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.
- 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.
- USA Today provides an American perspective on the increased risk of flooding from Lake Ontario, in upstate New York.
- Global News notes that the Toronto Islands are now effectively off-limits to visitors until the end of July.
- Toronto Life shared Daniel Williams' stunning photos of the flooded Toronto Islands.
- Inside Toronto notes that many people are still going far too close to the unstable Scarborough Bluffs.
- The Toronto Star noted that the marina at Bluffers' Park is facing flooding.
- At Antipope, Charlie Stross wonders--among other things--what the Trump Administration is getting done behind its public scandals.
- blogTO notes a protest in Toronto aiming to get the HBC to drop Ivanka Trump's line of fashion.
- Dangerous Minds reflects on a Talking Heads video compilation from the 1980s.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money reflects on a murderous attack against Indian immigrants in Kansas.
- The LRB Blog looks at "post-Internet art".
- Lovesick Cyborg notes an attack by a suicide robot against a Saudi warship.
- Strange Maps links to a map of corruption reports in France.
- Torontoist reports on Winter Stations.
- Understanding Society engages in a sociological examination of American polarization, tracing it to divides in race and income.
- The Volokh Conspiracy notes the many good reasons behind the reluctance of cities around the world to host the Olympics.
- Window on Eurasia notes that where the Ingush have mourned their deportation under Stalin the unfree Chechens have not, reports that Latvians report their willingness to fight for their country, looks at what the spouses of the presidents of post-Soviet states are doing, and notes the widespread opposition in Belarus to paying a tax on "vagrancy."
- Arnold Zwicky looks at the linguistic markers of the British class system.
I am definitely going to see Winter Stations this week, described by the Toronto Star's Peter Goffin. The only question is whether I'll be going Thursday or Friday.
A hall of mirrored buoys, an upside-down forest, a giant dog made of recycled materials.
For the third year in a row, the Winter Stations Design Competition has made over eight lifeguard stations in the Beach into fantastical art projects.
Dotting the sandy shore, from the foot of Woodbine Ave. nearly all the way to Balmy Beach Club, the winter stations will add some artistic curiosity to the chilly water front for the next five weeks.
“One of the reasons (Toronto) is a glorious city is because of the arts,” said Mayor John Tory, who was on hand Monday afternoon to help unveil the installations.
“This celebrates artists from here and from abroad and it allows part of the soul of the city to come out. It allows people to each have their own reaction to these creative installations that we’re seeing on the beach in the winter.”
The Globe and Mail's Matthew Hague describes the various installations planned for this year's iteration of Winter Stations, at the Beaches. I can't wait.
During the year’s grimmest month – February, when our shoes can handle the salt stains no more – Toronto’s annual Winter Stations event, now in its third and most creatively ambitious year, is a revelation. The public art event in the city’s Beach neighbourhood involves eight teams of artist and designers from Canada and around the world erecting thoughtful, provocative and fantastical structures that draw people out of their hibernation.
The theme of this year’s iteration is Catalyst, and the most exciting installations challenge viewers to change their perceptions on an important issue and even instigate change themselves. One called Flotsam and Jetsam, designed by a team of architecture students from the University of Waterloo, looks like a beautiful, 20-foot high sculpture of a fish. On closer inspection, its torso, filled with plastics, is a commentary about how our reliance on disposable packaging is polluting the environment.
Another, Collective Memory, by a Spanish and Italian team, is composed of bottle-lined walls. Visitors are encouraged to take and leave messages about their experiences immigrating to Canada, using the bottles as the means of exchange. The concept was inspired by the statistic that by 2031 nearly half of Canadians over 15 will be foreign born or born to foreign parents, and through public interaction it should tell a compelling, complex and dynamic narrative about what it’s like to land on new shores.
Inspired by Winnipeg’s Warming Huts: An Art + Architecture Competition on Ice, an annual public art event that has been running since 2009, the Winter Stations competition started in 2015 and interest in it has grown steadily since. This year, the most submissions yet (over 350) came in for the eight pavilions. There are few formal requirements to enter a proposal. The entrant doesn’t have to be a registered architect, professional artist or have a portfolio of projects (“We’ve had children submit ideas,” says architect Aaron Hendershott, one of the event’s organizers). The proposal simply has to incorporate one of the lifeguard stands that are spaced along the shore and be realistically buildable within a $10,000 budget (the funding comes from a variety of sponsors, including Hendershott’s firm, RAW Design).
To stand out, it also helps to take risks, as many of the best Winter Stations have in the past. “The proposals that excite me the most are maybe the most difficult to pull off,” Hendershott says. “Some, on paper, I just don’t know if they are going to pan out. But then they work in the most wonderful and awesome ways.” Last year, for example, there was a public (clothing-mandatory) sauna and a wood-burning fire pit, both of which Hendershott believes became “community assets” for the winter.
The Toronto Star's Betsy Powell describes the many problems faced by Wasaga Beach, a resort community on Georgian Bay popular with Toronto vacationers that has been faced with falling tourist numbers in recent years. (I should mention, for the record, that I have never been here.)
A bundled-up couple walking a dog and a lone snowmobiler had the world’s longest freshwater beach to themselves on a recent morning as a frigid wind swept across Georgian Bay.
“Nothing down here will open. Who’s going to come and park here when it’s cold?” Deputy Mayor Nina Bifolchi says, driving past a stretch of closed-for-three-seasons fast-food eateries and bars facing the beach.
She was on the losing side when council voted to buy the properties for $13.8 million in 2015, using money borrowed from a bank and the province.
That’s no small sum for the town of 18,000 that will collect $20.3 million in property taxes this year and spend $48 million in operating and capital costs.
But waterfront purchase proponents, led by Mayor Brian Smith, argue Wasaga Beach needed a “bold” step after a steady decline in tourists — the town’s economic lifeblood — of roughly 100,000 a year between 2002 and 2012, compounded by a massive fire in 2007 that destroyed a bustling street mall in the beach’s east end. The mall was never rebuilt and has since been replaced by a beer garden and kiosks.
blogTO's Phil Villeneuve reports on Beach Bash in the Six, a party held on a themed beach inside Ripley's Aquarium on the 27th of this month.
This sounds not uninteresting, I do admit. Certainly it's cheaper than a plane ticket to Cuba.
It may be cold and miserable in Toronto these days, but you don't have to head to the Caribbean to get your fill of beach vibes this winter.
[. . .]
Starting at 8 p.m. with the aquarium closed to the public, the night will feature food stations, a surf simulator, photo booth, and signature cocktails from a Malibu Rum bar.
DJ Shamz will be spinning (he recently closed for Diana Ross when she was in town) and your ticket includes a photo and coat check so that you can wear your favourite beach outfit, uninterrupted by winter layers.
This sounds not uninteresting, I do admit. Certainly it's cheaper than a plane ticket to Cuba.
Via 3 Quarks Daily, I came across Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain's Vice article talking about one man's perspective on Provincetown in the 1970s, a New England beach resort that was briefly the centre of interesting happening in popular culture.
America used to have sanctuaries across the country where fuck-ups, weirdos and other "marginalized" people could hide out and live without much contact with "straight" America. Places like downtown New York City in the East and West Village, Haight Ashbury in San Francisco, and, of course, Provincetown, that great artistic outpost at the very tip of Cape Cod. All these locations provided affordable living, while tolerating bizarre lifestyles. Hallelujah!
Now most of these sanctuaries have been wiped out by yuppies and gentrification, or in downtown NYC's case, fucking idiot students who've made the East Village their own private frat party. Gone are these special places to live out your life exactly as you wanted to, so we thought we'd provide a reminder to all those kids who have told us they were born too late and look fondly to the past—Quaaludes, 45 records, black beauties, 16 millimeter movies, and when "making art" was not just a hobby. You lived it.
Philippe Marcade is an old friend who lived a wild life as the lead singer of the Senders, and hung out with Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan, as well as Richard Hell, Dee Dee Ramone, Debbie Harry, and Chris Stein. Philippe was also a featured voice in our book, Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, which we recently celebrated with a 20th anniversary edition. Get it, it's good.
But he was more than just a French punk rocker who hung out a CBGB and Max's Kansas City. He was "in" with a bunch of malcontents who celebrated the idea of "inspired amateurism" from the lonely outpost of Provincetown, Massachusetts before commercialism ruined that town. The crew included Channing Wilroy, an actor who appeared in several of John Water's movies, the film critic Dennis Dermody, the late photographer David Armstrong, and other experimental artists.
Philippe was also good friends with both photographer Nan Goldin and writer/actress Cookie Mueller, two woman whose lives were the blueprints for today's punk girls. They were independent, intelligent, rebellious, bi-sexual, and hysterically funny. And they did it before there was this thing called punk. This is the story of the 1970s summer they spent partying in the Cape.
Bloomberg View's Christopher Flavelle interviews American sociologist Karen O'Neill to talk about some strategies that might get people to abandon coastal areas endangered by flooding.
Most Americans, to the degree that they think about climate-change adaptation, probably think of bigger sea walls, or maybe changing the kinds of houses we live in. You're looking at something different.
There's been an ongoing war that dates back at least 200 years between people who favor building engineered structures versus critics who say you're overpromising. That's the "protect" strategy -- it can be a wall, which is what most people are familiar with. Almost always, that’s the top preference; it sounds good.
The second strategy is to accommodate -- raising houses on stilts. Both the protect strategy and the accommodation strategy keep people in place.
The third one is, move. You just cannot protect your way out of the whole thing. Humans have always moved and retreated from shorelines. Archaeologists now are able to do underwater excavations; what they're telling us about long-term adaptation to the climate really has some lessons for us.
In a new paper, you write about one New Jersey town, Toms River, which includes both barrier islands and part of the mainland. You argue that creating new tourism attractions on the mainland, such as artificial lakes, might pull people in from the barrier islands.
The word "retreat" seems to indicate defeat. What we wanted to do is to think about the tourism economy. There are, it turns out, lots of sand mines that are near shore areas in the U.S. It's already a pit. So let's make it into an artificial lake.
You could develop resorts around this. You can create things that are like boardwalk attractions. You can have amusement parks. You could have condominiums along the water. And it's close enough to the estuaries that you could actually have access to saltwater as well.
- blogTO notes the mess on College Street.
- D-Brief notes that the crater of Chixculub was hot enough to sustain a subsurface ecology for two million years.
- Language Hat notes "brother" and some of its variations.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the United States' 1964 presidential election.
- The Map Room Blog notes how Google does not map green spaces.
- Peter Rukavina shares his family's trip to the beach on the Island.
- Window on Eurasia looks at how Bashkortostan has been subjected to centralization.
Andrew Rice's New York article paints a terrifying future for New York City, and other coastal cities.
Klaus Jacob, a German professor affiliated with Columbia’s University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, is a geophysicist by profession and a doomsayer by disposition. I’ve gotten to know him over the past few years, as I’ve sought to understand the greatest threat to life in New York as we know it. Jacob has a white beard and a ponderous accent: Imagine if Werner Herzog happened to be a renowned expert on disaster risk. Jacob believes most people live in an irrational state of “risk denial,” and he takes delight in dispelling their blissful ignorance. “If you want to survive an earthquake, don’t buy a brownstone,” he once cautioned me, citing the catastrophic potential of a long-dormant fault line that runs under the city. When Mayor Bloomberg announced nine years ago an initiative to plant a million trees, Jacob thought, That’s nice — but what about tornadoes?
For the past 15 years or so, Jacob has been primarily preoccupied with a more existential danger: the rising sea. The latest scientific findings suggest that a child born today in this island metropolis may live to see the waters around it swell by six feet, as the previously hypothetical consequences of global warming take on an escalating — and unstoppable — force. “I have made it my mission,” Jacob says, “to think long term.” The life span of a city is measured in centuries, and New York, which is approaching its fifth, probably doesn’t have another five to go, at least in any presently recognizable form. Instead, Jacob has said, the city will become a “gradual Atlantis.”
The deluge will begin slowly, and irregularly, and so it will confound human perceptions of change. Areas that never had flash floods will start to experience them, in part because global warming will also increase precipitation. High tides will spill over old bulkheads when there is a full moon. People will start carrying galoshes to work. All the commercial skyscrapers, housing, cultural institutions that currently sit near the waterline will be forced to contend with routine inundation. And cataclysmic floods will become more common, because, to put it simply, if the baseline water level is higher, every storm surge will be that much stronger. Now, a surge of six feet has a one percent chance of happening each year — it’s what climatologists call a “100 year” storm. By 2050, if sea-level rise happens as rapidly as many scientists think it will, today’s hundred-year floods will become five times more likely, making mass destruction a once-a-generation occurrence. Like a stumbling boxer, the city will try to keep its guard up, but the sea will only gain strength.
No New Yorker, of course, needs to be reminded of the ocean’s fearsome power — not since Hurricane Sandy. But Jacob began trying to sound the alarm about the risk more than a decade ago. He sent students into the New York subways with barometers to measure their elevation, and produced a 2008 report for the MTA, warning that many lines would flood with a storm surge of between seven and 13 feet. He urged policymakers to “muster the courage to think the almost unthinkable” and install flood defenses while considering whether, over the long term, climate change might necessitate radical alterations to the transit system, like moving back to elevated tracks. In 2011, while working on a government panel, Jacob produced a study that mapped how subway tunnels would be inundated in the event of a hurricane. The next year, he was proved right. After Sandy, Jacob was hailed as a prophet.
The Lake of Shining Waters is an alternate name for Cavendish Beach's MacNeill's Pond, a fresh water pond separated from the Gulf by a single line of sand dunes and connected to it by a single stream. This alternate name comes from Anne of Green Gables, after a pond that Anne Shirley saw as Matthew Cuthbert took her to her new home at Green Gables. The pond that actually inspired L.M. Montgomery appears to have been located further west, at Park Corner, but this particular pond is a lovely one.