TORONTO SHORT STORIES – JUNE 5-19/2017

Mayor JOHN TORY welcomed ROSS, an artificial intelligence company, headquartered in San Francisco to TORONTO. The company uses computers to do research for lawyers by sifting through thousands of legal documents looking for key information.  ROSS intelligence co-founder and University of Toronto graduate, ANDREW ARUDA, saysopening a research and development centre here a “no brainer.” calling the city “the hub of artificial intelligence development. TORONTO is where we always knew we had to be.” The Centre will be called ROSS North. <PHOTO – CBC>

TORONTO’s movie, animation & television production business continues to boom – from $1.13-billion in 2011 to $2.01-billion in 2016.  The outlook for 2017 is more of the same.

TORONTO Mayor JOHN TORY has no problem with medical marijuana dispensaries, and decriminalizing smokers of small amounts of pot. “That’s something that should have been done years ago.” But he’s not keen on neighbourhood rogue pop-up pot shops.  The federal government has said nothing about having some wide network of shops on every street corner to sell marijuana,” he said. “They’re in stable neighbourhoods and cause disruptions to families and to other retailers.”

“If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.” With that in mind RYERSON University’s DMZ Startup Incubator has opened an outpost in New York City’s financial district. In the past, Canadian startups have moved to the US, but with this free space in Manhattan they can tap the American market while keeping their headquarters in Canada.  DMZ executive director Abdullah Snobar said “Our play here is not to get talent to leave the country; it’s to grow talent internationally.”

PETRINA BROMLEY & ROMANO DINILLO, the two Newfoundlanders in the cast of ‘Come From Away’ couldn’t contain themselves when their show won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical.  Director CHRISTOPHER ASHLEY accepted the Tony and dedicated it to the people of Newfoundland. – The Telegram, St. John’s, Nfld. & Labrador

TORONTO artist Janet Romero has unveiled her wood-paneled mural to commemorate those who died in ORLANDO’s Pulse nightclub shooting one year ago. 49 people lost their lives when a gunman opened fire inside the Florida club – the worst mass shooting in US history.  The mural features four faces as well as natural motifs like cacti and birds. Romero wanted to simultaneously honour the Hispanic victims of the Pulse massacre as well as other groups within the LGBTQ community targeted in violent hate crimes. Her piece – at the 519 Community Centre – is entitled Still Estmaos Aqui – Spanish for “we are still here”.

Just a couple of regular guys kickin’ back at Joe Beef – Liverpool House in MONTREAL’s Little Burgundy – President Barack Obama & Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, June 13/2017

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TORONTO SHORT STORIES – MAY 23 – JUNE 3/2017

This was the week Donald Trump pulled America out of the Paris Accord on Climate Change.  In Sunday’s New York Times MAUREEN DOWD headlined her column ‘Trump Stomps Planet Earth”.  She writes “You know you’re in trouble when beclouded Beijing, where birds go to die, replaces you as a leader on climate change.  America is living through a fractured fairy tale, in the grip of a lonely and uninformed mad king, an arrogant and naive princeling, a comely but complicit blond princess and a dyspeptic, dystopian troll (Steve Bannon) under the bridge.” – Sunday, June 4/New York Times

HAMILTON opened a pop-up ‘diplomatic’ mission on Queen Street West in TORONTO for a couple of days. The Hamilton Consulate highlighted our neighbouring city’s booming real estate market, foodie and emerging fashion scene – and cheekily promoted itself to would-be investors and businesses. Cutting TORONTO’s grass so-to-speak.  <PHOTO – Hamilton Spectator>TORONTO’s police union has been invited to march in New York’s Pride Parade in uniform. “The invitation was extended because we felt they were being excluded from the Pride festivities in Toronto, and we fought very hard over a very long period of time here in New York City to have the right to march in uniform,” said Brian Downey, president of the Gay Officers Action League.  Way to go, NEW YORK!

After 25 years in retirement, TORONTO’s maroon-and-cream coloured streetcars are back on Queen’s Quay West. Rides on the Presidents’ Conference Committee cars are free from now until Labour Day – but only on Sundays.

The first NOBU restaurant in Canada is full-speed-ahead even if TORONTO’s real estate bubble might burst. The project on Mercer Street incorporates the Pilkington Glass Factory building, and will include 660 condominium units, a hotel and Nobu. The apartment units will start at roughly $400,000.  Partner ROBERT DE NIRO, who has visited TORONTO several times, will be getting a free apartment. “TORONTO is a great city. It’s got a great film festival, “ he said. “It’s an important city.”

It appears TORONTO’s booming housing real estate market is melting, thanks partly to new provincial regulations. BLOOMBERG NANOS found the share of Canadians expecting house prices to rise in the next six months has fallen to 45.5% from a record high of 50.1% three weeks ago.

SUM UP TORONTO IN SIX WORDS – A BRILLIANT IDEA FROM GENNA BUCK AT METRO NEWS

haiku1Tagged ‘The Six’ by DRAKE because of its 416 area code, TORONTO was summed up in six words by readers of Metro News this past week. Each submission tells us something about T.O. and what it’s like to live here.

haiku5SIX-WORD STORY WINNER
“Thunder not bombs. Life in TORONTO.” – Gall Biceroglu

haiku2RUNNER-UP
“Condo explosion: Thousands feared too poor.” – Tom Legge

haiku4THIRD PLACE
“What’s that smell on subway?” – Charles Shao

haiku3HONOURABLE MENTION
“Lived across the hall. Met online.” – Karen Elkin

haiku6GREAT SUBMISSION
“Last winter raccoons stole my bike.” – Larry Kline

haiku7-copyGREAT SUBMISSION
“Centre of the (Canadian) universe: confirmed!” – Marcia Docherty

haiku9GREAT SUBMISSION
“Nailed Mirvish audition. Thanked. Too old.” – Jill Leger

haiku8GREAT SUBMISSION
“Two seasons: winter, construction. Winter cometh.” – Gail Biceroglu

haiku11GREAT SUBMISSION
“Yonge train surfaces. We too awaken.” – Gideon Forman

haiku10<The SIX itself>

SOME TORONTO SHORT STORIES – THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 5-12/2016

ALL-GENDERWASHROOMS1The future has arrived.  School boards around the Greater TORONTO Area are introducing all-gender toilets to high schools this fall.  In the Durham Region elementary and secondary schools already have at least one.  The City of TORONTO and York Region are phasing them in.

CAMEL1

There’s been yet another birth at TORONTO ZOO: After a 13-month gestation period, Alice, the Zoo’s 20-year-old Bactrian camel has a new son – name not yet announced. According to the Zoo, the first 30 days are critical for camel calves, but so far this one is doing well.  Bactrian camels are native to the deserts of Central Asia.

PRESTO1Linking cycle-share stations with public transport is a key METROLINX priority. To that end, BIKE SHARE is offering PRESTO card owners a hefty discount on new memberships. Transit riders who use a Presto card will get 50% off if they sign up for a new one-year Bike Share membership, which normally costs $90. 40% off next year, 30% in year three, and so on.

BIKESHARE1BIKE SHARE TORONTO now has 4,778 yearly members, up from 3,885 last July. This summer METROLINX funded a $6-million expansion of the service, adding 120 new stations and 1,000 new bicycles to the network, more than doubling is size.

HOMESWEETHOME1

TORONTO overtakes VANCOUVER as home sales here in August hit a record. The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) said its members had 9,813 sales in August, a 23.5% increase from the same month last year. The average price for homes sold, regardless of type of property, was $710,410, an increase of 17.7%. Detached homes in the City of TORONTO proper cost on average $1.2 million, up 18.3%.