A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Archive for the ‘Toronto’ Category

[PHOTO] Miscellaneous shots of WorldPride Toronto, 2014

leave a comment »

The Pride crowd at Yonge and Bloor


The Pride crowd at Yonge and Wellesley

The Pride crowd at Yonge and Wellesley

The Pride crowd on Yonge south of College

Pride crowd on Yonge south of College

John Tory at WorldPride, Toronto

John Tory at WorldPride, Toronto

The Pride crowd on Church south of Maitland

The Pride crowd on Church south of Maitland

WorldPride parade (1)

WorldPride parade (1)

Parade watchers on rooftops at Yonge and Wellesley #worldpride

WorldPride parade (2)

WorldPride parade (3)


The WorldPride street fair on Church

The WorldPride street fair on Church

Written by Randy McDonald

July 5, 2014 at 6:04 pm

[URBAN NOTE] On #shirtlessjogger, Toronto, and Rob Ford

leave a comment »

blogTO’s Chris Bateman wrote the first overview I came across of the #shirtlessjogger incident on Canada Day.

Things were already going badly for Rob Ford when the shirtless jogger arrived at the East York Canada Day parade. Booed and heckled as he and a small group of sign-carrying supporters brought up the rear of the walk, the scene was turning more embarrassing by the second.

“You disgusting man,” shouted one person. “Shame on you!” “He’s scaring kids!” “Get out of my neighbourhood!”

And then a topless Joe Killoran, a local teacher who has previously expressed his opinion on education in the pages of the Toronto Star, arrived on the scene.

I daresay a large part of the reason Killoran’s frustrated outburst went viral was his lack of a shirt, but his anger was articulate and, best of all, drenched in the frustration of a Rob Ford-weary Toronto. “Answer one of the million questions people have for you” he said. “People have a million questions about your lying and your corruption.”

The television clip went viral, first across Toronto and then worldwide. Among the blogs I read, Joe. My. God. and Towleroad picked this up internationally, noting–quite appropriately–that Killoran was cute. (It was a humid dog so shirtlessness would make sense for jogging.) Doug Ford’s statement that Killoran’s comment was motivated by a ridiculously redefined “racism” fanned the flames.

In subsequent interviews and articles, with The Globe and Mail and the National Post, Killoran explained coherently that he was frustrated with Ford’s many and continuing incompetencies and errors. Indeed, Ford still refuses to talk to police about his various problematic issues, and he and appears to have lied even in his post-rehab interviews.

Am I alone in finding it amusing that the man who has so visibly challenged Ford, the man who has helped reveal the falsity of Ford’s claims to have reformed–the man who has confirmed that the Emperor has no clothes–is known as the shirtless jogger.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 5, 2014 at 3:59 am

[URBAN NOTE] “Adam Vaughan trap”

leave a comment »

NOW Toronto‘s Jonathan Goldsbie writes about the NDP reaction to the outcome of the 2014 by-election in Trinity-Spadina. This election saw Liberal Adam Vaughan take an absolute majority of votes cast, beating NDP candidate Joe Cressy by a sizable distance. Many prominent NDPs are now saying that Vaughan would have been a better fit for the Liberals, and that his allegedly NDP-ish aspirations won’t be satisfied in the Liberal party.

Sour groups, I wonder?

As recently as two and a half months ago, when Cressy strode into the auditorium of the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre to accept his party’s uncontested nomination, it appeared he’d have the easiest route to Parliament of any NDPer in recent memory. Olivia Chow had held the Commons seat from 2006 until she stepped down to run for mayor in mid-March, and Cressy – who’d managed her very successful 2011 campaign – was understood to be the designated successor in the by-election she triggered.

But Chow’s succession plans failed once before: when she resigned from city council ahead of her 2006 federal run, she wanted her Ward 20 seat to go to Helen Kennedy, her NDP-backed former assistant. Yet the orange machine seemed caught off guard by the strength and popularity of then Citytv reporter Vaughan, who in November that year won handily with 52 per cent of the vote to Kennedy’s 35.

Vaughan’s name recognition, public profile and popularity in the area have only grown since, and were obviously the largest factors in his victory. But among those at Ryze, another theme emerges: that Vaughan could just as easily or should have run for the NDP instead.

In a brief address preceding his introduction of Cressy, leader Thomas Mulcair mocks what he perceives as a dissonance between Vaughan’s values and those of his chosen party. “Mr. Vaughan ran a very good campaign,” he says. “One of the interesting things was he had a lot of progressive ideas, but they were NDP ideas, not Liberal ideas!”

Mulcair continues the backhanded praise: “We’ll see how that goes for him when he finds out that Justin Trudeau actually is in favour of Line 9 and Justin Trudeau does want the Keystone pipelines – things that the NDP is standing up against.”

Written by Randy McDonald

July 4, 2014 at 7:23 pm

[PHOTO] 94 Wellesley Eastbound, WorldPride edition

leave a comment »

94 Wellesley Eastbound, WorldPride edition

This was my only shot of the rainbow-decaled 94 Wellesley bus, here photographed travelling east of Church towards Castle Frank.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 4, 2014 at 2:11 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

leave a comment »

  • blogTO shares pictures of the lineups for free food on Canada Day at Mandarin’s buffet restaurants.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper identifying three thousand nearby red dwarf stars as potential sites of Earth-like exoplanets.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a sober assessment of the Chinese space program.
  • The Frailest Thing considers the import of Facebook’s experiment on its user base by noting the ability of complex systems to undergo unexpected catastrophes.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Google’s social network Orkut, big in Brazil and India but absent elsewhere, will be shutting down at the end of this September.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that anti-gay activists are pleased with the Hobby Lobby ruling.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Adam Block shares pictures of colliding and interacting galaxies.
  • Seriously Science notes that not only do spiders have different personality types, but that these types contribute to the maintenance of their physical cultures.
  • The Signal notes ongoing research into data recovery methods and issues with compact discs.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes cases where putting the victim on trial does matter. (Records of past violence are noteworthy.)
  • Towleroad notes an economist observing that homophobia has an economic impact and points to an upcoming Irish referendum on same-sex marriage in 2015 that’s quite likely to pass.
  • Window on Eurasia quotes a Ukrainian about Russia’s issues with a separate Ukraine and notes a statement by Kaliningrad’s government claiming some Ukrainian refugees in Russia might be anti-Russian activists in disguise.

[PHOTO] A lovely fairy queen on Yonge

leave a comment »

A lovely fairy queen on Yonge

I wanted to single out this one photo from the many I took on WorldPride because I’m so pleased with the composition of this photo.

Everything worked out: the posing of the drag queen (here, on Yonge just south of College); the distribution of the audience; at a courtly distance all around her; the light struggling down through the hot humid day as if casting a divine glow from above.

It was beautiful.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 3, 2014 at 11:59 am

[PHOTO] Inside the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres

leave a comment »

I’ve been saving these photos of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres, a pair of stacked theatres dating from the early 20th century on Yonge north of Queen visited on the occasion of Doors Open, for posting on the first day of the Toronto Fringe Festival.

The Elgin Theatre is a conventional enough lower theatre, designed for movies and vaudeville. The Winter Garden, located above, was designed as an atmospheric “country garden under the stars”, and was abandoned for most of the 20th century.

The Winter Garden in particular was dark, making photography difficult. I only hope I responded adequately to the task.

Entering the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres

Inside the Elgin Theatre, all seemed golden.

Inside the Elgin Theatre (1)

Inside the Elgin Theatre (2)

Inside the Elgin Theatre (3)

Inside the Elgin Theatre (4)

Inside the Winter Garden Theatre, all was twilight.

Inside the Winter Garden Theatre (1)

Inside the Winter Garden Theatre (2)

Inside the Winter Garden Theatre (3)

Inside the Winter Garden Theatre (4)

The golden facades still shine under the flash.

Leaving the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres

[PHOTO] Photos from a Canada Day walk across Toronto

leave a comment »

I went on an extended hike east and south across Toronto

Of course, I wore my red-and-white plaid shirt. How much more Canadian could I get?

My red-and-white plaid shirt, perfect for Canada Day

I last shared a picture of this statue of King Edward VII, built for a park in Delhi but later relocated to Queen’s Park, in May 2009.

Equestrian statue of King Edward VII, Queen's Park

I love these art deco office buildings east of Queen’s Park.

Art deco office buildings east of Queen's Park

I like what a simple Instagram trick did for this shot on Bay Street, looking south at the towers.

Towers of Bay Street #bay #baystreet #toronto

This alley lies just west of Yonge Street on Wellesley.

An alley of Toronto, off Wellesley #toronto #alleys

The painting on the side of the Armen Art Gallery is worn.

Authentic Canadian Native Art #toronto #alleys

The display of some of the books on sale at the Glad Day Bookshop was fresh.

Book for sale at Glad Day #gladday #books #toronto #queer

The Paul Kane House, set in its own parkette and named after the famous 19th century painter of First Nations, is almost entirely surrounded by towers.

Paul Kane House among the towers #toronto

This mural at Church and Wellesley is part of a #pinbuttonpride street history project put on by the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.

Pin button pride in the Village #toronto #worldpride #churchandwellesley #pinbuttonpride

Crews & Tango was still colourfully decked out for Pride.

Crews and Tango, Pride edition #toronto #churchandwellesley #worldpride

This rainbow of tulips planted outside a convenience store was adorable.

Tulips of Pride #torontopride #worldpride #churchandwellesley #flowers #rainbow #tulips

Outside Mies van der Rohe’s Toronto-Dominion Centre, the Pride flag flew alongside the flags of Canada and Ontario.

Pride in the Financial District #toronto #worldpride #financialdistrict #flags #miesvanderrohe

The twin towers of the Royal Bank of Canada headquarters, with their gold-impregnated windows, rise up.

Royal Bank of Canada towers #toronto #financialdistrict #rbc

[URBAN NOTE] On the attempted return of Rob Ford to Toronto

leave a comment »

Rob Ford is back, fresh from rehab and ready to continue his campaign to be re-elected mayor.

What Torontoist’s Hamutal Dotan said.

Rehabilitation is supposed to be about resetting the trajectory of your life. For politicians, representatives with a sworn duty to protect the interests of those who elected them, rehabilitation must to some extent happen in public. While rehab often causes people to make professional changes (moving work environments or avoiding certain colleagues, for instance), in the particular case of politicians—because of their ongoing relationship with the electorate and the expectation of transparency in a democracy—those professional changes take place out in the open. Or at least they should, if leaders are to regain the public’s trust.

The mayor held an event today, his first day back at the office. It was meant to inform us of his current state and future plans—to serve as his reintroduction to the people of Toronto after rehab. It was meant to demonstrate that he had faced his issues head-on, and was ready to return to work.

There was nothing—in his demeanour, in the content of his remarks, or in the nature of the event itself—to indicate that Rob Ford is a changed man.

The mayor spoke for 18 minutes, and his statement was roughly divided into two halves: an apology and a political call to arms. The first was vague, abstract, and generic. The second, sloganeering we have heard for years. The combination of the two was both odd and odious.

Apologies need, above all, to be specific. For an apology to constitute a genuine gesture toward making amends, you must specify what it is that you have done wrong. You must show some understanding of the toll it has taken on others, and you must indicate in concrete, specific ways the measures you are taking to ensure your behaviour will be different in the future. Ford’s speech contained almost none of these things.

The only specific act the mayor apologized for was making “hurtful and degrading remarks” about Karen Stintz. Entirely absent from his speech were the years of lying; his countless homophobic and racist remarks; the many misogynist remarks he has made independently of the ones about Stintz; the alleged mistreatment of his staff; his relationship to one Toronto’s major gangs; or acts of violence allegedly done in his name, or for the sake of his protection.

Me, all that I’ll add as someone who has had a couple of drunken stupors (graduate school and drinks that taste like candy are key elements, here), I’ve never been hanging around people who’ve a connection that I know of to crack cocaine.

Torontoist’s Desmond Cole has a transcript of the speech, delivered to a personally-selected media crowd.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 1, 2014 at 3:38 am

[URBAN NOTE] On the import of the Trinity-Spadina byelection for Canada

leave a comment »

Walking home tonight, I noticed that there were plenty of dueling campaign signs for Adam Vaughan and Joe Cressy tonight on the western periphery of Trinity-Spadina , on Ossington Avenue at Bloor, to be precise.

Plenty of dueling campaign signs for Adam Vaughan and Joe Cressy tonight on the western periphery of Trinity-Spadina tonight.

The by-election called for this seat, triggered by the departure of the NDP’s Olivia Chow to run for the position of mayor of Toronto, has import beyond Toronto. This riding, the pundits say, is apparently a bellwhether for the direction of Canadian politics. In the past, if the Liberals won it, they were on track to form the next government. If, instead, the NDP won it, the Conservatives would prevail. Naturally, both parties invested heavily in this riding.

Torontoist’s interviews with three of the four leading candidates–the Green Party’s Camille Labchuk, the NDP’s Joe Cressy, and the Liberals’ Adam Vaughan–were worth reading. (The Conservatives’ Benjamin Sharma didn’t respond to Torontoist’s request for an interview.)

Three Hundred Eight’s Éric Grenier predicted that a Liberal victory would be more likely than not. And, indeed, the Liberals did win, taking not only Trinity-Spadina with an absolute majority of votes cast but keeping the east-end riding of Scarborough-Agincourt.

What does this mean? The major break from past elections and parliaments is the strength of the NDP relative to the Liberals. Will this election signal a return to traditional patterns of Liberal dominance over the NDP? Or have things changed sufficiently, especially with the capture of Québec by the NDP, to send Canadian politics into entirely new directions?


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 360 other followers