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Boxing Day Brew: West Queen West Crackdown on New Restaurants and Bars, Islamic Convention in Toronto, Etobicoke Tragedy, TTC Platform Pusher Arrested, A Decade of Citizen Involvement, Go Leafs!

Photo: "fake mall" by votreceinture, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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

Happy Boxing Day everyone! May you find all the deals you desire.

West Queen West is the latest area to get the restaurant and bar development kibosh. Citing noise complaints and the general proliferation of these establishments, Councillor Adam Giambrone believes that restrictions virtually identical to those put on Ossington more than a half year ago will address the concerns of area residents. Naturally, not everyone agrees...

And although Christmas (and its attendant shopping frenzy) has occupied the spotlight for the last little bit, an important Muslim event is also currently taking place in Toronto. Held over three days, roughly 17,000 people -- one of whom is the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens -- are expected to pass through the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for the convention titled "Reviving the Islamic Spirit."

No doubt the saddest news around the GTA over Christmas was the collapse of a swing stage in Etobicoke that left four construction workers dead and another critically injured. There's speculation that safety harnesses were not used (or used improperly) and that some of the men may have been illegal migrant workers, but this hardly lessens the tragedy.

Also troubling -- but thankfully without disastrous results -- is a report that a man allegedly attempted to push two women onto the subway tracks at St. Andrew Station on Christmas Eve. With the perpetrator now under arrest, police are trying to ascertain the second victim's identity so as to gather further evidence.

In better news, the National Post has an intriguing article that highlights the degree to which Torontonians have become more engaged and publicly active over the last decade. Highlighting events like Doors Open Toronto, SARS-Stock (remember that?), Nuit Blanche, and even the subway buttons distributed by our friends over at Spacing, it's nice to recall some of the more successful projects that have encouraged citizen involvement and instilled a sense of pride in the city.

Despite the fact that I've been hard on them throughout 2009, here's hoping 2010 brings success to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Perhaps they'll get a jumpstart on some new winning-ways tonight when they face the Canadiens (and when I have precious tickets!).

And if you're not exactly sure what's opened and what's closed today and Monday, the Star has a brief but useful list that covers the basics.


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