TORONTO SHORT STORIES – JANUARY 25 TO FEBRUARY 5/2017

crows1<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

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

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.”

TORONTO SHORT STORIES – JANUARY 15-24/2017

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>

TORONTO SHORT STORIES – JANUARY 1-10/2017

giraffe-kiko1One of the world’s most elegant creatures, the giraffe, is endangered. Globe and Mail columnist TARATHA SOUTHEY writes “Forget dinosaurs. Let’s bring back something more exotic: giraffes. Could there be a more accommodating animal than the giraffe? Is there another large mammal that has gone quite so far in not wanting to be in the way? Giraffe are entirely delightful. They are an animal a child would mock-up.” <PHOTO – KIKO THE GIRAFFE – Toronto Zoo>  Ms. Southey suggests symbolically adopting a giraffe with a donation to either the Giraffe Conservation Foundation – http://www.giraffeconservation.org – or the World Wildlife Fund – http://www.worldwildlife.org

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There was a sharp rise in murders in TORONTO in 201669 slayings in all. Gun deaths were up to 40 from 26 in 2015. Arrests have been made in 52% of the 2016 murders and there have also been arrests in two cold cases.

taxes1Metro columnist MATT ELLIOTT writes “Next time you decide to gripe about property taxes in TORONTO, remember the tax rate here is far lower than the average city in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)”.

taxes2“The proposed 2% residential property tax increase in the upcoming 2017 budget amounts to an average increase of $96 annually – $8 a month. Additional child care – 1 cent/month; TTC transit track maintenance – 10 cents/month; better park maintenance – 2 cents/month“.

queenspk4Researchers at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) recently mapped urban canopies in eleven cities around the world. Using Google Street View they measured the percentage of each city’s area covered by tree canopy. At 19.5%, TORONTO came in fourth, ahead of Paris, London & New York, but behind Vancouver, Geneva, and Seattle.

movies3movies1Plans are in the works to create an IMDb page as a marketing tool for TORONTO’s film industry. Location managers, directors and production designers can then sit in their offices in LOS ANGELES or elsewhere and see the impressive list of projects that have been, or are being, shot here.  What is IMDb? It’s an online database of info related to films, television and video games. IMDb is a subsidiary of Amazon.com.

gingerbreadto1It took nine batches of gingerbread and a kilogram of candy plus hours of work, to create an edible TORONTO City Hall with its famous sign and skating rink. Graphic designer AMELIA ROBLIN and her family laboured through the baking, and then many hours of assemblage.  “We did smash it up and eat it a week ago,” admitted Ms. Roblin, who lives in OAKVILLE.

da-mao1DA MAO, one of TORONTO Zoo’s pandas, loves nothing better than rolling in the snow.  DA MAO, a star attraction, has a distinct personality and his facial expressions are often human-like. He’s the father of two panda cubs who are also at the Zoo.

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TORONTO SHORT STORIES – DECEMBER 1-10, 2016

sonycentre1Newly installed sculptures at the SONY CENTRE for the PERFORMING ARTS, 1 Front Street East

eatoncentre2The tallest Christmas tree in town – if not the country – is at the Eaton Centre.  It stands 108 feet.

purpleonion2They’re at the gates! Site of YORKVILLE’s Purple Onion Coffee House in the 1960’s (Yorkville Ave. @ Avenue Road) is being eyed by a developer who wants to erect a 30-storey condo tower. “There couldn’t be anything more alarming,” said MARY MACDONALD, a planner and manager of heritage preservation services for the city.  For details go to http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/developer-wants-to-build-on-yorkville-heritage-site-1.3884437

deloitteA striking work of art in the lobby of the new Deloitte building on King Street West at Yonge.  Actually it’s one of two giant mosaics created by artist MICAH LEXIER.  1.6-million separate ceramic sticks were made by 30 people over several months, and then painstakingly assembled.  “The challenge was to make a (piece) that could be seen by driving by, but that would also work up-close.”  – the artist.  It certainly does all of the above.

TORONTO SHORT STORIES – NOVEMBER 21-29/2016

mountedforms1Top dollar for a Canadian work of art was reached in TORONTO when “Mounted Forms” by Lawren Harris sold for $11.21-million CAD. This includes an 18% buyer’s premium which goes to Heffel Fine Arts. The 90-year-old painting surpassed its expected sale price of between $3-million and $5-million.

royalalex2“Come From Away” opened at the refurbished Royal Alexandra Theatre and became an instant smash hit.  The Canadian/American musical has already played in La Jolla, Seattle and Washington DC.  It’s on its way to Broadway, and will be in TORONTO for the next two months.

telegrambldg1From the City of TORONTO Archives – a 1950’s photo of the Telegram Building at Bay and Melinda Street.

volleyball1End of the Volleyball Season in the Beaches neighbourhood – photo by Bryan Blenkin

TORONTO SHORT STORIES – NOVEMBER 8-17/2016

rarebooklibrary1Much of the late LEONARD COHEN’s life’s work is in the vaults of the University of TORONTO’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. The collection contains more than 100 self-portraits, countless hand written notes, letters to family and friends, fan mail, early drafts of his work, a 1960’s experimental novel ‘Beautiful Losers‘ and a 1956 poetry book ‘Let Us Compare Mythologies’.  Cohen sold some of his earliest papers to the University in the 1960’s and continued donating his archives in the years to come. <PHOTO – University of Toronto>

nbcttc3Who’d have imagined a partnership like this? The National Ballet of Canada and the TORONTO Transit Commission have teamed up to get people thinking more about public transit and our excellent ballet company. Roughly 40% of the National Ballet’s revenue comes from box office sales and subscriptions. The National Ballet’s goal is to up those numbers. The company performs at the Four Seasons Centre which has a TTC subway stop, and many of its young dancers take public transit daily.  The TTC has been partnering with organizations and events since last year’s Pan American/Parapan Am Games, the Raptors, Maple Leafs, Toronto FC and the Blue Jays.

economist1economist2This week THE ECONOMIST chirped “Liberty Moves North” about the many attributes of us!  “In this depressing company of wall-builders, door-slammers and drawbridge-raisers, CANADA stands out as a heartening exception. It happily admits more than 300,000 immigrants a year, nearly 1% of its population—a higher proportion than any other big, rich country—and has done so for two decades . . . . (Of course) it is easier to be relaxed about immigration when your only land border is protected by a wall the size of the United States.”  

TORONTO SHORT STORIES – OCT. 18 TO NOV. 6/2016

streetgallery1A Parliament Street construction hoarding made my day.  Hanging on a plywood wall was a photograph taken in the subway, framed and neatly labelled #Street Gallery. It’s great knowing that someone in TORONTO did this for the pleasure of passers-by.

dawn3LARRY GORDON is out taking photos of TORONTO before most of us wake up. The city has a unique personality in the pre-dawn hours, says Larry. “There’s a beauty at this time of day that we don’t see because of all the commotion.”

crowsnest1After 33 years Crow’s Theatre gets a permanent $11-million home in LESLIEVILLE. The indie company’s Crowsnest has settled into the first floor of a Streetcar condo development just east of the Don Valley at 345 Carlaw Avenue, and will soon announce its first season – 11 productions – beginning in January, 2017.

TORONTO SHORT STORIES – OCTOBER 7-17/2016

wellingtonhouse1This slim condo which will soon rise behind a heritage building on Wellington Street West.  Plans are to set Wellington House well back from the street and feature the historic, red-brick house up front.  The project is a collaboration between Lamb Development, architectsAlliance and Goldsmith Borgal and Company Architects.

thomson2THOMSON REUTERS is adding 400 jobs in TORONTO focusing on cognitive computing. The company currently employs about 1200 people here. Its CEO will relocate to TORONTO from New York City in the coming weeks.  Thomson, a Canadian company, acquired REUTERS, one of the world’s largest news organizations in 2007.

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TORONTO Zoo’s panda cubs celebrated their first birthday on October 13.

SOME TORONTO SHORT STORIES – SEPTEMBER 28 TO OCTOBER 6/2016

skunk1Mike McMillan, on his way to a meeting with the mayor of ORILLIA, bravely helped rescue a skunk whose head was stuck in a Coke can. He calmly begged the skunk not to spray him as he slowly approached and – with a back-and-forth movement – pulled the can off. The grateful skunk then ran away.

WHITEHORSE, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 28: (NO UK SALES FOR 28 DAYS) Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge visit Montana mountain Carcross on September 28, 2016 in Whitehorse, Canada. (Photo by Pool/Sam Hussein/WireImage)

The Duchess of Cambridge gave a big boost to TORONTO designer SENTALER when she wore the company’s signature ribbed sleeve alpaca coat in gull grey. The $1,195 jacket sold out immediately, with pre-orders up to February 2017. Kate’s earrings were by Canadian designer Shelly Silversmith.  BOJANA SENTALER, said she was “honoured” that Catherine chose to wear the coat while visiting the Yukon. And yes, they do ship to the UK. <PHOTO ABOVE – Pool/Sam Hussein/WireImage>

SOME TORONTO SHORT STORIES – SEPT. 20-27/2016

gtairways2Greater Toronto Airways has begun regular commuter service between Niagara District Airport and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Flights depart NIAGARA at 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.; from TORONTO at 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Additional runs and weekend service may be in the offing.

goodyear1The GOODYEAR BLIMP returned to TORONTO skies this week, the first time since 2007. This one is part of a fleet operated by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.

peanut1Another recent visitor – MR. PEANUT, the advertising logo and mascot of Planters. Great photo by @ypsahbaz