CANADA HAS BEEN JUDGED NUMBER ONE IN THE 2021 ‘BEST COUNTRIES REPORT’ – SOME MIGHT DISAGREE

 

We couldn’t have asked for much more. Canadians live in the globe’s best country all-in-all, overtaking Switzerland, which held onto the title from 2017. Presented by US News and World Report, the BAV Group, and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, 79 nations and 76 credits, the 2021 ranking considered economics, military presence, education and overall quality of life. As well, they took into account how the countries were perceived.  Japan, Germany, Switzerland, and Australia did well. The United States came in sixth place. Iraq made last place at #78. Canada ranked first in Quality of Life and Social Purpose, not corrupt and respects property rights; sixth place for Entrepreneurship, third for most business-friendly countries, and third in Agility.

TORONTO TAKES A RELAXED APPROACH WHEN IT COMES TO URBAN WILDLIFE – RACCOONS FOR INSTANCE

We have them all – coyotes, squirrels, rats, mice, chipmunks, skunks, foxes, groundhogs, muskrats, stray dogs, bats, beaver, possums, and #1 on the list – a lot of raccoons. In fact Toronto and Brooklyn, New York are the raccoon capitals of North America. They can pick latches, ride the subway now-and-then, invade attics in 10 minutes, browse back yards and gardens, climb trees, open the green food bins, establish themselves on rooftops and so on. They’re in charge and they know it. Toronto’s raccoons are fatter than ever. Temperatures have gone up and hibernation has become a non-starter for these cute, noisy, garbage-loving creatures of the night.  <Photo Above – a raccoon who lives at the Toronto Zoo.>

TORONTO’S EDWARD BURTYNSKY SHOWS US EARTH’S INDUSTRIALIZATION & EXTRACTION ON A GRAND SCALE

ANTHROPOCENE is a collaboration among award-winning photographer Edward Burtynsky & filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier. <IMAGE ABOVE – Kevin Walsh/Earth Magazine.org>  The images make it clear what humankind has been up to for decades. They’re a wakeup call to the destruction caused by our species’ dominance, thus far anyway.<COAL MINE #1, North Rhine, Westphalia, GERMANY, 2015, © Edward Burtynsky, Flowers Gallery, London/Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto>. “I have always been concerned with showing how we affect the Earth in a big way. To this end, I seek out and photograph large-scale systems that leave lasting marks.” – from ‘Life in the Anthropocene’ by Edward Burtynsky.<Elephant Tusk Burn, Nairobi National Park, Kenya, film still, Anthropocene Films Inc. © 2018>. “How to convey, despite our brevity as a species, the magnitude of our impact? Anthropocene in a scientific and geological sense means that we are now everywhere, all the time, and even in the rocks—those dense, mysterious receptacles of the planet’s history.” – from ‘Our Embedded Signal’ by Jennifer Baichwal.<Dandora Landfill #3, Plastics Recycling, Nairobi, Kenya 2016. © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto>. “It’s hard not to marvel at the engineering ingenuity of the massive industrial sites we filmed, and equally hard to ignore the devastation they represent.” – from the essay ‘Evidence’ by Nicholas de Pencier.<Uralkali Potash Mine #2, Berezniki, RUSSIA, 2017, © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy of Flowers Gallery, London/ Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto><Carrara Marble Quarries, Cava di Canalgrande #2, Carrara, Italy, 2016. Mural, © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy of the artist and Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto >The Art Gallery of Ontario-produced catalogue, Anthropocene, may still be available at shopAGO for $29.95; along with the 224-page Anthropocene art book published by Steidl.

TORONTO IS STILL IN PARTIAL LOCKDOWN, BUT WE CAN SALUTE THE IRISH ON MARCH 17TH

In September/2017 Ross and I were in The Republic of Ireland and had plans to visit Northern Ireland when the skies opened up and we sampled an Irish deluge. We’ll go up north next time. My day was made when the tourism lady asked my name. When she heard my last name, Moore, she said “you’re one of us!” with a jolly good laugh. We went off to explore the capital and there was plenty there to explore.You can’t miss the Spire of Dublin, or the Monument of Light. Either one, it’s made of stainless steel, 121 meters tall, located on the site of the former Nelson’s Pillar on O’Connell Street in the heart of the city.Oscar Wilde’s childhood home, now restored and occupied by the American College DublinThere’s so much to do and see in Dublin, that once the pandemic ends, we’ll both be on our way there again.Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

AND NOW A QUARTET OF FREE OLD TIME RADIO, DOCUMENTARIES, FEATURE FILMS & TELEVISION

#1 – OLD TIME RADIO – It is what it says it is. After typing in the website you’ll arrive at a vast archive of programs where radio was king. It still is in some places. Our Miss Brooks, Jack Benny, Dr. Kildare, Dragnet, CBS Radio Mystery Theatre, etc. etc.The Golden Age of RadioTHERE IS MORE ON THIS SITE THAN YOU COULD EVER IMAGINE!  . . . . . . The website address is — http://www.archive.org/details/oldtimeradio . . . .  #2 – RADIO-GARDEN Enjoy hundreds of radio stations worldwide. The Dutch have come up with a fantastic service based in Amsterdam & Hilversum which broadcasts radio stations from all over the world – across Canada, the United States, Britain, Ireland, Australia, Scotland, France etc.  Just type in Radio-Garden and you’re all set to go. It’s free. #3 – KANOPY – Another great service from TORONTO Public Library.  KANOPY is a collection of classic feature films and documentaries. To access this you’ll need a Library Card. My first experience with Kanopy was excellent and it delivered exactly what I wanted. Being a ‘Luddite’ when it comes to computers, that was a pleasant surprise.  Kanopy is also available through library systems in OTTAWA, WINNIPEG, CALGARY & the FRASER VALLEY.  Type in Kanopy and you’ll be there.#4 – CBC-GEM – ‘START STREAMING’ – All you need is a computer to unlock a cache of documentaries, comedy, television series like ‘Kim’s Convenience’, ‘Coroner’, and ‘Schitts Creek’ along with the CBC News Network. It’s all available on CBC-GEM, and it doesn’t cost a dime.  (CBC-GEM is a production of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.)

LOTS OF CHANGES ARE HAPPENING IN CANADA’S REAL ESTATE MKT. – DESPITE COVID-19, FEB. 22/2021

The Globe and Mail has delivered three solid pages of what’s happening in Canada’s real estate market. The market has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rachelle Younglai did the reporting. Some highlights below . . . .
ATLANTIC CANADA is a big winner. People are flocking to the East Coast. Average selling price of a home in Nova Scotia $331,429; Halifax $400,000; New Brunswick about $200,000, including Saint John and Fredericton; Newfoundland and Labrador – bigger properties with ocean views; Prince Edward Island above $300,000.TORONTO – average selling price – nearly $930,000.HAMILTON, Ontario – house prices topping $700,000 – not so affordable any more. 63 months to save a down payment on a Hamilton house.DOWNTOWN MONTREAL – apartment vacancy 10.2%; metropolitan area 2.7%CITY OF TORONTO – 7.3%; metropolitan area 3.4%VANCOUVER – 6.3%; versus 2.6%IMMIGRATION – plunged 46% to 184,370; lowest level of permanent new residents in more than two decades.

WYCHWOOD PARK, CA1870, A FORMER ARTISTS ENCLAVE, IS HIDDEN IN THE HEART OF THE CITY

WYCHWOOD PARK was founded as a private artists colony by painter Marmaduke Matthews<Marmaduke Matthews’  ‘Autumn Still Life/1888′ above> and businessman Alexander Jardin.  It exists intact to this day.Mr. Matthews’ home, Wychwood, #6 <above>, still stands, beside another 60 houses built around a small pond, which is actually a dammed up Taddle Creek –  http://www.lostrivers.caWYCHWOOD PARK is our only neighbourhood with a warning sign for quicksand and one of the few still lit by TORONTO’S old streetlamps.  Some of the houses have spectacular downtown views.  The village combines rusticity and exclusivity; house prices here run into the millions.  Adjacent are the Wychwood Car Barns and artist studios.  Great place for a long walk.

A SMART IDEA FROM GALLERY 1313 IN PARKDALE, CURATED BY PHIL ANDERSON

If you missed it in June/2020 when COVID-19 was just getting under way, here it is again.  Phil Anderson sent out a call for pandemic portraits, and artists sent in their work from across the world. These portraits are unlike any others. There were so many submissions they became overwhelming, and many of them show a wonderful sense of humor. We need that now more than ever in 2021.
<“I AM BORED”, by Steve Stober, Toronto photographer><‘ISOLATION IN SILENCE’ by Jacques Desruisseaux, Lennoxville, Quebec><‘NURSE’, by artist and nurse Christina Damianos><‘GAY COUPLE’, by John Hryniuk – “Showing how the pandemic has no prejudice and affects us all – cultures, races, genders, sexual identities, classes, etc.”><‘FREEKY’, mixed media, by Polar Canpolat, Turkey><‘SELF PORTRAIT IN ISOLATION’, by Sarah Leonard>GALLERY 13/13 can be found at 1313 Queen Street West, Toronto; Gallery 1313’s website – http://www.g1313.org

CLEANING YOUR HOUSE WHILE OTHER PEOPLE ARE WATCHING? – IT DOES HAPPEN

Millions of subscribers tune in to YouTube to watch ‘Clean With Me’, ‘Jessica Tull’, ‘Extreme Cleaning’, ‘The Secret Slob’, ‘Jamie’s Journey’, ‘This Crazy Life’ etc. – and they all have about the same goal – tidying-up and keeping the house clean.Not much fun when you’re doing this all alone, but with help from YouTube, life suddenly becomes easier.Cleaning a house – mine has four storeys can be totally tedious, especially vacuuming the stairs with a large piece of machinery. This goes on for over an hour, and then come the bathrooms to be cleaned, the kitchen and the downstairs hallway which, in the winter, needs serious scrubbing. Fortunately two of us take turns.Meanwhile, YouTube is offering up many possibilities. My computer is on the fourth floor and, for the most part I’m on 1,2 and 3.levels.  Not easily reachable. Ms. Paige, whose YouTube channel is ‘This Crazy Life’ with close to 300,000 subscribers, said “It’s nice to know that you’re not alone. YouTube opened me up to a community of people. It helped me feel less lonely.” And if nothing else, you can always watch her tackle the kitchen.