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Archive for the ‘Toronto’ Category

[URBAN NOTE] “Indie bookstores angered by Toronto Arts Council grant to IFOA”

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NOW Toronto‘s Susan G. Cole notes how independent bookstores in Toronto are upset by a grant of money by the Toronto municipal government to a literary festival.

A grant from the Toronto Arts Council to the International Festival of Authors, bestowed last fall, has outraged programmers for the city’s independent bookstores.

“The decision to fund IFOA feels like a nail in the coffin for indie bookstores and shows the Arts Council’s lack of concern for the financial health of independent booksellers,” says Another Story event organizer Anjula Gogia, representing other indie stores and festivals as well, including Pages Unbound and Glad Day Books.

The IFOA’s new program called Toronto Lit Up has received close to $300,000 over three years and is designed to assist publishers in launching new books by Toronto authors.

IFOA director Geoffrey Taylor explains that a committee – comprised of himself, author Dionne Brand, Quill and Quire’s Allison Jones and Hazel Millar, representing the Literary Press Group – has been formed to allocate the monies and is accepting applications from publishers and authors seeking funds for launches.

The problem, according to Gogia, the former programmer for the now shuttered Toronto Women’s Bookstore, is that indie stores could very well be squeezed out of the launch scene that’s so crucial to their businesses. Books sold at launches represent their bread and butter.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 27, 2017 at 5:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • blogTO shares media exploring how Toronto was marketed internationally in the 1980s. This decade apparently saw less concentration on landmarks and more on cultural activities.
  • The Map Room Blog links to a National Geographic collection of the childhood maps of cartographers.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that the loosening of China’s one-child policy has not resulted in much change.
  • Justin Petrone wonders if Estonians are weird.
  • Steve Munro reports on the many, many problematic things coming out of Metrolinx, including fare-by-distance and the ongoing PRESTO disasters.
  • Supernova Condensate shares a thought-provoking set of statues on global warming, Follow the Leaders.
  • Torontoist’s Kieran Delamont notes the astonishing thoughtlessness of new fashion brand Homeless Toronto.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at a Belarus in a state of political ferment that might–might–be pre-revolutionary, and wonders if disbanding Russia’s ethnic republics could be profoundly destabilizing.

[PHOTO] Green Lawn, Kew Gardens Tennis Club

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Green Lawn, Kew Gardens Tennis Club

Just metres from the cold waters of Lake Ontario, the fields of the Kew Gardens Tennis Club were greening already on the 24th of February.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 27, 2017 at 10:45 am

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

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  • Language Hat reports on the Wenzhounese of Italy.
  • Language Log writes about the tones of Cantonese.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money writes about the costs of law school. (They are significant, and escalating hugely.)
  • Marginal Revolution reports on the problems facing the Brazilian pension system, perhaps overgenerous for a relatively poor country facing rapid aging.
  • Neuroskeptic reports on the latest re: the crisis of scientists not being able to replicate evidence, now even their own work being problematic.
  • Personal Reflections considers the questions of how to preserve the dignity of people facing Alzheimer’s.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes a Financial Times article looking at the impact of aging on global real estate.
  • Spacing Toronto talks about the campaign to name a school after Jean Earle Geeson, a teacher and activist who helped save Fort York.
  • At Wave Without A Shore, C.J. Cherryh shares photos of her goldfish.
  • Window on Eurasia notes growing instability in Daghestan, looks at the latest in Georgian historical memory, and shares an article arguing that Putin’s actions have worsened Russia’s reputation catastrophically.

[PHOTO] Five photos from Woodbine Beach, Toronto

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Friday afternoon, I visited Woodbine Beach for the latest iteration of Winter Stations. I found myself paying as much attention to the beach. On that day of what I suppose is now late spring, the foggy sky melded with the cold Lake Ontario waters and the moist sandy. The horizons were endless.

On Woodbine Beach (1)

On Woodbine Beach (2)

On Woodbine Beach (3)

On Woodbine Beach (4)

On Woodbine Beach (5)

Written by Randy McDonald

February 26, 2017 at 12:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Honest Ed’s redevelopment shows what it takes to make a Village”

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The Globe and Mail‘s Alex Bozikovic really quite likes the proposed redevelopment of the area of Honest Ed’s and Mirvish Village.

Mirvish Village is dead. Long live Mirvish Village. In the area near Honest Ed’s this week, workers had put up fences around a string of Victorian houses on Markham Street, preparing to gut them, while creatives assembled an “Art Maze” inside the old Honest Ed’s store for a festival and sendoff, An Honest Farewell, this weekend.

It’s the end of an age at Bloor and Bathurst Streets: the loveable shambles of Honest Ed’s is gone forever. But as this weekend’s events suggest, the past will continue to have a presence on the site.

The new development at Mirvish Village, after two years of conversation between developers Westbank, locals and the city, is inching closer to approval, with a new proposal submitted in January to the city. Westbank paid $72-million for the site, a big number, and yet the result is as good as private development gets in Toronto. It features meaningful preservation of heritage buildings, a serious sustainability agenda, and affordable housing – not to mention an architectural and leasing strategy geared at making the place as lively as possible, even a bit weird.

That’s all because the developers have been ready to engage in meaningful discussion: The city and the community have made this proposal better through talking and listening.

When the first Westbank proposal emerged in early 2015, “I think [the City of Toronto] were surprised by how much we were offering,” the main architect, Vancouver’s Gregory Henriquez, told me last week. “That’s how we deal in Vancouver: We come with our best offer.”

Written by Randy McDonald

February 25, 2017 at 7:45 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto Housing Market May Need Vancouver-Style Cooling, RBC Says”

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Doug Alexander and Katia Dmitrieva write for Bloomberg about the statement by the Royal Bank of Canada’s chief executive officer that Toronto’s housing market needs to be slowed down like Vancouver’s

Toronto may require measures to cool its red-hot housing market similar to moves taken in Vancouver if interest rates don’t increase, said Royal Bank of Canada Chief Executive Officer David McKay.

The head of Canada’s largest lender said Toronto housing is “running hot” and is fueled by a “concerning mix of drivers” that include lack of supply, continued low rates, rising foreign money and speculative activity. Similar circumstances in Vancouver prompted British Columbia’s government last year to impose a 15 percent tax on foreign buyers.

“In the absence of being able to use higher rates to reduce that, I do think we’re going to at some point have to consider similar measures to slow down the housing price growth,” McKay said Friday in a telephone interview.

The comments from the bank CEO come as frustration grows over the unaffordability of properties in Canada’s biggest city. The average home price in Toronto jumped 22 percent in January from the previous year, the fifth straight month of gains topping 20 percent. Listings have dropped off, down by half from last year, squeezing prices further.

The CEOs of Canada’s other big banks last year called on the government to increase housing regulation amid skyrocketing prices in Vancouver and Toronto. National Bank of Canada CEO Louis Vachon said that minimum downpayments should return to 10 percent from 5 percent, while Bank of Nova Scotia head Brian Porter suggested his company was pulling back on mortgage lending due to concern about high home prices in those two cities.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 25, 2017 at 7:15 pm