Archive for the ‘Love Hate Toronto’ Category

Mr Fixit at The Star Tackles the Lazy, Filthy TTC. Good Luck! | GTA | Sick transit: TTC dirty, leaky, decaying

“Dingy, decaying, depressing, and definitely not The Better Way.”

No kidding! It’s not just sick, it’s comatose and on life support, heading to the morgue. I knew that the day I saw a rat bold as you please sniffing the subway platform, way above its usual haunt of the subway tracks.

“Councillor Adam Giambrone, who chairs the TTC, says the people who’ve complained about deteriorating conditions are wrong.”

Giambrone as usual has his inexperienced head up his ass. A dirty system is still a dirty system; whether or not it’s as garbage- and filth-strewn as it was two years ago, it’s still filthier now than it was decades ago.

“There’s a lot more to cleaning a subway station than it might seem, said [Gary] Shortt. For example, the black grime coating so many surfaces is a fine dust created when the brakes on trains are applied as they slow while pulling into stations.”

He goes into detail about how this grime can’t simply be washed off and requires maintenance staff to do it, instead of janitorial, which of course explains only a few walls, those not near a platform, and not the rest of the walls and floors. Plus how on earth did the staff manage to keep stations shining 20, 30 years ago? Were they just better workers back then? Judging by how much more surface drivers had to do back then and how much better they were at ensuring people knew where to get off, I’d hazard a yes to that.

Jack Lakey, The Fixer at The Toronto Star, is certainly taking on quite the task this week, challenging the TTC to fix up their system. The TTC whiners have one thing right — subway riders have become incredibly disgusting in their habits. OTOH, maybe they always were, but TTC janitors used to be adept at cleaning up after them and so we just never knew what inconsiderate and filthy hogs Torontonians were and are. And isn’t that what’s wrong with the city today — of which the TTC is in microcosm? That we no longer reflect our best Sunday suit to ourselves and the world. Instead, we’ve degenerated and now show the unwashed Sunday lie-in side, to such an extent that when I told some new Torontonians that the city used to have a continent-wide reputation for being really clean, they laughed and laughed. They thought I was kidding. No folks, I’m not. We used to be so clean, Hollywood had to truck in garbage to make our streets look believable for the big screen. I don’t think they do now. They probably have to haul out the power washer and litter picker-uppers. How sad. How very, very sad.

The Upside to Winter

As much as we Canadians like to whine about winter, the snow, the cold, the winds, the endless (these days) grey skies, there is one really nice thing about this time of year. Yes, it is true that during the cold winter months, there are no mosquitoes, no blackflies or flies, no cats digging in the garden (or if they are who cares right now), no stinky skunks, for the most part, and no wasps, but those still aren’t the nicest part about cold weather.

Nope, the nicest part about winter is that the marauding, vandalizing, city-sanctioned masked bandits are hardly to be seen. Our garbage, our decks, our gardens, our dogs and cats, and ourselves are safe…until mating season.

Musings on Taxes, Snow, and Garbage

Yesterday Global News Ontario reported that house sales are down dramatically in Toronto, yet have risen in a couple of 905 areas like Richmond Hill or Ajax. The thrust of the report was that the new land transfer tax is already affecting house sales in the 416 area, and then they ended it by saying maybe it was the weather because you couldn’t park anywhere in order to view houses.

Personally, I think it’s too early to tell. Year-over-year sales may be an indicator that the new Toronto land transfer tax is already chilling sales, yet the housing market doesn’t start heating up traditionally until the end of February or early spring. It’s usually a bit slow at this point in time, and so I’d be more interested in seeing what sales do in April, May, and June. Although I still believe doubling the land transfer tax for Toronto homes only was a dumb idea, I don’t think we can say “see, we told you so” yet.

It was nice that Toronto finally decided to shave the snow banks in my neighbourhood down to an easy-to- drive-onto height. And I totally get why side streets need to be plowed in the middle of the night, but could we possibly refrain from scaring the bejeesus out of us sound sleepers by not plowing the bare asphalt in a futile and very-late attempt to get rid of the tall snow-and-ice rut down the middle of the road. I thought Armageddon was descending upon me when this scraping thunder roared into my sleep, convincing me something nasty was coming right into my bedroom. And why was my street’s snow rut plowed several hundred times, and the rest of my neighbourhood left untouched?

And because I can’t leave this post without making at least one comment on Toronto’s stupid garbage policy, let me just note that I had to walk on the road the other day because the EMPTY bins were hogging the cleared part of the sidewalk. Now if the garbage had been put in bags, the sidewalk would have been free and clear for pedestrians to use once the garbage truck had trundled on by.

Hogtown Once More | GTA | Bigger bins no small problem

My response to that article was succinct and not for public consumption. Living in this city is becoming more exhausting with each pronouncement by city council. The reason why people look to the past and sigh that life was simpler back then was that life was less regulated, less stressed by government, less infantalized, freer. I’m sure government started imposing rules and regulations before I was born, but I swear they’ve accelerated like a druggie on a logarithmic curve. Take garbage (yes, please, take my garbage!). Back in the bad old simpler days, everyone put out all their garbage in whatever receptacle they wanted. On Wednesdays huge items that didn’t fit in bags or bins were picked up. Twice a week everything — that’s right folks EVERYTHING — was picked up. The streets were clean, gardens were gardens, and people didn’t waste time and brain power sorting their garbage. Everyone could participate, no matter how infirm or poor or overworked because bags are lighter than bins, brain power wasn’t required as everything went into one bag or bin and everything went out the same day of the week, the poor and overworked didn’t have to spend what adds up to hour or hours each week sorting and hauling out the garbage. For the infirm, poor, and overworked, garbage was quick and easy and even they could participate. Then recycling was introduced.

What’s your favorite Toronto Landmark 5?


So here we are at round five of MB Toronto’s quest to find the city’s top landmark arording to its readers. The first four rounds have been prety intertesting with some for sure selections and some almost but not quite shockers. This week is our “Wild Card” round with some of your runner uppers from previous rounds. Let’s see, this time around we have the Hockey’s Coopertown, the Hockey Hall of Fame. Our second and third pics are our city halls, both new and old. Common readers we have to get one of these two in! Next we got one of Toronto’s grandest structures ever built, Union Station. And finally we got the Sunnyside Pavillion.

If you had a tough time deciding between these before enjoy this second crack at it!

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What’s Your Favorite Toronto Landmark 4?


So here we are at week 4 of MB Toronto’s Top T-Dot Landmark Poll. Week 3 was very interesting with the Rogers Centre beating out Toronto City Hall; I didn’t think it would happen. Our finalists thus far are the Princes’ Gates, Distillery District and the Rogers Centre. This week we have some new Landmarks to choose from and its a toughie. We have the Hockey Hall of Fame, Queens Park, Ontario Legislature, Fort York, St Lawrence Market and the CN Tower. Which of these 5 is your favorite?

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Hockey Hall of Fame photo by Condo TECH
Queen’s Park phot by Eric Giberson
Fort York Photo by Patrick Landers
St Lawrence Market Phot by nor dicshutter
CN Tower phot by William Self

What’s Your Favorite Toronto Landmark 3?


Alright, so far both the CNE’s Princes’ Gates and the Distillery District have made it into the MB Toronto’s Top T-Dot Landmark finals. This week we will take a look at another five each of which have all been built in the later half of the last century. So here’s the list, Eaton Centre, City Hall, Royal Ontario Museum, Rogers Centre (I still call it SKYDOME) and Roy Thomson Hall.

Happy Voting :)

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Eaton Centre photo by Christopher Chan
Toronto City Hall photo by rohmmel
ROM photo by End User
Rogers Centre photo by eminliney
Roy Thomson Hall photo by Johnny’s Photos

Crumbs, Critters, and Crud

Well, I’m back from my time off from blogging. It’s been quite interesting. Went out for lunch recently, something quiet, something good to nosh on, a time to relax and let the mind go blank. But then a young woman came breezing in and plunked herself down at the table beside me, opposite a very patient man. He’d been waiting about the time it took me to order, get my meal, make serious inroads into it, and watch him finally order a bowl of soup. He quickly ordered a main. She was talking through her own soup when his steaming hot lunch arrived. She stopped waving her spoon around and dove it into the end of his loaf, the end closest to her, and said, “This looks so good, you don’t mind if I try some.” Now, what’s a guy to do? He was gracious and said, “Go ahead.” I wonder if he just didn’t care about her slobbered-on spoon desecrating his meal or decided to eat up to but not that portion of his loaf. I left before I discovered the answer to my question.


Sitting semi-comatose on the subway train, waiting in the station for who knows what reason, I stared mindlessly out the open train doors. Into view scurried a little hump-backed, deep brown-furred creature with a thin, long tail. Blink. Pause. Blink, blink, blink. The hallucination didn’t disappear. Instead it sniffed between the raised yellow circles on the yellow warning band that edges the subway platform, and it went hither and thither on the trail of crumbs and kleenex bits dropped by your typical TTC patron. I sat up. Was it coming closer? Nope. It swooped away from the doors and scurried out of view. The chimes sounded, the doors closed, and I had no photo of this first-in-a-lifetime event. (Acutally it’s the third rat sighting I’ve had late this year, and I don’t think I’ve seen 3 in all the decades before that.) The shock made me forget all about getting a photo! It even struck me dumb. And I became rather nervous when I had to leave the train, looking hard to the floor to the left and right of me. I should’ve shouted, “RAT!”


The Toronto Maple Losers, um, Leafs have apparently become a hot topic. I’ve long since grown bored with the Leafs. They never win, they never even look like they’re going to win, and their owners clearly don’t care as they’re raking in the cash in bumps and hikes of millions and millions. At least in Harold Ballard’s day, his antics and controversies — which makes today’s look like so much milky mush — overshadowed their perennial losing and kept us amused. Now the faceless corporate entities don’t even do that. They just hide in their counting house, ca-chinging the money flowing in. Rats!

Speaking of Crazy Driving

I heard that there were quite a few accidents yesterday with the first real feel of winter style weather BUT 800 accidents in 24 hours! Leave it to my friend to tell me “I haven’t seen the worst of the madness” on the streets of the GTA. I couldn’t see myself driving as much as he does to work everyday.

Take it easy people. Are you really that excited to get to work?

What’s your favorite Toronto Landmark?


MB Toronto is on a quest to find out what are the most popular Toronto landmarks. Our final “Tops” list will consist of winners from several polls that will go on through the next few months. Each poll will consist of 5 great landmarks in and around our city. This is a great opportunity to reconnect with the wonderful buildings and structures we have here in Toronto. Especially as cold winter rolls around.

Top left: Union Station
Top right: Fairmount Royal York Hotel
Bottom Left: Old City Hall
Bottom Left: Gooderham Building
Center: Princess Gates

Vote here:
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