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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“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.
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.
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.
Almost a year to the day after the shooting death of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim, a long-awaited report on police encounters with mentally disturbed people is finally available for public consumption. The 400-page document was prepared at the request of police chief Bill Blair by former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci in the aftermath of the tragedy. While it doesn’t deal specifically with Yatim, it does contain 84 recommendations intended to make the Toronto Police Service better at dealing with people like him, who seem to be suffering from some kind of extreme mental or emotional distress when they come into contact with cops. (Yatim, remember, is believed to have been intimidating fellow streetcar passengers with a knife before police got involved.)
There are a number of seemingly useful ideas among the recommendations, including a proposal to arm some front-line police officers with tasers on a trial basis, to give them a new alternative to lethal force. (It’s an idea that has been floated several times already.) The report also calls for the creation of a mental-health oversight committee that would consist of police officials and representatives from healthcare organizations and psychiatric facilities. Ultimately, though, the greatest idea to come out of the whole exercise is probably best summed up by Iacobucci’s statement at today’s press conference, quoted in the Star: “The premise of the report is the target should be zero deaths when police interact with a member of the public,” he said. “No fatalities” would be a fairly low bar to success for most organizations, but in the case of TPS, we’ll take it.
In this edition of The Weekender, a food festival, a frisbee championship and three other things to do in Toronto this weekend.
Taste of Toronto
The international Taste Festival franchise pitches camp in Toronto this weekend for four days of high-class face-stuffing. Some of the best restaurants in the city are participating. Guests can look forward to crab-and-prawn rolls from THR & Co, Atlantic salmon from Splendido and spicy shrimp from Khao San Road, among plenty of other offerings. Until July 27. Admission $30–$100, food extra. Fort York, 250 Fort York Blvd. tasteoftoronto.com
Rob Ford’s mayoralty may soon be over, but an American cable channel has just ensured that he’ll always be in our discount DVD bins, selling at two-for-$5 with copies of Dinocroc vs. Supergator. SyFy, a U.S. sci-fi channel, has given Ford (or at any rate, an actor dressed sort of like him) a death scene in the upcoming “film” Sharknado 2, finally linking the mayor with a pop-cultural force that has overstayed its welcome at least as much as he has. The Post reports that the scene will be included only in the Canadian version of the film, airing on Space on July 30. But why watch the whole thing? The Ford clip is embedded above.
On May 27, the John Tory campaign summoned the media to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. After weeks of promising to build a “Yonge Street relief line,” Tory was set to announce his SmartTrack transit plan, a proposal to retrofit existing GO lines into subway-like commuter corridors. It’s since become the centrepiece of his campaign.
Tory’s address to reporters was preceded by a technical briefing, in which campaign officials laid out the logistics of the proposal. Before delving into specifics, though, the campaign official leading the briefing made an uncharacteristically frank—even embarrassing—admission about Tory’s commitment to another transit project: the controversial Scarborough subway, which Tory had promised, if elected, to “start digging” in 2015. This is what the official said: “We are, of course, duly chastened in regard to when that [project] can begin. It cannot have the shovels in the ground tomorrow morning, as we had previously advertised. And we’re very sorry; and we won’t make that mistake again.”
The 2015 prediction had always seemed far-fetched, but now this person was saying, definitively, that it was wrong. It was a newsworthy quote, but it wouldn’t make news. The reason the official was free to phrase the admission in such unflattering terms is that he expected that his words would never be printed, because he was speaking on background.
My wife and I were asked to a dinner party by some neighbours. The invite said 7 p.m., but it will be during Ramadan, when we can’t eat or have a drink until after sunset—so around 9 p.m. I mentioned this, and they said to just come along and they’ll serve dinner late. We don’t want to be the recipients of sideways glances from famished, clock-watching guests all evening. Should we decline, go over after 9 p.m., or what?
—Unfashionably Late, Upper Beach
For three years, Ian Borbely told everyone that his girlfriend, Samantha Collins, had abandoned him and their young son. Then a cottager found a mysterious crate hidden beneath his floorboards
Samantha Collins met Ian Borbely at a mutual friend’s party in 2003. They came from different worlds. She was 25 and striking, with long black hair and fair skin. She’d been raised by a single mom in Mississauga and never knew her father. She got pregnant in high school, dropped out and gave up custody of her baby. After that, she started selling drugs and working as a stripper at a club near Pearson to earn a living. Borbely was three years older, a bodybuilder from Bracebridge, the son of doting middle-class parents. His friends describe him as a gentle teddy bear—the nicest guy in the room. He’d moved to Toronto to work as a personal trainer, taking a fence-building gig on the side. He was attracted to Collins, and after that first hookup he invited her to move into his place.
With about three months to go until election day, a new poll by Forum Research suggests that the mayoral race no longer has a clear frontrunner. Because of some apparent erosion in voter support for Olivia Chow, she, John Tory and Rob Ford all pulled roughly equal numbers in the July 21 phone survey, which canvassed 1063 Toronto residents.
Like everything else associated with Rob Ford, Ford Fest, the mayor’s annual public barbecue, is now engulfed in scandal. The event, the first installment of which takes place this year on July 25, is a longstanding tradition for the Ford family. Prior to 2013 it was held in the garden area behind the home of Diane Ford, the mayor’s mother. Starting last year, though, the Fords began holding their fest in public parks, and that’s now the problem: the city’s own policy prohibits issuing event permits to political candidates looking to use city property to promote themselves during a campaign period. Doug Ford, Rob’s campaign manager, has claimed that Ford Fest is exempt from that restriction, because it isn’t a campaign event—a view evidently shared by city staff, who at last check were in the process of issuing the Fords a permit for the use of Thomson Memorial Park, in Scarborough. But on Tuesday night, a number of Twitter users reported receiving robocalls in which a recorded Rob Ford voice promotes the event. At least one version of the call directs listeners to an answering machine associated with Ford’s campaign office. (Also, it’s worth pointing out that the barbecue has always appeared to be aimed at ensuring voter loyalty. Last year Ford explicitly asked for votes and volunteers during at least one Ford Fest speech.) Friday’s event will also differ from those in previous years in that there won’t be any free beer—not because of the poor optics associated with giving away alcohol at an event meant to honour an admitted alcoholic, but because they couldn’t get a license.