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CBC
Eye Weekly
Google News (Canada, English)
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Inter Press Service
National Post
NOW Toronto
The Toronto Star (Toronto)

Selected Blogs
3 Quarks Daily
80 Beats (Andrew Moseman, Brett Israel)
A BCer in Toronto (Jeff Jedras)
Acts of Minor Treason (Andrew Barton)
Andart (Anders Sandberg)
Alpha Sources (Claus Vistesen)
Anthropology.net
Apostrophen ('Nathan Smith)
Arnold Zwicky's Blog
Aufbau Ost (Melanie K.)
Bad Astronomy (Phil Plait)
Beyond the Beyond (Bruce Sterling)
blogTO
Bonoboland (Edward Hugh)
Bow. James Bow.
Broadside Blog (Caitlin Kelly)
A (Budding) Sociologist's Commonplace Book (Dan Hirschman)
Gerry Canavan's blog
Castrovalva (Richard R.)
Centauri Dreams (Paul Gilster)
Charlie's Diary (Charlie Stross)
City of Brass (Aziz Poonawalla)
Crooked Timber
The Dragon's Gaze (William Baird)
The Dragon's Tales (William Baird)
Dangerous Minds
Everyday Sociology Blog
False Positives (Ian Irving)
Far Outliers (Joel)
The Fifteenth (Steve Roby)
A Fistful of Euros
GeoCurrents (Martin Lewis)
Global Sociology
The Great Grey Bridge, Honourary Canadian (Philip Turner)
Halfway Down the Danube (Douglas Muir et al.)
Hunting Monsters and inuit bikini scarlet carwash
In Media Res (Russell Arben Fox)
Inkless Wells (Paul Wells)
Intuitionistically Uncertain (Michel)
Itching for Eestimaa (Guistino)
Ivor Tossell on the Web
Jim's Occasional Journal of Sorts (Jim Rittenhouse)
Joe.My.God (Joe)
Johnny Pez's blog
Karl Schroeder's blog
Kieran Healy's Weblog
Language Hat
Language Log (Mark Liberman et al.)
Languages of the World (Asya Pereltsvaig)
Lawyers, Guns, and Money
LRB Blog (London Review of Books)
The Map Room (Jonathan Crowe)
Marginal Revolution (Tyler Cowen)
Marginalia (Peteris Cedrins)
Mark Simpson
Maximos' Blog (Russell Darnley)
More Words, Deeper Hole (James Nicoll)
The Naked Anthropologist (Laura Agustín)
New APPS blog (group blog)
No Moods, Ads or Cutesy Fucking Icons (Re-reloaded) (Peter Watts)
The Numerati (Stephen Baker)
NYRB Daily (New York Review of Books)
Open the Future (Jamais Cascio)
Otto's Random Thoughts (J. Otto Pohl)
The Pagan Prattle (Feòrag)
Passing Strangeness (Paul Drye)
patrickcain.ca (Patrick Cain)
Personal Reflections (Jim Belshaw)
Photosapience Daily (Jerrold)
Pollotencheg (Ukrainian demography blog)
The Power and the Money (Noel Maurer)
Progressive Download (John Farrell)
Registan (group blog)
Rev Rachel Rambles (Rachel Kessler)
The Rose and Phoenix Inn (Victoria Goddard)
Russian Demographic Live Journal (Ba-ldei Aga)
A Rusty Little Box (Rebecca)
Savage Minds
The Search (Douglas Todd)
Shadow, Light and Colour (Elizabeth Beattie)
Sharp Blue (Richard Baker)
The Signal
Some Ramblings from Mr. Gueguen
Spacing.ca
Steve Munro
Strange Maps
Sublime Oblivion (Anatoly Karlin)
Supernova Condensate
Tall Penguin
Technosociology (Zeynep Tufekci)
Torontoist
Towleroad (Andy Towle)
Understanding Society (Daniel Little)
Volokh Conspiracy
Wasatch Economics (Scott Peterson)
Wave Without A Shore (C.J. Cherryh)
The Way the Future Blogs (Frederik Pohl)
Whatever (John Scalzi)
Window on Eurasia (Paul Goble)
Wonkman
The Yorkshire Ranter (Alex Harrowell)
Zero Geography (Mark Graham)

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Friday, June 24th, 2016
6:11 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "Bowmanville Zoo to close this year"
Noor Javed of the Toronto Star's reports on the impending end of Bowmanville's zoo, open since 1919.

The exotic animals of the Bowmanville zoo — wolves, tigers, and baboons to name a few— will be looking for new homes after the east-end facility announced Thursday it will be closing at the end of the 2016 season.

At a press conference, zoo officials said recent “allegations” made by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) had led to a “catastrophically” low number of visitors— resulting in financial problems.

Earlier this year, the zoo’s director Michael Hackenberger stepped down after being charged with animal cruelty. The charges were due to a video released by PETA in December which appeared to show him hitting a tiger with a whip during a training session.

“Untrue allegations made by PETA in regards to a tiger incident have created a climate in which the zoo can no longer operate,” said Angus Carroll, the zoo’s director of communications, who estimated attendance is down 65 per cent since last summer.

“The zoo attendance is down dramatically, and in fact that hardly captures it. Catastrophically. So, there just isn’t enough money to run this zoo at this time,” he said.

In an interview, Brittany Peet, PETA Foundation’s director of captive animal law enforcement said “the blame lies solely on Michael Hackenberger.”

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6:09 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "Ottawa seeks ways to cool hot GTA, Vancouver housing"
And so it begins? The Toronto Star's Sunny Freeman reports.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has announced the creation of a working group to study the hot housing markets in Vancouver and Toronto, signaling that concerns about overheating are largely isolated.

“We have real pockets of risk,” he said at a Toronto breakfast speech.

Morneau spoke with the provincial finance ministers of Ontario and British Columbia and called the mayors of Toronto and Vancouver earlier this week to discuss the creation of the working group.

It will study factors affecting supply and demand, affordability and the long-term stability of the housing market. The group will not include officials from other provinces, nor any private sector experts such as bank economists or academics.

“We want people to understand that while the federal government has some levers under its control we don’t have all of them,” Morneau said.

“This is a shared responsibility with provincial governments and municipalities, having regulatory and taxation powers to respond to unique local concerns,” he said.

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6:06 pm - [ISL] "Meddling with Invisible Borders? How Brexit will affect the island of Ireland"
Open Democracy's Polly Lavin writes about how Brexit will hit the divided island of Ireland.

With the advent of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 new opportunities opened up for cross border cooperation and trade. At the time border checkpoints and military lookouts were positioned across the North and border counties of the island. These days, the checkpoints and military towers are long gone. If you drive from Northern Ireland into Southern Ireland, blink and you will miss the fact that you have crossed an ‘invisible’ international border. You would be in good company though, a total of 14 million trips are made across the border every day between Dundalk in Ireland and Newry in Northern Ireland for business and shopping and more. The two economies of the island are inextricably linked and commerce is strong with Tourism equating to 2.1m visitors (1.7m North to South/400k South to North) and Cross Border trade in manufacturing accounting for €3.1 billion in 2014 (€1.75bn North to South and €1.3bn South to North). Agri-food sectors are also vitally important to both jurisdictions and trade in food and drink moves both ways.

In terms of jobs almost 15,000 people commute to work on a daily cross border basis consisting of 8,300 North to South and 6,500 South to North. The 2011 Census highlighted that ‘Proportionally twice as many (0.4 per cent) Northern Ireland residents commuted to Ireland to work or study as commuted from Ireland to Northern Ireland (0.2 per cent)’. A total of 3,064 students are studying in both jurisdictions from either side of the border which breaks down into 719 North to South and 2,345 South to North. The north of Ireland is reliant on the Southern Irish economy and cross border trade is up 7% since 2013 an economy that was in recovery since 2010.

Infrastructure initiatives have also benefitted both sides of the island and facilitated cooperation such as the development of the Dublin-to-Belfast transport corridor, the fibre optic communications networks “Project Kelvin” and investment by both governments into City of Derry Airport which sees 38% of its passengers being from the Republic of Ireland. The Single Electricity Market (SEM) is also under development and will lead to lower costs which at present are some of the highest in Europe. The Good Friday Agreement also saw the creation of 7 new North / South Bodies amongst them InterTrade Ireland and Tourism Ireland. Economic benefits have also come by cross border programmes including Interreg, Peace, European Fisheries Fund etc. and a total of nearly £2.5billion came into Northern Ireland during the last EU funding round (2007 – 2013).

Challenges exist for both jurisdictions which could be affected by the UK voting to leave the EU. They are both two very different economies and are competing against one another for business/foreign direct investment (FDI) but have shown strong commercial cooperation when they are exporting. Outside of the Belfast/Dublin corridor connectivity is poor across the island and there are significant policy anomalies in some key areas e.g. VAT on tourism is 20% in Northern Ireland v.s. 9% in the Republic of Ireland. There is also exchange rate volatility.

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6:04 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "What Brexit Means for the City of London"
The Wall Street Journal's Simon Clark and Anuj Gangahar report on the potential for catastrophe in the post-Brexit London financial industry.

London risks losing thousands of finance jobs to other European cities following the U.K.’s historic vote to leave the European Union.

Keeping those jobs here depends on the U.K.’s ability to strike a political deal that allows it—now as an outsider—to access the trading bloc’s single market, according to a senior official at the City of London Corp.

The City of London Corp. has governed the square mile around the Bank of England and St. Paul’s Cathedral for centuries. Its leaders campaigned to remain in the EU in the run-up to Thursday’s referendum. Their stance was backed by many executives at the big global banks and other financial companies. Together they wanted to retain access to the EU’s single market of more than 500 million citizens.

Hundreds of thousands of people work in the City of London district, and thousands more work in finance jobs elsewhere in the U.K. capital.

“The City will remain a major international financial center whatever, but clearly the nature and its size will depend on what we can negotiate,” Mark Boleat, the City of London’s policy chairman, said in an interview on Friday morning after the result of the referendum became clear. “There was never going to be a mass exit of banks in terms of numbers. The question for us is whether they are here with 15,000 staff or 5,000.”

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4:16 pm - [NEWS] Some Friday links

  • Bloomberg notes Venezuela is considering dollarization in order to save its auto industry, and looks at the possibility of an OAS intervention.

  • Bloomberg View looks at the anti-immigrant mindset.

  • The Inter Press Service notes political crisis in Nicaragua and examines the plundering of African fisheries by foreign fleets.

  • MacLean's notes Conrad Black's seeking an emergency hearing to let him sell his home.

  • National Geographic investigates the origins of the stars which produced the first detected gravitational wave.

  • The National Post notes Bolivia's interest in a new chronology.

  • Open Democracy examines the British Chinese perspective on Brexit and looks at the tremendous alienation in British society.

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4:11 pm - [BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Centauri Dreams considers the oceans of Pluto and Enceladus.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes a disintegrating exoplanet.

  • The Dragon's Tales notes that the American military can't afford Iron Man suits.

  • Language Hat notes a study of fragmented language.

  • Language Log looks at multilingual signage in Manhattan.

  • The Map Room Blog shares a typographic map of San Francisco.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen reports from the Belgian neighbourhood of Molenbeek.

  • Steve Munro looks at SmartTrack.

  • The New APPS Blog considers Brexit in the context of regulations and austerity.

  • Torontoist notes the importance of Pride for people just coming out.

  • Understanding Society looks at how organizations deal with their errors.

  • Window on Eurasia argues Georgia is sacrificing its relations with the North Caucasus.

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11:24 am - [NEWS] Some early Brexit reaction links

  • Bloomberg notes the leaders of the other 27 member-state governments will be meeting soon to discuss their response, while China calls for calm.

  • In the blogosphere, Crooked Timber, Joe. My. God., Marginal Revolution and the Volokh Conspiracy react.

  • Bloomberg View calls for civil negotiations, and notes the need for EU reform.

  • MacLean's notes that the UK might well find itself staying anyway.

  • Open Democracy calls for a "reverse Greenland", allowing Scotland to stay after the United Kingdom leaves.

  • Charlie Stross mourns what will be happening to his country.

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7:35 am - [PHOTO] Harbord Fish & Chips
Harbord Fish & Chips #toronto #harbordstreet #restaurants #ttc #94wellesley


I took this picture of Harbord Fish & Chips standing in the aisle of the eastbound 94 Wellesley bus. I really should try this place.

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Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
10:41 pm - [MUSIC] Eurythmics, "English Summer"


This song, the first track on the Eurythmics' debut album In the Garden, has been rattling around in my head for what I sure are Brexit-related reasons.

Child in the distance
A memory untamed
Family connections
There's a mess in the kitchen
All messages received
Always a quick reply
The mood the afternoon
Another change of light

There's nothing like an English summer

The telephone is good
So wonderful and true
We need the time to think
Everyone's listening
Another change of light
The underlying truth
Request to pack it in
No solutions


What now?

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7:20 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "What TTC Rapid Transit Could Look Like in 2035"


blogTO shared Rantwiki's post in r/Toronto imagining the mass transit map of Torono in just under two decades, if all works well.

It may not feel like it right now, but Toronto's rapid transit infrastructure is in the midst of major expansion. For all the fantasy maps we love to drool over, a look at the projects currently on the books, reveals a significantly different transit system by 2025.

But what if we looked forward another decade? If we fantasize just a little about projects that have been tabled (though not necessarily funded), the map gets rather dense with transit lines. If the city could get its act together and prioritize expansion, the Eglinton Crosstown might be extended in either direction and the Relief Line might finally become a reality.

TTC map 2035Add the already funded Finch West LRT and the Sheppard East LRT, and you have yourselves a TTC map that befits a city with a rapidly growing population. And bear in mind that this vision for 2035 doesn't include the East Bayfront LRT or SmartTrack, both of which have been considered serious candidates for expansion planning.

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4:06 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "Toronto Police Apology for Bathhouse Raids is Too Little, Too Late"
I agree with Michael Lyons' Torontoist article. (The apology would have been more meaningful if it was not 35 years late.)

When you need a good photo-op, some palatable sound bites, and a little bit of cheap social currency, apologize to the gay community.

Apologizing to the gays is the hottest look this season. Wrapping your institution in a rainbow flag is in. You’ll look progressive, and it’ll help you slim down some of the more contentious aspects of your institution’s systemic problems.

Following hot on the heels of the smiling, sunny Trudeau Liberal government’s apology for a decades-old case of a man who was deemed a sex offender for consensual gay sex—the same government, let it not be forgotten, who has turned Canada into the second biggest arms exporter to the Middle East, including a $15-billion sale to the anti-gay, anti-women, anti-human rights regime of Saudi Arabia—Toronto Police Services are now apologizing for two bathhouse raids.

The apology, which will consider both the 1981 gay bathhouse raids and the 2000 Pussy Palace raids, will force TPS to confront the unfortunate reality that officers treated LGBTQ communities with malice and disrespect only some 16 years ago. In the ’81 raid, men wearing nothing but towels were forced out in humiliation by 200 police officers, threatened for their sexualities. Cops went well above the line of duty, abusing and terrorizing patrons. (One officer in the bathhouse showers infamously said, “I wish these pipes were hooked up to gas so I could annihilate you all.”) Nineteen years later, male officers stormed an all-female event under the guise of a liquor inspection. Female patrons were harassed and intimidated, leaving nude and semi-naked women forced to cover up and leave in fear.

Yes, LGBTQ Torontonians deserve an apology. But TPS’s move today feels more like PR than a genuine “sorry.”

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4:03 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "Toronto’s ‘newcomer high’ moving to Danforth Tech after TDSB vote"
This is sad news, from the Toronto Star's Kristin Rushowy.

Toronto's unique “newcomer high” will lose its home and be moved into nearby Danforth Tech after a unanimous vote by trustees late Wednesday night.

The decision was made despite concerns by Greenwood Secondary students, all newly arrived immigrants and refugees, that the process was unfair and their school targeted from the start.

Two student leaders say they plan to file a human rights complaint after they finish exams this week because translators were not made available to them at all meetings of the area review committee. They also note that unlike students at other schools, involved their parents were left out because of language barriers as well as their work schedules.

At Wednesday night's meeting of the Toronto District School Board, trustee Jennifer Story said when the process began she was worried that because of lagging enrolment, three schools might be closed in her area.

She said Greenwood — which unlike other schools reviewed actually has a healthy enrolment — will remain a separate entity at Danforth, which is just steps away.

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4:01 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "Torontonians not sold on Expo bid, poll says"
Well, yes. Who wants a catastrophic whtie elephant? This article from the Toronto Star's David Rider looks at the numbers.

Torontonians are not convinced it’s a good idea to bid for the 2025 Expo world’s fair, says a Forum Research poll.

The interactive phone survey of 882 Torontonians on June 14 revealed that 42 per cent support making a bid, being promoted by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, unions and business groups, while 43 per cent oppose bidding.

Support was greatest among those aged 35 to 44, the least wealthy, and Torontonians with children.

However, when asked how they would feel about a publicly funded bid, support plunged to 22 per cent.

The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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4:00 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "How the Greenbelt is Growing Into Toronto’s Ravines"
Torontoist hosts an article looking at Toronto's Greenbelt, its past and its future.

A group of 20 or so residents, mostly women, mostly newcomers, scribble down notes in between examining tiny white and purple flowers along the Betty Sutherland trail. “Dame’s Rocket,” they note, identifying the flower. “Invasive. Weed. Attracts the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.”

Folks from the Fairview Residents Action Group (FRAG) are here along the East Don River where they’re training to become nature walk leaders themselves. “When I first came to Toronto from California and Colorado, I felt very disconnected from this new landscape,” says Anna Hill who coordinates the nature walk program. “Once I discovered the ravines and started appreciating the unique features of Toronto’s ecosystems, I started to feel very connected to my new home,” she adds. “Understanding that basic concept of the landscape—that you’re in a landscape of water and these watersheds are always running into Lake Ontario—that offers the big picture of where you are. That has been so meaningful to me, and I wanted to share that experience by helping other people connect with urban nature.”

Nearly 20 per cent of Toronto’s land area is covered by urban river valleys, many of which, as Hill points out, have been damaged by the wrong kind of human use. And while nature walk groups like this one help create a sense of stewardship for the ravines, residents need government support when it comes to valuing and protecting these lands.

On May 10, the Ontario government made strides towards that much-needed protection by proposing updates to the Greenbelt Plan, along with three other provincial growth plans. The Greenbelt, a nearly two million acre swath of land encompassing the GTHA, offers the highest protection available for the remaining agricultural land and natural heritage systems in the region. Widely supported by residents, with nine out of 10 Ontarians recognizing the Greenbelt as essential for supporting smart growth, the Ontario’s Greenbelt is the largest in the world and serves as a model in curbing a bygone era of unmitigated sprawl.

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3:58 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "Make Toronto a nuke-free zone"
I strongly disagree with the sentiments of Angela Bischoff's article in NOW Toronto. Among other things, it is hardly as if hydroelectricity does not itself have significant costs, in drowned lands and carbon dioxide emissions.

Just to the east of Toronto on the Pickering waterfront sits one of the world's largest and oldest nuclear plants. Living in the shadow of its eight reactors are more people - 2.2 million within 30 kilometres - than live near any other nuclear plant in North America. Way more.

[. . .]

In the 45 years since the Pickering station was built (it was designed to last 30), it has been completely surrounded by homes, schools and shopping malls. But rather than feeling a sense of urgency to remove what is clearly a less than desirable neighbour, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is seeking permission to operate the plant until 2028. Its current licence expires in 2018.

Pickering is essentially the Atari of nuclear plants. Its "first-generation" design features weak safety systems and has been prone to breakdowns and serious safety infractions characterized as "incidents." An OPG study found that Pickering has the highest operating costs of any nuclear plant on the continent, in part because it ranks at the bottom of the pack in performance.

Even more to the point, we have no need for the power that Pickering produces, partly because our demand has decreased 17 per cent in the past decade, thanks to conservation efforts, and partly because of other power sources. Last year, Ontario exported more power than Pickering generated, then sold it on the spot market at a massive loss.

Meanwhile, the costs of renewable sources like solar and wind continue to drop. By 2018, the price of wind power in Ontario will officially be less than Pickering's fuel and operating costs - and that's not counting the massive debt rung up for reactor repairs over the past 20 years or the cost of storing deadly radioactive waste for a few hundred thousand years.

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11:57 am - [NEWS] Some Thursday links

  • Bloomberg notes concern in Northern Ireland's border towns over Brexit, reports that Morgan may shift its offices from London to Dublin or Frankfurt, and looks at the hostile reaction Donald Trump is likely to receive in Scotland.

  • Bloomberg View looks at the vexed issues of American funding for Israel's defense industry.

  • The CBC notes the discovery of a transmissible cancer affecting shellfish.

  • MacLean's takes a sanguine view of millennials in Canada who stay with their parents.

  • The National Post interviews a Muslim woman attacked in London, Ontario, and notes odd institutional issues raised against the Pride parade in Steinbach.

  • The New Republic looks at the impact the collapse of Barnes & Noble would have on American publishing and literature.

  • Open Democracy fears the effect of Brexit on central and eastern Europe.

  • Transitions Online notes the lack of reciprocation for Bulgarian Russophilia.

  • Wired notes that the Brexit referendum is a major inflection point in the European Union's history.

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11:48 am - [BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • D-Brief notes that astronomers have witnessed a distant black hole eat a star.

  • Dangerous Minds looks at 1980s VHS cover art from Germany.

  • The Dragon's Gaze looks at TYC 3667-1280-1b, a warm Jupiter orbiting a red giant.

  • The Dragon's Tales looks at how an electric wind helped render Venus uninhabitable.

  • A Fistful of Euros' Alex Harrowell notes that the dependence of Brexit proponents on outrage over immigration limits their appeal.

  • The LRB Blog notes the severe internal divisions within the Labour Party.

  • The Map Room Blog links to a map of North America drawn in the style of fantasy maps.

  • The Planetary Society Blog notes Chinese plans for the Chang'e 4 probe to explore the far side of the Moon.

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7:13 am - [PHOTO] Birch tree tricked out for Pride, The Annex
Birch tree tricked out for Pride #toronto #theannex #rainbow #pride #birch #trees


This birch tree, anchoring the patio of the Annex location of Aroma, was so amusingly tricked out for Pride that I had to photograph it.

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Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
6:12 pm - [URBAN NOTE
https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/06/20/increased-scarborough-subway-cost-should-kill-this-project-keenan.html
http://spacing.ca/toronto/2016/06/20/bait-and-switch/
https://stevemunro.ca/2016/06/20/spinning-a-tale-in-scarborough/
http://torontoist.com/2016/06/council-needs-to-re-evaluate-the-scarborough-subway/

(1 comment | comment on this)

6:09 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "4 new GO stations and all 6 SmartTrack stops announced"
Via blogTO, I learned of this news. CBC had good coverage.

Four new GO train stations have been proposed for Toronto, the province announced today.

Two of those stations would also be used by Toronto's SmartTrack rail line. An additional four stops on SmartTrack were also revealed on Tuesday.

​The new stops represent a significant addition to the GO Transit network — and an even more significant push forward for SmartTrack, the proposed subway-like rail transit plan that will run on GO train tracks.

The four GO stops would be at Bloor Street West and Lansdowne Avenue, Spadina Avenue and Front Street West, in Liberty Village, and at St. Clair West and Keele Street — all along the Barrie and Kitchener GO Transit lines. All are planned to be opened within a 10-year time horizon.

The SmartTrack would share stops in Liberty Village and St. Clair and Keele, as well as four east-end stations:

the Don Yard/Unilever area, between Cherry Street and Eastern Avenue
Gerrard Street East near Carlaw Avenue
Lawrence Avenue East between Kennedy Road and Midland Avenue
Finch Avenue between Kennedy and Midland.

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