Child poverty right here

Toronto is still the Child Poverty Capital of Canada, with 28% of children growing up in poverty.

A tall building looms into the sky

1 Bloor St. East under construction

Grand gay wedding

Two men in vests ad hats are standing before a table with a sign,

Two spouses-to-be wait their turn to marry each other.


During World Pride Week, 110 same-sex couples celebrated their weddings at Casa Loma, one of Toronto’s more picturesque spots. People came from distant countries to marry. The Grand Pride wedding is the largest of its kind in North America.

The Rob Ford mess

Angry drunk fires chief of staff. Rob Ford tosses another staffer overboard.

Update on Pottery Road closing

Pottery Road goes under the Don Valley Parkway and connects Broadview Avenue with the Bayview Extension. It’s an old road that climbs down into the valley. A new retaining wall has been installed north of the road. However, engineers weren’t satisfied that the hill slope was stable and have nibbled the hill back further. The road is currently scheduled to re-open November 30th.

Pottery Road update

Torontonians will recognize Pottery Road as the space warp that gets them from the Bayview Extension to Broadview Avenue north of Danforth. As such, it takes a lot of pressure off other arteries to and from downtown, such as the  big bridge (the Princes’ Viaduct) over the Don Valley Parkway. It’s an old road that winds down a steep hill, ducks under the Don Valley Parkway, and  crosses the Don River via an old cement bridge. This summer the city undertook to improve the road and sidewalk and install street lights. It was supposed to open September 7th.

Pottery Road in the Don Valley

I hope you haven’t been holding your breath.

It didn’t open on time. It was going to open September 30.

I hope you weren’t holding your breath.

The latest is that the hillside above the road is safe but not up to safety standards. I’m not sure which retaining wall  they’re talking about since most of the north side of the road is natural slope. Did I mention that someone just built an apartment building looming over the road? Regardless, the engineers aren’t satisfied and they’re taking measurements and considering what to do.

“The wall is safe…but, it’s not within acceptable engineering limits,” said Gord MacMillan, director of design and construction for the City of Toronto.

Here’s the update. I think they’ll be finished about February. What do you think?

 The City’s design consultants have been working on an engineering solution to increase the stability of the embankment above the newly constructed retaining wall on the north side of Pottery Rd, east of the Don Valley Parkway which remains the sole reason for the continued road closure.   

 On the basis of engineering designs prepared by the consultant, Technical Services is in the process of obtaining price quotations and realistic construction timelines. The General Contractor’s sub-contractors are expected to submit quotations and construction schedules by October 7th 2011.

Unfortunately, we still do not have a date for the re-opening of Pottery Road

Say goodbye to a green space

On my walk in downtown Toronto yesterday I passed through this charming little oasis. It has a multiple fountain, some lacy trees, and a blocky sculpture. A sign from the property management company proudly declares that the plants in the garden are drought-resistant.

Three surveyors were measuring it up for demolition. It will be replaced by a sidewalk cafe, bringing in a little more money for the city.

“You fail Geography forever”

Last night I saw on television a rerun of Monk, which is set in San Francisco. Imagine my surprise to find Toronto locales popping up again and again. Obviously the street scenes, aside from a few establishing shots, were taped here. And that reminded me of TV Tropes: You Fail Geography Forever.

Mr. Monk is an obsessive-compulsive investigator who consults with police to solve mysteries. I knew it was an old show because Monk’s original nurse/keeper/assistant, Sharona, was with him. As a down-to-earth normal person, she had enough edge in her interactions with  him to keep the show interesting.

As the story opened, they are at the finish of a marathon road-race, watching for Monk’s old childhood hero to  come in. Then they walk away and come across a tragic scene: a woman has fallen from her apartment–or was she pushed? The plot turns on whether someone running in the marathon could have slipped away to commit murder. The investigators look at places where the marathon was run.

The street scenes showed familiar Toronto buildings from the heart of downtown. The show stitched together a park in the Don Valley, near the Don Mills exit and a few km north of the lake, a park on the lake with the Leslie Street Spit in the background, what might have been a glimpse of High Park and Grenadier Pond on the other side of town, an office building with a fenced-in parking lot, oh yeah—fences topped with barbed wire—and finally, a mere footrace away, Cherry Beach.

It was fun but distracting as I tried to keep track of all the locations and how they are really oriented. I should be used to it since finding, in an episode of K9, that a public school between north-south streets near Danforth Avenue and a distinctive fountain downtown on Front Street West outside the Flatiron Building were in fact across the street from each other.

There were a few plot holes:

  • Road races do not take long detours though isolated parks, although they might be set entirely in parks. (See the Longboat Roadrunners 10K or the Harry Rosen Spring Runoff).
  • Chip timers belong to the company doing the timing and must be returned to them. The number of each is recorded against the runner’s bib number. Chip timers contain a solid-state circuit that echoes an ID number when they go over a weak radio detector. They are generally on fabric straps that fasten around an ankle with VelcroTM. They ensure that your finish time is accurate.
  • Chip timers are detected only at the finish line: everyone’s race officially starts at the same time and there are no checkpoints in any marathons I’m familiar with. Instead, there are race marshals and in some places temporary fences to make sure that runners don’t miss course turns and to keep spectators and drivers off the road.

To do them credit, the directors avoid taping Toronto’s distinctive red, white, & black streetcars. Nor did I notice TO’s unique circular lock-stands for bicycles.