The rezoning application for a proposed condo development at Church and Gloucester is on hold until after the municipal election, but that hasn’t slowed discussion around the project. Major players in the Village aren’t exactly lining up to support Church 18 Holdings, the developers whose 25-storey tower would replace a cluster of heritage and rental buildings.
The newly minted Gloucester Residents’ Association will hold a public meeting at The 519 on July 29 at 8pm. Organizers say that Lisa McCann, one of the owners, has promised to attend.
In the meantime, a planned meeting between the developers and the board of the Church Wellesley Village BIA has been rescheduled, and according to manager David Wootton, the BIA has not yet taken a position on the development, or indeed decided whether it will take a position at all.
New campaign manager flashes queer bona fides
George Smitherman may be leading Toronto’s mayoral race, but with the majority of Torontonians still undecided, the ex-provincial minister is rebuilding his team, and returning to his party roots.
Jeff Bangs, a Conservative insider, has left the campaign, citing family obligations. Now Bruce Davis, a veteran Liberal organizer and school board trustee, is stepping in as campaign manager. Amanda Klein, another Liberal campaigner, will serve as his deputy.
If Smitherman can maintain his lead for the next seven months, he will become Toronto’s first openly gay mayor.
Davis is pitching Smitherman as a candidate that environmentalists and business leaders can agree on. He says that successful fundraising means he can focus on letting his candidate articulate a vision for the city.
“We’ve spent a lot of time criticizing the city government, criticizing the administration, and a certain amount of that is required,” says Davis. “But I also think there’s an expectation that we have to turn now and focus on the future. I think you’ll see that over the next several weeks.”
Organizers are calling this summer’s G8 and G20 summits “the largest security event in Canadian history” — more expensive and elaborate, even, than the Vancouver Olympics. The federal government will spend at least $179 million on security, first at the Huntsville G8 Summit and then in Toronto, where the G20 will meet at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
It’s the cost of holding one of the world’s most divisive meetings in a major city, where dissenters cannot be kept out of sight. The G8 and G20 have become flashpoints for protests about social justice, environmentalism and anti-globalization.
Here in Toronto, activists have been planning for the meetings since last spring but kicked into high gear with a flurry of press releases in March. They are working hard to build something as different as possible from the exclusive closed-door meetings of the G8 and G20.
It’s been a tough couple of years for the shipping industry. First there was the recession, which led to almost 12 percent of the world’s cargo ships spending last December empty and anchored. The industry has also come under fire by environmentalists for its contributions to climate change and air pollution.
At December’s Copenhagen summit, the group Climate Justice Action (CJA) staged a protest outside the headquarters of Maersk, one of the world’s largest shipping companies. While shipping may be a worthy target—it’s responsible for two to five percent of global CO2 emissions—going after Maersk was a strange choice. Even the CJA’s factsheets acknowledged the company’s green initiatives.
Among other things, Maersk has been developing a long-known but little-used practice called “slow steaming.” When big cargo ships slow down, they can sometimes run more efficiently. While each journey takes longer, the practice cuts CO2 emissions by 10–30 percent, and for the largest vessels it’s equivalent to saving 3,500 tonnes of fuel each year.
Pink Triangle Press (PTP), the company that publishes Xtra, in partnership with Peace Point Entertainment Group, has bought gay porn digital specialty channel, HardTV.
The channel was purchased from OutTV’s parent company in a deal valued at about $70,000.
Pride Toronto’s financial statements from the fiscal year 2009 — which ended last July — have finally been released, and they reveal a year of growth, change and controversy. In fiscal year 2008, Pride commanded a budget of close to $2 million, but in 2009 its budget was more than $3 million.
It also posted a deficit — after a modest profit of $41,972 in 2008, in 2009 the organization took a loss of $138,605.
According to Pride Toronto executive director, Tracey Sandilands, three factors are responsible for most of the deficit. The first is the gap in 2008 between the departure of former executive director Fatima Amarshi and Sandilands’ arrival.
An American couple has won a federal court case that could change the way Canada treats would-be immigrants who are HIV-positive.
Justice Sean Harrington’s December 31 decision could be appealed before the end of January, but if it stands, it will make it easier for applicants who can afford to cover their own prescription costs to immigrate.
To get my first pap test, I had to pretend I was sleeping with men. Several years ago, I was leaving the country and wanted to make sure I was up to date with routine health care. My GP said that it wasn’t within “the guidelines” to give paps to women who sleep exclusively with women.
From my own research, I was pretty sure she was wrong. I also knew that I wouldn’t have time to get an appointment somewhere else. So I lied. She told me if I wasn’t interested in following her advice, I should get another doctor. After a supremely awkward pelvic exam, I left and never went back. Apparently, I’m not alone.
In Marcus McCann’s office at Xtra, the hammer is out. One painting is already up on the wall and a new whiteboard is being mounted.
McCann is Xtra’s new managing editor, and though he arrived from Ottawa early in November, he is still settling into both his office and his home nearby. McCann is joining Xtra from Ottawa’s sister paper, Capital Xtra, taking over some of the work of previous managing editor Matt Mills. Now working from Toronto, McCann will also continue to serve as Capital Xtra’s managing editor and associate publisher.
Family housing has infested units despite management efforts
More than once, Susanna Sanders has woken up to find a crushed cockroach in her bed. The Master’s student lives with her husband at Student Family Housing, a two-building university residence complex on Charles Street, east of the St. George campus, that houses couples and students with children. Sanders (name changed) had never seen a roach until she moved from her small Ontario -hometown to downtown Toronto. By now, she is a veteran—in some parts of Student Family Housing, the cockroaches are pretty much in charge.