Archive for the ‘Love Hate Toronto’ Category

From Both Sides of His Mouth

Mayor David Miller speaks:

“Ultimately, the quality of our natural environment relies on government and citizens doing what they can alone and together to reach the highest levels of environmental achievement.”

“We also know that Torontonians very much want to do the right thing.”

“We’re doing our best to deal with Toronto’s fiscal situation in a way that causes the least damage, and that’s within the city manager’s authority to manage.”

Heritage preservation is recognized throughout the world as a fundamental component of a liveable city,” from Toronto website.

According to Leslie Roberts on CFRB, Mayor David Miller and his minion Councillors want to expropriate from its great-grandmother owner the Matador Club near College and Dovercourt for $800,000 so that they can tear down this heritage building and build 20 smog-producing parking spaces.

I couldn’t stop laughing when Leslie told us all about this latest idea from our City Council, else I’d start crying that the green, fiscally-prudent Mayor’s solution to restoring an old heritage building is to replace it with a parking lot.

RIP Harley Walker

I was so saddened to hear of the death of Harley Walker in what amounted to a failed extortion attempt. In the end David Kenton Reid pleaded guilty to 2nd degree murder. Good to hear that justice has been served but it is bittersweet. The fact that Harley was a gay man, IMO, was not the main issue in this sad crime. Harley was likely the target of a closeted married executive with financial difficulties looking for “easy money”. In any case no one deserves to meet a tragic end such as this. Toronto has lost another good soul before their time…

RIP Harley.

You may not know it but you’re probably familiar with some of his work. Harley was a CBC employee here in Toronto and worked behind the scenes on such shows as The Kid’s in the Hall, Fraggle Rock, and the National/CBC News before his retirement.

Toronto’s Beauty

Toronto may not have the green thumb climate of Vancouver, with its (usually) mild temperatures and high rainfall, but this city has hidden gems, people who spend hours in their gardens so that we walking by, can stop and smile and feel better as we carry on our way.

Whoo Hoo! We’re Honest!!

Well, OK, not our City Councillors, who are right now voting on the upteenth way of being able to say, “we didn’t raise the property taxes beyond inflation” while imposing hefty new taxes on garbage pick-up, house sales, car registrations, etc. etc. Sophists all, they are!

But the good news is that Reader’s Digest, August edition, found Torontonions — the non-political ones — the second-most honest citizens in the world! You won’t believe who came first: nope, not New York — fifth — not London — tied at 21st with Sydney! — not Auckland — eighth — nope, a city in Slovenia. Ljubljana came in first.

Go and pick up a copy, if you haven’t already. It’s pretty fun and interesting reading.

Toronto the Kind

Every time I read the Star’s Random Acts of Kindness, it almost brings a tear to my eye. I say “almost” ’cause I’m too manly to admit that it does. ‘Cause it doesn’t. Oh, fine, it does. Dammit.

You Get to Pay for your Garbage Bin Next Year

CTV Toronto – Homeowners to be charged based on trash output – CTV News, Shows and Sports — Canadian Television

Remember when I wrote about City Council’s latest brainwave on how to increase recycling in this city? Remember that most of us thought the Mayor Miller hordes were just tossing the idea around to see if it would stick? Well, according to a story on CTV, it’s about to become real.

The Latest Daft Idea from City Hall

Bill Carroll on CFRB this morning softened us up by talking about this lead pipe story, a story no-one much cares about, a story to put one in a calm state of mind listening to him trying to talk about nothing. Then he hit us. Wham! Right between the eyes. Toronto is talking about chucking all our garbage bins in the Michigan landfill so as to sell us their bins. We must decide once and forever, according to Bill, what size bin we want, and that’s the size that will be permanently parked (well the humoungous ones that only a bulging bicep handyman can shift when fully loaded) by your house and that we will be charged for. Too bad if you produce less garbage for that bin, you’ll be charged for it, and you may not be able to put it out until it’s full, however many weeks that takes. Too bad if you produce more — when spring cleaning or purging or moving or renovating (not talking drywall) or popping babies — cause I don’t know what will happen. It won’t fit in your bin, and you can see those politicians tsk tsking you for that and banning extra bags being put out. Cobourg allows one to put out extra bags once a year. I like it when a city determines when I can spring clean, move, or purge.

What really ticks me off is that Torontonians exceed every prediction for recycling rates each and every time the city introduces a new recycling or compositing program, yet the politicians are treating people who live in houses as garbage-spewing whores. It’s a huge incentive to move into an apartment or condo — places with far lower recycling rates than houses — or out of the city altogether.

Here’s an idea: instantly up the recycling rate of every single Torontonian, no matter where they live — house, apartment, or car — by building a waste sorting plant that efficiently and effectively sorts the garbage into recyclables, compostables, and garbage and, then even better, turns the garbage into electricity. In conjunction with that, pick up everybody’s garbage twice a week so as to return the city to its former state of cleanliness and lessen the vermin population. Only problem with that though: it’s not a tax grab. It’s just an excellent way to deal with our garbage, something our property taxes are supposed to be paying for now.

This bin idea is nothing more than a property tax hike disguised as a green, environmental solution that will, in fact, cause more garbage to appear in our ravines and parks as people rebel, cause more stress in our daily lives, cause our narrow sidewalks to be even more unnavigable on garbage day, cause vermin and pestilience to increase even more as they feed off all the illegally dumped garbage and rotting garbage that sits in a bin that’s suddenly become too big for a shrinking household until it’s full, cause us to dole out more money for less service and won’t help our environment one friggin’ bit more. I need a valium.

Toronto Homicides 2007

Homicides in the GTA, 2007

A map of all Homicides in the GTA for 2007 as compiled by the Toronto Star.

Thanks to Rachel for the idea.

Advertising in Toronto Revisited

Illegal Signs in Toronto

There’s just too many ads on Toronto’s streets.

At first I was indifferent to it, then, during my second year in University, they put it literally right to my face. A man should be able to pee without being told that he needs a breath mint or a new Dodge Charger.

Because of that first sell-to-me-while-I-pee incident, I’ve become sensitive to ads, especially outdoor ones.

It didn’t surprise me to learn that a great percentage of the outdoor ads that inundate and privitize our public spaces are illegal, according to the team behind

Rami Tabello and are reclaiming Toronto’s public areas, fighting against illegal billboards. They’re fighting the corporations who erect these illegals ads and they’re fighting our own city too. Here are just some of the illegal ads in your city.

In a May 4th post entitled “City Clerk Says Shouldn’t Have Access to Freedom of Information Because We Criticize the City With FOI Documents,” they show how even the people who are hired to support the public good are doing the exact opposite. They conclude from the Clerk’s actions that “the Clerk has cut off our access to billboard permit documents in order to cease our scrutiny of the bureaucracy’s failure to enforce the law.” To me, this sounds like instead of fixing the problem the City is trying to make it go away by hiding it from the public, from citizens like

Not a good use of tax payer’s money. It’s one thing to “ignore the complaints of those who would like to see illegal advertising off the streets,” as Alden wrote in a previous post. It’s another matter to use City money to fight those complainants. Alden makes a good argument when he wrote, “[t]o take away or stop the increase of advertising in our city would be, at this point, one of the worst moves we could ever make” because it generates revenue for the city. But do we really need to use City resources to fight people want take back our public spaces?

On a completely unrelated matter, I want a Dodge Charger.

Fiscal Imprudence

Toronto City Council is crying bankruptcy. It’s raided the reserve fund down to almost the last dollar. And George Mammoliti and City Council have noses to the ground, sniffing out the big fiscal mystery of why Councillors Rob Ford and Doug Holyday have spent a total of less than $1,500 of their allowed combined total expense account of $100,000 ($50k each). Mammoliti and Council find this lack of spending so egregious, they want to force them to spend some of that expense allowance on rent for a room and table in a city-owned building for city business with city workers in attendance. The one thing I’ve learnt from all this brouhaha that I didn’t know before is that Mammoliti spends all but a few dollars of his expense allowance. Mammoliti believes in spending every bit of taxpayer money that he’s allowed. No wonder he’s so miffed at Ford.

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