Archive for November, 2006

Toronto’s 4th Gift to the World

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Photo Courtesy Sangin’s Photo Blog

Honest Ed’s is a massive discount store at the corner of Bathurst and Bloor St. This year it will celebrate it’s 58th anniversary and will most likely still be around in another 42 years. You may ask, however, why have we classified it as a gift from Toronto? Could it be because here we can find the cheapest brand, type, colour of any neccessity imaginable? Or could it be because of the free meals and giveaways organized on a regular basis by the owner, Ed Mirvish? Or better yet maybe because it serves as proof that there are still local buisnesses doing exceedingly well and contributing to the local community despite multi-national corporate giants such as Wall-Mart.

In short Honest Ed’s is a definite must see.

You might also want to check out the information sheet on Honest Ed’s over on Wikipedia.

Toronto’s 3rd Gift to the World

At 553m or 1,815ft, the CN Tower is the world’s tallest free-standing tower. It was originally conceived of as three communication towers, but then Canadian National Railway and the architects got ambitious. Why not build the tallest tower in the world, they mused? And so they did!

The CN Tower opened to great fanfare to the public on 26 June 1976. Since then Canadian National Railway sold it to Canada Lands Company, and “CN Tower” now stands for Canada’s National Tower. Although its main function is as a communications tower, designed to boost broadcast signals, its known for its fantastic views and its vertigo-inducing Sky Pod, accessible only on non-windy or light wind days. On a clear day, you can see right across Lake Ontario to the American shores. In the 1970s, its rotating high-flying disco bar was the place to sneak into as an underaged kid. Its restaurant, 360, is still a destination of choice for celebratory dinners. Its glass floor wows visitors and instills fear into the height-challenged.

Many have talked of challenging this Tower’s Guinness World Record, and the day may come soon when the challenger will be successful, but for now the CN Tower continues to define our city and to be the main place to see for any visitor to Toronto.

Toronto’s 2nd Gift to the world

Since November 26, Metroblogging sites around the globe have been unveiling seven gifts their cities can share with the world – one gift a day for seven days. Toronto was a bit late starting but are hoping to accelerate our sharing of this weeks topic. David Markland over at the Los Angeles metblog site has put up an ongoing guide for all the posts on this subject.

The man who brought cheesy, campy comedy back into the limelight for the rest of the world and made it cool to laugh at not so cool phrases. Mike Myers, a proud Torontonian has been making the world laugh for the past twenty five years.

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His characters have spawned many cultural catch phrases such as “Oh, behave!”, “Yeah Baby! Yeah!”, “Shagadelic!”, “Not!”, and “Schwing!”. The list goes on and on with notable characters such as Fat Bastard, Dr. Evil, Wayne, Austin Powers, Shrek, and his various bouts on SNL.

Here are Mike’s Wikipedia and IMDB entries.

Toronto’s First Gift to the World: Green AC

Since November 26, Metroblogging sites around the globe have been unveiling seven gifts their cities can share with the world – one gift a day for seven days. Toronto was a bit late starting but are hoping to accelerate our sharing of this weeks topic. David Markland over at the Los Angeles metblog site has put up an ongoing guide for all the posts on this subject.

Toronto presents the world our deep lake water cooling system. (see previous post on this subject). A clean and sustainable technology which made it’s home in Toronto as the first downtown core to be cooled this way. There are other places that use this technology like the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority and one at Cornell University but have yet to be expanded. Stockholm and Dubai are implementing this and the Makai Ocean Engineering firm in Hawaii is hoping to bring this to the masses as well.

So, such a system is only great if it is utilised as much as possible. Toronto hopes to continue to expand it’s usage of this system by getting businesses interested in both the advertising (“Hey! We’re a ‘green’ company!”) and cost savings over time. (Example: Tridel [a condominium developer] used it as a sales factor.)

This won’t save the world, but it is a seemingly nice start.

The Ten-Degree Yo-Yo

Toronto weather used to be predictable. Summer saunas; winter freezers. Then things started morphing. Some claimed it was climate change, others countered that it was a natural cycle. Whatever the reason — though I think we’re all agreed that the climate change theorists have it right — things sure are weird around here now.

At first it was mostly summers with the 10-degree yo-yo. The temperature rises and rises until you’re roasting and sweating, then just as you’re getting acclimatized, it suddenly drops by 10 degrees and you find yourself looking for that cardiagan you put away. It stays in the 20-degree range for long enough to not be used to the heat anymore, then in 48 hours or less, it’s flirting with 40 degree temps, and you’re madly shedding the layers, wondering how bare is bare.

Now winter has gotten into the act. The 10-degree yo-yo has settled in to the colder months comfortably, with the filip of the fall months reversing their acts. And so instead of slowly adjusting to cold weather, we’re shocked into it in October, then given a reprieve as we head into November until suddenly we’re facing record highs and the horrifying prospect of going from 16 to 5 or 0 in one day, depending on which forecaster you believe. One day! That’s the 10-degree yo-yo on hyperdrive. Meanwhile our poor bodies are still stuck on the early fall temperature setting.

You’ll find me glued to my rads come Friday, layered in sweaters and scarves.

Some Jobs More Important Than Others

Something New at the TTC! New Token Makes Official Debut

Howard Moscoe 22 March 2006:

“It’s in the long-term interest of all public-transit systems in this country to ensure that we retain a facility for constructing subway cars in this country. If the TTC doesn’t buy this order, who would?”

Moscoe 25 November 2006:

“I want to make my cars where it benefits Canadian workers. I am not going to allow millions and millions of dollars to flip out of the country just because Siemens, a German company, wants to make our cars in China.”

Moscoe 17 November 2006:

“We have minted a token that will be significantly harder to counterfeit; it’ll be a bi-metal token.” This bimetal token, like the current tokens, will be manufactured by American workers. The TTC has struck a deal to mint 20 million new tokens with the US firm of Osborne Coinage of Cincinnati, Ohio, the result being that $1.7 million will flip out of Canada and no Canadian worker will benefit from the TTC’s largesse. Gotta love our TTC Chair; he’s always thinking about the little guy.

The Gallery is Up – 1024

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One month later and the gallery is filling up. Photographers from around the world (including myself) took part in TEN/TWENTYFOUR (a photo scavenger hunt of sorts on October 24th). Check out the world through our lenses

Escalator Closed at Sheppard Subway

Where else but on the TTC would a 7-month escalator refurbishment schedule be considered OK? No commercial establishment — no mall, no retail store, no hospital — would even think of taking this long, yet the TTC doesn’t blink an eyelash when it says that it’s OK to severely inconvenience customers in this way because (a) it saves money and (b) the poor dears just don’t know what parts to order until they take it apart. And as we all know parts take time to arrive. Hence all those fenced-off escalators with nary a worker in sight.

Given that the TTC has 294 escalators, which regularly break down and are systematically undergoing refurbishment, is it not logical to have their own storehouse of parts that they can quickly dip into when the need arises? Apparently not.

Apparently Sheppard having an elevator (slow, not big enough to accommodate many, and not always reliable) makes it OK to close both escalators from 13 November 2006 to 18 May 2007, more than half a year. Apparently, it’s more acceptable to make it harder for the customers, especially the less than able-bodied, to use the TTC than to keep a stash of parts in stock. And Howard Moscoe thinks the priority is to make our subway trains driverless.

Raw Events (that I’m not real enough to represent)

Got dissed for not enough skate culture content a few posts back but I’m actually kind of glad I DIDN’T go to ADRIFT last weekend. The afterparty scene there is usually amazing but the carnage evidenced on the their blog may have been too much for some. What was all the hype about? Well the fuss and action was for IAN REID’s VIDEO, a raw look at skateboarding, partying and randomness (probably the closest thing to watching a video version of VICE MAGAZINE).

I’m sure many had a good time. Not sure my date would have been too into the “dancing”…

Everyone has their idea of a good time I suppose… Now the GET FAMILIAR video was amazing! Real skateboarding at it’s best (no, um filler…)

savouring the sweet

So this is more of a problem for the suburbs than it is for Toronto itself. Being a somewhat social couple, my wife and I like to meet friends for dinner and dessert on both weekdays and weekends. We live in Mississauga in the Port Credit/Clarkson area. What are some of the recommendations for restaurants in this area? I’d love to go to small bistro’s and cafe’s for dinner but haven’t been able to find any restaurants which are not a chain or a Firkin or a Sports Bar that are open past 9 pm.

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The bigger issue that I’ve had is finding a place for dessert. Aside from Dmitri’s, which I can’t stand due to poor service on a consistent basis and the constant annoyance of terrible music and high school kids, I don’t know of any other decent dessert places. Even the Just Desserts that used to be by Square One has shut down.

On a weekend I don’t mind heading downtown and going to the dozens of places around like Future Bakery or 7 West etc. that are great.

I used to frequent the Parlour Cafe down on Lakeshore quite often but that’s been changed into a small time coffee shop now and is now rarely interesting.

What are some of the places that you guys go to when you don’t want the whole chain store experience?

If you’re from another suburb, please mention the small cafe’s and shops in your area as well as I’d love to try out something new.

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