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  • Steve Munro reports on the many problems associated with implementing new express buses, in Toronto and elsewhere.

  • Global News was one of many sources reporting on the high rate of failure of the new Bombardier streetcars.

  • Ben Spurr notes the astounding failure of the City of Toronto to do basic things at Union Station, like collect rent.

  • Transit Toronto notes that GO Transit's seasonal routes to Niagara have started today and will go until 4 September.

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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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  • Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith talks about "cis", "trans", and the non-obvious meaning of this classification.
  • The Big Picture shares photos of a recent sailing festival in Boston.

  • blogTO reports on the trendy charcoal-black ice cream of a store across from Trinity Bellwoods.
  • Centauri Dreams considers the idea of a "runaway fusion" drive.Crooked Timber wonders how a bad Brexit agreement could possibly be worse than no Brexit agreement for the United Kingdom.
  • D-Brief warns of the possibility of sustained life-threatening heat waves in the tropics with global warming.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers how sociology majors are prepared, or not, for the workforce.

  • Language Hat links to a wonderful examination of the textual complexities of James Joyce's Ulysses.

  • The LRB Blog looks at how British big business is indebted to the Conservatives.

  • Marginal Revolution reports on China's emergent pop music machine.

  • Steve Munro reports on the latest on noise from the 514 Cherry streetcar.

  • The NYRB Daily has a fascinating exchange on consciousness and free will and where it all lies.
  • The Planetary Society Blog reports on a successful expedition to Argentina to examine Kuiper Belt object MU69 via occultation.

  • Peter Rukavina celebrates Charlottetown school crossing guard Dana Doyle.

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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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  • 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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  • Daily Xtra notes that, in the 1930s, the shops of Yonge and Dundas supported a queer community. The tours described sound interesting.

  • Torontoist's Tricia Wood arguesthat the proposed high speed rail route in southern Ontario is wasteful spending, reflecting a two-tier transit network.

  • Steve Munro crunches data on the Queen Street route to find that buses have an advantage over streetcars.

  • The Toronto Star's Ben Spurr notes that the TTC is planning to noticeably expand its express bus network.

  • NOW Toronto's Lisa Ferguson writes about potential NIMBYism in the opposition to new high-rises in High Park.

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Spadina and College, under the wires


The mesh of streetcar wires overhead is particularly dense at Spadina and College, on the border between Chinatown and Kensington Market and the University of Toronto.
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The Toronto Star's Peter Goffin reports on the online response to the TTC's plan to close down the Queen streetcar line this summer.

The TTC’s announcement that it will replace streetcars with buses during repairs to Queen St. this summer has jumpstarted conversation on social media.

Facebook and Twitter were flooded Wednesday morning with Torontonians bemoaning the change to their commute, criticizing the timing, and complaining about the construction projects that are causing the conversion.

Some were worried that putting more buses on the road would create more pollution.

“Buses are more harmful for the environment than streetcars, as streetcars run on electricity and not fuel,” wrote TJ Phelan on Facebook.
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Global News' David Shum describes how, this summer, the Queen streetcar line will be replaced by buses.

For the first time in TTC history, transit riders will have to make due with buses along the entire 501 Queen streetcar route this summer.

From May 7 to Sept. 3, streetcars will not be travelling the busy corridor due to a number of construction projects.

“Because of a number of construction projects along Queen Street that would disrupt regular streetcar service, it was decided that replacing them with buses would allow for a better customer experience in the short-term,” TTC spokesperson Stuart Green said.

In total, 65 buses will be replacing 27 streetcars from the Neville Loop in the east end to the Long Branch loop in Etobicoke.
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  • blogTO notes that yesterday was a temperature record here in Toronto, reaching 12 degrees Celsius in the middle of February.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly writes about the pleasure of using old things.

  • Joe. My. God. notes the death of Roe v Wade plaintiff Norma McCorvey.

  • Language Hat notes that, apparently, dictionaries are hot again because their definitions are truthful.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers if the Trump Administration is but a mechanism for delivering Pence into power following an impeachment.

  • Steve Munro notes that Exhibition Loop has reopened for streetcars.

  • The NYRB Daily considers painter Elliott Green.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes that North Carolina's slippage towards one-party state status is at least accompanied by less violence than the similar slippage following Reconstruction.

  • Window on Eurasia warns that Belarus is a prime candidate for Russian invasion if Lukashenko fails to keep control and notes the potential of the GUAM alliance to counter Russia.

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The Toronto Star's Ben Spurr reports, with only a little bit of justifiable snark, about the arrival of the latest new TTC streetcar from the Thunder Bay plants of Bombardier.

What costs $5 million, weighs 48,200 kilograms, and should have been here more than two years ago?

The TTC’s newest streetcar.

The transit commission’s fleet of new low-floor light rail vehicles grew by one on Thursday, with the arrival of car 4431 at the TTC’s Hillcrest Yard on Bathurst St. It will be the 31st vehicle to enter service, and is the first to be delivered this year.

It was something of a bittersweet occasion for the TTC. Under the original terms of its troubled deal with manufacturer Bombardier, the agency was to have more than 109 of the new cars by now.

“It’s always nice to have another new streetcar in service, for sure,” said TTC spokesperson Stuart Green. “Bombardier has committed to delivering 40 this year and we look forward to more arriving.”
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  • Beyond the Beyond's Bruce Sterling notes the early Soviet science fiction genre of the "Red Pinkerton".

  • blogTO notes higher passenger densities on Toronto ferries.

  • Centauri Dreams considers gravitational wave astronomy.

  • Crooked Timber argues that personality emulations will not take over.

  • The Crux looks at the perchlorate salts covering the Martian surface.

  • Dangerous Minds shares a vintage Robert Crumb cartoon mocking Donald Trump.

  • Steve Munro notes the unwarranted controversy over repairs on the 512 St. Clair line.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer reveals his true feelings for Canadians by proposing Canada annex a post-Brexit UK.

  • Progressive Download's John Farrell celebrates Georges Lemaitre, developer of the Big Bang theory.

  • Towleroad looks at out queer Lebanese band Mashrou Leila.

  • Window on Eurasia notes falling remittances from Central Asians working in Russia.

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Sunday night I rode the new 514 Cherry streetcar created this weekend just passed, travelling west on King from its eastern terminus in the Distillery District to its western terminus in the Dufferin Loop, at the foot of Dufferin Street.

My streetcar was waiting in the Cherry Street Loop.

514 Cherry, pre-departure #toronto #ttc #streetcar #514cherry #distillerydistrict


I got off a bit more than a half-hour later at the last stop on the line, Dufferin at Bringhurst.

514 Cherry, Dufferin and Bringhurst #toronto #ttc #streetcar #514cherry #dufferinstreet


The streetcar sat at the Dufferin Loop for a bit.

514 Cherry at rest #toronto #ttc #streetcar #514cherry #dufferinloop


Then, it got going again.

514 Cherry eastbound again #toronto #ttc #streetcar #dufferinloop #514cherry
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The Toronto Star's Brennan Doherty describes the impending start of the 514 Cherry, Toronto's first new streetcar route in 16 years.

Transit aficionados waiting by the Distillery Loop Saturday morning got a chance to ride the first new TTC streetcar route in 16 years.

The 514 Cherry made its first trip around 10 a.m., heading north on Cherry St. before turning west on King St. E. and trundling along to Dufferin St., before ending up at the Dufferin Gate Loop.

Passengers who hopped on the streetcar’s inaugural run rode for free —including those waiting at stops along the way. A few of the TTC’s old streetcars were also brought out of retirement and put on display at the Distillery Loop for the launch event.

Service on the 514 route is expected to run every 8-9 minutes during peak commuting times, seven days a week. Off-peak wait times will be about 15 minutes or less, said the TTC in a release. Regular service starts Sunday.
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Spacing Toronto hosted Chris Bateman's article, "Who will save Toronto’s old streetcars?", looking at past buyers of old TTC models.

Perhaps due to advanced decrepitude, the current CLRV and articulated ALRV streetcars are bound for the scrapheap when the new low-floor Bombardier streetcars (eventually) arrive.

It’s a shame, really, because the Toronto Transit Commission has a long history of sending its old vehicles—buses, streetcars, and subway trains—to far-flung jurisdictions for a

It started in 1922. When a swath of Northern Ontario was ravaged by wildfire, the TTC shipped 87 disused streetcars to the affected area on railway flatcars as temporary housing. Many of the old streetcars had coal stoves—a feature from a time before electric heating—and were ideally suited as makeshift shelters.

The town of Haileybury, which was among the worst-hit, received 60 former streetcars. The remaining 27 were distributed among the communities of North Cobalt, Charlton, Thornloe, and Heaslip.

“We will make the beds at one end, have the kitchen in the centre by the stove and have a living room and parlour at the other end,” one man told the Toronto Daily Star. “My wife is all tickled with the idea of our new streetcar.”


blogTO's Amy Grief wrote more briefly in "The TTC is bringing back old streetcars this summer" about a cool seasonal feature of the streetcar network.

It may be summer '16 in Toronto, but it won't feel that way on Queens Quay. That's because the TTC is bringing its vintage PCC streetcars back to the 509 Harbourfront route every Sunday from May 22 until Labour Day weekend.

This piece of Toronto history will be free to ride, which really ups the ante if you're looking to travel from Union Station to somewhere near the Fleet Street loop (i.e. Exhibition Place or the Amphitheatre).

If you can't catch a PCC on the 509 route, you can always rent one out. You can charter these streetcars, which date back to 1951, for a cool $1,881.45.


blogTO's Derek Flack described in "Someone is trying to save the lost relics of the TTC" how someone is trying to salvage some old TTC vehicles being stored in Ottawa, of all places.

Did you know that the TTC once operated double decker buses? If you answered "no" to that question, it's likely because Toronto has done a poor job of commemorating its transit history. To its credit, the TTC does run vintage streetcars in the summer, but the Commission just doesn't have enough cash to showcase its rich history.

That hasn't stopped local enthusiasts from trying to do our transit history justice. Case in point. Trevor Parkins-Sciberras, who you might know as a Lego-builder extraordinaire, is trying to rescue eight antique TTC vehicles from long term storage at a museum in Ottawa.

"These eight vehicles once belonged to the TTC, which featured in parades during the 1920s to the 1950s, Parkins-Sciberras explains. "In the 1960s they were shipped out to a museum Ottawa, where they are currently in storage and not available for viewing."


There is a petition here.
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In the Transit Toronto blog post "TTC hosts community event
to celebrate new streetcar route, June 18"
, Robert Mackenzie notes how the TTC is celebrating the launch of the new 514 Cherry streetcar route.

The TTC’s hosting a community event to celebrate the TTC’s 514 Cherry streetcar route, the first new streetcar route in Toronto in 16 years, this Saturday, June 18 at 10 a.m.

The new service officially starts the next day, Sunday, June 19.

Mayor John Tory, the chair of the Toronto Transit Commission Councillor Josh Colle, Julie Dabrusin, MP for Toronto-Danforth, and other municipal, provincial and federal officials to launch the new service at Distillery Loop on the east side of Cherry Street south of Mill Street.

After official remarks, you can ride a new low-floor Toronto Flexity car along all or part of the route free of fare.

The Flexity car will travel the entire route to Dufferin Gates Loop and return to King Street and Sumach Street picking up passengers along the way for a special free trip.


I'll be doing this route Sunday, I think.
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Spacing Toronto's Chris Bateman shows how Toronto's surplus streetcars helped save the survivors of a fire-wrecked northern Ontario town in the 1920s.

The town of Haileybury sits on the shore of Lake Timiskaming, a serpentine body of water on the northern reaches of the Ottawa River that marks the border between Ontario and Quebec. From the town’s little main street, it’s almost two hours drive south to North Bay, and another hour to Sudbury.

Today, Haileybury is a picturesque if unremarkable community that amalgamated with the nearby towns of New Liskeard and Dymond to make Temiskaming Shores in 2004. But in 1922, the entire town of several thousand people was reduced to rubble and ashes—burned to the ground by a ferocious wildfire that still ranks among Canada’s most severe natural disasters.

“It is the worst disaster that has yet overtaken Northern Ontario,” Globe reporter Frank Phillips told a stunned province on October 6, 1922.

“Outstanding is the destruction of Haileybury. Where the county town of Timiskaming stood looking over the blue shores of the lake—a community of fine homes and splendid public buildings—there is now nothing but a waste of charred ruins.”

Whipped by 96 km/h winds, the fire blasted through the town in the early afternoon. Around 3:30 p.m., a general alarm was raised when the flames leapt across the town’s rail tracks. Within minutes, the entire business section of the city and the cathedral were alight.
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The Globe and Mail's Oliver Moore reports on rumblings from Toronto city council that funding for Bombardier would be inappropriate given that company's delays.

Government aid for Bombardier would be “a slap in the face” for Toronto, unless the company can first sort out problems bedevilling the streetcars it is building for the city, Toronto Transit Commission chair Josh Colle said.

Mr. Colle said Wednesday that he wants to see tangible change from the company, not just promises that it will do better, before Ottawa seriously considers opening its purse strings.

The Montreal-based firm is angling for $1-billion in federal support to help its troubled aerospace division and its C Series jet program. The two sides remain in talks, and it’s not clear how close they are to a deal. At the same time, the company’s rail division has fallen woefully behind its promises for delivering on a 204-vehicle streetcar contract for Toronto – an order that happens to come in at about $1-billion.

The delays around Toronto’s streetcar order are also leading to mounting concern at the regional transit agency Metrolinx, which is worried about getting its 182 vehicles in time to launch various light-rail lines, an order worth $770-million. Bombardier has not yet delivered the prototype vehicle it promised to give to Metrolinx last year, and time is beginning to run short to work out bugs and produce the fleet required to operate the new transit lines.

[. . .]

“For me, as a resident of Toronto, as a transit user, as a citizen, then when you also read at the same time that there’s potential federal money going out the door, I would just think that their ability to deliver to Toronto and Ontario would have some bearing on that,” Mr. Colle said Wednesday.
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blogTO has a brief item, Global News' David Shum has more.

The Toronto Transit Commission is vowing to look at new safety measures after an SUV drove 600 metres into a Toronto streetcar tunnel over the weekend.

TTC spokesman Brad Ross said the incident happened Sunday morning around 4:30 a.m. when the car with Alberta plates was found stuck on a streetcar track in the Queens Quay tunnel.

“At some point, you’d think the driver would have said, ‘Hmm, this ain’t right,'” quipped Ross on Twitter.

The TTC said the driver fled the scene and police are now investigating.

[. . .]

Ross said the stuck vehicle forced delays on the 510 and 509 streetcar route all morning and into the afternoon.


The photo comes from Ross' Twitter account, here.

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