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  • The Independent suggests that potentially flammable cladding was mounted on London's Grenfell Tower so as to make it look nicer for richer neighbours. If the lives of the poor were put at risk of burning to make richer neighbours happy ... Wow.

  • Adam Rogers at Wired describes the many complexities regarding fighting high-rise fires and evacuating their inhabitants.

  • CBC suggests that local building codes in Canada are sufficiently stringent to prevent a repetition of the Grenfell Tower tragedy here. One hopes.

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  • Brynn Aguilar in the Toronto Star reports on York Region police's warning locals against climbing construction cranes.

  • Alex Bozikovic notes in The Globe and Mail that the nice new Albion library, in Rexdale, looks a lot like Kew Gardens' in Queens.

  • Alex Bozikovic, also in The Globe and Mail, argues Toronto must determine what it wants for Davisville Junior Public School. Will it stay, or go?
  • blogTO notes that laneway housing will soon be made that much easier to provide in the City of Toronto.

  • CBC reports on an ambitious new plan to redevelop a vast commercial space on the southeast of Dundas and Bloor, in north Roncesvalles.

  • John McLeod in NOW Toronto is critical of the latest real estate moves of a relatively unaccountable PortsToronto.

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  • Centauri Dreams looks at the complex prebiotic chemistry in the system of young triple IRAS 16293-2422.

  • Language Hat looks at the central role played by Kyrgzystan writer Chinghiz Aitmatov in shaping Kyrgyz identity.

  • The Map Room Blog shares Baltimore's new transit map.

  • Steve Munro examines the Ford family's various issues with TTC streetcars.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog reports on the latest UN Report on the Donbas and the conflict there.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that the number of ethnic Russians in the former Soviet Union fallen sharply through demographic change including assimilation.

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Colour on wall


This pattern painted on the brick wall by Michael's Barber Shop is part of a wider mural painted on the south-facing side of the large brick building on the northwest corner of Church and Wellesley.
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  • Chris Bateman at Spacing Toronto describes the history of Toronto's first skyscraper, the Beard Building at King and Jarvis.

  • Erin Sylvester at Torontoist explores the life of Grace Bagnato, an Italian Canadian who was one of Toronto's first court interpreters.

  • Azzura Lalani commemorates in the Toronto Star the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Rathnelly, in midtown Toronto.

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  • AIDS Action Now veteran Tim McCaskell argues in NOW Toronto that the new gay activism reflects the growing diversity of the community, riven by race and income.

  • Steven W. Thrasher argues from a radical position against the presence of police and militarism generally in American Pride marches.

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  • Centauri Dreams looks at two brown dwarf pairs, nearby Luhman 16 and eclipsing binary WD1202-024.

  • D-Brief notes a study suggesting panspermia would be easy in the compact TRAPPIST-1 system.

  • Far Outliers notes the shouted and remarkably long-range vocal telegraph of early 20th century Albania.

  • Language Hat links to a fascinating blog post noting the survival of African Latin in late medieval Tunisia.

  • The LRB Blog notes the observations of an Englishman in Northern Ireland that, after the DUP's rise, locals are glad other Britons are paying attention.

  • Marginal Revolution notes a study suggesting that refugees in the US end up paying more in taxes than they receive in benefits.

  • Spacing reviews a fascinating-sounding new book on the politics and architecture of new libraries.

  • Understanding Society examines the mechanisms through which organizations can learn.

  • Window on Eurasia talks about the progressive detachment of the east of the North Caucasus, at least, from wider Russia.

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Two pigeons, coal-black


I rather liked the style of these two pigeons I saw perched by the buses at Eglinton Station.
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  • City News shares a Canadian Press article sharing the warning issued by Sears Canada itself, another historic colossus of retail, that it may well be coming to its end.

  • The Columbia Review of Journalism warns that Canada's Postmedia chain is failing, and could take all our newspapers with it.

  • Tess Kalinowski at the Toronto Star observes that the number of Greater Toronto Area home sales has continued to decline.

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  • blogTO reported that York University plans on opening a satellite campus in York Region's Markham. This is a first.

  • Dangerous Minds notes a new, posthumous release from Suidide's Alan Vega.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper considering the detectability of Niven ringworlds around pulsars. (Maybe.)

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers burnout among sociology students, and suggests that engagement with issues is key to overcoming it.

  • The Great Grey Bridge's Philip Turner photoblogs his recent Rhode Island vacation.

  • Joe. My. God. reports on the arrest of a Christian activist protesting outside of the Pulse memorial in Orlando.

  • The LRB Blog shares considerable concern that the Democratic Unionists of Northern Ireland are now national powermakers.

  • Spacing Toronto shares the ambitious plan of Buenos Aires to make the city better for cyclists, pedestrians, and mass transit
  • Transit Toronto notes that starting Friday, Metrolinx will co-sponsor $C25 return tickets to Niagara from Toronto.

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Toronto's HTO Park looks welcoming from a distance, and indeed it must be comfortable to be perched under the park's umbrellas on the sand. Get too close to the water, though, and you will find that Lake Ontario's flood has reached this beach, too. The seagulls seemed happy, granted.

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  • Orville Lloyd Douglas is critical of Black Lives Matter on Pride, calling it out for being self-appointed representatives of black Canadians.

  • Alex McKeen writes in the Toronto Star about First Nations groups holding ongoing ceremonies in Queen's Park.

  • Betsy Powell, also in the Star, notes new restrictions and licensing Toronto is set to impose on Airbnb locally.

  • CBC notes that King Street is slated to become a street where transit, particularly streetcars, will have priority over other traffic.

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  • blogTO describes the changing designs of TTC maps over the past generations.

  • Cody Delistraty links to an article of his contrasting and comparing Donald Trump to Louis XIV.

  • Marginal Revolution shares facts about Qatar in this time of its issues.

  • Peter Rukavina describes the latest innovations in his homebrew blogging.

  • Towleroad notes the sad anniversary of the Pulse massacre in Orlando.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that there is still potent for Idel-Ural, a coalition of non-Russian minorities by the Volga.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell examines how Labour and the Tories made use of Big Data, and how Labour did much better.

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I decided to walk at least part of the way home from an evening meditation session at Broadview and Danforth, over the Prince Edward Viaduct at twilight. I love this bridge, with its majestic arcs over the Don Valley below, and its colour-shifting Luminous Veil.

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My attention was piqued at the end of May by Lauren Pelley's CBC report about the West End Phoenix, a new community newspaper in Toronto imagined by Dave Bidini. The Phoenix, a monthly broadsheet slated to concern itself with west-end Toronto "from the Junction Triangle to Parkdale, Christie Pits to Baby Point", will be sustained by annual subscriptions and gifts from donors.

The non-profit publication is the brainchild of Toronto writer, publisher and musician Dave Bidini, and sparked, in part, by his 2015 writing trip to the Northwest Territories, where he spent the summer working at The Yellowknifer.

"I was reinvigorated by that experience," he told CBC Toronto.

Bidini — who's beloved in Canada for his years with the Rheostatics — wondered if a hyper-local newspaper could flourish in Toronto's west end, where he's been living for 23 years in the house he bought from his grandmother.

"I've seen the west end evolve as a social organism, I suppose. It's a pretty interesting time here. You blink, and there's something new and different," he mused. "I wondered about the ability of a newspaper to sustain here, and to illuminate that evolution."

[. . .]

Bidini's vision for the newspaper is a visual and literary representation of "that feeling you get when you're wandering home one night and you find yourself up an alley you haven't traveled through before."

Already, he's joined by deputy editor Melanie Morassutti and senior editor Susan Grimbly, both formerly of The Globe and Mail, and has an advisory council assembled with notable names from the city's arts and culture scene, including Grid founder Laas Turnbull and J-Source managing editor H.G. Watson.


I am fascinated by this project. Consider this post a placeholder of sorts.
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  • The Globe and Mail describes how the flooding of Lake Ontario is starting to impact buildings built near the waterfront on the mainland, like some of Toronto's new condos.

  • All of Toronto's beaches will be, CBC reports, at least partly closed on account of the flooding.

  • Lucas Powers' photo essay at CBC tracks the impact of flooding on the Toronto Islands.

  • Steve Munro continues his study of buses on Queen Street, noting that the frequency of buses needs to be increased to keep pace with streetcars.

  • Edward Keenan argues in the Toronto Star that Michael Ford's call for a study for Queen Street transit will reveal that streetcars are the better way.

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  • Crooked Timber enthuses over the remixing, or remastering, of arguably the Beatles' most iconic album.

  • Far Outliers notes the Albanian language's alphabet struggles in the wider geopolitics of Albania.

  • Joe. My. God. notes an American soccer player opted to quit rather than to wear a Pride jersey.

  • Language Hat notes a new online atlas of Algonquian languages.

  • The NYRB Daily argues that Theresa May's election defeat makes the fantasy of a hard Brexit, at least, that much less possible.

  • Window on Eurasia notes Russia's concern at the dissipation of the prestige of its language and script its former empire, especially in Ukraine.

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Yesterday morning, I got off from the shuttlebus at Yonge and Bloor and decided to look up. The towers that are on three corners of this intersection are tall, One Bloor East being particularly fetching. The southwest corner that was formerly home to Stollery's is vacant, but I entirely expect it to be filled.

Looking up at the Bay


Looking up at CIBC


Looking past the former Stollery's


Looking up at One Bloor East

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