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Science confirms: 19th birthdays are health hazards

164%

—The amount of increased likelihood that a young woman living in Ontario will check into a hospital during the week of her 19th birthday, as compared to the rest of the year. (In other words, a hospital stay is about 2.6 times more likely.) This is according to a University of North British Columbia study summarized in the Star. For young men, the figure is slightly less: 114 per cent. Cool it on the birthday drinks, kids.

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Culture

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One guy found the whole world in Toronto, and has the photos to prove it

(Images: Colin Boyd Shafer)

(Images: Colin Boyd Shafer)

One man’s mission to find a person from every country on earth within the Greater Toronto Area is almost complete. Starting in June last year, Colin Boyd Shafer, a photographer and high-school teacher, started Cosmopolis Toronto, a blog of intimate portraits of people from all but ten of the world’s recognized nations, and several disputed territories, too. “As a geography teacher, I’m comfortable with talking about countries,” Shafer told us. “So I figured tying that to portraiture could work.” The numbers certainly suggested that the project was possible. In 2011, Statistics Canada calculated that almost half of the Toronto-area population—about 2.5 million people—was born overseas, most of them in Asia or the Middle East. The same year, Canada had a foreign-born population of about 6.8 million, or just under a quarter of the country.

A little over a year after starting the blog, Shafer has interviewed and photographed people born just about everywhere, save for a handful of Pacific nations and Monaco, San Marino, and East Timor. Surprisingly, even people from countries as mysterious as North Korea and remote as Tonga were to be found living in Toronto or its suburbs. Each subject was photographed once in a GTA location where he or she felt at home, and then a second time holding an object with sentimental value. Many chose photographs of loved ones, while others chose food, clothes or a diary kept since moving to Canada. The photos, especially those of people from places riven by conflict, are powerful. “Many of [the subjects] do not fit within the majority ethnicity or religion of that particular country, which I think is really important—that these people are not chosen based on anything other than where they’re born.” Shafer said. “That was something I felt really strongly about and I kept it consistent throughout…this is not a bunch of individuals representing countries, but instead where they were born.”

We asked Shafer to select ten photos that he felt best represented the series. Click through the photo gallery to see them, with his commentary. A book featuring all of the pictures in the Cosmopolis Toronto series is currently in the works.

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Politics

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On Toronto’s whiny, cynical attitude toward efforts to improve public transit:

 

Etobicoke will never see eye to eye with the Annex, needless to say. Yet even among urbane downtown types, you can see the conflict. They want the city to be “world class,” but they cling to bizarre small-town sensibilities for dear life: grace periods on parking tickets, parking on major streets as of 9:00 am, buses that stop for every sprinting would-be passenger. They want an airport link that’s cheap, and that stops eight times along the way so it’s fair to everyone, but also lighting fast. They want a city that runs like clockwork without inconveniencing a single person along the way.

 
This sober, completely accurate thought is brought to you by the Post’s Chris Selley, whose column in today’s paper is well worth reading all the way through.

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Toronto Election 2014

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Rob and Doug Ford get into a shouting match with debate organizers

tl_ford_now-whatA mayoral debate hosted by the Parkview Hills Community Association got off to a depressing start on Monday night when, before even entering the church basement where the thing was being held, Rob and Doug Ford decided to pick a fight with the organizers. In videos of the incident, the mayor and his brother can be seen nose-to-nose with debate volunteers, loudly accusing of them of running a “biased” event. The Post reports that the confrontation eventually devolved into “pushing and shoving.” The cause of the fight was a rule, set by the debate’s organizers, that limited each candidate to one staff member in the room (apparently, this was to conserve space inside the venue). The Fords were unwilling to accept this, and eventually succeeded in getting at least two staffers, including Doug, inside.

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Real Estate

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Cottage of the Week: $2.6 million for a private getaway, minus the two-hour drive

Address: 242 Trillium Place
Neighbourhood: Innisfill, Ontario
Agent: Judy McKechnie, Century 21 B.J. Roth Realty Ltd.
Price: $2,600,000

The Place: A five-bedroom, 2.65-acre compound in the Big Bay Point area of Lake Simcoe.

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Features

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Best of the City 2014: The ultimate insider’s guide to food, drink, fashion and fun

Best of the City 2014: This year's guide to all things excellent

Torontonians are spoiled by luxury—an inevitable side effect of living in a city where you can book a private chopper to Georgian Bay, nibble on sustainable sturgeon caviar and moisturize with 24 karat gold–flecked lotions. In the past year, however, the city has truly outdone itself, supplying the kinds of outlandish foods, amenities and products that would astonish even the most pampered urbanite. Our team of seen-it-all critics gorged on ornately plated desserts, scoured fashion trucks and baby boutiques, and subjected their bodies to aggressive Russian bamboo massages, all in the quest to bring you this, our annual roundup of Toronto’s best of absolutely everything.

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Best of Toronto

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Best of the City 2014: Fun

Best of the City 2014: Fun
wild ride

Wild Ride
Rock ’n’ Horse Saloon
250 Adelaide St. W., 647-344-1234
A night at Rock ’n’ Horse Saloon feels like a scene from Footloose: line dancers tap steel-toed boots to Brooks and Dunn, bartenders in 10-gallon hats pour beers, and a rotating slate of heart-on-sleeve country crooners twang their guitars on stage. The bar’s most gimmicky (and awesome) attraction is a mechanical bull that thrashes, bucks and throws riders into a pit of blessedly soft padding—an ­indignity best cured with another shot of Knob Creek. For saddle-shy spectators, the bull-­riding competition on Tuesdays is better than Netflix.


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The Informer

Politics

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Why they’re still voting for Rob Ford: Ford Fest attendees in their own words

Rob Ford greets supporters at Ford Fest 2014. (Image: Kayla Rocca)

Rob Ford greets supporters at Ford Fest 2014. (Image: Kayla Rocca)

Each year, Rob Ford hosts Ford Fest, a giant public barbecue that he swears, for legal reasons, is not technically a campaign event. Campaign-related or not, though, on Friday the event drew thousands of likely voters and other assorted die-hard Ford supporters (these days, the mayor barely has any other kind of supporter) to Thomson Memorial Park in Scarborough, where they waited on hours-long lines: one giant one for free hamburgers, and another (slightly shorter) one to shake the mayor’s hand.

It can be hard for anyone outside the Ford Nation bubble to understand the mayor’s enduring appeal. Scandal after scandal, he continues to poll respectably well alongside candidates with none of his personal and political liabilities. In an attempt to figure out Ford’s unshakeable grip, particularly on young suburban voters, Toronto Life waded into the Ford Fest crowds, past the bigoted violence and the illegal horse-riding, to ask a bunch of seemingly normal attendees a simple question: why do you still support Rob Ford?

Click through the photo gallery to read their answers.

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Stat

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How much did all the sand on Sugar Beach cost?

$337,500

—The cost of buying, shipping and installing all the sand—1,500 cubic metres’ worth—on Sugar Beach, according to a new posting on Waterfront Toronto’s website. (This sand, incidentally, is no ordinary stuff: it’s a special type selected specifically because it allows drainage and resists blowing away.) Waterfront Toronto has come under criticism lately for expenses related to other parts of Sugar Beach, like its umbrellas and its imported rock outcropping.

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Politics

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Doug Ford gets caught in another apparent lie

tl_ford_now-whatDespite Doug Ford’s previous denials, the Globe reports that RR Donnelley and Sons, a U.S. printing company for which the Fords tried to win a city work contract, is actually an active client of Deco Labels and Tags, the Ford family business. This means that when Rob and Doug Ford arranged meetings between Donnelley executives and senior city officials, the two city politicians may have had a direct financial interest in the outcome of those talks. Doug, in particular, may have stood to make a hefty commission if Donnelley, flush with new work for the city, later increased its business with Deco as a result. We may never know for sure, though. No city contracts were awarded to Donnelley.

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Real Estate

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Sale of the Week: the $852,000 Roncesvalles home that shows the sales power of a hot block

toronto-sale-of-the-week-308-garden-avenue-intro

Address: 308 Garden Avenue
Neighbourhood: Roncesvalles
Agent: Loic Danis, Sutton Group Old Mill Realty Inc., Brokerage

The Property: This recently renovated Roncesvalles semi takes up the entire width of its exceptionally large 20.25-foot frontage. The rare, one-car parking pad up front was a particular draw for many visitors, as was the home’s proximity to High Park and the waterfront.

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Quoted

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A Hamilton guy’s obituary mocks the Maple Leafs

“It was Terry’s last wish that his pallbearers be the Toronto Maple Leafs so they could let him down one last time.”

—It’s not a totally original joke, but good on Terry Siebert, who died at 58 in Hamilton on Monday, for getting in the final word with a sports franchise that peaked when he was 11 years old. This was the last line in his obituary.

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Culture

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The Toronto International Film Festival announces its opening-night film for 2014

The lucky flick is The Judge, a David Dobkin movie about a big-city lawyer with daddy issues who returns to his hometown to find said daddy, a judge, accused of murder and in need of legal defence. Convenient! If the trailer (embedded above) is anything to go by, lots of heartwarming family drama ensues. In past years, TIFF’s opening-night selections have been hit-or-miss (2013’s selection was The Fifth Estate, a critical flop), but often they have big names attached, and this one is no exception. The cast includes Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga and Billy Bob Thornton.

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Sports

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Jon Bon Jovi’s investment group is still trying to bring the Buffalo Bills to Toronto

We know this because an anonymous person with knowledge of the doings of the ’80s rock guy and his friends tells the Associated Press that the group is getting increasingly serious about its bid. Apparently, the group’s latest move has been to conduct a feasibility study of potential NFL stadium sites in the GTA, including one on the waterfront. (Probably in the Port Lands, which seem to be the conceptual dumping ground for everyone’s pet megaprojects.) The terms of the Bills’ lease prevent its owners from selling to anyone who plans to move the team prior to 2022.

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Real Estate

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Condo of the Week: $1.2 million for a penthouse in the middle of the entertainment district

Address: 169 John Street, Penthouse 4
Neighbourhood: Kensington-Chinatown
Agent: Paul Maranger, Christian Vermast and Fran Bennett, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Brokerage
Price: $1,195,000

The Place: A two-bedroom, two-storey penthouse—one of four—in One Six Nine, a soft-loft complex at Queen and John. We featured another unit in the building last year.

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