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Trending: What if neighbourhoods put up their own Toronto signs?

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Nov 4th, 2015

So Toronto Councillor Norm Kelly wants the city to create some new, hip, 3D Toronto signs for various spots around town.

Specifically, Kelly would like to see ‘The 6′ at Yonge-Dundas Square, ‘T.O.’ somewhere in the Entertainment District, and ‘T-Dot’ at Harbourfront.

Good ideas, all. The Toronto sign erected at Nathan Phillips Square at the start of the Pan Am Games this summer became an instant hit, with scores of tourists and Torontonians taking selfies on or near the giant, 3D letters. It’s a good ambassador for the city, with the big, bold letters, multiple-coloured shading and warm, welcoming backlighting.

A 3D Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square for the Pan Am and Pam American Games on July 10, 2015. TWITTER/YYZ_2010

But why stop there? Why not get Toronto’s neighbourhoods involved in this project, and allow them to show off their own cool nicknames?

For example, we could erect a giant “Scarberia” sign at the top of the Scarborough Bluffs, showing weary boaters where they can drop anchor for a warm pint served by a guy in an undershirt:

Scarberia Toronto sign

Or, we can let the Bridal Path residents illustrate clearly where Toronto’s property values are the highest and where beaten-up minivans are not welcome:

Wealthytown Toronto sign

The Lawrence Heights area is affectionately referred to as The Jungle, because of it’s high crime rate. It would be great for that neighbourhood to show some civic pride, so long as they can avoid having the letters stolen:

The Jungle Toronto Sign

And what about The Village on Church? In terms of creative use of colour, this one is a no-brainer:

The Village Toronto sign

And for some Torontonians, Bloor Street represents a dividing line between SOBs and NOBs. That seems logical, though it might not make sense to visiting tourists:

SOB/NOB Toronto sign

And so on. What neighbourhood signs would you like to see erected? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter at @citynews.

Police investigating eight cases of Halloween candy tampering

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Nov 4th, 2015

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Police are warning about another incident of alleged candy tampering, the eighth case to emerge since Halloween night.

Toronto police say a three-year-old girl in the Keele Street and Lawrence Avenue area was about to eat a piece of candy when she discovered a needle in it. She wasn’t injured, police said Wednesday.

On Monday, a parent in the Eastwood Road and Woodbine Avenue area found a thumb tack pressed into a Kit Kat chocolate bar.

A thumbtack was found pressed into a Kit Kat chocolate bar on Nov. 2, 2015. TORONTO POLICE SERVICE
A thumbtack was found pressed into a Kit Kat chocolate bar on Nov. 2, 2015. TORONTO POLICE SERVICE

Meanwhile, two children and one teen in the Niagara Region found razor blades in their candy.

In Thorold, Niagara police say a child bit into something hard inside his Kit Kat bar. He immediately stopped chewing and took the candy out of his mouth.

A razor blade was found in a Kit Kat bar in the Niagara Region on Nov. 1, 2015. THOROLD POLICE.
A razor blade was found in a Kit Kat bar in the Niagara Region on Nov. 1, 2015. THOROLD POLICE.

In another case, police say a razor blade was found within an O’Henry bar. The child had gone trick or treating in the St. Catharines area.

A razor blade was found in an O'Henry bar in the St. Catharines area. NIAGARA POLICE.
A razor blade was found in an O’Henry bar in the St. Catharines area. NIAGARA POLICE.

 Also in Niagara Region, a 15-year-old girl in Fort Erie found a small razor blade in a bite-size Twix bar.

None of the three were injured.

Niagara police reported two more incidents involving alleged candy tampering.

A 10-year-old girl in Thorold was not injured after finding a small finishing nail embedded in a mini Kit Kat bar, which had an opened wrapper. And a 14-year-old girl in Niagara-on-the-Lake found a blade of a pencil sharpener in a Mini Mars chocolate bar. She also wasn’t injured.

In the eighth case, the Kawartha Media Group reports a grandparent found a finishing nail embedded in their grandchild’s two-inch Crunch chocolate bar after initially spotting a hole in the candy wrapper. The child was not injured.

Authorities are reminding parents to stay vigilant and to thoroughly inspect all candies before eating them.

Five must-dos to prepare your garden for winter

Sarah Nixon | posted Tuesday, Nov 3rd, 2015

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This year I had seven gardens where I grew flowers for cutting. It was fantastic. I love my job. But there are aspects of it that I enjoy less than others. High on the list of least favourite things to do is preparing the gardens for winter. The weather is chilly and often rainy, the work can be less than exciting and most of all, unlike spring tasks, there is no immediate gratification.

But in autumn’s past, when I have given in to my laziness, I pay for it in the spring. Perrenials and shrubs can suffer, disease can spread and I’m left with a big wet mucky mess to clean up. In order to make it seem less daunting, I have come up with five simple things we can do to get our gardens ready. So get those rubber boots on!

1. Remove most annual plants and cut down some perennials. I say some and not all because the birds will thank you if you leave a few plants with edible seed heads such as echinacea, rudbekia, sunflowers and zinnias to feed on. They also look pretty in the snow. For others, pull them out by their roots. Remove any leaves infected with rust, powdery mildew or black spot from the ground so the spores don’t overwinter in the soil. Be sure not to compost plants or leaves that appear diseased or buggy.

winter gardening tips mildew garden flowers

2. Cut back dead branches on your shrubs. But hold off on pruning roses until spring.

3. Remove leaves from your lawn. If they’re not infected with tar spot (seen as black spots), they can be put around plants to act as a winter mulch. In early spring before new growth occurs, you can remove what is left of the leaves.

winter gardening tips tar spot leaves

4. Protect roses or other more delicate shrubs from freeze-thaw cycles. Pile those leaves up around the base of the plant to a height of a foot or two. Remove them in early spring.

5. Start digging after the first frost. Dig up any tender bulbs and tubers such as canna lilies, dahlias, gladioloi and crocosmia. They can be stored over winter (lots of advice online about this) and replanted in the spring.

Bonus points! Empty, clean and store containers, garden hoses and garden tools. Now is a great time to make notes of what worked or didn’t work this year. Try making a simple map of the plants in your garden — I love my map in the early spring when I’m excited to start moving and dividing my garden but all my plants look identically brown and stumpy.

Now we dream as we wait for the seed catalogues to start rolling in — happy gardening!

Sarah Nixon is an urban flower farmer and designer in Toronto. For 12 years her flower company, My Luscious Backyard, has sustainably grown over 100 varieties of cut flowers in a micro-farm comprised of many residential yards in Toronto’s west end. Throughout the growing season My Luscious Backyard creates florals for weddings and events, delivers arrangements to flower subscription recipients across the city and provides flowers to several discerning florists.

Man dressed as Scarecrow punches Tin Man, runs away with Cowardly Lion: police

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Nov 3rd, 2015

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He doesn’t appear to have used that brain the Wizard gave him.

Police say officers dispatched to a fight call early Saturday in Innisfil, Ont., found a man dressed as the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz being treated for injuries.

South Simcoe police say witnesses at the Stroud Arena — who were dressed as Dorothy, Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the East — said the Tin Man had been punched by his friend the Scarecrow.

In a release, police say “the Scarecrow didn’t have the brains to stick around, and ran away with the Cowardly Lion.”

Turns out “the Tin Man didn’t have the heart to lay charges against his friend, and refused to tell the officers anything.” He was treated for minor injuries.

Police say they believe alcohol was involved.

‘Saddest dog in the world’ in foster care, spurs GoFundMe contributions

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Nov 3rd, 2015

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Lana the rescue dog, dubbed the ‘saddest dog in the world’ has a reason to smile – but her story isn’t over yet.

On Friday, a photo of a depressed Lana went viral, raising concerns about the pup, who had been sent back to a boarding kennel because she had snapped at the mother of her adopted family. Lana had arrived in Canada as the runt of a 14-pup litter from Mexico.

A volunteer at the kennel said “it’s almost like her world shut down,” when she was back in the kennel, stating that the loveable canine refused to even go for walks, and was just pressing her face against her kennel wall.

Lana the dog was returned to a shelter and her story has gone viral. Image via The Dodo/Lisa Burchell.
Lana the dog was returned to a shelter and her story has gone viral. Image via The Dodo/Lisa Burchell.

According to the Mighty Mutts Facebook page, the obedience and match-making service was overwhelmed with inquiries about the adorable Lana when the story broke, and that all the queries crashed their email and website.

The good news is that Lana will likely never see the walls of that kennel again. Mighty Mutts reports that Lana was quickly moved to a foster home, where she could be “in a safe, home environment and out of the kennel.”

When CityNews reporter Adrian Ghobrial visited her on Friday night, he found “an absolutely gorgeous dog,” who was “really skittish – she wouldn’t let me pet her.”

“She’s just so broken,” said foster mom Nadine Ayoub. “She’s so broken and lost. She doesn’t understand what she’s done wrong.

“To be sitting there all by herself all day had to be really, really hard for her.”

Lana the rescue dog. PHOTO VIA MIGHTY MUTTS
Lana the rescue dog. PHOTO VIA MIGHTY MUTTS

Lana will begin a strict training regime this week to correct her guarding issues with Mighty Mutts before they allow her to try a permanent home. Since Lana is timid and has exhibited guarding behaviour, she would be best suited in a home with just one or two people in a quiet environment without children.

In the meantime, Lana’s story has drawn attention to the plight of thousands of rescue dogs, and a GoFundMe page set up for Lana and other dogs in need has raised about $13,000, which will mean a happy ending for so many dogs like Lana.

Toronto parents find thumb tack in Halloween chocolate bar

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Nov 3rd, 2015

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Toronto police are warning the public after a thumb tack was found in a child’s Halloween candy on Monday.

Police say the child’s parents were checking the candy when they discovered the tack pressed into a Kit Kat chocolate bar.

They live in the Eastwood Road and Woodbine Avenue area.

Police are reminding parents to check their kids’ candy before allowing them to consume it.

thumbtack

In the Niagara Region, two children also found razor blades in their candy.

In one incident reported on Sunday in Thorold, Niagara police say a child bit into something hard inside his Kit Kat bar. He immediately stopped chewing and took the candy out of his mouth.

In another case, which was reported on Monday, police say a razor blade was found within an O’Henry bar. The child had gone trick or treating in the St. Catharines area.

Back to normal for students as teacher strike action ends

News Staff | posted Tuesday, Nov 3rd, 2015

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It’s big news for public elementary school students: teachers are no longer on work-to-rule after reaching a deal with the province. Support staff represented by a separate union have also struck a deal, ending negotiations that have lasted over a year.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) says it will halt strike action after reaching a tentative agreement with the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) and the provincial government.

“This round of bargaining has been exceptionally lengthy and difficult but in the end we achieved a tentative agreement that ETFO believes is fair and meets the needs of our members,” ETFO President Sam Hammond said in a release on Monday.

“ETFO is a democratic organization and ultimately it is the membership that will determine whether this tentative agreement is acceptable,” Hammond added. “Local leaders will now focus their efforts on reaching agreements in their respective school boards.”

The deal must now be ratified with the results expected in mid-November. The details were not released, and won’t be until the agreement is ratified, but Education Minister Liz Sandals said the terms are similar to those for English Catholic and public school teachers.

Those deals included raises of 1.5 per cent plus another one-per-cent bonus. And, like those deals, Sandals said these new agreements are net zero, meaning any salary increases are offset by savings elsewhere. The savings did not come at the expense of student programming, she said.

One major difference between the deals reached with ETFO and CUPE and the other unions is that these did not come with payments from the government to cover the unions’ negotiating expenses.

Sandals said full student progress reports, including comments, will be completed by December 11.

“I’m really pleased we were able to reach an agreement on producing those progress reports,” she said.

ETFO, which represents 78,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals, has been without a contract for over 14 months.

Earlier Monday, the province announced it had reached a tentative agreement with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), ending a work-to-rule campaign.

The province reached a deal with two unions on Nov. 2, 2015, but one union agreement is still outstanding.
The province reached a deal with two unions on Nov. 2, 2015, but one union agreement is still outstanding.

But school support workers in the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) remain without a deal.

Because they are continuing their administrative strike, the government has given trustee associations power to dock the workers’ pay 10 per cent.

“OSSTF education workers have not reached agreement,” Sandals said. “They are also unwilling to stop their job action, therefore the government is providing…consent to proceed with a five-day notice…that their pay could be docked up to 10 per cent.”

With files from The Canadian Press

ETFO and province reach tentative agreement, ending strike action

CityNews | posted Monday, Nov 2nd, 2015

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The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) says it will halt strike action after reaching a tentative agreement with the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) and the provincial government.

“This round of bargaining has been exceptionally lengthy and difficult but in the end we achieved a tentative agreement that ETFO believes is fair and meets the needs of our members,” ETFO President Sam Hammond said in a release.

The deal must now be ratified with the results expected in mid-November.

“ETFO is a democratic organization and ultimately it is the membership that will determine whether this tentative agreement is acceptable,” Hammond added. “Local leaders will now focus their efforts on reaching agreements in their respective school boards.”

Education Minister Liz Sandals confirmed the deal.

“We do have an agreement with ETFO,” she said just before 6 p.m.

Sandals said full student progress reports, including comments, will be completed by December 11.

“I’m really pleased we were able to reach an agreement on producing those progress reports,” she said.

ETFO, which represents 78,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals, has been without a contract for over 14 months.

Earlier Monday, the province announced it had reached a tentative agreement with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), ending a work-to-rule campaign.

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