $1-million to $2-million range in 2016, compared with 9,425 in 2015.

pennyoleksiak3TORONTO’s Summer Olympics/2016 champion swimmer (1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze) PENNY OLEKSIAK used Twitter to save several of our city’s public pools. Mayor JOHN TORY happened upon the tweets and “gold medal message received,” he wrote. “I’ve asked the Budget Chief to save these pools.”

CHRIS WILSON of Swimming Canada said “to shut down as many as 48 at one time would be one of the most disastrous and short-sighted decisions.”

brexit1Canada might soon be the most desirable place for E.U. students to attend university. A new Red Brick Research survey of 219 international students in the United Kingdom rated Canada #1 – ahead of the U.K., the United States and New Zealand.

Anver Saloojee of TORONTO’s Ryerson University said “I think definitely there will be a Brexit bump, there’s no doubt about it. They certainly wouldn’t want to spend time in a region that is unwelcoming.”

<IMAGE ABOVE – The Guardian>

alternatefacts1‘The Little Golden Book of ALTERNATE FACTS’ makes an appearance.

shopify2SHOPIFY is growing and growing fast. The e-commerce platform company has just opened its second TORONTO office downtown, near its primary headquarters in the financial district. Shopify has 300 employees right now, with a goal of hiring another 200 at its new R & D office, and another 500 by 2019.

The new R & D office is home for a large part of Shopify’s user experience (UX) design team and a big chunk of its engineering talent. Shopify Garage also calls it home.

682199_Rooster_BK6_Stamp_400CANADA POST celebrates the Year of the Rooster with a collection of specially designed stamps. To see the full collection go to http://www.canadapost.ca/roostercollection

islandtheatre2Didn’t know that – TORONTO Islands once had a cinema.  Photo above is from the City of Toronto Archives/John Milne – the Island Theatre in the 1940’s.

circus2circus4After 146 years “The Greatest Show on Earth” won’t exist after May/2017. Dropping ticket sales, high operating costs and legal battles with animal rights activists no doubt brought on the closure.

The Circus performed in TORONTO several times. <PHOTO ABOVE – horses at Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus, Coliseum, TORONTO, 1973 – photo Boris Spremo/Toronto Star>

JOHNTORY-LATESTMayor John Tory has announced a plan to cancel tax rebates to landlords and business owners who harbour empty storefronts. These eyesores can be found in several downtown neighbourhoods, and are costing the city roughly $22-million a year.

“We are subsidizing people to keep space empty that is increasing, almost hourly, in value,” Tory told reporters. From 2001 to 2013 the city handed out $367-million to landlords of vacant commercial and industrial buildings, and 50% went to downtown businesses where property values are “skyrocketing.”