TORONTO SAYS IT WILL NOT ALLOW HOMELESS ENCAMPMENTS TO REMAIN IN PUBLIC PARKS

The reasons: concerns of public accessibility, legality and safety. “The shelter system is unsafe, demeaning and overcrowded” according to the Shelter and Housing Justice Network. People cannot be forced to move to indoor shelters, so the City issues a notice of trespassing to those living in homeless encampments, and offers help from city services, including referrals to indoor shelters. Toronto plans to spend about $663-million on homelessness and Housing First services this year, and has opened more than 25 physical distancing shelters to house those coming from encampments. < From The Bridge News, November 2021, by Megan Camlasaran,>

A FUN EXPERIENCE OF BIG CITIES IS APPROACHING ONE VIA AIR AT NIGHT – TORONTO FOR INSTANCE.

Often times I’ve had quite a tour of Canada’s largest city as the jet first passes over small towns and villages, then the vast city of Mississauga, and finally the outskirts of Toronto. Often the pilot will travel East along Ontario’s Capital, then make a Left turn and head back West again towards Pearson International Airport. Brakes are applied as the jet thunders along the runway and proceeds to the Airport Apron and the Parking Stands. Then check-ins and Big T.O. (our Toronto) awaits.

TORONTO’S FILM BUSINESS IS GOING UP – WAY UP – SOON SUPPORTING EVEN MORE SCREEN INDUSTRY

< Artist rendering above, BMH, Basin Media Hub>From VARIETY – Toronto, Canada’s metropolis, home to 1.9-million, known for feature film production, celebrated series, and opening Canadian headquarters this year by Netflix. There’s more coming. Hackman Capital Partners (HCP) and its affiliate, the MBS Group, have won the request to build a major new $250-million studio complex in Toronto. It will provide  up to 500,000 square feet of film, television and digital media studio space and production offices, including eight purpose-built sound stages as well as workshop and production support spaces. HCP-MBS will also work with the city to create a public promenade along the waterfront. City Councillor Paula Fletcher, chair of the Film, TV & Digital Media Advisory Board said “With production value in Toronto on track to hit a 2022 record high, surpassing the 2019 record high of $2.2 billion, this industry needs the state-of-the-art media hub to meet the growing demand for space and Toronto talent.” The HCP-MBS proposal was approved by CreateTO, Toronto’s real estate agency, last month and city council last week, before Mayor John Tory announced the finalization of the partnership. Mayor Tory said “The HCP-MBS proposal is a tremendous opportunity for the city and “an exciting addition to Toronto’s east end.”

TORONTO’S OFFICIAL FLAG WAS DESIGNED IN 1974 BY 21-YEAR-OLD STUDENT, RENATO DE SANTIS

Renato De Santis, a graphic design student at George Brown College , won a 1974 competition among 670 entries, held by the City of Toronto Flag Design Committee.  A variation of this flag is used by Toronto Fire Services’ fireboat ‘William Lyon Mackenzie’. Mackenzie was a Scottish-born Canadian-American journalist and politician, who founded newspapers critical of elite members of Upper Canada, known as The Family Compact. He aligned with Reformers and represented York County in the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada.

The flag <BELOW> displays the twin towers of City Hall on a blue background, with Canada’s red maple leaf from the national flag at its base.

THERE’S NO STOPPING CANADA’S RETIRED ASTRONAUT, CHRIS HADFIELD – HE’S NOW A WRITER.

By writer I mean ‘novelist’ and ‘thriller’, his latest is titled ‘The Apollo Murders’, which takes place in 1973 when there was a battle between the Americans and the Soviets for predominance in Space. “It all really happened”, declared Chris. “Almost 95 per cent of the book is real, and I’ve got the experience to bring in the reality of it.” He is heavily involved in teaching at universities; working with a COVID detection technology company; researching and writing his next book; and hoping for the success of this one, “along with choices of fun, challenging, and with hopefully worthwhile things to do.”  <From an interview with Dawn Calleja, The Globe and Mail, October 23/2021>

NATURE’S PERFECT NEST DESIGN – MADE BY BEES, HORNETS . . . . OR WASPS? PHOTO – BRYAN BLENKIN

Bryan says the photo above is “Nature’s Perfect Design.” Yes, they’re good at making nests, but be careful with stinging insects. We’re not sure what stung Bryan yesterday morning during a trip to The Toronto Dump. The trip was fine at first, but then he discovered an insect on the car seat, and picked it up. The insect stung him, and Bryan tossed it out the window. Not certain what it was exactly. . . . . .  I got stung a couple of weeks earlier at College Park on my upper lip, by what I believe was a hornet. That sting took about three weeks to subside.

IN THE 1960’S SURFACE CAR PARKS WERE ‘KING’ IN TORONTO – BERCZY PARK WAS ON ITS WAY

While tearing stuff down to make way for the car was considered progress, Toronto’s city centre was littered with autos and their surface parks. But eventually wiser heads prevailed, and these days all but a couple of surface parking lots are gone. Some have been converted into below-grade parking. Nearly all of the lots have been developed, while a triangular-shaped Berczy Park with its’ dog fountain was built behind the Flatiron Building.  This much-loved park seems to be a change for the better in this old part of Toronto.  <Photo – St. Lawrence Market Neighborhood, ca1970’s, City of Toronto >

SONG DONG’S ‘WISDOM OF THE POOR: COMMUNAL COURTYARD’ GIVEN TO THE ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO

This will take up serious storage space. It’s an “immersive” labyrinth of 100 Chinese doors assembled by Beijing avant-garde artist Song Dong (b.1966) – originally for the Venice Biennale – and now in the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario. The armoire doors were rescued from within the Beijing hutongs, a vast network of laneway housing either being demolished or gentrified, in a capital city that’s been expanding and rebuilding at breakneck speed. ‘The Wisdom of the Poor’ addresses the role of traditional architecture in today’s changing urban environment. <PHOTO – Song Dong, Pace Gallery>. <Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West>

KENSINGTON MRKT. IS AN EAST VILLAGE, VENICE BOARDWALK AND WOODSTOCK ROLLED INTO ONE

Kensington Market is a National Historic Site and the locals fight hard to keep it that way. There are no big box stores. The multicultural neighbourhood occupies a large tract of land from College Street to the north, Spadina on the east, Dundas on the south and Bathurst Street to the west. The area is filled with food stores of every kind, a variety of upscale & downscale restaurants, nightclubs, coffee bars, vintage clothing shops, synagogues, and re-jigged architecture of every description.