Aug. 31st, 2016

rfmcdonald: (photo)
There used to be a public square on the northwest corner of Yonge and Eglinton. A relatively unattractive concrete-paneled place though it was, it was still one of the few public spaces in the heart of that neighbourhood. Or, rather, it was one of the few spaces with public access: It belonged to RioCan, proprietor of the Yonge-Eglinton Centre, and existed as long as RioCan's development plans allowed it to. Torontoist's Jamie Bradburn noted in 2010 a campaign to keep the space, to preserve it from development.

That did not happen. What we did get instead was what was predicted, a rooftop patio accessible through the Centre. Urban Toronto's wintertime photos do not hint at the glory of the patio in summer. I found it Sunday evening, reaching it through an elevator hidden in the food fair (southeast corner of the foodfair, if you're curious), and decided to go back Monday evening after work with my camera. Happily, it was sunrise.

This is a beautiful space. Yonge and Eglinton, and Toronto, are all the better for having it. I would be tempted to call it a massive improvement over the previous space but for the fact that it is much more private. I had trouble even finding the accessway to the patio, never mind trying to access it in off-hours when the Centre is closed. It's lovely, but it's also restricted.

Exploring the rooftop patio #toronto #yongeeglintoncentre #yongeandeglinton #parks #rooftop #patio


Seating #toronto #yongeeglintoncentre #yongeandeglinton #parks #rooftop #patio


Waterfalls #toronto #yongeeglintoncentre #yongeandeglinton #parks #rooftop #patio #fountain


Looking east #toronto #yongeeglintoncentre #yongeandeglinton #parks #rooftop #patio #eglintonavenue


History on display #toronto #yongeeglintoncentre #yongeandeglinton #parks #rooftop #patio


Looking south #toronto #yongeeglintoncentre #yongeandeglinton #parks #rooftop #patio #eglintonavenue


Eglinton TTC bus station #toronto #yongeeglintoncentre #yongeandeglinton #parks #rooftop #patio #ttc #eglinton #buses


Southern sunset #toronto #yongeeglintoncentre #yongeandeglinton #parks #rooftop #patio #eglintonavenue #evening


E Condos under construction #toronto #yongeeglintoncentre #yongeandeglinton #parks #rooftop #patio #econdos #condos


Vista #toronto #yongeeglintoncentre #yongeandeglinton #parks #rooftop #patio


East through glass #toronto #yongeeglintoncentre #yongeandeglinton #parks #rooftop #patio #eglintonavenue
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  • 3 Quarks Daily considers quantitative measures of linguistic diversity.

  • Bad Astronomy and the Planetary Society Weblog are both skeptical of the rumours of a 2015 SETI detection, while Marginal Revolution does not reach a conclusion.

  • blogTO shares an image of the condo tower that will rise above the former site of the World's Biggest Bookstore.

  • Centauri Dreams reports on preliminary discussions of Stardot.

  • Dangerous Minds shares video of a 1982 Depeche Mode performance on Swedish television.

  • The Dragon's Gaze considers the question of galactic habitability.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog writes about the role of bullying in the enforcement of gender.

  • Language Log notes how bigoted language can infect an AI.

  • The Map Room Blog shares a map charting water flows in Germany.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw considers revelations that Greek statues were painted.

  • Noel Maurer wonders why Peña and Trump re meeting.

  • Window on Eurasia considers the import of the late Soviet "parade of sovereignties".

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blogTO's Derek Flack describes how Toronto saved the streetcar in North America by simply sticking with this class of vehicles.

At the turn of the 20th century almost every major North American city relied on the streetcar as its primary mode of public transportation. New York would open the first portion of its subway system in 1904, but the demise of trolly-based transportation took place at the hands of the bus more than anything else.

Persistent conspiracy theories allege that the decline of the North American streetcar system can be traced to a plot by General Motors as well as numerous oil and tire companies to spur automobile dependency in the U.S., an urban mythology which has its roots in the very real charges that were brought against GM for monopolizing the sale of buses during the post-Depression period.

Streetcar systems across the States dropped like flies from the late 1930s through to the '50s when the bus rose to dominance as the surface vehicle of choice for public transit in mid-sized American. Even Los Angeles used to be a streetcar town until the early 1960s, when both the Pacific Electric and the Los Angeles Railway ceased operations.

Cities like Chicago, Brooklyn, Boston, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh all made large-scale purchases of President's Conference Committee (PCC) streetcars when they were released in the 1930s, but by 1954 Toronto had the largest fleet on the continent as the TTC purchased used cars from American cities that were retiring the electric railways (e.g. Ceveland, Kansas City, and Cincinnati).

The streetcar was yet to be an endangered species at the halfway point of the century, but its decline was in full swing. Following the release and popularity of the PCC cars, only a handful of U.S. cities updated their fleets with newer rolling stock.
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Torontoist's Roxy Kirshenbaum has an engaging, photo-heavy feature examining an elderly Torontonian's experience of the TTC.

When Judith Goldfarb, 82, was liberated from Ravensbrück, a women’s concentration camp in northern Germany, in 1945, she made her way to Toronto to start a brand new life. After marrying Steven, 96, in 1950 when she was only 16 years old, she had two kids and began what was a simple, yet fulfilling existence in the Bayview Village area for more than 50 years. But when Steven had his first stroke in 2011 and could no longer care for himself or for her, Goldfarb’s children convinced her to sell the house and move closer to them, near St. Clair West Station.

In looking for a new place to call home, the couple wanted to be close to a subway station. It proved to be a good decision when Steven fell and broke his hip just a few years later. “He was right next to me and he just crumpled to the floor,” she recalls. “He just collapsed; it was in slow motion.” Goldfarb was forced to take the subway every day for six weeks to visit her ailing husband in rehab. “His hospitalization was a longer duration because of the rehab, so I used to take the subway to Toronto Rehabilitation Institute on University every day,” she says. “It was right on the subway line.”

Sometimes Goldfarb would board the subway at 6 p.m. when downtown office workers flooded the subway cars. Instead of feeling crammed and pushed with heavy commuter traffic, Goldfarb was quite surprised by the patience and respect that she consistently received. “I was really impressed. I felt so guilty because here people were coming from work and they’re tired and they still got up for me because they saw that I was old,” she says. “It was very touching.”
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The Toronto Star's Laurie Monsebraaten reports on the move-in day of new students at Ryerson University's downtown dorms, the relatively few who did.

It was a potent mix of nervous excitement, swallowed tears and sheer exhaustion.

As police directed traffic and a music boom box blared, hundreds of students and parents pushing trolleys packed with pillows, printers and the odd teddy bear converged on Ryerson University’s downtown campus for residence move-in day Sunday.

Mia Croney of Barbados, who has visited family in Toronto many times, still can’t believe she will be living here.

“I’m pretty excited,” said the 18-year-old arts major as she unpacked a mountain of clothes in the apartment-style residence she will be sharing with three other first-year students. “Ryerson was my number one choice.”
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The Toronto Star's Oliver Sachgau reports, with plenty of photos, about the new road murals which will soon be covering the streets of Kensington Market.

You wouldn’t think the colourful paint that was being slathered on Baldwin St. would be controversial in any way.

But the road mural painted in Kensington Market on Sunday is the first of its kind in the city, and comes after a long fight between community activists and city staff.

Five streets will be allowed to be painted between now and October as part of a pilot project.

The mural is part of a pilot project whereby the city is tentatively allowing five streets to be painted between now and October. The Kensington Market mural is the first, and a collaboration between artists, activists and the Kensington Market BIA.

The theme of the Kensington mural is fresh food — something organizer Stas Ukhanov said represents the market’s roots.

“We really wanted to reinforce fresh produce and groceries in Kensington Market. It’s what makes the market this great place,” he said.
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CBC News reports on last night's crying shame at the Canadian National Exhibition.

Youth Day could be scrapped at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) after a series of fights forced the popular event to abruptly shut down, setting off what some called "sheer chaos" in the crowds.

Virginia Ludy, the CNE's general manager, said she was forced to shut down the event due to a dangerous "crowd dynamic," among a few groups of teenagers in the midway area. Video of the fights show swarms of people surrounding the fighters, while others rush away from the scene.

Ludy said some 70,000 people were at the Exhibition grounds, a large area of downtown land near the city's lake shore, so organizers who were monitoring the crowds had to power down rides and call in police around 9:30 p.m.

"You don't want to create panic and you don't want to create chaos," Ludy told CBC Radio's Metro Morning.

But, she said, organizers could not hesitate to close with patrons' safety at risk.
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CBC News' Nicole Brockbank reports on the continuing controversies over police and race and Pride Toronto.

Pride Toronto has accepted, and plans to review an official complaint from Black Lives Matter Toronto (BLMTO) about the inclusion of police floats in the city's annual pride parade.

The LGBTQ organization clarified its stance on the hot topic issue at a Tuesday evening townhall event hosted at Ada Slaight Hall on Dundas Street East.

"We signed the agreement with a commitment to work with Blackness Yes!, Black Queer Youth and Black Lives Matter and our communities to strengthen our relationship," said Pride Toronto board co-chair Alica Hall.

In July, the Pride parade was temporarily blocked by a Black Lives Matter Toronto (BLMTO) protest. The event resumed 30 minutes later after top Pride executives agreed to a list of demands for next year's festival, including a ban on police floats in the festival's penultimate march.

The next day, Pride Toronto's former leader, Mathieu Chantelois, said the organization never agreed to exclude police from its events, but would have discussions with the force about what its future involvement would look like.

On Tuesday night, Pride Toronto representatives distanced themselves from that statement, saying the comments made "in the media suggesting we had no intention of meeting these demands ... misrepresented our organization's position."
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Jeremy Willard writes at Torontoist about the many problems facing Toronto's queer businesses. I did not know that Come As Your Are had closed down.

From the outside, Come As You Are appeared like any other storefront on Queen West. But get a little closer, and the shop slowly revealed itself to passersby: vibrators sat in the front window, and lime green interior walls reflected the bright and adventurous toys sold inside. The shop was unabashedly sexy—and for years, it had been considered one of the most sex-positive and LGBTQ-friendly sex stores in the city.

But, that has come to an end. Come As You Are is now closed, reverting to an online-only store–and another one of Toronto’s queerer businesses has been forced to shut its doors.

The store gave no warning that its final day of business would be Sunday, August 28. Anyone passing by the following morning would have been surprised to see signs in the windows reading, “Goodbye Queen West.”

“We wanted to close quietly,” says Jack Lamon, one of the co-op’s worker-owners. “I guess we didn’t want to spend the last month doing a lot of emotional processing on the [sales] floor.”

Queer businesses are struggling now more than ever. This summer alone has seen the closure of the bar Zipperz—known for its drag king nights and thriving lesbian club scene—and the martini bar and restaurant Byzantium. Glad Day Bookshop, the world’s oldest surviving LGBTQ bookshop, is moving to a new location in the hope that expansion will save the struggling business.
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CBC News' Jennifer MacMillan reported about a Cape Breton company, The Farmer's Daughter Country Market, that has gained quite a lot of attention with its offer of free land and a job to Canadians willing to relocate to work there.

A family-run business is trying a unique approach to recruit people to live and work year-round in rural Cape Breton by offering two free acres of land to people who are willing to relocate.

Farmer's Daughter is a general store and bakery in Whycocomagh, N.S., which has a population of about 800. Sisters Sandee MacLean and Heather Coulombe took over the business earlier this year from their dairy farmer parents, who started it nearly 25 years ago.

MacLean told CBC News that the store has great employees — but it needs more of them to expand their operations.

[. . .]

The business would like to increase the number of year-round employees from 12 to at least 15, but hasn't gotten much response to traditional "help wanted" ads. Many young people have left the community to work in places like Halifax or Alberta.

MacLean and Coulombe came up with the idea of offering two free acres of land to people who are willing to relocate to Whycocomagh.


CTV News also carried the news, among others.

CBC News' notes that MacLean, for one, is trying to reverse Cape Breton's steady depopulation, as people head out to wealthier destinations elsewhere.

MacLean says she thinks it's great Cape Breton is growing as a tourism destination, but worries about what would happen if it's only inhabited by summertime tourists in the future.

"It won't be populated by Cape Bretoners — meaning people who want to live here all the time and continue the culture, the music, the lifestyle."


Is this goal achievable? I honestly have my doubts. I do compliment the owners for trying. Perhaps, if enough people try, something noteworthy might happen?
rfmcdonald: (photo)
Cavendish Beach was populated in the early evening when we visited, full of humans and birds all out playing under the vast horizon.

Marram grass before the Gulf #pei #peinationalpark #cavendish #cavendishbeach #latergram #marramgrass


In the dunes #pei #peinationalpark #cavendish #cavendishbeach #latergram #dunes


People at play #pei #peinationalpark #cavendish #cavendishbeach #latergram #gulfofstlawrence


People at play, 2 #pei #peinationalpark #cavendish #cavendishbeach #latergram #gulfofstlawrence


Setting #pei #peinationalpark #cavendish #cavendishbeach #latergram #gulfofstlawrence


Bird tracks #pei #peinationalpark #cavendish #cavendishbeach #latergram #birds #sand


Lifeguard station #pei #peinationalpark #cavendish #cavendishbeach #latergram #gulfofstlawrence


Incoming #pei #peinationalpark #cavendish #cavendishbeach #latergram #gulfofstlawrence


Foam #pei #peinationalpark #cavendish #cavendishbeach #latergram #waves #gulfofstlawrence


Venturing in #pei #peinationalpark #cavendish #cavendishbeach #latergram #beach


Gap #pei #peinationalpark #cavendish #cavendishbeach #latergram #dunes #marramgrass

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