Thursday, July 24, 2014Partly Cloudy 15°C
City

The Toronto airport rail link will be epic, apparently

Posted by Chris Bateman / July 24, 2014

toronto union pearson expressToronto had a dream. It wasn't lower crime, or better living conditions, or even a downtown relief line. No, it was the ability to get to the airport without using a car or bus. Now, according to an unintentionally hilarious promotional video just released by Metrolinx, that dream is almost a reality.

According to the assembled stock footage, climactic music, and emotional voiceover, when the Union-Pearson Express opens in 2015 it will not only "establish Toronto as the undeniable symbol of progress and prosperity in Ontario, but help seal our credibility as an international player on the global stage." Finally!

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City

What's happening with the Kromer Radio building?

Posted by Chris Bateman / July 23, 2014

Kromer RadioThe former Kromer Radio building at Bathurst and Nassau streets has been vacant for close to two years, its brilliant electric blue sign disconnected and parking lot surrounded by a chain link fence. The property, now owned by developer RioCan, was a target for a controversial big box store, with Walmart identified as a prospective tenant.

The concept was roundly criticized in the neighbouring Kensington Market neighbourhood for its size--8,800 square metres over two floors for the anchor tenant--and more than 300 underground parking spaces.

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City

Who is Ford family political candidate Michael Ford?

Posted by Chris Bateman / July 23, 2014

michael fordFirst there was Rob, and then there was Doug, and now there's Michael Ford, the latest in Etobicoke's most famous family to express a desire to hold political office. Late last week, after several months of speculation, the youngest of the Ford clan to dabble in municipal politics filed the necessary papers to run in Ward 2, the area currently represented by his uncle, Doug.

What do we know about Michael Ford? Honestly, very little.

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City

5 things you didn't know about John Tory

Posted by Chris Bateman / July 21, 2014

toronto john toryJohn Tory is without a doubt the most politically experienced candidate among this year's mayoral hopefuls. Since the late 1970s, the wily conservative strategist and perennial business leader has held numerous high-profile positions, yet he has only held political office once, as an MPP from 2005 to 2007.

Tory got his start in politics while a student at University of Toronto Schools, a prep school affiliated with the university, when a friend convinced him to buy a $1 membership to the York Mills Young Progressive Conservatives Association. "It sounded like an interesting thing to do. He made it a story with a little intrigue. He made it all sound very exciting. If I bought a card, I could vote for this friend of his who was running for treasurer against this other fellow who was somehow bad news," he told The Star in 1983.

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Eat & Drink

The 5 oldest bars in Toronto

Posted by Chris Bateman / July 18, 2014

oldest bars torontoThere are not many of them, but Toronto boasts several bars and pubs that have been serving drinks for more than a century. In a city that a little over 220 years ago was no more than a cluster of tents, that's quite impressive. In fact, two of the bars on this list predate Canadian Confederation; all of them opened before the second great fire of Toronto and the first electricity reached the city from Niagara.

Naturally, the process for definitively determining the oldest bars in the city is subject to some debate, as business this old have often changed focus over the years. While we've researched our list, please feel free to make other compelling suggestions in the comments section.

Here are some of the oldest pubs and bars in Toronto.

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City

TTC set to fix most annoying feature of Rocket trains

Posted by Chris Bateman / July 18, 2014

toronto ttc hand railsThe TTC's Rocket subway trains could get some pricey new ceiling hand rails as part of a series of safety upgrades over the next few years, if a new report is adopted by the TTC board next week.

The areas beneath the heating and air conditioning units, located near the doors of the Rocket trains, do not contain any hand-holds, posing a safety issue during rush hour. One of the new Rocket trains (pictured above) has been fitted with prototype rails and plastic straps to positive customer feedback.

The cars will also be fitted with exterior speakers as a result of feedback from riders with visual disabilities. The devices will make the three-note door chime easier to hear from the platform.

The total cost of the work is estimated be in excess of $15 million, but thanks to a series of credits owed to the TTC by manufacturer Bombardier, the net price has been reduced to $465,000. Before the discounts were applied, the design, engineering, and installation expense of the hand rails alone was $4.3 million. The speakers were marked at $11 million.

"Our engineers review these issues very carefully. Given the number of cars, material and time it will take, I trust the professionals got [the price] right," TTC spokesman Brad Ross said in an email.

The hand rails and speakers are due to be in place on all 70 of the Rocket trains by the end of 2016.

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