TD Canada Trust Tower Toronto

Saturday Brew: Punjabi Gender Scam, Casino Craziness, Wild West on Ossington, Beer Store Reports Recycling Increase, the Panda Plan

Photo: Interior - TD Canada Trust Tower by Jarrett E. Hather, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

What's happening in the GTA (and sometimes beyond):

An investigative report in the Toronto Star aims to shed light on the degree to which Punjabi women in the GTA are pressured to give birth to baby boys. Posing as a a pregnant mother, a staff reporter responded to an ad in Mississauga's Punjabi paper, Ajit Weekly, which promised a way to ensure having a baby boy. The ad is the work of the paper's editor, Kanwar Bains, who provided a plethora of pills for a fee of 750 dollars, claiming they'd provide an 85% chance of a male birth. Over and above the scam, the article reveals the intense cultural demand for male children in the GTA's Punjabi community and its detrimental effect on would-be mothers, who some claim are forced to resort to aborting female fetuses at alarming rates.

Staying on the topic of "scams," certain casinos outside of Toronto -- in such places as Niagara Falls, Orillia, and Windsor -- are actually providing house credit to big time gamblers. The amount of credit offered between 2000-2009 comes in at around $89 million dollars, although that number may not reflect that amount actually taken by gamblers. Even though there are a number of provisions put in place to ensure that such credit can't be used in the heat of the moment and that it only be given to those who've received a background check, I've gotta think this practice should be banned. Isn't it just common sense that gambling with credit is almost inevitably going to backfire? Well, mathetmatics would say so at least...

Is Ossington south of Dundas a sort of wild west, a modern-day Deadwood, if you will? We already know that's what deputy mayor and area councillor Joe Pantalone believes, but the opening paragraphs of this article keep the hyperbole on high in describing a lack of change in the area six months into city council's year-long ban on liquor licence applications. Thankfully, a little balance is provided later in the form of a mini-profile of Paul Bรถhmer, a highly regarded chef who's liquor licence was the last submitted before the moratorium. But, come on, I've never seen the article's description of "hordes of intoxicated revellers trawling the strip in search of the hottest nightspot." That quotation does, on the other hand, paint a pretty accurate picture of the club district, doesn't it?

The Beer Store is reporting a one per cent increase in the return of beer, liquor and wine bottles. Although it sounds tiny, such an improvement is actually pretty encouraging based on the fact that the return rate was already at 93 per cent. Despite the hate I have on for the the Brewer's Retail monopoly over the Ontario beer market, the return program, which saw 1.86 billion of the 1.97 billion beer containers sold in the province returned last year, remains a model recycling system that it seems is only getting better.

The Toronto Zoo is pursuing a plan to acquire two panda's from China despite discouragement from the mayor and the knowledge that a panda exhibit would almost surely lose a lot of money (estimates reach $4.2 million over ten years). The key supporter of this trip is Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, who believes that the pandas would help to generate support for large-scale improvements to the zoo in the upcoming years. There remains, however, no guarantee that the Chinese will provide the desired male and female bears, particularly in the absence of support for the plan from the Canadian government.

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