A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Archive for April 2016

[CAT] Shakespeare, responding

Shakespeare, responding #toronto #shakespeare #cats #catsofinstagram #caturday

Written by Randy McDonald

April 30, 2016 at 2:04 am

Posted in Photo, Toronto

Tagged with , ,



image1 Good Night/Melinda/Rosemead, California, USA

IMG_5780 Easy pick on a Friday.. /Helena/Singapore

20160429_221030 Starry window/Ellen/ Salem, Massachusetts, USA

IMG_20160428_230131 C.Hesse/Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

IMG_0914 Kerryanne/Delft, the Netherlands

IMG_4213 My boyfriend/Joyce/Florida, USA

IMG_0924 Lower the pitch of your suffering/Lori/Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

image1 Mercy/ Cheryl/ Macau

IMG_8160 Bertha 1903-1948/Katie/Wells, Maine, USA

IMG_20160429_134547 Tower and crane above, Yonge and Eglinton/Randy/Toronto Ontario, Canada

photo Through the window of a bakery/Susie/Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

IMG_7228 Hoping for better/Donna/North Carolina, USA

PicTapGo-Image Grazing/Krista/Perth East, Ontario, Canada

IMG_8674 Dinner on the porch/Diana/Greer, South Carolina, USA

IMG_0920 museum of science/Janel/Boston, Massachusetts, USA

IMG_0923 Rphotographic/Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

IMG_0878 My cat Jip!/Minh/Delft, the Netherlands

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Written by Randy McDonald

April 30, 2016 at 1:59 am

Posted in Assorted

[VIDEO] Off to see Purple Rain tonight

I’ll be heading out shortly to try to catch the 11 o’clock showing of Purple Rain tonight at the west-end Kingsway Theatre. I hope I’ll get in: I couldn’t reserve tickets, and I have no idea about whether there will be a line.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 29, 2016 at 9:57 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto’s ‘lost rivers’ reflect how we’ve reshaped nature”

The Toronto Star‘s Michael Ogilvie conducted an interview with local historian Helen Mills about the buried and otherwise lost rivers of Toronto.

A little neighborhood exploration led Helen Mills to discover a waterway unmarked in the city grid. She later determined it was a lost river — the former lifeblood of a land forever altered by industry and infrastructure.

The discovery led to her creation of an effort to educate others about the city’s past waterways. The initiative has since turned into one of the most extensive walking tour groups in the province.

The Star spoke with the Lost Rivers Toronto founder and local estuary historian to learn more about six hidden currents flowing underneath our city’s surface.

My neighbourhoods’ Garrison Creek is, naturally, a subject.

This west-side river’s roots, like many others, reach back to the days of the ice age. Water cut through deposits left by the massive ice sheet and flowed into the bed of an ancient Lake Iroquois.

Vegetation eventually enveloped the terrain and settled into woodland that was later cleared for settlement.

Buried since the 1920s, the Garrison now travels through a series of storm sewers and under our roads from just north of St. Clair down towards the western harbour near the historic Fort York.

For Mills, its winding channel forms the “ground zero” of Toronto’s lost river movement and where her personal journey documenting these extinct watercourses began.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 29, 2016 at 7:05 pm

[URBAN NOTE] Torontoist and Rabble.ca on the upcoming Toronto library strike

First is Torontoist’s Tamara Yelland, “Library Workers, Approaching Strike Deadline, Continue Contract Negotiations”.

The City and Toronto Public Library workers have four days to reach a new collective agreement before the strike and lockout deadline at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, May 2—and union representatives say the workers are willing to strike.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, CUPE Local 4948 president Maureen O’Reilly made clear that while she remains hopeful the union will reach an agreement with the library board before it’s necessary, the city’s roughly 2,300 library workers will not hesitate to withdraw their labour.

“Obviously in the world of labour relations a strike deadline is very meaningful,” O’Reilly says, “and unless real progress is being made at that time, we will exercise our right to [strike].”

Before then, the union will be increasing its appeal to the public with a series of ads and an event at Nathan Phillips Square on Saturday. Both the ads and the event are part of an effort to raise awareness of the current negotiations and to encourage supporters to push Mayor John Tory and the library board (of which Tory is a member) to reach a deal with the union.

Rabble.ca’s Teuila Fuatai interviews librarians at the Parkdale branch to hear their stories.

Branch head Miranda Huska, a member of the Toronto Public Library Workers Union/CUPE local 4948, has worked there for 13 years — witnessing how the community has changed and with it the library’s services.

On Monday, she will be among the 2,300 library workers facing a lockout/strike deadline following nearly three months of contract negotiations between her union and the Toronto Public Library Board. Job security and funding are key issues at the bargaining table.

At the Parkdale branch — which had nearly 500,000 people through its doors last year — Huska reflects on why the library is such an important part of life for local residents.

“There has always been a lot of newcomers in Parkdale,” she says.

The branch’s after-school homework help program, language classes and computers are almost always busy.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 29, 2016 at 7:01 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Via Rail ready to roll out plan for faster service along Quebec-Ontario route”

The Globe and Mail‘s Bill Curry describes a proposal that would help tightly knit together the Windsor-Québec City corridor, Toronto squarely in the middle of it all.

The head of Via Rail says the Crown corporation has investors in place and is ready to start construction in early 2017 on a plan that would dramatically improve service in the Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto corridor.

Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau will be presented with several financing options in the coming months, including some where most of the $4-billion price tag is covered by pension fund investors. Mr. Garneau told The Globe and Mail on Thursday that the government is reviewing Via’s plan but could not confirm how quickly a cabinet decision will be made.

Via Rail lobbied hard for the project – which it calls high-frequency rail – in the run-up to the March 22 federal budget. However, the budget announced only $3.3-million over three years to study the plan, including extending it from Quebec City to Windsor.

Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, president and CEO of Via Rail, said that’s no reason to delay the project, adding that the expanded service could be in place by the fall of 2019.

“We don’t see that three-year funding of Transport Canada as in any way slowing down the accelerated timeline that we’ve put together,” he said in an interview, explaining that Via is hoping for a government decision later this year. “We’d like to think there will be shovels in the ground by the spring of 2017.”

Written by Randy McDonald

April 29, 2016 at 6:58 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Community Housing Tenants Weigh in on Mayor’s TCHC Task Force”

Torontoist’s Catherine McIntyre reports on the latest movements regarding Toronto Community Housing.

Robert Frederickson is ready for change. Last Saturday, he, along with more than 100 other tenants, gathered at the 519 Church Street Community Centre, eager to have their thoughts heard about changes to Toronto Community Housing.

Over the last two weeks, Toronto City staff has been meeting with the public in different communities to gauge how they feel about the recommendations put forth by the Mayor’s task force on Toronto Community Housing in January. The last of the consultations took place Monday, and for most of the community, particularly TCH tenants, there’s no question that social housing is past due for an overhaul.

What that change should look like, however, is still a topic of debate. At the 519, some tenants were frustrated with what they saw in the report, while others were anxious about the unknown outcomes of the proposed changes. Perhaps Frederickson was the more optimistic of the bunch, relieved that any change was on the horizon.

“We’ve been trying to get real changes, and we’ve been promised stuff before but nothing happens,” said Frederickson, a Scarborough resident who’s lived in community housing since 1997. “This report is the first time I’ve really seen something that shows they’re serious about improving the system. I’m just waiting to see what the City comes up with.”

Written by Randy McDonald

April 29, 2016 at 3:37 pm

[URBAN NOTE] Chris Selley of the National Post on Toronto drivers and shortcut apps

In “Apps promise to cut through gridlock, now if only Torontonians would learn how to drive”, Chris Selley looks at Toronto drivers and how technology can help them improve, among other things.

Heading out of city hall on Wednesday afternoon shortly after five, the Swiftly transit app revealed that I had just missed a Bay Street bus. But as it turned out, I hadn’t: walking north at a leisurely pace, I soon caught up to it. And then passed it.

Then I stood on the corner of Dundas, for perhaps eight minutes, mouth agape, watching as eastbound motorists blocked the intersection over and over and over again. At one point not a single northbound vehicle made it through for three consecutive green lights. If you had been quick about it, you could have had a jolly picnic in the middle of Bay Street, anywhere between there and Gerrard.

There are many reasons for gridlock in this city. Some could be ameliorated if politicians had the courage to risk motorists’ irrational anger for the greater good: more restrictions on turns and parking; ending the ludicrous mixing of streetcars and cars; towing away illegal parkers even more mercilessly, and raising fines even more, than has been done under Mayor John Tory’s crackdown; a James Bond-style helicopter magnet that picks up intersection-blocking automobiles and drops them into a junkyard from a great height.

As such courage is not in overabundance, it is all the more satisfying to see private enterprise doing end runs around the problem. Using open data about transit vehicle locations, transit apps now compete to navigate you better through the gridlock. Some offer Toronto Transit Commission, Uber X, Car2Go and bike-share options on the same screen. Swiftly claims it can predict the next vehicle’s arrival better than its rivals, using its own algorithm.

And for motorists, there’s Waze — a free, advertising-supported GPS navigation app that routes and reroutes you, as necessary, based on other users’ speed (passively monitored as they go), and any reports of accidents, constructions or gridlock they enter into the app (hopefully not while driving). The more users there are, the more data there are to optimize your commute.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 29, 2016 at 3:35 pm

[ISL] “First cruise ship of season arrives in P.E.I. Monday”

CBC News’ Shane Ross reports on the beginning of the tourist season on Prince Edward Island.

Cruise ship season on P.E.I. begins Monday with the arrival of Veendam in Charlottetown.

Port officials say 58 cruise ships are coming this season, down slightly from last year because a couple of ships were redeployed elsewhere.

Eight of the cruise ships are visiting the Island for the first time, including a Japanese vessel in June that’s making Charlottetown its only stop in Canada.

“It’s called the Peace Boat-The Ocean Dream, and it’s a really different type of vessel,” said Corryn Morrissey, the business development manager for Port Charlottetown.

“It is predominantly Japanese passengers on board. It is a world cruise and they do a lot of educational seminars.”

There are a number of improvements to the seaport this year, including more vendor space and an expansion of the cafe. The visitor information centre has been moved from Founders Hall to the old Stonehouse on Water Street.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 29, 2016 at 3:33 pm

[NEWS] Some Friday links

  • Atlas Obscura looks at the 18th century British tradition of installing hermits in gardens.
  • Bloomberg looks at Brexit proponents who say the United Kingdom can arrange a better deal with the European Union than Switzerland, notes continued anger after the housing collapse, and studies prospects for light rail in Los Angeles.
  • CBC notes the death of K-Tel founder Phil Kives and looks at fracking damage in Oklahoma.
  • MacLean’s notes that a former PQ minister who blames Liberal strength on English and Allophone voters does not know demographics.
  • National Geographic looks at Pripyat as a modern equivalent to Pompeii.
  • Open Democracy looks at the particular dynamics behind right-wing populism in Estonia.
  • Quartz notes the rise of the megacity.
  • The Toronto Star notes lessons Toronto can take from New York City on building better streets.
  • Vice looks at how the ability to learn does not require a nervous system.
  • Wired looks at the reason for the odd roads of Kansas.