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The Informer

Sports

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They shoot, he scores: a look at Maple Leafs organist Jimmy Holmstrom’s booth at the Air Canada Centre

Click to see a larger version. (Image: Kayla Rocca)

Click to see a larger version. (Image: Kayla Rocca)

If coach Randy Carlyle is the brain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, then Jimmy Holmstrom, the organist at the Air Canada Centre, is the heart. Holmstrom, who also works as a technology teacher at an elementary school in Brampton, provides the musical accompaniment to the dizzying highs and crushing lows of every Leafs home game. It’s a job he’s been doing without missing a day, he says, since September 1988.

He plays all the rink-organ classics—“Hava Nagila,” “The Bull,” “Zorba the Greek,” “Go, Leafs, Go,” and “The Walk”—live. When the game is tied, Holmstrom plays dramatic theme music. When the team is losing, he scales the tempo back. “You don’t whip the horse when it’s in 8th place in the Kentucky Derby with half a furlong to go,” he explains. “We want to motivate everybody in the building from the player to the usher. If I can’t motivate, excite, or invigorate, well, then I’m not doing my job.”

Best of all, when the Leafs score, it’s Holmstrom who gets the profound pleasure of activating the massive and deafening goal horn. The sound isn’t computer generated—it’s a real air horn, powered by a tank of compressed air beneath the ice. During a game, Holmstrom jumps from keyboard, to sampler, to goal horn and back.

“I get up here and I go from meek, mild Clark Kent to this crazed guy,” he says. “I don’t mean Superman, I become more like the Venom. Just crazed.” Here, an annotated look at his booth in the rafters of the ACC.

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The Informer

Columns

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Dear Urban Diplomat: what’s an e-cigarette hater to do?

Dear Urban Diplomat: what's an e-cigarette hater to do?

(Image: clintjcl/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I’ve been to three west-end establishments recently—Bambi’s, This End Up and Porzia—where patrons were gaily vaping e-cigs, repercussion-free. I get that it’s not quite smoking a cigarette, but I still don’t enjoy having nicotine vapour blown in my face. Am I lame to complain? Is vaping an officially sanctioned act these days?

—Head in the Clouds, Little Portugal

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The Informer

Events

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Head to the homecoming of Soulpepper’s Kim’s Convenience

(Image: Bruce Monk)

(Image: Bruce Monk)

When Kim’s Convenience premiered at Soulpepper almost three years ago, it broke box office records in spectacular fashion—playwright Ins Choi created an instant Canadian classic, packing a powerful family drama under a comfortable exterior of sitcom-style humour. The play is set in a convenience store in Toronto’s rapidly gentrifying Regent Park neighbourhood, and it spins the tale of a Korean-Canadian family’s struggles with fractured love, intergenerational differences, immigrant identity and the beckoning of real estate developers. The compelling story, workaday setting and remarkably believable characters will be familiar to many Torontonians—and seeing them played out onstage is what makes the production so refreshing and resonant. This week, Kim’s Convenience returns to its hometown under the direction of local stage star Weyni Mengesha, the sensitive director best known for her work with Da Kink in My Hair. After two years of condo construction and cultural change in Regent Park, the neighbourhood has taken on a whole new character. No doubt the play has, too.

Nov. 27–Dec. 28. $57–$89. Young Centre for the Performing Arts. 50 Tank House Ln., 416-866-8666, soulpepper.ca.

The Informer

Quoted

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Martin Short, as Jiminy Glick: “Have you ever thought of maybe getting some cranes up there?”

“Have you ever thought of maybe getting some cranes up there and doing some construction?”

Martin Short, in character as the obsequious celebrity interviewer Jiminy Glick, during an appearance alongside mayor-elect John Tory at a dinner event hosted by the Jewish National Fund. Glick’s jab at Toronto’s seemingly never-ending condo boom was only one of dozens of jokes that kept Tory laughing uncontrollably throughout the eight-minute bit. (At one point, in a fit of glee, the mayor-to-be shoves a whole doughnut into Glick’s open mouth.) The video is both awkward and hilarious.

The Informer

Stat

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The Pan Am Games’ porcupine mascot wasn’t cheap

$383,045

—The amount of taxpayer money spent designing and promoting Pachi the porcupine, the official mascot of Toronto’s 2015 Pan Am Games, according to an analysis by the Globe. The biggest single mascot-related expense has been the $135,550 spent, to date, on performers, including the people who wear the giant Pachi costume during public appearances.

The Informer

Politics

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Doug Ford says Ontario’s Conservative party is too conservative

doug-ford-now-whatIn a move reminiscent of the time he complained that the mayoral election was just way too political (are elections ever not political?), Doug Ford is now saying that the Ontario Progressive Conservative party—the party he apparently hopes to lead—is too conservative for its own good. “You can’t win that way,” he told reporters. “Even if you could win that’s just not [the Ford family’s] beliefs.” Ford isn’t totally out of line: Tim Hudak’s uncompromisingly right-wing rhetoric has been blamed for the party’s defeat in this year’s election. Even so, the notion that Doug would be the one to lead the PC party down a kinder, gentler path is a befuddling one. He’s not a particularly even-tempered guy.

The Informer

Real Estate

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Sale of the Week: the Trinity Bellwoods home that proves $1 million doesn’t buy as much as it used to

toronto-sale-of-the-week-194-euclid-avenue-intro

Address: 194 Euclid Avenue
Neighbourhood: Trinity Bellwoods
Agent: Diti Coutinho, Sutton Group-Associates Realty Inc., Brokerage

The Property: This detached, single-storey home is five minutes east of Trinity Bellwoods Park. It has approximately 1,700 square feet of hardwood floors, as well as a finished basement suite with its own kitchen and entry.

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The Informer

Sponsored Content

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Nine reasons to choose cowork space – even if you’re NOT a start-up

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Building a business has its ups and downs and can often be unpredictable. Being amongst other people going through the same process can help ease your stress and open new doors. Working together and in cowork spaces helps take away some of the stresses and brings added value. Being month to month and not being responsible for the day-to-day facilitation of your office space gives your more flexibility and time to focus on your business.

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The Informer

Politics

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Rob Ford has no regrets about his time as mayor, because of course he doesn’t

now-what-newWith just over a week left in his term as mayor, Rob Ford spent the day selling off his remaining stock of bobbleheads and talking to reporters. Asked by one of them whether he had any regrets about his time in office, he couldn’t think of a single one. “I did what I said I was going to do,” the Globe quotes him as saying. “People are going to remember that I saved money. That I did what I said I was going to do and you look at the results.” The many Torontonians who believe otherwise don’t have long to wait: John Tory‘s term begins on December 1.

The Informer

Real Estate

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Condo of the Week: $630,000 for a concrete loft with a killer kitchen in Riverdale

Condo of the Week: $630,000 for a concrete loft with a killer kitchen in Riverdale

Address: 90 Broadview Avenue, PH830
Neighbourhood: South Riverdale
Agent: Kendra Connelly, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Brokerage
Price: $629,000

The Place: A two-bedroom loft in a recently converted building near Queen and Broadview.

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The Informer

Stat

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The Rogers family makes a huge donation

$130,000,000

—The amount of money donated by the Rogers family to support the founding of a new heart research centre in Toronto. (The family patriarch, former Rogers CEO Ted Rogers, died of heart failure in 2008.) According to the Globe, this is the largest-ever private donation to a Canadian health-care institution or university. The funds will be matched by contributions from the Hospital for Sick Children, the University Health Network and the University of Toronto.

The Informer

Quoted

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CBC News Network managing editor Jennifer Harwood: “It’s time to stand up for Peter”

“It’s time to stand up for Peter. And stand up for what’s good and right at the CBC.”

Jennifer Harwood, CBC News Network’s managing editor, in an internal memo that was leaked to the Globe. Harwood was explaining her decision to bar veteran Fifth Estate journalist Linden MacIntyre from appearing on the network, after MacIntyre offhandedly compared Peter Mansbridge to Jian Ghomeshi during an earlier Globe interview. (Both men, MacIntyre told the Globe, have outsized senses of entitlement abetted by their celebrity status.) MacIntyre is soon to retire from the CBC after 38 years.

The Informer

Stat

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Placating Ontario’s teachers cost Queen’s Park almost half a billion dollars

$468,000,000

—The cost, to Ontario taxpayers, of placating the province’s teachers’ unions after 2012’s massive unrest, according to a new report from the Ontario auditor general. Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government can still claim an estimated $2.1 billion in savings left over from the austere contracts imposed on teachers under ex-premier Dalton McGuinty. Even so, almost half a billion dollars in foregone cost cuts is a big deal at cash-strapped Queen’s Park.

The Informer

Events

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Catch up with Caribou at the Danforth Music Hall

(Image: Thomas Neukum)

(Image: Thomas Neukum)

Whether Dan Snaith is creating retro-pop, shoegaze or dance music, the Ontario-bred, England-based DJ and producer—who at various times has gone by Caribou, Manitoba and Daphni—does it well. Caribou’s Andorra won the Polaris Prize in 2007, and its follow-up, Swim, won a Juno for best electronic album. It’s not hard to imagine Snaith’s latest release, Our Love, bringing in the same sort of accolades. Referencing early house music and featuring Owen Pallett and Jessy Lanza , the record is packed with sonic subtlety. Hear it when Snaith, as Caribou, stops at the Danforth Music Hall for a show alongside Lanza. Regular tickets are sold out, but anyone willing to cough up a couple extra bucks should have no trouble getting in.

Mon. Nov. 24. $30–$32.75. Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave., 416-778-8163, ticketmaster.com.

The Informer

Stat

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The fallout from Toronto’s G20 isn’t over yet

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—The number of police constables found guilty of discreditable conduct for their actions during the Toronto G20 summit to date, out of 32 officers charged with offences, according to the Star. A disciplinary hearing for the most senior police officer charged for his role in that weekend’s mayhem, superintendent David (Mark) Fenton, begins today.