Archive for January, 2008

Toronto the Virtual City


Ever checked out Google Earth and visited all the big cities with 3D buildings and wondered why Toronto was not the list of 3D cities. Well it is now, not in Google Earth but in Microsofts Virtual Earth. I just found this out and thought I should share. You need to download the software and you also need a good graphics card running on your PC, if not it will be verrrrrry slow. Why is it that whenever I take pics around the city I never get these clear blue skys? Here are some pics from my visit to Virtual Toronto…

Toronto is Baseball!


The Toronto Star released their picks for the Top 25 Greatest Toronto Sports moments over the last 25 years. Not surprisingly Joe Carters game 6 home run to win the 1993 World Series got top honors. Baseball! My question why do we as Toronto sports fans tend to forget about baseball. It’s been around before our beloved hockey team won anything. The hockey guys even stole the name Maple Leafs from our very successful baseball club. What is it about baseball that turns us off? Maybe there are way too many games in a season to keep us interested. Whatever the reason, baseball always makes for great moments especially here in Toronto. Baseball is big and it always seems to get bigger. Who would have known Babe Ruth would be a baseball superstar after he hit his first professional homerun out of Hanlan’s stadium into the Toronto Bay way back when. We had a Professional Ball park on the Islands?

Nineteenth Century Toronto on Television

Citytv | Murdoch Mysteries

It’s not often one sees Toronto portrayed as Toronto in television — although that’s radically starting to change this season — even less so historical Toronto. I’m a fan of Maureen Jennings’ mystery series, featuring Detective William Murdoch of the Toronto Police or Constabulary. But although I was a fan, I wasn’t sure how many were interested in reading about the personal foibles and professional successes of a Toronto detective in the 19th century. Apparently, so many that there’s now a television series, starring a veteran Canadian television actor, and the premiere went off with a bang.

In the series, so far, Murdoch doesn’t have a repressed and steaming personal life as he does in the novels; instead his constable has one. He does have to fight the non-scientific minds on the force, but he’s not nearly as isolated as in the books, nor is he viewed with derision. It’s light fare. Yet it’s also a good old-fashioned mystery. Old-fashioned as in a real mystery, requiring the use of one’s little grey cells, not drowned in forensic technobabble, moody lighting, and sexified music. It has ingenious camera work that doesn’t nauseate. In short, it’s a breath of fresh air and a real tonic to CSI.

The only question I have is how on earth did they replicate 19th century Toronto beyond the usual location, given that the city’s politicians have rubber stamped the destruction of so many historical buildings. And what they didn’t rubberstamp, the OMB forced on us. Well, at least we can see what Toronto used to be like through the lens of this series.

The Leafs? Gotta Forget About’em!


Still thinking about the Leafs? New/old General Manager won’t make much of a material difference, with this season at least. Again for some strange reason I decided to kill my time watching a Leaf game and guess what happened, they lost. I guess I was still up on the Raptor victory over the NBA’s best team at the moment the Boston Celtics the other night. What was I thinking? Why do I commit myself to such wastefulness. There is so much happening with the Raptors as of late I don’t know why the Leafs continue to be first news when it comes to sports in this city. We are a city who always loves to push aside the bad and showcase the new. Please, let’s forget about the Leafs they are a waste of time and money.

I must apologize for cracking. Previously I posted about forgetting the Leafs and I cracked. I’m sorry! I guess I am just a devoted Toronto sports fan, but still… The Leafs Suck! Watching them play is like watching a bad movie. This city needs to step away from showcasing itself as a hockey town because as you can tell from my words there is not much hockey being played here. Forget about the Toronto Maple Leafs and get into the Toronto Raptors. I’ll keep saying it because I truly believe if you’re a true Toronto Sports fan you enjoy winning teams you’ll do the right thing.

Tonight the Raptors are in action playing the Milwakee Bucks. Trust me, they are an exciting team to watch. Check’em out. The “Leafs?” Gotta Forget about’em!

Phot by: jgsprenger

PostSecret in Toronto?

There must be an art gallery in Toronto who would love to host the PostSecret International Art Exhibition. The Winnipeg Art Gallery currently has it till 10 February 2008. And according to the PostSecret Community website, there’s an opening for the next 8 weeks after Winnipeg.

So I guess this is a call to the Toronto Art Gallery owners out there. If you enjoy PostSecret as much as I do (and I know you do because I’ve seen the post cards you’ve left at the Chapters Indigo stores around the city), then let’s bring it here for other Torontonians to discover and enjoy.

Bringing Colour to Cloudy Day


Great to see that old classics diehard. Graffiti Alley (the East-West stretch from Spadina to Augusta just South of Queen St. W) has been a fixture for years. So many graf artists battle for supremacy during the summer competitions part of Style in Progress but new pieces go up all the time (without judges or deadlines). Sadly Style in Progress didn’t happen in 2007 but hopefully the amazing festival will return this year. So if the greyness and cold are getting to you head down to the alley and bring some colour to your day!

Getting Some Sun Energy

Remember this unseasonably hot day last October? Remember what it felt like to bask in warm, calm-inducing sun? I don’t know about you, but I’ve just about forgotten, and we’re paying for that sun deficit. It seems like many of us have gone into full hibernation mode after weeks of grey days and too few sunny ones, feeling too spiritless to engage with each other, even through a relatively easy forum as the comments section on a blog. But who can comment when thinking takes work?

While Americans lean back in a comfy chair, eyes closed, imagining their dreams today on their holiday, we ought to do the same. Yeah, our governments are too parsimonious to give us a stat holiday in January and Ontarians are bitchin’ about the new stat one in February, but we can take our own day off, like the man in this photo. While people around him walked and flew kites and huffed and puffed over the volleyball nets, he parked his chair and parked himself and simply soaked in the sun until he was re-energized to get back into life. We may have to do it under glass when the sun does peek out, but to me, it’s a marvelous idea.

Innocent Man Murdered

He was shot near Gerrard and Broadview six hours ago. He was just a guy working when a coward pulled out a gun and started shooting.

There’s talk about citizen outrage but I haven’t really seen it.

The Greying of Toronto | News | We don’t deserve this horrorchitecture

I loved the words Christopher Hume uses to describe the new structure finally arising out of the ashes of Yonge Street’s old has-been, city-expropriated architecture: “nasty dark grey bunker”, “galactic coal-carrier”, “lumpen excuse for a building”, “dead and inert”. And what is this lumpen grey bulky coal carrier called? “Time Life Square.” I had no idea. Did you?

I haven’t see it. But it doesn’t surprise me that a city that thinks cluttering up our sidewalks with garbage bins once a week and converting our neighbourhoods from flora to trash showcases would A-OK horrorchitecture. After all, a city hall that couldn’t care less about the downward spiral of our collective living space from being the cleanest and greenest on the continent to littered and stinky, is not going to care much about what the buildings look like. We really are dependent on individuals, corporations, and developers to ensure we have architecture that one can admire and that provokes (good) thought. For the most part, they’ve been letting us down.

Still, there have been a few shining lights, especially recently. The Crystal at the ROM is a masterpiece that adds to Avenue Road and Bloor, no matter whether one likes it or not. The new opera hall elevates the intellectual life of our city. And Citytv, now owned by Rogers, its iconic building stormed by CTV, may yet save Yonge and Dundas.

The Yonge-Dundas Square is attractive, in a urban, hard-edged way, until one looks to the east side and sees that rather messy temporary structure. It really brings the whole place down. How about erecting a permanent stage of beauty, like the shell at the CNE? (Perhaps Citytv with their penchant for taking over the area around their building may do just that.)

But no matter what a few good corporations do, somehow the citizens of Toronto are going to have to find their moxie and counter the efforts of city hall to turn our urban oasis into a grey dump.

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.

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