A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Archive for the ‘Toronto’ Category

[URBAN NOTE] “A nasty winter is in store for Toronto this year”

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Bother. From blogTO:

The easy winter that Toronto experienced last year will not be repeated according the weather forecasts for 2016/2017. While there’s some discrepancy in long term reports regarding whether or not southern Ontario will experience average or below average temperatures this winter, no one is calling for a mild season.

The Toronto region is expected to deal with high levels of snowfall thanks in part to the record setting heat we had this summer. While a warm summer doesn’t typically have bearing on the winter temperature forecast, the above average temperatures of the Great Lakes means that lake effect snow will accompany the arrival of arctic air.

You can expect a lot of this type of snow during early winter in December and January.

As far as the general patterns go, climatologists predict a return to cold/classic winter temperatures partially because the strong El Niño event that influenced last year’s weather is absent heading into this season.

“The current pattern has the look of a weak La Niña event, but it is unlikely to meet the criteria needed to be classified as such,” writes Meteorologist Doug Gillham for the Weather Network. In fact, the current climatic patterns look more similar the ones that recently delivered us brutal winters rather than last year’s balminess.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 21, 2016 at 8:31 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • Beyond the Beyond quotes a Vladimir Putin statement on geopolitics.
  • blogTO shares photos from Yorkdale’s expansion.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at more evidence for Planet Nine.
  • Dead Things notes evidence that right-handedness has been predominant among hominins for some time.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on the discovery of three hot Jupiters.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at the Philippines’ shift towards China.
  • The Planetary Society Weblog looks at ExoMars’ mission and the failure of the Schiaparelli lander.
  • Torontoist notes that the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has bought Constellation Wineries, making some Canadian wineries Canadian-owned again.
  • Towleroad reports on a Europe-wide census of LGBT identities.
  • Whatever’s John Scalzi notes that Hillary Clinton is winning because she puts work into it.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at Putin’s changing style of governance.

[PHOTO] Three photos taken at Rosedale TTC station late on a rainy fall afternoon

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The Rosedale TTC station is open to the air above. In fall, in the wooded Rosedale neighbourhood, this can lend itself to some lovely scenes.

Looking across the tracks #toronto #fall #autumn #leaves #rosedale #ttcSouth through the window #toronto #rosedale #ttc #fall #autumn #leavesEast above the platform #toronto #rosedale #ttc #fall #autumn #leaves #window

Written by Randy McDonald

October 21, 2016 at 12:51 pm

Posted in Photo, Toronto

Tagged with , , , , , ,

[URBAN NOTE] “Proposal to licence Toronto rooming houses will face stiff opposition”

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The Toronto Star‘s Betsy Powell shares some of the arguments being made against the recognition of Toronto rooming houses throughout the broader city. I am unimpressed with the claims of regulatory burdens: Allowing legal lacunae to persist, to the detriment of renters, is terrible.

City staff is proposing a zoning and licensing regime for rooming houses across Toronto, a contentious move certain to face stiff opposition in the suburbs where many operate illegally.

[. . .]

“It’s a litany of complaints, they don’t want these houses regulated, they want them to be abolished,” said Norm Kelly, (Ward 40, Scarborough-Agincourt.)

Kelly said anything that adds a regulatory burden and increases the costs for many rooming house operators will “work against a workable licensing system.”

“It wouldn’t surprise me in doing this that in the end you’re going to be getting more illegal (rooming houses) rather than under the proposed guidelines.”

Councillor Jim Karygiannis (Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt), said he favors regulation to “guarantee (an) absolute safe environment for the tenants.”

But unless city inspectors can access properties and impose strict penalties, many operators will go underground.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 20, 2016 at 6:45 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto city council takes first step towards regulating Airbnb-style rentals”

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The Toronto Star‘s Tess Kalinowski looks at Toronto’s tentative engagement with regulating Airbnb-style rentals.

A Toronto group pushing for the regulation of short-term, Airbnb-style rentals is welcoming a city staff proposal to evaluate the impacts of the rentals and consider what kind of restrictions should be imposed on the booming business.

Fairbnb, which is led by the hotel workers union, says the report is an important step in ensuring there are rules governing short-term rentals. But it doesn’t go far enough in looking at how online rental platforms such as Airbnb can be held to account when that doesn’t happen.

“Platform accountability is really where it’s at if we want to develop regulations that work,” said Fairbnb spokesman Thorben Wieditz.

The city report, before executive committee Wednesday, recommends public and stakeholder consultations be held early next year to look at how to protect the interests of neighbourhoods and property owners and the city’s stock of housing.

It’s a good first step according to Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, who wishes it had come sooner as it will be at least another year before staff put specific regulation proposals before council.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 20, 2016 at 6:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “The slow fade of industry on Laird Drive”

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blogTO’s Derek Flack has a nice photo essay looking at the transformation of Leaside’s post-industrial Laird Drive.

Heavy industry has mostly retreated from Toronto in the 21st century, though there remain little pockets around the city where its impact can be witnessed most obviously. The Port Lands fits this description, as does the area around Dupont St. beside the CPR tracks, and most especially Geary Avenue.

These places are so fascinating because unlike so much of the city, they’re transitional. Their ties to the past are far more evident than you’ll see in a place like West Queen West, where the industrial heritage of the neighbourhood has been effectively wiped clean, and the gentrification process has run its course.

The future has yet to be written in a precious few of Toronto’s former industrial zones, and the ultimate character of the streets that comprise them is a process that’s playing out before our eyes. You could be forgiven for thinking that you inherit the city in its developed form, but it’s always in a state of becoming.

This is perhaps most obvious on a street like Laird Drive in Leaside. There’s been enormous change here in the last decade, but there’s even more to come as auto garages and remaining industrial tenants slowly give way to redevelopment schemes.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 20, 2016 at 4:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Condo creep finally arrives in Parkdale”

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blogTO’s Derek Flack shows how condos are starting to expand west of Dufferin into the heart of Parkdale.

A longstanding question for observers of Toronto’s urban landscape has been how long Parkdale can remain a condo-free zone. With the profound amount of development taking place on the eastern side of the Queen Street Subway and the steady increase of popular restaurants and bars, it seems inevitable that condos will infiltrate the neighbourhood.

Concerns about gentrification have been circling for over a decade, and the Parkdale has steadily become an entertainment destination despite considerable efforts by local councillor Gord Perks to maintain a balance between the rise of new businesses and the established vibe of the neighbourhood.

In some sense, new condos (rather than loft conversions) have already breached the dividing line between West Queen West and Parkdale when Q Loft was build at the northwest corner of Queen and Dufferin in 2014, but the real question is when this trend will move further west.

Tentatively speaking, the answer is now. Block Developments has proposed a seven storey development at 57 Brock Avenue on the site currently occupied by the Beer Store. Residents weren’t happy with the project at the pre-application meeting in the spring, but the project is proceeding through the various stages of planning.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 20, 2016 at 4:00 pm