A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Archive for the ‘Toronto’ Category

[NEWS] Some Saturday links

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  • Bloomberg notes Chinese interest in Australian housing is starting to drop, observes that Miami’s condo boom is likewise slowing down, observes rising migration to the United Kingdom, notes a stated European Union refusal to compromise the deal with Turkey, and reports about Russia’s search for export markets for its chicken.
  • Bloomberg View notes China’s problems with launching itself as a pop culture exporter, and looks at the fragmentation of the European Union’s digital markets.
  • CBC notes that apparently Mars is emerging from an ice age, and reports from the Conservative party’s national polic convention.
  • The National Post notes that, after photos of Chinese students in a mountain village climbing almost a kilometre on a ladder to get to school, this village might get stairs.
  • Open Democracy hosts an unconvincing argument that universal basic income will make recipients lonelier.
  • Urban Ghosts Media shares photos of abandoned radar stations in North America along the Arctic.
  • Universe Today wonders if there could be life on Kepler-62f.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

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  • blogTO notes the warning of the Royal Bank of Canada that the city has too many condos.
  • D-Brief notes how patterns of glucose consumption in the brain can distinguish between people capable of consciousness and those otherwise.
  • Dangerous Minds notes the Victorian tradition of post-mortem photographs.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that, apparently, our knowledge of nearby brown dwarfs is limited.
  • The Dragon’s Tales considers the impact of close encounters with massive passing bodies on the crusts of ice moons.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the criticism of Peter Thiel, funder of attacks against Gawker, by Gawker’s founder as a comic book villain.
  • Language Log notes early efforts to promote a single standard for the Russian language in the Soviet era.
  • The Map Room Blog shares the new map of the London subway system.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog charts the sources of different countries’ immigrant populations.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the popularity of imperialism in Russia.

[PHOTO] Eight photos of Toronto from the CN Tower

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I have made two other visits to the CN Tower, but last Monday’s visit felt different. The first time I was in the CN Tower was in 2002, the next in 2003. Both times, I was very new to Toronto and did not know what streets or what buildings I was seeing from high above. This time I did know what I was seeing.

I knew that the below was Billy Bishop Airport, on the western end of the Toronto Islands.

Toronto Island Airport #toronto #cntower #torontoislands #billybishopairport

I could follow the rail corridor as it stretched west, past the new condo districts to the south and under the bridges of Spadina Avenue, Bathurst Street, and Dufferin Street.

Looking west from on high #toronto #cntower #lakeontario #harbourfront #ontarioplace #humberbay

Over the rail corridor #toronto #cntower  #rail #spadinaavenue #bathurststreet

I could look north to the leafy west-end neighbourhoods I know well.

Looking north #toronto #cntower

I could appreciate the safety cage used by the workers who, in cleaning the windows of the CN Tower, made these views possible.

Safety cage #toronto #cntower

I could pick out the line of towers stretching north along Yonge.

Towers #toronto #cntower #skyline #tower #skyscraper

Going outside, I could pick out the Financial District through thick mesh.

Financial District through mesh #toronto #cntower #financialdistrict #skyscraper #tower

Looking down over the lip of the CN Tower, on its eastern edge, from the east, I could see that corner of Toronto as if in miniature.

From above #toronto #cntower #rail

The view is fantastic. If you’re in Toronto, you really should go.

[URBAN NOTE] “Residents worry about futuristic direction of Galleria Mall”

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The planned redevelopment of the Galleria Mall is the subject of this Toronto Star article by Verity Stevenson. The transformation of the southwest corner of Dupont and Dufferin into a futuristic complex of towers is, as one would expect, something a lot of locals are concerned about. I’m concerned about it: The planning is interesting, but it would change the neighbourhood hugely.

On a recent rainy Sunday afternoon, Sidonio Da Silva sat on a bench in the middle of Galleria Mall and chatted with another man.

“We come here to talk about life . . . food,” the 75-year-old said with a laugh, clutching a bamboo cane and wearing a white flat cap.

Da Silva mostly visits the Galleria, as he calls it, on Sundays. But he’d caught wind of the fate of the mall at Dupont and Dufferin Sts., which was discussed the day before at an open house called “Reimagine Galleria.”

Placards depicting renderings of a development that could replace the 1970s-era mall were installed in a neon-lit hallway between two fitness centres.

They showed four triangular buildings boasting more than 2,000 units, wedged into half of the 12-acre land. The other half, separated by a diagonal road connecting Dupont and Dufferin Sts., would be a park and a new community centre.

Much more, including the developers’ sketches of the future of the neighbourhood, is at the Toronto Star.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 27, 2016 at 9:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “The Trump Tower Is Up for Sale in Toronto — And It Might Lose Its Famous Name”

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VICE‘s Tamara Khandaker reports that, owing to debt and other issues, not only is Toronto’s Trump Tower up for sale, its name might be changed. I’m quite good with both, especially the latter: I want Trump’s name off of my city’s map.

As Donald Trump continues to make his ascent in US politics, having secured enough delegates to capture the Republican presidential nomination, his presence in the Toronto skyline is in danger of being erased as the owners of his namesake hotel look for someone to take the property off their hands.

The Trump International Hotel & Tower, which houses 261 hotel units and 118 condo units, has been on the market for about a year, and according to the lawyer for the real estate company that owns the building, a deal is currently in the works.

“A letter of intent has been signed, and they’re doing their due diligence,” said Symon Zucker, who represents owner of Talon International Development Inc., Alex Schnaider.

Zucker wouldn’t reveal the identity of the bidder, but says it’s surprising that efforts to sell the building, which has been marketed actively for the past while, are suddenly newsworthy.

Shnaider and Raiffeisen Bank International, which loaned his company $310 million — $260 million went into default last summer — for the construction of the 65-storey building, could also put the tower into creditor protection and terminate their contract with the Trump-owned management company that operates the hotel.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 27, 2016 at 9:15 pm

[URBAN NOTE] Four links on the Toronto police raids on marijuana dispensaries yesterday

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The Toronto Star‘s David Rider and and Christopher Reynolds covered the raids yesterday in “Toronto police and drug squad raid marijuana dispensaries”

Toronto police raided dozens of medical marijuana dispensaries Thursday, sometimes kicking in glass doors, after condemnation from Mayor John Tory and written warnings from city staff about adhering to current laws failed to halt the free flow of pot.

Officers swooped down with warrants on locations from Kensington Market to the Danforth, laying charges and leaving with bags of drugs, iPads and other seized items.

Some residents passing the storefronts thanked police, while others called it a waste of time as Ottawa prepares to legalize recreational marijuana next year.

Police, who worked with city licensing staff, refused to say how many shops were raided, how many people were charged, whether the charges involve city bylaw infractions or Criminal Code offences, or how much marijuana was seized, in what was dubbed “Project Claudia.” The city said licensing officials visited 45 storefronts.

Chief Mark Saunders will disclose details Friday morning, Const. Caroline de Kloet said, adding that the raids “targeted various locations that have been identified as trafficking in marijuana outside of the marijuana-for-medical-use regulations.”

Vice‘s Manisha Krishnan reported from the scene of one of the raids.

VICE witnessed two plain-clothed officers raiding Eden dispensary on Queen Street West at around 1 PM Thursday.

Inside, at least eight employees sat in handcuffs while cops went through the product inside, placing large quantities of bud into large plastic bags. They were also using scales and cameras to conduct the raid.

Read More: With Trudeau About to Legalize Pot, Why are We Still Arresting People?

An employee with the city’s licensing department also showed up, but said he could not comment on the situation. Speaking to an officer and an employee in cuffs, he said he would need a “declaration.”

Eden customer “Pastel Supernova” who stopped by to pick up some weed was surprised when she realized a raid was taking place. She told VICE the dispensary is clean, friendly, and knowledgeable. “I just think it’s lame, there are bigger crimes,” she said of the crackdown.

NOW Toronto‘s Michelle Da Silva spoke with the manager of one dispensary on the Danforth.

We have a number of products, not only cannabis. We have oils, tinctures, edibles, other alternatives when patients can’t smoke or don’t want to get high but still need the healing powers of medicinal marijuana. The only thing we’re being charged for is anything with marijuana in it.

I’ve been answering the phone calls today, I’ve been informing all of our customers what has happened. It’s unfortunate that we had to tell them that temporarily, they’ll have to find medicine at a different location. Most likely they would run to the streets, which is very harmful and scary for me. I’m quite sad. When they took all of our products, they were mixing the bags. I can’t sell that no more. When people are looking for a specific type to treat a specific treatment or condition, now I’m unable to offer our services until we reassess and buy new products.

Global News was one of the many sources reporting on the appearance of protesters at Toronto police chief Mark Saunders’ press conference today.

Saunders was repeatedly interrupted by protesters who questioned the motivation for police to shut down the dispensaries and the evidence behind the claims the chief made.

“Is that an assumption or do you actually have documentation from hospitals and stuff?” one protester shouted.

“These clubs have literally been around for 20 years and literally the medical marijuana has been around for hundreds of years and have literally never killed anybody. So how do you justify that there’s a health concern when really it’s the most benign substance you can ingest?”

Saunders attempted to respond to the barrage of questions as protesters, including marijuana legalization advocate Jodie Emery, shouted over him.

“You have 54, 55 complaints but what about the thousands of people that these clubs are helping? Where do you suggest that these people go today?” the unidentified protester said.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 27, 2016 at 7:15 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto’s new Cycling Network Plan: What’s in store for Scarborough?”

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Spacing Toronto describes the benefits of Toronto’s planned bike networks for east-end Scarborough.

On May 16th, the City of Toronto Public Works and Infrastructure Committee (PWIC) recommended that City Council increase annual capital funding to $16 million for the proposed Ten Year Cycling Network Plan. This figure was recommended by Transportation Services staff and roughly doubles the City’s annual spending on cycling infrastructure. The plan calls for a total of 525 km of new cycling infrastructure throughout the city, including 280 km of bicycle lanes or cycle tracks on what the staff report refers to as ”Fast, Busy Streets”, 55 km of sidewalk-level boulevard trails also along ”Fast, Busy Streets”, and 190 km of cycling routes on ”Quiet Streets”.

In a previous post, I highlighted what Scarborough residents could expect from this new plan. To re-cap, building cycling infrastructure on major corridors like Kingston Rd., Danforth Ave., and Midland Ave. would improve transportation options, especially in southwest Scarborough, which has the highest levels of cycling mode share.

Therefore, it is promising that sections of both Danforth Ave. (between Broadview Ave. and Danforth Rd.) and Kingston Rd. (between Danforth Ave. and Eglinton Ave. E.) are slated for major corridor studies during the first three years of the plan in 2017 and 2019 respectively. A major corridor study is used in locations that would achieve an important cycling network link but where the streets are already intensely used for a wide range of existing activities. As part of the study, traffic impacts are assessed and affected stakeholders, such as residents and business owners, are consulted before new cycling infrastructure is introduced.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 27, 2016 at 6:45 pm

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