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Toronto Election 2014

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Toronto Election 2014 Power Ratings: the week everyone solved gridlock

Gridlock has been the major theme of the campaign for the past few days, with three candidates releasing separate—and not always mutually exclusive—proposals for speeding the flow of traffic through city streets. Who was sensible and who was nonsensical?

Here’s how the candidates stack up this week.


david-soknacki-election-roundup-2

David Soknacki’s campaign is still simmering, but full boil seems a long way off.

Highlight: Soknacki got a much-needed publicity boost from the Globe‘s Marcus Gee, who devoted a full column to burnishing the candidate’s nerdy mystique. Obscurity is the biggest thing Soknacki has going against him, and every press mention helps.

Lowlight: Soknacki has a relatively young campaign team, and so he’s been reasonably successful at harnessing the internet with clever memes. This week, however, there was a minor misfire. Soknacki released a YouTube video in which he reads a portion of a speech from the movie Footloose. It’s supposed to be a sweetly nerdy way of pointing out his disagreement with a ban on EDM shows in city buildings at the Ex, but to anyone who doesn’t already know who he is (so, a ton of people) the video kind of makes him seem like a crazy religious zealot.

Power Rating: Two

Photo-Op of the Week: Soknacki posted a picture of the Triumph TR6 he’s in the process of restoring. Looks like a sweet ride.

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Random Stuff

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Rob Ford holding an owl Photoshop battle lights up Reddit

(Image: Reddit user OKCThunderxx)

(Image: Reddit user OKCThunderxx)

Ah, Reddit: the so-called “front page of the internet.” It’s not just for Shrek jokes and doxxing pedophile trolls. It’s also, apparently, for Photoshopping images of Rob Ford holding an owl. Today, the subreddit /Photoshopbattles lit up with reworked versions of our mayor doing just that, snapped last year the Sportsmen’s Show. As if Rob Ford holding an owl weren’t inherently funny enough!

Here are some of our favourites…

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The Informer

Sports

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VIDEO: this new Raptors ad is kind of amazing

raptors-ad

Suddenly, Drake’s “global ambassador” deal with the Toronto Raptors makes perfect sense. The video below, released on YouTube yesterday, looks and sounds like a Nike ad. It’s perfectly calibrated to stoke national pride—the tagline is “We The North”—while at the same time imbuing the Raptors with ineffable cool through the magic of symbolism. (There’s a wolf! And a basketball net on fire!)

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The Informer

Politics

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Adam Vaughan is running for Olivia Chow’s federal seat

(Image: Toronto Star/Screenshot)

(Image: Toronto Star/Screenshot)

The by-election race to decide who succeeds Olivia Chow as MP for Trinity-Spadina just got a whole lot more interesting. The Star reports that Adam Vaughan, Ward 20’s famously pugnacious two-term city councillor, has agreed to run for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals.

Vaughan still needs to win his nomination before he can actually hit the campaign trail. If he’s able to accomplish that, he’ll face Joe Cressy, a 29-year-old NDP operative without a fraction of the councillor’s name recognition or community cred. It’s unwise to speculate on the outcome of an election, but considering Vaughan’s popularity in his downtown ward, it seems safe to say that he doesn’t have that much work to do, even though Trinity-Spadina hasn’t voted Liberal in a decade.

The Star’s sources say Vaughan had to agree to the same deal would-be Liberal candidate Christine Innes claims to have refused: not to challenge fellow Liberal Chrystia Freeland in the next election.

A date hasn’t been set for the by-election, but presumably, if Vaughan doesn’t win, he’ll still have time to run for his old city council seat. If he does win, though, Ward 20 will need a councillor. At this point, there’s no telling who that would be.

The Informer

Events

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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of April 18–20

In this edition of The Weekender, some Easter activities, Record Store Day and three more things to do in Toronto this weekend.

THEATRE

Beatrice and Virgil
This new adaptation of Life of Pi author Yann Martel’s 2010 novel is a fable about the difficulty of representing the Holocaust in art. The story has layers: on one level, it’s about the relationship between two men, one a writer and the other a taxidermist. At the same time, it’s an allegory starring a donkey and a monkey, both recovering from an event referred to as “the horrors.” Sarah Garton Stanley directs. Until May 11. $35–$45. The Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst St., factorytheatre.ca

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The Informer

Politics

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Mark your calendars: TCHC’s next major scandal is scheduled for Tuesday

tchc-logo
The Toronto Community Housing Corporation has gone nearly a year without a headline-grabbing scandal, but the Star says that streak is about to end. The city’s ombudsman is planning to release a report on the social housing provider on Tuesday, and its contents are expected to threaten TCHC CEO Gene Jones’s job.

According to the Star, the report will cover hiring, firing and promotion practices under Jones’s leadership. It’s not clear what, exactly, the ombudsman’s office found during its investigation, but the Star‘s sources say there are several allegations of improprieties at TCHC’s highest levels. We already know that Jones has fired a lot of people.

Jones was previously a housing director in Detroit; he came to Toronto in mid-2012. If he loses his job, TCHC will have to install its fourth CEO since the start of Rob Ford’s mayoralty. That’s a direct result of one of Ford’s first acts as mayor: a clean-sweep of TCHC’s board and leadership, following an auditor’s report that found the corporation had spent money on things like staff christmas parties, and that it had failed to follow competitive procurement practices. To this day, Ford touts the TCHC purge, and Jones’ hiring, as one of his key accomplishments. Whether he’ll still be able to do that after Tuesday remains to be seen.

The Informer

Culture

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The Argument: How Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany turned a sci-fi thriller into can’t-miss TV

On the sci-fi thriller Orphan Black, Tatiana Maslany juggles seven distinct characters—a feat of dramatic dexterity that’s made her TV’s biggest breakout star

The Argument: Orphan Black

Tatiana Maslany, about to spot her double in the opening scene of the Space series Orphan Black. Spoiler alert: one of them dies via GO train (Image: courtesy Bell Media)

Tatiana Maslany has the toughest job in television. On the Toronto-shot sci-fi thriller Orphan Black, she plays Sarah, an east London street thief; Alison, a supremely high-strung Scarborough soccer mom; and Helena, a psychotic Ukrainian assassin. Then there’s Cosima, a Berkeley-hippie grad student; Beth, a suicidal cop; and Rachel, an icy CEO. They’re clones, engineered by an evil biotech company for a twisted science experiment. All totalled, Maslany plays seven wildly different characters—a feat of dramatic dexterity that has earned her raves since the show premiered on Space in March 2013.

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The Informer

Columns

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Dear Urban Diplomat: what do I do about my wife’s erotic CBC fan fiction?

Dear Urban Diplomat: CBC Fan Fic

(Image: Peter Rogers)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I discovered my wife’s erotic fan fiction starring a certain personality from CBC’s The National. It’s astonishingly steamy stuff. What should I make of it?

—Fiction Friction, Summerhill

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The Informer

Random Stuff

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Free idea: do something like this to the Hearn Generating Station

A model of proposed development north of London's Battersea Power Station. (Image: Courtesy of Foster + Partners)

A model of proposed development south of London’s Battersea Power Station. (Image: Courtesy of Foster + Partners)

Last week, Gehry Partners and Foster + Partners (architectural firms sure have a lot of partners) released renderings of the proposed designs for phase three of the redevelopment of London’s Battersea Power Station. The structure is a majestic, crumbling mid-century relic best known for being on the cover of that one Pink Floyd album.

The undulating new buildings, to be built just to the south of the power station, are expected to include 1,300 new homes, a hotel and 350,000 square feet of retail space. They’re part of a larger plan that includes even more new residences and shops—some of which will be built inside the shell of the former power station—plus a new subway station and the complete reconstruction of all four of the station’s iconic chimneys.

Toronto has a similar opportunity before it. Waterfront Toronto’s plan to redevelop the city’s industrial Port Lands extends to the Hearn Generating Station, a tremendous, abandoned brick structure, built in 1949, that powered Toronto before being taken out of service in 1983. Different redevelopment proposals have been floated for the site over the years, but none of them have gained traction. These days, when the building is used at all, it’s usually for a movie shoot. Waterfront Toronto has identified the Hearn as a landmark worth preserving, but so far there are no concrete proposals for adapting it to new uses.

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People

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The Star’s Robyn Doolittle is moving to the Globe

(Image: Doolittle: Norman Wong)

(Image: Doolittle: Norman Wong)

Robyn Doolittle’s reporting on Rob Ford—especially Crazy Town, her book-length treatment of Ford’s political and personal life—has made her the single reporter most associated with the Toronto Star’s city hall bureau over the past year. Now, in what is maybe the Toronto-media equivalent of Roy Halladay going to play for the Phillies, Doolittle says she’s moving to the Globe and Mail, to work on the paper’s investigative team.

Here are her tweets from earlier today:

She’ll be in good company. Sports columnist Cathal Kelly left the Star for the Globe last week, after spending 14 years working for the former.

The Informer

Real Estate

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House of the Week: $1.2 million for a Cabbagetown Victorian with a surprisingly light-filled interior

House of the Week: $1.2 million for a Cabbagetown Victorian with a surprisingly light-filled interior

Address: 1 Parkview Avenue
Neighbourhood: Cabbagetown-South St. Jamestown
Agent: Peter McLeman, Chestnut Park Real Estate
Price: $1,239,000

The Place: An updated Cabbabgetown Victorian with an airy interior.

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The Informer

Random Stuff

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PHOTO: last night’s power outage

(Image: @Ntario/Twitter)

(Image: @Ntario/Twitter)

Last night’s three-hour power outage was an inconvenience to anyone trying to get somewhere on public transit or watch New Girl on TV, but it made for a dramatic sight for those lucky enough to observe it from an elevated vantage point. Because the power cut was concentrated in Toronto’s west end—reportedly from Yonge Street all the way to Mississauga—it was possible to look out over a darkened city and see the financial district all lit up in the background. A photo from Twitter is above.

The Informer

Features

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Sin City with snow: secrets of Toronto’s VIP club scene

When hip-hop and NBA stars want a good time, they call party queen Mona Halem. Inside a decadent world of $700 champagne, secret guest lists and hordes of beautiful women

Toronto's Party Queen

Mona Halem at Uniun nightclub in March

On a Monday night last August, half the hip-hop world showed up unannounced in Toronto: Lil Wayne, P. Diddy, Kanye West, Big Sean, French Montana, Mase, TLC. All had agreed to perform as surprise guests at Drake’s annual concert, OVO Fest, which, like all things Drake, has become wildly successful. The ability to produce a roster of acts that reads like a fantasy Grammy lineup speaks to Drake’s clout, but the secrecy involved presented a practical problem: with no advance notice, nobody had organized an after-party. For this group of career ballers, it was a rare case of all blinged out and nowhere to go. Even Drizzy, who lives in Toronto for at least part of the year, was at a loss. Then someone suggested the obvious: call Mona.

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The Informer

Sports

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Donald Trump wants to keep Jon Bon Jovi from moving the Buffalo Bills to Toronto

(Image: Donald Trump/Facebook)

(Image: Donald Trump/Facebook)

The probability of the Buffalo Bills ever relocating to Toronto may come down to a simple question: of Donald Trump and Jon Bon Jovi, which one is richer and weirder?

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The Informer

Politics

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TDSB trustee Sam Sotiropoulos suggests the Pride parade is a haven for nudist pedophiles

(Images: Sotiropoulos: Sam Sotiropoulos/Facebook; parade: Renato Lorini)

(Images: Sotiropoulos: Sam Sotiropoulos/Facebook; parade: Renato Lorini)

When TDSB trustee Sam Sotiropoulos launched his ultimately unsuccessful bid to ban nudity at the Toronto Pride parade, his rationale was that all public nudity is against the law (which is debatable) and, more importantly, that all the exposed flesh raises “questions of age-appropriateness for TDSB students and their families.” We guessed that it was only a matter of time before he started suggesting that some parade participants are pedophiles. Sometimes, being absolutely right is just the worst.

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