February 13th, 2017


[PHOTO] Eight photos from Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, Montréal

The Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel is dominated, figuratively and to some extent literally, by the figure of Marguerite Bourgeoys, the 17th century migrant from France who came to the island of Montréal with her Grey Sisters to tend to the needs of the locals.

<center><a data-flickr-embed=" true"="true"" href="http://margueritebourgeoys.org/en/><U>Marguerite Bourgeoys</u></a>, the 17th century migrant from France who came to the island of Montréal with her Grey Sisters to tend to the needs of the locals.

<center><a data-flickr-embed=" title="Inside the Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours (1)">Inside the Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours (1)</a></center>

Inside the Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours (2)

Inside the Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours (3)

Inside the Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours (4)

Inside the Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours (5)

Inside the Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours (6)

Inside the Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours (7)

Inside the Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours (8)

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • blogTO notes an Instagram user from Toronto, @brxson, who takes stunning photos of the city from on high.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper examining the limits of exoplanet J1407b's massive ring system.

  • The Dragon's Tales notes evidence that the primordial Martian atmosphere apparently did not have carbon dioxide.

  • Imageo notes that the California rivers swollen by flooding can be seen from space.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that American intelligence agencies are withholding sensitive information from a White House seen as compromised by Russian intelligence.

  • Language Hat talks about the best ways to learn Latin.

  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper observing a decline in inter-state migration in the United States.

  • The NYRB Daily looks at the interesting failure of a public sculpture program in the United Kingdom in the 1970s.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw notes the remarkable heat that has hit Australia in recent days.

  • The Planetary Society Blog reports on the intersection between space technology and high-tech fashion.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer looks at how Argentina gave the Falkland Islands tariff-free access to Mercosur.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog looks at the countries likely to be vulnerable to rapid aging.

  • Transit Toronto notes the Bombardier lawsuit against Metrolinx.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that poor Russian statistical data is leading directly to bad policy.

[URBAN NOTE] "Banksy artwork restored as public art in pedestrian walkway "

CBC News' Adrian Cheung notes that a piece of local graffiti by Banksy, Guard with Balloon Dog, is now a public art installation downtown near One York Street.

Artwork by the British street artist Banksy, which once graced the facade of a Toronto building, is now on display as a public art piece in the PATH, Toronto's Downtown Pedestrian Walkway, next to One York Street north of Harbour Street.

A Toronto developer that salvaged the artwork, Guard with Balloon Dog, unveiled it on Monday. The artwork features a male figure, dressed in a law enforcement uniform, holding the leash of a pink balloon dog that is muzzled.

The artwork, independently appraised at $850,000 US, has been in storage since December 2014, when the developer, Menkes Development Ltd., decided it should be given new life and put back on display.

Banksy, whose identity has never been confirmed, drew several pieces on Toronto buildings during a 2010 tour of his documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. Only two pieces of his artwork remain — the one now displayed at One York and another in an alleyway near The Esplanade.

"It was originally for the public and we thought 'Why not save it? Why not give it back to the public?' And that's what we've done here," Jared Menkes, vice-president at Menkes, said Monday.

[URBAN NOTE] "Opening the Eaton Centre"

This weekend, Jamie Bradburn contributed a Torontoist Historicist feature looking at how the Eaton Centre, which opened on the 10th of February back in 1977, came to be.

9:10 a.m., February 10, 1977. Chaos reigned on the platforms of Dundas station, which was jammed beyond capacity with people eager to attend the opening of the Eaton Centre. “Passengers got close to hysteria as they were dumped out into dense crowds that couldn’t get through the single open exit fast enough,” the Globe and Mail reported.

Up above, by the entrance to Trinity Square, around 4,500 gathered for the official opening ceremony. A group of trumpeters descended from a balcony, along with 16 costumed representatives of the city’s ethnic communities. Pipers from the Toronto Scottish Regiment led in the official party, then the 48th Highlanders escorted Ontario Lieutenant-Governor Pauline McGibbon, who received the loudest cheers from the crowd. McGibbon, Mayor David Crombie, and other dignitaries cut a red ribbon with scissors presented on blue velvet cushions by Girl Guides. A planned salute to the new mall by the Fort York Guard was scratched when, following a rehearsal, it was felt musket fire would frighten elderly patrons.

The Eaton Centre was still a work in progress. The festivities marked the opening of its first phase, which consisted of an office tower on Dundas Street, Eaton’s new flagship store, and a glass-covered galleria stretching from the store south to Albert Street. The next phase, which would extend the mall to Queen Street, link it to Simpsons, and toss up another office tower, would soon begin with the demolition of Eaton’s old main store.

For Eaton’s executives, the day culminated two decades of controversy surrounding the $250 million complex’s development. A mid-1960s plan aroused public opposition when it proposed demolition of Old City Hall. For a time, the idea was scrapped entirely. There were two years of negotiation with Church of the Holy Trinity before an agreement was reached between the congregation and developers to protect the historic church’s access to sunlight. City Council placed several conditions on its approvals for the project, from timeframes for when construction had to begin to ensuring cars parked in the garage weren’t visible to pedestrians along Yonge Street. There were some councillors who didn’t warm to the Eaton Centre—Elizabeth Eayrs called it “a plastic temple of consumerism,” while John Sewell didn’t want to give the developers too much leeway. ”It’s the old question of who is running this place—Eaton’s or council,” Sewell noted in February 1974.

[URBAN NOTE] Alex Bozikovic on the impending demolition of Davisville Public School

In "School's Out", The Globe and Mail's Alex Bozikovic looks at how the mid-century Davisville Public School building is set to be demolished, largely because of the Toronto District School Board's disinterest in preserving its heritage properties.

A spaceship landed on Millwood Road. That’s how an imaginative child might see Davisville Public School: a pointy-winged product of a distant civilization that loves syncopated windows and hyperbolic paraboloids.

In fact, the North Toronto school is the product of a distant civilization: Ours, in 1962, when public buildings had real budgets and Toronto’s school board believed its architecture should represent the value of public education.

Now, it’s slated to be torn down.

The structure, which houses both Davisville Junior Public School and Spectrum Alternative Senior School, will be replaced by a new building right next door; the Toronto District School Board will tear down the old one when construction is finished in 2020, to make room for a schoolyard and driveway. For the affluent and fast-growing area, this is a victory. The current school is overcrowded. The new building will be larger, with a community centre and bigger schoolyard.

But there is also a loss for the city: an unnecessary demolition of a building that has economic and environmental value, and real cultural worth. “It’s a treasure,” says architect Carol Kleinfeldt, one of the leaders of an informal activist group that is agitating to save the building. “And this is the school board’s own heritage.”

If the building had been designated heritage by the city, “we would be having a very different conversation,” says Catherine Nasmith of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. But the school board’s internal process ignored the building’s heritage value and skipped past the city’s heritage-preservation apparatus.

[URBAN NOTE] "Soaring Toronto housing sparks interest in co-owning"

The Toronto Star's Tess Kalinowski writes about how, in the Toronto real estate market, the idea of co-ownership is starting to take off.

Toronto is not your average housing market and Lesli Gaynor is not your typical realtor.

It’s her background in policy writing and social work that informs her efforts to facilitate different co-ownership arrangements through her own company, GoCo Solutions.

On Wednesday, she has organized a seminar on co-owning a home that will feature legal and financial experts on the subject.

Home ownership has become extremely challenging with property values for single-family homes jumping 36 per cent from 2012, to an average of $770,000 last year.

"Co-operative housing is one way we can enable everyday Canadians to take advantage of the economic, social and community benefits of home ownership," says the online posting for An Evening of Wine and Wisdom at the Centre for Social Innovation Annex on Bathurst St.

More than 200 people had registered in advance for the event, said Gaynor, a Royal LePage agent, and member of the Purdy Team that specializes in home co-ownership.

[URBAN NOTE] "Canadian families moving to escape urban housing prices"

MacLean's carries Alexandra Posadzki's Canadian Press article looking at how high housing prices are driving Canadians out of major cities for markets with lower prices.

Julien Simon and his wife were living happily in their condo in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby when life intervened last year in the form of a baby on the way.

The couple — he’s an Internet marketer, she’s an environmental engineer — couldn’t see themselves living in a shoebox crammed full of baby stuff, so they pulled up stakes, put their condo up for sale and moved about four hours away to Kamloops, B.C., where they bought a four-bedroom house for nearly the same price.

“In Vancouver, this house would be in the $2 million range,” says Simon, who works from home while his wife now works for the government as a flood safety engineer.

While more detailed profiles will emerge in subsequent releases, the 2016 census data released Wednesday found that there were more than 14 million occupied private dwellings in Canada, a 5.6 per cent increase over the five-year period that ended in 2011. That growth rate, however, was significantly lower than the 7.1 per cent rate recorded five years ago.

Thanks in large part to a commensurate spike in population that was the largest in Canada, Nunavut reported the fastest dwellings growth at 13.4 per cent, followed by Alberta (9.9 per cent), Yukon (7.8 per cent) and British Columbia (6.6 per cent).

[URBAN NOTE] "King St. plans still leave room for cars"

Edward Keenan describes for the Toronto Star the various proposals for a redesign of King Street.

Anyone who was gearing up for a fight over a car-free King St. can stand down.

The Star was given an advance look at the long-awaited proposals under consideration for the pilot project.

When the options are publicly presented at a meeting Monday night, all will include space on the road for automobiles. Perhaps controversially, none of the proposals will include bike lanes. Two of the three proposals give more space to pedestrians and public realm improvements such as seating or patios. And all are intended, first and foremost, to “move people” by giving priority on the road to streetcars, according to Toronto general manager of transportation Barbara Gray and chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat.

“Transit first is the frame around which we’re going to lead this decision,” Gray says.

“The objective is to create a transit priority corridor. The objective isn’t to create a car-free corridor,’” Keesmaat says. “It’s about being transformational, improving streetcar operations, and innovative placemaking.”

City staff members will present three options to the public for consideration a meeting at Metro Hall on Monday evening at 6:30, the start of a public consultation process during which proposals will be evaluated and refined over the next few months. A final recommendation will be voted on by city council in July, and if approved, will launch on the street for a pilot project period this fall.

The article goes into much more detail.

[URBAN NOTE] "TTC received 114 complaints about fare inspectors last year"

The Toronto Star's Ben Spurr looks at complaints regarding TTC insecptors and their enforcement, or not, of law. I've not had any encounters with them, I have to say. You?

Himel Khandker was infuriated when TTC fare inspectors stopped him on the 501 Queen streetcar last month and gave him a $235 ticket.

It wasn’t just the cost of the fine, which is no small amount for the 25-year-old biomedical engineering student. In part what bothered him was that he had paid for a student Metropass. He showed it to the inspectors, but he didn’t have the required TTC student ID.

The ticket stung, but what really aggravated him was that just two hours later, he watched as inspectors confronted two women on the 504 King streetcarwho he said didn’t have proof of payment. According to Khandker, one claimed she had dropped her transfer, while the other had one that was expired.

He was sure he was about to watch them get ticketed, but was incredulous when the inspectors let both off with a warning.

“I was kind of livid,” said Khandker. “Why is the enforcement not uniform?”

[URBAN NOTE] Abraham Riseman at Vulture on Scott Thompson and Buddy Cole

Vulture's Abraham Riesman has a wonderful long interview with Scott Thompson about arguably his most famous character, the flamboyant and out Buddy Cole.

Buddy Cole doesn’t care about what you think of him. Played by actor-comedian Scott Thompson, Buddy’s one of the most famous characters to come out of the Canadian sketch-comedy troupe the Kids in the Hall, and he’s provocation made manifest. Buddy is a world-weary gay man, utterly unafraid to offer his dry takes on the most incendiary topics. For about 30 years, Thompson has been creating and performing monologues as Buddy for stage and screen appearances, and though the character’s effeminate mannerisms and cultural interests are influenced by generations of gay performers like Paul Lynde and Liberace, Buddy was something unique: He was explicitly sexual.

Thompson felt that those queer forebears in comedy history had been, as he puts it, “castrated” — they could be cheeky and suggestive, but they weren’t allowed to actually be textually gay, and god forbid they should actually talk about having sex with men. Thompson wanted to build a figure who stepped over that line, much as he himself had done by being openly gay on television many years before Ellen DeGeneres’s famed coming-out. Buddy became a staple for Thompson not only on the show but in the Kids’ periodic reunion tours, a mock autobiography, a brief correspondent gig on The Colbert Report, and a series of video blogs.

Thompson’s had a rocky few years in the recent past, having battled lymphoma, as well as seeing his most recent high-profile role, as CSI Jimmy Price on Hannibal, cut short when the show was abruptly canceled. Nevertheless, he’s pressing on and contemplating a return to his most iconic character. Vulture included Buddy’s Kids in the Hall monologue about racism and stereotypes in our new list of 100 jokes that changed comedy, and we caught up with Thompson to talk about why the monologue only works if a gay man is delivering it, how he feels that he’s never developed a gay following, and the subtext of Buddy’s experiences with AIDS.

[URBAN NOTE] "Doug Ford leads protest against Tory’s budget and hints he might run for mayor"

David Rider's Toronto Star article is terribly worrisome, especially since Doug Ford is the political genius of the current generation of Fords. Rob, in truth, was but a puppet of his more functional brother.

I would like to believe that, with the memory of Rob Ford's one term and with the very negative example of Trump to our south, Doug Ford would have no chance of being elected to the mayoralty of Toronto. I would like to believe this, but I cannot: Populism is really popular nowadays, especially if you have--as you do in the outer neighbourhoods of Toronto--populations which are relatively deprived and feel themselves to be disenfranchised. If we cannot offer better alternatives, I really can imagine a Mayor Doug Ford.

Several hundred people packed a Finch Ave. banquet hall to accuse Mayor John Tory of pushing a tax-heavy proposed 2017 budget.

The Monday night “budget consultation” on Finch Ave. W. was organized by Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti.

He told the crowd his often-outrageous antics are mostly to draw attention to city spending run amok.

“I’ll continue to take the blows (from other councillors) and yes, I am somewhat of a lone wolf at city hall because Doug (Ford) isn’t there,” he told the crowd.

Ford, the ex-councillor who lost to Tory in 2014 and says he might be up for a rematch in next year’s mayoral election, told the crowd: “The gravy train is in full swing down at city hall again.”

He repeated a discredited claim that his late brother Rob’s mayoral administration saved Toronto taxpayers “more than a billion dollars.”