After new details emerged yesterday about pseudo-mayor Rob Ford’s alleged involvement in gang activity, blackmail and maybe even heroin use, the usual avalanche of reaction followed. This time around, though, there was a sense of Ford fatigue among commentators—a sigh-laden resignation to the likelihood that they’ll all be asked to react again sooner or later, and that they’ve already used up their most colourful adjectives. Here, nonetheless, are the key reactions to this Thursday’s news.
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QUOTED: Bill Blair sidesteps the question of whether Rob Ford will be charged after more shady details surface
“All of the evidence that was gathered in that case has been reviewed by investigators and with Crown prosecutors in this case, and where reasonable probable ground to lay a charge exists, charges have been laid. But that is up to the investigators.”
—Police Chief Bill Blair, not really answering the question on many Torontonians’ lips: why hasn’t Rob Ford been charged with anything? Even in the face of the very damning allegations revealed today in formerly blacked-out sections of a police document, Blair refused to delve into the details, saying, “I don’t believe it is appropriate for police to comment on the evidence.” The chief’s ultra-cautious approach has even city councillors begging for an explanation. “There appears to be two sets of rules,” said Adam Vaughan. “Two-tiered policing is not acceptable. Is a kid like Rob Ford, with a trust fund, getting a different type of policing?”
Here we go again.
It’s a few days before the reported deadline, but the publication ban has been lifted on the infamous police documents about Sandro Lisi. As we’ve seen so, so, so, so, so many times before, there is much more to the Rob Ford crack scandal than we originally thought. The latest revelations—mostly from police wiretaps—include several new details, mostly surrounding threats of blackmail. Ford himself has yet to comment on the revelations, choosing instead to walk by reporters at city hall while laughing as questions were being hurled at him. A jovial attitude for a man who, just weeks ago, said he had nothing left to hide. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Bixi Toronto, the bike-share service whose demise once seemed virtually assured (largely due to the financial missteps of its Montreal-based parent company), is back in business—and it’s all thanks to toilet money.
Canada will celebrate its sesquicentennial in 2017 (that’s a 150th anniversary, for those without without dictionary-level knowledge of Latinate prefixes) and the federal government is already at work on the crucial stuff: figuring out what the t-shirts and letterhead will look like. Over the summer, Canadian Heritage hired a contractor to conduct focus-group studies of five different prospective logos for the celebration’s publicity materials. Read the rest of this entry »
Frankly, the preliminary sketches don’t inspire much confidence in the design sensibilities of the people doing the choosing. Take a look.
Read the rest of this entry »
The Place: A modern four-bedroom home on a large lot that backs onto the fourth green of the storied St. George’s Golf and Country Club.
You can’t blame Rob Ford for being jaded about the media business: in the span of a month, the mayor lost his NewsTalk 1010 radio show, landed a TV gig on the Sun News Network, and then lost that, too. No wonder he and Doug rebuffed Dr. Phil and Oprah Winfrey’s offers to be reality television stars.
Finally, Ford seems to have found a media niche more to his liking: football prophet. The mayor has signed up to give his NFL picks and talk sports on Sports Junkies, a radio show based in Washington, D.C. His weekly appearances are tentatively scheduled for Thursdays at 8:40 a.m.
every Rob Ford lookalike must have a ludicrous (although not necessarily ill-fitting) nickname. First there was Slurpy, who was asked to star in a counterfeit crack video earlier in the spring. Now, there’s performer Dave McKay—better known as Sketchy the Clown—who had an equally surreal run-in with the Fords while impersonating the mayor for a bizarre, hour-long Rofo Bus Tour on Sunday.
acting gig required him to emerge from the Etobicoke woods where police watched Ford and Sandro Lisi drink vodka, and pretend to be drunk for groups of paying tourists. Unbeknownst to McKay, however, the quiet cul-de-sac he was using as a green room was next to the homes of Doug Ford and Ford matriarch, Diane. Cue the mayoral intimidation.
QUOTED: Board of Trade boss Carol Wilding on why Toronto needs better transit planning—not just a Scarborough subway
“We need a regional plan, so [GTA transit systems] all need to link together. Then when you’re looking in the context of any particular line, you need to have a strong business case and a rigorous cost-benefit analysis. In the case of the Scarborough subway, it’s not clear that was actually the case.”
—Carol Wilding, the president and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade, on why the city’s transit planning process needs to be less politicized. “When you see five decisions over the course of 12 or 18 months, we’re never going to get on with building the infrastructure that we critically need,” she added. Councillor Doug Ford disagreed. The long-time supporter of the Scarborough subway that Wilding ”might be the president, but she doesn’t represent the average member of the board of trade.” Similarly, one might say that Rob Ford is the mayor, but does not represent the average member of city council. [CBC]
In a way, David Cronenberg put me in the hospital. Last January, I attended a screening of a documentary by the filmmaker Ric Esther Bienstock about the black market buying and selling of human organs, called Tales From the Organ Trade. Bienstock had asked Cronenberg to narrate because his own films traffic in what she called “intelligent discomfort.” His enlistment was a wink, a good match for the director known as the Baron of Blood. Cronenberg, with his nasally, Vincent Price pitch, guides the audience through gruesome images of organ-emptied torsos and desperately ill patients who rinse their blood in whirring machines while awaiting new kidneys. His looming presence, associated with films about the sexual penetration of open wounds (Crash) and talking half-alien typewriters (Naked Lunch) and TV screens pulsating like O’Keeffe vagina flowers (Videodrome), doesn’t exactly lighten the mood. I fainted, then vomited, then went to the hospital in an ambulance.
Cronenberg Filmography: how one Toronto director changed filmmaking and turned actors into megastars
Over a 40-year obsession with mutants, fetishists and freaks, David Cronenberg has transformed from avant-garde boy wonder into one of Canada’s most famous director (you can read our feature profile of him here). Below, a film-by-film guide that reveals how Cronenberg influenced filmmaking the world over—by turning actors into megastars, challenging ratings boards and earning Oscar nominations.
The Chase: a couple burns through two agents, 300 houses and $753,000 to find the perfect Toronto home
The buyers: Richard Carlisle, the 46-year-old managing director of International Conference Services, and Curtis Boyechko, a 46-year-old pharmaceutical professional.
The story: Seven years ago, Carlisle and Boyechko left their Winnipeg home and squeezed their lives into a Vancouver condo. Six years later, they decided to move to Toronto—on a whim—to take advantage of its arts and culture. The couple flew across the country, moved into a rental, and began house hunting that very weekend, with a budget of $650,000. They were flexible about neighbourhoods, but had a few musts: two-car parking, two home offices and a spacious kitchen for entertaining. But they weren’t prepared for how quickly Toronto houses sold, or how tight the available housing stock was. Over a 13-month search, they increased their budget by more than $100,000, chewed through two agents and saw over 300 houses before they found the perfect place.
QUOTED: a Toronto woman explains the surprising reason border officials denied her entry to the U.S.
“I was turned away, I was told, because I had a hospitalization in the summer of 2012 for clinical depression.”
—Toronto resident Ellen Richardson, who wants to know how U.S. border agents at Pearson Airport gained access to her confidential medical records. (MP Mike Sullivan and Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian are both looking into the matter.) Richardson was ready to fly to New York City to catch a $6,000 Caribbean cruise when a border guard denied her entry to the U.S. The guard claimed that Richardson’s medical condition made her a potential threat to herself and others. Richardson gave the agent the name and phone number of her psychiatrist, but was told she
had to be examined by one of three Toronto doctors approved by the Department of Homeland Security and pay a $500 fee before she could enter the country. Needless to say, she missed her cruise. [Toronto Star]