All stories relating to bathrooms

The Informer

Politics

4 Comments

More evidence of a new era at the TTC: cellphone service on subway platforms is in; maroon jackets are out

(Image: Markian Lozowchuk)

As soon as Andy Byford took the helm of the TTC in March, the changes began. He opted for a beefed up title—“CEO” rather than “general manager,” like those who held the position before him—to mark a symbolic change. He publicly chided staff for customer service embarrassments. He installed fancy hand dryers in station washrooms. Seven months into his tenure, the evolution continues. Here, three more signs that the TTC is moving into a new phase (we can only hope it’s a phase with less crowded streetcars).

Cellphone service is coming to subway stations
The old regime: Save for a few brief above-ground segments, subway riders operate in a digital blackhole.
The new regime: Officials estimate most stations will have service within two years. Some of the signals will likely bleed into the tunnels, making texting on the train a possibility, at least downtown where the stations are close together.
Is it a good thing? Though many will complain about feeling surrounded by loud talkers, it’ll be great to notify  friends or colleagues in the event of (inevitable) subway-induced tardiness. Of course, the TTC could just try to keep the trains on schedule.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Are Canada’s nicest washrooms really at Earls and This Is London?

(Images: Earls and This is London)

For the last couple of years, Cintas, a company that makes everything from worker uniforms to restroom supplies, has run a contest to determine Canada’s Best Restroom. The august purpose of this competition is “to recognize establishments that place high value on hygiene and style in their public restrooms.” Last time around, the marble-clad palace of E11even ascended to the vaunted throne, with second place going to the Allstream Centre.

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The Informer

Politics

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Andy Byford writes an icy memo to TTC employees


The TTC has had a few customer service embarrassments over the last few years (workers texting on the road, leaving their routes to pick up snacks and so on) but two within a few days is pretty bad. Last week, a TTC driver was videoed using a cellphone while piloting a subway, then days later, another was caught reading a newspaper while driving a streetcar. TTC chief exec and tough-talking clean freak Andy Byford is not happy about the blunders and released a scathing memo to staff this morning, voicing his displeasure.

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The Informer

Politics

Comments

TTC boss (and clean freak) Andy Byford shows off some shiny new washrooms

(Image: Twitpic, Jonathan Goldsbie)

With all the recent drama at the TTC, the commission may have found a new PR tactic to (briefly) redirect public attention: look, new washrooms! Several media outlets showed up to see TTC chair Karen Stintz and new transit boss Andy Byford unveil Finch station’s gleaming new loos. And they are mighty impressive, boasting Dyson Airblade hand dryers, which, as everyone knows, are the Cadillacs of hand dryers. The new bathrooms are more evidence of Byford’s attention to detail, which makes us think his strategy for the TTC borrows from Broken Windows Theory: take care of the system’s outward appearance, and the rest will look after itself. Well, except for stuff like this. And this. Read the entire story [Torontoist] »

The Dish

Restaurants

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Toronto takes first and second place in this year’s best washroom competition; see why

(Image: Cintas Canada)

After losing out to Vancouver last year, Toronto has ascended the, erm, throne in Cintas’s annual Canada’s Best Restroom contest (no, we’re not entirely sure why this exists, either, but why not?). This year, first place went to E11even, MLSE’s iPad-toting fine-dining restaurant, with second-place honours going to the Allstream Centre (a.k.a. that conference centre out at Exhibition Place). The five finalists were selected, according to a press release, “based on exceptional hygiene, style, public accessibility and usability,” after which the public got to have its say through an online vote. So what makes E11even’s washrooms so special? Huge expanses of marble, mosaic tiling and judicious use of the Toto washlet, which is basically the modern incarnation of the bidet (glimpse the future at Toto’s website). The LEED silver restrooms at the Allstream Centre, meanwhile, feature a carpeted makeup lounge (in the ladies’ room), complete with individually illuminated mirrors with walnut accents. In third, fourth and fifth place were Montreal’s Hôtel Le Germain, Edmonton’s David Morris Fine Cars and the Ottawa Convention Centre.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Condomonium: $1.8 million for a penthouse suite in the HarbourView Estates

ADDRESS: 10 Navy Wharf Court, Penthouse 5

NEIGHBOURHOOD: Waterfront Communities–The Island

AGENT: David Harland, Harvey Kalles Real Estate

PRICE: $1,799,000

THE PLACE: This 46th-floor penthouse suite with floor-to-ceiling windows and a beautiful view of the lake (which you can from the master bedroom Jacuzzi—yes, the tub is in the bedroom) sits atop one of the HarbourView Estates buildings.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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House of the Week: $3.5 million for a big, beautiful family home

ADDRESS: Pheasant Lane

NEIGHBOURHOOD: Princess-Rosethorn

AGENT: Robert Douglas Pettigrew & Clare Estlick, Re/Max Professionals Inc., Brokerage

PRICE: $3,500,000

THE PLACE: Near the St. George’s Golf and Country Club and nestled in the winding streets of the city’s northwest end, this family home built by David Small Designs is a mix of old and new: the stone exterior belies a modern interior that includes American white oak floors, stark white walls, multiple fireplaces and stainless steel appliances from Miele and Wolf.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Cottage of the Week: $8.5 million for a Lake Muskoka log cabin

ADDRESS: Peninsula Road, Port Carling

NEIGHBOURHOOD: Lake Muskoka

AGENT: Richard Scully, Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage

PRICE: $8,495,000

THE PLACE: This giant log cabin overlooking Lake Muskoka proves that the classic cottage can be both rustic and luxurious.

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The Informer

Real Estate

5 Comments

Cottage of the Week: $350,000 for a rustic waterfront oasis that’s fit for a waltzing log driver (or anyone, really)

ADDRESS: 492 Maple Point Rd., Kagawong

NEIGHBOURHOOD: Manitoulin Island

AGENT: Timothy Fenerty, J. A. Rolston Ltd., Real Estate Brokerage

PRICE: $350,000

THE PLACE: This 27-year-old, 1,329-square-foot log-cabin cottage sits on the North Channel (the lake above Georgian Bay and Lake Huron) and comes with two bedrooms on a whopping 1.74 acres of land. At only $350,000, this property is a bargain for frugal summer-property buyers. Not convinced? This axe-wielder’s dream (or the perfect spot for someone who just likes to pretend) is homey and rustic (it has a wood-burning stove), qualities that so many modern cottages lack nowadays—anyone looking for granite countertops, turndown service and a tennis court will be disappointed.

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The Informer

Real Estate

8 Comments

Cottage of the Week: $2.2 million for a country getaway inspired by the Stahl House

ADDRESS: 2000 Strathallan Wood Place

NEIGHBOURHOOD: Lake Simcoe

AGENT: Bernice Whelan, Bernice Whelan Realty Inc.

PRICE: $2,249,000

THE PLACE: This 3,660-square-foot cottage with 103 feet of shoreline is just over an hour outside the city on Lake Simcoe’s Kempenfelt Bay. Originally built in 1968, it features a two-storey stone fireplace, cork flooring and a piece of lawn art that looks like a donut twist.

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The Informer

Real Estate

19 Comments

House of the Week: $900,000 for a two-storey Trinity Bellwoods townhome

ADDRESS: 1-257 Euclid Avenue

NEIGHBOURHOOD:  Trinity Bellwoods

AGENT: Stacey Robinson, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., Brokerage, and Anabela Bernardino, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., Brokerage

PRICE: $895,900

THE PLACE: A two-bedroom contemporary townhome at Dundas and Euclid with a black-white-and-grey colour scheme, mini-gym and rooftop deck. 

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Local media go a little crazy over the return of the Green Room, for some reason

The Green Room: the more things change, the more they stay the same (Image: John Michael McGrath)

When the Green Room closed down last year after a series of health violations, it was an open question as to when, or even whether, the Annex dive-slash-legend would open again. Well, brace yourselves, Toronto: the old student hangout has reopened, and the city’s new media crowd is all over it. Apparently, the story was broken by a drunken post on Reddit, but OpenFile, BlogTO and Torontoist were on the story by Sunday afternoon. The news exploded on Twitter on Sunday afternoon, because, well, nobody seemed to know what was going on, and excited speculation is pretty much what Twitter is made for.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Home of the Week: $4.2 million for an Av and Dav condo that questions the supremacy of the detached house

ADDRESS: 238 Davenport, Suite 303

NEIGHBOURHOOD: Casa Loma

AGENT: Dorann Gottlieb and Erica Gottlieb, Prudential Sadie Moranis Realty

PRICE: $4,195,000

THE PLACE: This two-storey condo is hidden in plain sight at Av and Dav, directly above the sleek headquarters of interior design powerhouse Powell and Bonnell. The coveted space (one of only seven units in the building) offers a bunch of features more common to houses: four bedrooms, three baths, nearly 4,000 square feet of interior space, a six-burner gas stove, a fireplace, a patio and a 200+ bottle wine fridge. This property is likely to convert any die-hard house dweller to the condo way of life.

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The Goods

Shopping

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Good Stuff Cheap: Three unbeatable go-to spots for home improvement

Addison's (Image: Lorne Bridgman)

BATHROOMS
Addison’s
See it on Castlefield Avenue, buy it at Addison’s. The rambling, one-of-a-kind decor mecca is outstanding for bathroom, heating and plumbing goods. Among the vintage gems: deco-ish repro faucets, antique claw-foot tubs and pedestal sinks (each from $200), replacement toilet-tank lids ($25–$40), chrome towel bars (from $25) and cast iron hot water radiators ($100 and up).
41 Wabash Ave., 416-539-0612.

LIGHTING
Paul Wolf Lighting and Electric Supply
Beat big-box prices at Paul Wolf, home to all-hours service and hundreds of light fixtures, bulbs, dimmers and switches. Call the shop’s 24-hour emergency number if your lights fizzle, and they’ll get you what you need.
555 Eastern Ave., 416-466-9957; 425 Alliance Ave., 416‑504-8194.

FRAMING
Victor Gallery
Find rows of solid ash or basswood frames and shadow boxes in black, white and brown stains, as well as hard-to-find dimensions, with nothing over $120. In the rare event that you can’t find a size, a member
of the Mitic family (the owners) will customize a piece in a week.
636 Queen St. W., 416‑504-1659.

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The Informer

Real Estate

3 Comments

House of the week: $3.5 million for Yorkville mansion built in 1879

ADDRESS: 24 Elgin Avenue

NEIGHBOURHOOD: Yorkville

AGENT: Gay Louise MacLeod, Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd.

PRICE: $3.495 million

THE PLACE: Built in 1879 by Robert Smarr, one of Yorkville’s foremost developers in the 19th-century, this semi-detached residence still sports the high ceilings and original mouldings, trim and hardware of the Romantic Era. Of course, the property has been carefully renovated and restored over the past 20 years to include modern touches, like the spacious contemporary kitchen overlooking the terrace. The spiral staircase leading from the family room to the second floor dates back to bygone days of live-in help, but the master bedroom’s dressing room and third floor suite will certainly come in handy for modern comforts.

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