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The Informer

Real Estate

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Cottage of the Week: $2.3 million for a Carling home on a rocky shore

Address: 60 Conservation Drive
Neighbourhood: Carling, Ontario
Agent: George Webster, Moffat Dunlap Real Estate Limited, Brokerage
Price: $2‚250‚000

The Place: A five-bedroom cottage tucked into three acres of wooded forest.

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The Informer

Random Stuff

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One of Trinity Bellwoods’s white squirrels has been found dead
(Image: Half my Dad's Age/Flickr)

(Image: Half my Dad’s Age/Flickr)

The white squirrels of Trinity Bellwoods Park have always been rock stars among Toronto’s urban wildlife, and now, unfortunately, that’s more true than ever. In a scene right out of Sid Vicious’s boudoir, one of the albino rodents was discovered on Saturday dead and dangling by its teeth from a wire strung on a hydro pole near the park. The Star has the obligatory crime-scene photo. It’s believed that there are several more white squirrels living in and around the park, though, so this one’s fatal attraction to power cables shouldn’t spell the extinction of the subspecies.

The Informer

Events

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Let Robyn and Röyksopp teach you what a dance show should sound like

(Image: Kacper Kasprzyk)

(Image: Kacper Kasprzyk)

No need to dance on your own anymore, Robyn fans. The Swedish siren is making a rare visit to Toronto, this time alongside Norwegian electro duo Röyksopp, who are like Daft Punk, but Scandinavian. Following a few one-off collaborations (listen to a sample track right here), the two acts formally joined forces for Do It Again, the most critically celebrated 35 minutes of dance music this side of Random Access Memories. The tour to support the mini-album—a trio of synth-laced, club-ready bangers bookended by a pair of atmospheric 10-minute art-pop masterpieces—will see both acts take the stage separately before playing the new material together, so expect to hear some Robyn hits (“Call Your Girlfriend,” “With Every Heartbeat”) thrown into the mix. Also on the docket at Echo Beach: lasers, extreme outfits and over-the-top stage designs.

Aug. 25. $66. Echo Beach, 909 Lake Shore Blvd. W., 416-260-5700, ticketmaster.com.

The Informer

Real Estate

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Sale of the Week: the $1.4-million Yonge-St. Clair property that proves two houses are better than one

Address: 93A and 95A Balmoral Avenue
Neighbourhood: Yonge-St. Clair
Agent: David Batori, Re/Max Hallmark Realty Ltd., Brokerage

The Property: Don’t let the two separate addresses fool you: these two homes make up a single property, hidden on a laneway behind some of the Yonge-St. Clair area’s toniest homes. The two-storey, loft-style one-bedroom at 93A Balmoral measures in at 1,570 square feet, including the finished lower level. Facing it is 95A Balmoral, a one-bedroom bungalow with 655 square feet of living space. Both buildings have been extensively renovated inside and out.

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The Informer

Columns

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Dear Urban Diplomat: How do I get my cottage-hogging brother to play fair?

Dear Urban Diplomat: How do I get my cottage-hogging brother to play fair?

(Image: Stephanie Pakrul/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
A few years ago, my brother and I inherited the family cottage, on Lake of the Woods near Kenora. He and his family live a half-hour away and use the cottage a lot. My partner and I can only make it out there about three times a year. My brother told me he’s buying a new $850 barbecue for the place, and he wants me to split the cost with him 50/50. I don’t feel that this is justified. Shouldn’t I be paying less? How should I respond?

—Weber Warfare, Richmond Hill

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The Informer

Step by Step

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How do you build a roller coaster at the CNE?

Click to view gallery. (Image: Kayla Rocca)

Click to view gallery (Image: Kayla Rocca)

The CNE opens its gates today, inaugurating an end-of-summer tradition. Amid all the colours, lights and deep-fried stunt foodstuffs, though, it’s easy to lose sight of the Ex’s central miracle: most of it is erected in the weeks before the festival, and most of it will be gone shortly after September 1.

The backbone of the CNE is the midway—the agglomeration of stuffed-animal games and vertigo-inducing rides that give the fair its carnival vibe. One of the most distinctive of those rides is the Crazy Mouse, the towering kiddie coaster that has entertained cotton-candy-stuffed youngsters and their families since 2006, when the Ex’s midway contractor, North American Midway Entertainment, purchased it from Zamperla, the ride’s Italian manufacturer. The massive, three-tier coaster arrives in pieces, on the backs of six tractor-trailers, and is assembled quickly (but safely, with TSSA approval) in the days before the start of the festival by a crew of up to 18 workers. Click through the image gallery to see how it’s done.

See how the Crazy Mouse is built »

The Informer

Tech

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10 apps you might not know about that make living in Toronto better

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10 apps you might not know about that make living in Toronto better

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There are some things in life that never stop being annoying: getting rained on, or forgetting to pack your lunch again, or that truck that won’t stop parking in the bike lane near your house—that sort of thing. Luckily, there are apps that can help make the frustrations of living in this city at least a little more bearable. Here, our suggestions for some you may not have heard of.

See all 10 apps »

best-buy-footer
Best Buy Mobile offers the best choice of phones and networks, informed and impartial advice, and a free upgrade check. You can now find Best Buy Mobile at all Best Buy stores and as standalone stores in malls across the country. Learn more at BestBuyMobile.ca.

The Informer

Politics

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City workers dispute Rob Ford’s weird response to this week’s bomb threat

tl_ford_now-whatRob Ford’s bizarre response to a city hall bomb threat earlier this week seemed like a relatively harmless (by Ford standards) gaffe—but not so, according to the union that represents Toronto’s indoor
workers. Tim Maguire, president of CUPE Local 79, announced in a press release this morning that his organization will be filing a grievance and asking the Ministry of Labour to investigate the mayor’s actions, which the union believes were a violation of city hall’s bomb-threat safety procedure. “From the moment media were first alerted to the existence of a purported bomb threat, there flowed a complete breakdown of policies and procedures to deal with such threats,” Maguire is quoted as saying in the release. “It is not acceptable for policies governing employee health and safety to be infected by the same flagrant and casual disregard for the rules that seem to be a way of life in some quarters of city hall these days.”

The Informer

Real Estate

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Condo of the Week: $450,000 for a two-storey loft in Moss Park

Address: 510 King Street East, Unit 108
Neighbourhood: Moss Park
Agent: Al Daimee, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., Brokerage
Price: $449,900

The Place: A one-bedroom unit on the first floor of the Corktown District Lofts. It’s one of only ten two-storey “lofthouses” in the building. Amenities include a rooftop terrace, penthouse party room and fitness centre.

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The Informer

Random Stuff

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Hudson’s Bay Centre has pretty much been stealing people’s bikes
The pole in question. (Image: Lisa Ferguson)

The pole in question. (Image: Lisa Ferguson)

A communications consultant named Lisa Ferguson says she thought her bike had been stolen on Wednesday when she returned to the place she’d locked it up—a pole-mounted TTC sign, outside Hudson’s Bay Centre at Bloor and Yonge—only to find it missing. Except, it turns out the bike wasn’t stolen—not exactly. Ferguson’s bike was actually removed by a Hudson’s Bay Centre security guard, despite the fact that there’s no signage in the area to warn cyclists of that possibility, and also despite the fact that the pole is sitting on what appears to be public property. Ferguson recovered her bike from the building and wrote an outraged Facebook post that has since won the media to her side. A representative of Brookfield Office Properties, the Hudson’s Bay Centre’s owner, would tell the Star only that he’s “looking into the legality” of the bike-lock-cutting spree.

The Informer

Politics

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Police Chief Bill Blair accepts Doug Ford’s apology

tl_ford_now-whatAfter an abortive initial attempt at an apology, earlier this afternoon Doug Ford released a written retraction of his allegedly defamatory statements about Police Chief Bill Blair. The one-page statement says Ford had “no information or basis to suggest” that the chief was personally responsible for leaking news of Rob Ford’s impending subpoena to the media. During a press conference, a reserved (but clearly triumphant) Blair said that he had accepted Ford’s retraction. “The law does not protect lies or the people who tell them,” Blair told reporters. “They must be held accountable.” As part of the settlement, Ford has agreed to pay $1,000 to Covenant House, a charity that deals with homeless youth, where Blair is a board member.

The Informer

Politics

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Rob Ford says he brought Toronto back from a “fiscal cliff,” city manager says “nope”

tl_ford_now-whatRob Ford has taken issue with a new report from the Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance that argues that Toronto’s per-household spending is roughly the same now as it was a decade ago (before Ford was elected), and that the city needs more tax revenue to maintain its services and infrastructure. In a press release issued in response to the report, the mayor, as he has in the past, claimed complete responsibility for the city’s financial stability—or, as the release put it: “The reality is, my administration brought the City of Toronto back from the edge of a fiscal cliff.” In response to that claim, the Sun reports that city manager Joe Pennachetti, Toronto’s top bureaucrat, took a rare rhetorical shot at the mayor during a press conference. “That terminology I do not support,” he said. “We’ve had a double-A credit rating for the last 10 years. We have never been on a fiscal cliff.”

The Informer

Features

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The Killing of Sammy Yatim

The death of Sammy Yatim unleashed a torrent of anti-police outrage. For most Torontonians, the video was the verdict. But what really happened on the Dundas streetcar that night? The untold story of the cop who pulled the trigger—and why

The Killing

(Image: John Hanley)

Just before midnight on July 26, 2013, Sammy Yatim boarded a westbound Dundas streetcar and made his way to the back. He was wearing the standard teen trifecta of baseball cap, black T-shirt and jeans that hung loosely off his slight frame. Despite the late hour, the streetcar was filling up. It was a Friday night in the middle of the summer, and Toronto was hopping: Justin Bieber at the ACC, Kiss at the Molson Amphitheatre, a beer festival at the CNE grounds and the Jays hosting the Houston Astros at the Dome.

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The Informer

Stat

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Toronto Animal Services gets more donations than all other city departments

$232,532

—The total amount of tax-receipted donations received by Toronto Animal Services in 2013—the largest sum received by any city department during that year, with the exception of agencies like Toronto Public Library that issue their own receipts. (For comparison, the city’s shelter, support and housing administration, which houses actual human people, received only $5,246 in donations during the same period of time.) A city staff report explains that TAS’s success at tapping Torontonians’ generosity is probably related to its online pet-licensing system, which automatically prompts users for donations to the city’s spay-and-neuter program.

The Informer

Events

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Discover your song of the summer at Alvvays’s album-release show

(Image: Gavin Keen)

(Image: Gavin Keen)

Attention anyone still searching for this year’s song of the summer (no, we’re not settling for Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy”): local indie-pop five-piece Alvvays is bringing an album’s worth of contenders to the Horseshoe Tavern this week. Fans and critics have long been drooling in anticipation of the outfit’s self-titled debut, which was finally released in July. Its tunes deliver exactly the kind of beachy vibes our humid city needs right now. Crowned by the deadpan voice and sharp lyrics of frontwoman Molly Rankin (of The Rankin Family fame), the band’s nostalgic lo-fi sound calls to mind a jangling ’60s California-pop aesthetic while remaining entirely of-the-moment. Thursday’s show is sold out, but, as usual, there are ways (vvays?) to score last-minute tickets.

Aug. 14. $11.50. Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen St. W., 416-598-4226, horseshoetavern.com.

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