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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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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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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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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Handle With Care

Handle With Care

This morning, as we looked in the mirror, there appeared someone who may someday live in a nursing home.  And, self-interest aside, is there anybody who doesn’t believe that the elderly deserve to live their final years in a safe, caring, and dignified environment?

So what are we to make of the lack of widespread extreme outrage at how these homes have been managed in Ontario, especially during the pandemic?

Of our province’s deaths recorded in the pandemic’s first wave, almost two-thirds were in long-term care homes. …

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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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New Measures to Curb COVID

New Measures to Curb COVID

The Province has announced immediate measures to curb the very alarming rise in new COVID cases.

Ontario had a record 939 new cases today, topping the previous record of 797 set yesterday. Toronto also saw a very alarming 326 new cases today. The weekly Toronto total was 1900, down slightly from last week’s 2001 but still a dangerously high number to be levelling off at. That number needs to be driven way down before a true second wave, widely expected this fall and winter, sweeps over …

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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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A Note from John About COVID-19 – Sept 25

A Note from John About COVID-19 – Sept 25

I was holding out hope that recent COVID spikes would cause enough Toronto residents to change their behaviour for us to see a leveling off the upward trend. After today, with its 237 new cases, I’m finding that increasingly less likely.

That’s at the tail end of a week that saw Toronto cases hit 1,104 – up from previous weeks of 617, 385, 265, 206, and 161. Simple math shows that, over those five weeks, the number of cases increased by 685%. Project that ahead to …

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