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Commies even Reagan could love

Posted April 20, 2014 by Jaime Weinman

The Americans is a rare beast: a political show that pleases both right and left

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Historicist: The Supreme Chief Ranger of the IOF

Posted April 19, 2014 by Jamie Bradburn

Oronhyatekha built the Independent Order of Foresters and the tallest building in Toronto.

Sketch of Oronhyatekha. The Toronto World, August 27, 1897.

If Oronhyatekha were alive today, he’d be considered an expert networker. He jokingly referred to himself as a “joiner,” accepting memberships in many prominent social organizations of his era. Relying on his extraordinary social skills to overcome prejudice he faced as a Mohawk, he built the Independent Order of Foresters into one of North America’s […]

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Notorious gangster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger tells his story

Posted April 19, 2014 by Michael Friscolanti

A controversial documentary presents an alternative theory of one of the most notorious gangsters of our times

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The Bandwagon-Jumper’s Guide to the Toronto Raptors (Playoff Edition)

Posted April 18, 2014 by Christopher Bird

Because if you haven’t already, you really should jump on that bandwagon now.

The Raptor, chilling. As raptors are prone to do. Photo by Flickr user Double Feature.

Wait, the Raptors? Aren’t they sort of traditionally bad? Didn’t you, in Heroes and Villains 2013, say that the Raptors were playing badly? Well, yes—they were bad. Indeed, in their first 18 games this season, they won six and lost 12. However, since then, the Raptors have won the Atlantic Division and ended up third […]

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Like an iceberg: a blog on being a journalist in Canada’s Arctic

Posted April 18, 2014 by MediaMentor

“The iceberg needs to be broken. Even if it’s big, it will break. The only way it can get fixed is if you talk. We have to break the iceberg into pieces. Then things will come out. After the iceberg has crumbled, there’s a cleansing of the body. Everything will come out in anger and rage.” — Meeka Arnakaq of Pangnirtung, 1995

An iceberg melts in August off the shore of Baffin Island. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)

Jane George starts her blog by saying “…Join me as I remember my travels in the Canadian Arctic during the 1990s, a period when few journalists travelled as widely in the region.

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Toronto’s Junction Community Creating a Hub for Itself

Posted April 17, 2014 by Anonymous

The Junction is one of Toronto’s most interesting neighbourhoods. Untouched by gentrification until relatively recently, the area which is home to a broad mix of blue collar and professional types, and which supports one of the most eclectic arts scenes in the city, has recently seen a major upwelling of community spirit as many improvements have come to its main retail strip along curving Dundas Street West.

Yesterday the Junction Commons Project (JCP) held the second of five community meetings to discuss the redevelopment of 209 Mavety Street, the former home of Toronto Police Division 11, into a community hub for the Junction. The meeting, held at the West Toronto Masonic Temple, was well attended by residents and organizers from the neighbourhood. A member from the City department responsible for community revitalization as well as MP Peggy Nash and MPP Cheri DiNovo for the Parkdale-High Park riding were in attendance.

The meeting was held to discuss the results of the feasibility study that the JCP, which was recently granted not-for-profit status, used its Ontario Trillium Grant to fund. The first half of the meeting was spent presenting the results of the findings and the second half left the floor open to comments and questions from the audience.

Junction Commons Project Audience at secondJunction Commons Project Town Hall Meeting, image courtesy of Agnieszka Foltyn

The evening began by addressing the three major questions that the study sought to answer: Is it feasible to turn 209 Mavety into a community hub; how much would it cost to do so and; is there sufficient community interest in the project. The answers were all positive. According to the study, carried out by UrbanMetrics and ERA Architects, it is feasible to convert the two-storey modernist building, it would cost $3.5 million to do so, and there is sufficient community interest in the project.

Junction Commons Project

2011 Google Street View picture of the 11 Division Police Station at 209 Mavety Stree

The presentation then moved on to discuss the need for a community space in the Junction. The Junction has been growing at an unprecedented pace in the past few years with new developments like the coming DUKE Condos as well as a growth in new businesses, restaurants, bars and shops, on the Dundas West strip. This growth means that more of the neighbourhood has become privatized—even the space for the weekly farmer’s market is on privately owned land that is in jeopardy of being developed at any time—and this makes the need for a truly public space is more important than ever.

The JCP organizers said that based on the study, the five most important uses for the hub—according to community opinion—were Arts, Food, Health, community space, and local exchange. These “5 Pillars” were extracted from demographic analyses, stakeholder meetings and feedback from an online survey and the previous community meeting held in November of 2013.

On its path to redevelopment, the JCP has looked to two of Toronto’s other 24 community hubs, citing the Centre for Social Innovation, Artscape Wychwood Barns, and the East Scarborough Storefront as models. The JCP wants to incorporate a public community space, similar to the Centre for Social Innovation’s first Annex location’s ground floor cafe. They hope to have the same level of involvement as the Scarborough Storefront, and a self-sustainable model like St.Clair’s Wychwood Barns.

Junction Commons Project, Ryerson School of Interior Design

Ryerson School of Interior Design rendering for Junction Community Hub, image by Salena Barry

Junction Commons Project, Ryerson School of Interior Design

Ryerson School of Interior Design rendering for Junction Community Hub, image by Salena Barry

The plan for the redevelopment of 209 Mavety is still in its early stages, but the two-storey, 20 000 square foot building has a good deal of potential. Although there is no fixed plan for how the new building will look, students from Ryerson’s School of Interior Design have developed a collection of renderings for how the hub’s renovation could be realized.

While the form is still in flux, the function of hub is much more concrete. The JCP has decided to designate the second floor of the building as an income-generating area where the hub’s tenants would be housed. Potential partners are University Health Network, Canadian Mental Health Association and Bento Miso. The ground and basement levels would be community space that could be rented at a low cost or used free of charge. This multi-use design would give the hub a variety of community functions which would help to draw community members and also provide a self-sustaining way to pay for the hub’s revitalization.

Before these ideas even considered, the JCP still has to acquire possession of the former police station. Currently, the JCP is considering signing a 100-year lease with the City instead of buying the property outright which would be considerably more expensive. There is still time to decide how to proceed since the City has decided to not to touch the property for one year.

Following the presentation the floor was open to questions, most of which centred around financing the redevelopment and the JCP’s choice of potential partners were raised. The Good Food Box was also presented as an initiative that the hub could house. During this period Parkdale-High Park MP Peggy Nash, and MPP Cheri Di Novo, gave their support of the project. Sarah Doucette, the councilor for Ward was not in attendance, but has expressed her support of the project as well. Other community partners include Four Villages Community Health Centre, Junction Farmer’s Market, Junction Residents Association and the Junction Business Improvement Area.

At the end of her short speech, MPP Cheri DiNovo praised the members of the audience by saying, “I know you will succeed, not because you have the money or a plan in place, but because you want to succeed.” Judging by the level of support this project has garnered, both from within and beyond its community, at this early stage in the project’s development more than supports this statement. It also speaks to the spirit of community and innovation that has come to define the Junction.

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The Library Welcomes Its First Innovator in Residence

Posted April 17, 2014 by Anonymous

Expert Derek Quenneville introduces patrons to 3D printing at the Toronto Reference Library.

Derek Quenneville shows guests how to use the Makerbot 3D scanner at the Toronto 3D Printers MeetUp in March (Photo by Toronto Public Library).

If you don’t know how 3D printing works, you’re not alone. Derek Quenneville, a Toronto-based expert, says it’s kind of like a glue gun. Controlled by a computer. Except the glue is plastic. And the plastic happens to build up one layer on top of another. “The mechanics of it are quite simple,” he says. […]

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Urban Planner: April 17, 2014

Posted April 17, 2014 by Torontoist

In today’s Urban Planner: men and boys discuss violence against women, Ophelia and Desdemona revisited, and discopaths.

Boys and men gather to discuss violence against women at Guy Talk. Image courtesy of WomenattheCentrE.

Talks: Most women are familiar with conversations about how to avoid, deal with, and recover from violence at the hands of men. Isn’t it time we started including the other half in these discussions? Guy Talk does just that, by providing a venue for men and boys to talk about, learn about, and end violence […]

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Sound Advice: Sacred White Noise, by Thantifaxath

Posted April 16, 2014 by Natalie Zina Walschots

By annihilating their individual identities, the members of this black metal project find a common, if alien, voice.


Sacred White Noise by Thantifaxath The members of Thantifaxath prefer to remain anonymous. There are no credits in the liner notes of either the band’s self-titled 2011 debut EP or its long-awaited first full-length, Sacred White Noise (released April 15 via Dark Descent Records). When the band performs live, its members cover themselves head to […]

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Sex Criminals, Trade Paperback Edition

Posted April 16, 2014 by David Hains

Local troublemaker Chip Zdarsky talks super powers, bank robbing, orgasms, and comics.


What if you had a super power that was triggered only when you orgasmed? That’s the premise of Sex Criminals, the hugely successful comic from Image Comics co-created by writer Matt Fraction and artist Chip Zdarsky. Zdarsky may be familiar to local readers for any number of reasons. He ran a parody campaign for mayor […]

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Reel Toronto: A Few Weird Ones

Posted April 16, 2014 by David Fleischer

Toronto owes a strange cinematic debt to Tommy Lee Jones, Nicolas Cage, and, um, Dennis Rodman.


For all the big films that get shot here, there are plenty of smaller or quirkier films that make you kind of scratch your head. Do you remember The Park Is Mine? Of course not. Why would you? It’s a 1986 TV movie starring Tommy Lee Jones as a Vietnam veteran who takes over Central […]

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The Library’s Travelling Cellist

Posted April 15, 2014 by Anonymous

In honour of the TPL’s One Book selection, cellists performed on 22 consecutive days in various locations all over the city.


Throughout April, the Toronto Public Library has been presenting the Keep Toronto Reading Festival, which involves 80 events at 50 branches. These events have all been inspired by the library’s One Book selection: Steven Galloway’s national bestseller, The Cellist of Sarajevo. In the novel, a cellist watches as 22 people waiting in a bread line […]

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Daily Headlines: News From the Internet for April 15, 2014

Posted April 15, 2014 by Devon Johnson

April showers bring May flowers? Not likely! Toronto experiencing freezing rain and snow today; Toronto transit debate heats up as DRL & GO Transit are considered priorities; Toronto home sales expected to drop this summer; and more news.
Relief li…

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Allan's Perspective

Rob Ford: Why does the term “white trash” keep coming to mind?

Posted April 10, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

The more I hear about Rob Ford, the more the term “white trash” comes to mind! One of the first members of Rob Ford’s campaign team is the co-host of an online marijuana show, High F—ers, in which he smokes joints until he vomits, tells profane stories while high, and dedicates his drug use to […]

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Dogs and Cats Are Blurring the Lines Between Pets and People

Posted April 8, 2014 by Brandon Keim

Cats and dogs occupy a unique place in the animal kingdom’s vast menagerie. They’ve come out of the wild and into our living rooms, an extraordinary evolutionary and sociological journey that now raises profound questions about what it means to be a pe…

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Allan's Perspective

Saturday Morning Confusion About Rob Ford Reality Show!

Posted April 5, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

STOP THE PRESSES FOLKS: An American production company wants to record the everyday life of Rob Ford, Toronto’s crack-smoking half-mayor, and turn him into a reality television star. Ford might be the perfect reality television star! The Globe and Mail‘s Ann Hui reports that Pilgrim Studios, the company responsible for The Ultimate Fighter, American Chopper, Dirty […]

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Bloor Street Partnership Promotes Toronto Cultural Gems

Posted April 4, 2014 by Anonymous

The establishment of a new Arts and Culture district for Toronto, the Bloor Street Culture Corridor, was celebrated at L’espresso Bar Mercurio on Bloor at St. George this Wednesday. The association creates a year-round arts and culture community comprising of 12 cultural institutions on Bloor between Bay and Bathurst streets. These cultural institutions include museums; the Gardiner Museum and Bata Shoe Museum, the ROM, performing arts organizations and venues; the Royal Conservatory of Music, the Toronto Consort, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber choir, ethnic-specific cultural centres; Alliance Française, the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, the Japan Foundation, while film is represented by the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. Uniquely, all of these institutions are located along one mile of the Bloor Street West corridor. 

Bloor Street Culture Corridor launch, Toronto, Culture Representatives of the City and member institutions at Wednesday’s launch, image by Craig White

The launch was attended by Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, Councillor Michael Thompson, chair of the city’s Economic Development and Culture Committee, and local Councillors Adam Vaughn and Kristyn Wong Tam, through whose wards the corridor passes. 

The corridor provides Toronto with a well-defined district where residents and tourists can indulge in a variety of cultural and art experiences while enjoying the fine dining, shopping and hotels that this stretch of Bloor has to offer. By working in tandem with each other, the organizations will increase awareness of cultural destinations and events in the area, and encourage people to visit the easily accessible cultural district. (The area is easily accessible by five subways stations on lines 1 and 2.) This will be expedited by monthly newsletters, a social media presence and a soon-to-be-released Bloor Culture Corridor app. 

bloor street culture corridor, Toronto

Map of the Twelve organizations making up the Bloor Street Culture Corridor, image courtesy of

Along with drawing attention to this part of Bloor, the corridor will also highlight some of Toronto’s architectural standouts. The Royal Ontario Museum, noted of late for its Daniel Libeskind-designed Michael Lee-Chin crystal, recently announced plans to improve its front plaza to commemorate its centenary by Hariri Pontarini and Claude Cormier+Associés. The ROM is flanked to the east and west by the KPMB-designed Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art and the The Royal Conservatory’s TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning. To the west is the 100-year-old Hariri Pontarini-renovated Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, while on Spadina Road the Alliance Française will soon be opening its Hariri Pontarini-designed expansion. Back on Bloor, Trinity St. Paul’s Church recently had its sanctuary improved by ERA Architects and collaborators for musical performances with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir leading the way. An accompanying article highlights the changes there.

Welcome Project plaza and public realm looking southwest, rendering courtesy of ROM Welcome Project plaza and public realm looking southwest, rendering courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects

Alliance Francaise Expansion, Bloor Street Culture Corridor, TorontoRendering of expansion of Alliance Française, image courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects

The Culture Corridor project is the brainchild of Royal Conservatory Spokesperson Heather Kelly, and it aims to reestablish the cultural primacy of this part of the city. Redirecting arts and cultural interest in an area that seems to be losing some of it with occurrences like the loss of book stores, is important especially since it has been and continues to be a historic home to many of the city’s prominent artists and cultural icons. Hopefully with the support of its partners, the Bloor-Annex BIA, Bloor-Yorkville BIA, The Ontario Arts Council, Tourism Toronto and the City of Toronto, the corridor will bring more life to the area and remind Torontonians and tourists of the great culture centre our city is.

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Honing In On Friday’s #WaveOfAction

Posted April 2, 2014 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

We need to think about two things for this Friday’s Occupy Movement reboot in the Worldwide #WaveOfAction: When thinking about pursuing social, political and economic equality, what is the list of things we need to change, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally? Who do we need to build coalitions with to listen to them, support them, […]

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Allan's Perspective

Quebec Real Estate on Hold Until After Election!

Posted March 30, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

(PLEASE NOTE QUEBEC’S POST-REFERENDUM SHAPE ………….., IT ACQUIRED LABRADOR, BUT LOST THE SOUTH SHORE!) The Quebec election has real-estate agents on both sides of the Quebec-Ontario border agreeing on one thing: the market is on hold as home buyers await the outcome. Realtors say a Parti Quebecois majority on April 7 would likely result in […]

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Ya can’t fix stupid!

Posted March 25, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

Folks, I would like to show an article here that I think exemplifies what is wrong with a lot of people in general! Here is a guy who was dead set against GMO’s (genetically modified foods) the same as some people are bent out of shape about fluoridation of water, immunization shots, climate change, nuclear […]

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asshole trophy

“Asshole of the Day” – Quebec Separatists!

Posted March 14, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

Folks, it constantly amazes me how some groups can live in their own world, without regard for anything we like to call “common sense!” Oh, there’s the people on the west coast who believe in all that new age stuff, there’s the religious types who get brainwashed by church “doctrine,” there’s various ethnic groups that […]

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Key, Key.., key-rist it’s cold outside!

Posted February 28, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

While Winnipeggers have endured months of bitter cold, one family is struggling to adjust after arriving in the city from Sierra Leone just eight days ago. When his family first arrived, his children were thrilled to see the snow. They ran out of the airport to play in it. Gibril Bangura, his wife and three […]

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So far, no death threats for Katy Perry!

Posted February 26, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

Singer Katy Perry has upset members of the Muslim community by featuring “blasphemous” imagery in the music video for her new hit Dark Horse. In the promo, the Roar hitmaker plays an Egyptian queen who has the power to zap her subjects with lightning and turn them into sand, and she has offended Muslims by […]

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Gay is not O.K. at Sochi!

Posted February 17, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

Folks, a lot of people might read this headline and think the article is in defence of Gay Rights. But it’s NOT! It’s not about right, or wrong, or gay or sad, or any other queer reason at all. It’s about being STUPID! And it also makes this woman our “Asshole of the day!” An […]

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Hooker delight at Superbowl!

Posted January 31, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

The Superbowl doesn’t just attract football fans, bunky! Police are also expecting a major influx of HOOKERS from all across the States! ———————————————— Speaking of the Superbowl: More women are victims of domestic violence on Super Bowl Sunday than on any other day of the year. (Probably from trying to hide the remote!) —————————————————— Watch […]

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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Posted January 29, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

Traffic inches along the connector of Interstate’s 75 and 85 as snow blankets Metro Atlanta on Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 28, 2014 as seen from the Pryor Street overpass. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is preparing to declare a state of emergency as a winter storm coats the region with snow and ice. State transportation officials said […]

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I am NOT a racist, I’m a culturalist!

Posted January 26, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

Dear Readers: I started out many years ago saying: I’M NOT A RACIST …………………., I’M A CULTURALIST! In other words, I don’t care if you’re black, yellow, green white, red or purple ………………, that’s got nothing to do with anything! BUT! If you’re a black, yellow or white “low life” without an education and no […]

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Saturday Morning Confusion! Bieber to get deported?

Posted January 25, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

Justin Bieber could be deported back to Canada if he is convicted of a crime, it has been revealed. Attorney Michael Wildes said that if Immigration and Customs Enforcement wanted to go after him, they could make a case, ABC News reported. He added that with the 19-year-old singer’s arrest and with him being linked […]

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