—The amount of money John Tory’s mayoral campaign claims to have raised from donors, according to the Post. That’s in contrast to Olivia Chow’s total, which her campaign pegged at $1,759,622 as of Tuesday afternoon. Doug Ford’s donor situation remains a mystery. (When asked about it by a Star reporter, he reportedly responded by calling her a “bitch.”) Both Ford and Tory have indicated that they, like Chow, will release detailed donor information before election day. Neither has done so yet.
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Unlike the single-idea transit plans of the other leading mayoral candidates—John Tory’s SmartTrack and Doug Ford’s “subways, subways, subways”—Olivia Chow’s transit platform is a patchwork of different proposals. To address immediate issues, she has promised to devote $15 million to increasing bus service and another $184 million to an expanded fleet of buses and a new garage, to be paid for by adding a new bracket to the land transfer tax. She has also pledged to build provincially funded light rail along Finch Avenue West and Sheppard Avenue East, and also to turn the planned Scarborough subway extension back into a light-rail line, freeing up additional funds. Her long-term goal is to build the downtown relief line—or at least set it in motion with engineering studies—to take pressure off existing subway lines.
IF CHOW IS ELECTED, WILL IT HAPPEN?
Each of Chow’s ideas comes with its own set of obstacles. Critics generally consider the $15 million she has pledged to improve bus service to be realistic. She could find the money; the problem is that it wouldn’t be enough. “The political challenge is to have the guts to give priority to transit on the streets and to convince people that everyone will be better off if we do that,” says Eric Miller, a transit expert and University of Toronto engineering professor. Miller and others contend that, if elected, Chow will have to be firm with the TTC if she intends to see more buses on city streets within a reasonable timeframe. She would probably have to fork over more money to lease a parking lot or facility until the TTC could finish building that new bus garage, otherwise the extra vehicles would have nowhere to go.
Leslie Noel is the kind of guy who stands out on the subway. Not because of what he wears or what he does, but because he’s invariably traveling with a fluffy ginger tabby cat called McLovin’.
The cat, named for the hapless, fake-ID-wielding Superbad character, is an underground Toronto legend and a big deal on social media. Regular subway riders know him as the “subway cat,” whose protective owner is always close.
McLovin’ attracts so much attention because, by feline standards, he’s almost preternaturally calm. Crowded spaces don’t seem to phase him. Mostly without incident, Noel takes him on transit, into stores (he rides in shopping carts) and even to Yonge-Dundas Square, where the cat’s tiny-sized sweaters, of which he has a wardrobe of 30, make him a magnet for spare change from passers-by. As we talked, on an overcast day at Yonge-Dundas, the cat sat patiently on his owner’s lap, eyeing pigeons. He (that is, McLovin’) was wearing a red-and-blue knit hoodie with a number seven on the back, accented with a velcro tie.
Two decades ago, photographer Larry Towell became the first Canadian member of Magnum Photos, the world’s most prestigious photography agency. A quick glance at his work reveals why: in hundreds of award-winning exhibitions worldwide, the rural Ontarian has tirelessly documented those left dispossessed in the wake of conflict. Shooting almost exclusively on film, he has captured everything from Vietnam War veterans and Alaskan oil spills to Israeli-Palestinian tensions and Independence Square revolutionaries in Kiev. From 2008 to 2011, he trained his lens on Afghanistan, the setting and namesake of his latest book. The 192-page tome—and its accompanying exhibition, which runs until November 22 at the Stephen Bulger Gallery—depicts people and places that, for 30 years, have grappled with war. “It’s mostly experiential,” Towell told J-Source earlier this year. “But it’s also analysis of this disastrous war, through my eyes, which I’m sure I’ll be drawn and quartered for.”
Sat. Oct. 25 until Nov. 22.; artist talk and book launch on Nov. 1. FREE. Stephen Bulger Gallery, 1026 Queen St. W., 416-504-0575, bulgergallery.com.
On Wednesday night, after a mayoral debate hosted by CTV, Doug Ford briefly shed his new nice-guy persona to share a candid thought about one of the Star’s city hall reporters. According to the Star, the incident happened following a post-debate scrum where reporter Jennifer Pagliaro had asked Ford a number of uncomfortable questions about his campaign donors and his brother’s behaviour. As Ford walked away, several photographers and a CTV producer overheard him muttering, “I can’t stand that little bitch.” Pagliaro isn’t the first reporter to be publicly disparaged by Doug Ford, but it’s rare that the candidate’s diction reaches such heights of sexism and profanity. (And this from a guy who is trying to convince voters that he’s a straight-laced family man.) Ford, for his part, denies that he was talking about Pagliaro.
If Doug Ford’s transit plan has one thing going for it, it’s simplicity. He wants to do one thing, and one thing only: build subways. In the first phase of his Toronto Subway Expansion Plan, a scheme originally advanced by his brother, he proposes not only following through with the Scarborough subway, but also building a Sheppard extension connecting Don Mills to McCowan, a downtown relief line from Queen to Pape, and a Finch West line, to Humber College. He also wants to bury the rest of the Eglinton Crosstown (or however you spell it). Then, in the second phase of the plan, he says he’ll extend the Sheppard line west to Downsview, lengthen the relief line on both ends, burrow the Eglinton line farther west of Mount Dennis and connect Kipling to Humber College with a north-south line. Altogether, the plan would create 32 new kilometres of subway. Ford claims the price tag for the first phase would be $9 billion—an amount he says he’ll raise using a series of measures that would include reallocating existing LRT funding (and, in the process, cancelling approved LRT lines), forging public-private partnerships, instituting development charges, using tax increment financing and selling air rights above stations.
IF FORD IS ELECTED, WILL IT HAPPEN?
As a map, Ford’s plan is far superior to any other transit platform. “From a point of view of coverage, he’s got a big network that covers the whole city,” says transit advocate and writer Steve Munro. “The problem is there’s no way we can afford to build the damn thing.”
— Graham Richardson (@grahamctv) October 22, 2014
Parliament Hill is locked down right now as Ottawa police respond to several shootings in and around Canada’s legislative heart: one at the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa, another in Centre Block itself
and a third at the nearby Rideau Centre shopping mall [UPDATE: Police now say that there was no shooting at Rideau Centre]. According to the CBC, one shooter is dead, while at least one other is believed to be at large in the city. A soldier who was guarding the war memorial is reportedly injured, and there are reports of at least one other injury. Currently, the best sources for breaking information online are the Globe and the CBC. Twitter is also flooded with information, the best of which is coming from reporters on the ground: the Globe’s Josh Wingrove and the CBC’s Giacomo Panico are especially worthwhile follows for anyone in search of up-to-the-minute details.
Lonely Planet has just released its list of the top-ten best cities to visit in 2015, and humble Toronto has managed to secure itself the bottom spot. As justification for our tenth-place ranking, the travellers’ guide mentions the upcoming 2015 Pan Am Games and all the associated infrastructure projects. (Come to Toronto! See our overpriced airport train!) Also mentioned: the CN Tower’s Edgewalk, the Toronto Islands, the Eaton Centre and our city’s “drool-worthy” restaurant scene. The write-up adds a note of caution about our “ubiquitous condo towers, ageing megahighways and lack of a unifying architectural theme.” Fair enough.
Who’d we beat? Nobody. We’re dead last.
Who beat us? Plovdiv (6), “Bulgaria’s second city,” which apparently has “smouldering nightlife” and “remarkable ruins.” Other honourees include Valletta, Malta (5) and Milan, Italy (3). The number-one city is Washington D.C.
This new Forum Research poll, conducted on October 20, gives John Tory his biggest lead over Doug Ford to date. What’s more, the automated phone survey of 847 Torontonians included responses only from likely voters, or from people who had already voted at one of the city’s advance polling stations. That, plus the fact that the election is only five days away (!!!), makes these results marginally more trustworthy than those of previous polls. No pre-election poll should ever be taken at face value, but Tory’s camp has to be feeling confident, regardless.
A lengthy feature in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette lauds Toronto for being welcoming to immigrants—at least, compared to Pittsburgh, where foreign-born residents apparently account for just four per cent of the population. (In Toronto, as we know, it’s a much different story.) As evidence of Toronto’s multiculturalism, the article furnishes Pittsburghers with interviews with experts like councillor Joe Mihevc. Also cited: the Eaton Centre’s Urban Eatery, where the writer interprets the wide array of ethnic cuisine as an indicator of our tolerance. Maybe better mall food is the key to getting U.S. legislators to loosen up their country’s immigration policies. Alert the White House.
After dozens of mayoral debates, the gruelling campaign season is finally coming to a close as Monday’s election approaches. (CityNews’s October 23 debate is being billed as “the final showdown.”) Yesterday night, the candidates gathered at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management for one of their last major head-to-head clashes, in an event co-sponsored by the Martin Prosperity Institute and the Toronto Star. Things were generally high-minded (it was a Star debate, after all), but there was some shouting and crosstalk, and by closing statements the whole discussion had come a little unhinged. Here, four things we learned from all the heated banter.
—The percentage of respondents to a poll by political consultancy Mainstreet Technologies who said that they would be voting for Brampton mayor Susan Fennell, whose habit of spending her taxpayer-funded office budget on things like car service and expensive plane tickets has made her a focal point of controversy. Fennell’s competitor Linda Jeffrey appears poised to win Monday’s election. Mainstreet puts her support at 34 per cent.
Over the past decade, the art world’s biggest business has shifted from auction houses and galleries to the glamorous fair circuit, with the jet set traipsing from London to Hong Kong to Miami to Madrid for a parade of glittering parties and high-roller deals. Art Toronto, the city’s own buzzy festival, is quickly rising in the ranks. Last year, it attracted big-name gallerists and collectors from New York, Brussels and Tokyo, moved blue-chip pieces by artists like Jack Bush and Tom Thomson, and brought in $17 million worth of sales. As the fair gears up for its 15th year, here’s a look at the hottest artists, savviest collectors and biggest deals.
Fri. Oct. 24. General admission $18 advance, $20 door. Metro Toronto Convention Centre North, 255 Front St. W., 604-730-2065, arttoronto.ca.
Barney, Kermit the Frog and Big Bird were once gods to children, but it’s hard to say whether the parents of yesteryear shared the excitement. Yo Gabba Gabba!, meanwhile, definitely appeals to oldsters at least as much as it appeals to the young. Created by Scott Schultz and Christian Jacobs—the former a producer and the latter a member of California rock band The Aquabats—the music-centric show is like the Austin City Limits of children’s programming: In its four seasons, it’s seen The Shins sing about trying again, The Roots host a fam-jam and Weezer perform as insects. (Other notable cameos: Fred Armisen, Jack Black and Elijah Wood.) When Music is Awesome, the show’s touring production, hits the Sony Centre this Thursday, the majestically sideburned DJ Lance Rock, rapper-entertainer Leslie Hall, hip-hop OG Biz Markie and a flock of fluorescent puppets will recreate the magic with live performances, an onstage dance party and a beat-boxing lesson. Hey, the kids might even like it, too.
Thurs. Oct. 23. $33.15–$55.40. Sony Centre, 1 Front St. E., 416-368-6161, yogabbagabbalive.com.