Saturday, June 16, 2018

Sheldon Eriya, 21, of Markham, was arrested Friday, June 16, 2018, and charged with attempted murder and other charges for his alleged role in the shooting of two young sisters in a Scarborough playground a day earlier

The hunt for the “sewer rats” — to borrow a phrase from the mayor — involved in Thursday’s shooting of two young sisters in a Scarborough playground has led to the arrest of a 21-year-old man.

Toronto Police say Sheldon Eriya was taken into custody in Pickering Friday afternoon and now faces seven charges for the shooting at a townhouse complex on Alton Towers Circle that injured the little girls.

The Markham resident was picked up the same day John Tory said police were pulling out all the stops to find the culprits responsible for the shooting near McCowan Rd. and McNicoll Ave.

Mayor John Tory, who visited the townhouse complex Friday to reassure the residents everything was being done to find the perpetrators, praised police for the arrest and explained he has met with the victims’ mother.

“I received two pieces of good news today, the most important being from the mom of the two girls, that they’re both doing very well,” Tory said. “The other was the huge progress made by our Police Service, and I thank them and congratulate them for bringing one person under arrest.”

“I know the task remains in front of them to round up the rest of the people involved in this, and let the justice system run its course,” he said. “We’ve got to get these people off the street and serve notice to everybody else who carries a gun, and who would even think of doing such a thing — they’re going to be rounded up. And we’re going to make sure they’re put away.”

The family affected by the shooting released a statement through the Hospital for Sick Children Saturday evening.

“We wish to send our thanks to the entire community for the outpouring of support during this crisis. The response has been overwhelming and we can’t express our gratitude enough,” the statement read.

“A very special thanks to the police officers and staff of 42 Division, Toronto Chief of Police Mark Saunders, and Mayor John Tory for their tireless efforts and for working round the clock.”

The family also asked for privacy.

“At this time, the focus is on the recovery of the girls,” they said.

There were 11 children in the playground when the gunfire erupted just after 5 p.m.

Between seven and 10 shots were fired into the crowded playground.

A 5-year-old girl was shot in the stomach and her nine-year-old sister was shot in the ankle. Both girls are recovering at Sick Kids hospital after undergoing surgery.

The mayor said street gangs are to blame for most of the shootings in the city.

“We’ve got to get at these gangs, get at these people using guns and trafficking guns,” Tory said. “We have to round them up and lock them up — we can’t put up with this type of behaviour.”

Eriya is charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of aggravated assault, possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, discharging a firearm and possession of the proceeds of crime.

Investigators are still looking for the person who drove the getaway car and a man who was in the park at the time of the shooting and may have been the intended target.

“Police would like to thank the community which has been extremely helpful with this investigation,” Det.-Sgt. Jim Gotell, of 42 Division, said in a statement released Saturday.
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Toronto's 42nd murder of 2018, One man was killed and another wounded in a double stabbing at a bar on St. Clair Ave. E. just east of Midland Ave., in Scarborough, around 2 a.m. on Saturday, June 16, 2018

One man was killed and another left fighting for his life after double stabbing at a Scarborough pub – the latest deadly violence in the city.

Toronto Police responded to the stabbing call at the Working Dog Saloon on St. Clair Ave. E., near Midland Ave., just after 2 a.m.

“We located two male victims both had been stabbed,” Gary Long, a police spokesman, tweeted Saturday.

He said the two men were rushed to hospital – one of them via emergency run.

One man subsequently died becoming the city’s 42nd murder victim of the year.

His name and age were not immediately released.

The second man remained in hospital Saturday with injuries that were considered life-threatening.

“Homicide is now investigating,” Long said, adding police had no descriptions of any suspects.

City Councillor Gary Crawford, Scarborough Southwest, visited the murder scene and told CP24 he was shocked by the violence.

“This is a local family pub where people come after work to have a bite, a few drinks and just relax with friends,” he said. “It is just tragic this happened.”

Crawford also said he wonders “what kind of idiot would bring a knife into a pub and cause this kind of tragedy.”

“It is beyond me,” he said.

In the last five weeks, since May 7, the city has endured 14 murders – half of those victims were killed by guns.

In addition to the shocking arrest of a 13-year-old boy on a first-degree murder rap for a deadly stabbing last weekend, the city has also recently seen a police officer survive a shooting thanks to his bulletproof vest and two sisters — just five and nine years old – badly wounded by gunfire in a playground that was teeming with kids.
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Joseph Perron 51, of Toronto, was assaulted on Wed. June 13 in the area of 103 West Lodge Ave.was taken to hospital and later pronounced dead

Toronto police are asking for help in identifying the suspect of a homicide that occurred last Wednesday at West Lodge and Lansdowne Aves.

Around 8:30 p.m. on Wed. June 13, a man was assaulted in the area of 103 West Lodge Ave. He was taken to hospital and later pronounced dead.

Police have identified the man as 51-year-old Joseph Perron.

Police have also released an image of the suspect and are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the man.

They believe that the suspect may frequent the West Lodge and Lansdowne area.

Anyone with information related to this homicide is asked to contact Detective Kathy Stephenson or Detective Sergeant Tim Gallant at 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.
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Friday, June 15, 2018

Toronto police arrest three 18-year-old men and a 17-year-old boy, from Regent Park, each face weapons and drug related charges

TORONTO – Three men and a boy are facing a total of 48 charges after Toronto police seized two guns, drugs and cash.

Police say officers investigating shootings in and near the downtown community of Regent Park noticed a vehicle, believed to be related to at least two shootings, in an underground parking garage on Thursday night.

They say the vehicle had what appeared to be bullet holes in it and the four male occupants were arrested.

Two loaded firearms, powdered cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana and cash were seized in a search of the vehicle.

Three 18-year-old men and a 17-year-old boy, all from Toronto, each face a dozen weapons and drug related charges.

Police say the arrests were part of Project Red Brick which saw the seizure of numerous guns and the arrests of four people on Saturday.

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Downtown Toronto turning into a 'shithole': Residents

It’s a theme I’ve been hearing repeatedly as of late — namely that areas of downtown Toronto around the safe injection sites and low barrier shelters are turning into a disgusting, unwelcoming “s***hole.”

I heard residents lament the deterioration of the Collier-Asquith neighbourhood Tuesday night at a fiery meeting about the lawlessness they’ve experienced since the 21 Park Rd. transient shelter opened last November.

I heard it again at Wednesday’s community services committee from residents living in Cabbagetown and around Moss Park.

Carmine Coccimiglo, a lawyer living on Seaton St., said he’s witnessing crimes on a daily basis from the Moss Park illegal safe injection site — harassment, violence and drug use.

He said the park is “rapidly declining” with pimps, prostitutes and drug dealers there now at all hours of the night.

“We have a rapidly deteriorating environment…something needs to happen sooner rather than later,” he said.

John Di Fruscia, who lives on Seaton St. and uses services at Moss Park, says he sees prostitution, drug dealing, injection of drugs and needles everywhere in the laneways in his neighbourhood and in front of Moss Park public school.

As he showed pictures of the illegal drug activity in public laneways, City Councillor Joe Cressy reprimanded him for doing so (Isn’t it nice that our councillors protect those breaking the law and not law-abiding citizens?)

“This is proving more and more that the social services can’t handle what’s happening in the area,” Di Fruscia said.

Sylvia Greeniaus, who  lives 80 metres from the Moss Park injection site, said the police can’t address anything in the park and drug dealers and other violent offenders have flocked there because of the lack of enforcement.

As for the clientele, she said once injected they wander around cursing, high as a kite with no supervision — often walking into traffic — forcing the entire neighbourhood “to deal with this.”

“The park is being owned by the (drug) faction now,” she said, sounding desperate and extremely frustrated.

Karen Marren of the Cabbagetown South Residents Association, said the corner of Sherbourne and Dundas Sts. is “totally out of control” and it’s just a matter of time before something really tragic happens.

“The escalating violence and assaults are a regular event,” she said. “Drug dealing and using is everywhere.”

She said garbage is also everywhere, just tossed on the ground and left for residents to pick up.

“The alleys and parks are being used as toilets,” she added, pleading to the councillors for help. “It’s just a free-for-all…why do we have parks if people can’t use them?”

Of course, no questions were asked of these poor residents by Councillors Joe Cressy or Joe Mihevc, who have created this mess with their trendy ideas, their push for more emergency shelter beds for transients and their fixation on feeding addicts their poisons, although safely.

As I’ve observed, Mayor John Tory, eager to win their support, has been only to happy to help, no matter the fallout to law-abiding taxpaying citizens.

I’ve said it before and will repeat it again: Harm reduction doesn’t work — it only enables addicts by feeding their addictions and has given rise to drug dealing and the same crimes seen around Vancouver’s InSite facility.

The only difference here in Toronto is council has put these sites in play without the kind of beefed up police presence that was provided in Vancouver. In fact, the recurring theme I hear from those experiencing the fallout in Toronto is that there is less police presence and those limited officers who are available (or who are called for help) have adopted a hands-off attitude.

On Wednesday, Tory announced some stop-gap measures to help clean up the problems at Yonge-Dundas Square — another area that has turned into a stinking mess because of the safe injection site on Victoria St.

But the measures announced are all just window dressing.

The real problem is that the mayor, councillors, the city’s public health and shelter bureaucrats and the police are afraid to say they’ve created a mess — and that mess is quickly escalating out of control.
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Toronto boy, 13, charged with 1st-degree murder after Aaron Rankine-Wright, 19 run down, stabbed

TORONTO — Police in Toronto say a 13-year-old boy is facing a murder charge after a cyclist was allegedly run down with a car and assaulted.

They say that after Aaron Rankine-Wright, 19, was struck late Saturday afternoon, three males got out of the vehicle and allegedly began assaulting him as he lay on the ground.

Investigators say the three suspects fled the area on foot and Rankine-Wright was taken to hospital where he died of a stab wound to the chest.

Police say the 13-year-old boy was arrested on Friday morning and is charged with first-degree murder.

A 17-year-old boy arrested on Sunday morning also faces a first-degree murder charge.

Police say there is still an outstanding male suspect, described as in his early teens to early 20s.

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Toronto woman Victoria Selby-Readman, 28, found with 'obvious trauma' ruled homicide at 798 Richmond St. W. on June 12, 2018

Police are releasing few details about a suspicious death Tuesday that investigators are now saying is the city’s 40th homicide of 2018.

At around 5:15 p.m., emergency crews were called to a fifth-floor apartment at 798 Richmond St. W. just east of Strachan Ave.

There, police found a woman suffering from what they described as ‘obvious trauma.’

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

A death initially deemed suspicious, an autopsy performed Wednesday morning ruled her death a homicide.

The victim has been identified as Victoria Selby-Readman, 28, of Toronto.

But cops have not revealed how she was killed.

Anybody with information  — particularly over the past three days — is asked to call police at 416-808-7400, or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS.

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Toronto 2 young sisters shot at playground in Scarborough

Two sisters, aged five and nine, are in hospital after they were shot at a Scarborough playground on Thursday. Police are looking for two suspects seen fleeing in a black, four-door Nissan Versa.

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Toronto shooting 2 girls shot in Scarborough playground 'quiet and friendly': Joyce Willis babysitter

The babysitter of the nine-year-old girl shot, along with her five-year old sister, Thursday afternoon, at a Scarborough townhouse playground, returned to the scene of the violence Friday morning to pick up her mail.

But Joyce Willis, who has lived at Alton Towers Circle since 1995 without any incidents of violence, said, “I feel like something was missing.”

Safety, perhaps?

“(I’m) very sad. I was looking for that here because we’re a tight community. (It’s a) very good neighbourhood. I’ve been living here since my daughter was seven. She’s 30 now,” she said.

Willis, who had yet to speak to the mother of the children on Friday, said the two gunshot victims are “quiet kids and friendly. ‘They call out, ‘Hi, Joyce!’ It’s sad. Oh my God, I didn’t go to sleep last night until 4:30 a.m.”

Willis says she was in the garden, located in the backyard of her house, about four doors up from the playground, early Thursday evening, when she heard “seven gunshots in a row.”

She says living in Toronto is “not safe, because every week, I hear (about) somebody getting hurt. It’s very sad and kids under 10 (in this case, were shot).”

The five and nine-year-old girls have both undergone surgery for the injuries they sustained in the shooting and are now in stable condition.

Willis said the family has eight children in total — “six small, and two big ones.”

She added it will take a lot to make the community feel safe again.

“What will make me feel safe again is to know the kids are free to play without incident. People coming in should be screened. Screen them, because I mean, you’re not living here, why you coming in? We have a lot of strange faces coming here. I’d like security here.”

Meanwhile, Mayor John Tory says the people involved in a brazen shooting of two young sisters at a playground do not deserve to be part of the city’s society. The same applies to anyone involved in gun violence in the city.

He says the people involved in Thursday’s “unacceptable” attack at a playground in the middle of a housing complex are cowardly and will be brought to justice.

Police are investigating the shooting, which they believe took place when a man opened fire on someone standing near the area where 11 children were playing.

They say the suspect then allegedly fled the scene in a black, four-door 2007 to 2011 Nissan Versa and say they’re searching for both the shooter and the getaway driver.

Police Chief Mark Saunders has urged the perpetrator’s friends to contact investigators.

“We are putting every resource on this to make sure we apprehend the person who would be motivated to do something like this in the city of Toronto,” he said. “We will be taking aggressive action toward resolving this particular investigation.”

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Toronto Police searching for suspects after 2 young sisters ages 5 and 9, shot in Scarborough playground

TORONTO — Two sisters, ages five and nine, were seriously injured during a "brazen" daylight shooting at a playground in Toronto's east end, authorities said Thursday.

Toronto police Det. Sgt. Jim Gotell told reporters at the scene that the girls were rushed to the Hospital for Sick Children and both are expected to survive.

He said at least seven shots were fired and investigators believe the intended target was a man who was among the 11 children in the playground.

"We've had a lot of co-operation from the public in regards to this shooting," Gotell said.

"It's a very horrible event that happened this evening, a very brazen attack on two young girls, so we're getting a lot of sympathy from members of the public and members of this community."

Gotell said investigators are looking for the male shooter and the driver of a getaway vehicle. Police have not provided descriptions for a suspect vehicle, but Gotell said they will release that information soon.

"A male approached the park with a handgun and started to fire into the park," he said. "At the time of the shooting the male suspect was on foot and he left the area in a car."

Toronto paramedics said they received a call about a shooting around 5 p.m. and rushed the girls to a trauma centre.

Deputy Cmdr. Steve Henderson said earlier Thursday that one of the girls had serious injuries that could be life-threatening, while the other suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

But Gotell said the five-year-old's condition in hospital has improved.

"At the time of the incident happened, we were fearful for her life," he said. "But her condition has upgraded in hospital and she is not expected to be in a life-threatening situation at this time."

Earlier in the evening, Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters that both girls required surgery, and called those behind the shooting "cowards."

"I can tell you that we are putting every resource on this to make sure we apprehend the person who would be motivated to do something like this in the city of Toronto," he said.

"We will be taking aggressive action toward resolving this particular investigation."

Officers canvassed the area for a suspect and collected footage from security cameras, Saunders said.

Toronto Mayor John Tory echoed Saunders' statement, promising that police will do everything possible to catch the "cowards" behind Thursday's shooting.

"I cannot imagine the anguish the family and friends of the two girls shot while playing in a park are experiencing tonight," Tory said in a statement.

"This entire city wants these girls to make a full recovery and this entire city wants justice for them. "

Meanwhile, Ontario premier-designate Doug Ford said on Twitter that he was aware of the incident.

"My thoughts and prayers are with them and their families," Ford said. "I will be monitoring the situation closely."

Gotell said investigators were looking to speak with anyone with information about the shooting, particularly the man believed to be the intended target.

"This is a horrendous crime.... It's not often we see two young girls shot in a public playground as they are playing," he said. "We would like the suspects to contact police and turn themselves in, because we're coming for you."

Investigators are also working to identify all the children at the playground during the shooting, Gotell said.

"We want to speak to their parents as well, because obviously they suffered a psychological trauma by being there," he said.

"One of the concerns that we have is ensuring that the children that were there receive the proper attention — whether it be medical attention or psychological attention — that they might require after this."

He also added that the victims' schools have been notified and will be bringing in crisis counsellors.

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Toronto Murder Mystery: Barry and Honey Sherman six months after

The yellow tape blocking the driveway at 50 Colony Road since there was snow on the ground has been removed.

But things will never be back to normal here.

True there is no longer a security person sitting outside of the house. True the flowers out front are blooming and someone has been in with a broom to give the place a spring cleanup.

But this north Toronto mansion remains not only a gruesome murder scene, it also keeps so many secrets of just what went on in there exactly six months ago.

It was on Dec. 15th, 2017, that Honey and Barry Sherman were found murdered in the pool area of their sprawling home.

And here we are on June 15th with no results. Their killer, or killers, a virtual ghost.

The homicide investigation into this remains a head scratcher — a real who dunnit with way more questions than answers.

Toronto Police seem to have no new information to offer the public in this strange case.

No description of who may have gone into the house on Dec. 13th and pulled off a murder that is believed to have been staged to look like one thing but may have been something else all together.

No update from homicide investigators offering theories of what may have happened in that house.

No reward has been put up to encourage tips.

And despite there being dozens of security cameras in the area, there has been no surveillance images or video evidence released.

Nothing but silence. That is the story.

Police did not comment on this investigation on the six month anniversary. Whatever they are doing in this case, they are keeping close to their vest.

However, the family’s believed to be more than $1 million probe is still very much under way.

“We are actively engaged in our investigation,” legendary lawyer Brian Greenspan said, on behalf of the four Sherman children. “This is unequivocally a double homicide.”

“We want justice for Honey and Barry Sherman,” he added.

A very strange double homicide.

Six months have gone by and whoever is responsible has seemingly vanished. If you recall six months ago, police originally thought this was a murder-suicide scenario but later concluded the billionaire couple were murdered — left hanging from a railing next to the indoor swimming pool.

This determination came from a second autopsy performed by the family hired pathologist, who came to the conclusion the philanthropic couple may have been tied up or bound in the moments before they were slain.

There are so many mysteries in this case but nothing is more mysterious as somebody being able to get in and out of the Sherman house, commit this heinous act without leaving any forensic or physical trail, avoiding getting caught on video and slipping away without a trace.

But that’s where this case is at.

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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Man dead, Toronto police officer injured after shooting in Scarborough near Warden Ave and HymusRd

The province’s police watchdog says it’s investigating after a man was fatally shot and a Toronto police officer suffered injuries in a shooting in Scarborough early Thursday.

The Special Investigations Unit said in a statement Thursday morning that according to preliminary information, officers were called to the Warden Avenue and Hymus Road area, south of Eglinton Avenue East, at around 12 a.m. with reports someone had a gun.

Officers found him in a vehicle outside of a pub. The SIU said police and the man exchanged gunfire, and the man was shot multiple times. The man, who has not been identified, was taken to hospital and later died, police said.

A Toronto Paramedics spokesperson said the officer was taken to a trauma centre with non-life-threatening injuries.

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters on Thursday morning that the officer is OK and will be released from hospital at some point.

“I’m incredibly proud of the work that the officers that attended, what they did,” he said, adding that he is grateful the officers were “well equipped” for the situation.

Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack told Global News that the officer, a man in his early 30s with four years of service, was wearing a bullet-proof vest that saved his life.

The officer is being treated for bruising and being monitored for internal injuries, he said.

Six investigators and three forensic investigators have been assigned to the SIU investigation, and the agency is looking to speak with witnesses or anyone who might have recorded the incident on video.

The SIU is an independent agency that investigates incidents involving police that have resulted in death, serious injury or alleged sexual assault.
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Toronto to purchase 4 temporary shelter structures for $10M to house homeless

Toronto housing officials say four “highly sophisticated pre-fabricated structures” will be purchased at a cost of $2.5 million each to help accommodate the growing demand for homeless shelters in the city.

“Staff will pilot the use of four temporary structures as 24-hour respite sites for the upcoming winter season,” said Paul Raftis, general manager of Toronto’s Shelter, Support and Housing Administration division, during a press conference Wednesday morning.

“This is a cost-effective way to both increase capacity quickly and improve service quality.”

Officials say the new structures, which will be placed in strategic locations across the city, including west and east of the downtown core, will be fully accessible and equipped with washrooms, showers, laundry facilities and HVAC systems that make them comfortable in all seasons.

“These highly sophisticated pre-fabricated structures are being used in communities across Canada, United States, and around the world for a range of purposes, including temporary housing, emergency shelters, churches, arctic stations, aquatic centres, gyms, classrooms and fire stations,” Raftis said.

“A local example in Toronto is a school that is using one of these structures as a gymnasium and they also plan to expand this to include an aquatic centre.”

The city plans to begin installing the structures in vacant areas in August.

“We’re looking for large vacant areas that would be parking lot type areas where you can put these because you want to have a proper hard foundation for it to sit on top,” Raftis said.

“So they are very flexible in terms where you can put them around the city, assuming you had the appropriate sized parking lot or space to put them. We’re not targeting putting these in parks.”

In recent months, residents in North York have raised concerns about a respite centre that opened in the Don Mills Road and Lawrence Avenue area.

The Don Mills Civitan Arena was chosen by the City of Toronto earlier this year to be one of two temporary homeless shelters in an effort to address the ongoing shelter crisis. But some in the community told Global News that placing a shelter in a residential area is inappropriate and unsafe, which then sparked criticisms of NIMBYism.

City officials said Toronto has seen an unprecedented demand for respite services over the last 18 months, with an increase of 40 per cent in the number of people looking for shelter space.

Due to a harsh winter, the city had to open additional warming centres to house the homeless and further promised to add hundreds of beds to the shelter system.

City statistics showed occupancy rates during the winter months reached 96 per cent of total capacity at many shelter locations.

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Toronto 680 NEWS Celebrates 25th Anniversary

680 NEWS is celebrating it's 25th anniversary! Geoff Rohoman talks with news director Amber LeBlanc and senior business editor Mike Eppel about how the station has changed over the years and that "the best is yet to come."
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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Toronto Super neighbourhood being built downtown

Toronto development plans to create a sky-high residential and business community at Front & Spadina on 5 acres

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Toronto Minimalist living in a Trinity Bellwoods condo could be solution to the rental market

A 236 square foot condo is being rented out for $1000 near Trinity-Bellwoods. Nitish Bissonauth meets with the renter who has adapted to the minimalist lifestyle.
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Monday, June 4, 2018

Toronto commercial real estate is rescuing city budget

The city of Toronto budget is getting a boost thanks to a busy commercial real estate market that could soar higher thanks to marijuana legalization.

Land transfer revenues in the first three months of 2018 were $30.7 million over the official prediction, thanks to “a number of (commercial) transactions,” Joe Farag, the city’s acting chief financial officer, told budget committee. “The revenue simply was much greater than anticipated.”

The commercial boom more than made up for a slumping residential real estate market which pumped $10 million, or about five per cent, less than budgeted into the city treasury, he said Monday.

More than ever, the city’s ability to pay for goods and services is tied to property sales. City council has ended years of extremely conservative forecasts for land tax revenue and is instead banking on more than $800 million this year to help pay the bills.

That approach was criticized by some councillors, who said the city has opened itself to a crisis and deep service cuts if real estate tanks. Former city manager Peter Wallace routinely warned council about an increasing reliance on the land sales levy.

Farag told councillors that sagging residential tax revenues continued into April but so did strong commercial sales. The home sales dip cut the budget surplus to $24 million.

Councillor John Campbell asked Farag if there are contingency plans “should things go south very quickly.” Farag assured the budget committee he doesn’t think that will happen.

“Our projections are that we’re going to meet budget, and the budget for this year is I believe $817 million,” he said. “It’s really early in the year to tell you what that number will be, but we think we’ll be able to meet it.”

The city might not have to worry, based on predictions of one real estate expert who says demand for Toronto office, industrial, retail and multi-residential properties often outstrips supply.

“We expect the market to stay strong in 2018 and 2019,” said Gaurav Mathur, manager of capital markets research at JLL Canada, in an interview.

“That’s based on the investor interest we see — there is a lot of money in the commercial real estate market looking for product to buy, which means the market is quite strong.”

Marijuana companies buying sites to set up shop should further buoy the market in suburban Toronto and beyond, Mathur added.

“It’s a new industry opening up and will have a pull going forward, but I think it’s too soon to say that what we’re seeing now is because of one particular industry,” he said.

For the overall budget, city staff are predicting overspending this year of $10 million due to factors including an influx of refugee claimants into city shelters and $3.8 million in extra police overtime.

Those costs are expected to be partially offset by factors including increased revenue from new developments and “continued underspending in municipal licensing and standards (division) on salaries and benefits from vacant positions.”
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Yostin Murillo, 22, arrested and charged with first-degree murder of Rhoderie Estrada, 41 of East York

Toronto police have arrested and charged a man in the death of Rhoderie Estrada, a mother of three who was killed in her East York home last month.

Homicide Det. Sgt. Mike Carbone said in a press conference on Sunday that police responded to a call on May 26 at approximately 2:15 a.m. and found a female suffering from “obvious signs of trauma” in her home on Torrens Ave., west of Pape Ave. The woman succumbed to her injuries at the scene.

Carbone identified the deceased as Rhoderie Estrada, 41, saying an autopsy was performed on May 27 and at this time they will not be releasing the cause of death. He said they are alleging that between the time of 10:30 p.m. on May 25 and 2:15 a.m. on May 26, an unknown person entered a side window in the home and caused the death of Estrada.

Yostin Murillo, 22, of no fixed address, has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Murillo will appear in court on June 4.

Carbone said there was no relationship between the suspect and victim. He said they believe they know the motive, but will not be releasing it at this time.

Carol Alvaran has known Estrada, who she calls Dherie, since 1995 when they met through a mutual friend. She said they remained close ever since.

“Dherie was such a good friend. She and I were like family,” Alvaran said. “She treated me as her younger sister when I left my home and went to live with her for quite some time … She always made sure there was food for me, and always wanted to make sure I was OK. She even encouraged me to go to nursing school then, which I am now.”

Alvaran now resides in Florida, but she flew to Toronto for Estrada’s funeral.

“She was a very positive person anyone would want to be around. A rare kind of person,” she said. “She would do anything for anyone … We will all miss her dearly.”

Estrada had worked as a clinician at St. Joseph’s Health Centre since 2001.

“It is with heavy hearts that we acknowledge the passing of one of our staff members, Rhoderie Estrada, this past weekend,” the hospital said in a statement. “Rhoderie has been a part of our team since 2001 and was a well-respected clinician and leader to her colleagues, as well as a friend. She will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her at St. Joe’s.”

Estrada was the city’s 33rd homicide victim this year.

Police are appealing to anyone who may have had contact with Murillo or who knows any information to contact the homicide squad at 416-808-7400 or anonymously call Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

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Toronto area home prices were down again in May 2018

The competition among homebuyers is increasing in the Toronto region even though year-over-year prices fell 6.6 per cent on average to $805,320 last month, from $862,149 in May 2017.

The number of resale home transactions declined 22.2 per cent in the same period.

Still, there are indications that the competition to buy a home is on the rise, supporting higher prices in the second half of the year and into early 2019, said Jason Mercer, director of market analysis for the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

“Average selling prices were at or above average listing prices for all major home types in May,” he said in a press release.

New listings of homes were down 26.2 per cent year over year in May, said TREB. There were 19,022 new listings of resale homes in May compared to 25,764 in May 2017.

Seasonally adjusted figures show the average selling price was actually up 1.1 per cent in May compared to April.

Detached and semi-detached houses continued to see the steepest decline in sales compared to condos and townhouses.

The average detached house price fell 8.2 per cent in the Toronto region to $1.05 million, with the biggest drop in the communities surrounding Toronto, where there was a 9 per cent price drop compared to the same month last year. In the city of Toronto, detached house prices fell only 5.6 per cent.

The condo market continued to register an increase in prices, with the average unit costing $562,892, 5.7 per cent more than May last year. The city of Toronto saw the biggest condo price increase of 6.5 per cent, to an average cost of $602,804.

York Region is still suffering disproportionate price declines compared to the rest of the GTA. While the benchmark Home Price Index was down 5.4 per cent overall, the same indicator showed a 15.6 per cent drop in York. Detached house prices were down 17.5 per cent on the index.

Twenty-five per cent of respondents to an online Ipsos poll last month put housing affordability among their top two concerns in the upcoming provincial election. The poll that included 500 city of Toronto residents and 700 from 905-area communities also found that 35 per cent of respondents said their vote would take into account parties’ stances on housing.

Seventy-seven per cent of respondents supported reducing the provincial land transfer tax and 68 per cent wanted to see the tax repealed.

TREB and the Ontario Real Estate Association are lobbying provincial candidates against allowing municipalities outside the city of Toronto to levy their own land transfer taxes. Toronto got the power to issue its tax in 2008, essentially doubling the provincial levy for homebuyers moving in the city.

This year to date, the home price index shows the average price of a detached home has fallen 13.8 per cent in the Toronto region, while the average condo price is up 7 per cent.

The average GTA home price in 2017 was $822,622, including houses and condos.

TREB is also pushing for the province to increase the supply of housing in the Toronto area, particularly the type known as the “missing middle” — stacked townhouses and midrise apartments that can accommodate families and are more affordable than detached houses. 

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Matthew Staikos 37, Yorkville Toronto murder victim was popular and well respected

In police files, he’ll go down as homicide #38/2018.

Shot dead on the streets of a city he had come to love.

Matthew Staikos, 37, did not fit the profile. Didn’t have the temperament. Didn’t have the demons or a closet full of contradictions.

But here we are. The tech entrepreneur has been brutally murdered and friends, family and the country’s tech community are shocked, horrified, heartbroken and baffled.

Staikos — a man with looks, charm, brains and everything in between — was gunned down on Bay St. in the city’s tony Yorkville neighbourhood Monday night.

And there is not an iota of why.

Cops are mum on whether he was targeted but three bullets — one in the head, one in the back — say otherwise.

“Nothing, nada … None of this makes any sense at all,” a friend of Staikos and his brother George told the Toronto Sun.

Staikos and his older sibling started Torch Mobile in 2003 and then sold it to Research in Motion in 2009.

“They were two smart brothers who sold Torch to RIM when the company was reinventing itself,” the friend said. “They were well thought of. Smart, capable, honest, hard-working, well-liked guys.”

Guys who don’t get gunned down in the concrete jungle.

Back to why.

“People can’t understand it … he was good-looking, nice, girls loved him … everybody loved him,” a former RIM co-worker said. “Everyone’s flabbergasted.”

“No gambling, no drugs, he was soft spoken, just a really nice guy … maybe it was a case of mistaken identity,” the source said, adding, “nothing else makes any sense.”

His devastated family released a terse statement Wednesday afternoon.

“Our family is mourning the sudden loss of our beloved Matthew. We ask that you respect the privacy of our family as we cope with this tragedy,” they said.

Cops say the suspected triggerman is black, 5-foot-10 with a medium build. The killer fled in a silver or grey four-door Mercedes.

And he had all the earmarks of a pro — not some gangbanger unleashing lead and hitting nothing.

On Wednesday, detectives were tight-lipped as to motive and would not confirm whether the well-liked Staikos was targeted.

“We’re in the early stages and will probably be putting something out in a day or so,” Det. Omar Khan told the Sun.

Staikos — a graduate of the mechanical and computer engineering program at the University of Toronto — was most recently CEO of the messaging site Vleepo.

He grew up in the Belleville area where his father, Nick Staikos, is a well-known developer.

None of it part of the gumbo that earned his file the banal title: Homicide #38/2018.
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Toronto Police at the scene on Yonge St. south of Dundas St. after a man was shot dead late Wednesday, May 30, 2018

TORONTO — A man is dead following a late-night shooting in one of Toronto’s busiest intersections.

Police say a man was shot at around 11 p.m. on the Yonge St. sidewalk at Yonge-Dundas Square in the heart of downtown.

The man, believed to be in his 20s, was rushed to a nearby trauma centre in critical condition.

Homicide Det. Stephen Henkel says he died of his injuries in hospital.

Investigators had not yet identified the victim, nor have they released any suspect information, though three men were reportedly seen fleeing after the shooting.

Police are seeking witnesses from the many people who in the square at the time of the shooting and planned to check out surveillance camera footage in the area.
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Harlem Baldwin, 20, Sharrieff Muhammad, 22, and Kareemallah Muhammad, 18 all of Toronto and Shakiem Anderson, 21 nabbed for brazen gunplay, reckless ride through city

A wild incident that saw gunshots fired in Regent Park Monday and a car speeding recklessly through downtown streets before smashing into oncoming vehicles and police cruisers ended with four young men in handcuffs.

“Given what could have happened, we’re lucky there were no serious injuries,” Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash said Wednesday.

He also noted two guns were taken off the street in this “latest example of excellent police work” by Toronto cops.

It was initially a plainclothes officer, working in the Parliament-Dundas Sts. area, who spotted four men in a vehicle seemingly attempting to disguise their identities, police say.

The officer called for assistance and another plainclothes officer responded. By then the car was just south of Dundas at Coatsworth St.

An armed occupant allegedly got out of the vehicle, stood on the sidewalk on Parliament and fired at traffic and pedestrians.

Police don’t believe anyone was hit.

The man then got back into the vehicle which drove off as the plainclothes officers followed. Other uniform and plainclothes officers quickly responded and joined the pursuit.

Cops say the vehicle was boxed in by police vehicles at Sherbourne and Shuter Sts.

Officers attempted to arrest the occupants but the driver allegedly reversed into a police vehicle, then drove at a uniformed officer, who was hit but not seriously injured.

Police allege the vehicle then sped towards oncoming traffic, blew a red light at Shuter and Jarvis Sts. and collided with a taxi.

The vehicle allegedly crashed into another taxi and drove along the sidewalk, narrowly missing pedestrians, before the driver lost control and struck another police car.

Four men emerged and then ran from the vehicle.

Officers arrested four suspects and seized two loaded firearms.

Harlem Baldwin, 20, Sharrieff Muhammad, 22, and Kareemallah Muhammad, 18 — all of Toronto — and Shakiem Anderson, 21, of Mississauga, face a slew of charges.
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Kevin Frankish leaving City TV's Breakfast Television Toronto

Kevin Frankish, the longtime host of City TV’s Breakfast Television, is leaving the show.

An emotional Frankish made the announcement Tuesday morning. His last day is Friday.

“We have shared so much together for so many years,” he said in a statement. “Many of you who started watching me as kids come up to me now as parents with kids of your own. Some of you may remember when I proposed to my wife on the air.

“I have shared with you the birth of all four of my children. When I had a panic attack on air, I shared THAT with you and we have since gone on a journey of my battle with depression together.

“In fact, many of you in turn have shared so many of your stories. We are truly family.

“It is this fact that makes what I have to say so difficult. All good things must come to an end … eventually, and so sadly has my time here at Breakfast Television.

“Friday will be my last day on this program.”

Fans on Twitter were quick to react to Frankish’s news:

— “I grew up watching you and you were a part of many people’s morning routines. Thanks for the memories @KevinFrankish and good luck on your future endeavours.”

— “Thank you Kevin for your professionalism, laughter, honesty and sharing! Wishing you well in the next chapter.”

— “I’ve watched you since grade 8 and that was when Kim Campbell was PM. Toronto mornings won’t be the same without you!”

— “I am going to miss Kevin. When one of youse leave it is like a part of my family that is leaving. When you watch everyday it is like all of you are family.”

— “BT will never be the same! Best of luck in the future! You will be missed!”

In 2016, Breakfast Television fans were also upset at the departure of 23-year veteran Jennifer Valentyne, who at the time said she was let go because the show was going “in a different direction.”

Frankish said he will be working on documentaries for City TV in the future.

Rogers Media, which owns City, issued a statement wishing Frankish all the best in his future endeavours.

“Kevin has been a trusted face invited into the homes of our viewers for the past 27 years, and a leader in the vision of Breakfast Television,” the statement said.

“Stay tuned for more details to be announced in the coming months.”
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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Venojan "Veno" Suthesan 21, Toronto, York University student found shot dead outside Malvern high school

A 21-year-old York University business student was “targeted” in a fatal shooting outside a high school in Malvern early Monday.

Toronto Police were called to Lester B. Pearson Collegiate on Tapscott Rd., in the Sheppard Ave. E. and Neilson Rd. area, for reports of multiple gunshots at 11:55 p.m. Sunday.

They found Venojan (“Veno”) Suthesan with obvious signs of trauma. Reports say he had been shot in the head. He died at the scene.

Suthesan was a student at York University’s Schulich School of Business.

“Veno was regarded as an incredibly bright, energetic, kind and compassionate individual, who was always there to help out his fellow students,” York president Rhonda Lenton said in a statement.

“On behalf of the entire York community, I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. The York University flag will be lowered to half-mast in his honour, and our team is reaching out to the community members who are most directly affected.”

Det. Andy Singh said Suthesan was not previously known to police.

Police say a man was seen fleeing down Washburn Way. He is described as having dark skin, 5-foot-10 with an average build, and wearing a light hoodie and khaki pants.

A dark-coloured vehicle was seen circling the area about 40 minutes before the murder, perhaps waiting for the victim, Singh said.

Suthesan is the city’s 35th murder victim of the year.

Anyone who saw him on Sunday or knows any information is asked to call police at 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers.
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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Suspect wanted after Rhoderie Estrada 41, found dead in east-end Toronto home on 72 Torrens Ave at around 2:20 a.m. on Saturday May 26, 2018

Toronto police  say they are investigating after a woman was found dead in her bedroom in East York.

Officers were called to 72 Torrens Ave at around 2:20 a.m. on Saturday, where investigators said the body of 41-year-old Rhoderie Estrada was found.

In a press conference Saturday afternoon, Det. Sgt. Mike Carbone said Estrada’s body was found “suffering obvious signs of trauma.”

“The lifeless body of a female was located in the bedroom,” he said. “Toronto paramedics attended and life saving efforts were commenced.”

Estrada died at the scene.

“An unknown person entered the dwelling via [the] side window and subsequently caused the death of Ms. Estrada,” said Carbone.

He said the investigation is still in the early stages. An autopsy has been scheduled for Sunday morning.

Officers said they will not share who made the 911 call or if she was alone in the home when the incident occurred.

Officers said she died sometime between Friday at 10:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2:15 a.m.

There is no suspect information at this time.

Police are asking anyone with information to call 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers anonomously at 416-222-8477.

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Toronto police warning Regent Park residents of two men trolling area with guns

Toronto police want the Regent Park community to be aware of a public safety alert that has been issued for two men trolling the area with guns.

On Wednesday morning at 12:43 a.m., a man was smoking a cigarette near 184 River St., near Gerrard St. E., when he was approached by two men.

Police say one of the men — wearing all white with a hooded garment — held a hand gun to the back of the smoking man’s head.

The suspect appeared to have pulled the trigger, but the gun didn’t discharge and both suspects walked away.

A second incident took place on Wednesday at 12:51 a.m. near a variety store at 175 River St where a 42-year-old man was standing.

Police believe the same two suspects same are involved and both had guns.

They chased the victim into the lobby area of a building at 220 Oak St., where one suspect discharged his firearm, which struck the victim.

The suspects fled on foot and the victim was taken to hospital where he was treated and released.

Police say they believe the same two suspects are responsible for both incidents and have released video of the incidents.

“We are asking the public to be vigilant with the descriptions of these men and call police,” said police spokesman Katrina Arrogante.
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19 year old dead after fatal stabbing at Mississauga house party on Tradewin Dr

Peel Regional Police are investigating the fatal stabbing of a teen at a house party Saturday morning.

The 19-year-old was stabbed just after 1 a.m. on Tradewind Dr., near Hwy. 401 and Winston Churchill Blvd.

“Our uniformed officers attended a stabbing and found a male with obvious signs of trauma. He was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries,” said Const. Bally Saini.

“This was an isolated incident.”

    Media Officer @PRP_Baljit on scene staging area at Tradewind/Winston Churchill #Mississauga
    — Peel Regional Police (@PeelPoliceMedia) May 26, 2018

The victim’s identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Saini said some members of the party remained and are cooperating with police.

Laura, who lives near the house, said she had her windows open because of the weather and was awoken by the commotion.

“There were police lights and young people leaving. One woman was crying inconsolably,” Laura said.

“This is a good neighbourhood and everyone has surveillance so it won’t take long to figure it out.”

Emily, another neighbour, said the house is notorious for having large parties.

“We all know about that house. It’s bad for the neighbourhood,” she said.

“This is tragic. Young people should find better things to do.”
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Toronto man Jaiden Jackson, 28 shot 20 times in disturbing video released by Toronto Police

Toronto Police have released a shocking murder video of a man being shot 20 times in the business district on Sunday.

The victim — Jaiden Jackson, 28, of Toronto — was at a private party at the Pick 6 bar at Yonge and Wellington Sts. when he left at about 9 p.m. and was targeted by three suspects.

Jackson had left the party with a woman and noticed the suspects in a late-model black Honda Civic.

“As soon as (Jackson) sees them, he begins to run west on Wellington down a parking ramp (on 18 Wellington W.) said homicide Det. Sgt. Gary Giroux.

At which point, two suspects get out of the car.

“The two chase him down the ramp and the driver is also in chase. You can see (Jackson) run down the ramp and he falls and the two suspects catch up to him and all three begin to shoot at the same time,” Giroux said.

The two suspects re-enter the car and the trio reverse back up the ramp to make their getaway south on Bay St. towards the Gardiner Expressway.

Jackson — who was known to Toronto police — was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The woman he was with has come forward and is co-operating with police.

Police are still going through addition surveillance video from the area to help identify the suspects who concealed their identities.

“They must have known there was video surveillance in the area, but they were not concerned about it,” Giroux said.

    Please consider watching and sharing video to help Toronto Police ID suspects in shooting murder of Jaiden Jackson outside Pick 6ix nightclub *caution graphic video*. Info contact Det/Sgt Gary Giroux cell 416-318-2122. Anonymous Crime Stopper tips 1-800-222-8477
    — Homicide Squad (@TPSHomicide) May 25, 2018

“(Jackson was) clearly targeted for this offence and there are three dangerous people we want to apprehend.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Toronto Millennials dream of backyards but are stuck in condos: report

 Toronto Millennials are the most educated group in Canada, but high housing costs are keeping some of the country’s most qualified workers in their parents’ basements or pushing them out of the province altogether, a new report suggests.

The study, released Tuesday by the Ontario Real Estate Association in partnership with Ryerson University, raises alarm bells about the future of the region’s housing market, which researchers say won’t meet the demand of Millennial home buyers as they start families.

Millennials are often portrayed as the antithesis of Baby Boomers, with disparate opinions on everything from politics to brunch. But according to the research, which analyzed census data and surveys of Millennials, the two generations want similar things from life: a spouse, kids and a ground-level home with a backyard.

 The problem, researchers say, is that there aren’t enough affordable ground-level starter homes in Toronto, and developers are more interested in building condos and apartment units than townhouses and detached properties.

To make matters trickier, Baby Boomers won’t begin downsizing from their houses until 2040, keeping a large swath of resale properties off the market.

Over the next 10 years, researchers expect 700,000 Millennials will move out of their parents’ homes. As they enter the housing market, the demand for ground-level homes won’t be met, with 70,000 fewer ground-level homes than needed, researchers say.

If that demand isn’t addressed soon, there could be several major consequences. Millennials may go into deep debt to buy a house, abandon the city for the suburbs – thereby adding to traffic congestion -- or leave their jobs in the Greater Toronto Area to test the job market elsewhere.

The problem isn’t because Millennials aren’t saving enough, says report co-author Diana Petramala, a senior researcher with Ryerson’s Centre for Urban Policy and Land Development. She says assets among Millennials are growing faster than any other cohort over a 10-year period, and Millennials are taking on less debt.

Regardless, entry-level houses are still far out of reach.

“A single-family home now would require an income that is six times that of the average Millennial. So it definitely is becoming more difficult,” Petramala told CTV News Channel on Tuesday.

Younger Millennials have turned to the condo market for relatively affordable starter properties. Part of that demand came from Millennials who moved to Ontario from western provinces when oil prices recently dropped.

But that short-term boost doesn’t offset the long-term trend of Millennials leaving Ontario.

“We do see more people leaving the province than staying. So we do think that Millennials are at that age where they’re more mobile, they’re moving quickly through the housing cycle. And if we don’t offer them the type of jobs and housing that they would like, there’s a good chance we could lose a bunch of them.”

That projected Millennial exodus may be avoided if policy makers address the problem now, says Tim Hudak, CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association and the province’s former Progressive Conservative leader.

The organization has launched a campaign, Keep the Dream Alive, calling on the three candidates vying to become Ontario’s next premier to address the reported lack of affordable detached homes in Toronto.

But the issue isn’t just limited to Toronto, Hudak says.

“Whether I’m in Toronto, Niagara Falls, Ottawa or Simcoe, they all say the same thing – realtors have that young couple, they did all the right things. They got their degree, they got the job, maybe they’re expecting a kid – they can’t find a house to move into,” Hudak told CTV Toronto on Tuesday.

“So this is all about helping Millennials escape mom and dad’s basement, move on with life and boost the economy.”

Policy makers may also want to consider tax incentives to help Millennial home buyers reach their dreams, Hudak said.

“We need more supply, greater choices and giving them a bit of a tax break when they try to buy their first home. That would go a long way too,” he said.

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