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Archive for the ‘uncategorized’ Category

Remembering Jane Jacobs

In uncategorized on May 4, 2011 at 12:01 AM

Remembering Jane Jacobs is a film by Jim Epstein.

Trinity-Spadina 2011 federal election results: Chow crushes opposition

In uncategorized on May 3, 2011 at 5:50 AM

By West Annex News | From Elections Canada, with 317 of 317 polls reporting:

NDP Olivia Chow: 35,493 – 54.1% of votes cast

Liberal Christine Innes: 15,218 – 23.2%

Conservative Gin Siow: 10, 938 – 16.7%

Green Rachel Barney: 3,279 – 5.0%

Libertarian Chester Brown: 454 – 0.7%

Marxist-Leninist Nick Lin: 178 – 0.3%

Total number of valid votes cast: 65,560 out of 95,363 registered voters – 68.7% voter turn-out.

Who’s the Mayor?

In The Maven, uncategorized on February 17, 2011 at 1:38 PM

The Ford Family Compact, Rob fifth from the left, Doug far right | image credit RobFordToronto

By The Maven | In the bad old days, Ontario was ruled by a group of wealthy, conservative, elite families. They were essentially dynasties.  They were called the Family Compact.

Things have changed. Today Toronto is run by a rich family of two brothers, Rob and Doug Ford. Or perhaps that should be Doug and Rob. Both are scions of a long-time Conservative politician. Both inherited wealth and business status. Rob is a career politician.

How come a rookie councillor (Doug) is the spokesperson for everything that is going on a City Hall? Why won’t Rob agree to be interviewed by the press? Why won’t he answer questions? Why can we only hear from his brother Doug?

Just who is running City Hall?

Why is it that before Rob became Mayor he would not shut up about anything, but now we can’t hear from him about anything?

But what really bugs me is the response of the press. Why is our press being such toadies to this First Family of Fords? If Rob will not give an interview or answer questions, why do they agree to speak to his surrogate? Why not simply say on air, “as the Mayor refused an interview and refused to answer our questions, we have sought answers from…” and then proceed with an interview of someone in the opposition at City Hall. Someone like our own councillor Adam Vaughan.

Why allow Robdoug to play these games with impunity? Why isn’t our press up to the job of either getting an interview or calling the mayor to account?

Did this city vote for Rob or Doug Ford?


For other articles by this author, visit The Maven archive.

The image above is a screen capture from a video posted on RobFordToronto’s YouTube channel.

St. Alban’s Square, 7:43AM January 12, 2011

In uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 8:29 AM

Cross country skiing in St. Alban's Square


Visit the Images archive.

Brave New Annex: “Toronto’s postering problem – Bloor Street West”

In uncategorized on December 29, 2010 at 11:24 PM

What we thought was free speech and a sign of vitality is apparently a scourge, according to the video below, posted to YouTube by the Rob Ford Challenge Channel.


Selected quotes from the postering bylaw debate at City Council on May 18, 2005, courtesy of the Toronto Public Space Committee:

“Our first principle has to be about freedom of speech. This is an issue that no City Council should take lightly. The Supreme Court of Canada has said that postering is an appropriate expression of free speech.” ~ Mayor David Miller

“Posters make our city filthy and dirty. ~ Councillor Rob Ford

See more about the battle over the right to poster in Toronto on the Toronto Public Space Committee website.

Bloor Street West

In uncategorized on December 25, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Honest Ed’s: come in and get lost

In uncategorized on December 4, 2010 at 6:59 PM

Honest Ed's, est. 1948 | 581 Bloor Street West

“What would immigrants in Toronto do without Honest Ed’s, the block-wide carnival that’s also a store, the brilliant kaaba to which people flock even from the suburbs.  A centre of attraction whose energy never ebbs, simply transmutes, at night its thousands of dazzling lights splash the sidewalk in flashes of yellow and green and red, and the air sizzles with catchy flourescent messages circled by running lights.  The dazzle and sparkle that’s seen as far  away as Asia and Africa in the bosoms of bourgeois homes where they dream of foreign goods and emigration.  The Lalanis and other Dar immigrants would go there on Saturdays, entire families getting off at the Bathurst station to join the droves crossing Bloor Street West on their way to that shopping paradise.

The festival already begins on the sidewalk outside:  vendors of candy, nuts, and popcorn;  shop windows bright and packed;  shoppers emerging, hugging new possessions; and bright signs with all the familiarity of hookers clamouring for attention. 

‘Come in, don’t just stand there!’ shouts a sign wickedly.  ‘Come in and get lost!’ winks another.  And in you go, dissolve into the human tide flooding the aisles and annexes . . . in this place so joyous and crazy where people give free unasked advice, and just as freely demand it.”

– M.G. Vassanji, No New Land, 1997, Toronto, McClelland & Stewart



In uncategorized on November 27, 2010 at 9:37 PM

“The Annex Residents’  Association . . . seems to exist primarily to give people an outlet to oppose home renovations they don’t think are Annexy enough. . .

Throughout its history, it has opposed much that ultimately made Jane Jacobs and much of the rest of the city such fans of the neighbourhood . . .

They’ve done benevolent things as well — they conduct walks and plant flowers in local gardens — but they are, like most such organizations, an essentially conservative force.

Associations like this abound across the city and . . . their members often behave in ways that are self-serving and small minded.”

– Archer, Bert. “Teaching the City of No to say yes.” Local Motion:  The Art of Civic Engagement in Toronto. Ed. Meslin, Palassio & Wilcox. Toronto: Coach House Books, 2010. 14-29.



In uncategorized on October 7, 2010 at 11:54 PM

“Throughout history, public space had three functions: it’s been the meeting place and the marketplace and the connection space. And what has happened in most cities is that we forgot about the meeting place, we moved the marketplace to somewhere else, and then we filled all the streets with connection, as if connection was the only goal in city planning, in public space.

It’s hardly a coincidence that the number one amendment to the American Constitution emphasizes the right to free speech and to peaceful gathering with your fellow citizens. That is one of the strongest expressions of the importance of the public space.”

Jan Gehl, professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.

Reputable since 1955

In uncategorized on September 16, 2010 at 11:28 PM


The West Annex’s most iconic restaurant, the Vesta Lunch sits on the north-east corner of Bathurst and Dupont, serving up cheap and filling food to a diverse clientele, 24 hours a day.