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The Informer

Real Estate

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A first look at what Daniels Corporation wants to build where the Guvernment used to be

What it is: Four proposed waterfront towers east of Lower Jarvis Street, the tallest of which would top out at 48 storeys. (This is where the Guvernment nightclub complex used to be before it held its last party in January.) The first phase of the development—called “Daniels Waterfront: City of the Arts,” a name that reads like it was written by George Lucas—would consist of two smaller towers with offices, retail and a “creative hub” with space for arts and cultural organizations. The first commercial units are supposed to be ready in 2018. The second phase would include more than 900 condos, as well as space for a school like OCAD University to use.

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The Informer

Politics

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Rob Ford has to apologize for being racist a couple times

now-what-newNext week’s city council meeting will be the setting of another classic Rob Ford forced apology, as he owns up to a few racist lowlights. The occasion is a report from the city’s integrity commissioner, who found that then-mayor Ford broke city council’s code of conduct in March 2012 during a wild St. Patrick’s Day bender, when he called a taxi driver “Paki,” then mocked him with “fake language sounds.” Ford will also be apologizing for his 2014 boast that he is “the most racist guy around,” and the language he used then to describe black people (in the commissioner’s judiciously hyphenated report, “n----ir”), Italians (“w-p” and “d-go”) and Jews (“k---e”).

The Informer

Columns

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Dear Urban Diplomat: can I disobey the demands of sidewalk-hogging TV crews?

Dear Urban Diplomat: what can I do about dictatorial TV crews?

(Image: Alan Daly/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,

I work near Victoria and Adelaide, which is almost always occupied by TV crews. I can’t go anywhere without some dictatorial, floppy tuque–wearing third assistant in a headset ordering me to stop—walking, talking, laughing—lest his shoot be interrupted. What would or could he do if I just ignored him and walked right on through?

—Scene Disturber, Downtown

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The Informer

Features

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The Break-In Artist: the hunt for the cat burglar who terrorized Toronto’s wealthiest neighbourhoods

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The Fort Knox of Thornhill is a stucco mansion with a mansard roof, front-yard fountain and U-shaped driveway on the area’s most coveted street. It’s owned by a middle-aged couple named Tony and Sherry, who asked that we not publish their last name, and is equipped with every security measure on the market: eight interior and exterior video cameras, reinforced locks, motion detectors in all rooms, a siren, contacts on every window hard-wired to a central response station, glass-break sensors, a 1.8-metre-high wrought iron fence with a buzzer system at the front and a brick retaining wall at the back. In home security–speak, the place is a “hard target,” meaning most thieves will take one look and move along.

So it came as a shock when, at 6:06 on the evening of Wednesday, November 6, 2013, Sherry received a call from her alarm company, Vigilarm, informing her that the second-storey master bedroom window had been opened. At the time, Sherry was at the Richmond Hill Public Library with her 11-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter for the kids’ weekly tutoring sessions. If she were being robbed, the timing made perfect sense: every Wednesday between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., just as it was getting dark outside, the house was empty. Tony, a manufacturing executive, stayed at work on Wednesdays until 7 p.m., and the nanny always left at 5. Sherry instructed Vigilarm to dispatch the police, called Tony and then, leaving her kids with the tutor, sped the seven kilometres home, weaving through rush-hour traffic and running amber lights down Yonge Street. She didn’t know what she’d do if she encountered a burglar, but in the moment, she didn’t care.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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House of the Week: $550,000 for a condo-sized home in the Junction Triangle

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Address: 98 Edwin Avenue
Neighbourhood: Dovercourt-Wallace-Emerson-Junction
Agent: Holly Chandler and Julie Kinnear, Keller Williams Neighbourhood Realty, Brokerage
Price: $549,900

The Place: An updated two bedroom semi just off Dupont in the Junction Triangle.

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The Informer

People

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Q&A: David Hulchanski, the U of T professor sounding the alarm on income inequality

(Image: Claire Foster)

(Image: Claire Foster)

David Hulchanski has been thinking about affordability and cities ever since he moved here from upstate New York in the late ’60s (tuition was cheaper in Canada). After decades of research, the University of Toronto professor is currently best known for his series of “Three Cities” reports, which detail the steady disappearance of middle-income neighbourhoods in Toronto and other Canadian cities. Over the years, Hulchanski has emerged as the voice of scientific inquiry into income polarization in Canada, his name regularly invoked in legislative chambers and in the media. We asked him about growing inequality in Toronto, what the loss of the mandatory long-form census means for his research, and making $1.25 an hour at his first job.

How did you become so invested in the idea of inequality?
I was always involved in issues like this, right from high school, and I just continued. As a professor, part of my job is research. In the past ten years we’ve had a couple of very large social science research grants focused on income inequality, income polarization, and how cities and neighbourhoods are changing. This is during a period where income inequality and income polarization are dramatically growing.

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The Informer

Events

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See Shad before he becomes a CBC star, hang out with Laverne Cox and eight other things to do this week

(Image, clockwise from top left: Laverne Cox, by Luke Fontana; Disabled Theatre, by Michael Bause; Will Butler, self portrait; painting by Gertrude Kearns)

(Images, clockwise from top left: Laverne Cox, by Luke Fontana; Disabled Theatre, by Michael Bause; Will Butler, self portrait; painting by Gertrude Kearns)

Watch the new host of CBC’s Q in his natural element
Two weeks ago, Shad was selected as the new host of Q on CBC Radio. Before he takes over, he’s finishing a victory-lap concert tour for his 2013 album, Flying Colours, which earned a Juno nomination and a spot on the Polaris Prize short list. It’s a collection of freewheeling, retro rap tracks about the immigrant experience, race and colonialism under a cloak of fast rhymes and electro beats. March 27. $19. Massey Hall, 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 $640,000 unit that proves condo living in St. James Town isn’t only for the young

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Address: 28 Linden Street, Unit 303
Neighbourhood: St. James Town
Agent: Erica Anne Cook, Royal LePage, Johnston and Daniel Division, Brokerage

The Property: This modern corner-suite condo has an open concept design with new hardwood floors and an upgraded kitchen. A television and custom fireplace are built into a feature wall in the living room.

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The Informer

Politics

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Doug Ford is peeved that John Tory won’t help pay off his campaign debt

doug-ford-now-whatDoug Ford told the Sun that he’s very, very disappointed by John Tory’s decision not to attend a $300-a-ticket fundraiser, the proceeds of which will help retire about $900,000 in Ford-for-mayor-related campaign debt. It’s not uncommon for mayoral competitors to raise money for one another after an election is over (in fact, Tory is doing exactly that for David Soknacki), but the Fords have remained openly hostile toward Tory during the first few months of his mayoralty, which makes Doug’s complaint a little puzzling. “Mr. Tory doesn’t want to help, but that’s his choice….I don’t know what his problem is, to be honest with you,” Ford told reporters. Tory, for his part, denies he was even invited to the fundraiser.

The Informer

Real Estate

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Condo of the Week: $18.9 million for the entire top floor of the Hazelton Hotel

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Address: 118 Yorkville Avenue, Penthouse 901
Neighbourhood: Yorkville
Agent: Susan Glenn, Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage
Price: $18,900,000

The Place: The entire top floor of the Hazelton Hotel.

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The Informer

Politics

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The brother of Sandro Lisi’s alleged crack-video extortion victim got shot on Tuesday

now-what-newOn Tuesday afternoon, a 21-year-old man named Ahmed Siyad was shot in the parking garage of a Toronto Community Housing high-rise at 2063 Islington Road, which wouldn’t be so remarkable were it not for the fact that, according to the Sun, Ahmed Siyad is the brother of Liban Siyad, the alleged gang member whom Rob Ford’s friend Sandro Lisi is accused of extorting during a frantic attempt to recover Ford’s first crack video. (Lisi’s pretrial hearing began earlier this month.) If the story weren’t strange enough already, the Sun adds another weird detail: Ford was in the neighbourhood when Ahmed was shot, and even spoke to him before he was taken to the hospital. Ford told the Sun he was making routine constituency calls. “I am in TCHC buildings a lot assisting people,” he’s quoted as saying.

The Informer

Culture

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Disabled Theater stars actors with intellectual disabilities—and it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen

The Argument: Centre Stage

(Image: courtesy of Harbourfront Centre)

Live performance can feel starkly, claustrophobically intimate. In Disabled Theater, a strange and stimulating new Harbourfront production, that closeness is cunning, because it forces the audience to look at people we might typically turn away from. The production is composed entirely of professional actors with Down Syndrome and other intellectual disabilities. If you are like me, you have deliberately trained yourself to ignore their difference. But Disabled Theater gives you no choice: the performers speak, dance and engage the audience directly without the filter of characters, telling you who they are and how they see the world.

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The Informer

Culture

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How the TIFF Bell Lightbox’s latest piece of interactive art hypnotizes kids with moving light

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

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

Every March, the TIFF Bell Lightbox hosts digiPlaySpace, an exhibition of kid-friendly interactive art. This year’s marquee installation is Forest, a co-creation of new-media artist Micah Elizabeth Scott and 26 students from Ryerson University’s new-media program. It’s a massive digital canvas made up of over 7,500 LEDs and controlled by software Scott developed herself. Young visitors interact with the piece by turning wooden spinners with their hands. “I designed something that wasn’t a screen,” Scott explains, “something that has a lot of real, tactile sense to it, and isn’t just fingers sliding against glass.” Here’s an annotated look at how it works.

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The sculpture is 16 feet wide and eight feet tall, and it weighs over 600 pounds. It took about six weeks to build and two days to install.
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The body of the installation, including the spinners, is made of medium density fibreboard. “It’s literally from the Home Depot,” says Steve Daniels, a Ryerson professor who helped coordinate the project. He used a CNC router at Ryerson’s Maker Space to cut it into shape.

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The Informer

Politics

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People with their arms crossed in front of things they’re against: a taxonomy of the Star’s favourite visual cliché

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Two things are inevitable in a big city: constant change, and constant opposition to change.

Local media outlets have a tough time depicting the latter. How do you photograph local residents’ ill will toward the newest sources of perceived aggravation in their neighbourhoods? Some newspaper photographers have mastered an effective visual cliché for use in these situations: a picture of the aggrieved party standing strong, arms crossed, in front of the object of his or her ire (or the vacant locale it’s planned to occupy). No one is better at this bit of inventive visual grammar than our city’s own newspaper of record, the Toronto Star. Observe: