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  • 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.

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Looking south at the Dominico Field baseball diamond, Christie Pit #toronto #christiepit #parks #baseball #evening


Dominico Field, in the northeast of Christie Pit, can look rather impressive when seen from the northern lip of the park on Barton.
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  • John Michael McGrath argues at TVO that leaving Toronto for Ontario cities with cheaper housing misses the issue of jobs. For starters.

  • Michelle McQuigge looks at how the CNIB is helping make Yonge and St. Clair accessible to the blind.

  • In The Globe and Mail, Erik Heinrich looks at how a mid-rise office tower at 1133 Yonge Street is being transformed into condos.

  • The Toronto Star reports that the condo/hotel tower at 325 Bay Street no longer bears the name of Trump. Toronto is free!

  • The end of the Palace Arms rooming house at King and Strachan, Christian Controneo notes at Torontoist, must be seen as terrible for the people who live there.
  • blogTO notes that E. Coli levels on mainland Toronto beaches make them unsafe for swimmers. No lake water this year!

  • blogTO notes that Montréal architect Claude Cormier, designer of HTO and Berczy, will next do a cat-themed park.

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  • Spacing notes how mapping can reveal the extent of flooding on the Toronto Islands.

  • blogTO reports on Boblo Island, home to an amusement park abandoned more than two decades.

  • At NOW Toronto, Richard Longley describes the wonderful scenic new Trillium Park, built on the former Ontario Place grounds.

  • Global News notes how Mississauga is planning to buy old homes in Cooksville to convert into a new central park.

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I was alerted earlier this week by the likes of blogTO to the fact that renovations in Toronto's Grange Park had been completed. Walking over there with a friend after catching the Monday night performance of The Seat Next To The King, we concluded that the work was a success. This marvelous green space in the heart of Toronto, with the Art Gallery of Ontario and its Georgian Grange Manor and Frank Gehry wing of glass blue titanium to the north and OCAD University with its simple stunning Sharp Centre for Design to the east, the refurbished Grange is a relaxing friendly place for people to walk and recharge. The Henry Moore sculptures, Two Large Forms, relocated here from their former location at Dundas and McCaul amid some controversy last year, belong here--indeed, surrounded by organic forms of all sizes and scales, they arguably look better than they did directly on the street.

Entering the Grange Park


Tower


Along the promenade


Tower through trees


Towards the AGO


Playground


Playing amid fountains


Benches


Play


Grange and stairs


Stairs above


Playing on the green grass


Henry Moore, Two Large Forms


Beneath tall trees
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  • The anthropology group blog Savage Minds now has a new name, Anthrodendum.

  • Anthropology.net reports on the first major study of ancient African human DNA. New history is revealed.

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait reports on how gravitational lensing led to the identification of a single star nine billion light-years away. (This is a record.)

  • Centauri Dreams reports the possible detection of a debris disk around pulsar Geminga, augury of future planets perhaps?

  • Dangerous Minds reports on Seoul's Haesindang Park, a park literally full of penises--phallic symbols, at least.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes one analysis arguing for the plausibility of unmanned probes using imaginable technology reaching the ten nearest stars in a century.

  • Imageo shares photos from space of the southern California wildfires.

  • Language Hat shares some stirring poetry in Scots.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reports on the scale of child labour in North Carolina's farm sector.

  • Marginal Revolution thinks that American observers of Putin think, far too much, that he actually has a plan. The degree of chaos in Russia's affairs is apparently being underestimated.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw notes the unsettling rural Americana of photographer Gregory Crewdson.

  • Window on Eurasia notes Zhirinovsky's plan for a sweeping Russian annexation of Ukraine, leaving only the northwest independent.

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The Anne Johnston Courtyard, located in the middle of the Minto Midtown complex, just south of Eglinton on Yonge, is a very nice green space cradled between the complex's two towers. Praised by the likes of The Globe and Mail and blogTO as one of the top hidden public spaces in Toronto since it was opened in 2008, the Anne Johnston Courtyard is an example of a great privately-owned publicly-accessible space. Ryan Starr reported in the Toronto Star in 2010 that this park was an integral part of the design team's environmentally-friendly plans.

Standing in the courtyard of MintoMidtown, Andrew Pride beams with delight as he lists off the property's various green design elements.

The vice-president of Minto's "green team" notes the LED exterior lighting, which provides ample illumination but uses minimal energy.

He directs his visitor's attention to chairs made from recycled steel, and to a rainwater-fed fountain with wind sensors that ensure the water doesn't blow all over passersby in the event of a sudden gust.

Pride points out that the limestone used throughout the courtyard is locally sourced, which cut down on transportation-related emissions.

"The courtyard is a great gathering place," he says of the two-tower highrise condo on Yonge St. just south of Eglinton Ave. "It's the heart of this sustainable community."


As Shawn Micallef observed, inside this well-designed park it's almost possible to forget that one's in the middle of a high-rise condo complex.

Entering the Anne Johnston Courtyard


Fountain and trees


Looking south


Among the potted trees


At play


Carefully green


Looking north
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  • Sarah-Joyce Battersby writes for Metro Toronto about how civic activists need to look before the downtown for paradigms of sustainable growth.

  • Steve Kupferman argues at Toronto Life that Toronto is not yet on the brink of a housing market collapse.

  • The Globe and Mail's Alex Bozikovic describes how the Bentway, a public space underneath the Gardiner by Fort York, is an unexpected success.

  • Scott Wheeler notes in the Toronto Star how the World's Largest Rubber Duck successfully drove traffic to the waterfront.

  • Jennifer Pagliaro notes in the Toronto Star what I think is a fundamentally misconceived opposition to a newly approved condo tower at Yonge and Eglinton.

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  • Torontoist's Emily Macrae notes the importance that parks will have for a Toronto with an aging population.

  • The Toronto Star's Ben Spurr reports that Siemens is challenging Metrolinx's award of the contract for new streetcars to Alstom.

  • Global News shares arguments from business owners that the floodwaters around the Toronto Islands has fallen enough to reopen them.

  • CBC News' Justin Li reports that Ward's Island, easternmost of the Toronto Islands, actually is open for business.

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  • 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.

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I went down after work to the Toronto waterfront, to HTO Park, to take a look at the World's Largest Rubber Duck brought to moor just off that park's surface by the Redpath Waterfront Festival. It was huge, easily looming over even neighbouring boats. Though it was controversial and remains confusing--I do not see what kind of connection the World's Largest Rubber Duck has with #Canada150--it was cute. Certainly the dense throngs of people crowded onto the park, taking photos of the duck and of others and themselves, suggests it was a huge hit.

The World's Biggest Rubber Duckie #toronto #htopark #lakeontario #worldsbiggestrubberduckie #rubberduck #rubberduckie #yellow


The World's Biggest Rubber Duckie #toronto #htopark #lakeontario #worldsbiggestrubberduckie #rubberduck #rubberduckie #yellow


The World's Biggest Rubber Duckie #toronto #htopark #lakeontario #worldsbiggestrubberduckie #rubberduck #rubberduckie #yellow


The World's Biggest Rubber Duckie #toronto #htopark #lakeontario #worldsbiggestrubberduckie #rubberduck #rubberduckie #yellow


The World's Biggest Rubber Duckie #toronto #htopark #lakeontario #worldsbiggestrubberduckie #rubberduck #rubberduckie #yellow


The World's Biggest Rubber Duckie #toronto #htopark #lakeontario #worldsbiggestrubberduckie #rubberduck #rubberduckie #yellow


The World's Biggest Rubber Duckie #toronto #htopark #lakeontario #worldsbiggestrubberduckie #rubberduck #rubberduckie #yellow


The World's Biggest Rubber Duckie #toronto #htopark #lakeontario #worldsbiggestrubberduckie #rubberduck #rubberduckie #yellow


The World's Biggest Rubber Duckie #toronto #htopark #lakeontario #worldsbiggestrubberduckie #rubberduck #rubberduckie #yellow


The World's Biggest Rubber Duckie #toronto #htopark #lakeontario #worldsbiggestrubberduckie #rubberduck #rubberduckie #yellow


(Yes, I was one of those selfie takers, too.)

Me and the World's Biggest Rubber Duck #toronto #htopark #lakeontario #worldsbiggestrubberduckie #rubberduck #rubberduckie #yellow
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  • Nikhil Sharma at Torontoist looks at the latest City of Toronto TransformTO report on adapting to climate change.

  • The Toronto Star Fatima Syed looks at how community organizations in Toronto are getting involved in running local parks.

  • Politico.eu notes how Malta, despite having plenty of sun, is having difficulty getting solar energy (and other alternative energy) up and running.

  • The Inter Press Service examines the potential complexities involved in China's involvement in Argentina's nuclear energy program.

  • VICE reports on the desperate need to get Ojibwa consent before building a nuclear waste disposal site on their traditional lands.

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Early Wednesday evening, I had a lovely stroll north up the Humber River from Bloor, passing through first Étienne Brûlé Park then Magwood Park on the eastern shore of the Humber. These parks were well-populated, by people taking in the warmth of the sun and by Canada geese basking by the shore.

Paddling down the muddy Humber


Slipping down to Étienne Brûlé Park


Old Mill Bridge from the north


Canada geese by the shore (1)


Canada geese by the shore (2)


Thundering Humber


South-flowing Humber by the mud


Thundering


Towards Home Smith Park


Flow
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Yesterday morning before work, I ventured over to the rooftop patio of the Yonge Eglinton Centre. The views that it offers of midtown Toronto from three stories up are lovely, but I like the park itself, a green space surrounded by the towers of the YEC.

Greenery on the roof (1)


Greenery on the roof (2)


Looking north


Looking up


Greenery on the roof (3)
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  • Lisa Coxon of Toronto Life shares eleven photos tracking Toronto's queer history back more than a century.

  • Michelle McQuigge reports for the Toronto Star that the Luminous Veil does save lives. I would add that it is also beautiful.

  • In The Globe and Mail, Marcus Gee thinks it makes perfect sense for there to be a dedicated streetcar corridor on King Street.

  • Ben Spurr describes a new plan for a new GO Transit bus station across from Union Station.

  • Emily Mathieu reported in the Toronto Star on how some Kensington Market tenants seem to have been pushed out for an Airbnb hostel.

  • In The Globe and Mail, Irish-born John Doyle explores the new Robert Grassett Park, built in honour of the doctor who died trying to save Irish refugees in 1847.

  • Justin Ling in VICE tells the story of three gay men who went missing without a trace in Toronto just a few years ago. What happened?
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  • Caroline Alphonso reports in The Globe and Mail about how Toronto Islands students have been displaced to school on the mainland, in Regent Park.
  • Robert Benzie and Victoria Gibson describe in the Toronto Star a new waterfront park in a revitalized part of Ontario Place.
  • Torontoist's Keiran Delamont notes how Metrolinx's sharing of data with the police fits into the broader concept of the modern surveillance state.
  • Steve Munro tracks the evolution, or perhaps more properly devolution, of streetcar service from 1980 to 2016.

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  • The Atlantic's Ed Yong notes the discovery of dated Homo sapiens fossils 300k years old in Morocco. (!)

  • The Atlantic reports on Twitter-driven science that has highlighted the remarkable visual acuity of the spider.

  • The Economist notes that multilingual societies can encounter more difficulties prospering than unilingual ones.

  • Torontoist notes a Thunder Bay park devoted to the idea of First Nations reconciliation.

  • The Inter Press Service reports on how gardens grown under solar tents in Bolivia can improve nutrition in poor highland villages.

  • The Toronto Star's Christopher Hume trolls Rob Ford's supporters over the new, well-designed, Etobicoke Civic Centre.Metro Toronto calculates just how many avocado toasts would go into a mortgage in the GTA.

  • MacLean's hosts a collection of twenty photos from gritty Niagara Falls, New York.

  • The National Post shows remarkable, heartbreaking photos from the flooded Toronto Islands.

  • Edward Keenan argues that the Toronto Islands' flooding should help prompt a local discussion on climate change.

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  • Metro Toronto's David Hains reports on a new interactive map of Trinity-Bellwoods Park designed to help users find other people in that large complex space.


  • You’ll never have to spend 20 minutes trying to find your friend in Trinity-Bellwoods Park again.

    New York-based cartographer (and former Toronto Star employee) William Davis loves Toronto, and so he knows this is one of the city’s great summer frustrations. It’s because of the geographically complicated, but very popular park, that he and Tom Weatherburn made an interactive map for Torontonians to share their location.

    All users need to do is drag and drop a “here” pin on a map of the park. It can be accessed for free at the MapTO website, a personal project with Weatherburn that features quirky and interesting maps on a variety of city subjects.

    The Trinity-Bellwoods map is overlaid with easy-to-read icons, including a dog at the dog bowl, a baseball at the baseball diamond, and beer mugs where people like to hang out.


  • The Toronto Star's Jennifer Pagliaro describes the catastrophic state of repair of far too many of the houses of Toronto Community Housing.


  • Half of Toronto Community Housing developments will be in “critical” condition in the next five years without additional funding for repairs, according to an internal database provided to the Star.

    Already, the data shows more than 30 social-housing properties are in serious disrepair. Of 364 developments — which include houses and groupings of low-rise buildings and towers — 222 developments are ranked in “poor” condition, with dozens edging on critical condition, based on a standard ranking used by the housing corporation.

    Those critical sites are homes for more than 3,000 individuals and families.

    The data shows a pervasive problem at a time when the city is grappling with how to keep thousands of units open with a $1.73-billion funding gap.

    Of the 364 developments, more than 100 were offloaded onto the city by the province more than a decade and a half ago without money needed to cover the repairs. Of the buildings in the critical and poor categories, more than a third were downloaded by the province.


  • Back in August, Yasmine Laarsroui wrote for Torontoist about the potential for the housing co-op model to help solve the Toronto housing crisis.


  • Those affected by the lack of rent controls left young professionals, like reporter Shannon Martin, with no option but to turn to more extreme alternatives, such as couch-surfing.

    Young people seeking more reliable housing options are turning to co-op housing—at least, those lucky enough to get a unit.

    Toronto renter Donald Robert moved into Cabbagetown’s Diane Frankling Co-operative Homes in September 2016 and speaks highly of his experience.

    Robert pays $1,300 for a large two-bedroom unit with access to an underground parking and a small gym, almost $500 cheaper than the average one-bedroom unit in Toronto. Robert explains that, “the best part though has been the community here. Everybody says ‘hi.’”


  • Also back in April, John Lorinc wrote in Spacing about the oft-overlooked musicality of the lost neighbourhood of The Ward.


  • If you try to imagine your way back into the early 20th century streets and laneways of The Ward — the dense immigrant enclave razed to make way for Toronto’s City Hall — you might pick up the sounds of newsies and peddlers hawking their wares, the clanging of the area’s junk and lumber yards, and shrieking children playing on the Elizabeth Street playground north of Dundas.

    Those streets would also reverberate day and night with a jumble of languages — Italian, Yiddish, Chinese. The dialects and accents of these newcomers were considered to be not only “foreign,” but also proof (to the keepers of Toronto’s Anglo-Saxon morality) of the area’s worrisome social and physical failings.

    But despite the fact that many mainstream Torontonians saw The Ward as an impoverished blight on the face of the city, the neighbourhood resonated with energy and culture and music — evidence of the resilience of the stigmatized newcomers who settled there in waves from the late 19th century onward.

    Photographers recorded fiddle players and organ grinders with their hurdy gurdies, playing as mesmerized children listened. After their shifts ended, one 1914 account noted, labourers whiled away their free times playing mandolins or concertinas as they sang rags and the Neapolitan songs so popular at the time.

    “When sleep in crowded rooms seems all but impossible,” journalist Emily Weaver observed in The Globe and Mail in 1910, “the people of ‘The Ward’ are astir till all hours, and the Italians amuse themselves by singing in their rich sweet voices the songs of their far-away homelands or dancing their native dances to the music of a mandolin or guitar in the open roadway beneath the stars.”


  • The Toronto Star's Azzura Lalani describes how the rapid growth of young families in Leslieville threatens to overload local schools. What will the Downtown Relief Line do?


  • As the mother of a 16-month-old boy, Michelle Usprech is looking to leave the Financial District where it’s just “suits and suits and suits,” for a more family friendly vibe, and she’s got her eye on Leslieville.

    But one of Toronto’s most family-friendly neighbourhoods may be a victim of its own success as signs from the Toronto District School Board have cropped up, warning parents in Leslieville their children may not be able to attend their local school because of possible overcrowding, school board spokesperson Ryan Bird confirmed.

    Those signs warn that “due to residential growth, sufficient accommodation may not be available for all students,” despite the school board making “every effort to accommodate students at local schools.”

    [. . .]

    It’s a concern for some parents, including Kerry Sharpe, who lives in Leslieville and has a four-month-old daughter named Eisla.

    “It’s still early days for me,” she said, but, “it is a concern. Even daycare, that’s hard to get into, so I don’t see it getting any better.”
    rfmcdonald: (Default)
    Before the Nightwalking Jane's Walk earlier this month, the last time I had visited Magwood Park by the east shore of the Humber was in 2015, when I visited in the search of old Iroquoian burial mounds. Walking around the park at night, when the only lights were the lights dimly appearing through the trees, was magical.

    IMG_20170506_232642


    IMG_20170506_232825


    IMG_20170506_233744
    rfmcdonald: (photo)
    Yesterday afternoon, I had the good fortune to take a stroll through Toronto's Trinity Bellwoods Park on what was arguably the first day of the year. In that park, adjacent to Queen Street, are a couple dozen cherry trees. Much younger than the ones in High Park and by Robarts Library, these were in full glorious bloom when I saw them.

    Sakura of Trinity-Bellwoods, 1 #toronto #trinitybellwoods #parks #spring #cherryblossom #sakura


    Sakura of Trinity-Bellwoods, 2 #toronto #trinitybellwoods #parks #spring #cherryblossom #sakura


    Sakura of Trinity-Bellwoods, 3 #toronto #trinitybellwoods #parks #spring #cherryblossom #sakura


    Sakura of Trinity-Bellwoods, 4 #toronto #trinitybellwoods #parks #spring #cherryblossom #sakura


    Sakura of Trinity-Bellwoods, 5 #toronto #trinitybellwoods #parks #spring #cherryblossom #sakura


    Sakura of Trinity-Bellwoods, 6 #toronto #trinitybellwoods #parks #spring #cherryblossom #sakura


    Sakura of Trinity-Bellwoods, 7 #toronto #trinitybellwoods #parks #spring #cherryblossom #sakura


    Into the sakura #toronto #trinitybellwoods #parks #spring #cherryblossom #sakura

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