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The Informer

Real Estate

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Cottage of the Week: $12 million for a modern Muskoka Lakes mansion on a private island

toronto-cottage-of-the-week-bass-island-intro

Address: Bass Island
Neighbourhood: Muskoka Lakes
Agent: Storey Badger, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Brokerage, Port Carling
Price: $11,800,000

The Place: A contemporary, window-lined mansion on Bass Island, in the middle of Lake Muskoka.

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The Informer

Transit

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How a brand-new TTC streetcar arrives in Toronto

(Image: Giordano Ciampini)

(Image: Giordano Ciampini)

The TTC’s next-generation streetcars, of which there will eventually be 204, are still a head-turning rarity on Toronto’s streets—and that’s mainly because Bombardier’s chronic labour and manufacturing problems have at times slowed the assembly line to a virtual halt. Even once a streetcar is assembled and ready to roll, though, it has to clear a final obstacle before it can start serving Toronto passengers: the 1,000-kilometre journey from Bombardier’s plant in Thunder Bay to the TTC’s Hillcrest maintenance yard on Bathurst street, where trained technicians unload it and probe it for defects. Here’s what that process looked like recently, when the TTC took delivery of streetcar 4408, the eighth member of its shiny new fleet.

The Informer

Culture

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The Gilded Stage: David Leventi’s photos of the world’s most opulent opera houses

David Leventi photographs of opulent opera houses

(Images: courtesy of Bau-Xi Gallery)

When David Leventi was a kid, his grandfather, a Romanian cantor named Anton Gutman, would sing arias in the family’s Westchester house, swanning around the living room like it was the stage at La Scala. Gutman’s aspirations for operatic glory had been stymied in World War II, when he landed in a Russian POW camp, forced to perform for Red Army officers.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Sale of the Week: the $1.6-million new-build that shows the investment potential of Wallace-Emerson

(Image: Russ Martin)

(Image: Russ Martin)

Address: 132 Yarmouth Road
Neighbourhood: Wallace-Emerson
Agent: Alice Kent, Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage

The Property: Because of its unique facade, this modern Wallace-Emerson home is known as “the ‘S’ house” among neighbours. It has an open-concept main floor with a glass staircase, a master bedroom with a massive six-piece en suite bathroom, and a sizeable backyard with a two-car detached garage.

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The Informer

Best Bets

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Show your Pride, listen to some jazz and eight other things to do this week

(Images, clockwise from top left: the Pride parade, courtesy of Pride Toronto; a still from Fiddler on the Roof, courtesy of Park Circus; Malpaso Dance Company; St. Vincent, by Renata Raksha)

(Images, clockwise from top left: the Pride parade, courtesy of Pride Toronto; a still from Fiddler on the Roof, courtesy of Park Circus; Malpaso Dance Company; St. Vincent, by Renata Raksha)

Listen to Spoon’s cultish indie rock
Ask any music nerd to name the most consistent indie band of the past two decades, and there’s a good chance you’ll hear about Spoon. The Austin outfit never shot into the mainstream, but each of its eight albums has been a quiet triumph, filled with creative production tricks and catchy choruses. Last year’s They Want My Soul was no exception—it’s a lovely late-game addition to an already exemplary track record. Tuesday, June 23 and Wednesday, June 24. $26. Phoenix Concert Theatre, 410 Sherbourne St., 416-323-1251, collectiveconcerts.com.

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The Informer

People

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Ten things Geddy Lee can’t live without

Rosedale’s resident rock god played two sold-out Toronto shows earlier this month as part of Rush’s 40th anniversary tour. Here, the 10 things he can’t live without

Geddy Lee of Rush

(Images: Richard Sibbald; Crossword by Daniel Neuhaus)

 

1
My Leica binoculars
I’m a birder, believe it or not. My wife, Nancy, and I love taking exotic hiking trips, and I always bring my Leicas. We recently spent five weeks trekking through New Zealand.

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The Informer

Cost of Living

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“There’s not a lot of places you can rehearse with 18 people”: how a musician lives on $21,000 a year

(Image: Kayla Rocca)

(Image: Kayla Rocca)

Who: Chelsea McBride, 23

What she does: A musician who performs with several jazz and pop bands. She also teaches music and takes on other short-term jobs.

What she makes: Last year, her income was around $21,000, excluding scholarships and prize money.

Some of how she spends it: Her share of rent on a one-bedroom-plus-den apartment in Long Branch, split with her boyfriend: $488 monthly. (“It’s above a laundromat. It’s really good to have a place above a shop, because practicing is usually less of an issue.”) GO and TTC fare: $58 weekly. Cellphone service: $50 monthly. Digital distribution fee for her music: $44 yearly. (“I have three EPs out with two of my bands. I pay a distributor called Distrokid in order to get them on iTunes, Spotify and other online services.”) Automatic savings deposit: $100 biweekly. Debt payments: $0. (“I won the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Emerging Jazz Artist award. I used some of the $10,000 prize to pay off my student debt. Now I’m saving to make a big-band record next year, which is a huge financial undertaking.”)

What she bought in one week: Rehearsal space rental: $60. (“I lead a big band, and there’s not a lot of places you can rehearse with 18 people.”) Brunch at the Cat ‘N Fiddle: $19. Presto card reload: $100. Chicken McNugget meal at McDonalds: $8. (“Honestly, I have to be out of the house for long stretches of time. Eating out is going to be a part of my schedule. I just try to make it a very small part of what I’m doing.”) Washer and dryer usage at the laundromat downstairs: $3.50. (“We haven’t gotten any free laundry yet.”) Groceries: $46.

The Informer

Real Estate

4 Comments

Condo of the Week: $700,000 for a two-storey Leslieville loft with impressive skylights

toronto-condo-of-the-week-201-carlaw-avenue-intro

Address: 201 Carlaw Avenue, Unit 236
Neighbourhood: Leslieville
Agent: Christopher Andrew Bibby, Sutton Group Associates Realty Inc.
Price: $699,000

The Place: An two-level unit in Leslieville’s Printing Factory Lofts, with a mix of antique character and modern finishes.

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The Informer

Culture

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The Sound and the Furor: R. Murray Schafer’s Apocalypsis gets an epic production at Luminato

Apocalypsis composer R. Murray Schafer

(Image: courtesy of Espirit Orchestra)

This month, Luminato will mount Apocalypsis, an oratorio by the 81-year-old composer R. Murray Schafer. The production features 24 dancers, 12 string quartets, 142 brass musicians, 750 singers and a battalion of technicians. There will be at least 1,000 performers, which means that there are 1,000 ways everything could go wrong. And yet, if all goes right, the show will be more formidable than any CGI-enhanced summer blockbuster.

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The Informer

Columns

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Dear Urban Diplomat: do I still have to donate to my ex-fiancée’s charity challenge?

Charitable donations box

(Image: Don DeBold/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,

My fiancée’s brother hit me up for his half-marathon charity challenge, and I agreed to donate a couple of hundred bucks. Then, just before the race, she dumped me. The last thing I want to do now is help her brother out. He did the run, and, yes, I signed the donation form, but what happens if I just don’t hand over the money? Will the charity police come after me?

—Welchers Without Borders, Oakridge

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The Informer

Culture

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Road Shows: a wanderluster’s guide to bucolic cultural day trips

road-shows-intro

(Image: Map by Aleksandar Janicijevic)

 

elora-badge

The Elora Festival features a lineup of jazz and classical concerts in an open-air barn near Guelph. July 10 to 26, 136 Metcalfe St., Elora.
 1.5-hr drive
Pit stop: The carrot-hued Cheltenham Badlands off the Bruce Trail, now sadly only viewable from a distance.

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The Informer

Culture

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Behind the scenes with the cast of the National Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty

(Image: Daniel Neuhaus)

(Image: Daniel Neuhaus)

In 1972, the sneering, stately Russian dance icon Rudolf Nureyev joined the National Ballet of Canada to stage a sumptuous new production of Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty. For the title character—a deceptively strenuous role whose player usually wears through five pairs of slippers per night—he chose a gawky young ballerina: Karen Kain, who later became Canada’s most beloved ballet superstar and the company’s artistic director. Nearly half a century later, Kain has created a new generation of ballet superstars: she recently promoted 17 dancers to soloist and principal positions, and many of them are performing in a remount of Nureyev’s grand opus this week. Here, a look at the glittering new brigade of ballet talent, behind the scenes at a recent performance of The Sleeping Beauty.

The Informer

Real Estate

3 Comments

House of the Week: $1.4 million for a Little Italy semi with a rooftop retreat

(Image: Samantha Keay)

(Image: Samantha Keay)

Address: 228 Palmerston Avenue
Neighbourhood: Little Italy
Agent: William Wallace, RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd., Brokerage
Price: $1,399,000

The Place: A renovated, four-bedroom semi with a finished basement in Little Italy.

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The Informer

Features

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The Cult of Jian: his life as an outcast, who’s standing by him, and why he’s sure he’ll walk

I knew him to be a charming, if temperamental, narcissist who desperately wanted to be adored—and he was, until it all came crashing down. Now he’s surrounded by a small circle of admirers who either believe he’s innocent or have forgiven his sins

Jian Ghomeshi close up

(Image: George Pimentel/Getty Images)

Jian Ghomeshi and I first met in February of 1999. I was in my early 20s, and I’d just been hired as an arts reporter at the Globe and Mail. My editor sent me to interview the band Moxy Früvous, who had been gigging around Toronto since I was in high school. They were a terminally geeky folk band who name-checked Margaret Atwood in their lyrics for airplay on CBC Radio. At the time I met them, in a café on the Danforth, they were selling out mid-size venues filled with NDP supporters in itchy Ecuadorian sweaters.

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The Informer

Columns

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Dear Urban Diplomat: how do we keep our neighbours from hogging all the parking spots?

Dear Urban Diplomat,

Cars parked on a residential street

(Image: Chris Hunkeler/Flickr)

My wife and I live in the west end, where street parking is limited. There are two spaces in front of our house; if we don’t get one, we have to park way down the block or pay for a spot around the corner. A new couple to the neighbourhood now park one of their two cars in a way that hogs both spots, to save a place for the other. We chatted, and they said we have “too much time on our hands” if we’re monitoring their parking tactics, and that one of them often gets home late and doesn’t want to hunt for a spot. We have two young children, so parking closer helps us a lot too. Suggestions?

—Circling the Block, Hillcrest

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