Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Three people were rushed to hospital with gunshot wounds after a gunman opened fire on a car in the intersection of Dixon Rd. and Skyway Ave Rexdale, Toronto

Three men were injured when their car was sprayed with bullets at a red light in Rexdale Monday night.

Toronto Police say the gunfire erupted around 10:20 p.m. at Dixon Rd. and Skyway Ave., just west of Hwy. 27.

It’s believed the victim’s grey Toyota Camry was stopped at the intersection when a second vehicle pulled up next to the passenger side.

A gunman reportedly opened fire from the second vehicle, which then drove off.

The Toyota’s front and rear passenger side windows were shot out and the three men inside, possibly in their 20s and 30s, were hit.

The three victims were rushed to hospital but the extent of their injuries was not immediately known.

No arrests have been made and no description of the shooter or second vehicle has been released.

Police say the investigation is ongoing.
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The Dempsey building at the northwest corner of Yonge and Sheppard of North York and the locations transformation.

What the northwest corner of Sheppard Ave and Yonge St looked like then and now.

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Monday, December 18, 2017

Mark Young, 52, was found fatally shot in the St. Lawrence Market area on Dec. 16, 2017

Toronto Police have identified a man found fatally shot in a downtown apartment building over the weekend.

Mark Young, 52, was found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds around 12:30 a.m. Saturday at 25 Henry Lane Terrace, a TCHC building near Lower Jarvis St. and The Esplanade.

He died at the scene. No arrests have been made or suspect descriptions released.

Witnesses reported hearing four shots ring out along with “screaming and yelling,” police said Saturday.

Young is the city’s 61st murder victim of the year.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 416-808-7400.

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With Caddy's closing, another Toronto strip club bites the dust

In a black, cinder-block building on Eglinton Ave. E., a gaudy sign welcomes patrons to what has become the Jurassic Park of the flesh-pedaling business.

For decades, Caddy’s Adult Entertainment provided blue collar men with an escape from the drudgery of their lives, wives and troubles.

But now, Caddy’s is shutting down the neon lights, thumping music and bevy of beauties. The sounds of Bob Seger’s Strut and Styx’s Lady have long since faded.

The strip joint is a casualty of changing times and an emerging new morality. It joins Jilly’s, House of Lancaster, Cheaters and probably dozens of others on the peeler palace slag heap.

“The business used to be a lot of fun,” said Mary Taylor,  a former stripper who’s founder of the Exotic Dancer’s Association.

“And it was a way for girls to put themselves through school or put some money together for a fresh start. That’s all gone.”

In 1998, there were 47 strip joints in Toronto. That number has plummeted to around 12, according to the City of Toronto’s Municipal Licensing and Standards office.

It’s not the end, but you can see it from here.

“It’s called the Internet,” added Valerie Scott, a former stripper and sex worker activist. She also sees something more insidious in the naked truth facing strip clubs.

“The religious right and radical feminists have formed an unholy alliance in the U.S., and it’s coming here,” said Scott, who noted many municipalities have grandfathered their cabaret licenses, meaning they won’t be issuing new permits.

Former hotbeds of peeling have seen the disappearance of dozens of the clubs. Hamilton is down to one strip joint while Oshawa has none.

Strip joints are barred altogether from St. Catharines.

Some smaller communities have not been as aggressive as Toronto in eradicating strip clubs but their days could be numbered, too.

“For politicians, closing strip clubs is win-win. They get cheered from the right and the left,” Scott said, adding that local political hacks “are only too happy to oblige.

“There is no outcry and they are dying a slow death.”

With a burgeoning new morality in the U.S., the impending demise of net neutrality, and a retreat from “anything vaguely sexual,” Scott believes the end is nigh.

“But with a crackdown on Internet porn looming, you never know, strip clubs could become popular again,” she said.

One regular patron said the action has moved to backpage.com, massage parlours and the web.

“You go to a lot of strip joints these days and it’s just a dozen or so sad sacks, they’re not much fun anymore,” the enthusiast said. “Even Niagara Falls is down to just two … when the dollar was low, there were half a dozen filled with free-spending Americans. Not now.”

And there is also a dancer deficit.

Osgoode Hall professor  Alan Young said the stripper shortage is killing the business.

When Canadian women — particularly from Quebec — began turning their noses up at doffing their duds in dimly-lit rooms full of lonely men, strip club owners had to turn elsewhere.

“The origins of the demise of strip clubs began in the Harper era when certain VISA restrictions were placed on women coming from Eastern European countries for work in strip clubs,” Young told the Sun.

“The majority of strippers came from Eastern Europe and with the shortage of strippers many clubs started to close.”

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Ride the TTC for Free on December 17 Ontario Celebrating Largest Expansion of Toronto’s Subway System in Nearly 40 Years

Ontario is celebrating the largest expansion of Toronto's subway system in nearly 40 years by making the TTC free on December 17, the first day of service for the new Line 1 extension into York Region.
Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation, along with John Tory, Mayor of Toronto and Josh Colle, TTC Chair, were at Sheppard West TTC station today to announce that on Sunday, December 17, people can ride the entire TTC network for free in celebration of the subway extension opening.
The new Line 1 extension is among the largest subway expansions in North America in recent decades, with six new stations and 8.6 kilometres of new track. Riders will get from the new subway terminus at Vaughan Metropolitan Centre to the Sheppard West station in about 14 minutes and to Union Station in 42 minutes. Students will also be able to take rapid transit to York University for the very first time.

Building better public transit for commuters and families is part of Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of Medicare in a generation.

Quick Facts

  • The Line 1 extension (or Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE)) will add an estimated 36 million transit trips and eliminate 30 million car trips per year, helping to ease traffic congestion, improve air quality and fight climate change.
  • The project adds more than 2,800 parking spots at three commuter lots along the new extension.
  • The Line 1 extension is the largest subway expansion in the region in nearly 40 years, with a total cost of about $3.2 billion. The province provided $974 million to the project through the Move Ontario Trust. The City of Toronto is providing $904 million, the federal government up to $697 million and York Region $604 million.
  • The six new subway stations are Downsview Park, Finch West, York University, Pioneer Village, Highway 407 and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre.
  • The subway’s new terminus at Vaughan Metropolitan Centre is a major new transportation hub in York Region. It connects directly to the vivaNext rapidway on Highway 7 — part of an extensive rapid transit network of dedicated bus lanes that York Region Transit is building with up to $1.4 billion in funding from Ontario.
  • Ontario and the City of Toronto are cutting costs for commuters in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. Starting on January 7, 2018, adult, senior, youth and student TTC riders will pay a TTC fare of just $1.50 when they use a PRESTO card to transfer to or from GO Transit or the Union Pearson Express.

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Murder-suicide suspected in deaths of Toronto billionaire Barry Sherman and wife Honey

Barry Sherman, a billionaire businessman and philanthropist, was found dead alongside his wife Honey in their Toronto mansion Friday morning, police sources told the Sun.

Officially, Toronto Police aren’t commenting on the tragedy — other than to call the deaths of one of Canada’s richest couples “suspicious.”

However, sources say police were working Friday night on the theory the demise of the billionaire Apotex founder and his wife, which has stunned the city and those who knew them, may have been a murder-suicide.

Sources close to the case believe Honey may have been killed in a secondary location in the $6.9 million Old Colony Rd. house and then moved to the location where she was later found with her deceased husband.

“Forensics need to be done and post-mortems on the bodies, but at this stage it appears there was no forced entry and no evidence of anybody else in the house,” a police source said.

Emergency responders found the pair hanging from a railing that surrounds lap pool inside the house southeast of Bayview Ave. and Hwy. 401.

Insp. Bryan Bott, who heads up the Homicide Unit, would not confirm or comment on the details of the case but he did tell the Toronto Sun “at this time we are not searching for any suspects.”

Bott said homicide detectives will conduct a full investigation and all avenues will be explored.

That said, police did not immediately find a suicide note and a search of the massive house, which will include reviewing of the home’s video surveillance system, was just beginning.

If autopsies and forensics change the scenario, a source close to the case said senior homicide officials will update the public.

Sources said Sherman — believed to be worth almost $5-billion — did not show up for work at Apotex Thursday, which did not immediately raise alarm bells.

A real estate agent, who was selling the couple’s house, went to the home and made the grisly discovery after she was unable to contact them to make an appointment for a showing.

Police tape surrounds the home of Apotex founder Barry Sherman and wife, Honey Sherman after they were found dead on Friday, December 15, 2017.

It was a horrific day for the couple’s grown children, who apparently heard about the death of their parents through media and social media rather than police.

Meanwhile, there was an outpouring of grief from those who knew the Shermans.

“On behalf of all Toronto residents, I want to express my deepest condolences to the Sherman family,” Mayor John Tory said in a statement.

“I am shocked and heartbroken to learn that Barry and Honey Sherman were found dead in their home today,” he said, explaining he has “had the privilege of knowing them both well for many years.”

“Barry and Honey were kind, good people who will be greatly missed,” Tory said. “The philanthropic and economic contributions they have made to Toronto put them in a class of their own.

“Toronto Police are investigating and I hope that investigation will be able to provide answers for all of us who are mourning this tremendous loss,” he added.

Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey, who has known the couple for decades, described the Shermans as “a dynamic couple.”

“Barry was very reserved and not an outgoing person while Honey was outgoing and a leadership person who took command of situations,” he said.

“Barry could walk into a room, go and sit in a corner and no one would know who he was,” Godfrey said. “But when Honey walked into a room, she took over the room.”

Mostly they made sure charitable causes were funded.

“They gave a lot of money to charity,” said Godfrey. “They didn’t lead extravagant lifestyles even though they could have. Instead they gave millions of dollars to charitable causes to improve the quality of life of the people of Toronto.”

Godfrey described the Shermans as “the number one contact for Jewish people who had a cause” but also for charities outside the Jewish community too.

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center President and CEO Avi Benlolo said the Shermans were “among the community’s philanthropic giants and have been incredible supporters of the organization.”

Police secured the home of Apotex founder Barry Sherman and wife, Honey Sherman after they were found dead on Friday, December 15, 2017.

It was an eerie scene outside their sprawling mansion Friday night, with a For Sale sign on a front lawn covered in snow, the lights still ablaze and yellow crime scene tape surrounding the property.

Neighbours — some stopped by to drop off flowers for the much-loved couple – were clearly shocked by the gutwrenching news.

An unidentified woman delivered flowers to the home of Apotex founder Barry Sherman and wife, Honey Sherman, after they were found dead on Friday, December 15, 2017.

The coroner arrived late Friday to remove the bodies, which may have been in the home since Thursday.

Meanwhile, Apotex put out a statement saying the generic drug company was aware of “the tragic news that Barry and Honey Sherman have unexpectedly passed away.”

“All of us at Apotex are deeply shocked and saddened by this news and our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time.”

A steady stream of tributes poured in all evening.

“He was the best friend I ever had,” said a choked up entrepreneur, TV host and film maker Frank D’Angelo, who was a business partner of Barry Sherman.

“I have had a lot of calls but I don’t want to say anything until we understand what happened here,” he said. “I have no way to cope to tell you how I am feeling right now.”

Many who knew the couple were grieving in similar ways.

“Two weeks ago it gave me immense joy to present a Senate medal to one of the kindest and most beloved members of Canada’s Jewish community,” tweeted Senator Linda Frum. “Today I am gutted by the loss of Honey and Barry Sherman. Our community is steeped in grief. I am heartbroken.”

Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins tweeted he is “beyond words” to learn his “dear friends” were found dead.

Hoskins later sent out the following statement:

“I cannot begin to find the words to express my deep sorrow and profound sadness at the tragic loss of my dear friends, Barry and Honey Sherman. My wife, Samantha Nutt, and I deeply valued our friendship with Barry and Honey. They were generous philanthropists, kind and compassionate individuals, devoted to their family, their friends, their community, this province and this country. Their leadership and investments in health care leave a legacy we are all better for. They will be deeply missed, including by their Apotex family of more than 6,000 Canadian employees and their many friends and colleagues. Our thoughts and prayers are with their family, friends, colleagues and their Apotex family. Barry and Honey, may you rest in peace.”

The couple had also delved into political endeavours, including hosting an event for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and another with Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

But their first love was helping people.

“People I bumped into are in a state of shock tonight,” said Godfrey. “There will be a major hole in Toronto and in the Jewish community. People like the Shermans don’t come along every day.”

He said their passing has come as a surprise to friends and family since “they had everything to live for,” including their children, a new home they were planning to build in Forest Hill and a planned trip next week for Florida.

Instead all there is are questions about what happened here?


Barry Sherman’s glittering billion-dollar business career was bedevilled by a family dispute that spanned more than 50 years.

Sherman and his wife Honey were found dead Friday under mysterious circumstances in their sprawling mansion at 50 Old Colony Rd. near Bayview and the 401.

With an estimated net worth of $4.7 billion, Sherman’s business and personal dealings during his long career have courted wild success and controversy.

Born into wealth in 1942, he had a stellar academic career (entering the University of Toronto at 16 and later receiving his Doctoral degree from MIT).

His uncle Louis Lloyd Winter founded the pharmaceutical giant, Empire Laboratories, which would later become Apotex Inc. — Canada’s largest generic pharmaceutical company.

But when his uncle and aunt died in 1965, leaving their four children orphaned, the aspiring impresario was given the opportunity to buy the company from the executor.

Fifty years later that deal still leaves a sour taste in the mouths of Louis’s children, who feel they were cheated out of their inheritance. A judge tossed their lawsuit in September but they are appealing.

The Winter children claimed Sherman never gave them the royalties and opportunities they deserved. In court, they claimed he had failed in his “fiduciary duties.”

Sherman sold Empire in 1972 and started Apotex in 1973, which would make him a billionaire.

More recently, he orchestrated a boardroom coup over beer baron, aspiring movie star and late night talk show host, Frank D’Angelo. The ubiquitous D’Angelo was allegedly pushed upstairs at the brewery he founded by his financier friend, Barry Sherman.

Not surprisingly, Sherman’s 24-year-old son Jonathan took over.

In 2015, the Jewish Defence League picketed outside Sherman’s North York mansion because he was holding a fundraiser for Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.

In September of this year, Sherman asked the Federal Court to shut down an investigation into fundraising activities he helped organize for the Liberals.

The probe by Karen Shepherd, the federal Commissioner of Lobbying, was launched following complaints about two events. One was a $1,500-a-head private dinner with Trudeau that Sherman hosted on Aug. 26, 2015. The other was a Nov. 7, 2016, fundraiser featuring Finance Minister Bill Morneau for which Sherman was selling tickets for $500 apiece.

It’s estimated he donated more than $50 million to the United Jewish Appeal and millions more to other charities.

Sherman and his wife leave behind four children.
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Vaughan hostage taker wore suicide vest, demanded to speak with Trump

Demanding to talk to United States President Donald Trump, the 25-year-old man had nine bombs strapped to a suicide vest, a detonator in one hand and a gun in the other.

And he was threatening to use his entire arsenal inside an RBC branch — at the corner of Major MacKenzie Dr. and Dufferin St. in Vaughan — where he had up to 13 hostages Wednesday.

“He was waving his gun around,” said a person who was on the scene. “He was not demanding money. He asked for no money. He said he wanted crystal meth and he wanted to talk to Trump.”

He also asked for panicked bank employees to call police.

Police are working to determine whether his arsenal or threats were real. But York Regional Police did not take any chances. After a robot was deployed inside the bank, two officers took him out with gunshots.

“I am glad that they did,” said one person who was inside the building before being told to get out by police. “It was a scary situation when a guy has bombs and a gun.”

This investigation is still very much in its early stages with forensics to determine what was authentic. The province’s Special Investigation’s Unit, which investigates police shootings, was all over this taped-off scene Thursday.

One source who was on the scene said officers tried everything they could to get the man to surrender and to free his hostages.

“In the end there was no negotiating with him. He didn’t want to talk anymore,” said the insider, who described him as appearing emotionally unstable.

One of the working theories is suicide by cop. Little is known about the dead man so far. The SIU had not yet released his name.

Who was this mystery man and why did he drive a car from the Bathurst St.-Teston Rd. area four kilometres to the bank with a suicide vest?

“He is Middle Eastern,” confirmed a police source. “I believe he’s originally from Egypt.” One witnessed said there was no references to any religious or terror allegiences in the man’s rantings. The only thing political was the name “Trump.”

Police were guarding the scene of a nearby, spacious, recently built, two-floor luxury home at 130 Lady Delores Dr. where the deceased is said to have been living. Neighbours describe it as an uneventful abode.

With a York Regional cruiser holding the taped off scene, the front door of the house had remained open since late Wednesday evening when police came in. There is broken glass visible on the front step.

“We are awaiting a warrant to search the house,” explained York Const. Andy Pattenden.

When explosives are part of a probe, it’s not unusual to have specialists take a look for live explosives or any products or equipment that could make such devices.

No one has confirmed if the bombs or weapon the dead man displayed were operational. But one person in the building at the time of the incident, said the hostages felt they looked real.

One person I talked with who was inside the building when the hostage taking went down, described it as one of those pat-the-police-on-the-back moments.

But ultimately that will be up to the SIU to decide.
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OMB approves Toronto's new ward boundaries and 3 new city councillors

Civic government is getting bigger in Hogtown.

On Friday, the Ontario Municipal Board approved a City of Toronto council decision to add three more councillors and make changes to the ward boundaries.

That move had been challenged by some citizen groups and two members of city council — Justin Di Ciano and Giorgio Mammoliti.

But on Friday, the OMB ruled the city can redraw the wards so each has a population of roughly 61,000 residents.

That will increase the number of wards from 44 to 47.

In its ruling, the OMB said it’s not the “perfect” decision, but it was better than all the rest.

The 47-ward model will achieve the goal of “effective representation.”

Mammoliti said it was a sad day for democracy.

“This was done with no regard for the fact that a number of communities had no consultation, no voice, on this matter,” Mammoliti said.
“It’s going to create chaos,” he said. “How will council run with more members? It will make life more miserable and the decision was made to accommodate the bureaucrats and not the taxpayers who don’t want 47 members in council.”

City council approved the decision to make ward changes over a year ago.

The OMB decision was made in time for the city to redraw ward boundaries in time for the next civic election.

The move will create three new wards in the city centre, one in North York and the majority of others would be redrawn. It will also eliminate Ward 18 Davenport into other boundaries.
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Man killed by gunfire at downtown Toronto apartment building near St. Lawrence Market. 61st murder of 2017

A man was gunned down at an apartment building near the St. Lawrence Market early Saturday.

Toronto police say they received a 911 call around 12:30 a.m. for the sound of gunshots at 25 Henry Lane Terrace — a Toronto Community Housing building near Lower Jarvis St. and The Esplanade.

Witnesses reported hearing four shots ring out along with “screaming and yelling,” police said Saturday.

Officers arrived at the building and found the lifeless body of a man who had suffered gunshot wounds.

The man, whose identity was not immediately released, was pronounced dead on the scene.

He is the city’s 61st murder victim of the year.

Homicide detectives have taken over the case and the investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information regarding this deadly shooting is urged to call the Homicide Unit at 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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Baby from violent incident at One Sherway is stable but accused mom unable to attend court

Medical issues that weren’t physical kept a woman accused of trying to kill her baby and assaulting the infant’s father from appearing in court on Friday.

Police allege the woman — who can’t be identified because of a sweeping publication ban — injured the four-month-old girl and the man Wednesday morning in the area of Evans Ave. and Sherway Gate.

The baby was taken to hospital in critical condition and the man suffered minor injuries.

“She is physically fine but being evaluated,” the accused woman’s lawyer, John Struthers,  said Friday at the Finch Ave. W. courthouse. On Thursday, the woman appeared in court in a dazed state.

“This has been devastating for everyone…She has the support from the community, family and the Korean Embassy (as she is a Korean National),” Struthers said.

On Friday, the woman’s sister, the pastor from her church and a representative from the Korean Consulate were at the court, but all denied comment.

Struthers said the baby is now in stable, but serious condition.

“The whole story of what happened has yet to be revealed,” he said.

The woman — who is being held at the Vanier Centre for Woman — has been charged with attempted murder, two counts of uttering death threats, assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon.

Her next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday and her defense is in discussions about seeking bail.

“The main concern is everyone’s safety,” Struthers said. “No one is in danger.”
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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Paramedics with a person on a stretcher following a violent incident that left a baby in critical condition at a condo building at Sherway Gardens Rd. and Evans Ave. on Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A woman accused of the attempted murder of her four-month-old girl and the infant’s father appeared to be in a dazed state during a court appearance Thursday.

She made her first appearance in a College Park court after the alleged attack on Wednesday morning in the Evans Ave.-Sherway Gate area.

A sweeping publication ban has been imposed on the identities of the woman and the two victims, as well as information presented during court proceedings.

The woman was brought into court in handcuffs wearing a blue hoodie and orange jumpsuit. Her hair was disheveled and she appeared to be in a zombie-like state, staring blankly ahead as she was escorted into court.

At one point during the court hearing, the duty counsel stopped to ensure she was understanding the proceedings through a Korean court interpreter.

Toronto Police have alleged the woman injured the baby and the man. The baby was rushed to hospital with serious injuries on Wednesday morning.

A source told the Toronto Sun Thursday that Hospital for Sick children medical staff have been doing everything they can to try to save the girl.

“The doctor is doing a wait and see for a 72-hour period to assess brain activity and then will have a better idea of improvement or not,” said the source, who added
 internal wounds were severe and the infant remains in critical condition.

The man sustained non-life threatening injuries.

The woman was charged with attempted murder, two counts of uttering death threats, assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon.

She will make her second court appearance on Friday at a Finch Ave. W. courthouse.
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34 Year old Toronto woman charged after assault at One Sherway in Etobicoke, stabbing leaves baby in critical condition

A woman is facing five charges, including attempted murder, after a four-month-old baby girl and a man were stabbed and assaulted in a condominium in Toronto's west end, police said Thursday.

Officers were called to the building near Sherway Gardens mall at about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday and found the infant unconscious in the lobby, said Const. David Hopkinson.

Police were able to resuscitate the baby and she was rushed to a trauma centre in the city where she remains in critical condition.

The man, woman and baby were in one of the building's units when the two adults began arguing, police said.

Police allege the woman uttered threats while holding a knife, and allegedly went on to injure the man and the baby.

After initial confusion about the nature of the baby's injuries, Hopkinson said the baby was stabbed, but the injuries the child sustained from an assault were far more serious. He did not provide details of that attack.

"We believed originally that the significant injuries that the baby received were from the stabs, we now know it was not," Hopkinson said. "The other assault that the baby suffered is what caused the injuries that finds the baby in critical condition in hospital."

The man fled the apartment with the baby to seek help, police said, and his injuries are considered minor.

"We had been told that a woman was responsible for this series of incidents and that she was armed and had fled the building," Hopkinson said. "Our officers searched the area and they did come upon a woman. She herself was suffering from some serious injuries, but she was taken into custody and taken into hospital to be treated."

The 34-year-old Toronto woman has been charged with attempted murder, two counts of uttering death threats, assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon.

Police have not specified the relationship between the woman, man and baby.

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Toronto GTA home prices forecast to stay flat in 2018

The Greater Toronto Area is facing a flat year for home prices on average in 2018, although downtown Toronto and some suburban communities will see higher prices, according to a new forecast.

A 2018 housing forecast from Re/Max predicts average national home prices will increase by 2.5 per cent next year. National gains will be held down by weakness in the GTA, where Re/Max forecasts no change in home prices in 2018 compared with 2017.

The forecast is more pessimistic than one released earlier this week by realty firm Royal LePage, which predicted a 4.9-per-cent national price increase next year and a price increase of 6.8 per cent in the GTA.

Christopher Alexander, regional director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada at Re/Max Integra, said pricing in the GTA will be uneven, with central Toronto and communities such as Brampton and Oakville likely to see price gains in 2018, while York Region north of the city of Toronto is likely to remain weak next year.

Communities in York region – including Richmond Hill, Markham and Aurora – have faced some of the biggest declines since the GTA housing market began a downturn in April, and the pressure is likely to continue into 2018, Mr. Alexander said.

"The north part of Toronto, like in Markham and Richmond Hill, had the biggest price run-up from 2016 into 2017," he said in an interview. "Aurora in the first quarter [of 2017] was up 50 per cent year over year. That's impossible to sustain."

Oakville, however, is expected to see prices rise 7.5 per cent next year, according to the Re/Max forecast. Mr. Alexander said there is still strong demand for housing in the town west of Toronto and that price increases in 2016 and early 2017 were less dramatic and therefore more sustainable, he argues.

Re/Max predicts Windsor-Essex in southwestern Ontario will have the greatest house-price gains in Canada next year, forecasting a 9-per-cent increase.

Mr. Alexander said Windsor is attracting more immigrants and more infrastructure investment, and could become even more attractive if the Ontario government proceeds with a proposed high-speed train in the corridor between Windsor and Toronto.

Re/Max predicts prices in Greater Vancouver will rise 6 per cent in 2018 as demand for condos continues to outpace supply, while prices in Montreal are expected to rise 7 per cent next year.

The report anticipates tougher new mortgage-qualification rules, which take effect Jan. 1, will slow real estate activity nationally in the first few months of next year and that Victoria, Greater Vancouver, Hamilton-Burlington, the GTA and Ottawa will be among the areas most heavily affected.

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Four-month-old baby in critical condition after violent altercation at One Sherway in Etobicoke

A four-month-old baby girl remains in critical condition at a hospital and a woman is in custody after a violent altercation at a west-end Toronto condominium.

Toronto Police Services responded to an emergency call about 8:30 on Wednesday morning from the lobby of a condominium complex near Sherway Gardens Road and Evans Avenue.

When they arrived on the scene, police found the baby unconscious with serious injuries in the lobby, according to Constable David Hopkinson.

"Fortunately, we were able to revive her prior to taking her to hospital on an emergency basis," Constable Hopkinson said.

The baby was transported to the Hospital for Sick Children and "was in serious condition while en route," according to Kim McKinnon, a media superintendent for Toronto Paramedic Services. Constable Hopkinson added that the baby remains in critical care.

Another victim, a man, suffered injuries that are not life-threatening.

Early police reports said both a man and a baby were stabbed, but Constable Hopkinson later confirmed the baby's life-threatening condition is not related to stab wounds.

No charges have been laid, but the investigation is continuing with multiple possible crime scenes being identified.

"There's the lobby, another scene where an earlier assault may have taken place and, thirdly, where the woman was apprehended," Constable Hopkinson said.

Little is known about the baby or the man, but a wounded woman was found by police and was taken to a nearby hospital, according to Toronto Police Services, which later added in a tweet that the woman is in custody. Police have refused to provide details on the woman's age or identity.

"We are trying to confirm what all the relationships are at this point," Detective David Knowles said, later adding, "I believe that there are residents of this building that are involved."

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King Street pilot project reducing streetcar commute time, City of Toronto says

A controversial experiment taking most of the cars off a downtown stretch of King Street has led to dramatically more reliable streetcar service and modest speed increases, while having relatively little traffic impact on nearby streets, the city reports.

The year-long pilot project giving priority on King between Bathurst Street in the west and Jarvis Street in the east to the 504 streetcar, the most heavily used surface transit route in the city, is being studied exhaustively to measure its impact. The first tranche of this data, analyzing the initial few weeks of the project, was released on Tuesday.

According to the city, the number of streetcars meeting their schedule has doubled in the morning rush hour, an improvement that indicates less bunching of vehicles and more predictable service for riders. The slowest trips on the streetcar, those that had been most affected by traffic and were most frustrating to riders, were dramatically improved. These dropped from maximums of 19 minutes in the morning and 25 minutes in the evening to 16.7 and 22 minutes, respectively, declines of around 12 per cent.

Average travel times for streetcars through the pilot project area – from 7 to 10 a.m. and from 4 to 7 p.m. – were also down, though more modestly. These dropped by between 0.4 and 2.6 minutes, depending on the time and location, representing improvements of between 2.6 and 13.6 per cent.

Local councillor Joe Cressy called the early numbers "a great first start," noting that the project will continue to be modified.

"In just three weeks of measurements, the King Street pilot is working, and improvements are still to come," he said. "You can improve streetcar service with a minimal impact on cars."

Travel times for many drivers on nearby streets did worsen, but not in all cases. Of the 38 sections of road and times of day being measured, driving was slower in 25 of them, faster in 10 and the same in three. Among those that saw reductions, in three-quarters of the cases the delays were less than one minute.

The King Street pilot was launched last month, following years of complaints from the Toronto Transit Commission and its passengers that the route was too slow. With the streetcars operating among other traffic, a single turning car or double-parked courier truck could stop a heavily laden transit vehicle. The streetcars – which carry 65,000 people daily – were sometimes reduced to the speed of a pedestrian.

The approach being tested now allows private vehicles to use King Street, but they must turn off at most major intersections. The logic is that King will no longer act as a thoroughfare, reducing the number of vehicles and allowing the streetcar to move more quickly.

The early reaction from transit riders has been overwhelmingly positive. Some business owners along King have complained, though, saying that business is down, foot traffic has evaporated and the street now appears deserted.

The city plans a long-term study of the economic impact of the changes to King Street, part of a broader analysis that did not feature in the preliminary report issued on Tuesday. Also still to come is reporting on the number of transit riders, parking data and the volume of cars, bicycles and pedestrians on King.

"Measurement is vital to the King Street pilot, and will ensure we can make any necessary adjustments," Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a statement. "We also appreciate the feedback of local businesses, transit users, and the taxi industry and will continue to address any concerns as quickly as possible."

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Police kill gunman during hostage situation at RBC bank at Dufferin and Major MacKenzie in Maple

A dramatic hostage situation at a bank north of Toronto ended abruptly on Wednesday when police killed a lone gunman.

No one else was injured but those inside the Royal Bank of Canada branch in Maple, Ont., were "definitely traumatized," said York region police Const. Andy Pattenden.

"We did have to use lethal force in order to gain control of that subject," Pattenden said.

Police raced to the scene after a call at about 1 p.m. and arrived at the branch to find a gunman as well as a number of other people inside, both staff and clients.

"Officers arriving on the scene were able to get some of those inside out to safety," Pattenden said. "It did turn into a hostage situation for us."

The bank is located in a plaza along with a child-care centre, dentist office, drug store and other outlets. Police said many people were in the plaza at the time, and some reported being told to take cover as the drama unfolded. A negotiating team was brought in, to no avail.

Daycare owner Ellana Katzberg told CTV News that she sent an alert out to parents on her phone when police evacuated the plaza.

Officers helped staff carry dozens of children between the ages of 10 months and four years old to the safety of a nearby transit bus.

"We were able to send out an emergency alert to parents right away," Katzberg told CTV. "Everybody knew where we were and we were in touch with parents throughout the time."

Investigators were still in the process of clearing the bank and checking a vehicle to try to find out more about the man and his motivation.

Pattenden said he had no details on how many people were caught up in the bank or whether the man made any specific demands.

"I can't even tell you it was a robbery," Pattenden said. "(But) being in the bank with a gun was very threatening."

The plaza with the bank was cordoned off with police tape by Wednesday evening and many officers remained at the scene. At least a half dozen people who were in the bank at the time of the incident were taken to an ambulance bus nearby, many with white blankets wrapped around their shoulders.

In a statement, RBC said it was "extremely relieved" customers and employees were safe.

"Out of respect for our clients and employees who were involved in this incident, and the ongoing investigation, we will not be commenting further," the bank said.

Ontario's police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, is reviewing how officers handled the incident.

SIU spokesman Jason Gennaro told reporters on Wednesday evening that two police officers used their firearms during the interaction with the gunman.

He said he could not identify those involved, but said the 25-year-old gunman was pronounced dead on scene.

"The SIU's investigation is going to be focused on the interaction between the police officers and the individual," Gennaro said. "Of course as a part of that investigation, we're going to look at to determine what happened in the lead-up to that event."

Gennaro said the SIU, which investigates all deaths where police are involved, has brought in eight investigators and four forensic investigators.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Stephen LeDrew fired from CP24 Toronto

The Left eating their own :)
Will CraP24 hire a non-white muslim lesbian to replace him?
LIEberal media does not believe in free speech?

Stephen LeDrew was so sure he would be back on his popular CP24 Live at Noon show he had two special guests lined up for the day of his return following a one-week suspension.

TTC boss Andy Byford and former foreign affairs minister Peter MacKay were booked. LeDrew had his coloured glasses and bow tie picked out.

The comeback didn’t happen. Instead, the former Toronto mayoral candidate said he was called into an office where “people were snarling at me.” It turns out the suspension for his appearance on Tucker Carlson’s FOX News program is not the only punishment.

“I was fired,” said LeDrew. “Fired for cause for violating our competition clause. Merry Christmas.”

The one-time Liberal Party of Canada’s president found himself in trouble for a Dec. 1 appearance on Carlson’s show where he defended a 15-letter acronym LGGBDTTTIQQAAPP being used in schools to protect against bullying.

LeDrew defended it to a skeptical Carlson but, he said, Bell Media decided to admonish him for “going on a competitor’s show without prior permission.”

LeDrew, a lawyer, said he was asked to sign a letter of apology that would allow him back on the air Dec. 8.

“I was worried the wording of the letter would not let me talk to law society events or the kids at Ryerson, but I was going to sign it because I wanted to get back on,” he said.

But after pushing his comeback date to Dec. 11, he was kept from the studio when he arrived.

“I was later ushered out and not allowed to go and get my coat,” he said. “I guess I shouldn’t have giggled when CTV news told me that Fox was its competition.”

LeDrew, who wished he could have said goodbye to his “terrific” colleagues, said he was also told he should not have done media interviews following his suspension.

Bell has not commented other than to say “Stephen LeDrew is no longer with Bell Media.”

It is disappointing because as a viewer and occasional guest, I think Stephen was very good at his job. He did it with professionalism, style and flare for seven years.

If there was a story in Toronto, LeDrew was the place on TV where viewers and newsmakers would go. That he could be dismissed over this seems over the top. How are characters and free thinkers to work in this kind of environment? TV and radio needs to be edgy and controversial instead of rigid and politically correct.

LeDrew doesn’t believe this was because of his “fish or fowl, frick of frack” answer to explaining the definition of what a “two spirited” person is but more about appearing without clearance and “that I talked with the press.”

Ironic, he was talking about free speech on the show.

“They just want everybody under their thumb,” said LeDrew. “I am OK. It just means I will be able to spend more time with my family over the holidays.”

But after that, LeDrew said he will be available to do commentary.

“This is a serious time in our country,” he said. “I will still talk about important issues.”

Just not on CP24.

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Kwsie Blair, 20, was shot to death in Regent Park on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017 BLM

Where are Toronto BLM?

TORONTO — A 20-year-old man shot in Regent Park last month is now the city’s latest murder victim.

Toronto Police say officers found the man around 11:20 p.m. on Nov. 13 after responding to a call for the sound of gunshots in the area of Dundas St. E. and Parliament St. — a neighbourhood that continues to be plagued by violence despite the city spending more than $1 billion to revitalize the community.

“Once on scene, police located a man in medical distress,” Homicide Det.-Sgt. Terry Browne said in a statement released Tuesday.

He said the man, who was suffering from gunshot wounds, was taken to hospital. He died on Dec. 11.

Kwsie Blair has been identified as the city’s 59th murder victim of the year.

No arrests have been made.

Anyone with information regarding this killing is urged to call the Homicide Unit at 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Toronto home sales down 13% from same time last year

Always be careful how this industry spins the data

TORONTO — The Toronto Real Estate Board says the number of sales in the Greater Toronto Area in November was slightly higher than the previous month — a positive sign for the industry despite a series of year-over-year declines from last year.

The 7,374 homes sold last month represented a drop of 13.3 per cent from November 2016, but 256 sales over October.

The board says the average sales price in the GTA for all home types last month was $761,757, down by two per cent compared to November 2016, due in large part to a smaller share of detached home sales versus last year.

Prices for semi-detached, townhouse and condo properties were up but the average price of a detached home was down 5.8 per cent at $996,527.

BMO economist Benjamin Reitzes said in a note to clients that Toronto-area sales appeared to be “solid” in November.

    “They’re still down 13.3% y/y, but that’s a big improvement from the near 30% y/y drop in the prior month,” Reitzes wrote.

Board president Tim Syrianos said in a statement that demand for housing in the GTA this fall has been above the regular seasonal trend.

“Similar to the Greater Vancouver experience, the impact of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan and particularly the foreign buyer tax may be starting to wane,” Syrianos said in a statement.

“On top of this, it is also possible that the upcoming changes to mortgage lending guidelines, which come into effect in January, have prompted some households to speed up their home buying decision.”

In January, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions will implement new lending guidelines that will require borrowers who do not require mortgage insurance to show they would still be able to make their payments if interest rates were to rise.

In November, high-density home types continued to lead the way in terms of price growth in the Greater Toronto Area, with the average condo price rising 16.4 per cent to $516,965 compared to November 2016.

    The average prices for semi-detached homes and townhouses were up 1.2 per cent and 4.8 per cent respectively.

In addition, the Bank of Canada has raised interest rates twice in recent months to the current overnight rate of one per cent, signalling a clampdown on cheap borrowing and driving the big bank prime rates and the cost of variable-rate mortgages higher. The cost of new fixed-rate mortgages have also risen as yields on the bond market have moved higher.

The board says new listings entered into its MLS system in November amounted to 14,349 — up 37.2 per cent compared to the same period last year when the supply of listings was very low.

“We are still seeing seller’s market conditions for townhouses and condominium apartments in many neighbourhoods versus more balanced market conditions for detached and semi-detached houses,” said Jason Mercer, the board’s director of market analysis.

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Most Canadians support a ban on guns in urban areas, poll shows

Why did Canada Press request this poll?
Why now?
What is the purpose of the poll?
Who decided the question?
Who interprets the data?
Why are you never asked? 
Why were the Toronto Star, CBC, and CTV quick to publicize it?

The vast majority of Canadians favours a total ban on guns in urban areas, a new poll suggests.

According to the poll, conducted by Ekos Research Associates for The Canadian Press, 69 per cent of those surveyed agreed with the statement “I think that there should be a strict ban on guns in urban areas.”

Support was highest in Quebec at 76 per cent and lowest in Alberta at 48 per cent.

The federal Liberals are currently at work on legislation to follow through on campaign commitments to tighten up restrictions on guns, though an earlier suggestion a new bill could be introduced before the end of the year now seems unlikely.

The Liberal plans don’t involve any kind of total ban and, indeed, no political party has ever suggested the idea, noted Ekos president Frank Graves.

But widespread support for the concept suggests there’s room to simply stop tinkering with existing gun laws and put in place something more ambitious, he said.

“I’m not saying the operationalization wouldn’t be complex, but this isn’t a moon shot and it’s been done in other jurisdictions,” Graves said.

“I think Canadians would settle for something close — it wouldn’t have to be a strict ban, but anything to move the needle here.”

Guns are not involved in the vast majority of crimes in Canada, but there have been increases in gun-related violence.

Statistics released last month showed that 2016 was the first time since 2012 that shootings were the most common method of homicide in Canada. Statistics Canada also reported that 2016 was the third year in a row that the number of firearm-related homicides rose.

The agency also reported last month that 587 people took their own lives with the use of a firearm in 2014, up from 544 the year before.

A standard response to why government doesn’t go further to crack down on guns is politics and the perception that urban Canadians view the issue far differently than rural dwellers, who use guns to hunt for food or protect themselves in remote regions beyond the everyday reach of law enforcement.

The political divide has played itself out repeatedly during national debates on gun control. In 2011, two NDP MPs from Thunder Bay, Ont., were disciplined when they broke ranks and voted in favour of the Conservative government’s legislation to repeal the gun registry.

During the Conservative leadership race earlier this year, a clear position on firearms-related policy was a must-have for candidates, many of whom actively courted firearms enthusiasts.

But the Ekos survey suggests there’s support across the political spectrum for restrictions that are limited to urban areas — 86 per cent of respondents who identified themselves as Liberals, 56 per cent of Conservatives and 75 per cent of New Democrats backed an urban ban.

The automated landline and cellphone survey of 2,287 Canadians was carried out Nov. 10-30 and is considered accurate within 2.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

In 2015, the federal Liberals made several campaign commitments related to firearms. They’ve fulfilled some, including a revamp of a national advisory board and increased funding to the provinces to address gun violence.

That money was announced last month at an event in Surrey, B.C., where a federal byelection is underway in a community that has a long-standing issue with guns and gangs.

The Liberals also pledged to require enhanced background checks for anyone seeking to buy a gun, and prospective buyers must also show a licence. Those who sell guns would, among other things, be required to keep an inventory of stock and sales.

Their platform also promised to get more weapons off the streets by strengthening controls on handguns and assault weapons.

A group that includes family members of women killed at a shooting at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989, as well as survivors of a shooting at Montreal’s Dawson College in 2006 and one at a mosque in Quebec City last year gathered on Parliament Hill last week to press the Liberals to commit to a firm timeline for the changes.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said work is underway on related legislation.

“It is an important topic and efforts in the past in dealing with a topic that has the potential to, in some places, be controversial has ended up foundering,” he said.

“When I put forward the legislative package, I want to make sure that it’s a package that will succeed. That’s my objective and we’ll get it done.”

People whose lives have been changed directly by gun violence say they’ve been waiting too long.

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Horseshoe Tavern celebrates 70th birthday

After 70 years in business, Toronto’s beloved Horseshoe Tavern is still thriving in a city that has seen a slew of similar live music venues recently shuttered.

“It’s just a special secret sauce. It’s hard to explain why it’s been able to stay open and be vibrant for 70 years but it just has,” Jeff Cohen, the owner of the Queen West bar, told CP24 on Tuesday.

Today marks the venue’s 70th birthday and a big celebration is scheduled for tonight at the club, which loyal patrons affectionately refer to as ‘the Shoe.’

“It’s actually a private party tonight,” Cohen said. “We’ve got a backing band with members of Blue Rodeo in it and some of the cream of local Toronto musicians jumping on stage.”

The tavern, which was constructed in 1861 as a blacksmith’s shop, first opened in December 1947 by owner Jack Starr.

“It was opened up as a roast beef dinner joint with a neighbourhood bar,” Cohen said.

“It just happened to be inhabited for 10 years by, for whatever reason, a lot of Maritimers and… they kept going to him, saying ‘Let’s do some live music.’ He relented and it just became kind of a live music icon, doing country music in the 50s and 60s.”

Since then, the Horseshoe has played host to bands and musicians from across all genres, including The Ramones, The Rolling Stones, Etta James, Willie Nelson, and Canadian icons The Tragically Hip.

Cohen said he thinks there are a number of factors that have contributed to the bar’s success over the years.

“The location is incredible. The room itself, although it looks like a dive bar, for whatever reason, just has fantastic sound,” he said.

“It’s the kind of place where the staff don’t come and go. It’s the kind of place where people end up working here for 20 to 35 years and it is just booked really well. It just has really good American and European touring bands and really a mix of the best Canadian bands.”

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

ZOG: hate charges filed against Toronto's Your Ward News

After years of controversy, the editor and publisher of Your Ward News, a Toronto publication often described as a “hate rag”, have been charged with criminal offences by Ontario’s attorney general for wilfully promoting hatred against identifiable groups.

Both were charged with two counts each of wilful promotion of hatred under the Criminal Code, with one count for the targeting of women and another for the targeting of Jews.

“I think the government is sending a very strong message that it will not stand by and watch the wilful promotion hatred against identifiable groups and in this case specifically against women and Jews,” says Lisa Kinsella. She and her husband Warren Kinsella are founding members of a citizen’s group, Standing Together Against Mailing Prejudice (STAMP), that has campaigned against the publication.

It was the first time in Canada’s history that someone has been prosecuted for promoting hatred against women specifically, she added.

The charges are the latest blow to efforts by James Sears and Laurence St. Germaine, editor and publisher, respectively, of Your Ward News, to continue publishing their pamphlet. The publication was known for portraying Jews as dogs, glorifying Hitler and describing itself as “world’s largest anti-marxist publication.” The two were arrested this morning.

Back in June 2016, Sears had been subject to a prohibitory order on behalf of then-Public Services Minister Judy Foote that barred him from sending mail, ostensibly to prevent him from sending out his pamphlet.

The order is a rarely invoked one. The last time it was used was in 1981, when the federal government moved to ban a publishing company owned by Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel from also using Canada Post to distribute his material.

Back in March, their defence lawyer, Frank Addario, criticized the move, saying, “There’s a lot of crap in the mail and it is not a crime in Canada to publish or distribute defiant or even odious ideas in writing. It is a crime to distribute hate propaganda or defamatory libel.”

The attorney general’s approval of criminal charges means that the two are now accused of having done precisely that.

“Hate propaganda is not free speech, it’s hate propaganda,” says Kinsella. “So anyone who argues that they have the right to say anything is not well educated on Canadian law. Free speech comes with great responsibility.”

The Kinsella’s campaign against Sears and St. Germaine took a personal turn during the summer of 2017, when Sears wrote “chance that some hothead who cares deeply about me… would lose it and do something illegal like bludgeon the Kinsella’s to death.”

Those remarks let to the Kinsella’s pursuing private prosecution for uttering threats. “They were inciting others to hurt my family. And we did not want to stand by and allow that to happen,” says Kinsella. “So we went to the justice of the peace and presented our arguments for why James Sears and Leroy St. Germaine should be held accountable for these statements and the crown agreed.”

Kinsella said she has also launched another libel suit against the pair for remarks they made with regards to women, girls and sexual assault.

Both court cases are currently ongoing.

“In a multicultural and inclusive province like Ontario, the promotion of hatred stands in direct opposition to our fundamental values of equality and diversity,” said Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi in an emailed statement to Yahoo! Canada News. “Hate divides people and communities. Hate crimes are, by their very nature, serious offences because their impacts can be devastating, spreading from the individual, through the social fabric of our communities as a whole.”

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Toronto could welcome almost 170,000 immigrants over the next 3 years — are we ready?

Nearly one million immigrants will be coming to Canada over the next three years, and tens of thousands of them will wind up in Toronto — but is the city ready for an influx of newcomers?

On the heels of the Liberal government's newly-announced strategy to boost immigration levels in the years ahead, Toronto immigration experts are raising questions about whether there is adequate support for the rising tide of economic migrants, family reunifications and refugees, in a city where both stable work and housing can be hard to find.

"The rate of unemployment for racialized immigrant women is very, very high," says Catherine McNeely, the executive director of Newcomer Women's Services, a non-profit settlement organization.

The latest census data shows more than 55 per cent of visible minority residents in Toronto are living on less than $30,000 a year, she adds.

"When they do get work, it's minimum wage, it's precarious, it's shift work," she says. "We serve a huge number of women who live just north of the Danforth, where ... 57 per cent of the households have incomes under $40,000."

Margaret Eaton agrees. As executive director of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, she stresses how most immigrants are highly educated, yet an economic divide persists.

Employers, she says, need to step up and give newcomers a shot. "The heads of these big corporations have to cascade down that message to their hiring managers, and then you have to hire someone."

No. of immigrants climbing to 340,000 in 2020

And that pool of potential workers could grow quickly, thanks to the plan announced on Nov. 1.

Dubbed "the most ambitious" plan in recent history by Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, it means the number of immigrants coming to Canada will climb to 310,000 in 2018, up from 300,000 this year.

That number will rise again to 330,000 in 2019 — then 340,000 in 2020.

Coun. Jim Karygiannis, who represents Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt, praised the Liberals' plan and said previous governments haven't been "courageous" enough to move in that direction. He also says more people in Toronto means more support is needed.

"We need to get ready for them," Karygiannis explains. "We need to make sure our schools are prepared because a lot of the kids coming in do not speak English. We need to make sure we have services."

It's crucial in Toronto specifically, a city which has typically been a "huge magnet" for people coming from abroad, Eaton says.

Hussen says the government plans to prioritize integration of immigrants, ensuring they have access to the resources they require to thrive.

"The supports are there, and they will continue to be there and we are working very closely to the industry," he said.

Toronto home to 17% of recent immigrants

The 2016 census showed the city was home to more than 17 per cent of all recent immigrants to Canada, even though less than eight per cent of the country's population lives in Toronto.

If that trend continued, the city would be welcoming more than 50,000 immigrants in 2018 alone, and  nearly 170,000 over the next three years.

But as the city continues to struggle with affordable housing, one expert says it might not be a diaspora destination in the years ahead.

Diane Dyson, director of research and public policy at WoodGreen community services, says many of the recent Syrian refugees, for instance, wound up settling elsewhere in the GTA.

"A lot of them arrived in Toronto, were sponsored in Toronto, but they moved outside the city boundaries," she says, to places like Mississauga and Markham where housing is more affordable.

Still, the flow of newcomers might shrink, but it certainly won't slow to a trickle.

"If immigrants are going to come to Toronto and have success, they must be supported," says Eaton.

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Jackie Redmond from TSN and Toronto Blue Jay Josh Donaldson caught cheating?????

Toronto Blue Jays Superstar Josh Donaldson was allegedly caught cheating on his longterm girlfriend. Now T.O. received this tip with more info via a solid source, “Started with Estrada, not Josh Donaldson. He came after (pardon the pun). E’s wife walked in on him and J in, shall we say, a very compromising position. Wife freaks out, natch. Estrada’s season suffered as we know, and by his own admission that was not about physical injuries at that point but ‘personal issues.’ (Look back at quotes from him when he re-signed contract.) Donaldson ‘signs on’ with JRed not long after. Problem is he also has longtime girlfriend from way back (high school or college) and she finds out. Dumps his ass and by then a Wags lynch mob forms. E’s wife said only way they would stay/re-sign contract with Jays is if J was sent packing. Firing tricky since team and network same employer, so they found NHL.com gig in NYC. Sad sitch for all involved but those are the facts” says our source.  Blue Jays are doing the soap opera thing off the field, that surely can’t help build team chemistry.-

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Josh Donaldson: Toronto Blue Jays Superstar has been Caught Cheating on his Longterm Girlfriend with Jackie Redmond?

Here’s a little dirt from the diamond. Toronto Blue Jays MLB super star player has been caught cheating on his long-term girlfriend. According to sources, “Josh Donaldson, has been having an affair with Sportsnet reporter Jackie Redmond, and his girlfriend Briana Miller walked in on the two. Since then, she has deleted some photos of her and Josh off her social media. Jackie helps cover the Blue Jays for the Canadian sports station and has since been reassigned to the NHL section, away from the Blue Jays. Sources also say she had hooked up with other Jay baseball players as well. Ouch, that hurts. Check out pic of Jackie below.

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Friday, May 26, 2017

All Hell Breaks Loose In Toronto's House Price Bubble

“It’s fear.”
During the first two weeks in May, according to preliminary data from Toronto Real Estate Board, home listings surged 47% from the same period last year even as sales plunged 16%. The average selling price dropped 3.3% from April – and this, after a 33% year-over-year spike in home prices in March and a 25% surge in April. Something is happening to Toronto’s blistering house price bubble.
Canada’s largest alternative mortgage lender, Home Capital Group, which focuses on new immigrants and subprime borrowers turned down by the banks, is melting down after a run on its deposits that crushed its funding sources. The industry is worried about contagion.
At the same time, the provincial government of Ontario announced a slew of drastic measures, including a 15% tax on purchases by non-resident foreign investors to tamp down on the housing market insanity that left many locals unable to buy even a modest home.
It comes after Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz warned in April that home prices are in “an unsustainable zone,” that the market “has divorced itself from any fundamentals that we can identify,” that there was “no fundamental story that we could tell to justify that kind of inflation rate in housing prices,” and that “It’s time we remind folks that prices of houses can go down as well as up. People need to ask themselves very carefully, ‘Why am I buying this house?”’
A few days ago, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Canada’s six largest banks on concerns over their exposure to the housing bubble and household indebtedness that ranks among the highest in the world.

Now even the relentlessly optimistic industry begins to fret:

“We are seeing people who paid those crazy prices over the last few months walking away from their deposits,” Carissa Turnbull, a Royal LePage broker in the Toronto suburb of Oakville, told Bloomberg. She said they didn’t get a single visitor to an open house over the weekend. “They don’t want to close anymore.”

“Definitely a perception change occurred from Home Capital,” Shubha Dasgupta, owner of Toronto-based mortgage brokerage Capital Lending Centre, told Bloomberg.

“In less than one week we went from having 40 or 50 people coming to an open house to now, when you are lucky to get five people,” Case Feenstra, an agent at Royal LePage Real Estate Services Loretta Phinney in Mississauga, Ontario, told Bloomberg. “Everyone went into hibernation.”

“I’ve had situations where buyers are trying to find another buyer to take over their deal,” Toronto real estate lawyer Mark Weisleder told Bloomberg. Some clients want out of transactions, he said. “They are nervous whether they bought right at the top and prices may come down.” Home Capital had “a bigger impact on the market” than Ontario’s announcement of the new rules, he said.

“Home Capital is affecting things because people who can’t get mortgages from the banks rely on them and other b-lenders,” Lorand Sebestyen, an agent with iPro Realty in Toronto, told Bloomberg. “If you can’t get the mortgage then you obviously can’t buy anything and it’s going to affect the market, especially for the higher-priced properties.”

“It’s fear,” said Joanne Evans, owner of Century 21 Millennium, about the impact of Home Capital on housing. “It’s another contributing factor to the fear of ‘what’s going to happen?”’

And it’s ever so slowly sinking in more broadly.

In Canada, the theory has spread that real estate values can never-ever go down in any significant way – on the theory that they always go up – because they didn’t take a big hit during the Financial Crisis, and because the prior declines have been forgotten. So optimism about rising home prices had been huge. Now weekly polling data by Nanos Research for Bloomberg is showing the first signs of second thoughts. Two weeks ago, the share of people saying home prices would rise in the next six months was a record 50.1%. The following week, it dropped to 47.7%. In the most recent poll, it dropped to 46%.
But those who are able to sell at what appears to be the very tippy-top of the market are not complaining. Bloomberg cites business school professor Michael Hartmann who put his north Toronto home up for sale on May 17 sold it on May 22 for C$1.65 million, C$10,000 above asking price. He and his wife are planning to rent and see.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Toronto Housing Affordability Crisis

The Toronto region’s shockingly high house prices haven’t stopped the city from achieving one of the highest home ownership rates in the developed world, up 23 per cent over the past 35 years.

Toronto’s ownership rate, at 68 per cent, is behind only Oslo, Norway (69 per cent), and Calgary (74 per cent) among 38 western cities.

But ownership doesn’t equal affordability, says a sweeping study on the Toronto region’s housing crunch to be published Tuesday.

It suggests the Toronto area will need up to $150 billion in new home construction in the coming decade and most of that should be rental units to make housing more affordable.

The report by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis, a research firm, paints a picture of two cities in one. It shows that half of Toronto-area residents are overhoused, with 2.2 million empty bedrooms. (There are 400,000 homes in Ontario that have three or more empty bedrooms, according to the report.)

But it would take only about 350,000 bedrooms to appropriately house the 20 per cent of Toronto residents, most of them families, who are shelter-poor.

“If this was happening to our food chain or our water supply, we would have a visceral reaction. But because it’s happening in a very slow-burn housing market, it’s like heating up the frog very slowly in the pan — it doesn’t notice until it’s too late,” said Paul Smetanin, the centre’s CEO, who has assessed the effect of more than 40 housing affordability factors.

House prices are half the problem. But our obsession with home ownership is a big contributor, too, he said.

Toronto has restricted vast swaths of the city to single-family detached homes. That has led to a shortage of appropriate housing.

Smaller households are the most overhoused, as they are in neighbourhoods where the population is shrinking and aging. Meanwhile, larger families — with five or more people — are most likely to be underhoused in high-density apartments without enough bedrooms.

There’s also a shortage of ground-level homes known as the “missing middle” — townhomes, row houses, duplexes and small apartments — that would appeal to families.

Those, along with secondary suites, should have a greater presence in single-family neighbourhoods, but zoning doesn’t allow for it, Smetanin said.

The economic analysis centre has developed a Shelter Consumption Affordability Ratio index that measures housing affordability far beyond a household’s mortgage payments or rent. It factors in shelter-related expenses such as the cost of transportation to work and school, utilities, maintenance and property taxes.

Then it uses computer modelling to assess the effect other factors have on affordability. These range from property speculation to household debt levels and income levels, which have remained essentially flat for 30 years as housing prices continued to climb.

The index results show that one in three Toronto-area residents, and one in four in Ontario, suffers extreme affordability pressure.

“It is serious and has serious consequences for the development of our communities and the economy,” Smetanin said.

The report, “Understanding the Forces Driving the Shelter Affordability Issue,” was funded by the Residential Construction Council of Ontario, the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario, the Ontario Association of Architects and the Ontario Construction Secretariat.

It will be presented at a conference Tuesday on the issue of “missing middle” housing in the region, which will include a panel of mayors from Mississauga, Brampton, Barrie and Ajax.

Data shows that rental housing acts as oil in the engine of housing markets, Smetanin said. It also illustrates the stigma attached to renting.

“If you reduce oil in an engine, you get heat and the heat starts to transpire as high housing prices, difficulty in moving and uncertainty. While your engine’s getting hotter, you’re not getting any faster or going somewhere quicker,” he said.

Most underhousing occurs in rentals.

“When you look at the data and the demographics of rental, it almost looks like that’s where we’ve parked all our luggage as a society — if you don’t own your own home, you’re a loser,” he said.

Property speculators fuel the expectation that prices will go up and they crowd out families looking for appropriately sized and priced homes.

“Investors are fine, but free market forces are not necessarily pleasant … You get winners and losers,” Smetanin said. “Sometimes the losers are completely unintended. They’re not people who took too much risk and should have been slapped on the wrist. They’re people who are trying to satisfy their needs. At times, letting free market forces do what they want to do hurts people.”

Rather than band-aids such as Ontario’s recently announced foreign buyer tax and expanded rent controls, he said, governments need to look at new concepts for Canadian housing.

In Europe governments, not-for-profit agencies and private industry collaborate on rental housing that is “architecturally relevant and desirable.”

“If we want to change things, we need to change collectively some of our attitudes,” Smetanin said. “If you do things the old way with the same people, but expect something different, then I believe Einstein mentioned that was the definition of insanity.”

Toronto housing in numbers


Percentage of Toronto housing that is single detached homes, compared to 35% for apartments or condos and 20% in townhomes or “missing middle” housing


Proportion of Toronto-area condos that are rented out


Of Toronto-area commuters spend 45 minutes or more each way getting to work or school


Of Toronto-area commuters travel by car, compared to 85% outside the region


Proportion of people in two-person households who are overhoused


Proportion of people in households of seven or more people who are underhoused


Proportion of Ontario residents aged 65 and older who are overhoused Please share this