- Robert Benzie notes that Ontario tenants will soon have greater protection against eviction, including compensation.
- In the aftermath of the successful Parkdale tenants' strike, Jonathan Robart provides resources for the interested.
- Ellen Brait notes that making front yards in Brockton Village into vegetable gardens is a thing. I approve.
- John Tory wants the Ontario government to reconsider a tax structure that threatens to end Yonge Street businesses. Too late?
- NOW Toronto notes the huge impact of the departure of Jennifer Keesmaat on the city of Toronto. Who will be next?
- At Spacing, John Lorinc notes that Lilie Zendel, head of Street ART Toronto, is leaving her successful public art job behind.
- Julien Gignac writes about Andrew O'Connor's pirate radio broadcasting, based from Parkdale.
- On how St. James Cathedral preserves in its archives a guest book signed by Diana, Charles, and their children.
- Why, as Canadaland reports, would The Globe and Mail get rid of Tabatha Southey and Leah McLaren? (And keep Margaret Wente?)
- In The Globe and Mail, Marcus Gee looks at how the new high-rise CityPlace district, on the waterfront, is becoming a neighbourhood.
- Steve Munro celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Spadina streetcar, here and here.
- Justin Ling at Vice reports on the new disappearances of queer men in Toronto that have left the community on edge.
- At the Toronto Star, Ben Spurr notes that the bike route at Bathurst and Adelaide, overcrowded, is going to be improved.
- Aeryn Pfaff describes at Torontoist the historic and continuing important of Hanlan's beach for the queer community of Toronto.
- Tenzin Nawang Tekan describes the importance of the mono for Tibetans and Tibetan-Canadians, starting in Parkdale.
- Johann Hari writes for Open Democracy about what may be the beginning of the end of the drug war in Germany.
- I am not in agreement with Joseph Couture's argument in NOW Toronto that the Internet has ended gay communities. (Convince me.)
- Samantha Edwards reports in NOW Toronto controversy regarding the Parkdale feminist street art event. Was it really intersectional?
- James Cooray Smith wonders--or "wonders"--why some Doctor Who fans are so upset with a woman portraying the Doctor.
- In MacLean's, chief Perry Bellegarde argues that more Canadians should be concerned with the too-many deaths of young First Nations people in Thunder Bay.
- The National Post tells the story of how Australian senator Larissa Walters had to unexpectedly resign her position on account of her Canadian birth.
- Via James Nicoll, a paper claiming evidence of human presence in northern Australia, in Madjedbebe, 65k years ago.
- National Geographic tells of the peculiar way some Gulf of Mexico dolphins prepare their catfish. Is it cultural, culinary even?
- Steve Munro shares photos of the ongoing reconstruction of Dundas and Victoria, on the 505 Dundas streetcar route.
- blogTO notes that the steady increase in rental prices in Toronto came to a halt this month.
- John Lorinc at Spacing starts a series speculating on the safety of Toronto hi-rises for seniors.
- Torontoist reports on the achievements and the controversy of a feminist street art event in Parkdale.
- In an old NOW Toronto article from March, Lisa Ferguson writes about how a neighbourhood land trust hopes to control prices in Parkdale.
- The Globe and Mail's Jill Mahoney and Justin Giovannetti note a recent study suggesting that less than 5% of home sales in the Toronto area are to foreign buyers.
- The Globe and Mail's Carolyn Ireland notes that, in a fluctuating market, homeowners are caught between pressures to buy and to sell.
- NOW Toronto's Sheila Block argues that, among others, the Bank of Canada needs to prepare for a housing crash.
- The Toronto Star's Jennifer Pagliaro notes that Toronto Community Housing has been ordered to close no more units. No word on where the money will come from.
- With news that Toronto police is now treating the disappearance of Andrew Kinsman from his Cabbagetown a week ago as suspicious, the search for Kinsman is taking on new importance. Please, if you can help in any way, let Toronto police or his friends--anybody--know.
- The Toronto Star's Hina Alam reports on the huge crush over the Canada Day weekend to see the World's Largest Rubber Duck.
- The Parkdale Villager's Hilary Caton reports on the push to make West Queen West a protected district.
- The National Post shares the Canadian Press' poll reporting on general anxiety, including among the well-off, on affordable housing in Canada.
- The Globe and Mail's Kenny Sharpe writes about controversy at Ryerson University over the legacy of founder Egerton Ryerson.
- The New York Times' Michael Wilson tells the sad story of how a woman murdered in Harlem was only identified 47 years later.
- In NOW Toronto, Gelek Badheytsang writes about the complexities surrounding the visit of the 17th Karmapa to Tibetan-heavy Parkdale.
- Novak Jankovic writes in MacLean's that there are real declines in the Toronto real estate market, but not enough to set a trend.
- The Toronto Star's Jackie Hong reports that protecting Bluffer's Park from the waves of Lake Ontario could also wreck an east-end surfing haunt.
- The National Post reports on how the Ontario NDP claims, probably correctly, that the Wynne Liberals are stealing their ideas. Good for them, I say.
- Universe Today's Matt Williams notes a study reporting that life on Mars' surface is a much greater risk factor for cancer than previously thought.
- Seth Miller argues that efficient electric cars will push Big Oil through the trauma of Big Coal in the 2020s.
- Torontoist's Tamara Yelland reports on the intensification of the rent strike in Parkdale aimed against Metcap.
- The Toronto Star's Tess Kalinowski notes that the market for detached homes in Toronto is facing unmanageable levels of demand.
- Torontoist's David Stokes makes the case that suburbs should allow homes in residential districts to be converted into businesses.
Toronto Life's Cody Punter shared brief interviews with a view of the people taking part in this month's rent strike in Parkdale.
On May 1, hundreds of people took to the streets of Parkdale to protest rent increases at a handful of apartment towers managed by MetCap, a major landlord in the neighbourhood.
Ontario law normally prevents landlords of pre-1991 buildings from raising rents by more than a low, guideline percentage every 12 months, but MetCap has applied to raise rents higher than the guideline in several of its Parkdale buildings. In response, some tenants are threatening a rent strike, during which they’ll withhold rent payments to MetCap until the company agrees to put a halt to future rent increases and address tenant grievances. We spoke with some MetCap renters in Parkdale to find out how they’re feeling about all this. (MetCap president Brent Merrill didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment.)
Spacing Toronto's Chris Bateman looks at the history of South Parkdale, a part of the neighbourhood of the same name that got obliterated in the mid-20th century by the construction of the Gardiner.
No Toronto neighbourhood paid for the Gardiner Expressway quite like Parkdale.
Before construction of the lakefront highway in 1958, the land south of Springhurst Avenue and the rail tracks was just like the rest of Parkdale: residential, consisting of mostly detached homes on spacious lots.
At the time, Dunn and Jameson Avenues passed over the rail tracks south to the waterfront and a tangle of smaller streets such as Laburnam and Starr Avenues, Empress Crescent, and Hawthorne Terrace intersected them.
South Parkdale was distinct enough to have its own railway station near the present-day foot of Close Avenue.
The first major road to penetrate the neighbourhood was Lake Shore Boulevard, which snaked south of Exhibition Place along the waterfront toward the Humber River in the 1920s.
Rignam Wangkhang writes for NOW Toronto about the disputes of the tenants of Parkdale tower 87 Jameson Avenue with their landlord, MetCap. Between steep rent increases and an apparent lack of maintenance, tenant advocates argue that MetCap is trying to drive its tenants out so the tower could be gentrified.
Every day brings uncertainty for Diane Rajaram.
Although she’s been living at 87 Jameson since 1977, Rajaram isn’t even sure what days she’ll have running water.
“I work nights, and when I come home sometimes I don’t have water. I have to buy bottled water to wash my mouth,” says Rajaram, 63.
Last Wednesday, February 8, Rajaram rallied with fellow residents outside the offices of the Landlord and Tenant Board on St. Clair East to protest a request by apartment manager MetCap Living Management Inc. to raise rents 3 per cent above the 2 per cent allowed by provincial guidelines for each of the next three years. The company says the increases are to cover the cost of balcony renovations as well as upgrades to the building’s boiler room and garage at the 91-unit building.
But tenants say the proposed increases would hike their rents (currently about $1,000 a month) by several hundred dollars a year, which is simply unaffordable – and unfair given MetCap's refusal to undertake long overdue repairs, including to properly heat the building in winter or deal with ongoing pest control problems. The tenants, who have since February 1 refused to pay rent, describe a climate of disrespect for them from building management.
The Toronto Star's Emily Mathieu describes how the residents of 87 Jameson Avenue, a Parkdale apartment tower with a controversial record of maintenance and many tenants in poverty, are protesting plans for sustained high rent increases over the next several years.
For Sebastienne Incorvaia, what she pays for rent could mean the difference between putting food on the table and going hungry.
“It is hard, you know, the difference is do I buy all the food I need or do I eat cheese and toast for a lot of days?” says Incorvaia, 63, who has lived at 87 Jameson Ave. for five years and like other residents of the Parkdale building is facing a hefty rent increase.
Incorvaia and a group of fellow tenants are pushing back at efforts to make them pay more to live in a building they say is in disrepair, with water, heating, bug and maintenance problems and inaccessible to people with mobility issues.
On Wednesday, they took their grievances to the sidewalk for a rally outside the offices of the Landlord and Tenant Board, where they formally opposed an application by building manager MetCap Living Management Inc. to raise the rent 3 per cent above provincial guidelines, each year for three years, to cover the costs of renovations made to the 91-unit building.
While such increases are legal, they must be approved by the Landlord and Tenant Board. Tenant advocates say they are sometimes used to push out low-income tenants so landlords can renovate and jack up the rent.
The Toronto Star's Isabel Teotonio reports on the closure of two No Frills discount grocery stores in the Toronto area, including one in Parkdale, and how the resulting shortage of inexpensive food is causing all kinds of unneeded strains on budgets and diets.
A small group of people huddled in the parking lot of a closed No Frills wait for a shuttle bus to go grocery shopping.
Among them is Chris Wood, 60, who has bronchitis. He should be in bed, but is standing in the cold because Rocca’s No Frills at Coxwell Ave. and Gerrard St. E. closed for repairs in May.
Wood lives nearby, but is waiting for a free company bus to take him to another No Frills. He has little choice. Local green grocers are too expensive. He doesn’t own a car. And he can’t afford to regularly ride the TTC.
“It’s a hassle,” says Wood, who gets by on about $900 a month from Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). “Being able to shop at a grocery store with lower costs, like No Frills, is quite important for me.”
Two other No Frills stores in the GTA have also recently closed, shedding light on the need for access to affordable and healthy food.
Vi’s No Frills in Parkdale closed in early December for immediate roof repairs — the landlord is hopeful it will reopen in the spring. And Linda’s No Frills in Port Credit, Mississauga, permanently closed in late December when a leasing agreement couldn’t be reached. That site will be redeveloped to include a condo, commercial and office space.
blogTO's Amy Grief describes how the institution of the community land trust, organized by neighbourhood organizations to buy up available land in different places with the goal of ensuring it will be used for affordable housing and the like, is starting to appear in Toronto.
[O]rganizations in both Parkdale and Kensington Market are trying to use the community land trust model in order to fight neighbourhood gentrification and rent increases (in both commercial and residential properties).
Like other community land trusts - located in the United States and other parts of Canada, including in Hamilton - the ones in Parkdale and Kensington Market seek to own land and then lease it like-minded organizations who can help secure affordable housing and green space.
"We want to own real parcels of land, own the deed to them and we want to determine collectively how that land is used to meet community needs," says Joshua Barndt, the development coordinator at the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust.
He grew up in the west side neighbourhood and joined the PNLT after the non-profit organization got a Trillium Grant in 2014, which allowed it to hire staff. He says anyone who lives or works in Parkdale can become a PNLT member, but the group's governed by an elected board of directors.
Barndt explains that the PNLT wants to focus on securing affordable housing as commercial spaces as well as projects to protect food security in the neighbourhood. Fittingly, the organization's in the process of getting its first piece of land: the Milky Way Garden behind the Parkdale Library.
“The land trust’s role is to hold and secure the site and make it affordably available,” says Barndt. The PNLT hopes to use the Milky Way plot for urban agriculture initiatives operated by the non-profit Greenest City.
blogTO's Derek Flack shows how condos are starting to expand west of Dufferin into the heart of Parkdale.
A longstanding question for observers of Toronto's urban landscape has been how long Parkdale can remain a condo-free zone. With the profound amount of development taking place on the eastern side of the Queen Street Subway and the steady increase of popular restaurants and bars, it seems inevitable that condos will infiltrate the neighbourhood.
Concerns about gentrification have been circling for over a decade, and the Parkdale has steadily become an entertainment destination despite considerable efforts by local councillor Gord Perks to maintain a balance between the rise of new businesses and the established vibe of the neighbourhood.
In some sense, new condos (rather than loft conversions) have already breached the dividing line between West Queen West and Parkdale when Q Loft was build at the northwest corner of Queen and Dufferin in 2014, but the real question is when this trend will move further west.
Tentatively speaking, the answer is now. Block Developments has proposed a seven storey development at 57 Brock Avenue on the site currently occupied by the Beer Store. Residents weren't happy with the project at the pre-application meeting in the spring, but the project is proceeding through the various stages of planning.
NOW Toronto's Kevin Ritchie describes the Great Hall's renovations.
Queen West venue the Great Hall will officially relaunch on September 21 after two years of renovation.
After Marioca Properties took ownership of the 126-year-old building at Queen and Dovercourt, Triangle Developments began a $3.5-$4 million overhaul to fix accessibility and capacity issues and restore its Victorian-era architectural details.
Port Perry-based company Adamson installed a new sound system and lighting rigs with moving fixtures in both the Main Hall and the downstairs venue formerly known as the Black Box. (A new name will be announced next month.) The builders have added more exits and washrooms, expanding the capacity from the 200s to roughly 500 people in the Main Hall and 420 in the Black Box.
An elevator has been installed to carry both patrons and equipment from street level to both rooms.
“There was a time when someone booking a show would go, ‘Oh my god, I’m gonna play on this mediocre sound system with a few LED lights,’” says Lina Beaudin, head of business development and programming at the Great Hall. “They would have to bring in all this equipment to make a show amazing. Now it’s ‘Come on in and play.’”
- blogTO describes how Parkdale's Harry's diner is going to be revamped.
- The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly describes the joys of making friends through the blogosphere.
- Centauri Dreams looks at Kuiper Belt object Niku and its strange orbit.
- The Map Room Blog looks at the controversy over Google's map of Palestine.
- Marginal Revolution notes how Faroese women leave their home islands at a disproportionately high rate.
- Peter Rukavina describes time spent with his son kayaking Charlottetown harbour.
- Strange Maps depicts</> the shift of the global economic centre of the world.
- Window on Eurasia describes the decay of provincial Karelia.
The banner was still up when I went to The Beaver Saturday night. The Canadian Press' Laura La Rose tells the story in the Toronto Star.
A Toronto bar is paying tribute to victims of the Orlando gay nightclub shooting by featuring a replica of the venue’s logo in its window.
The idea came from Rob Shostak, a Toronto-based designer who works for an architectural firm.
The 34-year-old is regular at The Beaver on Queen Street West in Toronto.
Shostak posted a photo of the exterior of the venue on his Instagram page on Wednesday. The replica of the Pulse nightclub logo is visible in the front window.
The caption accompanying Shostak’s photo reads: “This is Pulse. Every queer space is Pulse. When one of our safe spaces is attacked, all of our safe spaces are attacked.”
Shostak said he messaged The Beaver’s manager about the idea of putting up the sign and his suggestion was well received.
His Instagram photo is here.
Derek Flack's blogTO report is fascinating. I will definitely be doing an expedition out to the Milky Way.
Running just south of Queen St. to the west of Dufferin, Milky Way is one of those Toronto laneways worth writing a love letter about. There's excellent graffiti, people regularly use it as a quieter alternative to walking/riding on Queen, and over the years various art spaces have called the place home.
Now, the laneway could also be home to an urban garden. The Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust (PNLT) & Greenest City have joined forces to acquire the space at 87 Milky Way in an effort to set up a community garden here. The two groups are launching a fundraising campaign later this week for part of the sum required to take possession of the land.