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  • James Bow writes about the latest computer purchase he has made.

  • Far Outliers notes the scarily minimalist goals of the American occupation in early post-war Japan.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that The Nation is not exactly covering itself in glory with its pro-Putin coverage of late.

  • Drew Rowsome quite likes the new musical endeavours of Adore Delano.

  • Starts With A Bang's Ethan Siegel notes how stars--and which stars--make elements heavier than iron.

  • Transit Toronto notes the impending partial resumption of streetcar service on Queen Street.

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East end, Queen Street East #toronto #beaches #queenstreet #queenstreeteast #fallingbrookrd


I was standing here, three blocks east of the end of the 501 Queen route on Queen Street East just where Queen Street ends in the east, veering north to become Fallingbrook Road.
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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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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 construction will make the 501 Queen a rather shorter route this coming year.

The 501 streetcar spent much of 2016 avoiding a portion of Queen Street West, between Spadina and Shaw, thanks to construction. While there were shuttle buses on route, many riders chose to take the detour, which brought streetcars down along King Street West.

That portion of the route has reopened, but for most of 2017, the TTC will replace the western part of the 501 - past Roncesvalles Avenue - with buses.

"Starting Jan. 8, and throughout 2017, buses will replace streetcars on the portion of the 501 Queen route west of Roncesvalles Ave. to accommodate City of Toronto work on the Queensway Bridge, TTC streetcar track and overhead work, and the renewal of the Humber Loop," reads a note on the TTC website.


The TTC note is here.
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The Globe and Mail's Marcus Gee tells the story of a Queen West convenience store now closing down on account of the gentrification of its neighbourhood.

Until Thursday, Sandy Chen and Henry Zhou ran a convenience store on Toronto’s Queen Street West. As the neighbourhood around them went from seedy to artsy to trendy, their Queen’s Grocery & Variety at the corner of Queen and Lisgar streets remained stubbornly the same.

Year after year, day after day, they stood sentry behind the store counter, cheerfully hawking (as the sign outside proclaimed) “pops, snacks, ice creams, ATM, TTC, Lotto” and other necessities of urban living.

But cities are always evolving and even Queen’s Grocery couldn’t resist forever. Real estate values have soared on Queen, one of the hottest streets on the continent. Someone bought the building from their old landlord last spring. Faced with a doubling of their rent, the couple, now in their 50s, decided to wind up the business that sustained them for 17 years.

As they prepared to close on Wednesday, a handwritten sign announced “Everything must go!!!” Inside the store, already half empty, Ms. Chen was slashing prices and giving lots of stuff away free. The sound of hammering and drilling came through the wall as renovators encroached. A contractor who looked in said the space would become (what else?) a vegetarian restaurant.

It is a process that is underway on city streets from London to Chicago to Shanghai. Rundown downtown neighbourhoods are reviving. New money and new blood is rushing in. The local hardware becomes a yoga studio, the greasy spoon a coffee bar. This stretch of Queen used to boast two car-wash joints, now priced out and long gone.
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Looking up the Don River #toronto #donriver #rivers


Toronto's Don River may face significant ecological challenges, but the northwards view from Queen Street East at least evokes a functioning urban riverine ecosystem.
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Looking up at the Broadview Hotel #toronto #riverdale #broadviewhotel #queenstreeteast #broadviewave


After an enjoyable noontime coffee with a friend in Leslieville, I walked west on Queen Street East. I passed by the Broadview Hotel, newly cleaned and prepared for a shiny new future. I decided to take a look up at the brick, through the streetcar wires, and was impressed.
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  • Beyond the Beyond's notes the imminent end of Moore's law.

  • Centauri Dreams imagines what a stellified gas giant might look like.

  • D-Brief notes Ceres' lack of large craters and looks at how New Zealand is declaring war on invasive fauna.

  • The Dragon's Gaze looks at Venus analog Gliese 832d.

  • Joe. My. God. notes intensifying scrutiny of Trump's Russian links.

  • Language Log looks at the portmanteaux used in the Japanese language.

  • The LRB Blog notes Erdogan's many voices.

  • Marginal Revolution argues that slow economic growth will not undermine the Chinese system.

  • Steve Munro looks at the effects of construction on the 501 Queen.

  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at the final landing site of the Rosetta probe.

  • pollotenchegg maps wages across Ukraine.

  • Savage Minds reports how war can fragment families, looking to Ukraine.

  • Transit Toroto notes GO Transit's adding of new double-decker buses.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy considers the thesis that Trump is a consequence of the breakdown of traditional political parties.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at Daghestan's restriction of movement of "potential" criminals.

  • The Yorkshire Ranter searches for a statistical link between austerity and Brexit.

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Memory of the Queen Street subway #toronto #westqueenwest #queenstreetwest #queenstreet #subway #alternatehistory


The commemorative monument at the centre of the photo, erected on Queen just east of Dufferin dedicated to the "Queen Street Subway" with a date of 1897, is, as Derek Flack noted in 2010 at blogTO misleading: "Subway" was the word that the late 19th century used where we would use "underpass". People who are informed about the history of mass transit in Toronto could be easily confused, since discussion of a Queen Street subway line goes as far back as 1911, with one proposed route extended from Trinity-Bellwoods Park in the west to Logan Avenue in the east.

Flack's blogTO essay goes into the history of this proposed route at some length, while James Bow at Transit Toronto describes how Queen Street contended with Bloor-Danforth throughout the mid-20th century to be the location of the main west-to-east subway route in Toronto. Get Toronto Moving also has an extended overview of proposals to build the Queen line, noting how this has morphed over time into the Downtown Relief Line. The only physical vestige of this line is the Lower Queen station at Yonge, described by Bow at Transit Toronto here and by Tess Kalinowski at the Toronto Star in 2007 here.

James Bow's Transit Toronto essay "What if the Queen Subway was built instead of the Bloor-Danforth?" is a fascinating exercise in alternate history, considering how Toronto's transit system would have evolved in this case. The effect on Toronto's urban geography would have been equally noteworthy. Perhaps the waterfront would have been developed earlier, with Queen Street being the main street of the city, with places like Bloor--never mind St. Clair, or Dupont--lagging?
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Fire Station No. 17 and streetcar #toronto #thebeach #queenstreeteast #architecture


What could be a more iconic sight of the Beach than that of a TTC streetcar passing east in front of the Kew Beach Fire Hall (1904 Queen Street East)?
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The Toronto Star's Verity Stevenson described earlier this month promises to increase service on the Queen Street streetcar line. Here's to hoping these get fulfilled.

If you take the Queen streetcar often, your experience may be similar to Effy Lustgarten’s.

“Sometimes I stand in the middle of the street to see if it’s coming,” Lustgarten said while aboard the city’s third busiest tram around noon Sunday, noting the wait was consistently more than 20 minutes. “Then, I might take the King Street car . . . it’s more frequent.”

A few seats back, Dave Crawford, who takes the 501 streetcar to church on Sundays from Carlaw Ave. to Spadina Ave., said he’s waited up to 30 minutes for it.

“There’s some mornings where I just start walking because it’s actually quicker,” Crawford said.

You could say their desire is named Streetcar. That is, until Sunday morning, when their yearning for service might have been gratified: as of Jan. 3, the Toronto Transit Commission has added extra morning trips and split the route in two for daytime ones.

Crawford waited no more than 10 minutes and another rider, Corey Jones, noticed the higher frequency, too. “Sundays are usually very crowded, but today it’s a special day,” Jones said as he disembarked. The streetcar, headed east, carried no more than 30 people, but Jones remained skeptical.

“It’s just one day, you see what I mean?” he said. “It’s too early to tell.”
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  • blogTO notes the TTC's commitment to imrprove the 501 Queen streetcar.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes one white dwarf that has the debris of a planetary system about it and looks at a brown dwarf with detectable clouds.

  • Far Outliers notes how, in 1988, Armenia-Azerbaijani disputes over Karabakh started destabilizing the entire Soviet Union.

  • Language Hat considers what a language is.

  • Language Log considers the linguistic effect of Reddit.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money mocks George Lucas' statement comparing his sale of Star Wars to Disney to white slavery.

  • Marginal Revolution notes that Ontario is a very highly indebted subnational jurisdiction indeed, though much of this has to do with the fiscal elements of Canadian federalism.

  • The Planetary Society Blog examines the findings from Ceres.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes the hardening of Europe's borders.

  • Transit Toronto notes that TTC has its thirteenth new streetcar and reports on the rollout of PRESTO.

  • Towleroad reports on a legal challenge in Hong Kong to that jurisdiction's ban on same-sex marriage.

  • Window on Eurasia notes the winddown of many of Russia's business dealings with Central Asia.

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In 2009, I took the below photo of the Old City Hall Cenotaph, sharing it on A Bit More Detail.

Old City Hall Cenotaph


Today, Jamie Bradburn had a feature at Torontoist noting how the memorial to the dead of the First World War came to be.

When a city council special committee contemplated permanent sites for a monument in 1924, its members felt that erecting it in front of Old City Hall would render it inconspicuous due to space limitations and the height of surrounding buildings. While they preferred replacing an old bandstand in Queen’s Park, veterans felt it should remain at Old City Hall, where annual ceremonies had been held since 1920.

A design competition attracted 50 entrants. The $2,500 prize went to architects/First World War veterans William Ferguson and Thomas Canfield Pomphrey (the latter would work on the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant). The cornerstone of the granite cenotaph was laid with a silver trowel by Field Marshal Earl Haig on July 24, 1925. As the unveiling neared, city council ordered a change to the front wording from “To those who served” to a phrase specifically geared to those who fell in battle, “To our glorious dead.”

When city officials arrived at the cenotaph at 6 a.m. on November 11, 1925, they found two memorial wreaths had been left overnight: an anonymous assembly of chrysanthemums and one in memory of Private William Bird from his children. During the ceremony, only wreaths presented by Haig (who, unable to attend, drafted Byng as his stand-in) and the city were allowed to rest on the monument. Dozens of others, representing everything from orphanages to Belgian soldiers in town for the Royal Winter Fair, were banked around Old City Hall’s steps.

“It is true that there is nothing we can do which will add to the honour in which their memory is held,” Mayor Thomas Foster observed during his speech. “But in performing the ceremony arranged for this occasion we follow immemorial usage, and we inaugurate a memorial to the lasting honour of the men of this city who left their homes and the pursuits of peace and gave up their lives for their country.”
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  • blogTO notes an upcoming Instagram meetup here in Toronto.

  • Centauri Dreams notes the latest Voyager 1 findings on interstellar space.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes exoplanets orbiting red dwarfs are more likely to exhibit high abiotic levels of atmospheric oxygen.

  • The Dragon's Tales reports on the news Chinese C919 jet plane, meant to compete with Airbus and Boeing.

  • Geocurrents maps religion in insular Southeast Asia.

  • Joe. My. God. and Towleroad both look at how Yusuf Mack, an American boxer who claimed he was drugged into participating in a gay porn film, has actually come out via a convincing apology.

  • Marginal Revolution wonders why short-term interest rates are negative.

  • The Planetary Society Blog's Emily Lakdawalla shares her updated chart showing the round worlds of the solar system.

  • Spacing argues for the importance of urban forestry.

  • Towleroad notes same-sex couples in the United States who, having made use of adoption to create a legal relationship, are now unable to marry.

  • Transit Toronto notes ongoing streetcar diversions on Queen Street East.

  • Window on Eurasia notes the harm done to Ukrainians so far by Russia and the dim prospects of this being stopped any time soon.

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