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How-To

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How a salvage crew took Captain John’s on one last voyage

(Image: Giordano Ciampini)

(Image: Giordano Ciampini)

Wayne Elliott wanted to give Captain John’s a dignified death. In his 40-year career, the senior salvage master with Marine Recycling Corporation has steered more than 120 vessels to safe, environmentally friendly retirement. “I have an emotional time with all of them, to tell you the truth,” he said. “I love the ships. But I also love what we do. I’m proud of what we do. It’s not respecting the ship to let it sink in dock somewhere.” Were it not for him, Ivan “John” Letnik’s floating restaurant might have done just that. Until Thursday, when Elliott and his company finally removed it, the boat had spent almost 40 years in its slip at the foot of Yonge Street, though the ship hadn’t served any customers since 2012, when its water supply was cut off by the city amid a dispute over unpaid taxes and rent.

Here’s how Elliott and company pried the M.S. Jadran loose without accidentally sending it to the bottom of Lake Ontario.

The Informer

Real Estate

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Condo of the Week: $729,000 for a Little Italy suite with 20-foot ceilings

toronto-condo-of-the-week-394-euclid-street-intro

Address: 394 Euclid Avenue, Unit 101
Neighbourhood: Little Italy
Agent: Jim Killoch, Urbaneer.com
Price: $729,000

The Place: A meticulously renovated two-bedroom home in a century-old building.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Here’s what OCAD U wants to do to its offices at Dundas and McCaul

(Image: courtesy of Bortolotto)

(Image: courtesy of Bortolotto)

What it is: A major renovation of OCAD U’s Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, on the southeast corner of Dundas and McCaul streets. The building, currently offices, would be transformed into a study and exhibition space with street-facing LED displays to project student artwork out through its windows.

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The Informer

Politics

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John Tory will celebrate his 61st birthday by doing what he loves: working

yawn-toryAt a speech this morning for the Conference Board of Canada, Toronto mayor and serious person John Tory weighed in on a number of the day’s hot-button topics: tearing down the Gardiner (he’s against it), Action Bronson’s upcoming concert in Yonge-Dundas Square (he’d prefer the rapper not perform on city property), and Uber (he’s for it). He also took the opportunity to update reporters on another issue of critical importance: his birthday plans. Tory, who turns 61 today, approached the topic with the gravity we’ve come to expect from Mayor Fun. “I am working,” he said, according to the Star’s Jennifer Pagliaro. “I might see my family for dinner.” Ex-mayor Rob Ford also has a birthday today; he’s turning 46—and, though he’s recovering from surgery, is probably having a lot more fun.

The Informer

Politics

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The compelling case for forcing Toronto’s drivers to slow down

Toronto’s roads are the most perilous in the country for pedestrians. The solution is simple, smart and anathema to an already gridlocked city: make drivers slow down

the-compelling-case-for-going-slow

On November 6, 2014, Erica Stark, a 42-year-old mother of three young boys, drove her Kia Rondo to her Scarborough dealership to have its winter tires put on. She brought along Zella, a black Lab she was training to be a guide dog for the hearing impaired. While the tires were being changed, she took Zella for a walk westward along Gilder Drive, a quiet street lined with low-rise apartment buildings. As they reached the first set of lights, at Midland Avenue, a minivan veered onto the sidewalk, hitting a light standard, colliding with Stark and sending her flying several metres. A nearby construction worker rushed to help, cut off the purse straps tangled around her neck and held her as she died.

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Real Estate

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House of the Week: $990,000 for a Moss Park semi with a mansard roof

toronto-house-of-the-week-386-berkeley-street-intro

Address: 386 Berkeley Street
Neighbourhood: Moss Park
Agent: Suzanne Catherine Lewis, Keller Williams Advantage Realty, Brokerage
Price: $989,000

The Place: A three-bedroom, four-bathroom brick semi on a very desirable stretch of Berkeley Street in Moss Park.

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The Informer

Columns

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I’d pay tolls to drive on the Gardiner—but only if everyone else does, too

(Image: Gary J. Wood/Flickr)

(Image: Gary J. Wood/Flickr)

I’ve already argued in favour of the hybrid option for the Gardiner Expressway, which would keep the eastern section of the elevated highway standing, but change the locations of off-ramps to free up land for other uses. The mayor agrees with me, as do many others. One of the most prominent obstacles to the hybrid proposal is the price tag: it would cost $400 million more, over its 100-year lifespan, than simply demolishing the Gardiner east of Jarvis.

So now the conversation has turned, as it does every decade or so, to tolls. Toronto owns the Gardiner Expressway outright, and the Don Valley Parkway too, meaning it has to foot the bills for their upkeep. Tolls would allow the city to collect direct revenues from the motorists who use those highways.

But tolls, at least in Toronto’s eternal debates about them, are more than just user fees. They are a means of enlarging Toronto’s revenue rolls beyond its own residents, which is a principle Toronto has long dreamed of enacting. Last week councillor James Pasternak laid the gambit bare when he proposed that tolls be levied exclusively on motorists who live outside Toronto, while residents would get a free pass.

Let me lay my cards on the table. I don’t live in Toronto; I live a 90-minute drive away, in Peterborough. Toronto is where I earn my livelihood, and I travel to the city regularly. My routine fluctuates, but in recent months I am frequently in the city twice a week. Though I typically travel on GO Transit (I drive to Whitby Station and ride from there), I also drive fairly often, and when I do, the DVP and the Gardiner are staples of my itinerary. I also have family in south Etobicoke, which makes the DVP and the Gardiner an essential part of that trajectory.

Simply put, I am among those non-Toronto residents who depend upon the Gardiner and the DVP for both work and life. Would I pay a toll to drive on them? The short answer is yes I would.

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Real Estate

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Cottage of the Week: $2.7 million for a Gravenhurst summer home with a catwalk

toronto-cottage-of-the-week-1089-arundel-lodge-road-intro

Address: 1089 Arundel Lodge Road
Neighbourhood: Gravenhurst
Agent: Storey Badger, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Brokerage, Port Carling
Price: $2,690,000

The Place: A Lake Muskoka cottage with a large boathouse on Skinner Bay.

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The Informer

People

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Q&A: TDSB trustee Michael Ford on being the newest member of the Ford family’s political dynasty

TDSB trustee Michael Ford is the next in line to carry the Ford family political banner. But don’t lump him in with his uncles, Rob and Doug. And definitely don’t call him Mikey

qa-michael-fordFirst things first: Mikey or Michael?
It’s Michael.

Wow, a very stern look just crossed your face.
Haha—well, when you’re young and want people to take you somewhat seriously, Mikey doesn’t necessarily help. I prefer Michael. Even Mike.

Noted. At 21, you’re the youngest trustee on the school board, responsible for 12,000 kids in Ward 1. Most people your age are off doing wild, crazy, semi-legal things. Any regrets?
None. I love what I’m doing. I’ve always been interested in municipal issues, and I’ve always been around city hall.

Have you had a chance to do normal 20s-ish stuff?
Yes. I was in residence for a semester at Laurier for political leadership, and I did a year at Humber for business administration. I love travelling and adventure—I have my pilot’s licence—watching hockey and baseball, or going to a concert, especially anything country. But I’m not a party animal. Sometimes after a long day, I’ll call my friends and be like, “Hey, you want to go to Starbucks?” and we’ll have tea.

Sorry, tea?
Yeah, maybe a coffee, depending on the day. I’ve been trying to stay healthy. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of biking, through Centennial Park, down to the waterfront, all the way east to the Leslie Street Spit. It’s part of my lifestyle change. I’ve been on the Harvey Brooker weight loss regimen for about two months now, and I’ve lost 50 pounds.

Wow, that’s impressive. What prompted the change?
My weight was out of control. I love to eat, but as someone who’s in public life, I want to provide a healthy example for students. So far, I feel great, especially when I wake up. I’m energized and ready to go.

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The Informer

Best Bets

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See a guitar master, go to an indie-pop festival and six other things to do this week

(Images, clockwise from top left: Constantines, courtesy of Sub Pop Records; Yo Yo Ma, by Stephen Danelian; Etiquette, courtesy of Hand Drawn Dracula Records; Crystal Castles)

(Images, clockwise from top left: Constantines, courtesy of Sub Pop Records; Yo-Yo Ma, by Stephen Danelian; Etiquette, courtesy of Hand Drawn Dracula Records; Crystal Castles)

Watch one of Toronto’s greatest rock bands in the room they were born to play
They may be products of the late-’90s southern Ontario hardcore scene, but the Constantines have never been shy about their populist ambitions. Over the course of four albums, they’ve channeled punk fury and blue-collar romanticism into rousing indie-rock anthems that have made a profound impact on famous fans, including Feist and Arcade Fire. After a four-year hiatus, the band reunited last year to play select festival dates. This week, they achieve true CanRock sainthood with their first headlining show at Massey Hall. Calgary art-pop eccentric Chad VanGaalen opens. Wednesday May 27. $18.94. 178 Victoria St., 416-872-4255, masseyhall.com.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Sale of the Week: the $3.6-million Bedford Park home that proves contemporary design can sell

toronto-sale-of-the-week-132-ridley-boulevard-intro

Address: 132 Ridley Boulevard
Neighbourhood: Bedford Park
Agent: Paul Johnston and Matt Manuel, Right At Home Realty Inc., Brokerage

The Property: This Bedford Park home gets its character from hardwood finishes and floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s located in prime commuter territory, with easy access to the 401 and the Allen Expressway—not to mention several of the country’s best private and public school districts.

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The Informer

Sponsored Content

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6 Things You Need To Know About Toronto’s Version Of The Hamptons

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Here’s what Streetcar Developments wants to do to Jilly’s strip club

new-broadview-hotel

What it is: A total revamp of the New Broadview Hotel, a 124-year-old Romanesque building at Queen and Broadview best known as the former home of Jilly’s strip club. The renovation plans were first released last year, but this new rendering offers a much clearer view of what’s in store.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Condo of the Week: $470,000 for a three-bedroom townhouse where mermaids used to swim

toronto-condo-of-the-week-27-valhalla-inn-road-intro

Address: 27 Valhalla Inn Road, Unit 64
Neighbourhood: Islington
Agent: Ana Santos, Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage
Price: $469,000

The Place: A family-friendly townhouse just off Highway 427 in Etobicoke.

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The Informer

Cost of Living

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“I’m one of the only people I know who owns a house”: how a digital marketing manager lives on $68,500 a year

(Image: Holly Blair)

(Image: Holly Blair)

Who: Christina Dong, 29

What she does: A manager at a boutique advertising firm, where she handles accounts and helps clients with marketing strategies.

What she makes: $68,500 a year, pre-tax and before her bonus.

Some of how she spends it: Mortgage payments on a three-bedroom bungalow near Birchmount and Danforth: $286 weekly. (“I am one of the only people I know my age who owns a house.”) Property taxes: $2,300 a year. Debt repayment on credit cards and family loans: $300 a month. Insurance: $265 a month. RRSP contribution: $300 a month. (“I got a raise in July, and I said, ‘Just put it in my RRSP so I don’t see it.'”)

What she bought in one week: Lunch at Mengrai Gourmet Thai: $22. (“I don’t eat out very often. I would say I go out for brunch once a month.”) Rabbit food: $15. (“Adopting a rabbit at the humane society is probably about as difficult as adopting a child.”) Polo helmet and lesson: $500. (“At a $100 a lesson, I don’t see that as a huge barrier to entry. I decided to invest in my own helmet. I’ve been saving up for it for months.”) Downtown parking fees: $65. Gas: $33. Groceries: $81.