Entering The Future

Entering The Future

Entering The Future

While going through some old North York papers last week, I stumbled upon a document labelled “Vision 2020”, written 25 years ago, about the need to plan ahead for the year we’re now in. I couldn’t remember anything coming of it, so I searched Google.  Not even a mention.

That year, when opportunity came knocking, nobody was home. But next month at Council, we have a rare chance to shape Willowdale’s future in a way that will improve the lives of those who will …

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COVID by the Numbers

COVID by the Numbers

If we are searching for glimmers of good news, Toronto’s new case numbers are levelling off, with 3281 compared to 3237 and 3267 the week before.

But Ontario set a frightening new record with more than 1800 cases today. Hospitalizations, which always follow case numbers, are increasing steadily, as is the number of people needing intensive care.  Higher ICU numbers mean higher death counts in weeks to come –  not only those felled by the virus – but others who can’t get needed surgery as beds …

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The Shutdown Has Landed

The Shutdown Has Landed

This day has been dawning for many weeks: a shutdown, which became increasingly inevitable when other measures weren’t taken early enough and large segments of the population continued to act as if it were still August, a month in which Toronto saw one day in which there was only a single new COVID case.

Starting Monday, non-essential businesses in Toronto and Peel are closed except for curbside pickup and delivery. Outdoor dining is no longer permitted. Personal services such as hair salons are closed. So are …

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Tragic Fire on Norton Avenue

Tragic Fire on Norton Avenue

Early Tuesday morning, a fire at 37 Norton Avenue killed one resident, put firefighters at risk of serious injury, and forced seven others to run for safety with whatever they could carry. It was an entirely preventable tragedy.

Eight unrelated people were living in the house. The incident is still being investigated by Toronto Fire, the Office of the Fire Marshall, and Toronto Police, so I shouldn’t speculate about their conclusions or what charges may be laid.

What I can say is that one way to help …

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Help Local Restaurants Survive

Help Local Restaurants Survive

Due to this week’s scary COVID numbers and even more frightening forecasts, indoor dining in restaurants is closed until we get the situation under control – which could be a while. Meanwhile, many of our local restaurants are experiencing extreme hardship, and more than a few are in danger of closing forever.

These are mostly small, independent, or family-run places. For them, going out of business means much more than losing a job. In many cases, they also lose something they love, their life savings, and …

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Changing the Future

Changing the Future

In Canada, those protecting our health almost always act in unison, which makes it all the more startling that Toronto had to go it alone this week, pointing to a dangerous and confusing rift between the Provincial priority to keep business open and the City emphasis on reducing sickness and death.

For months, it has been obvious that a second wave is growing so quickly that it threatens to overwhelm us. As regularly chronicled in this space, Toronto’s weekly new case total was 115 on August …

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Remembrance Day Information

Remembrance Day Information

This year, Remembrance Day commemorations will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City of Toronto is encouraging people to instead observe this year’s Remembrance Day commemorations virtually at home or at work. The City will ensure appropriate respect and honour is paid by placing wreaths at the City’s cenotaphs on behalf of various organizations.

The City’s virtual commemorations will focus on the diversity of Toronto’s participation in times of war and significant milestones, as 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the …

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A Turning Point Meets a Wrong Turn

A Turning Point Meets a Wrong Turn

Amid continued evidence that COVID levels remain dangerously high, the Province has created new regulations likely to make them higher.

First the numbers: Toronto’s weekly case total stands at 2445, very close to last week’s all- time high and up significantly from1900 weekly cases when the Province deemed it necessary to close bars, gyms and indoor dining. COVID hospitalizations in Toronto are up 63% over that period.

Until this week, rising numbers have meant more restrictions until the situation is under control and it is safe to …

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America the Beautiful, the Bad and the Ugly

America the Beautiful, the Bad and the Ugly

During the 2016 presidential election campaign, I took a road trip into the musical heart of America: Blues in Mississippi; R&B in Memphis; Country in Nashville; Bluegrass in rural Virginia. All served with southern BBQ, partisan chatter and, every day, something new and startling: the “Music and Firearms” store on a small town main street; the owner of Weasel’s Pawn Shop, who noticed our Canadian plates and demanded to know why we voted for socialists; a business advising shoppers that loaded handguns were welcome – …

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Numbers that Tell the Truth

Numbers that Tell the Truth

Given a choice, I’ll pick facts over political posturing every time. A case in point:

Last year, the Province abruptly slashed the amount developers pay the city to provide facilities to serve new residents. They presented it as if this was somehow a good thing for anybody other than the only ones to benefit: developers.

When I called out the Ford government on this, it offered assurances that the final version of the legislation would be “revenue neutral.” Local MPP Stan Cho went further, claiming Willowdale residents …

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Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks

A few years ago, I attended a talk by an author who had written a book about the year he had spent scrupulously following Biblical guidelines. He was asked which practices he’d decided to stick with after the year was up.

“Giving thanks for something every day,” he replied without hesitation. A simple act that is undeniably good for the soul. It’s something some of us do without thinking and others never think to do.

In this very difficult year for everybody, I feel very fortunate. I …

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Frightening Numbers Require Decisive Action

Frightening Numbers Require Decisive Action

The careless disregard that a relatively small number have shown for the wellbeing of others has sent us backwards into the frightening world of out-of-control COVID and pandemic shutdown.

This week, Toronto had an astounding 2001 new cases. That’s almost 50% more than the 1104 cases which sounded loud alarm bells last week. As recently as early August, Toronto had less than 100 new cases in a week.

Today, Toronto Public Health reached the unhappy conclusion that pleas to act responsibly were not working and much more …

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