IS THE PROVINCE CAPABLE OF BUILDING TRANSIT IN TORONTO? – “NO!” SAYS EX-MAYOR DAVID MILLER

DAVID MILLER, mayor of TORONTO from 2003 to 2010 wonders if ONTARIO has the knowledge and skills needed to build a $28.5-billion transit system. His conclusion – not very likely.

In point form, Mr. Miller’s reasoning . . .
#1 – Premier Doug Ford believes in cars.
#2 – Conservatives have a legacy of transit destruction in TORONTO.
#3 – We’re mired in talk about building subways that never arrive.
#4 – Subways need density; LRT’s medium density.
#5 – Provincial track record on transit is simply awful.
#6 – Outsiders shouldn’t be deciding TORONTO’s transit future.
#7 – Rapid transit knowledge rests with the TTC – not Queen’s Park.
#8 – Public-private partnerships seldom work.
#9 – The Scarborough subway extension has become a political football.

#10 – “The TTC is owned by the people of TORONTO and needs to be planned and run in their interest by the people they elect, not by the province, and certainly not by this premier.”

<Present Mayor JOHN TORY (L) and DAVID MILLER; Toronto Sun photo>

DAVID MILLER is a lawyer, environmentalist, former mayor of TORONTO, and former CEO of the World Wildlife Fund-Canada. He is currently Director, International Diplomacy for the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

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GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD’ WAS ON MY SHELF GATHERING DUST FOR YEARS – I DECIDED TO GIVE IT ANOTHER GO

DON SHEBIB’s 1970 Canadian 16 mm masterworkGoin’ Down The Road’ holds its own even today. Starring Doug McGrath, Paul Bradley, Jayne Eastwood and Gayle Chernin, with songs by Bruce Coburn, the story is about two young Cape Breton Islanders who leave Nova Scotia and take off for the big city – that’s TORONTO – where the jobs are.

Everything goes well for a while, but then disaster strikes – the guys are laid off work in a bottling plant, food is scarce, they’re living in a dump, they’re homesick, Betty (played by Jane Eastwood who went on to a brilliant movie and television career) gets pregnant; and suddenly TORONTO doesn’t seem so friendly anymore.

I especially liked the shots of the city in 1969-70. Downtown looked especially morose, with some forlorn streetscapes dotted here and there, Many of the film’s sequences were improvised on the spot depicting the locals; there’s some nudity; and a surprising amount of swearing. In the early seventies that was revolutionary.

Even Quebec filmmakers were influenced by the realistic look. It shows in several French-Canadian films that appeared in the 1970’s. The MONTREAL Gazette called it “a superb movie, the finest Canadian effort ever, and excellent by any standards.”

A digital restoration of the film was released in 2017.Goin’ Down The Road’ has been designated and preserved as a ‘masterwork’ by the Audio-Visual Preservation Trust of Canada; and the TORONTO International Film Festival ranked it in the Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time.

THERE’S A FULL-FLEDGED REAL ESTATE DECLINE IN VANCOUVER, BUT TORONTO IS HOLDING STEADY

The Financial Post reports TORONTO’s housing market is “steady”, while VANCOUVER’s has suddenly become “dismal”. In TORONTO almost the same number of units were sold in March 2019 as in March 2018. The housing market here isn’t declining, but the gains are modest. New and active listings are down.The number of housing sales in Greater VANCOUVER dropped 31% from March 2018 to 2019. There hasn’t been such a plunge since 1986. Compared to March 2018, the number of houses listed for sale in the west coast city was 52% higher in March 2019.

ASHLEY SMITH, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver believes government regulatory changes are responsible for the decline of a formerly red hot market.

For more information on what’s happening in CANADA’s housing markets. consult the HAIDER-MORANIS BULLETIN – https://hmbulletin.com/

THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO RECEIVES A $100-MILLION GIFT FOR A.I. & EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES

The $100-million donation is the largest in the history of University of TORONTO and the largest gift ever to the Canadian innovation sector.

Donors Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman, co-owners of INDIGO, a Canadian bookstore chain, commented – “U of T is a global leader in artificial intelligence, biomedicine and exploring intersections of society and technology. We’re immensely proud to be part of an initiative that will spark innovation, and illuminate the importance of socially responsible technology.” <PHOTO by Ed Middleton/CBC>

The gift will accelerate creation of a 750,000-square-foot complex to anchor the university’s cluster of artificial intelligence scientists and biomedical experts, its entrepreneurship network, and Canada’s largest concentration of student and faculty-led startups.

GHISLAINE MILORD SENT US A PHOTO OF “A MOUTH OF TRUTH” – AN ANCIENT VENETIAN ‘SNITCH BOX’

A few of them still exist today. This one, photographed by Ghislaine Milord, a Newfoundlander who knows Venice top to bottom, writes “this box is at the Zattere vaporetto stop.”

Embedded in the walls of key justice, civic or church buildings across the city, the bocche di leone (Mouth of the Lion) look like ornate letterboxes. Typically carved with the open-mouthed faces of the emblematic lion of VENICE, the slots were intended for the use of ordinary citizens and subjects.

Residents in the 1300’s would have seen them springing up all over the place as every district had one. But this was not a mail service. It cost nothing to post your letter and there could only be one destination: the Council of Ten.

Upstanding residents, and not-so upstanding ones too, were encouraged to bring criminal, unsanitary, immoral or treasonous matters to the state’s attention by writing letters to the Council.

For details on the Mouth of Truth, as well as the justice system of ancient VENICE & ITALY in general, check out this great website – L’Italo Americano at – https://italoamericano.org/story/2017-11-16/venice-mouth-truth

ABOVE A DRUG MART @ YONGE/DUNDAS SQ. – A MICRO MUSEUM CELEBRATES 50/60’s YONGE ST.

<PHOTO ABOVE – the Yonge Street strip in the 1960’s>

First came the world’s original Hard Rock Cafe. That was replaced in 2018 by a Shopper’s Drug Mart franchise. Recognizing the musical history of this downtown neighbourhood, Shoppers did the right thing. The building’s second floor became a micro museum honouring the musicians and their nightclubs that once inhabited these blocks.

<Friar’s Tavern, c 1960s-70s; the BIA (Business Improvement Area) produced the project, and Shopper’s franchise owner ANDREW YEH underwrote it. Admission is free.>

Among those who frequented Yonge Street’s clubland in the 50s, 60s and ‘70s – Bob Dylan, Robbie Lane (now a nighttime dj on Zoomer Radio), Grant Smith, Cathy Young, Ronnie Hawkins, Ritchie Knight & The Mid-Knights, David Clayton-Thomas & The Shays, George Olliver, Jay Jackson, Jeff Cutler of Jon & Lee & The Checkmates, and Jay Douglas and Everton “Pablo” Paul of the Cougars, Oscar Peterson, Jackie Shane, as well as radio legends Duff Roman and Doug Thompson.

<PHOTO ABOVE – the micro museum occupies 140 square-feet.  Exhibits will change this spring>

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<PHOTO BELOW – the drum wall at the Museum.  Other “micro museums” planned for the strip include Yonge Space, a pop-up gallery at Yonge and Gerrard streets, a tribute to Sunrise Records and a display celebrating the Colonial Tavern.>

<PHOTO BELOW – the city-building founders . . .>

Pictured L-R: Jay Douglas (formerly of the Cougars), singer-songwriter Cathy Young, Everton “Pablo” Paul (Cougars), Bernie Letofsky (Cheapies Records), Bobby Sniderman (Sam the Record Man), Shoppers franchise owner Andrew Yeh, Grant Smith (of Grant Smith & the Power), Downtown Yonge BIA head Mark Garner, Robbie Lane (of Robbie Lane & the Disciples) and Jeff Cutler (of Jon and Lee & the Checkmates).

On FACEBOOK there are lots of photos – https://www.facebook.com/FriarsMusicMuseum/

<ABOVE – clubland on a weekend night, 1960’s – Ryerson Polytechnical students loved TORONTO’s ‘great white way’And there were cheap movies too.  TRIPLE BILL ANYONE?>

TWO GREAT VIEWS OF VENICE – ONE ABOVE A SHOPPING CENTRE; THE OTHER ATOP A MUSEUM

Free of charge, but a reservation is necessary, VENICE’s first ultra luxury shopping centre – the PENDI – offers spectacular views in two directions from the Fondaco dei Tedeschi terrace. Vogue predicts the ritzy shops underneath could well become Italy’s Harrod’s.

To make a reservation on a specific day and time, you’ll have to do some Googling. A friend made our booking.

CA’REZZONICO, is an art museum fronting on a canal. Amongst an over-supply of nudes and cherubs on the top floor, you’ll find another aspect of the metropolis. The photos below were taken through a very clean window. Access to the view is included with your admission.