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I love Toronto, pt. 4835

Posted by on 28 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: Current Events, Toronto

I love this. After 48 hours of constant Tamil protests, in this TPS release we still have carefully neutral language, gentle concern for safety, “the co-operation of most of the protestors”, and a metaphorical shrugging of shoulders about the inevitable traffic tie-ups.

I didn’t check this morning to see if anyone was petting the horses, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it.

News Release
Toronto Police Service

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 – 9:25 AM

Public Information

The Toronto Police Service has taken further steps to ensure the safety of the public and those participating in the Tamil community vigil along University Avenue.

See previous release.

On Tuesday, April 28, 2009, at approximately 7 a.m., with the co-operation of most of the protestors, police moved the barricades, that were in place, to the east side of University Avenue. This was done to ensure a safe environment for the officers, protestors and the public.

The Toronto Police Service is committed to working with those who wish to express their views in a peaceful and safe manner. Protestors are urged to use the east side of University Avenue.

University Avenue will remain closed from Dundas Street West to Queen Street West until further notice.

Police suggest that the public consider alternate routes, in the affected area, until further notice.

Traffic congestion on the roadways and within the transit system is to be expected.

Constable Wendy Drummond, Public Information

There are no files attached to this release.

Cellphones vs. Trucks

Posted by on 28 Mar 2009 | Tagged as: Current Events, Toronto

A question I’m pulling out of a comment on another post, from Return of the Bees:

Here’s the Highway Traffic Act:

Pedestrian right of way

(28) Every pedestrian who lawfully enters a roadway in order to cross may continue the crossing as quickly as reasonably possible despite a change in the indication he or she is facing and, for purposes of the crossing, has the right of way over vehicles. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (28).

So, the woman proceeding south across Front St. at the Blue Jays Way crossing from the northwest corner to the southwest corner, on a striped pedestrian crosswalk, at ca 9:45 p.m. this week, who proceeded when the light turned green and was run over by the rear wheel of a truck making a right turn presumably into the left lane because of a wide turning base, had the right of way.

Here’s my question RE sidetracking, as with the financial planner (and so much else in life): She was talking on a cell phone, and/but why’s that relevant? All the articles written afterwards about cell phones and iPods are beside the point, which is to say, the cell phone handicapped her, and/but this put her on the same basis as the rest of us handicapped folk–she’d have been squashed just as flat if she was in a wheelchair, deaf, using a white cane, pushing a walker, or… old. Or, even possessed of a simple desire to be “dead right”.

So… Why the fixation on the irrelevant cell phone? Isn’t that getting royally sidetracked?

Why’s everyone evidently reluctant to confirm if the truck driver was proceeding into the intersection against the law?

My take on it: I’d normally agree that the cellphone is legally irrelevant, but in this case it does sound like it was the factor that led to her death. From the CBC:

Because she was on her cellphone at the time, police said, she didn’t notice the truck, and walked right into the side of it. She fell to the street and was run over by the truck’s rear wheels, police said.

So if the truck was already in the intersection and turning, the driver cannot in this case be held responsible for the behaviour of a pedestrian who wasn’t in the intersection at the time he began his turn.

As a cyclist I certainly have learned to be very wary of anyone — motorist, pedestrian or cyclist — on a cellphone. They’re oblivious and do the oddest (frequently wildly illegal) things with no warning.

Patronize your charming neighbourhood coffee shops while ye may

Posted by on 27 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: Current Events, Toronto

What neighbourhood is this?

The neighborhood of 35,000 or so has attracted screenwriters and composers, Web designers and animators, who labor on their laptops in cafes, discuss film projects at Friday night wine tastings, and let their children play with the handmade wooden toys in a Scandinavian-style coffee shop, Swork.

No, not Leslieville — it’s Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, where the recession is leading to rapid de-gentrification. Turns out, when 30-something creative class types aren’t getting paid, they don’t buy charming retro knicknacks either.

So with Leslieville in mind, consider the conclusion this New York Times articles draws:

In bad times, neighborhood idealism can be compromised with one trip to Wal-Mart. In terrible times, idealism goes the way of that baby boutique that just tanked.

Welcome, Smart Centre overlords?

Toronto real estate gets real

Posted by on 23 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: Business, Toronto

Local real estate agents have assured would-be sellers that the real estate market will pick up in the spring, and judging by the number of new listings on MLS, many gullible (and/or cash-strapped) homeowners are taking them at their word. tracks the actual reduction in listing prices in Toronto (for single-family houses only) by cross-referencing new listings to the original ones that were pulled. While the majority of price decreases continue to be minimal (and no more than might be expected to be presented in a competitive offer to purchase), there are some significant reductions beginning to appear, like this one, for a Mimico home on the market since November that’s been reduced by more than 30%:

W1512095 – W06 – 2656 LAKE SHORE BLVD W,TORONTO, Ontario, Canada – $295,000

Price Change. Feb 23: $295,000 Jan 25: $299,900 Dec 21: $319,900 Nov 15: $429,000
Olde Mimico Charmer Built In 1928! One Of The Largest 4 Br Semi-Detached Homes Ever Built On A 40 Ft Lot With Private Driveway For 4 Cars! Renovated Kitchen, Bath,Flooring,Waterproofing,Newly Paved Driveway! W/O To Newly Built Wood Deck! (Opportunity For Duplex,Triplex Or Rooming House To Be Confirmed By Buyers!)Across From Lake Ontario And Homes From 1 To 5 Million Dollars! Hurry****

I guess those hundred Iranians don’t like Etobicoke.

Guava also charts several indicators, including months of inventory, which sits at about 8 months right now, or double what it’s been in any January for the last five years.

When localization fails

Posted by on 12 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: Current Events, Toronto

I got a little excited when I saw this month’s Atlantic Monthly on the newsstand. “The suburbs lose. The sun belt fades. Toronto wins. How the crash will reshape America,” touts the cover over a nighttime shot of Toronto seen from the lake. A little strange, granted, since Toronto is in Canada and there is no sun belt here, unless you’re talking midnight sun — but, with the author listed as Toronto-based urban affairs guru Richard Florida, it made sense.

Except… the article doesn’t mention Toronto. And this is the cover on newsstands in the U.S., where the Atlantic sells all but probably a couple hundred issues of its magazine:


All that tolerance, openness, creative, multicultural stuff is represented in the article by… New York, not Toronto. And, having completed whatever paperwork was necessary to get a working visa for Canada, Florida now knows well that there is a border dividing northern North America. The article is focused on how the United States in particular can reinvent itself — which either has absolutely nothing to do with, or has some potentially negative implications (top U.S. scholars returning to newly-science-friendly, more tolerant homeland) for, Toronto.

Sure, Richard Florida’s ubiquitous in Toronto these days, and we’ve all heard him gush about the city and its creative class. I don’t doubt that the tiny number of Atlantic readers in Canada are, for the most part, familiar with his vague ramblings about the charming ethnic neighbourhoods that exist close (but not too close) to his Rosedale home. But it still seems unreasonable to expect readers who pick up the magazine because of its cover to have to think back to whatever he may have written about Toronto elsewhere in order to make sense of a cover promoting an article that ignores his adopted hometown all together.

UPDATE: Mock Turtle picked up by Torontoist and the Driven magazine blog.

Spinning for the city he disdains

Posted by on 09 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: Toronto

Goodbye, so long, and enjoy your visit to the dark side. Yes, putting us all out of the misery of his whiny, self-referential, tiresomely negative screeds in Toronto Life and elsewhere is Philip Preville as (according to newsletter Inside Queen’s Park, not online) he takes on the role of Director of Public Affairs at the Toronto Board of Trade. Don’t rejoice too long, though – TBOT is a very unhappy place and it may be a round trip. Then again, Preville seems to be so unhappy himself that it may be a place where he thrives.

We do love the weather news

Posted by on 19 Dec 2008 | Tagged as: Toronto

Now, not only can you watch live coverage on CP24 and the Weather Network, check out radar maps on Environment Canada’s website, and look outside your window, but you can also follow the storm through a live blog on the National Post website…

Forward, Toronto!

Posted by on 15 Dec 2008 | Tagged as: Toronto, TTC

Move bravely into the last two decades of the last century!

One small step for the TTC is likely just that — one small step. But it’s nice to see anyway! And who knows what one-off goody 2009 may bring…

Jane Jacobs Reference Library?

Posted by on 23 Oct 2008 | Tagged as: Toronto

Adam Vaughan and Spacing want to name the Toronto Reference Library after Jane Jacobs.

On one hand I think it’s a great idea; on the other I wonder if Jacobs herself would’ve liked it or whether (with her deep distrust of credentials and her belief in natural systems) she’d prefer something a little …wilder.

Good timing

Posted by on 12 Oct 2008 | Tagged as: Toronto

Feeling poorer after checking your accounts online? Wondering how the five dog grooming businesses in your neighbourhood will fare during the recession? Well, here’s something else that will make you an adherent of the new austerity: the updated property assessments for 2008 will be mailed to old City of Toronto addresses the week of October 20.

Those assessments are based on prices in January 2008 — just off a few months from the peak of the now-declining housing market. Assessments have been frozen since 2005; any increases in property tax have been due to increases in the city’s mill rate.

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