MacLean’s shares a Canadian Press article describing why the British Columbian capital of Victoria is a perfect place for a tour of British royalty in Canada to start.
When Prince William, his wife Kate and their children land in Victoria on Saturday aboard a Royal Canadian Air Force helicopter, the future king and queen will survey the city that has more connections to the monarchy than any other place in Canada.
Parts of the city named in 1844 after Prince William’s great, great, great, great-grandmother Queen Victoria still resemble a slice of England, complete with Tudor-style mansions and double-decker buses painted with the Union Jack.
In Victoria’s inner harbour, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will see two of the city’s most prominent landmarks — the Fairmont Empress Hotel, named after Queen Victoria’s additional title Empress of India, and the provincial parliament buildings, both of which were built by British architect Francis Rattenbury.
Monique Goffinet Miller, a Victoria-based spokeswoman for the Monarchist League of Canada, said the city is abuzz as many residents and tourists of all ages prepare to stake out a place on the lawn of the legislature building for a ceremony on Saturday to welcome the Royal Family.
“The lights of the B.C. legislature building are there because they were lit for the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria and they’ve been burning ever since,” she said of the site’s significance. “It was meant to look like Her Majesty’s crown.”
One of the richest if stereotypical tidbits of 1970s and ’80s Toronto history involves what was billed as the “highest nightclub in the world.” Located, as it was, in “the city that works” you know already that the tagline is a literal rather than figurative observation, the latter title likely held by Studio 54 in New York.
Hovering over 1,100 feet in the air Sparkles nightclub occupied a section of the CN Tower’s main pod between 1979 and 1991, a period when the city was obsessed with all things tall, from buildings to hairdos to cocktails. Lounge by day and disco by night, the space was popular in a way that’s hard to believe these days.
It even had its own cocktail, the Heavens Above, which featured amber rum, creme de cacao, coffee liqueur, and pineapple juice. Intriguingly, you’ll still find this in some bartending guides, which properly attribute the drink to the lounge at the tower.
If the CN Tower is deemed mostly a tourist trap today, back when Sparkles and neighbouring restaurant Top of Toronto opened there was still great novelty attached to the giant attraction. It was three years old when the idea was hatched to bring a dancing crowd up to the observation level.
Torontoist’s Jamie Bradburn described the difficult birth of soccer in the Toronto in the 1960s.
Toronto sports fans needed a champion in 1976. The Argonauts hadn’t hoisted the Grey Cup since 1952. The Maple Leafs were nine years into their Stanley Cup drought. The Toros had fled to the hockey hotbed of Birmingham, Alabama. The Blue Jays were preparing to launch their first season, so who knew how long it would be before they reached the World Series?
The Metros-Croatia victory in the 1976 Soccer Bowl was an underdog story the city could embrace. The team endured a strife-filled season, not enhanced by a league which disliked the ethnic tenor of the team’s name and was annoyed that a perennially indebted franchise with meagre attendance made the finals instead of a premier market like New York.
As soccer exploded as an amateur sport across North America in the mid-1960s, veteran sports entrepreneurs, especially NFL owners, saw an opportunity for a professional gold mine. Two rival leagues began play in 1967: the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) and the United Soccer Association (USA). Both were confident that soccer was the sport of the future. “We won’t go broke in soccer,” declared Jack Kent Cooke after a USA meeting at the Royal York Hotel in February 1967. “It will succeed. I’ve never backed a loser and I don’t intend to start now.”
Cooke may have later regretted that statement. While he had tasted success with Toronto’s Maple Leafs baseball team, had a winner with basketball’s Los Angeles Lakers, and got the Los Angeles Kings off the ground, he wasn’t so lucky with the USA’s Los Angeles Wolves. Nor were the other owners in either league. Heavy financial losses, coupled with a looming anti-trust lawsuit, prompted the leagues to merge in January 1968, forming the North American Soccer League (NASL).
The merger left a complicated legal situation in Toronto. Both leagues were attracted to our city by its multicultural diversity and growing amateur and semi-pro soccer infrastructure—in youth soccer, participation across Metro rose from 5,000 in 1964 to 17,500 in 1969, while senior leagues steadily added teams. With the merger, the NPSL’s Falcons agreed to buy out USA’s Toronto City, which was owned by Knob Hill Farms proprietor/future Maple Leafs owner Steve Stavro, who quickly wondered where his first payment was. He was also miffed that the Falcons wanted a piece of the annual promotion of a match between European teams he retained as part of the settlement. Stavro threatened legal action to prevent the Falcons from opening their home season at Varsity Stadium in May 1968.
The Toronto Star‘s San Grewal tells an inspiring story.
Call it a victory for the little guy.
Saturday’s historic announcement to kickoff Mississauga’s monumental Inspiration Lakeview project, with 26 hectares of newly created conservation land connected to a 100-hectare mixed-use community to house 20,000 residents next to the city’s waterfront, should never have happened.
“It started before 2006,” Councillor Jim Tovey said during a boat tour Saturday around the site, just offshore and on the edge of the city’s border with Toronto. Elected officials from every level of government were on board.
The Lakeview project will feature a mix of commercial, residential and cultural buildings on the western side of the site, which will be connected to a man-made 26-hectare conservation area featuring meadows, a forest, wetlands and trails on what is currently still part of the lake.
Tovey spoke about how before becoming a councillor in 2010, he and a group of local citizens organized themselves, partnering with a University of Toronto expert, to unite residents against the powerful forces pushing for a new gas-fired power plant where the giant coal-fired Lakeview generating station had stood for almost 50 years.
At the time of the plant’s demolition in 2007, the province had a plan in place to simply replace coal with gas, with an ally in former mayor Hazel McCallion.
Even before the plant was torn down, “We wanted to create the Lakeview legacy project,” Tovey said. The push to get rid of the plant seemed incomprehensible in a province whose thirst for electricity could barely be quenched. But Tovey and others knew demand in the area was actually beginning to decline, with the loss of manufacturing and renewable energy sources coming online.