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Real Estate

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Here’s what developers want to build at the corner of College and Beverley

The condo tower proposed for 203 College Street

What it is: A 33-storey, 356-unit condo tower that would replace the existing office building on the southeast corner of College and Beverley streets, just south of the University of Toronto. (Better known to U of T students as “where the Starbucks is.”)

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Twelve Thirty Six

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In today’s Twelve Thirty Six, Toronto’s new lunchtime tabloid, Canada’s immigration minister is in big trouble

Chris Alexander suspends his re-election campaign after being roasted on TV. Immigration Minister Chris Alexander was in the CBC Power & Politics hot seat yesterday. Host Rosemary Barton forced him to address Canada’s role in the death of Alyan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian boy who was photographed lying dead on a Turkish beach after Canada denied his family’s application for asylum. This morning, Alexander postponed all campaign activities in his Ajax riding—where he’s in an intense rematch against Liberal Mark Holland—to head to Ottawa to investigate what Canada can do to help prevent similar tragedies.

How to bust a Twitter joke thief. Ren Bostelaar got over 5,750 retweets on his August 12 quip: “The dollar is worth 70 cents. Shania Twain is on tour. The Blue Jays are in first place. You damn millennials actually brought the 90s back.” Naturally, with that much attention, somebody was bound to steal the line for themselves—but Bostelaar, who’s also the co-author of the satirical @Stats_Canada, managed to bust the joke burglar. He forwarded the copycat a form asking if their verifiably original work could be republished in a non-existent magazine called Canada Laughs! The perp, @Jroc_56, seemingly enjoyed being the butt of the prank—until a classmate from Colorado Mesa University called him out.

Don’t bother leaving nasty comments on Stephen Harper’s sponsored Instagram. The first party leader to use the mobile photo platform has somebody deleting unkind remarks from commenters who’d rather not see the PM in their feed. Vine, meanwhile, is still the domain of NDP leader Tom Mulcair and his xylophone.

The Informer

Features

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The Sex Ed Revolution: a portrait of the powerful political bloc that’s waging war on Queen’s Park

Sufia and Azeem Mohammed pulled their eight-year-old daughter Saba and nine-year-old daughter Sara out of school to protest the new sex ed curriculum

Sufia and Azeem Mohammed pulled their eight-year-old daughter Saba and nine-year-old daughter Sara out of school to protest the new sex ed curriculum.

Azeem Mohammed, a 38-year-old stay-at-home dad from East York, is the school council chair at Thorncliffe Park Public School. It’s a volunteer position that he takes very seriously. Azeem and his wife, Sufia, are Muslims from Hyderabad, India. They left comfortable jobs overseas so their children could get a better education in Canada. Sufia teaches physiotherapy at a college in Scarborough. Azeem has two master’s degrees, but he stopped working three years ago to care for the kids—three girls and a boy, all under 10. The Mohammeds are active members of the Liberal party, and both voted for Kathleen Wynne in the last election. As they learned more about the impending sex ed curriculum, however, they began to have serious doubts.

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The Informer

Culture

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Nerd’s Eye View: the stupefying surge of mainstream geekery

Toronto Fan Expo 2015 geek guide

(Image: Paul Hillier)

Geek culture, that smorgasbord of sci-fi and fantasy fandoms, was, until recently, relegated to the fringes of society. Now the boundaries between the margins and the mainstream have all but vanished. The biggest show on TV is a sword-and-sorcery dragon epic. Comic book movies break box office records every weekend. And this month, more than 120,000 people will dress up like Klingons and Stormtroopers at Fan Expo Canada, the third-largest sci-fi convention in the world. Toronto is the ideal host city: we’re a dork’s paradise, brimming with indie gaming studios, addictive TV space operas and role-playing societies that let you channel your inner elf. Here, we break down why it’s so cool to be a geek in the city.

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The Informer

How-To

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How a Toronto 3D printing studio makes lifelike miniatures of real people

3D selfies from Scupltraits

(Image: Giordano Ciampini)

About four years ago, just for the hell of it, Steve Cory, president of the three-dimensional printing company Objex Unlimited, used a new 3D scanner and printer to make a tiny, scale replica of his friend’s entire body. That first personalized, pint-sized statue eventually led to the launch of Sculptraits, Toronto’s first three-dimensional portrait studio, where anyone can have a miniature version of themselves—a “Selftrait”—made for as little as $120.

The quality of the five- and six-inch figurines has improved dramatically since that initial test run. The latest versions capture subtle facial features, creases in clothes and the straining of muscles. Even the colours of skin, clothing and hair are remarkably true to life. Although the process is made possible by a tent-like custom photo booth and an $80,000 industrial 3D printer, much of the work is done by Objex employees, who meticulously prepare and edit the 3D images, and put the finishing touches on the printed sculptures. Here’s the process, from shoot to shipment:

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Real Estate

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House of the Week: $1.5 million for a house in the Beach with an Indonesia-inspired backyard

The house for sale at 182 Beech Avenue

Address: 182 Beech Avenue
Neighbourhood: The Beach
Agent: Julia Elizabeth Warren, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada
Price: $1,499,999

The place: A home in the Beach with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, two kitchens and large walkout decks (both front and back) upstairs.

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Columns

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Dear Urban Diplomat: should my guests offer to split the bill when we eat takeout together?

Dear Urban Diplomat,

My wife and I invited another couple over for dinner, and we agreed to order in from Amaya, with each of us selecting a dish to share. The food arrived and I paid the $90 bill for expediency’s sake, assuming our friends would reimburse me for half. However, they left at the end of the night without offering to pay. Yes, we hosted, but it’s different rules for a mutually selected, delivered meal, right?

—Naan Profit, The Annex

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Best Bets

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See Idina Menzel in concert, meet Gillian Anderson and six other things to do this week

Toronto things to do, September 2015

(Images, clockwise from top left: Varekai, by John Davis; Idina Menzel, courtesy of Warner Brothers; The Tallest Man on Earth, by Cameron Wittig)

Hear Idina Menzel belt “Let It Go” live
Rent, Wicked, Enchanted, Glee—this American actress-musician has amassed an impressive CV on the stage and on screens big and small. But for younger fans, those accomplishments are all footnotes. Tykes and tweens know Menzel as the voice of Elsa in Frozen, and the singer of the film’s inescapable anthem, “Let It Go.” Here, she powers through pop classics, musical theatre favourites and her own repertoire. Wednesday, September 2. $63–$128. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front St. E., sonycentre.ca.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Cottage of the Week: $1.1 million for a Lake of Bays cottage with lots of outbuildings

The cottage for sale at 5031 Muskoka District Road 117

Address: 5031 Muskoka District Road 117
Neighbourhood: Dorset
Agent: Penny Kiely and Maxine Reid, Royal LePage Lakes of Muskoka Realty, Brokerage

Price: $1,095,000

The place: A one-and-a-half-storey cottage with soaring ceilings, wood detailing and plenty of outbuildings.

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People

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Q&A: Marco Mendicino, who beat Eve Adams to the nomination, on staying in Justin Trudeau’s good books

Marco Mendicino

(Image: Erin Leydon)

You trounced Eve Adams, whom Justin Trudeau parachuted into Eglinton-Lawrence, to win the Liberal nomination. How’d that go over with the new boss?
I think I’m in Mr. Trudeau’s good books—all along he said that anybody who wanted to be the candidate would have to participate in an open and fair nomination.

When Adams announced her candidacy, you’d already been campaigning in Eglinton-Lawrence for months. Any rational person would have been annoyed. Are you a rational person?
Haha—well, I like to think so. Sure, I was surprised, and I reflected on my decision to run for a few days. But then I turned my mind to winning.

How long did it take for Trudeau to call with his congratulations?
I won on Sunday night, and he called the next morning.

How awkward was that conversation?
Not awkward at all. It was great to hear from him, and it will be a privilege to work for him.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Sale of the Week: the $1.4-million Birchcliff home that shows the selling power of a lakefront retreat

The house at 7 Kingsbury Crescent

Address: 7 Kingsbury Crescent
Neighbourhood: Birchcliff
Agent: Ken Digalakis, Re/Max All-Stars Realty Inc., Brokerage

The property: This Birchcliff home has a smattering of rear-facing picture windows and a balcony with unobstructed views of Lake Ontario. The interior has some retro touches, like wood panelling in the kitchen, while a sunken great room, beamed ceilings and a pair of fireplaces give the place a cottagey feel. The Toronto Hunt country club is a 15-minute walk away.

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The Informer

Culture

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Jonathan Castellino’s photos make familiar Toronto landscapes weird again

Jonathan Castellino: Interference Patterns

(Image: Jonathan Castellino)

Jonathan Castellino’s photo series, Interference Patterns, is named after a natural phenomenon that happens when two waves of similar frequency overlap, creating a new oscillation. Over the past two years, Castellino, best known for his architectural photo blog, Sacramental Perception, has been creating intricate images by layering different photos on top of one another and then combining the resulting jumble into a single frame. The finished photographs are jarringly complex, with familiar Toronto landmarks (the CN Tower, the greenery of the Don Valley ravine) getting lost in surreal new surroundings. We spoke with Castellino about his work. Click through the image gallery to read what he said.

The Informer

Real Estate

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Condo of the Week: $950,000 for a King West townhouse where a Raptor used to live

The condo for sale at 25 Oxley Street

(Image: Caralyn Ing)

Address: 25 Oxley Street, Townhouse 3
Neighbourhood: King West
Agent: Nick Whittington, LoftStyles.com
Price: $954,900

The place: A townhome in a 16-storey building, with a balcony and plenty of storage space.

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The Informer

Features

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The Nanny Diaries: Toronto’s Filipino caregivers talk about low wages, long days and immigration delays

SINCE 1992, some 75,000 Filipinos have become permanent residents of Canada through the federal government’s caregiver program. The sales pitch was hard to resist: help raise our children for two years, and we’ll reunite you with yours and give everyone a shot at permanent residency. Last year alone, some 23,687 Filipinos came to Canada under the program. But it has become a victim of its own success. Today, the backlog of applications for permanent residency is 17,600 names long. Citizenship and Immigration has promised swift action: it implemented an annual cap on the number of permanent residencies at 5,500, added educational and language components to the criteria, and announced plans to expedite the approvals process. But for many, the wait, which now averages 50 months—and that’s after two years of employment—is torture. At home, their kids are growing up without them. And with rock-bottom wages in the Philippines, going back isn’t a viable option. Here, the stories of five Filipina nannies whose lives are on hold as they await their fate.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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House of the Week: $4.8 million for a summery new home in the Beach

The house for sale at 20 Neville Park Boulevard

Address: 20 Neville Park Boulevard
Neighbourhood: The Beach
Agent: Ken Digilakis and Nicole Digilakis, Re/Max All Stars Realty Inc., Brokerage
Price: $4,788,000

The place: A two-storey Cape Cod–inspired house a few minutes’ walk away from the Balmy Beach waterfront.

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