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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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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.






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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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  • 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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  • Peter Goffin reports from the hauntingly empty Toronto Islands during their time of flood.

  • Edward Keenan, also in the Star mourns for Torontonians who will spend most of the summer, at least, without having the Islands.

  • Alison Gzowski, a resident of the Toronto Islands, writes for The Globe and Mail about how the flooding reminds her of nature's power.

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  • 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.

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  • The Globe and Mail examined the unique real estate market on the Toronto Islands, with lower places but also restrictions on buyers.

  • The Toronto Star reported that carp have taken over the baseball field at Gibraltar Point.

  • The Toronto Star reports on a peacock that has escaped Centreville Farm to become the islands' mascot.

  • The National Post reported on how the Toronto Islands' businesses have all been shut down by the flooding.

  • blogTO noted that Water Taxi Now is offering tours of the flooded islands.

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CBC News' Shanifa Nasser reports on an incident of a drone coming dangerously close to an incoming plane in the airspace around the Toronto Islands.

Toronto police are investigating after a drone was spotted flying near Billy Bishop airport in an incident involving a Porter Airlines flight on Friday morning.

Transport Canada says a pilot observed the drone just before 8:30 a.m. Early evidence suggests it was operating "in a reckless manner," the federal agency said in a statement.

In an email to CBC Toronto, spokesperson Natasha Gauthier said the incident involved a flight en route from Boston to Toronto.

[. . .]

Anyone who violates controlled or restricted airspace and threatens the safety of a plane can face fines of up to $25,000 or jail time, Transport Canada says.
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The Globe and Mail hosts Daniel Rotsztain's article looking at how Toronto Islands, particularly in the area of Gibraltar Point, is facing an existential crisis due to the threat of erosion.

Cradling the city’s harbour like an outstretched hand, the Toronto Islands are more than a place to escape the city – they are the very reason the city exists at all.

Always a gathering place for First Nations, John Graves Simcoe, the first lieutenant-governor of Canada, also recognized the benefits of a protected bay. He laid Toronto’s nascent grid in a nook where the islands – then a peninsula – connected to the mainland in a vast marsh just east of the Don River.

The settlement was safeguarded with a garrison (Fort York) at the narrow opening of the bay to the west and a stone lighthouse at the peninsula’s tip. As tensions simmered between Upper Canada and the United States, Simcoe named the point Gibraltar to evoke the protective force of the massive rock that guards the comings and goings from the Mediterranean Sea between Europe and Africa.

But Toronto’s Gibraltar is a far cry from its namesake monolith. The peninsula-cum-island, created from currents of sediment deposited in the lake from the Scarborough Bluffs and Don River, was – until Depression-era infill projects – a constantly shifting sandbar, changing shape and form with each season and storm.

Historic manipulation of Toronto’s dynamic coastline has put the islands’ beaches at risk of being washed away. Stabilization of the Scarborough Bluffs, cliffs created by erosion, and the filling in of marshes to create the Port Lands have cut the islands off from their replenishing sources of sediment. And the construction of the Leslie Street Spit has blocked what little sediment does end up in the lake. They are part of years of major waterfront projects done before the words “environmental assessment” entered the bureaucratic vocabulary.

“And if no action is taken, Gibraltar Point could sever into two within 20 years” says Ethan Griesbach, project manager at Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA).
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A mention at the Map Room Blog of The Art of Cartography, an exhibition of maps at the Toronto Reference Library in the TD Gallery. Some of the maps are quite old.

Star chart of Orion, 30 000 BCE #toronto #torontoreferencelibrary #maps #tdgallery #orion

Others date back only centuries. The Toronto Star's Christopher Reynolds listed some of his favourite maps. My three favourite are below. This map of New France after Samuel de Champlain caught my eye.

Carte de la Nouvelle France #toronto #torontoreferencelibrary #maps #tdgallery #samueldechamplain #newfrance

So too did this map of early 19th century Upper Canada.

From West Canada, John Rapkin #toronto #torontoreferencelibrary #maps #tdgallery #canadawest #uppercanada #ontario

I was particularly interested by this map of Toronto, highlighting how the Leslie Spit once extended to the Toronto Islands and made Toronto's harbour accessible only from the west.

Plan of York Harbour #toronto #torontoreferencelibrary #maps #tdgallery #york #toronto #torontoharbour #torontoislands

The Art of Cartography has all kinds of maps in all kinds of formats. If you're in Toronto, do go see it.
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I may revisit my tour of the Toronto Islands at greater length tomorrow. I'm very pleased with most of the photos I took. For now, here are six of my favourites, each an image that I think can support a story of some length.






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Yesterday I did my traditional circumnavigation of the Toronto Islands, heading from east at Ward's Island to west at Hanlan's Point. More photos from my trip are up at my Flickr page, and at Instagram.

It was really lovely yesterday.
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Evelyn Kwong's Toronto Star article tells a worrisome tale.

It only took a second for Ben Leow to realize that he and his 8-year-old son were about to be mowed over by a water taxi on the Toronto harbour.

On July 19, Leow and his son Aidan had planned to enjoy their first kayak voyage on the Lake. The two paddled off just east of the Billy Bishop Airport near the buoys and were watching the planes take off when, Leow said, a boat came straight at them.

At around 12:30 p.m., a water taxi was travelling through Toronto’s Inner Harbour when it struck the kayak carrying the father and the son, said Const. Craig Brister, spokesperson for Toronto Police.

Luckily, the two got away with minor injuries — a few cuts and bruises — but are still confused as to how the boat, hit them in broad daylight.

“I have a flashback of the boat coming at my head. I had a second to turn around and I just saw the sun being enveloped and we were in darkness,” Leow said.
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This is amazing. From the Toronto Star's Oliver Sachgau:

After a few weeks of being the most popular mobile game in recent history, Pokemon Go is now facing backlash from the City of Toronto, who are trying to mitigate the crowds playing the game at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal.

Hundreds of people have been camped out almost 24 hours a day at the park by the terminal, hunting for virtual pocket monsters on their phone. The park and surrounding area is also the site of nine pokestops – in-game locations where players congregate. Players have also been setting up lures – bait that attracts more virtual monsters to the stops.

The end result is a constant crowd of hundreds of players at all hours of the day and night, hoping to be the very best like no one ever before.

Matthew Cutler, spokesperson for Toronto’s parks and recreation department, said the city has reached out to Niantic, the game’s developer, to move some of the stops to other parks and ease the pressure on the ferry terminal.

“We love the game. We love what it’s doing in terms of bringing people into the public realm. We’re just of the mind that there may be a better park in the city for this kind of concentration of play,” he said.
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The Globe and Mail's Marcus Gee writes in favour of allowing the unclothed to use Hanlan's Point nude beach. I support this, but I wish something could be done about the gawkers.

Big cities survive through small compromises. When people of different backgrounds, needs and habits are thrown together in a common space, it takes lots of give and take.

The “clothing optional” beach on Toronto Islands is a nice example of urban compromise in the flesh. Bathers can go naked without committing some kind of infraction. Those who prefer to keep their bathing suits on can use the beach, too. It’s a civilized compact that has held since 2002 when city council approved the mixed system for Hanlan’s Point.

But now there’s trouble on the beach. Some beach regulars say it is being taken over by gawkers and other clothed intruders, spoiling the experience. A homemade sign that went up warned: “Beyond this point you should be nude.” A woman who visited the beach with her male friend said a couple of men approached and encouraged them to disrobe before continuing.

That violated the spirit of this special place. The nudists don’t own the beach. It’s a public space and visitors should have the right to wear what they want. “It’s about freedom of choice,” said Lisa Rutherford, 47, a reinsurance broker who was visiting Hanlan’s on Thursday to sunbathe topless but opts not to disrobe further.

On a hot and sunny afternoon, the live-and-let-live approach seemed to be working. A group of men in bathing suits and sunglasses soaked up the sun. A naked woman helped a man in a bathing suit launch an inflatable raft. Older men with deep all-over sun tans walked back and forth along the water’s edge. A family – the woman naked, the man wearing his bathing suit, their young boys taking their suits on and off as they pleased – sprawled on beach towels as their small dog yapped and ran in circles.
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The Toronto Star's Jennifer Pagliaro goes into more detail</> about the new use of a mobile ticketing app for the Toronto Islands ferry.

If you’re reading this in line under the sweltering sun at Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, you are doing it wrong.

That’s the message from Mayor John Tory as the city looks to tackle line-ups in the rush of summer.

For the month of August, the city will be trialing ferry ticket sales through established Toronto-based mobile phone app Ritual. Those destined for Centre Island rides, picnicking and beaches will have a new way to buy tickets in advance or on the spot to avoid lines. The ticket will be scanned from the purchaser’s phone.

“We want people in Toronto, every single person, to feel that their island is accessible to them in every way,” Tory said Friday outside the gates in announcing the new partnership in a photo-op ahead of the long weekend.

If the trial goes to plan, Tory said the city will look at extending the availability of tickets on the Ritual app.
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  • Centauri Dreams looks at odd binary AR Scorpii.

  • Crooked Timber examines connections between demographic change and religiosity in the United States.

  • A Fistful of Euros reports on the IMF response to the Eurozone bailouts.

  • Joe. My. God. notes the outrage of families of survivors of American military dead at Trump's treatment of the Khan family.

  • The LRB Blog calls for England to secede.

  • Out There interviews Tabitha Boyajian about KIC 8462852.

  • The Planetary Society Blog features Marc Rayman's explanation of Dawn's remaining at Ceres.

  • Peter Rukavina notes a book exploring the lost Quaker settlement of New London, on the north shore of Prince Edward Island.

  • Strange Maps looks at the cartographic imprint of Spain on the streets of Barcelona.

  • Torontoist notes that tickets for the Toronto Islands ferry can now be bought from smartphone apps.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russia is running out of money to sustain its economy, looks at the Russian propensity of emigration, and notes that rising unemployment is contributing to internal migration.

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On Saturday, I went to Hanlan's Point Beach with a friend. It was the first time I'd gone there this year, but the beach was as beautiful as ever.

One thing: In the morning, there are plenty of seabirds and insects around. The seagulls I liked, the insects less so.

Another thing: Remember sunscreen. I forgot, and believe me, this is visible.

Boarding #Toronto #Torontoislands #ferry

Looking back #Toronto #Torontoislands #jacklaytonferryterminal #westinharbourcastle

Ferry arrival #Toronto #Torontoislands #jacklaytonferryterminal #ferry

The Ned Hanlan #toronto #torontoislands #skyline #hanlanspoint #boats #nedhanlan

Liberty Village beyond Billy Bishop #toronto #torontoislands #skyline #hanlanspoint #libertyvillage #billybishopairport

Statue of Ned Hanlan #toronto #torontoislands #skyline #hanlanspoint #nedhanlan #statue

"Please walk on the grass" #Toronto #Torontoislands #parksandrec

The skyline beyond #toronto #torontoislands #skyline #hanlanspoint #skyline

Boardwalk to the beach #toronto #torontoislands #skyline #hanlanspoint #beach #boardwalk

Local star, G2V #toronto #torontoislands #earth #sun #yellowdwarf #mainsequence

Feet-first in Lake Ontario #Toronto #Torontoislands #hanlanspoint #lakeontario

Seagull against the surf #toronto #torontoislands #skyline #hanlanspoint #beach #seagull #birds #waves

Grey seagull #toronto #torontoislands #skyline #hanlanspoint #grey #seagull #birds #waves

Looking towards Ontario Place #toronto #torontoislands #skyline #hanlanspoint #beach #ontarioplace

Red and grey sand, 2 #toronto #torontoislands #skyline #hanlanspoint #beach #sand #red #grey

Southern end of the beach #toronto #torontoislands #skyline #hanlanspoint #beach

By the lagoon #toronto #torontoislands #skyline #hanlanspoint

Pre-boarding #toronto #torontoislands #skyline #hanlanspoint
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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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I have made two other visits to the CN Tower, but last Monday's visit felt different. The first time I was in the CN Tower was in 2002, the next in 2003. Both times, I was very new to Toronto and did not know what streets or what buildings I was seeing from high above. This time I did know what I was seeing.

I knew that the below was Billy Bishop Airport, on the western end of the Toronto Islands.

Toronto Island Airport #toronto #cntower #torontoislands #billybishopairport

I could follow the rail corridor as it stretched west, past the new condo districts to the south and under the bridges of Spadina Avenue, Bathurst Street, and Dufferin Street.

Looking west from on high #toronto #cntower #lakeontario #harbourfront #ontarioplace #humberbay

Over the rail corridor #toronto #cntower  #rail #spadinaavenue #bathurststreet

I could look north to the leafy west-end neighbourhoods I know well.

Looking north #toronto #cntower

I could appreciate the safety cage used by the workers who, in cleaning the windows of the CN Tower, made these views possible.

Safety cage #toronto #cntower

I could pick out the line of towers stretching north along Yonge.

Towers #toronto #cntower #skyline #tower #skyscraper

Going outside, I could pick out the Financial District through thick mesh.

Financial District through mesh #toronto #cntower #financialdistrict #skyscraper #tower

Looking down over the lip of the CN Tower, on its eastern edge, from the east, I could see that corner of Toronto as if in miniature.

From above #toronto #cntower #rail

The view is fantastic. If you're in Toronto, you really should go.


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