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[PHOTO] Six photo albums from the Jane’s Walk weekend in Toronto, 2017 (#janeswalkto)

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Last evening, I kept my computer busy by uploading the more than two hundred photos I had taken last weekend, during Jane’s Walk in Toronto. At one point, I had planned to take eight, but reality and fatigue intervened so as to limit me to six, five on Saturday the 5th and one on Sunday the 6th.

  • My first was “St. Lawrence Market: Role of Public Markets in Placemaking”, led by Samantha Wiles. Wiles ably took her group around St. Lawrence Market, past the archeological excavations to the market’s north, around its perimeter, and to the south, introducing us to the market’s very long history at the heart of Toronto. Photos are here.
  • In the afternoon, I followed urbanist Richard Longley in his “Harbord Village east side: architecture old, new, diverse, domestic, insitutional, sacred, profane”, taking a large contingent through a rapidly changing neighbourhood south of the Annex. I was particularly taken by the abundance of creative graffiti in the back alleys, especially on Croft Street. Photos are here.
  • Later in the afteroon, I followed Brian Sharwood and Melinda Medley, the bloggers behind OssingtonVillage.com, on a short but information-packed stroll north in Indie Ossington, from Ossington at Queen on the CAMH grounds up to Dundas Street. Photos are here.
  • In the evening, I went down to Exhibition Place for the Ghost Walk led there by Steve Collie. As night fell, Collie took dozens of people on a stroll through some of the locales where ghost sightings have been claimed, from the stacks of the centre’s archives to the barracks where soldiers sent off to war spent their last moments in Canada. The behind-the-scenes perspective it offered of Exhibition Place was a big plus. Photos are here.
  • Late at night, at 11 o’clock, I joined the Nightwalking & Secret Staircases: Baby Point walk led by Oona Fraser. My photo album includes my pre-walk, east from Old Mill station and up Jane Street to the Baby Point Gates. Walking through the wooded parks along Humber River, up and down the stairs, underneath the luminous sky, was magic.
  • Sunday afternoon, after joining a visiting Taiwanese friend for lunch and then doing some independent walking south on Roncesvalles and east on Queen Street West to Dufferin, I joined “Here’s the Thing: A Creative Writing Walk (Part 2 / Downtown)” at Dufferin Station. Led by Denise Pinto and Shari Kasman, this was a guided walk, the participants being given (and providing) prompts at different moments on the walk to write different things. I enjoyed this late afternoon walk, a lot. My output tended more towards prose poetry than fiction, but it was fun regardless.
  • I’m not sure what I’ll do with all of these photos. I doubt I’ll post most of them to this blog, to Tumblr or Instagram. They remain on Flickr nonetheless, ready for you to peruse. (I also have uploaded them all to Facebook, too, so those of you who follow me there can see them there, too.)

    [BLOG] Some Monday links

    • 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.

    [BLOG] Some Thursday links

    • blogTO notes that the redevelopment of Toronto’s Port Lands is continuing.
    • Crooked Timber argues that climate denialism exposes the socially constructed nature of property rights.
    • D-Brief notes the reburial of Kennewick Man.
    • The Dragon’s Gaze notes there is no sign of a second planet around Proxima Centauri.
    • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at life in Texas.
    • The LRB Blog analyzes Milo’s stumble.
    • Marginal Revolution considers the levels of disorderliness different societies, like Sweden, can tolerate.
    • The NYRB Daily reports on the poisoning of a Russian dissident.
    • The Planetary Society Blog suggests Voyager 1 picked up Enceladus’ plumes.
    • Peter Rukavina writes of his mapping of someone’s passage on the Camino Francés.
    • Supernova Condensate looks at the United Arab Emirates’ plan to build a city on Mars in a century.
    • Torontoist reported on a protest demanding action on the overdose crisis.

    • Towleroad describes the plight of Mr. Gay Syria in Istanbul and reports on the progress of same-sex marriage in Finland.
    • Understanding Society considers the complexity of managing large technological projects.
    • Window on Eurasia links to one Russian writer arguing Putin should copy Trump and links to anotehr suggesting the Russian Orthodox Church is overreaching.

    [URBAN NOTE] “Is the Exhibition Place’s Hotel X back on track?”

    The Toronto Star‘s Ellen Brait reports on the latest in the struggle to build a hotel at Toronto’s Exhibition Place, between environmental concerns with the site and the financial concerns of the builders.

    The construction of Exhibition Place’s Hotel X has been long, complicated, and riddled with problems. But those involved say they’re back on track.

    “May is the target date. We’re making pretty good progress,” Owen Whelan, president of McKay-Cocker, the construction manager for the project, said. “I would say at this point we’re full speed ahead.”

    But a number of liens still remain in place against the property. Liens are typically placed against properties as a means to keep a right of possession until a debt is paid.

    Government records show five companies certified liens between Oct. 2016 and Dec. 2016 that are still in place. They range from around $89,000 up to $32-million. Multiplex Construction Canada Limited, the former construction manager of the project, took out the largest lien, at $32,573,260, on Oct. 19, 2016 and filed a second one for $17,618,739 on Nov. 28, 2016.

    Jeffrey Burke, president of Lift All Crane Service Ltd., one of the companies with a lien against the property, said after Multiplex Construction Canada left the project, they left many companies “in the position where we had to put a lien on the project to ensure we were going to get paid.”

    Written by Randy McDonald

    February 15, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    [LINK] “Iranians Raise Cry As They Brace For U.S. Immigration Ban”

    Radio free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Golnaz Esfandiari covers the reaction in Iran to the prospect of a ban on the issuing of new visas to Iranian citizens. Esfandiari is correct to note that these visa restrictions will not help the Islamic Republic’s position and will in fact also hurt American soft power. That by far the most successful anti-American terrorists come from Saudi Arabia, a country not subject to the proposed ban, also deserves mention.

    The United States is a leading destination for students from all over the world, with international student enrollment at public and private U.S. institutions totaling more than 1 million young people in 2015-16, according to the Institute of International Education, with roughly one-third of them coming from China and Iranians well outside the top 10 places of origin.

    Hengameh, a mother of two in Tehran, told RFE/RL via Telegram she was offended by the U.S. decision. “I don’t have plans to travel to America, but I know many who have relatives there. This will make things harder for them,” she said, adding that obtaining a U.S. visa is already difficult for Iranians.

    [. . .]

    “The adoption of this [executive order] and similar laws will hurt only the Iranian people, and it won’t have any impact on the travels of government [officials] to America,” a comment on Radio Farda’s Facebook page said.

    “It’s clear that [Trump] doesn’t have a proper understanding of terrorists. Most of them are from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and other countries,” another comment said.

    Fifteen of the 19 hijackers who used passenger jets to carry out coordinated terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, were from Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden, the leader of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network blamed for the attack, was a Saudi citizen.

    Written by Randy McDonald

    January 26, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    [BLOG] Some Thursday links

    • blogTO notes that Uniqlo will be giving away free thermal clothing tomorrow.
    • James Bow shares his column about the importance of truth.
    • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly shares with us her mid-winter walk.
    • Centauri Dreams reports about cometary water.
    • Dangerous Minds shares German cinema lobby cards from the 1960s.
    • Language Hat talks about dropping apostrophes.
    • Language Log reports about lexical searches on Google.
    • Lawyers, Guns and Money reports on the latest from Trump.
    • The NYRB Daily shares a review of an Iranian film on gender relations.
    • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes the ongoing gas price protests in Mexico.
    • Spacing links to some articles about affordable housing around the world.
    • The Volokh Conspiracy notes Germany’s abolition of a law forbidding insults to foreign heads of state.
    • Window on Eurasia suggests that stable Russian population figures cover up a wholesale collapse in the numbers of ethnic Russians, and looks at the shortages of skilled workers faced by defense industries.

    [URBAN NOTE] “How to organize your first day in a new city when you are traveling”

    Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen offers excellent advice for travellers on how to explore new cities. These strategies are not unlike ones I’ve applied in the past, for whatever it’s worth. Save the big adventures for later, when you have a sense of the city and can appreciate what you are seeing all the better.

    The first thing I do is make sure blog is ready for the day to come (though that is usually pre-arranged if I am traveling).

    The second thing I do is decide whether the country is worth wasting a meal on breakfast. I might just skip it. If not, the next thing I will do is get breakfast. I evaluate breakfast options by walking and by sight, not by using the internet, as I find that old-fashioned method better training for all that life brings us.

    Then I try to walk through at least two neighborhoods, to get a general sense of the city. More importantly, I can then later take some time over lunch without feeling I haven’t seen anything yet. These neighborhoods should be connected to the main drag in some way but not the main drag itself. The main drag is often boring, though essential, and it is more likely to get a fuller treatment on day two, with only a quick peek on day one.

    Written by Randy McDonald

    January 23, 2017 at 11:15 pm