Archive for the ‘Toronto Star’ Category

Tomorrow’s Gas Price, Today!

2009 January 25

Surely some of you have heard of the guy they call The Gas Man.  Dan McTeague is the Member of Parliament for Pickering-Scarborough East, and has figured out how to predict what the price will be at gas pumps across Canada a day ahead of time. 

Apparently, what he does is not that hard – it’s a simple calculation based on his subscription ($300/month) to the Oil Price Information Service.  He then posts tomorrow’s gas prices for 7 Canadian cities, including the GTA, consistantly to within a tenth of a cent!  There was an interesting article about him and how it affects him politically in today’s Toronto Star. 

Although the only thing I drive ride is a bike, you might be interested in visiting Mr. McTeague’s website to see what you’ll be paying to fill ‘er up tomorrow morning.

Whatever Happened to Paper Bags?

2008 November 26

Toronto’s mayor, David Miller, put forth a proposal today stating that, starting sometime in the future, all retail stores in the city would have to charge 5-cents for every plastic bag used to pack up one’s purchases.  This comes after negotiations between the mayor and the heads of the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors, retooling a former proposal that would see a 10-cent discount for every plastic bag not used.  For the bylaw to pass, it still needs to be voted on my city council.

What I don’t get is why people can’t just take reusable bags with them when they go shopping.  Okay, I realize that sometimes you pass by a store and realize that you need to grab something.  Your shopping trip was unplanned.  You didn’t forcast bringing a bag with you.  However, I know from my own experience, and those of every family member and roommate I’ve ever lived with, that for the majority of the time (especially regarding grocery shopping) people know when they’re headed out to buy stuff.  When I leave my house for the supermarket, I automatically get my reusable bags from their place in my kitchen and take them with me.  Just like I remember to take my keys so I’m not locked out of my house.  People who always drive to the store could just keep them in their car.  It really takes nearly no extra effort.  Those who don’t do it are just lazy.

Why charge only 5 cents?  A lot of lazies are not going to care about spending an extra 30 cents at the check-out.  I bet if the cost was 50-cents a bag, or if stores only made available the 99-cent reusable bags, most people would start remembering to bring their own bags along with them from time-to-time.

On a related note, the Toronto Star did an article last year called Battle of the Supermarket Bags, to help you to decide which kind of reusable shopping bags to get.

A Crystal Ship Drifting Through The City

2008 November 24

I read an article this morning in the Toronto Star’s Opinion section about culture growth in the city, and more specifically praising the transformed Art Gallery of Ontario.

Also, for its re-opening last weekend, a glowing architecture review of the AGO appeared on the front page of the Arts section of the NY Times.  Nicolai Ouroussoff calls it “a masterful example of how to breathe emotional life into a staid old structure,” and continues that “as you watch the figures jostling outside and then turn to the sculptures, urban life and art seem in perfect balance.”

Everyone seems to love the new AGO!

The above photo is from the NY Times website.

Was Harper Speaking About Torontonians?

2008 November 20

Our current Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently claimed that ordinary Canadians don’t care about the arts or their funding.

Interestingly enough, the renovated Art Gallery of Ontario re-opened for business this past weekend, and I rode my bike by there yesterday around 5:30 pm only to witness an incredibly long line-up to get into the gallery.  I’m talking like around-the-block-long.

On a related note, I read this article this morning in the NY Times.  It basically talks about how, even though many of the museums in Los Angeles are facing budget crunches right now, there is still talk of bringing yet another public art museum to the City of Bevery Hills (financed by philanthropist Eli Broad.)

These two stories caused me to revisit thoughts I’ve had for a while about the state of the cultural institutions of Toronto.  We basically have two major museums: the Royal Ontario Museum and the AGO.  Yeah, we have a few other minor ones like the Gardiner Museum (ceramic art), the Bata Shoe Museum (footwear), and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art.  I guess the Ontario Science Centre is kind of a museum, too.  However, given the fact that Toronto is the 5th largest city in North America (after Mexico City, NYC, LA, and Chicago) it’s a pretty sad state of affairs.  New York City is home to top-notch museums in art, architecture, photography, natural history, television, radio and technology.  Chicago has more than 40 museums open to the public, including three popular museums on the lakefront linked by a large park area known as the Museum Campus.  Even Montréal, which is half the size of Toronto, has like 4 or 5 major institutions.  What’s up with our cultural infrastructure?

One proposal that has been in the works for more than 5 years is the the Toronto Museum Project.  This would see a “signature piece on the waterfront [showcasing] Toronto’s cultural story and intercultural understanding.”  Current plans identify the Canada Malting Silos site at the foot of Bathurst Street as the proposed site for this new Toronto Museum.  Only time will tell whether this project will actually go forward, but I’m not placing any bets.  Two other contemporary museum projects went unrealized – Metronome: Canada’s Music City was shelved years ago and a more ambitious Toronto city museum, called Humanitas, was rejected half a decade ago.  There’s actually a current exhibit at the ROM entitled Unbuilt Toronto: The City That Could Have Been, that showcases unbuilt projects and unrealized building proposals over the last 150 years.

As for our city’s current cultural landscape, go out and support the arts – even if Stephen Harper thinks you don’t care about them.  I’m going to the AGO this weekend (although I’ll be prepared to line up.)

Quote of the Day!

2007 October 24

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I see this billboard every morning on my way down to the portlands.  How do you become an advice columnist, anyway?  What makes this woman any better at living than the rest of us?

U of T Football Really Sucks!

2007 September 26

I currently work for U of T athletics as a coach, so I was surprised to read in this morning’s Toronto Star that the U of T Varisty Blues football squad has lost their last 45 straight games!  45 in a row!!  Their average loss has been 52-11 and they’ve lost 72-0 twice.  That really sucks.  Apparenly, they are only 2 losses away from an all-time Canadian University losing-streak record.  Can you believe that there has been another team that has lost that much?

Read the article U of T teaching lesson in mediocrity.  My favourite quote is: “The company line seems to be that U of T is chronically handicapped by high academic standards (a problem, funnily enough, that never seems to send Queen’s to the basement).”

Breakfast Crawl: Friendly’s Grill – All Day Breakfast

2007 September 26

Although the sign above this place reads: Friendly’s Grill – All Day Breakfast, apparently its official name is Friendly Sports Bar & Grill.  Regardless, the people who work there are pretty darned friendly.  I spotted this place en route to St. Joe’s Hospital last night after a crazy opened their driver’s side door into the bike lane on College St., sending me flying into oncoming traffic.  Luckily, I suffered only some road rash and minor soft tissue damage.

So I decided to check it out this morning.  Upon arrival, the chalkboard in front announced the special: before 11:45am, the 4 egg breakfast is just $4.95!  Sold.  I inquired as to whether is was okay if I sat at the front table by the window, and the cook seemed perplexed as to why I was even asking in the first place.  Before sitting down, he had already taken my order (which basically consisted of asking what kind of meat I wanted and what colour toast – egg variety, apparently, is not a choice).  I went to buy a paper, and when I came back my coffee was waiting for me on my table.  This place is a bit dark, so I suggest sitting up front unless you want to watch SportsCentre on the giant screen tv at the rear.

The breakfast arrived shortly, served by another friendly employee.  I got 3 strips of excellent-quality bacon, 4 eggs (over easy), 2 slices of wheat toast, and some delicious potatoes.  Simple and sweet.  The server came back often to refill my coffee while I lingered over my Toronto Star.  The place was not busy, so I was never rushed and I received my friendly cheque just as I was finishing the last section of the ‘voice of the GTA’.

This place is not ultra close to where I live, nor is it really on the way to any place that I frequent.  I might not make the trek there again for no reason, but if I happen to find myself in the area, I’d definitely give Friendly’s Grill another go.

Friendly’s is located at 1116 Queen St. W (near Dovercourt).  It’s open daily from 9 am.

Metaphors and Sarcasm

2007 September 6

The front section of today’s Toronto Star had a number of great articles.  2 in particular are, in my opinion, deserving of being quoted:

Francine Kopun’s Toronto’s Film Festival Rivals Cannes passes on this charming metaphor, taken from this week’s Time magazine:

“Don’t take this the wrong way, Toronto, but Hollywood loves you because you’re easy,” writes Winters Keegan in Time’s special festival edition. “Perfectly timed, impeccably organized and unfailingly kind to all varieties of movies, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has become the industry’s hottest festival ticket by acting as a kind of supportive, low-maintenance girlfriend.

“Unlike its major festival sisters – that sexy cougar Cannes, 60, and parka-clad hipster Sundance, 29 – Toronto, 32, is inclusive, friendly and even prettier once you get to know her.”

And Joey Slinger’s Tory Gets An F For Faith-funding Idea slaps us with a bit of sarcasm:

“John Tory is such an ideal leader it’s hard to understand why we don’t send pink slips to the gang that’s been running Queen’s Park and simply appoint him premier so Ontario can get on with its God-given task of being the most wonderful province anybody ever dreamed of.”

Newspapers are like the new internet.

The History of Geography

2007 August 22

Have a look at this enlightening article from yesterday’s Toronto Star: Soldier’s Story Forever Etched in City Streets.  I was just wondering the other day about the process of naming city streets and neighbourhoods.  Roncesvalles Village, also known as Toronto’s Little Poland, was one of those places that, if you could even pronounce it, you probably wondered where the name came from.

Wait . . . Guerilla’s ride bikes?

2007 August 8

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I saw this awesome graffiti new bike lane on Queen Street West yesterday on my way to work, but I didn’t have my camera with me.  I went back today to get a shot of it and found that I had been scooped by some other blogs.  There was also an article last month in the Toronto Star about this issue, as apparently this is not the first “incident.” I wonder if any of the drivers parking in these “lanes” feel bad at all.

This particular lane runs from Bathurst to Trinity Belwoods Park on Queen West, and the group supposedly responsible is called Other Urban Repair Squad. They did this more than a week ago! How did I miss it until now??