DREAM WEAVER PREMIER DOUG FORD, ANNOUNCES A $28.5-BILLION TRANSIT ‘PHANTASMAGORIA’

<$28.5-billion total cost; $11.2-billion covered by Queen’s Park; $17-billion by the city & the federal government; 15-kilometres, length of new Ontario line to be completed in 2027; $5.5-billion cost of 3-stop Scarborough extension to be built by 2030> – Toronto Star, April 11/2019>

DEAD ON ARRIVAL?  Is it possible? Will it ever be built . . . and paid for? Many Torontonians are skeptical, but Premier Ford says he’s going full speed ahead on transit in the Greater TORONTO Area (GTA).

“It’s going to be the largest infrastructure transit project in North America. It’s going to be $28.5 billion that we’re looking to invest to get people moving from Point A to Point B.

“That’s just the transit side. We have some fabulous ideas for the Queen Elizabeth Way and the Gardiner Expressway, as well as the 401 because not every single person hops on the subways. But we’re going to have an incredible transit system and a transportation system to get people moving and get people from Point A to Point B, but get goods from Point A to Point B,” the premier said in BURLINGTON earlier this week.

Getting from Point A to Point B will mean a massive withdrawal from the provincial treasury, which is already weighed down by a $13-billion overdraft. Is there a flying pig somewhere in the neighborhood?

Federal Finance Minister BILL MORNEAU says he wasn’t consulted, and TORONTO’s mayor JOHN TORY was kept in the dark until the last moment. It was DOUG FORD’s show.  <IMAGE ABOVE – Spacing Magazine>

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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.

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.

TORONTO ZOO PLANS A $5-MILLION LATE-NIGHT LIGHT SHOW, AND A BABY ZEBRA GETS A NAME

The City has approved a $5-million loan, making way for “Lumina Experience”, an after hours light show. The “immersive illuminations and interactive displays” will be accessible on walking tours that last about an hour.The show will be produced by the MOMENT FACTORY, a multimedia company based in MONTREAL, which has created similar projects in Canada and around the world –  Old Fort Henry in Kingston, Ontario; Singapore Zoo; and Whistler Resort in British Columbia to name three.

The photos above are from Moment Factory’s light exhibits that were installed in other parts of the world.  Each one is different.

 The TORONTO ZOO has decided on a name for its new zebra foal. Born on February 13, 2019, the little guy is now called OBI – replacing ‘Baby Stripes’. The name is in keeping with the Star Wars-inspired names of his siblings, LEIA and REY . . . 7,500 members of the public voted on a name.

This is the third foal TORI, a Grevy’s Zebra, has delivered at TORONTO Zoo. Leia arrived in January 2014 and Rey in July 2016. All three were sired by Jake, an 11-year-old male. An endangered species, these animals are threatened by loss of habitat, competition for resources with domestic livestock; poaching for meat & medicinal purposes; disease and drought.

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/

ARTIST PETER HARRIS IS INSPIRED BY THE ORDINARY THINGS HE SEES ON TORONTO’S STREETS

Painter PETER HARRIS thinks of Beck’s signature green and orange taxis as TORONTO trademarks. “They’re signs of familiarity on busy streets, almost like a city flag,” he says.

“Neon is a lost art, but I love how Chinatown has held onto it.” he says. “It makes you feel nostalgic.”

An exhibition of Peter’s work, ‘MACHINES FOR LIVING’ is on at the Mira Godard Gallery, Hazelton Avenue in YORKVILLE, until April 20th.

UNLIKE SMALL TOWNS & VILLAGES, SET IN THEIR WAYS, BIG CITIES ARE CONSTANTLY IN FLUX

“FLUX” has descended on the artist communities of TORONTO, Vancouver, New York, San Francisco and a bunch of other condo-crazy metropoli. Those who create are being forced to either pay crippling monthly rents, search for lower priced studio and living space in the city – or hit the road to the outskirts and maybe another town or county altogether.

That’s happened to the painters, sculptors, writers, musicians, woodworkers, animators and actors who – until very recently – lived and worked in The Coffin Factory. Built between 1883 and 1887, this building once turned out wooden doors, carriages and pianos – and around 1900, coffins (thus the name). In 1976 the artists moved in.

The heritage building will be saved and no doubt gentrified, but behind it will rise 12 and 14-storey condo towers. Over the past few years, artists living and working in west-end lofts – on Sterling Road, Dupont & Ossington, and recently, Dufferin north of Queen, have been evicted for condo developments, writes Samantha Edwards in NOW Magazine.

Says one artist, MYLES – “As we dissolve these kinds of DIY spaces, it causes a cultural migration and I don’t know what the downtown core is going to look like in 10 years. I hope one day all the condos will become dilapidated and we can turn them into art spaces. But they won’t have the same mystique and timeless beauty like this place did.”