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Morning Brew: Police review Yorkdale mall CCTV, boy drives car into McDonalds, Pusateri's is pricey, The Black Hoof speaks out, and TTC debuts the personal car

Posted by Chris Bateman / April 1, 2013

toronto skylinePolice are continuing to hunt for suspects in this weekend's fatal Yorkdale mall shooting. Michael Nguyen, 23, was shot multiple times during an altercation between two groups. A second man, who hasn't been named, was seriously injured. Police haven't said whether they believe the attack was gang related but did say both victims were known to the authorities.

Colleen Dempsey is living on the edge - literally. Her home is side-on to the construction site for the "Edition Richmond" condo on Richmond Street near Strachan. She claims developers damaged her home and cost her money when they tore down the house of her close neighbour. Yikes.

Parents of a four-year-old boy that drove the family car into a McDonalds in northwest Toronto are in a legal pickle. Police say the child put the car in gear and struck the side of the restaurant while his mother, who isn't insured to drive, was in the back seat. The mom later claimed she was driving the vehicle.

The National Post is looking back at coun. Karen Stintz's rise to power on city council with a profile that begins with her successful 2003 election campaign. Stintz defeated long-serving rep Anne Johnston who was embroiled in an the unpopular Minto condo development at Yonge and Eglinton.

Pusateri's Fine Foods sure knows how to cut a deal. 99-cent cans of Arizona Green Tea - with the retail price actually printed on the label - sell for $2.39 at the swanky Yorkville supermarket. I guess the owners have to pay for those valet zone lobbyists somehow. [via Reddit]

The HMCS Toronto has delivered a smackdown to a group of smugglers in the Indian Ocean. Crew aboard the Canadian frigate intercepted 500 kilograms of heroin, one of the largest seizures in a maritime environment, during an international patrol operation in the region.

The Black Hoof, a meat lover's paradise on Dundas West, is taking flak for its online etiquette. A tweet issued from the restaurant's official account early Saturday evening implored "(almost) everyone" to "please, please stop being such a douche". The outburst was apparently prompted by rude table. A later message claimed the troubles were "nothing 10 to 15 oz of chablis won't fix." Should restaurants call out bad behaviour?

Finally, difficult subway riders rejoice - the TTC is unveiling the "personal car," a place where nail-clippers, chicken-eaters, and big backpack wearers can finally ride in comfort, this morning. Here's the TTC's Brad Ross and Chris Upfold to explain the benefits of having absolutely no fellow humans to think about while you ride.


Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: "Spotted: Uber 5000" by AshtonPal/blogTO Flickr pool.



captainobvious / April 1, 2013 at 08:45 am
I would like to point out that the Arizona is not $2.39 for the can. If you read the tag it reads Arizona Green Tea $2.39 591ml which is the glass bottle size. The can is 680ml. Also, stores generally don't put in canned drinks with glass bottles; they will usually do that on another row.
MrsPotato / April 1, 2013 at 09:38 am
Black Hoof can suck it.
What a bunch of assholes. What a terrible way of handling an obviously stressful situation.
DL replying to a comment from MrsPotato / April 1, 2013 at 09:55 am
Agreed. Accept your money and STFU. If you really are that bothered, kick them out of your establishment.
iSkyscraper / April 1, 2013 at 10:02 am
So here is my urban-planner, Richard-Florida sort of question on Yorkdale. Toronto has a very low number of shootings and homicides for a city of its size, at least compared to other big American (and even some Canadian) cities. Toronto has around 60 murders a year; Chicago has around 500. New York is now the safest big city in the US, but it still has more than double the murder rate of Toronto.

So why then does Toronto have a pronounced problem with shootings and murders in its tourist and business core when places like Chicago and New York, statistically more dangerous places, do not? Number of murders in midtown Manhattan in 2012 and 2013: Zero. Number of murders in the Loop in 2012 and 2013: Zero. And yet we all know about the public shooting deaths in Toronto on College St, at the Eaton Centre, at Yorkdale, at downtown nightclubs...

All big cities have huge problems with pockets of entrenched poverty, gangs, low-income housing, etc. Their demographics and immigration patterns are not so different. Gun control is nearly identical in Chicago and New York as it is in Toronto. So why is this pattern of shootings so off? How can Toronto be so safe overall but so dangerous in its most public and central spaces?

Is this something to do with policing, risk of capture, sentences? With the supposed lack of ghettos to concentrate crime? Broken windows theory? Cameras?

Someone please write a thesis on this because it's a very disturbing trend.
Xavier replying to a comment from MrsPotato / April 1, 2013 at 10:03 am
I have to disagree. I think people should be called out for bad behaviour.
Lisa / April 1, 2013 at 10:09 am
Calling people out on bad behaviour is done in a way that those being called out know it and can change. What Jen Agg did was weak and passive aggressive and reflects poorly on her and her restaurant. Why did she not just speak with the customers? That would be calling out their behaviour. She wasn't looking to better the situation for her staff she was looking to vent. Huge difference.
MrsPotato replying to a comment from Xavier / April 1, 2013 at 10:11 am
Even though your biz is purely based on hospitality?

Sorry. No go.

It's big ol' FAIL of being appropriate in my customer service book.
Bourdain / April 1, 2013 at 10:27 am
A little shocked Black Hoof took their contempt for customers so public. Usually Jen mocks you from the bar.
Xavier replying to a comment from MrsPotato / April 1, 2013 at 10:45 am
I've always been treated well at the Black Hoof.

When did it become to ok to be an asshole but not to be called out on it?
Alex replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / April 1, 2013 at 10:55 am
That's a really good question and probably would need a lot of research to figure out. Maybe police in Toronto patrol problem areas a lot, and in response the gang members find each other in public places where they think it will be easier to get away? Maybe Toronto is a smaller city than the ones you cited, so the gang members tend to run into each other more often in public places? Maybe American cities have more security in malls and tourist areas because they're used to violence?
I don't know, maybe it's just that this past couple years we've had bad luck. Jane Creba was 2005 I think, and I don't remember any before that, or since then and 2012.
1 replying to a comment from Xavier / April 1, 2013 at 11:01 am
If anyone knows what the "douche's" side of the story is I'd like to hear it. Food to slow? Too cold? Server doesn't bother to serve the drinks or screws up the order? Since "the whole place" was acting out maybe the issue was with the Hoof and not the patrons?
Alex / April 1, 2013 at 11:03 am
Ha, almost missed the TTC april fool's joke at the end of the brew. Maybe the TTC finally got a sense of humour?
me2 / April 1, 2013 at 11:35 am
Why do people think anything on Twitiot matters?
AV replying to a comment from Lisa / April 1, 2013 at 11:41 am
Jen Agg couldn't be more stuck up if she had a gun to her back
Jacob replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / April 1, 2013 at 12:15 pm
Maybe the "troubled youth" involved aren't as impoverished as in American cities, and actually have money to go to nice malls, where they run into each other and go inappropriately nuts.

At the risk of sounding uninformed, sometimes the gang problem in this city feels a lot like a bunch of pop-culture brainwashed idiots "LARPing" the thug life, but with real weapons.
Rich replying to a comment from Jacob / April 1, 2013 at 12:29 pm
"sometimes the gang problem in this city feels a lot like a bunch of pop-culture brainwashed idiots "LARPing" the thug life, but with real weapons."

Nailed it
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from Jacob / April 1, 2013 at 02:11 pm
That's an interesting thought.

I sometimes wonder if the public shootings are a symptom of success -- i.e. Toronto has one of the most vibrant downtowns (and I'll include Yorkdale since it is the city's premium urban mall) of any city, and it's not a stage set of just office workers or just suburban-oriented entertainment. It's real and it's everyone, tourist and local, rich and poor, working or not. The downside is that this inclusive, accessible public domain also includes criminals. Throw in a more relaxed police presence (cops are far more visible on foot in New York and Chicago, and sometimes carry heavy weapons) and it seems that the public realm becomes the place for thugs to do their business.
Carter replying to a comment from AV / April 1, 2013 at 02:12 pm
x 1000
me2 replying to a comment from Rich / April 1, 2013 at 02:16 pm
That and "Black Culture" (Hip Hop) saying it's not only okay but necessary to be 'cool'.
not important / April 1, 2013 at 03:07 pm
"...and actually have money to go to nice malls, where they run into each other and go inappropriately nuts."

yeah i must have missed the $20 cover charge last time i was at yorkdale. that mall is located in extremely close proximity to one of toronto's most troubled neighbourhoods, it just so happens to serve a clientele that travels from all over the city and suburbs to shop. get your head out of your ass, even if it's not on the same level as many american cities (and we can thank our lucky stars for that) toronto still has a poverty issue and many underserved communities
Stan Smith / April 1, 2013 at 03:34 pm
If i was in the Black Hoof at the time of this posting, I would of stood up and informed everyone loudly. Im sure everyone in there would of loved to know that they were being called douche's. I then would proceed to grab my stuff, and walk out mid-meal or not without paying. If a douche is what they want, a douche is what they will get!
Terrible customer service.
If almost everybody was being a douche, maybe it was something on the restaurants side that made them like that. Maybe the food was not right, the servers uninterested, wrong orders? Who knows!?
But to call your customers a douche while they are still in your business, is asking for trouble.
You decided to open your business in the SERVICE industry. While i agree that nobody should be abused at their workplace, I do believe that telling the person, face to face is a much more respectful and mature way of going about it.
I for one, will not be supporting this business since they clearly have no respect for their current patrons or the need of new ones.
Selina replying to a comment from Stan Smith / April 1, 2013 at 03:36 pm
I agree with you.
The owner seems like an immature bitch who has no respect for her customers.
matt / April 1, 2013 at 03:47 pm
"Should restaurants call out bad behaviour?"

No, at least not like that. A proprietor publicly calling her customers douches (even if they are) is not okay. The fact that anyone is suggesting otherwise suggests that our deification of chefs and culinary figures is getting ridiculous. And so many media types—ensconced in the whole resto-foodie scene—seem to forget that they're writing for diners and customers, not the restaurant industry. Hence all these articles I see lately on "How to be a good diner" or "How to tip" (always a lot, and more than you used to it turns out.) Douchy customers suck, but the fact remains that complaining about them belongs in the kitchen, not in public.

poh replying to a comment from Jacob / April 1, 2013 at 04:23 pm
I think you are absolutely correct. I grew up in one of the city's so-called troubled areas and while there are some serious issues affecting some residents, it pales in comparison to the problems affecting Chicago's South Side or the troubled areas of the Bronx.

And there have been murders in Midtown Manhattan in the last year. I remember one happening in Columbus Circle not too far from the Time Warner Restaurant (home to Thomas Keller's per se). And there was one outside of the Empire State Building in the summer.

I'd rather live in the city where there is less crime overall than the one with an exorbitant amount of crime, even if most of it is isolated in a few sections of town.
Jacob replying to a comment from not important / April 1, 2013 at 04:24 pm
Oh, the poverty issue exists, I've seen it first hand, but it's steeped in pop culture imported from the US and Caribbean, where poverty issues exist on a whole other level and the thug culture is glamourized. So you have these wannabe thugs walking around in some imaginary urban warzone that unfortunately extends to malls selling the $200 sneakers and $80 hats they like to purchase and show off.

It's like the controversy around Drake's "Started From The Bottom". Our "bottom" is leagues different from those outside Canada.
Stanley / April 1, 2013 at 04:30 pm
I had a guest in my restaurant throwing pennies at my bartender so he could get his vodka tonic faster. I had a guest stare at me from across the bar for ten minutes calling me a c*nt repeatedly in the middle of service for cutting him off at 6:30 because he came in too drunk. Those sound like the things you would see in a dive bar, but this is in a reputable restaurant. I've been bartending in Toronto for 14 years and I've never seen shit like this. Sorry Toronto, you are douches!
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from poh / April 1, 2013 at 04:48 pm
I apologize, you are right. I misread the CompStat sheets and missed the Empire State Building assassination (which was right out of the movies) and a couple others. But I think I'm still correct that the number of shootings and murders is lower in Midtown Manhattan or the Chicago Loop than in Downtown Toronto over recent years - here are the relevant data sheets:

New York:


Stan Smith replying to a comment from Stanley / April 1, 2013 at 05:19 pm
The examples you have described to us are really unfortunate.
However, it comes with any job in the service industry.
To label a whole city as douches, is just plain ignorant, and begs the question, did you do something to these people you used as an example to deserve it? I would stay probably.

Bar tending for 14 years, you must love being treated like crap since you are still doing it.

If you honestly think that all of Toronto is a douchey, then maybe its time you find yourself another city. While you are at it, i suggest another job.
It is really ignorant and speaks to your mental capacity if you think that bar tending in any city is going to be better then another.
You, my friend, are the DOUCHE
tommy replying to a comment from Stan Smith / April 1, 2013 at 05:58 pm
found the douche
Todd / April 1, 2013 at 06:59 pm
Can't speak to NYC, but it is certain that hypersegregation in Chicago plays a part. The Loop is considered a place for white people and it is very, very noticeable how tense it gets when there's a larger than usual number of black residents walking around.

So, instead poor black and Hispanic residents tear up the vast swaths of nothingness in Chicago, mostly victimizing their own. A large number of murders in the south side aren't drug related... they're over disrespect/women/other bullshit, so it's similar to Richmond St shootings. Toronto doesn't have that type of segregation, so this tells me that most gangsters here walk around armed and if something happens, it happens.
me replying to a comment from Stanley / April 1, 2013 at 07:45 pm
Hipsters are proud to be. And if one of them had called the owner a douche and put it on Twitiot, BlogTO'd be making them a hero.
MichaelD / April 1, 2013 at 07:52 pm
I've always been treated well at the Hoof and Cafe back in the day. A great restaurant that really has changed the scene in Toronto in a positive way and continues to help promote a different type of cooking and eating unique from celeb chef style places.

I had no issues with her comments and am surprised (not really) to see so many negative comments here. BlogTO commenters, the minority of it's readership I'm certain, have always felt it is much more appropriate to bash people online in an anonymous fashion.
opensource1111 / April 2, 2013 at 10:37 am
I like the Black Hoof, have been there a number of times and the servers have been gracious for the most part. Sometimes, there is the odd staff who seems not to understand customer service requires a smile and patience, not unlike any other service type business. I read the tweet from the owner - it was pretty innocuous, nothing to get your panties in a bunch over. That said, twitter is not the place for that - she should have approached the offending diners directly. Twitter, Facebook, blogs etc. people seem to lose all form of self censorship and control and post anything that comes to mind. If this is your personal forum, and only accessible to friends and family, ok. If this is related to your business, pretty stupid not to think before you write.
Chicago movers Yelp / April 7, 2013 at 12:11 pm
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