Monday, 29 October 2012

This Can't Be True...

Government officials are stunned that crackheads are asking for more free crackpipes than they expected, when they started their Hey-we'll-give-you-as-many-free-crackpipes-as-you-like program.

An unexpected side benefit, however, is an increase in local entrepreneurship; "Hey, I'm in the crackpipe sales business."  Apparently several of the 97,000 pipes have been resold by by budding businessmen.

You don't have to make this stuff up.  Way to go, Vancouver. 

They are hoping to expand the program by offering all the free crack you want to go in those pipes. [Okay, maybe you have to make some of it up.]


Saturday, 27 October 2012

Ouch.....

You see lots of wealthy people getting wings of hospitals or new libraries named after them.

But not everybody can afford the prime real estate......

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

"Does Not Play Well With Others"

Canadian newspaper magnate, publisher, author & historian, Conrad Black, has been the news quite a bit lately.  And I guess not just lately.

And not for the right reasons either.

Seems he has a hard time dealing with the small, petty people that don't appreciate his enormous intellect and wealth.

Because he has pissed off a lot of people - and countries;

1.) Canada

In 2001 he was offered a peerage in the British House Of Lords.  But he had to make a choice; either retain his Canadian citizenship or take the peerage.  He took the peerage, and renounced his Canadian citizenship.

We love him!

2.) USA

In 2007, Black was convicted in US District court in Chicago (although he has always maintained his innocence) and sentenced to serve 6.5 years in federal prison for diverting funds for personal benefit and of other irregularities.  He served 42 months.

I'm guessing the Americans also love him.

3.) Britain
In today's paper, after leaving prison in the US and heading across the pond for an interview (to get in the good books of the Brits?) he said to the interviewer that he felt like "getting up and smashing your face in" because the interviewer referred to him as a criminal.

I'm guessing there might be better ways of demonstrating your restraint, good manners and lack of criminal type impulses than threatening to smash the face in of your interviewer.

Maybe not.   Verdict is still out on whether the Brits love him.

Wonder what Vegas says on that....?



Monday, 22 October 2012

Two Paths.....To Redemption

You can either talk to the St Patrick's "Redemptorists", or


...turn 180o, figuratively and literally, across the street, and have a pint of redemption at the "Sin and Redemption" pub.

I'm going with Billy Joel on this one, because "The sinners have much more fun."

Although upon not-so-sober second thought - and depending upon what the St. Pat's nuns wear - The Redemptorists could prove to be quite interesting.


Saturday, 20 October 2012

Karma.....?

A while back, I was ranting....okay whining....about a mega monstrosity condo going up a couple of blocks away.

See I Don't Believe It! to get an idea of the history.

Well, it's finished now.

The Four Seasons Private Residence.  A 55 storey behemoth.  Units starting at $1 Million.

Quite the entrance.

It even blocks out what little sun I do get.


So I was about to throw away a City Of Toronto meeting notice to discuss zoning issues, when I recognized an address.

I said, I think that's across the street from my mongo-strocity.

And then something else caught my eye - two towers; 55 and 69 storeys.

Lemme go see what's there now.

 A 10 story office slab (doomed) and a parking lot (super doomed).

(The Four Seasons Private Residences - you have to spell it out each time or they will sue you - is on the right.)

So when is this going to happen?

Wow.....


   
Looks like right away.

As soon as I go and vote in favour of waiving the zone restrictions.

So that's fitting.  The guy that just paid 28 million for the penthouse, and blocking everyone else's view north of him, is going to get his view blocked.

Sweet!

If you want to watch this virtual tour of the penthouse, just add in two honking towers when you are looking out the windows.....Penthouse Tour

You know, really though, it's so easy to take pot shots at other people.

Maybe I'm going to do that more often.........

Friday, 19 October 2012

That Close......

Thought I'd finally found Nirvana in downtown Toronto.

But too good to be true to find Jimmy Buffett's paradise tucked in near the hardscrabble intersection of Bloor and Lansdowne.  What a difference "St" versus "ville" makes.

Although many of the locals certainly seemed to be no strangers to Margaritas.

Or at least one of the main ingredients in them.  See yesterday's post......

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Not The One Beside Holt Renfrew

This one is next to Stop'n'Cash.

To load up for these guy's next Holt Renfrew spree, I guess.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

And The Sign Says...


 .....a great time was had by all!

At a fantastic fundraiser for cancer research in Merrickville over the weekend.

And a big part of it was the fact that Les Emmerson And The Hitmen - known to some as Canada's Five Man Electrical Band - played a concert there.

And, of course, played one of their big hits "Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs" among many others.  Les is there on the right, warming up the crowd.

But it wasn't all fun and games.

Under the cover of darkness the night before, many brave souls spent the better part of the evening setting up the stage and tent.

And one of the reasons it took so long was that the worker to supervisor ratio was pretty near one to one.

And why was that?

It seems it's not only Les and the boys who have seen many winters come and go.  The Bad Back Moving Company had several, okay most, of their members on the permanent Disabled List.

"I can't lift that."
"Can you lift that?"
"Who can carry this? Can Bob?"
"No, Bob can't."
"Hmmmm....."

And on and on.

But, once morning had broken, everything was in good shape.

We did have lots of volunteers to set up the small, plastic chairs though.

Things started to kick into high gear with the highly anticipated arrival of the "beverage" facilities.

 Followed closely by the beverage removal facilities.

Our host for the afternoon, Mike Neelin - full time owner of Mainstreet Family Restaurant and part time ham - did a great job warming up the crowd and auctioning off many donated items throughout the afternoon.

Mike, his restaurant manager, Terri, and his team put the entire cancer fundraiser shindig together.

That's Mike in the grey jacket and, oh my God, socks and sandals.

Come on, it was only 11o, give the guy a break.

Here he is welcoming the band and introducing the day's emcee, Jim Hunter.  In the yellow jacket and....that's good...boots.

It didn't take long for things to take off as folks were up dancing most of the afternoon.


Although there was lots of room nearer the band, seems like the a lot of the Merrickville gang didn't want to stray too far from those beverage facilities.

Apparently some stayed closer than others.   

With our host keeping a watchful eye on the proceedings.

Our host was everywhere.  Tireless!

Many, many people donated their time and expertise to making this a great event.  Not the least being Les and the Hitmen, who donated their time and brought their team in to set their gear up.

The music was fantastic.

Now because the blogger was not on his A Game and perhaps he, too, did not wander far from those delightful beverage facilities, no audio recordings of the band were actually made to share with faithful readers.


However, a local music store donated a guitar and Les graciously offered to autograph it.

Now, to show you what type of world we've come to live in, the band manager said we actually needed to document that it is indeed Les signing the guitar.  They asked if someone could snap a photo of the deed.

The blogger suggested, what about a video?

So here you go.  No one will be able to dispute the authenticity of this signature.

To make the process even more foolproof, someone - not sure who - suggested that perhaps the videographer should also sign the guitar, as a form of witnessing.

......Les didn't think that was necessary.   Nuts.....

Anyway, here he is signing, not singing, but it's all we've got....



And the fun continued well into the evening.  Well, later afternoon, anyway.

An additional big thanks goes out to Terri and the Mainstreet waitstaff and to Blaine and the cook staff for keeping everyone well fed and hydrated.

And the sign says, long-haired freaky people had a great day!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

That Didn't Take Long!


Wow, I just posted about the new separated bike lanes on Sherbourne St. the other day (see Cool.... for recent reminder).


At the end, almost jokingly, I mentioned that although there now is no parking anywhere along the street "knowing drivers in Toronto, and FedEx drivers in particular, I doubt a little curb will stop them from, well, stopping."


Well, the new lanes are not even fully operational yet, but the Toronto Star just published an article, stating that illegal parking is already happening!

Here are a couple of comments from the article;

"With low, rounded curbs that are easy to drive over, parcel trucks and taxis are already stopping in the lanes for passengers and to make deliveries, an invasion of a dedicated space intended only for cyclists."


"We’ve seen two photos of a UPS parcel truck that had mounted the barrier and parked in the bike lane (above)."

"When we checked it out last week we were surprised the curbs are so low and rounded on top; it’s like an invitation to drivers to park."

"While the “rolled” curbs are easy for vehicles to mount....they are too high for cyclists to ride over."

“When a cyclist is blocked by a parked car, they literally have to dismount and walk into traffic or go up on the sidewalk."

To read the full article, go to  Low Curbs On Sherbourne St Bike Lanes.

What a shmozola this might turn out to be!  People clamoring for separated bike lanes, and then when they get them, they are worse than normal ones.

Some European cities use collapsible bollards, to allow police or emergency vehicles to cross into the bike lane.  For everyone else, no dice.

Stay tuned once these go live.  I fear it really will be a bumpy ride......

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Alls Well That Ends Well

A while back I posted about some dodgy balcony repairs underway. Click What Could Possibly Go Wrong.... for a refresher.

Well, not sure how many people tumbled to the ground during the renovations, but they are all done now...

Okay, so the final results are not too bad....

But I hope I never see these guys working at my building.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Cool...

So this is what separated bike lanes look like.

Or....will look like.  This is actually a prepped section of Sherbourne St. in Toronto before the barriers go in.


Here the barriers have already been installed.  Going to go live in December.

Much safer than having cars darting into the bike lanes, or more likely, parking in them.


Some sections are actually raised pavement with real curbs.

Even safer.

Unless you are standing out in the street taking pictures.

'cause this section of the road is live; both cars are bikes are using the completed sections.

The only downside, besides the occasional splayed pedestrian, is that there is no street parking anywhere.

Fine with me, but not sure how the local Timmy's customers will like it.

However, knowing drivers in Toronto, and FedEx drivers in particular, I doubt a little curb will stop them from, well, stopping.

So to paraphrase Bette Davis,  "Fasten your seat belts, it going to be a bumpy ride...."

Sunday, 7 October 2012

News Flash!



"Hello, Roger, there looks to be  a news truck blocking the fire station exit and the trucks can't leave!"

"Oops, that's us......."



Saturday, 6 October 2012

Oh Yeah.....?

"Are you sure that worked?  It didn't take very long."

"Absolutely!  Uhhhh....see ya..."



Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Davenport - Toronto's Oldest Road


After Toronto was founded in 1793, the British, as you can see, laid out its streets in a very sensible and logical grid pattern.
 

All except for one street - Davenport Road.

What's up with that?

Blame it on the Native Indians!

Okay, okay, cool your jets.   Listen to this.....

At the end of the last Ice Age (about 11,000 years ago, give or take), Lake Ontario was a little bit bigger than it is now.

In fact, it was called a different name - Lake Iroquois.

As you see, it was just a little bit larger than Lake Ontario, due to the receding glaciers backing up water exiting the lake into the St. Lawrence River.

However, once the glaciers were gone and water levels returned to their essentially current levels, what was left above ground was an escarpment all along the Lake Iroquois shoreline.

Running just between Bloor and St. Clair.  Or between Queen and Eglinton, as show on this map.

Ever been to Casa Loma?  Well, it sits on top of it.

The Scarborough Bluffs?  Yup, they're a are part of it, too.

And which is why, I now know, I had such a great view from my former office building, at Avenue Rd and St. Clair.

I'm sure you all think I'm pretty much of a big wheel, but this was not my office.

Mine was on the other side of the building.

Just kidding......this was my office.

Okay, okay, I was crammed in a tiny cubbyhole many floors down.

Anyway.....

Long after the glaciers had receded (I'm eventually getting to the history of Davenport Road, by the way) the local Indians beat a trail along the base of the shoreline, from the Humber River over to the Don River.

They used Davenport as a trading trail.  Davenport is an old Indian word for seating area, or sofa, preferably a rollout type.  Okay, it was the name of one of the first homes built on the top of the escarpment, overlooking.....the Davenport Trail.

It was also used by early European traders.  And once the Brits arrived, even though it wasn't part of their precious grid pattern, they grudgingly started using it, too.


In order to pay to have it paved, they set up a toll road all along it in the early 1800's.

And this is the only remaining "Toll House",  now a museum at the corner of Davenport and Bathurst.

I assume it's had a coat of paint since then, but generally in pretty good shape.

And, of course, the actual toll gate.  No getting by that thing!

(FYI, Yonge St. also was also a toll road at one time.)


And when I say "paved", I mean paved with logs.

In the mid 1800's that's about as good as it got.

So the next time you are meandering along Davenport and think "What's up with this kooky road?"....now you know.

Sincerely, Your Uncle UC

We now return to our regularly scheduled blogging.