Toronto Life - The Informer

Insider intel on the politics and personalities shaping the city. Sign up for Preview newsletter for weekly updates

The Informer

Quoted

1 Comment

Anonymous TTC streetcar driver: “It’s a political decision”

“We are not delivering the quality or the quantity of service we know we should be delivering out here. We know that. But we don’t get to decide how much we deliver how often. That’s not our decision. It’s a political decision.”

—An unnamed TTC streetcar driver, talking to the Post about some of the not-so-great aspects of his job. On the upside, he says he makes $90,000 a year.

The Informer

Politics

1 Comment

Rob Ford faces yet another integrity probe

tl_ford_now-what-featThe Star reports that the city’s integrity commissioner is investigating a complaint lodged by Toronto resident Samuel Getachew about Rob Ford’s habit of using racial slurs (often on tape). These integrity probes have become routine over the course of Ford’s mayoralty. For those keeping track, this is the second one to make news over the course of the past week.

The Informer

Random Stuff

4 Comments

There’s going to be a marijuana scavenger hunt in High Park, apparently

marijuana-treasure-hunt-posterA marijuana scavenger hunt in one of Toronto’s biggest and busiest parks sounds like (and may very well be) a terrible idea, but a Toronto pot entrepreneur plans on doing it anyway. What’s more, he makes a surprisingly reasonable case for the event’s existence.

Posters for the September 7 scavenger hunt have been circulating on Twitter. The ad features a picture of a treasure chest overflowing with weed, and it promises $25,000 in “marijuana and prizes.” The only contact information provided, aside from Twitter and Instragram handles, is a phone number with a British Columbia area code. It only accepts text messages.

The event, as it turns out, is the pet project of Chris (he withheld his last name during a phone interview), the 45-year-old owner of the Marijuana Information Bureau. He describes the MIB as one of a handful of medical-marijuana providers in Toronto that operate in a kind of legal twilight. These businesses, known as compassion centres, usually try to maintain low profiles, as a way of warding off interest from the police.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Culture

4 Comments

People are confused by Drake’s new album name

(Image: musicisentropy/Flickr)

(Image: musicisentropy/Flickr)

On Tuesday, Billboard revealed that the name of Drake’s still-unrecorded next album will be Views From the 6—and then confusion set in. Unlike the rapper’s previous album titles, which have been intelligible if slightly cryptic (Take Care, Nothing Was the Same), this one is so open to interpretation that even Billboard didn’t know quite what to make of it. And that’s despite a preponderance of evidence that it’s just a sly reference to the last digit in Toronto’s area code.

Even so, not everyone is convinced.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Culture

Comments

Monster Mash

On Guillermo del Toro’s gruesome horror series The Strain, vampires are the new bioterrorists

Monster Mash

A panel from The Strain’s graphic novel edition (Illustration courtesy of Dark Horse Comics)

The vampires on the new series The Strain are a novel breed. When they’re changed, their hair falls out. Their skin turns a vomitous shade of greenish-grey. Their veins fill with white slime. Instead of growing retractable fangs, they get a stinger—a huge, Alien-esque proboscis that shoots sticky, worm-infested bile into all mortals in its path, draining the victims’ blood and infecting them with a virus that mutates their genes. The show’s radical revision of vampire mythology (and physiology) subverts everything we’ve come to know and love about the pop culture anti-heroes. These vamps aren’t brooding, studly teens. They don’t leap through trees. They’re not lustful de­flowerers of virgins. Where Twilight describes its vampires as “devastatingly, inhumanly beautiful,” The Strain turns them into indistinguishable drones. Instead of glamouring humans, they’re terrorizing us.

The ghastly creatures—recently seen prowling through Toronto’s downtown core while the show shot its first season here last spring—are the latest in a string of new monsters invading the small screen. Most of these horror series tap into archetypes that have fuelled the genre for eons: the savage cannibal in Hannibal, the Victorian demons in Penny Dreadful, the serial killer in Bates Motel, the asylum patients and witches in American Horror Story.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Politics

10 Comments

Rob Ford literally calls himself a king

tl_ford_now-what-featRob Ford made his first post-rehab debate appearance on Tuesday night at an event hosted by the Canadian Tamil Congress, and he didn’t disappoint. Under withering criticism from the other four major mayoral candidates, the mayor at one point referred to himself, literally, as a king. After Olivia Chow had finished responding to a question about funding for social housing (she pointed out, correctly, that today’s massive funding shortfalls are in many ways a direct consequence of provincial budget cuts implemented by the Mike Harris government in the nineties), Ford responded with equal parts arrogance, indignation and third-person sentence structure. “Well folks, talk to the people at Toronto Community Housing, and they will tell you that Rob Ford visits them every single week,” he said, referring to his practice of touring TCHC properties, often with media in tow. “People know, I am the king of helping people at Toronto Community Housing.” A healthy fear of the guillotine prevents most elected officials from referring to themselves in this way. Meanwhile, Toronto’s social-housing repair backlog stands at about $860 million.

The Informer

Real Estate

Comments

House of the Week: $4.8 million to live in a historic schoolhouse in Moore Park

Address: 110 Glenrose Avenue
Neighbourhood: Rosedale-Moore Park
Agent: Leeanne Weld, Royal LePage/J & D Division, Brokerage
Price: $4,800,000

The Place: A former schoolhouse in Moore Park that was converted into an art studio and residence.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Quoted

20 Comments

Newstalk 1010’s Jerry Agar: “Why shouldn’t they have breakfast at home?”

“Why shouldn’t they have breakfast at home, by the way? That’s where my kids have breakfast.”

—Newstalk 1010 host Jerry Agar, channelling Marie Antoinette during an interview (skip to 35:00) this morning with mayoral candidate Olivia Chow. The topic of conversation was Chow’s efforts to expand school-breakfast programs during her time as a city councillor.

The Informer

Stat

Comments

City garbage trucks get into a lot of collisions

524

—The number of collisions city garbage trucks have been involved in since 2009, according to the Star. There were between 300 and 350 trucks in the fleet prior to the end of 2012, when Green For Life, a private contractor, took over collection west of Yonge Street. The city claims not to have similar collision numbers for GFL’s trucks.

The Informer

Politics

6 Comments

Rob Ford makes a ridiculous claim about Sugar Beach, then refuses to retract it

tl_ford_now-what-featOn Friday, Rob Ford said something so blatantly misleading that it has since blown up into yet another a mini-scandal. In an interview with Chinese-language news station Fairchild TV, the mayor tried to claim that Sugar Beach, a public park at the foot of Jarvis Street, was sneakily built (at taxpayer expense, naturally) during his two months in rehab. “Obviously, as soon as I go away, they go and spend a million dollars on rocks and umbrellas,” he said. “The gravy train, obviously, was back right on the rails as soon as I’m away.” The basis for Ford’s claim (if it can be said to have a basis) is a series of news stories that came out last month about the previously unknown costs of some of the park’s furniture—but all that money was spent long ago, and the park was completed in 2010. Earlier today, Ford’s office issued a statement about the flap. “The mayor maintains this is a complete waste of taxpayer money,” it said, without directly acknowledging the obvious fib.

The Informer

Culture

Comments

Famous people spending the summer in Toronto: a field guide

There are a few celebrities who have permanent homes in Toronto, but how many times can you spot Claire Danes walking down the street with her stroller before the novelty is gone? Fortunately, the local film industry is constantly bringing itinerant superstars to our city, where they take advantage of our studios, streets and tax credits to shoot their fighting-robot movies and romantic comedies. Here, a guide to this summer’s crop of visiting celebrities, the films they’re shooting and where you need to go if you want to score an autograph.

peter-dinklageName: Peter Dinklage
Movie: Pixels, Adam Sandler’s new comedy about 1980s video game characters that come to life and attack New York.
Where: The movie is filming all around the financial district.
When: July to the beginning of September.
Best bet for an autograph: Dinklage has been spotted throughout Yorkville, particularly outside of Bacio Restaurant and near Whole Foods.
What not to say: It’s probably a good idea to avoid height-related quips. Other no-nos: gushing like a crazed fangirl over Lord Tyrion.
Friendliness rating: 8. Everyone’s favourite Game of Thrones actor usually stops for a selfie or two with fans when he passes through LAX.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Real Estate

Comments

Cottage of the Week: $860,000 for a candy-coloured family compound in Bala

Address: 2866 Highway 169, Unit 1
Neighbourhood: Bala, Ontario
Agent: Iris and Jim Gardiner, Chestnut Park Real Estate
Price: $859,000

The Place: A cute-as-a-button cottage on Lake Muskoka.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Politics

2 Comments

VIDEO: here’s Rob Ford as a muppet beaver

For the past little while, Rob Ford–based comedy has been a story of diminishing returns. Late-night hosts have had their fun with the mayor, leaving the wreckage of his term for lesser satirists to pick over. But there’s something about this clip from No, You Shut Up, a Jim Henson Company talk show that airs on American cable TV, that makes us remember what it was like before all this “crack scandal” stuff became as irritating and omnipresent as refrigerator hum. This time, Ford is a muppet beaver being interviewed by comedian Paul F. Tompkins. The beaver’s Ford impression is actually quite good. And that’s all you need to know.

The Informer

Stat

Comments

Renting a room above Jilly’s strip club was actually somewhat expensive

$750

—The amount it cost, per month, to rent some of the kitchenless hotel rooms above Jilly’s strip club, according to the Star. (A 2013 report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation says $750 is roughly the average monthly price for a full bachelor apartment in Toronto’s east end.) Jilly’s closed for good on Sunday, but the upstairs tenants, many of whom are on some form of social assistance, are being given extra time and financial help as they look for new housing.

The Informer

Features

7 Comments

David Mirvish on the Edge

David Mirvish wants to dismantle his famous father’s empire to build two giant Frank Gehry towers and a gallery for his personal art collection. He thought Toronto would be grateful. He was wrong. A behind-the-scenes story of mega-monuments and monumental egos

David Mirvish on the Edge

At the end of 2011, David Mirvish was itching for a new venture. He wanted to take on something grand, something unprecedented, a legacy project that would bring together his twin passions: business and art. He wanted to build the greatest piece of architecture Toronto had ever seen.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement