News & Opinion

Posts Tagged ‘Toronto City Council’

Na na na na hey hey hey Rob Ford, Barrio Coreano and Harvest Kitchen openings, and more this week in the neighbourhood | November 22, 2013

In Arrivals & Departures, Coming events, Heritage & History, This week in the neighbourhood, Toronto politics on November 21, 2013 at 12:45 AM
All is calm at Toronto City Hall following the neutering of Mayor Rob Ford

All is calm at Toronto City Hall following the political neutering of  Mayor Rob Ford

By West Annex News | So the deed is done. Our municipal boil has been lanced. Peace, order and good government reign. You know the details. But here are a few fun items you might have missed:


Doug Ford on CNN with a bottle of Grey Goose vodka stashed under his desk | CNN screen capture via Daily Buzz

Self-avowed teetotaler Doug Ford was interviewed in his office by CNN with a bottle of Grey Goose vodka clearly visible stashed under his desk. [Daily Buzz]

Chris Farley stars in Rob Ford the Movie

Chris Farley stars in Rob Ford the Movie | Image credit: Youtube screen capture

The whole incredible story of Rob Ford’s rise and fall is brought to life in this brilliant short film made entirely out of clips from the movies of the late Chris Farley.

Bill Weir’s take down of both Ford brothers on CNN was a joy to behold, but nothing was more delicious than Rob’s squeals of indignation as former Ford BFF John Oakley roasted the mayor when he called in for an impromptu interview on November 18, the day he was stripped of his powers.

Speaking of Council, here’s the final tally of who voted for what in the various motions that transferred power to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly. [Matt Elliott/Metro Canada]

The Rob Ford show overshadowed some of the great work council did this month: funding for the environmental assessment for bike lanes on Bloor and Dupont was approved; councillors moved unanimously to rescue and expand the BIXI bike sharing program;  and new funding was devoted to the backlog of repairs to TCHC properties. [,]


Old City Hall, one of only two building worthy of preservation according the Frank Gehry

Old City Hall, one of only two building worthy of preservation in Toronto–according Frank Gehry

Toronto only has two heritage buildings worth saving, Old City Hall and Osgoode Hall, according to architect Frank Gehry. Suitably dazzled, Toronto and East York Community Council chose to give David Mirvish’s proposal to build trio of 80-storey plus condo towers on King West an express route to Toronto City Council. Council ignored City planning staff’s objections and that of heritage preservationists that the project will wipe away four heritage warehouses and the Princess of Wales Theatre, and further stress overburdened public transit on King Street West. [National Post/The Globe and Mail]


The abandoned Shaw Street School has been transformed into Artscape’s latest affordable living and working space for artists and non-profits including the Luminato Festival and the Centre for Indigenous Theatre. [torontoist]


Food and restaurant news:


Harvest Kitchen will soon open at 124 Harbord Street, once the home of Kensington Kitchen and Bistro Tati | Image credit: Google Street view

The beautiful space at 124 Harbord Street once occupied by Kensington Kitchen and later Bistro Tati has been taken over by Harvest Kitchen, which describes itself as “an everyday diner where vegetarians bring their meat-eating friends”. The restaurant plans to preserve Ontario produce onsite starting with the 2014 harvest.  The opening is planned for “any day now” according to the website. [blogTO]

Rakia Bar on 960 Euclid Avenue, just north of Bloor West has opened in the space once occupied by Hrvati Bar. The menu features vegetarian, seafood, Balkan specialties, and suckling pig with advance notice. 

Barrio Coreano, the latest incarnation in the Playa Cabana franchise is scheduled to open this weekend at 642 Bloor Street West. Rajput’s Bistro was the last tenant in this space, just west of Euclid. [blogTO]


Coming up

The 2014 Hot Docs tickets are on sale now

The 2014 Hot Docs tickets are on sale now

Tickets for the March 2014 hotDOCS festival are now on sale on the hotDOCS website

Wednesday November 27 at 6:30PM, Trinity St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor Street West: Toronto Public Health, TCAT, and Cycle Toronto are hosting “Walk Cycle Move: the Annex”, a workshop to examine public opinion on proposed project to:

  • reduce speed limits to 30KPH on seven streets in the neighbourhood including Albany, Howland, and Brunswick,
  • explore alterations to Bloor Street to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists,
  • discus the revival of the Environmental Assessment for bike lanes on Bloor.

If you can’t make it to the meeting you can still share your views in a survey here.


Related posts:


Last week in the neighbourhood: Rob Ford’s end days, Indian Rice Factory closing, another megacondo and more.




All images by Louise Morin for West Annex News unless otherwise noted.


Rob Ford’s end days, goodbye to the Indian Rice Factory, another mega-condo for the Bloor-Annex strip, Yorkville tree slaughter, and more this week in the neighbourhood | November 8, 2013

In Arrivals & Departures, Coming events, Heritage & History, This week in the neighbourhood, Toronto politics on November 8, 2013 at 12:05 AM

Image credit: The Simpsons screen capture by Phil Tobin /@RPBRooney on Twitter 12:50PM – 5 Nov 13

By West Annex News | Another busy week in and around the neighbourhood.


This week in Fordlandia

Rob Ford hands out his business cards in happier days

Rob Ford hands out his business cards in happier days

The city is almost numb from this week’s blizzard of increasingly sordid and bizarre rumours and revelations in the Rob Ford saga. Somewhere between the release of yet another video of the mayor staggering and ranting in a drunken stupor, CP24’s interview with his awful mother and the fifth estate’s exposé about organized crime’s attempts to get their hands on the Ford crack video, we all stopped reveling in the salacious details and started wanting it to stop.

On Wednesday, November 13, 2013, City Council meets for the first time since the crack scandal reignited. We have high expectations for City Council: no partisanship, no grandstanding by councillors with their own mayoral aspirations (Hello Karen Stintz and Denzil Minnan-Wong). Quickly, without malice, just strip the mayor of all his powers and staff, and get on with the business of the city.


The Indian Rice Factory, an Annex institution for 43 years, closed its doors on November 3, 2013

The Indian Rice Factory closed its doors on November 3, 2013. The restaurant at 414 Dupont at Howland had been in decline since the death of founder, owner and chef Amar Patel three years ago. Patel was a visionary chef who introduced haute Indian cuisine to Toronto in the 1970s, and was a pioneer on the then-mostly industrial Annex-Dupont strip.

While the addition of the lovely Chai Bar in 2011 created hope that the restaurant could be revived, the lengthy reconstruction of the Howland Avenue/CPR underpass dealt a death blow to that enterprise. [blogTO] []


Planning and development news

DTAH design consultants reported their findings from the Bathurst Street Built Form Study to the community on October 22, 2013. They found that the Official Plan and the zoning already in place are appropriate, and that public consultations “underscored the need for more park space along Bathurst and for the preservation of Mirvish Village.” [Inside Toronto]



Architects’ rendering of new 66-storey condominium proposed for 80 Bloor Street West | Image:  archtectsAlliance

Krugarand Corporation has made an application to the City of Toronto to tear down the 18-storey 80 Bloor Street West retail and office tower, and replace it with a 66-storey residential mixed use tower. The building, sandwiched between Harry Rosen and Capezio, currently houses a Gap, Banana Republic, Extreme Fitness and 204,000 square feet of office space. Public consultations are coming. []


Tree slaughter in the Village of Yorkville Park

Tree slaughter in the Village of Yorkville Park

Just when the spruce trees at the east end of the Village of Yorkville Park on Cumberland Street were getting to a nice size, the City chopped them down. Catherine Naismith heard from Kristan Wong-Tam that the trees were removed due to their deteriorating soil beds, caused by a parking garage underneath. New trees will be planted in the spring of 2014. [Built Heritage News]


Early in the new year, Councillor Mike Layton will be hosting public meetings regarding the future of development on Dupont Street. The north side of the street is now zoned as an employment area in the Official Plan. It is facing increasing pressures from developers to to convert the land to residential uses, specifically condominium towers. Layton says “These meetings will be held to help develop a better understanding of how the community would like to see Dupont grow and to receive feedback on specific applications.” []


U of T's proposed Centre for Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship | Image credit: Montgomery Sisam Architects/Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

U of T’s proposed Centre for Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship | Image credit: Montgomery Sisam Architects/Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

The University of Toronto revealed plans for a new $50 million Centre for Engineering and Innovation Entrepreneurship. U of T will build the Centre on the site of the parking lot between St. George Street and Simcoe Hall. [Yonge Street]


The City of Toronto has launched a new blog all about Heritage Conservation District studies and plans throughout the city. “The new blog is intended as a resource to learn about milestones, events and ways to participate in the heritage conservation district studies and plans currently underway in the city,” said Councillor Peter Milczyn, Chair of the Planning and Growth Management Committee, as quoted by Catherine Naismith. The blog also contains a gallery of photos of historic Toronto. [Built Heritage News]


What’s coming up this week:

Remembrance Day services at University of Toronto Soldiers' Tower

Remembrance Day services at University of Toronto Soldiers’ Tower

Monday, November 11, 2013, Remembrance Day services. Local services will be held at the University of Toronto Soldiers’ Tower at the western end of Hart House, 10:20 to 11AM, followed by a reception at the Great Hall, 7 Hart House Circle.  


Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 7:00PM at St. Lawrence Hall, 157 King Street East, Evergreen’s Executive Director Geoff Cape will be moderating a free Natural History Symposium to discuss Toronto’ natural heritage including “trees as natural heritage resources, what the average citizens can do to conserve natural heritage in the context of our natural ecosystems, the City of Toronto’s Natural Heritage Study and the management of natural heritage resources related to water.” 


November 12 to 14, 9:30AM each day, the Supreme Court of Canada considers questions about Senate reform. The hearings will be broadcast on CPAC including the CPAC Internet live stream.

The Supreme Court of Canada's hearing on Senate Reform start November 12, 2013 at 9:30AM

The Supreme Court of Canada’s hearings on Senate reform start November 12, 2013 at 9:30AM


Related posts:

Last week in the neighbourhood: Rob Ford’s very, very bad day, Honest Ed’s sale, Trinity-St. Paul’s reno, and more




All images by Louise Morin for West Annex News unless otherwise noted.

Pumping up the protests in Toronto City Council Chambers

In Coming events, Toronto politics on September 25, 2011 at 12:05 PM

By order of speaker Case Ootes, Toronto Police drag the public from Toronto City Council Chambers, October 11, 2000 during the Adams Mine debate | Screen shot from Brenda Bozlo YouTube video of CityPulse broadcast.

By West Annex News | Last month in one of the nicest tributes I saw to Jack Layton, Dave Meslin posted a link to a YouTube video of one of Jack’s most passionate moments at Toronto City Hall. The video shows then-CityTV reporter Adam Vaughan covering the Adams Mine dump debate at Council  on October 11, 2000. There’s a terrific shot of an outraged Jack pounding  on a pile of documents on his desk, yelling “Mr. Chairman, you are a bloody sham!” at Case Ootes.

That’s followed by several shots of citizens in the council chambers who are, astoundingly, standing, stamping their feet, chanting, jeering, demanding that council listen to them. When they refuse to shut up and Ootes orders them out of the chambers, they refuse to go. Next, we see the Toronto Police hauling people out one by one, still shouting, still protesting.

Wow. The passion, the theatre!

Cut to today’s City Council meetings. It seems that in every meeting something at least as heartbreaking or ill-conceived as the Adams Mine dump is foisted on us by our city-hating millionaire mayor. Transit City is cancelled, free nurses from the province are refused, $200,000 is squandered to remove bike lanes installed for only a year earlier, the mayor’s thugly brother tries to derail the award-winning Portlands development, and democracy is trampled.

Yep, nothing says "outraged citizen" like jazz hands | Image by Toasterb via Wikipedia

And how do we respond? Jazz hands.

Yep, we sit and shake our hands in silent pantomime.

If we’re really mad, we shake our hands really, really hard. Because if we don’t stay utterly silent, speaker Frances Nunziata threatens to throw us out. And heavens knows we can’t have that.

What happened to the time Torontonians were willing to put their bodies on the line for the values we cared about? In a city full of creative, funny, fun people, can’t we come up with anything better to express ourselves–non-violently–in Council Chambers?

Council will be sitting in a special session on Monday, September 26th starting at 9:30AM, to look at core services cuts.  While Ford’s recent swoon in popularity seems to have saved subsidized daycare spaces from cuts and library branches from closing, reduced library hours are still on the mayor’s hit list. He wants to close four of Toronto’s ten museums, and sell the Toronto Zoo and three performing arts facilities, and more.

When Councillor Mammoliti sticks out his thumb, how about making a sign right back to him? | Image credit David G Brault/Wikimedia Commons

And while I’m not saying we have to disrupt the council chambers just like the protesters did during the Adams mine debate, surely we can express our passion for the values we hold dear in a better way than jazz hands.

Non-violent doesn’t have to mean meek and deferential to the threats of a tyrannical speaker.

When the Sycophant-in-chief Georgio Mammoliti sticks out his thumb to tell the lemmings of council how to vote, how about making a hand signal right back to him?  A simple search on Google or Youtube yields many interesting signs derived from American sign language that could fit the bill.

Or how about if we brandish (but do not throw) a shoe, in tribute to reporter Muntadar al-Zaidi’s greeting to George Bush on the occasion of his visit to Iraq in 2008. Perhaps that shoe could be a flip-flop, to symbolize Ford’s broken campaign promise of “no service cuts, guaranteed.”

Might Speaker Frances Nunziata object to these innocuous forms of protest? Might she go all Case Ootes on us and threaten to clear us out? Yes, and yes. But like the Adams mine protesters, we shouldn’t go voluntarily. We should call Nunziata’s bluff. Nothing good can come to Ford from video of  the police dragging Toronto citizens out of their own council chambers.

And if you are physically hauled out of chambers by the police, at least you have a great story to tell your grandchildren–better than the story of how you sat in council chambers and made jazz hands while Rob Ford dismantled the city around you.

How about brandishing (but never throwing) a flip-flop, to symbolize Ford's broken campaign promise about of "no service cuts guaranteed."

Is the Media that stupid or is Mayor Robdoug that smart?

In The Maven on March 12, 2011 at 4:29 PM

The Mayor can't even sit through a City Council meeting. Even on the occasions he wanders into the chamber, he often turns his back the proceedings to chat with his office staff and coterie of advisors

By the Maven | Don’t ask me why; I picked up my Saturday Globe this morning and found myself reading that well-known intellectual columnist Mark Schatzker. What he lacks in political insight he tries to make up with humour, the all-too often refuge of the lightweight thinker.

It his column Downtown elite, have you enjoyed Ford’s first 100 days? he pretends to quote stereotypical elite-types from downtown neighbourhoods, irrationally placing blame on Robdoug’s administration for things like dead birds and bad food.

Ok, cute.

But it is his opening paragraph that pisses me off. He says “Since entering office, Rob Ford has cut taxes, balanced the budget, revived the city’s once dead subway map, and discovered a vat of gravy at TCHC”.

Really? That’s pretty good for 100 days. Too bad Mark got his facts wrong. First, there is no Rob Ford. Ask any reporter who has tried to interview him. Have you seen or heard Rob Ford interviewed? Right. You’ve only seen his brother Doug, whom 12,660 voters supported in Etobicoke North in the last election, or one-half of one percent of the total population of Toronto. Rob isn’t good about thinking things through, so Doug doesn’t let him talk to reporters. Rob can’t even sit through a City Council meeting.

Nope, there is no Rob Ford. There is only Robdoug, a hideous amalgamation of two of the most unattractive politicians this city has ever spawned. As for his accomplishments to date, Robdoug has indeed cut taxes, leaving even his budget chief Mike Del Grande scratching his head and worried about the implications for 2012.

Robdoug cancelled the very worthwhile LRT program (you know, the one that we have already spent millions on–did you know the LRT was a gravy train?) only to substitute it with a much scaled back subway concept that, as yet, has no secure funding.

And the TCHC gravy train? Well the investigation into that wasn’t even initiated by Robdoug.

In the meantime, our proud and free media won’t even pressure Rob to submit to questions, instead letting Doug do all the talking.

The free and proud media is giving Robdoug a free ride because they believe his rhetoric that he is riding a wave of popularity, notwithstanding that he polled less than 50% of votes cast. Now 47% is good, but more people voted against him than for him.

And 100 days into his administration he has a 60% approval rating. That sounds good. However, six months into his first term David Miller’s was over 82%. Did Miller get a free ride from the media to bully every opponent into submission?

No, our media are missing in action. They are not asking the Mayor tough questions, they accept speaking to a local councillor who happens to be the Mayor’s brother as a substitute for the real thing, and they accept the gravy train analogy as given from on high without delving below the surface.

And you know what offends me most about Schtazker? Is it his conservative politics?

No. It’s that he isn’t even funny.


Other recent articles by the Maven (click on image to open article):




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