A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Archive for March 2016

[PHOTO] Laneway south of Dupont

Laneway south of Dupont #toronto #dupontstreet #laneway #alley #rain #dovercourtvillage

Written by Randy McDonald

March 31, 2016 at 11:54 am

[PHOTO] Crane above, Yonge and Eglinton

Crane above #toronto #yongeandeglinton #cranes #blue #sky

Written by Randy McDonald

March 30, 2016 at 1:26 pm

Posted in Photo, Toronto

Tagged with , , ,

[PHOTO] “Hop on the UP!”

"Hop On The UP!" #toronto #unionpearsonexpress #ttc #subway #ad #masstransit #rail

I saw this ad for the Union-Pearson Express, highlighting the new low fares, on my Saturday evening subway ride home. How well will the push work? We will find out.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 28, 2016 at 10:20 am

[PHOTO] Crosswalk, Dupont at Bartlett

Crosswalk, Dupont at Bartlett #toronto #dovercourtvillage #dupontstreet #bartlettavenue #crosswalk

Written by Randy McDonald

March 25, 2016 at 11:57 am

[PHOTO] Dufferin Station at night

Dufferin Station at night #toronto #ttc #subway #bloorcourt #dufferinstreet #dufferin #bloorstreetwest

When properly illuminated at night, the new main entrance to Dufferin Station on the northwest corner of Bloor and Dufferin can look almost cathedral.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 24, 2016 at 12:22 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • D-Brief reports on Ceres’ bright spots.
  • Dangerous Minds celebrates the video game arcades of the 1980s.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper speculating that tightly-packed globular clusters might be good cradles for life.
  • The Dragon’s Tales examines the processes by which gravel is formed on Mars and Titan.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog wonders about the extent to which college alienates low-income students.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money is critical of Hillary Clinton’s speech at AIPAC.
  • The LRB Blog features an essay by an American expatriate in Belgium on the occasion of the Brussels attacks.
  • Steve Munro analyses the quality of service on the 6 Bay bus.
  • The NYRB Daily reflects on the films of a Syrian film collective.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer points out that the rate of terrorism in Europe now is substantially lower than in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • Savage Minds considers secrecy as it applies to the anthropological writer.
  • Strange Maps reflects on the BBC’s Shipping Forecast weather service.
  • Whatever’s John Scalzi reflects on the prospects of human survival into the future.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan are on the verge of fighting a border war.

[URBAN NOTE] “After decades of ‘woe is us,’ there’s a new spirit of optimism in Buffalo”

If, as Paul Attfield suggests in The Globe and Mail, Buffalo is starting to revive this is all for the good. I just hope that the growth will be inclusive of everyone in the city.

For sports fans, Buffalo might be best known as the home of the National Football League’s Bills and National Hockey League’s Sabres, which have the unenviable record of a combined zero wins and six losses in championship series. For others, Buffalo might be known as the third poorest city in the United States, trailing only Cleveland and Detroit, and yet one more example of a former industrial behemoth fallen on hard times in the heart of the U.S. rust belt.

But something seems to be stirring in Western New York. The area is undergoing more than $5.5-billion (U.S.) in new economic development, mostly in downtown Buffalo. Projects such as the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, the recreational facilities at the Canalside park and SolarCity’s gigafactory, the largest solar panel manufacturing plant in the Western Hemisphere, are generating more than 12,000 new jobs over the next three years.

“It’s a really good problem to have and it’s changed the way we think about our community,” says Thomas Kucharski, president and chief executive officer of Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, a private, non-profit economic development organization. “We went from the whole four Super Bowls and two [Stanley] Cups and woe is us to [now] where people are a lot more optimistic than they have been.”

The business community buoys a large part of that optimism, with mixed-use buildings in the city – either proposed, under construction or completed – representing more than $990-million of investment. Among those are Avant, Buffalo’s first mixed-use hotel-office-luxury condominium high rise situated in a former federal building, and the Larkin Center of Commerce, which was previously a soap factory and is now home to almost 100 businesses and service providers.

The seven-storey Conventus Center for Collaborative Medicine, part of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, was completed last year by Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. on a two-acre site. Located on the northern edge of Buffalo’s central business district, Conventus will act as the link between the University at Buffalo school of medicine and biomedical sciences and John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital, when they are completed.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 23, 2016 at 1:13 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “UPX boss resigns over troubled airport train service”

The Toronto Star reports that heads are continuing to roll in the upper ranks of the Union-Pearson Express.

The head of Toronto’s troubled airport train service has resigned in the midst of an organizational review examining if the Union Pearson Express should be rolled into GO Transit operations.

On Monday, Kathy Haley, president of UPX, announced she would step down as of March 31, just nine months after the highly-touted express train service was launched in June – and flopped with low ridership. Ridership has increased after fares were slashed by half earlier this month.

A spokesperson of Metrolinx, the provincial transportation agency, confirmed the information but could not comment if Haley would be eligible for any severance package with her resignation. Haley also turned down an interview request from the Star.

“We are not able to speak to this any further as it is a personnel matter,” said Anne Marie Aikins of Metrolinx. “We are continuing to work on the organizational review. In the meantime, until the completion of the organization review work, there will be interim reporting relationships for UPX staff within other divisions of Metrolinx.”

Haley, an alumnus of Dalhousie University, joined Metrolinx in July 2011 to head the $456-million airport train with “pedigree in customer experience transformation,” said her UPX biography, including stints at Royal Bank of Canada, Canada Post, Allianz Group AG and Imperial Oil Ltd.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 23, 2016 at 1:11 pm

[LINK] “Quebec’s maple-syrup industry being challenged”

I learned from the Toronto Star‘s Allan Woods that Québec’s dominance of the maple syrup industry is being challenged by the province’s near neighbours, in Canada and the United States.

A sprouting maple-syrup industry in the United States is challenging Quebec’s superiority, the province’s tree-tappers are nervous about the future and rebel suppliers are rising up against the union that sets prices, handles sales and disciplines those who try to go it alone.

With such uncertainty around the popular cans of sticky, golden sweetness, the bitter side of Quebec’s maple syrup industry can be difficult to confront. But ignoring the problem risks ruin in a fast-changing market where Quebec producers remain the dominant player—for now.

That was the message contained in a sharply contested report to the provincial government last month, which confirmed for a wider public a trend that some producers say they have been seeing for years.

“The maple industry . . . has become a flagship of Quebec agriculture,” wrote Florent Gagné, a former Quebec deputy minister. “However, the greatest danger it could face is . . . refusing to see that real threats are looming on the horizon and have begun taking shape.”

The main threats to Quebec’s dominance are from the United States as well as New Brunswick and Ontario, which have swaths of largely untapped maple forests that are increasingly being put to use.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 23, 2016 at 1:08 pm

[LINK] “French’s ketchup plans to move production to Ontario”

The Toronto Star‘s Vanessa Lu reports on the latest stage in the ketchup wars, with French’s planning to shift production of ketchup as well as the harvesting of local tomatoes to Leamington.

French’s ketchup, which has made headlines for boasting of using Canadian grown tomatoes from the Leamington area, says it’s now looking to move production across the border from Ohio.

“We are currently in negotiations on moving bottling and expanding our food service business to Canada,” said Elliott Penner, president of the French’s Food Company, owned by British conglomerate Reckitt Benckiser.

An announcement is expected in the next week. It plans to purchase 8.1 million kilograms of tomato paste for the 2016 growing season – up from anticipated order of 3.1 million kilograms just a week ago.

At stake is the ability to truly declare itself Canadian made. Although its ketchup packets are made in Toronto with Canadian tomatoes, French’s ketchup bottles sold in Canada have in very small print on the back label that they are imported.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 23, 2016 at 1:06 pm