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Backstory: the grisly Yonge Street murder behind Anthony De Sa’s new novel

A sadistic true-life murder becomes part of Toronto’s painful coming-of-age in the Canadian novelist’s gritty new book

Backstory: a sadistic true-life murder becomes part of Toronto’s painful coming-of-age in a new novel by Anthony De Sa

On July 28, 1977, Emanuel Jaques—a 12-year-old shoeshine boy from the Azores—was lured into an apartment above a body-rub shop on Yonge Street just south of Dundas. There, he was tortured and raped by three men, who then drowned him in the kitchen sink. Three days later, one of the killers confessed and led the police to Jaques’ body, which was hidden under a pile of debris on the building’s roof. The remaining men were caught shortly afterward on a Vancouver-bound train in northwestern Ontario. (One died in prison in 2003; the others are serving life sentences for first-degree murder.)

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Restaurants

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Indian street food spot Kathi Roll Express opens at Yonge and Bloor

Indian street food spot Kathi Roll Express opens at Yonge and Bloor

Kathi Roll Express is the latest ethnic street food shop to open in Toronto. Delhi-native and owner Sumit Kohli’s new restaurant serves grab-and-go Indian dishes, including kathi rolls (Indian flatbreads fried on a cast-iron griddle and filled with traditional Indian flavours, like chickpea masala and chicken tikka), and Mumbai-style sandwiches, along with a few fusion dishes, like the Korean barbecue chicken roll. Mains range from $4-13 and come in two sizes: mumbo (single filling) and jumbo (double filling). [Post City]

Kathi Roti Express, 692 Yonge Street, 647-748-8573, thekathirollexpress.com

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Tabülè opens a new eatery in Riverside

Falafel

(Image: Facebook)

Tabülè, a favourite Midtown lunch destination, is the latest addition to the growing east-end restaurant scene. The new location is serving the same elevated Middle Eastern cuisine, including falafel balls, tabbouleh salad and lamb and beef skewers with assorted vegetables, as the original Yonge Street spot. The space is currently open for dinner. Lunch service starts this weekend.

Tabülè, 810 Queen St. E., 416-465-2500, tabule.ca, Facebook, @TabuleToronto

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The Kathi Roll Express is bringing Indian street food to Yonge Street

Coming soon to Yonge and Bloor: The Kathi Roll Express, a new restaurant specializing in Kathi rolls, a Kolkata street snack that consists of meat, vegetables and eggs all rolled up in paratha (a type of fried flatbread). The restaurant will also serve other street foods from around the world, including Korean barbecue and Mexican snacks, along with masala chai and kulfi for dessert. Kathi Roll Express takes over its Yonge Street space from the shuttered Zelda’s Living Well, and will offer takeout and delivery  in addition to dining in (and yes, Zelda’s much-loved 30-seat patio will be pressed into service seasonally). Owner Sumit Kohli expects the restaurant to open by April.

The Kathi Roll Express, 692 Yonge St., thekathirollexpress.com

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Real Estate

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The Toronto Star’s old parking lot could soon house Canada’s two tallest condo towers

Pinnacle’s proposal would see five new towers next to the Toronto Star building at 1 Yonge Street (Image: Taxiarchos228)

The plans for a large-scale development at 1 Yonge Street, currently home to a set of low-rise buildings and the Toronto Star’s old parking lot, are even more ambitious than last summer’s rumours suggested. Late last week, Urban Toronto published a pair of architectural sketches showing Pinnacle International’s plans for a skyline-defining, five-tower development that would include Canada’s two tallest skyscrapers. Alongside the 92-storey and 98-storey buildings, the cluster would also contain an office tower of some 30 storeys, two 70-storey towers and street-level retail space (the Toronto Star office at the corner of Yonge and Queens Quay would remain untouched). The proposal is still in its infancy as the city has requested Pinnacle wait to formally submit it until after Waterfront Toronto has finished a study on future development in the area, which may not be until late summer. Moreover, as with Oxford Properties’ Convention Centre plans and David Mirvish and Frank Gehry’s theatre district proposal, questions remain over the area’s ability to sustain a set of monolithic residential towers. Although, at least Pinnacle would only be razing a parking lot, and not a beloved theatre. [Urban Toronto]

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Stores

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Bed, Bath and Beyond opens its largest store in Canada at Yonge and Gerrard

Less than a month after Marshalls opened at John and Richmond, another big American chain has launched its first downtown Toronto store. Suburban mainstay Bed, Bath and Beyond is now selling home, kitchen and garden merchandise out of a mammoth space in the base of the Aura at College Park condo building on Yonge, just north of Gerrard. The 50,ooo-square-foot store is the largest Bed, Bath and Beyond in Canada, which is appropriate since, once finished, Aura will be the country’s tallest residential building. Whether or not all those superlatives will make downtowners want to run over for bedding and bath stuff (plus all that “beyond” encompasses) remains to be seen, though we imagine the one-stop appeal of the big-box store will see it thrive.

Bed, Bath and Beyond, 382 Yonge St., 2nd floor, 1-800-462-3966, www.bedbathandbeyond.ca

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Banh Mi Boys announces their second location: a former milkshake shop at Yonge and Gerrard

Banh Mi Boys’s duck confit banh mi (Image: Gizelle Lau)

Cheap, delicious Vietnamese street food purveyors Banh Mi Boys have finally revealed the location of their highly anticipated second shop. Co-owner David Chau hinted last week that the new spot would be on Yonge (previous rumours had pointed to the Eaton Centre) before confirming the address to NOW Magazine earlier this week—339399 Yonge Street, in the storefront previously occupied by Shake-o-lait. The new Bahn Mi Boys will have a similar look to the one on Queen West, plus a small patio and late-night hours come summer. What goes well with late summer nights? Booze, of course. Word is a liquor license is a possibility for the new shop—albeit, unfortunately, not a very good one. [NOW Magazine]

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Politics

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Celebrate Yonge Street for the next month with lane closures and lots of walking space 

Beginning Friday, car traffic on Yonge Street will be reduced to one lane in each direction between Gerrard Street and Queen Street as part of the Celebrate Yonge festival (and as part of councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam’s bid to permanently liven up the street). Wong-Tam told the Toronto Star that the project is a good experiment for an area where there are currently about 200 people for every one car, saying it’s time “to be honest about who is actually using Yonge Street.” The change will no doubt put some drivers in a tizzy, but just look at all the fun that was had when the entire street was shut down for a few summers back in the ’70s. Sure, commutes may be temporarily altered, but if we get to see even one politician sashaying down the street, arm-in-arm with fashion models, it’ll be worth it. [h/t Toronto Star]

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A One Direction pop-up shop is coming to Toronto

(Image: Eva Rinaldi)

British boy-band sensation and global tween heartthrobs One Direction are opening up their first-ever pop-up shop in North America, and it’s going to be in Toronto (to think people even question Toronto’s status as a world-class city!). The launch of the 1D World store this Saturday at 680 Yonge Street just happens to coincide with the end of summer vacation, meaning the most ardent Directioners can score their sunglasses, T-shirts and iPhone covers in time for the first day of school. Anyone planning to head down, be warned: the Australian store saw line-ups of fans numbering in the thousands camped out hours in advance of the store opening, belting out catchy One Direction tunes. Alas, the opportunity to purchase a shirt adorned with the expertly coiffed band members is only temporary, as the shop is set to close September 2. Phew. [h/t Toronto Star]

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Real Estate

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Condo gossip: three towers could be coming to the Toronto Star’s parking lot 

Up to three condo towers could soon sprout from the parking lot of the Toronto Star building at Yonge and Queens Quay, according to a number of unnamed sources quoted in the Financial Post. Rumour has it that the Vancouver-based Pinnacle International Realty Group will soon close a deal to build a major project next to the office tower (the paper has a long-term lease for its space so it won’t be turfed out for at least 20 years). Back in 2000, Torstar Corporation sold the building to a holding company controlled by the Thomson family for $40 million, saying it was an opportune time because the real estate market was strong. The market is quite a bit stronger now (though talk of cooling has begun), and the price will be “far north” of $40 million this time, according to a source close to the deal. [Financial Post]

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Women accuse G20 police of equating unruly leg hair with unruly behaviour 

During the G20 Summit in Toronto, being a lady with hairy legs was enough to attract police attention—that’s what a group of Hamilton women say, anyway. They’re among seven people who have filed a $1.4-million claim against police, saying they were stopped outside while exiting a Yonge Street restaurant. One woman also alleges she was sexually assaulted during a roadside strip search. Although none of the claims have been proven in court, an investigation by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director found evidence that at least one policeman, Constable James Ure, noticed the furry lower limbs. In his arrest notes, he wrote that “all parties appear to be protesters; back packs; clothing and females all have hairy legs.” The suit could be the last in the wave of litigation over police actions during the summit—the two-year limitation period ran out in late June, just after this suit was filed. [CBC News]

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Deathwatch

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Captain John’s Restaurant succumbs to the stormy seas of unpaid back taxes

(Image: Paul Dex)

The ongoing debt and legal issues at Captain John’s Harbour Boat Restaurant, the iconic marine eatery docked at the foot of Yonge Street since 1975, have finally shut it down. Owner “Captain” John Letnik owes $568,000 in back taxes, utilities and outstanding lease payments. Normally, the city would just seize the property and sell it after three years of nonpayment, but the fact that Captain John’s is a boat—with no engine, stuck fast in the muck—makes things a little bit tricky. The vessel will stay put for now, but Letnick has to remove the sign, gangplank and everything inside by July 27. And it looks like Chef Grant Soto (also known as Taylor Clarke) is already trolling for a new site for his gluttonous charity pop-up dinner. [Toronto Star]

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Falling concrete and glass seem to have a grudge against luxury vehicles

(Image: Ray T)

Though city officials insist it’s safe to drive under the Gardiner Expressway in a convertible, the concrete-raining highway just claimed its first victim: yesterday, a five-inch chunk dented a two-door Mercedes travelling near Yonge and Lake Shore Boulevard (no one was injured). Coincidentally, the previous (of many) sky-is-falling incidents in Toronto saw glass crash down on a limousine downtown. We know there’s no surefire way to guess when the next outpouring of debris will be, but if you drive a fancy car, consider yourself a target. [Toronto Star]

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Politics

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And the 10 most traffic-addled streets in Toronto are…

(Image: Gary J. Wood)

Sheppard Avenue commuters now have the dubious honour of spending hours on one of the most congested streets in one of the most gridlocked cities in the world. Toronto’s public works department released a list of its top 10 traffic trouble spots, and it leans heavily towards the north end—in fact, only two of the stretches on it were downtown (York Street from Front to the Gardiner Expressway, and Lakeshore Boulevard from York to Bathurst). Sheppard appears on the list five times, and the intersection of Sheppard and Bayview Avenue is officially the city’s worst place to be a driver. It’s interesting to note that none of the problem areas on the list have a streetcar line, which doesn’t bode well for Rob Ford’s characterization of streetcars (and LRTs) as traffic-snarling forces of destruction.

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Blame station construction and absurd rainfall for the Union Station flood

(Image: Twitpic, Kyle James)

Apparently, the flood of rainwater and sewage that shut down Union Station and complicated commutes last Friday was not the TTC’s fault (welcome news, we’re sure, to the commission’s overworked PR department). EllisDon, a construction company working on the massive revamp of Union Station, temporarily removed part of the sewer and replaced it with pumps, but heavy rains overwhelmed the system, causing an overflow of almost-Biblical proportions. The sewer removal had been fully approved, and the city is still investigating how the pumps were overwhelmed. [Toronto Star]

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