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  • Wired mourns AIM, AOL Instant Messenger. For me as with others, it really was a life-changing technology.

  • The Ring of Fire, a mineral-rich region of northern Ontario set for development, is getting high-speed Internet. The Toronto Star reports.
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  • VICE notes that someone programmed an Arduino robot with a simulation of a worm's brain. This is very interesting.

  • The Crux considers the potential import of an orbital Moon station for future interplanetary travel.

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  • Lake Erie, National Geographic notes, is experiencing regular massive algae blooms.

  • Adria Vasil talks about her experience taking part in the recent Great Lakes Water Walk, over at NOW Toronto.

  • Atlas Obscura has more about that drone-harvested field of barley in England.

  • The early Earth got much less carbon than it might have been expected to from the early solar system. Universe Today reports.

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  • A new report suggests that, in Toronto, you need to learn at least twice minimum wage in order to thrive. The Toronto Star reports.

  • GO Transit users will apparently get half-price TTC fares. The Toronto Star reports.

  • From the former Stollery's, at 1 Bloor Street West, will rise Toronto's tallest condo tower. The Globe and Mail reports.

  • Torontoist shares an opinion piece looking at the infrastructure of environmental protection in the GTHA.

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  • A new TD report suggests the introduction of a $15 minimum wage could cost up to 90 thousand jobs by 2020, especially if the shift is too quick. Global News reports.

  • Torontoist notes the ongoing debate over what to do with the land suggested for Rail Deck Park. (I prefer the park.)

  • blogTO notes the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough is set to expand and move to a new location.

  • Opposition--ill-grounded opposition, I would say--to a new wind energy project in Prince Edward County is growing. Global News reports.

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  • The mixture of high- and low-end real estate on High Park Avenue might be a model for Toronto. Tess Kalinowski reports.

  • There are quite a few different proposals for replacements of the streetcar linking Union Station to Queens Quay.

  • Edward Keenan argues that, however Union Station or Queens Quay are linked, the link should be funded adequately.

  • The Globe and Mail reports on how the arrival of rent control is leading to the early conversion of rental units to condos.

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  • CBC notes that the Yonge and Dundas street artist scene is closing down under city regulations, including permits.

  • Emily Mathieu talks about how she conducts her journalism with some of Toronto's most marginalized as subjects.

  • The Globe and Mail notes the local controversy over having police officers permanently stationed in schools.

  • The idea that police who actively undermine the Special Investigations Unit should be seriously punished seems obvious.
  • Veteran NDP politican and LGBTQ rights advocate Cheri DiNovo is leaving politics to become a minister in church.

  • Finally, the Dundas West TTC station will be connected to the GO Transit hub less than 300 metres away!

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  • In this unseasonably warm September, Toronto tenants need more air conditioning than some landlords provide. The Toronto Star reports.

  • NOW Toronto notes the launch of a new Kent Monkman canvas, this one depicting a Dutch-Iroquois treaty signing.

  • The bizarre story of an ISIS supporter who tried to attack people at a Canadian Tire store is getting more bizarre. The Toronto Star reports.

  • There is a possibility the Ontario minimum wage increase could hurt employment outside of well-off Toronto. The Globe and Mail reports.

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  • Hamilton's Christ Church is striving for continued viability, in part through selling off vacant land for condos. Global News reports.

  • Edmonton's Accidental Beach, a byproduct of construction berms on the North Saskatchewan River, has gone viral. Global News reports.

  • Meagan Campbell of MacLean's looks at how the refugee crisis did, and did not, effect the garlic festival of border city Cornwall.

  • The successful integration of a Syrian refugee family of chocolatiers in the Nova Scotia town of Antigonish is nice. The Toronto Star carries the story.

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  • blogTO argues East Chinatown, at Broadview and Gerrard, is an up-and-coming neighbourhood.

  • East-end Toronto, from Leslieville to points east, definitely is up-and-coming. The Globe and Mail reports.

  • It looks like the Kirby GO Station was approved for political reasons, not because of actual local need. The Toronto Star reports.

  • Steve Munro notes that, on the 23rd, the TTC Overhead Shop will have an open house explaining the streetcars' pantograph.

  • In July, Torontoist looked at Toronto architect Eden Smith, connected to the Arts and Crafts Movement in Canada.

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  • I am decidedly unimpressed by the marijuana dispensary owners who set their employees up for criminal charges.

  • Is the Ontario proposal for a licensed provincial marijuana retailer going to be economically viable? Maybe not. CBC reports.

  • Steve Munro looks at the new 509 Harboufront streetcars with their pantograph power collection units.

  • Edward Keenan makes a well-meaning call to Torontonians to stop speculating about the winner of the 2018 election. (Won't happen, alas.)

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  • Doug Ford is running for mayor in 2018, hoping to continue Rob's legacy. (Doug was the more functional of the two.)

  • Toronto has cracked down successfully on a property owner in Cabbagetown using their buildings for Airbnb.

  • The Lower Don Trail is scheduled to reopen later this month, one year later than originally scheduled.

  • The LCBO will be the authorized seller of marijuana in Ontario. I think I largely support this: regulation matters.

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  • Centauri Dreams notes one source suggesting red dwarf stars may produce too little ultraviolet to spark life on their planets.

  • Hornet Stories notes how LGBTQ Dreamers will be hit badly by the repeal of DACA.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money approves of Frederick Crews' critical takedown of Freud as a scientist.

  • The LRB Blog looks at a new South Korean film examining the Gwangju massacre of 1980.

  • The NYR Daily notes that China seems set to head into a new era of strict censorship, with calamitous results.

  • The Planetary Society Blog considers the 40th anniversary of the Voyagers in the light of the Pale Blue Dot of Carl Sagan.

  • The Signal reports that, for archivists' purposes, online newspaper sites are actually very poorly organized.

  • At Spacing, Adam Bunch notes how Upper Canadian governor John Simcoe's abolition of slavery was not quite that.

  • Window on Eurasia notes the continued official contortions around Circassian history in Russia.

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  • Malcolm Campbell reports for CBC on how the Island's organic agriculture sector is dealing with ineffective provincial regulation.

  • At the Toronto Star, Ainslie Cruickshank describes new measures to reserve GTA farmland in the Greenbelt for agricultural uses only.

  • Leonid Bershidsky reports for Bloomberg View on how climate change is making Russia--and Ukraine, and Kazakhstan--a major agricultural force.

  • At the Toronto Star, Alex McKeen reports on a North York warehouse that hosts a highly productive vertical farm.

  • Frank Viviano's National Geographic article looking at the enormously productivity of high-tech agriculture in the Netherlands shows the future.

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  • 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?

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  • At Torontoist, a Scarborough transit group notes locals don't know of the negative implications of the one-stop subway extension.

  • Did Metrolinx succumb to political pressure in deciding to locate two new GO stations? The Toronto Star reports.

  • CBC describes how Bombardier lost a contract with New York City to sell cars on the basis of its terrible performance in Toronto.

  • The New York Times describes how legislators in New York State outside of New York City control the metropolis' mass transit system, evoking for me Ontario and Metrolinx.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw notes how light rail development in Greater Sydney is driving a property boom.

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Earlier today at my blog, I linked to an article published earlier this month in the Toronto Star. In "Fleeing to Canada, asylum seekers’ old lives revealed in the scraps found along New York’s Roxham Rd.", journalist Allan Woods looked at the debris discarded by refugee claimants fleeing potential threats in Trump's America.

There were airplane boarding passes and luggage tags from Haiti, Florida, Ethiopia, Salt Lake City and New York; Greyhound bus tickets from Albany and Indianapolis; a Delaware driver’s licence and a U.S. Social Security number; Florida detention records; immigration documents from Orlando; and medical laboratory test records for a Delaware man.

Dampened by rain and dried by sun, the scraps of papers discarded while fleeing for a new life in Canada offer insight into the journeys made by asylum seekers. They may have been thrown away as simple garbage from a life abandoned or been purposefully left behind for fear of complicating an expected refugee claim in Canada.

Canadian officials said this week that there have been about 250 people crossing each day at Roxham Rd. in the past few weeks, with a one-day peak of 500 about a week ago.

About 85 per cent have been Haitian nationals worried that the U.S. government intends to get rid of a special immigration designation, known as a Temporary Protected Status, that prevents deportation back to Haiti and nine other countries.

Among them is the Baptiste family — mother Sophonie, father Michel and son Colby — who stepped off a Greyhound bus at 6 p.m. Wednesday along with an elderly grandfather, an aunt and a cousin after deciding to leave behind the life they had built over the past decade in Queens, N.Y.

In Haiti, they ran a successful home renovation business that was abandoned over fears of kidnapping. Colby Baptiste said he was employed by Honda and was a registered real estate agent in New York before the family decided to seek refuge in Canada.

Pushing them to take that decision was a letter they received from immigration authorities advising them to prepare for the expiration of their Temporary Protected Status and an eventual return to Haiti.

With tears welling in her eyes, Sophonie Baptiste said she saw Canada as a more generous and open country and was confident her family would be able to rebuild once again.


More recently, the Star carried Mike Blanchfield's Canadian Press article interviewing some of the people fleeing.

The Francois family are among nearly 7,000 asylum seekers — most of them Haitian — who have flooded across the Quebec-New York state border since mid-July when the Trump administration announced it might end their “temporary protected status,” which was granted following Haiti’s massive 2010 earthquake. They are among the first few hundred the government has relocated to this eastern Ontario processing centre.

Few here have heard of Justin Trudeau and no one says they saw his now-controversial January Twitter message welcoming immigrants facing persecution. The tweet was heavily criticized by the Conservative opposition for sparking the American exodus.

But many here say they uprooted their new American lives because of something more primal: they were driven by fear of the anti-immigration politics of President Donald Trump.

“I decided to come to Canada because the politics of migration in the United States changed,” says Haitian-born Justin Remy Napoleon, 39. “I was scared. I came here to continue my life.”

Like Frank Francois, Napoleon says he feared deportation over Trump’s policy shift, so he left his adopted home in San Diego, flew to the eastern seaboard and boarded a bus for the northern border. It wasn’t the first time he decided to start over in another country. He left Haiti in 2006 for the Dominican Republic and then went to Brazil.

Napoleon says he dreamed of coming to Canada from as far back as his time in Haiti. When he crossed the border earlier this month, “I thought I was entering a paradise.”


The eastern Ontario city of Cornwall, close to the Québec and New York borders, has--as reported by, among others, Global News--been scrambling to find housing for hundreds, even thousands, of people.

Const. Daniel Cloutier, a Cornwall police spokesman, says almost 300 Haitians have arrived recently and, so far, there have been no problems and none are anticipated.

About 3,800 people crossed into Quebec in the first two weeks of August following the 2,996 who crossed in July after the Trump administration said it was considering ending “temporary protected status” for Haitians in the U.S. following their country’s massive 2010 earthquake.

Last week, federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced a temporary shelter would be set up in Cornwall.

The newcomers are being housed at the Nav Centre, which is run by Nav Canada, the private non-profit corporation that owns and operates the country’s civil air navigation service. The military is erecting tents on its grounds.

The centre sits on more than 28 hectares of parkland abutting the St. Lawrence Seaway and is billed as a government conference centre with all the amenities of a luxury resort. Its website boasts 560 “comfortable” rooms, as well as a swimming pool, sauna, fitness centre and outdoors sports fields.


Amy Minsky, also at Global News, reported that many of the refugee and asylum candidates who came to Canada have been misled by false rumours, carried on social media.

Amid the federal government’s assurances it has everything under control at the Canada-U.S. border, where thousands of would-be refugees are crossing over in droves, is an aggressive campaign to combat one element seen to be behind the most recent wave: the viral spread of potentially deliberately misleading information about Canada’s refugee and asylum systems.

The Liberal government has said it is aware of misinformation spreading via instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and through other social media platforms.

Much of the misinformation has targeted the Haitian population living in the United States with “temporary protected status” granted to more than 50,000 Haitians, primarily in the wake of 2010 earthquake that killed an estimated 222,570, injured another 300,000 and displaced almost 100,000.

With that status likely to expire without renewal in mere months, however, many have packed their bags, made their way to Champlain, N.Y., and walked across to Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que. – seemingly, according to the Canadian government, encouraged by false information.

“The misinformation that Haitians in the United States, for example, could get permanent residency easily in Canada if they have temporary protected status in the United States. That’s completely untrue,” Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said in an interview with Global News.

“Those [are the] kinds of myths we’re working really hard to dispel, and we’re engaging all available means to attack that misinformation.”

Videos on YouTube are also spreading misinformation about Canada’s system.


At VICE, meanwhile, Cole Kazdin described how fraudsters in the United States are taking advantage of refugees and immigrants there desperately trying to legalize their status.

When Andrea Mora took her grown daughter Karla to get her green card two years ago, she could barely contain her excitement on the drive to the immigration office. "The happiness…" Mora tells me in Spanish. "We were looking so forward to the interview." Finally, she would have her entire family together in the US.

But instead of walking out of the immigration office with a green card, Karla was given a deportation order on the spot. She was a victim of the sort of misinformation and sometimes deliberately misleading advice that experts say is all too common among immigrants looking for permanent resident status.

Mora, who asked that I change her name, came to the US 11 years ago from Costa Rica to be further from her alcoholic husband and closer to her eldest daughter, who is married to a US citizen. After being sponsored by her daughter, Mora now has resident status. She was hoping to sponsor her younger daughter, Karla, who came to the US on a tourist visa. So she borrowed money from friends to get the $5,000 to pay a notario—a term for a notary or immigration consultant—who advised her and helped them fill out the paperwork to apply for Karla's residency.

But notaries don't have law degrees. The one that Mora saw not only filled out the paperwork incorrectly, she also promised an outcome—a green card—that attorneys familiar with the case say would never have been possible.

Those errors led to her interviewer at the immigration office not just turning her application down but telling her to leave the country. Heaping injury upon injury, the notario's high fees meant that Mora is still paying back the friends who lent her money two years ago.


I wonder if anything similar is going on in Canada.
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  • blogTO lists some interesting things to do and see in Toronto's American neighbour, Buffalo.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly strongly defends contemporary journalism as essential for understanding the world.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money rightly takes issue with the claim identity politics hinders the US left. Remember New Deal coalitions?

  • Marginal Revolution notes just how expensive it is to run Harvard.

  • Otto Pohl notes the upcoming 76th anniversary of the Soviet deportation of the Volga Germans.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer reports on the remarkably fluent code-switching between English and French of some Washington D.C. subway riders.

  • Strange Maps notes rival food and fabric maps of India and Pakistan.

  • Tricia Wood at Torontoist argues that, for environmental and economic reasons, Ontario needs high-speed rail.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests Tatarstan has done a poor job of defending its sovereignty from the Russian government.

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  • Steve Munro evaluates the next plans for Metrolinx for regional transit.

  • Evan Balgord at Torontoist looks back at the anti-Nazi Christie Pits riots of 1933.

  • Cheryl Thompson at Spacing looks at the extent to which gun violence in Scarborough is a symptom of deepening poverty.

  • Nikhil Sharma at Torontoist notes that private parkettes are an imperfect substitute for public parks.

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  • Antipope Charlie Stross takes a look at the parlous state of the world, and imagines what if the US and UK went differently.

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait takes a look at Sirius, including white dwarf Sirius B.

  • Centauri Dreams considers Cassini's final function, as a probe of Saturn's atmosphere.

  • D-Brief notes the discovery that diamonds rain deep in Neptune (and Uranus).

  • Bruce Dorminey reports on a NASA scientist's argument that we need new interstellar probes, not unlike Voyager 1.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog looks at the way a course syllabus is like a Van Halen contract rider.

  • Language Hat takes a look at the palimpsests of St. Catherine's Monastery, deep in the Sinai.

  • Language Log looks at the etymology, and the history, of chow mein.

  • The LRB Blog recounts a visit to Mount Rushmore in the era of Trump.

  • Marginal Revolution takes a look at the question of why Mexico isn't enjoying higher rates of economic growth.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw considers the extent to which politics these days is just sound and fury, meaning nothing.

  • Mark Simpson links to an essay of his explaining why we should be glad the Smiths broke up in 1987.

  • Speed River Journal's Van Waffle considers the import, to him and the environment, of a spring near his cottage.

  • Starts With A Bang's Ethan Siegel looks at the abundance of black holes in our galaxy, more than one hundred million.

  • Unicorn Booty notes that smoking marijuana might--might--have sexual benefits.

  • Window on Eurasia shares an argument that ethnic Russians in Russia share issue in common with whites in America, and reports on an argument made by one man that ethnic Russians in republics need not learn local languages.

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  • Spacing hosts Cheryl Thompson's article examining Toronto's Caribbean festival as a Bakhtinian organized chaos.

  • VICE examines how social housing in Canada will be hard-hit by climate change, including rising temperatures.

  • Torontoist shares a sponsored guide to attractions in the Ontario Greenbelt.

  • Laura Howells at the Toronto Star notes that if garlic mustard has to be an invasive plant in the forests of Ontario, at least it helps that it is a tasty invader.

  • Julien Gignac reports on the mystery of who the artist building shrines at Leslie Spit actually is.

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