Wednesday, April 11, 2018

You Now Need $100,000 In Income To Buy A Typical Condo In Toronto

  • Condo rents up 10.7 per cent as fewer buy homes
  • One-third of would-be buyers have exited the market
  • Some relief ahead for homebuyers, Urbanation predicts
If this keeps up, home ownership in Toronto could soon be solely for the wealthy.

The income needed to qualify for a mortgage on an average Greater Toronto Area condo has soared by nearly a third over the past year, according to a new report, and it's due to both rising prices and tougher new mortgage rules.

Homebuyers needed an income of at least $100,000 to qualify for a mortgage on an average-priced condo in the first quarter of this year, according to numbers released Wednesday by real estate consultancy Urbanation.

As recently as a year ago, that figure was just $77,000, Urbanation noted, and two years ago, it was $64,000.

The new federal mortgage rules — which require buyers to qualify for a mortgage at a higher interest rate than the one being offered by the lender — also played a role, Urbanation said.

Without the new mortgage rules, qualifying income for a mortgage would have been $86,000, the report said.

Evidence is mounting that a great deal of would-be homebuyers have been priced out of the market. A study from realtor Re/Max, released this week, found one in three prospective buyers has simply given up on buying a home in the wake of new mortgage rules and higher prices, while another four in 10 have scaled back their home-buying ambitions.

That's having an impact on the housing market. The Toronto Real Estate Board reported that condo sales in the region were down 32.7 per cent in March, compared to a year earlier — though prices were still up by 6.1 per cent year over year.

But Urbanation senior vice president Shaun Hildebrand says homebuyers can expect at least some relief in the years to come.

"Close to 60,000 condos are under construction right now, and another 40,000 are pre-sold and awaiting construction," Hildebrand told HuffPost Canada. "So I would anticipate that supply is going to be better than what it is right now, and that will have a dampening effect on price growth over the next few years."

Condo rental prices soar 10.7%
With a growing number of would-be buyers priced out of the market and staying put in rental housing, pressure is growing on the rental market, Urbanation's data shows. 

Average monthly condo rents jumped 10.7 per cent over the past year, to $2,206 for a typical 740-square-foot condo, the report found. (The numbers don't include the city's rental apartment stock, which is overall less expensive than the rental condo market.)

There's relief coming for tenants in the rental market as well, Urbanation says, albeit at a slower pace.
 It notes that the number of rental units under construction rose to a 25-year high of 7,937 in the fourth quarter of 2017, up from 5,832 units in the same period a year earlier.

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Oakville GTA Subdivision Buyers Face Financial Ruin From Real Estate Market Fall

A group of Oakville homebuyers, struggling to finance the pre-construction houses they bought in February 2017 at the height of last year’s real estate frenzy, are blaming “reckless” provincial housing policy and new mortgage rules for putting them on the brink of financial ruin.

The desperate buyers say they have been trapped in a unique period in the Toronto-area housing market — one engineered by provincial policy designed to cool the soaring costs of housing. The problem has been compounded by new mortgage rules that they believe have the potential to drive desperate buyers deeper in debt by sending them to alternative lenders that offer higher-interest loans.

Declining real estate sales in the Toronto region have meant the buyers have not been able to sell their existing homes for the amounts they anticipated when they contracted to buy new houses in Mattamy’s Preserve development near Dundas St. W. and Fourth Line. After they failed to sell when the market plunged or they took lower-than-expected prices, they say they couldn’t get larger loans to cover the difference.

“This impacts your health. Financially it breaks families,” said Zahir Bashiruddin. He and his wife bought a new house with a single-car garage so they would have fewer stairs to contend with while caring for their infant and toddler.

The buyers want the government, the banks and builders to come together to find a solution for buyers in their “impossible” position. They say they have had no response to emails to Premier Kathleen Wynne, Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford and Housing Minister Peter Milczyn.

The buyers maintain the Ontario Liberal government failed to consider what the impact of its Fair Housing Plan would be on middle-class families in mid-transaction. When it launched its plan, including a foreign buyers tax, last April, housing sales plummeted almost immediately.

The double-whammy of the provincial plan and new mortgage stress tests from Canada’s bank regulator, requiring buyers to qualify at a higher lending rate than had originally been approved last February, has significantly reduced their borrowing power.

Mattamy president Brad Carr said he sympathizes with purchasers caught “in this very specific point in the (housing market) cycle.” But he said the company, Canada’s largest homebuilder, needs buyers to honour their contracts so Mattamy can do the same.

“When a homebuyer makes a firm and binding decision to Mattamy to have us build them a home, we in turn take that promise, that commitment, and we make a whole series of promises to our trades, to our suppliers, to our employees about what now we can do on the strength of those firm contracts to employ them,” he said.

An emailed statement from Milczyn’s office said that the provincial Fair Housing Plan has succeeded in making housing more affordable for more Ontario residents.

“Multiple experts, including senior economists at BMO and RBC, agree that our plan is working and has helped stabilize Ontario’s red-hot housing market,” said the statement.

“The housing market is complex, and home prices will inevitably go up and down based on a number of factors. The aim of the Fair Housing Plan is to keep housing fair and affordable for as many people as possible throughout market fluctuations.”

Three couples say they desperately want to fulfil their contracts with the builder. All of them have owned or own a home. All have young children. They describe themselves as working, middle-class people, who saved and sacrificed for years to afford their homes.

The houses they purchased cost between about $1 million and $1.6 million — around the average price of a detached, single-family home in the Toronto region.

If they walk away from their contracts with Mattamy, they will forfeit their deposits of more than $200,000. They also risk being sued by the builder that is refusing to provide financial assistance or extend the closings.

If they find a way to close the gap in their financing through alternative lenders, they say they won’t be able to meet their monthly bills.

An emailed statement from the company did not directly answer whether Mattamy planned to sue buyers who don’t close but, in a followup interview, Carr said the vast majority of buyers were fulfilling their contracts. He said he didn’t know how many purchasers have contacted the company with concerns about closing.

Carr emphasized that the issue the buyers face is an issue for the entire housing market, and is not specific to Mattamy or new-construction homes. It could as easily be an issue in a resale purchase.

“The individuals who signed up for these houses … did so with full understanding of where we were in the full housing cycle, in the same way anyone else would,” he said, adding that there was extensive media coverage of the heated housing market around the time the buyers purchased.

“You also have to remember we’re talking about price points and a type of housing that are right at the top end of the band,” he said.

The average price of a new-construction detached house in the Toronto region was $1.22 million in February this year. A year earlier, the average was higher — about $1.5 million, according to building industry statistics.

“I certainly empathize, but also I have to assume we’re talking about sophisticated individuals here who made very large deposits, signed binding contracts and do so at price points that would suggest to me they had the means to close,” said Carr.

But, while some of the houses in the Preserve sold for more than $2 million, two of the three couples say they paid about $1 million for their homes.

The third couple, Darren and Claudia Evans, are second-time Mattamy buyers, who have been living in the area for four years. They wanted a different floor plan for their 2-year-old son, so they bought another house for about $1.6 million, expecting their current place to sell for about the same amount.

They listed their house twice last year but received no formal offers, just a phone call with a “lowball” proposal.

“We haven’t put our house on the market again and we need to close in seven weeks. There is no point. We are watching the market so closely with our realtor and we can’t afford to take the amount of money that we will get offered right now. If we got a delay in closing then it would be fine. I’m sure the market will recover in time,” Darren said.

They could borrow from an alternative lender but that comes with a hefty cost of a 3 or 4 per cent fee on the amount of the loan and interest rates around 10 per cent, he said.

“I have to think of my family and think I would be safer staying in this house and defaulting on the new one, which I don’t want to do because if I do move into that house, the only people that make money are the lenders and Mattamy, and my family end up on the street, so I have to make a decision based on my family,” he said.

Shahina and Asif Khan bought in the Preserve as “a lateral move” motivated by the desire to send their 6-year-old to a different school, although it was actually smaller than their first house in Brampton. Oakville was also closer to more frequent GO service on the Lakeshore West line for Shahina, a human resources business planner, who commutes.

“We’re not investors. We purchased homes to raise our children,” she said. “If the government wanted to implement cooling measures, why was it so reckless? Why did they not stop and think about the families that were in the middle of a transaction.”

The Khans say they watched the pre-construction and resale home markets for months. “What was scary about that time is both markets were really tough,” she said.

New-construction home prices were escalating and there were stories of bidding wars for resale homes.

“With a resale you can never be prepared because you’re basically outbidding the other person. With a new build you have a budget to do some research and figure out your own finances,” said Asif.

The Khans, who lived with five other adults and their young son for seven years before buying their first house, are now residing in a basement apartment. Shahina says she doesn’t know how they will ever get out if they are forced to forfeit their deposit. But there is no way they can afford to finance the new house.

Pre-construction home sales are common in Ontario, she said.

“It’s not something (the government) could have forgotten about. It’s something they dismissed,” said Khan. “There’s some level of accountability with everybody and nobody’s stepping up.”

The Oakville buyers’ group said it has connected with more than 100 families who are unexpectedly struggling to finance their new homes. They are telling their stories via a website called Community for Fairness. They are also speaking with Mattamy buyers at the Queen’s Common development in Whitby and the Summit in Kleinburg, where purchasers are upset that the builder reduced the prices of its homes after they bought.

For Bashiruddin, an accountant who doesn’t typically take financial risks, struggling to close on his new home is an almost unimaginable shock — the kind he’s spent his life working to avoid.

He lived with his parents to save money during university and graduated debt-free by working part-time. After that he continued to save. He and his wife, Shamleed, lived with his parents for two years after they got married before deciding they had saved enough to buy their townhouse.

“I have a budget every month. I know exactly where my money goes. I can pull it up on my phone. That’s how detailed I am,” he said. “I track everything and I’m telling you, the risk I took when I purchased this (new) home was very calculated.”

Like the Khans, the Bashiruddins were watching real estate prices climb in 2016 and early 2017. They worried they wouldn’t be able to afford a move.

“At the time we thought it was a great decision (to buy the Mattamy home) because we’ve locked in our price. We know it’s not going to go up any further and our house was valued at a decent amount so there would be no real gap,” he said.

But although townhouses are selling in today’s market as one of the few affordable options, Bashiruddin says his has just sold for less than it would have a year ago and the stress test has cut his borrowing power by about 20 per cent. He hopes he will be able to work things out with Mattamy, but in May, he and his family will move back in with his parents until he figures out a solution.

Meantime, he says, “I honestly have not been this stressed ever.”

The sale of their Brampton house closed in January for about $200,000 less than they had expected when they bought the Mattamy house last February.

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Mississauga Lakeview lands sold to developers for $275M, 177-acre site Waterfront GTA

The Lakeview lands in Mississauga have officially been sold to developers for $275 million in the latest step toward the transformation of the city’s waterfront.

The 177-acre site, formerly a provincial coal-fired generating station, will be transformed into a sustainable, mixed-use residential community by Lakeview Community Partners, a consortium that includes Argo Development, TACC Construction, Branthaven Homes, Greenpark Group and CCI Development Group, according to a press release from provincial agency, Ontario Power Generation (OPG).

Sixty-seven acres of land will be remediated and transferred to the city of Mississauga as part of the deal.

Lakeview is expected to be the future home of 20,000 people and 8,000 jobs. Mississauga is planning a pedestrian- and transit-friendly community that will draw residents and tourists with waterside parks, wetland trails, boardwalks and canals lined with restaurants and boutiques. City plans call for cultural spaces, artists’ housing and potentially a museum, near the water.

There are no details, however, for when the transformation will take place. That will largely be up to the developers once a land use plan goes before Mississauga city council in June, says the city.

“This is a complex site and will require a concerted effort and continued partnerships,” said an email from a city spokesperson.

“It is anticipated that redevelopment will take a number of years to complete.”

The community will be close to GO and the city’s planned Hurontario LRT, but will be subject to a future study of higher order public transit.

Mississauga councillor Jim Tovey, who died in January, is widely credited with the vision for transforming the waterfront near Cawthra Rd., south of Lakeshore Rd. E.

“Mississauga is ready to work with the consortium to build a master-planned community that will become a destination for tourism, business and innovation,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie in the OPG release.

Prior to the construction of the coal plant, the site served as an aerodrome, rifle range, wartime barracks and temporary postwar housing.

Lakeview, which operated for 43 years, was de-commissioned in 2005 and the “Four Sisters” smokestacks, a feature on the lakefront for decades, were demolished the following year.

“Shutting the Four Sisters at Lakeview not only provides us with clean air to breathe, but unlocks the value of these lands to create a new, green, sustainable community for everyone to enjoy,” said Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa, who is the MPP for Mississauga South and has lived in the area since he was 7.

The proposed development is supposed to provide ample sightlines to the water and will focus on mid-rise development, although some higher buildings will be considered, says the city. 
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Toronto Luxury Home Sales Plunge 46% From Last Year’s High

The high-end of Toronto’s housing market is bearing the brunt of declines from last year’s dizzying growth, with prices falling and unit sales slumping by almost half.

Sales of detached homes in and around Canada’s biggest city fell 46 percent in March from the same month a year ago, while the average price fell 17 percent to C$1.01 million ($786,871), according to data released Wednesday by the Toronto Real Estate Board. That dragged down the average selling prices for all housing types by 14 percent from a year earlier to C$784,558, the biggest drop since 1991.

“Detached home sales, which generally represent the highest price points in a given area, declined much more than other home types,” the board said in its monthly report. “In addition, the share of high-end detached homes selling for over C$2 million in March 2018 was half of what was reported in March 2017, further impacting the average selling price."

Still, prices continued their stabilization of the past few months as home owners get ready for the traditionally hectic spring season. Benchmark prices rose 1.2 percent in March from February, including a 1.1 percent gain for detached homes and a 1.8 percent increase in condos. Average prices also rose month on month.

Benchmark prices fell 1.5 percent year-over-year, the first decline since 2009, led by a 6.7 percent drop for detached homes. Benchmark prices compare essentially the same set of houses from one period to the next, removing distortions from big swings in one category or another.

Sales for the market as a whole, including condos, townhouses, and semi-detached homes, fell 40 percent to 7,228 units in March from a year ago but were up from February. That’s the lowest sales figure for March since 2009.

Canada’s biggest housing market has been adjusting to new rules that make it harder for buyers to qualify for a mortgage, curbs on foreign purchases and rising interest rates. Federal and provincial governments have been gradually tightening market conditions to tame prices that skyrocketed last year.

“Right now, when we are comparing home prices, we are comparing two starkly different periods of time: last year, when we had less than a month of inventory versus this year with inventory levels ranging between two and three months,” Jason Mercer, director of market analysis, said in the report. “It makes sense that we haven’t seen prices climb back to last year’s peak.”

The second half of the year should see the annual rate of price growth improve as sales increase relative to the below-average level of listings, Mercer said.

New listings fell 12 percent to 14,866 from March 2017 and were down 3 percent compared to the average for the previous 10 years.

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Ronjot Singh Dhami 25, now Wanted by Toronto Police After Nightclubfight

One of the three men charged with assaulting a man with autism in Mississauga last month is also wanted by Toronto police following a fight in a Port Lands nightclub last month.

Police were called to Rebel nightclub around 1:30 a.m. of March 11 after a fight between two groups broke out inside the club, said police spokesperson Katrina Arrogante.

It was reported that the fight was broken up by security and both groups were removed from the club. Arrogante said a police investigation was conducted.

As a result, police have put out an arrest warrant for Ronjot Singh Dhami, 25, for assault causing bodily harm. He is being held in custody by Peel police ahead of a bail hearing scheduled next week.

Arrogante said Dhami will be arrested and charged by Toronto police if he is granted bail.

Dhami was charged with one count of aggravated assault after police identified him as one of the men allegedly responsible for beating a man with autism in the Square One bus terminal on March 13.

In the security video released by police, three men approached the 29-year-old victim, who was sitting on stairs of the terminal. The trio started kicking and punching him multiple times before fleeing the area.

The victim was rushed to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and was later released.

Dhami was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant before surrendering to police on March 26. His lawyer said Dhami denies involvement in the attack. The second suspect, Parmvir Singh Chahil, 21, was also charged with aggravated assault and was released on bail on March 28.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

Peel police are still looking for the third suspect, who they believe goes by the name “Jason.”

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Greater Toronto Area GTA Home Sales Down 40% in March Compared to Last Year

The average home price fell 14 per cent to $784,558 year over year, as the province’s Fair Housing Plan, new federal mortgage rules and higher borrowing costs prompted some buyers to hold off, the Toronto Real Estate Board said.

Home sales in the GTA dropped 40 per cent year over year in March, with the average price also decreasing by 14 per cent, according to the latest Toronto Real Estate Board report.

TREB reported 7,228 residential transactions last month in the GTA, a steep drop from the record 11,954 sales reported in March 2017. Last month’s figure is down 17.6 per cent compared to average March sales for the previous 10 years.

The average price in March 2018 was $784,558 for all housing categories in the GTA, including detached, semi-detached, townhomes and condos. The average price was $915,126 in March 2017.

For the city of Toronto, the average price of a home was $817,642, down about 9 per cent from $897,856 a year earlier.

The share of high-end detached homes selling for more than $2 million in March 2018 was half of that reported in March 2017, further affecting the average price.

“The effects of the (Ontario government’s) Fair Housing Plan, the new (federally mandated mortgage) stress test and generally higher borrowing costs have prompted some buyers to put their purchasing decision on hold,” Tim Syrianos, president of the real estate board, said in a news release.

The number of new listings also decreased 12 per cent, year over year, in March.

“Right now, when we are comparing home prices, we are comparing two starkly different periods of time: last year, when we had less than a month of inventory, versus this year, with inventory levels ranging between two and three months,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis.

“It makes sense that we haven’t seen prices climb back to last year’s peak. However, in the second half of the year, expect to see the annual rate of price growth to improve compared to (the first quarter), as sales increase relative to the below-average level of listings.”

The average GTA home price in March increased slightly from the previous month, when it was $767,818.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Toronto March Homes Sales Drop 39.5%, Prices Slump 14.3%

Watch out for the SPIN from the RE industry
Toronto homes sales sagged in March, tumbling 39.5 percent from the previous year, as tighter mortgage rules and higher borrowing costs dampened demand, data showed on Wednesday.

Sales of detached homes plunged 46.3 percent and condo sales dropped 32.7 percent, as many would-be buyers put their plans on hold, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) said.

The average selling price in the Toronto area was C$784,558 ($613,799), down 14.3 percent from C$915,126 in March 2017, though up 2.1 percent from February 2018.

The average selling price for a detached home, the most expensive segment of the market, plunged 17.1 percent, while the average condo price rose 6.1 percent.

Toronto's housing market has cooled since last April, when the Ontario government introduced a foreign buyer tax and other measures aimed at slowing rapid price acceleration amid fears of a bubble.

TREB President Tim Syrianos said home sales are expected to be up relative to 2017 in the second half of this year.

But headwinds remain.

The Bank of Canada has raised interest rates three times since last July and is expected to continue to hike later in the year. And new lending rules, which make it harder for some buyers to qualify for a mortgage, took effect on Jan. 1.

The group's home price index, preferred by analysts because it smoothes out the composition of sales, was up 1.5 percent year-over-year, TREB said.

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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Friday, March 30, 2018

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. New York Islanders NHL Game Highlights March 30, 2018

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. New York Islanders NHL Game Highlights March 30, 2018
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Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees Major League Baseball Full Game Highlights March 30, 2018

Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees MLB Full Game Highlights March 30, 2018
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Toronto FC vs. Real Salt Lake Major League Soccer Highlights for March 30, 2018

Toronto FC vs. Real Salt Lake Major League Soccer Highlights for March 30, 2018
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Toronto, Abdirahman Islow, 27, Arrested in Connection to Fatal Shooting of Nnamdi Ogba, 26

Toronto police have arrested and charged a third suspect in the shooting death of a man in the city's west end earlier this month.

Abdirahman Islow, 27, of no fixed address has been charged first-degree murder in the death of 26-year-old Nnamdi Ogba.

Ogba was shot to death while walking to his car in a Toronto Community Housing complex after visiting friends on March 16.

Police spokeswoman Katrina Arrogante says Islow, who was arrested Thursday night, is the alleged driver of a getaway car used in the shooting.

Two other men —  Trevaughan Miller, 19, and Abdullahi Mohamed, 22 — were arrested earlier Thursday and also charged with first-degree murder.

Arrogante says Islow made a court appearance Friday morning in Toronto.

Officials have said that Ogba was an innocent bystander caught in a dispute between residents of two neighbourhoods.

Investigators believe the shooters come from another area of the city and "harbour some sort of animosity" toward the area where the shooting took place, Det. Jason Shankaran said Thursday.

Ogba was an electrical engineer and had no criminal record. He was engaged to be married.

"Mr. Ogba did nothing to bring this upon himself. The evidence we have in front of us tells us that Mr. Ogba's lifestyle, his activities, anything he did prior did not lead to this particular incident,'' Shankaran said of Ogba when police were looking for suspects earlier this month.

"The only thing that led to his death was simply walking out of that building at that particular time and place.''

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Toronto Blue Jays vs New York Yankees MLB Full Game Highlights March 29, 2018

Toronto Blue Jays vs New York Yankees MLB Full Game Highlights March 29, 2018

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Toronto Has An Affordable Housing Problem, According To the Socialists at City Hall

Toronto Has An Affordable Housing Problem, According To the Socialists at City Hall

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Toronto Real Estate Bidding Wars For Rent

Toronto Real Estate Bidding Wars For Rent
Looking to rent an apartment in Toronto? A look at the obstacles being faced by tenants searching for a home in the city's red-hot housing market.
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Toronto's New Security Measures Starting Today With Toronto Blue Jays Game

Canada's threat level has been the same for the past four years, but with acts of terror taking place around the world, Toronto is one of the cities that's not taking any chances when it comes to the safety of their residents. Toronto's mayor says new measures implemented around major venues aren't a reaction to a specific threat — Mayor John Tory did hint however that they are a response to documentation that was compiled by various security agencies regarding safety at public buildings that attract big crowds.
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Two Toronto Men Arrested In Slaying of Nnamdi Ogba

Two Toronto men have been charged in the Etobicoke shooting death of 26-year-old Nnamdi Ogba. Police said Ogba was the victim of a “cowardly” attack meant to strike fear in the west end community.

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Florida Panthers March 28, 2018 NHL Game Highlights

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Marvin Bryan, of Brampton, is sought while Deyshon Palmer, 22, of Brampton, and Alexandra Manner, 21, of Burlington, already face several charges in relation to human trafficking

AURORA — Police have charged two people and are looking for a third in an ongoing human trafficking investigation.

York Regional Police began investigating a human trafficking incident March 7 when a victim went to police looking for help.

Alexandra Manner, 21, of Burlington, and Deyshon Palmer, 22, of Brampton, who face several charges in relation to human trafficking.

Officials are asking for help in locating 39-year-old Marvin Bryan, of Brampton, who is wanted on a warrant in connection with the human trafficking investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 1-866-876-5423 ext. 6800.

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Two Toronto teens caught with shotgun, revolver, masks near Kensington Market

TORONTO — Two teens face a number of firearms charges after police recovered a 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun, a Dan Wesson Airsoft, and a 2.5 calibre revolver in the Kensington Market area Monday.

Around 1:25 p.m., two security guards were patrolling a parking garage in the St. Andrew St. and Kensington Ave. area, when they came across two teen boys smoking pot, police said Tuesday. The two fled and after a brief chase, the guards caught them.
A 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun recovered in the arrest of two teens on March 26, 2018 in the Kensington Market area.
One of the boys allegedly had a ski mask, a 12-gauge Browning semi-automatic shotgun with its barrel and butt-stock cut down, and two rounds of ammunition.The other teen also had a ski mask, a Dan Wesson Airsoft, 2.5 calibre revolver, and marijuana, according to police.
A ski mask recovered in the arrest of two teens on March 26, 2018 in the Kensington Market area.
A 15-year-old and a 16-year-old face numerous charges, including disguise with intent and carrying a concealed weapon.They cannot be identified because of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

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Six black men, one woman sought in swarming, robbery in Toronto's Chinatown

TORONTO — Toronto Police are hunting six men and a woman after a man was robbed in Chinatown last month.

According to investigators, the 26-year-old victim went into a store near College St. and Spadina Ave. on Feb. 24 around 3:20 a.m. to use an ATM. A man followed him in and waited beside him while he took out cash. A second man entered the vestibule and watched him withdraw the money, police said Tuesday.

A third man then entered the vestibule and followed the victim when he exited the store. Once outside, the victim was allegedly swarmed by a large group, including the three men in the store.

The thieves stole his iPhone 6, cellphone and a wallet, police said, adding four men and a woman were seen using the man’s bank card at different stores in the area.

The suspects are described as:

Male #1: about 25 years old, 5-foot-11, medium build, wearing a red and black plaid lumberjack patterned cap, white T-shirt, red sweater, brown jacket with white stitching and white fur, very light blue jeans, and black and white sneakers.

Male #2: 25-30 years old, about 5-foot-8, medium build, short dark hair, unshaven, wearing a blue hoodie, black jacket, black pants.

Male #3: 20 to 30 years old, wearing a black parka with fur trim on the hood, black pants, and black shoes.

Male #4: Unknown age, wearing blue jacket, red tuque, red pants, red shoes with white soles and a white face covering around the lower part of the face.

Male #5: Unknown age, wearing a black baseball hat, red jacket with white trimmed hood, black hoodie, black pants and white shoes.

Male #6: Unknown age, thin build, black hair, thin mustache, wearing black jacket with hood, black sweater with ‘The North Face’ on the front in white print, light blue jeans, and black shoes.

The woman suspect is heavy set, with shoulder length black hair, and was wearing a black winter jacket with fur-trimmed hood, black tights, and black boots.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 416-808-1400 or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS.

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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Toronto history Looking north across Bloor St. from Queen’s Park Cres. in 1902

OK, I admit it. I’m an odonymist, at least I hope that’s the word for one who enjoys discovering the origins of street names.

And while I can’t find this unusual word in any dictionary, I do know that the first part of the word, odonym, is an identifying name given to a thoroughfare, be it a street, avenue, trail or whatever.

So, just as deltiology is the study of postcards (which I do) and a deltiologist is a student or collector of postcards (which I also do), I’m taking the leap that an odonymist is one who studies the origin of street names.

What say you, professor?
Toronto at Avenue Rd. looking north at Bloor St. W

Now, having made that assumption, what brings the word odonymist to mind is an email I received recently from Barbara Craig, a Sun reader who has issues, as do I, with the selection of names for some of the stations on the Eglinton Crosstown LTR line now under construction and which has a projected opening date sometime in 2021.

Now, before the Metrolinx people point out the fact that the naming selection has been going on for several years and yes, perhaps I should have paid more attention to what was taking place and should have discovered the “online engagement tool” featured on the website. Sorry guys, missed it.

You had a daunting task to be sure especially when it came to ensuring there was no duplication with station names on the existing TTC subway system. This accounts for Warden being identified on the Crosstown line as Golden Mile, there already being a Warden on the TTC’s Line 2.

 Another example of this dilemma is the Crosstown station at Bathurst St. that will be called Forest Hill as there is already a Bathurst on Line 2. Another will be Fairbank at the Dufferin St. intersection since Dufferin is another Line 2 station.

The Crosstown surface stop at the Leslie and Eglinton intersection will be known as Sunnybrook Park, there already being a Leslie, and again it’s on Line 2. Crosstown’s station at Bayview Ave. is to be called Leaside there being a Bayview on the TTC’s Line 3.

Other stations along the Eglinton LRT route will take their respective names from nearby intersections: Caledonia, Oakwood, Chaplin, Mount Pleasant, Laird, Wynford, Sloane (should add hyphen and street opposite, Bermondsey, see Hakimi – Lebovic), O’Connor (even though O’Connor doesn’t intersect with Eglinton), Pharmacy, Wynford, Hakimi – Lebovic, Birchmount, Ionview and Kennedy.

But wait, you’re on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and you wish to get off at Yonge St. That station is to be known as Eglinton. This one really needs to be hyphenated even though the “Naming Principles and Protocols” adopted by Metrolinx has determined hyphenation is to be avoided.

All this said, there is one Crosstown station name that both reader Barb and I (and others I suspect) find disagreeable and inaccurate certainly from a Toronto history point-of-view. The name that we are questioning is the one that has been selected for the station that will be located at the Eglinton and Avenue Rd. intersection.

As it now stands, this station will be identified simply as Avenue even though since the beginning of time (well, since the mid-1800s anyway) this thoroughfare has always been known by its full name, Avenue Rd. In fact, in the very earliest days of our community a definite article was assigned to the thoroughfare’s name resulting in the term The Avenue Road.

And why was that term selected?

Because the road was originally laid out as the pioneer northern thoroughfare to and from “the Avenue” — the latter being an early and colloquial term for the original name of the thoroughfare, the College Ave., now called University Ave.

As an aside, the College Ave. had received its name as it was laid out as a privately owned access road by the officials of King’s College, a school of higher learning that in 1850 was renamed the University of Toronto.

 From these facts I hope the powers that be reconsider the name of the Eglinton and Avenue Rd. LRT station and give it the more authentic title, Avenue Rd.
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Friday, March 23, 2018

Paviter Singh Bassi, 21, was badly beaten on Brampton on Monday, March 19, 2018, and died in hospital the next day.

BRAMPTON — A second Brampton man has been made in the fatal assault on a 21-year-old man earlier this week.

Peel Regional Police have charged 22-year-old Guryodh Singh Khattra with first-degree murder in the death of Paviter Singh Bassi.

Bassi was found Monday at about 5:50 p.m. in the area of Sandalwood Parkway E. and Cedarcliff Trail suffering from life-threatening injuries. He died the next day in hospital.

Police arrested and charged 22-year-old Karanvir Singh Bassi with first-degree murder on Tuesday. Police say there’s no familial relationship between the two men, despite them sharing a last name.

Both Bassi and Khattra have appeared in court for bail hearings, and police are asking anyone with information to call 905-453-2121, ext 3205.  
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Ronjot Singh Dhami and 2 pals are wanted for a brutal March 13 attack of a 29-year-old autistic man in the bus station next to Square One in Mississauga

No one in Canadian policing cares that wanted fugitive Ronjot Singh Dhami’s lawyer suggests he may turn himself in on Monday.

The manhunt for Dhami and his fellow alleged punks, who are wanted on Canada-wide warrants, is in high gear no matter how much nonsense is spun.

In 30 years of journalism, I have never heard of a lawyer saying his client “maintains his innocence” but will come in at his convenience. That was a new one.

But since he did go public with this, my suggestions for counsel Jag Virk is to gently ask his client if he wouldn’t mind — if it doesn’t put him out any and if he won’t miss any social appointments or have his feelings hurt — dropping by the Peel Regional Police’s  12 Division a little sooner.

Like maybe right now?

Let’s get this straight. You Ronjot and your pals are wanted for a brutal March 13 attack of a 29-year-old autistic man in the bus station next to Square One in Mississauga. The attack was caught on a video that went viral, but you want a leisurely long weekend of freedom before facing charges?

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday!

Noonish Monday work for you? Maybe get a nice breakfast in and a workout? How about a roller blade?

Perhaps, be so kind and ask Parmvir Singh Chahil, 21, who’s also wanted for the attack, to pop by too?

And the third unknown sluggo?

Peel Regional Police are looking for three men in connection with the beating of an autistic man at Square One bus terminal on Tuesday, March 13, 2018.

Why not make it April 1. Not only is that day appropriate, it’s also what the suspect must  think that the people trying to catch him must be. All I know is if someone gets hurt in the days of freedom or somebody decides to flee, there’s going to be some interesting conversations with anybody who may be helping these guys hide out.

It seems these  suspects don’t seem to have any idea who they are dealing with. This is No Deal Peel. They catch and convict criminals. So good luck Ronjot. The fool is you.

True you have a head start but when Peel is on the chase, you might want to look over your shoulder because they and their law enforcement partners across the country just might be there. They are looking under every rock and I hope they catch you.

Peel Regional Police believe the three people caught on surveillance footage attacking a man could be from B.C.
In fact, I want to help. I found some new pictures of Dhami from his younger days so you can see him fresh faced, just in case it occurs to him to shave.

If you see any of them, don’t approach. Just call your police department.

One good thing about these guys being on the loose is it’s giving law enforcement more time to gather evidence. For example, one thing officers have learned is that Dhami was known to police in British Columbia and was hoping to get a permanent residence here.

“He had applied for an Ontario driver’s licence,” an Government of Ontario source told me.
Parmvir Singh Chahil, 25, is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, suspected of being one of three men caught on video attacking a helpless man with autism at a Mississauga bus station on March 13, 2018.

In fact, he had just applied for it before this incident in which three guys were seen on video pummelling an innocent autistic man taking off his roller blades. “Police went out to the address he put down and found it didn’t exist,” said the source, adding “ironically the pretend address was next to where the bus terminal is.”

Peel Police would not comment but acknowledged they are following up on many leads.

This was a vicious assault that broke an innocent man’s nose but also has created trust and fear issues for the fine soul who didn’t deserve to be picked on just because he was sitting there in a vulnerable state. 

The bad news is the alleged attackers are still on the loose. The good news is there is not one person who follows the news in Canada who is not on the lookout for them.
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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Toronto shots fired at car at Yatescastle near Jane and Sheppard

Police are on the hunt for suspects after shots were fired at a car in North York Thursday night.

It happened around 9 p.m. in the parking lot of a townhouse complex on Yatescastle Drive, near Jane Street and Sheppard Avenue West.

Police said a car was shot at multiple times while passengers were inside.

No one was injured.

Police continue to investigate and have not released any suspect information.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Google Just Mapped Toronto's History in Photos

It looks like the good people at Sidewalk Labs are trying to familiarize themselves with Toronto before building their own "futuristic mini-city" inside of it.

Good for them, I say! And even better for us.

This open-source, open-data, "Old Toronto" version of Google Maps (OldTO, as they're calling it) is absolutely incredible.

OldTO Google MapReleased today by the Alphabet-owned Sidewalk Labs, OldTO maps more than 30,000 historic photographs from the City of Toronto Archives onto our current street network.

This means that anyone can search and explore images of the city's history, based on its geography, thanks to the power of geocoding.

It's easy to use, totally free and very, very dangerous to the productivity of office workers.
 OldTO Google Map
"As we think about the kinds of digital tools that help people develop, navigate, and maintain neighbourhoods and cities, the ability to organize information geographically and by time comes up again and again as a critical requirement," reads a blog post from Sidewalk Labs explaining the project.

"Old Toronto relies on some of the same technologies that can support a future neighborhood, and as we continue to build new prototypes, we will use them to explore the digital infrastructure needed for more substantial applications."

OldTO Google MapRight now, clicking on a photo will show any information contained in the description of the archival holding, such as the date, title, condition and copyright restrictions. 
The photos sourced for this project were taken all over the GTA, well beyond the 12-acre section of Toronto's eastern waterfront that Sidewalk Labs will be moving into.

Here is Lady Eaton and some friends at a garden party in King City circa 1930, for instance.

OldTO Google MapHere's a "coal & coke" shop near Woodbine Avenue and Gerard Street East in 1938.

OldTO Google MapAnd here are the (seemingly reluctant) first place winners of the "Danforth Baby Show" near Pape and Cosburn in August of 1930.

OldTO Google Map 
Engineers say they're exploring additional features to add to the tool, including an aerial button that will "enable people to see how the city has changed from a bird's-eye view."
They're also releasing the data in JSON format and encouraging software developers to go nuts and create their own features.

"We suspect there are many creative uses of this data that we haven’t thought of, and people will only come up with them when the data is easily available," reads the post.

"We're also in the process of preparing OldTO for release as an open-source tool, so local urban-tech enthusiasts or civic hackers can build on top of it."

Over time, the company plans to add even more images from both the city archives and other sources.
The blog post notes that the city archive alone holds more than 1.7 million photographs dating all the way back to 1856.

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