- James Dubro highlights at Torontoist the disappearing queer men of Toronto. Is a serial killer at work?
- At the Toronto Star, Paul Hunter reports on how the Toronto Islands have been reopened starting today.
- John Lorinc's investigation of high-rise safety in Toronto is alarming, and ends here and here.
- Scott Wheeler looks at the controversial mounted cow sculpture of Cathedraltown, in Markham.
- Victoria Gibson reports on the $150 million a year spent by the federal government at Pickering on property never used to build an airport.
- This story of a TTC worker who took a day's fares home with him, where they got confiscated by police, and then compensated by union pressure for having been suspended without pay ... wow.
- Edward Keenan makes the point that cost overruns for city infrastructure need to be taken seriously. The quoted price for a park staircase is just off.
- Daily Xtra notes the sad state of repairs of the rainbow crosswalks of Toronto.
- CBC reports on Twyn Rivers Drive, a Scarborough route some say should be marked as off-limits for heavy vehicles.
- NOW Toronto reports on how Mississauga is starting to outshine Toronto in the department of bike lanes.
- Torontoist's Tricia Wood writes about the almost impressive dysfunction at Metrolinx.
- CBC reports on a Scarborough group trying to get the police to contact neighbourhood groups re: missing people.
- In the Toronto Star, Kristyn Wong-Tam reports Toronto police do not believe disappearances of men in Church and Wellesley are connected.
- VICE tells a shocking story of a man allegedly beaten by a policeman with a steel pipe, blinded in an eye. Coverup?
After seven years of vacancy, the Maple Leaf Gardens building on Church and Carlton that had once housed the home area of the Toronto Maple Leafs became a Loblaws grocery store in 2011. Because of its size and its storied location, Loblaws 60 Carlton is arguably one of the chain's flagship stores. Because of its location on Church Street, Carlton Street in fact being one of several possible southern termini of Church and Wellesley, the store's merchandise is also regularly tricked out in the rainbow colours of Pride when this season comes about.
- In the Toronto Star, Emma Teitel wonders how long Church and Wellesley will last as a hub as the queer community develops and migrates away.
- Trevor Corkum, also in the Toronto Star, explores the important role of the Glad Day Bookshop in modern Toronto's gay and literary scenes.
- Brian Bradley tells the story of Craig Russell, an early drag queen who became a star and started a still-living cultural tradition of drag performances in Toronto.
- In NOW Toronto, Vaughn Grey tells the story of how he successfully escaped Jamaica to claim refugee status in Toronto.
I spent yesterday evening down with a friend taking in Pride Toronto down at Church and Wellesley, wandering up and down the streets dense with people and vendors and venturing over into
Barbara Hall Park and the AIDS Memorial. It was a lovely evening, made all the more so by a late evening sky coloured in rainbow pastels.
Barbara Hall Park and the AIDS Memorial. It was a lovely evening, made all the more so by a late evening sky coloured in rainbow pastels.
Urban Toronto's Greg Lipinski reports that, on the northwest corner of Church and Wellesley, a tall tower will rise. How tall? The developers do not know. Right now, they are concentrated on the question of how to design the streetfront podium, the very base of the tower.
When One Properties purchased buildings at the northwest corner of Church and Wellesley, the very heart of Toronto's gay community, Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong Tam was ready to hear about another overly tall, dense, boxy development with very little regard to how it will be a benefit to the established community. When she asked One Properties to host a consultation meeting prior to them making a re-zoning application, she was shocked to learn that the developers did not want to proceed with only one meeting, but host three different "pre-app" meetings. This would allow members of the Church & Wellesley community to voice their thoughts and suggestions on how a project here could reach its full potential.
The ultimate vision of the development is to have a 4-storey, 18-metre-high podium, animated with fine grain retail at grade, and reflective of existing retailers in the Village. The podium would also be set-back from the street, allowing more room for pedestrians on the sidewalk, in addition to allowing for more sunlight. A boutique hotel would be on the third and fourth levels of the podium, while the second level would be dedicated to the community. A rental apartment tower would rise from the western side of the site; height scale and massing still to be determined.
A handful of notable firms are involved in this project. Renowned planner Ken Greenberg of Greenberg Consultants is acting as the facilitator for these meetings, while SvN Architects + Planners have been leading roundtable discussions. Claude Cormier & Associés have been chosen as the landscape design firm, with projects in Toronto including the new Berczy Park restoration, the parkette at the Four Seasons Hotel in Yorkville, and several more. Bousfields is tackling planning work, while Copenhagen's 3XN Architects has been chosen to lead the overall design.
blogTO's Phil Villeneuve shares the story of Toronto's Glad Day Bookshop, the oldest GLBT library in the world still operating.
Very few book stores in the world have been fought off widespread hate, battled censorship at the Supreme Court, and acted as home base for an entire community of people. Toronto's Glad Day bookshop has, which is why it's even more special that it's not only Toronto's oldest bookstore, but the world's oldest LGBT bookstore.
Glad Day took the title after New York's Oscar Wilde bookstore closed in 2009 because of low sales and high rent. That shop opened in 1967.
Glad Day was opened in 1970 by Jearld Moldenhauer out of his home in the Annex. The residential space also doubled as the office for The Body Politic, a gay and lesbian political paper, which eventually morphed into Xtra and then to the now online-only DailyXtra.com.
After folks moved in and out of the home, Moldenhauer and a group men bought a place in Cabbagetown at 138 Seaton Street and operated the shop out of there.
It was a time when a gay and lesbian bookstore could exist out of someone's living room and word spread wide enough for the city's queer population to know exactly where to go — all very much on the down low and in fear of violence.
- blogTO notes concerns in Church and Wellesley about a spike of reported anti-gay violence.
- Crooked Timber looks at the shambolic mess that is the Republican healthcare plan.
- Language Hat links to an article concerned with the question of how to try cracking the Indus Valley script.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the malevolence and incompetence of the Trump Administration are record-breaking.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes that the proposed border tax on Mexican imports is likely workable for all the major actors.
- Strange Maps examines with maps how families of landowners centuries old still own huge swathes of downtown London.
- Une heure de peine's Denis Colombi examines, in French and in the French political context, the idea of a guaranteed minimum income.
- The Volokh Conspiracy shares Emma Lazarus' poem "The New Colossus" welcoming refugees to American shores.
- Window on Eurasia notes the concerns of one Tatar historian that Russian federalism is being undermined and looks at the consequences of Putin's chat with Trump.
NOW Toronto's Natalia Manzocco describes another good reason to go to Glad Day Bookshop: Roncesvalles diner Cardinal Rule is setting up shop in the location's kitchen. I really like this addition to Glad Day's business model, not least because the idea of indie businesses collaborating for greater profit for everyone has a lot of appeal for me.
Even with all the cultural clout that comes from 47 years in business, Glad Day Bookshop had to face up to a tough truth last year: It's tough for a business to survive on book sales alone.
With a move to spacious new digs in the heart of the Church-Wellesley Village (499 Church, at Wellesley, 416-961-4161, gladdaybookshop.com) at the end of 2016, the world's oldest surviving gay bookstore gained a few new titles – bar, cafe, and multi-use event space.
Its latest sobriquet: restaurant. Before the shelves of books (several of which are on wheels – all the better to make room for dance parties!) were brought in, the ground-floor unit was home to Byzantium, a martini bar and Continental kitchen that served the community for 23 years.
"Byzantium was mostly known as an eating spot. It was a bit of a martini bar in the 90s, but in the last 10 years, most of the people came for the food," CEO Michael Erickson says. The space was already fully outfitted for cooking and backing, and though meal service was always in the cards for the new space, they weren't sure if they were up to the task themselves.
"When we talked about what we wanted to do for food, we were like, ‘We want it to be like Cardinal Rule'," Erickson says. "And then we thought, 'Why don’t we just ask them?'" Looks like it all worked out. Last week, the beloved queer-owned Roncy diner (co-owners Katie James and chef Marta Kusel are a married couple) debuted its first slate of menu items out of Glad Day.
James Goldie's Daily Xtra article caught my eye on the trip out, not least because of Cannibis Culture owner Marc Emery's comparison of the plights of LGBT people and marijuana smokers.
The smoke is beginning to clear following an online firestorm that appears to have spilled into the street — over a marijuana shop in the Church-Wellesley Village, with allegations it’s been attracting a clientele unfriendly to LGBT people.
On Jan 3, 2017, the Cannabis Culture shop on Church Street received a one-star public review on its Facebook page, alleging that some of its customers have routinely been making homophobic and transphobic comments, both in the store and outside, causing some LGBT community members to feel unsafe in the village. Three days later, someone splashed blue paint on the shop’s storefront.
Joey Viola, who organizes FML Mondays each week next door at Flash, wrote the review, kicking off the controversy.
“When I had my patrons coming up to me and confiding in me that when they go outside for cigarettes or whatever they’re being harassed by certain loiterers that are outside next door, that prompted me to take a closer look,” Viola says. “Now I don’t see it to be [Cannabis Culture’s] fault, however, they are bringing in some clientele that are not necessarily down with the LGBT lifestyle.”
[. . . Marc] Emery, who is featured prominently in Albert Nerenberg’s 2005 documentary Escape to Canada, which examines the battles to legalize both gay marriage and marijuana, says he was hurt that LGBT opponents to his store’s presence in the neighbourhood don't stand in solidarity with the cannabis community, given the persecution both have experienced historically.
“We’re still being arrested every day in Canada. We still haven’t had any equal rights for 50 years, the cannabis community.”
CBC News' Michael Smee reports on the impending new renovations of the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.
The world's largest independent lesbian and gay archive — which happens to be right here in Toronto — is about to get a little bit larger.
At its last council meeting before the Christmas break, councillors voted to free up about $50-thousand to renovate the century old building on Isabella Street so that it's accessible.
That means adding ramps, bigger bathroom spaces and a working elevator.
But improvements to the building aside, the collection itself — which includes everything from political buttons to posters, to the shorts worn by Olympic boxer Mark Leduc — is getting bigger all the time.
Aside from the standard archival fare — clippings, photos and periodicals — the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives also includes less traditional artifacts.
"We've got buttons, we've got tee-shirts, we've got banners from organizations," says archive president Dennis Findlay. "We've got peoples' diaries; tiaras, gowns, leather material. The list goes on and on."
At 24 Hours, Shaun Proulx reports on fear of a new crime wave in Church and Wellesley, perhaps linked to a new marijuana dispensary on Church Street. People who live in the area, what's your take?
This week, in my backyard, which happens to be in the heart of Toronto’s LGBT community, many are understandably outraged following the physical assault of a young gay man on Church Street, sacred ground and assumed safe space for LGBT people for decades.
On social media, where dialogue about the matter is lively, to say the least, blame is being heavily laid on the “sketch” element a recently opened business is said to be attracting, and, therefore, on the business itself.
Cannabis Culture, a recreational marijuana dispensary owned by Marc “Prince of Pot” Emery, opened its doors September 1st, 2016.
It is attracting, according to anecdotes, a shady customer base, some of whom are alleged to have harassed and bullied LGBT people within Cannabis Culture, while others are alleged to have attacked them verbally and physically out on Church Street itself.
This sandwich board on Church Street outside the door of Glad Day Bookshop cheered me up last week. Since its move to the heart of Church and Wellesley, I've been trying to go to Glad Day as often as I can. It's a good bookshop and a great space. Plus, who doesn't like a bookshop where you can get pints?