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Baby found dead in London, Ont., dumpster

News staff and The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Jun 17th, 2016

Police are investigating after a baby’s body was found in a dumpster in London, Ont.

Investigators were called to Richmond and Mill streets around 11:35 a.m. on Thursday after they received a 911 call from a member of the public.

Const. Sandasha Bough could not say if the infant was a newborn nor could she say if it was a boy or a girl.

“That information is part of the investigation, we are not releasing it at this time,” said Bough. “When we do have it, we will be providing it to the public.”

Police add more details will be forthcoming once the results of the coroner’s examination is completed.

Area store owners say they hadn’t seen anything unusual and that it isn’t a high crime area.

Staff Sergeant Blair Harvey says the area has a lot of pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

Toronto for fitness lovers: 6 fun ways to get active

Danielle Groen | posted Thursday, Jun 16th, 2016

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A city that boasts four major sports teams, no fewer than 200 tennis courts and, once the snow melts, a race practically every weekend is bound to be a major destination for fitness enthusiasts. But even if you tend to skew less “gym rat” and more “gym curious,” there’s a Toronto activity to get you moving. Here are a few of our favourites.

Paddleboarding on the islands

Rihanna, Jennifer Garner and (this should really come as no surprise) Matthew McConaughey are all fans of stand-up paddleboarding, and now you can hop a quick ferry and try it out on the islands. Toronto Island Stand Up Paddleboarding operates every day of the week and usually pushes off from Ward’s Beach. They have rentals, lessons and a Sunday morning eco tours, which takes you through the nooks and crannies of the archipelago’s 15 islands. Afterward, get lost in the William Meany Maze, a crazy labyrinth made up of 1,200 black cedar trees, or get brave on Hanlan’s Point, the city’s only clothing-optional beach. torontoislandsup.com.

Yoga at the AGO

Every Monday and Thursday, while the museum is closed to the public, drop-in yoga classes are held in the Galleria Italia, a light-filled, Frank Gehry–designed gallery of curving wood and glass that stretches almost a full city block. All skill levels are welcome, experienced instructors fine-tune your alignment and you can encourage an even deeper triangle pose by imagining you’re reaching to snatch a Lawren Harris off the wall in the room next door. (But don’t actually do that, no matter how flexible you are.) ago.net/drop-in-yoga.

Photo, Arthur Mola.

Running through High Park

It’s hard to find fault with the Parkdale Road Runners’ motto: “Rain or shine. On time. No one left behind.” And since this free-to-join running club is based in Toronto’s west end, it’s hard to find fault with their routes, too — they often include a jog past High Park, or along the boardwalk next to Lake Ontario, or underneath the highly photogenic pedestrian Humber Bay Arch Bridge. There’s a short (roughly 5k) and a longer (around 10K) run each week, and the Saturday morning run is reserved just for women. The pace is brisk enough for a workout but not so gruelling that you can’t chat with the runner next to you. parkdaleroadrunners.com.

Lawn bowling in north Toronto

This one’s more for the “fitness” lover (because anything popularized by British gentry on their ninth G&T doesn’t really count as fitness). The Lawrence Park Lawn Bowling Club in north Toronto is over 100 years old, but members say it’s a bit rowdier than the dozen other bowls clubs in the city. White clothes aren’t mandatory, and every Wednesday, they open up the lawns so non-members can try them for free (though the club says people are welcome to drop by anytime). If you’re after a slightly more satisfying sound, croquet balls can also be whacked on an adjacent lawn.lawrenceparklawnbowling.com.

Photo, Arthur Mola.

Dance classes at the National Ballet of Canada

We may have long ago abandoned our childhood dream of playing the lead in Swan Lake, but thanks to the National Ballet of Canada’s public drop-in classes, we can at least sweat like a prima ballerina. Sidle up to the barre for a Dance Fit class or work your core with pilates — the workshops are open to all levels and, reassuringly, no previous dance experience is needed, though you may spy principal dancer Heather Odgen teaching a master class. There’s also intro to ballet available if you want another kick at the Swan Lake can. national.ballet.ca/explore/in-studio.

Keep moving in the cold by skating in the east end

If you’re prepared to get active during the winter months, pay a visit to Greenwood Park, which perfected the art of cold-winter compromise with the city’s first covered outdoor skating rink. Strap on your skates and do a couple laps, or, since the owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs threw in a bunch of hockey nets, opt for a game of shinny to prove you have vastly more skill that those last-place Leafs. Over at the Evergreen Brickworks, the open-air trail under old industrial beams happens to be very smart. A cooling system underneath the ice keeps everything frozen, even when it’s above zero out, while the excess heat is used to warm up the market next door — which is a lovely spot for a post-skate hot chocolate. The rink is open from November to March. cityrinks.ca.

OPP launching blitz targeting transport trucks

CityNews | posted Thursday, Jun 16th, 2016

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Ontario provincial police launched a blitz on Thursday targeting transport trucks and their drivers.

“As our latest data tells us, crashes involving commercial motor vehicles usually result in a higher number of multiple fatalities when compared to collisions involving regular-sized vehicles,” OPP deputy commissioner Brad Blair said in a statement.

For every transport truck driver that died in a collision over the past five years, there were seven other lives lost, the OPP said.

In the past five years, there have been more the 27,000 collisions involving large transport trucks, the OPP said. Of those, 260 resulted in at least one death, and most of them caused multiple deaths. In total, 321 people have lost their lives in transport truck crashes between 2011 and 2015.

Of the victims, 281 of them were drivers and passengers in other vehicles involved in the crashes. The other 40 victims were drivers of the transport trucks.

“Every life we lose on our roads is tragic and, sadly, the highest price we pay for crashes on OPP-patrolled roads is in the loss of human life,” Blair said.

“Although our officers see many safe drivers on our roads every day, those who are not need to know just how devastating and costly it can be when they fail to make safe driving decisions or do not undertake proper maintenance and truck inspections.”

The 24-hour-long patrol is in partnership with the Ministry of Transportation.

Dying MP’s gender neutral national anthem bill passes third reading

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Jun 16th, 2016

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Ailing Liberal MP Mauril Belanger was in the House of Commons today as his private member’s bill to render O Canada more gender neutral cleared one final hurdle.

The legislation still requires the approval of the Senate, however, which means Belanger – who was diagnosed last November with Lou Gehrig’s disease – may not live to see it become law.

Bill C-210, which would change the second line of the anthem from “true patriot love, in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command,” passed third and final reading in the Commons by a margin of 225-74.

As the vote began, Liberal MPs stood and applauded Belanger, who sat in the House in his wheelchair. Many flashed him a thumbs-up sign, his trademark gesture, as their votes were registered.

When it was done, the entire House broke into an impromptu rendition of O Canada, as well as a rousing standing ovation.

The anthem change has been a Belanger cause for years, but took on far greater urgency in recent months after it was confirmed he has an incurable, fatal, neurodegenerative condition also known as ALS.

Belanger ran and easily won election for a seventh time in October, but found he was having difficulty speaking during the final weeks of the long campaign. He went public with his condition at the end of November, saying he would drop out of the race to be Speaker of the Commons, a position he had long coveted.

Belanger’s disease is a particularly aggressive version of ALS – a fact made plain by the alarming rate at which his condition appeared to erode.

By January, when he introduced his bill, he had lost his ability to speak, and so needed a voice generator to convert text into computerized speech – the first use of such technology in the Commons.

In March, he was named honorary Speaker. He shuffled down the corridors of the Centre Block using a walker. He had to be helped into the chair. He presided using a tablet and, at one point, mopped tears from his eyes.

In early May, he used the iPad again to open second reading of his bill. He seemed noticeably thinner. His collar was loose to accommodate a tube inserted in his throat to help him breathe and keep his lungs clear of fluid.

The Conservatives opposed the bill on the grounds that important pieces of the national heritage shouldn’t be trifled with. If they are changed, it should be with broad consent of Canadians, they argued.

However, a number of Tory MPs – Gerry Ritz, Peter Kent, Michelle Rempel and Candice Bergen, among others – voted to support the legislation.

Belanger has said the change would actually return the anthem closer to the original “thou dost in us command” – wording that was changed to “all thy sons” in 1913, presumably to honour men in the armed forces at the approach of the First World War.

Since then, Belanger said, women have won the right to vote, to run for office and to die in combat as members of the military and the anthem should not slight half the population.

The Conservatives tried to resurrect “thou dost in us command” in the 2010 speech from the throne, only to face strong public opposition. They dropped the idea.

Leaside resident forced to pay $75K to reduce home’s height by 9 inches

CityNews | posted Thursday, Jun 16th, 2016

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A Leaside resident has had to spend about $75,000 to lower his home’s roofline 23 centimetres (nine inches) after it was determined it had been built too tall for the neighbourhood.

Kian Sohrabi appealed to the city’s Committee of Adjustment to allow his completed home at 151 Airdrie Rd. to stand as-is after discovering that it measured exactly 9.01 metres off the ground. His appeal was rejected in January, and he was forced to lower the height of the house.

According to the judgement by the Ontario Municipal Board, the maximum height of a home in the neighbourhood is 8.5 metres. The COA had previously approved an application for a minor variance in the bylaw to 8.8 metres.

That means that Sohrabi’s house was at least 23 centimetres too tall.

Sohrabi says the home’s builders were to blame for the difference. After the Leaside Property Owners Association complained about the home being too tall, a city inspector agreed and asked Sohrabi to fix the issue.

He agreed, and (re) construction is underway. As of Wednesday, workers were re-roofing the home.

Photo of the home at 151 Airdrie Rd. after it was completed. PHOTO via Bayview Bulldog
Photo of the home at 151 Airdrie Rd. after it was completed. PHOTO via Bayview Bulldog

Senior Toronto police officer guilty of G20 misconduct will give up 30 vacation days

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Jun 15th, 2016

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The only senior officer convicted for his role in the mass detentions and arrests at the G20 summit in Toronto six years ago will not face dismissal or demotion, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Instead, Supt. David (Mark) Fenton was sentenced to give up 30 vacation days and an official reprimand.

Fenton was convicted last year of exceeding his authority and discreditable conduct.

The 27-year veteran was in charge when hundreds of people were detained illegally during the tumultuous weekend summit.

The prosecution had called for a year-long demotion, while the defence asked for a reprimand or the docking of vacation pay.

Those detained or arrested wanted him fired.


Related stories:

Senior police officer found guilty of three charges in G20 disciplinary hearing

Demote G20 officer who ordered mass arrests for year, prosecution says

Reprimand urged for G20 officer who ordered indiscriminate mass arrests


Retired justice John Hamilton, overseeing the misconduct tribunal, made the sentencing call.

“Dismissal would be an inapporate disposition,” Hamilton said. “It would not serve interests of the public or the Toronto Police Service.”

Hamilton said that while Fenton was not adequately trained for his role as incident commander, he was the “top dog,” and the blame can’t be placed on his superiors. Still, the fact that Fenton’s behaviour was condoned by his superiors was taken into consideration.

Hamilton also said he believed Fenton’s public apology after the G20 was “a genuine indication of remorse.”

During sentencing arguments earlier this year, lawyers for the complainants said Fenton, 56, had shown no remorse and had tried to blame everyone other than himself for the trampling of civil liberties. They said he deserved to be fired for upending the Constitution and turning the downtown core into a police state.

The prosecutor, however, said that would be too harsh and that a one-rank demotion for one year would cost him between $10,000 and $15,000 in lost pay.

Fenton’s lawyer, however, said the demotion would cost as much as $45,000 in lost wages and pension and said it would be unfair to hold his client accountable for what he called the failings of an entire senior command that had no idea how to contain the violence.

The G20 weekend was marred by a spate of vandalism in which store windows were smashed and two cruisers set alight. About 1,100 people — most peaceful protesters or innocent passersby — were detained or arrested. Many were held in deplorable conditions at a makeshift detention centre.

At the time, Fenton described the protesters as a “marauding group of terrorists.”

In a 150-page decision, Hamilton convicted Fenton after finding the officer had no reasonable grounds to order the detentions, in one case just minutes after coming on shift. Hamilton also said Fenton’s testimony was not credible.

Earlier this month, the Toronto police board asked the Supreme Court of Canada to stop two class-action lawsuits arising out of the G20 summit, arguing that the arrest claims should be treated individually and not as a group.

That argument had already been rejected by two courts, including the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Police, firefighters intervene after fight breaks out over Earth’s shape

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Jun 15th, 2016

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BROCKTON, Ont. – Police and firefighters were called in after a heated discussion over the shape of the Earth reached fiery levels in eastern Ontario.

Police in Brockville say they were called to St. Lawrence Park on Monday after an intense argument between family members.

They say a woman who insisted the Earth was flat was locking horns with her boyfriend’s father, who argued it is round.

Investigators say the 56-year-old man grew so enraged that he started throwing things into their camp fire, including a propane cylinder.

Firefighters were called to put out the flames.

Police say the man took off and will face a mischief charge.

They say “neither party would change their views.”

Senior Toronto police officer guilty of G20 misconduct to be sentenced Wednesday

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Jun 15th, 2016

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The only senior officer convicted for his role in the mass detentions and arrests at the G20 summit in Toronto six years ago finds out his sentence Wednesday.

Supt. David (Mark) Fenton was convicted last year of exceeding his authority and discreditable conduct.

The 27-year veteran was in charge when hundreds of people were detained illegally during the tumultuous weekend summit.

The prosecution called for a year-long demotion, while the defence asked for a reprimand or the docking of vacation pay.

Those detained or arrested want him fired.


Related stories:

Senior police officer found guilty of three charges in G20 disciplinary hearing

Demote G20 officer who ordered mass arrests for year, prosecution says

Reprimand urged for G20 officer who ordered indiscriminate mass arrests


Retired justice John Hamilton, overseeing the misconduct tribunal, will make the sentencing call.

During sentencing arguments earlier this year, lawyers for the complainants said Fenton, 56, had shown no remorse and had tried to blame everyone other than himself for the trampling of civil liberties. They said he deserved to be fired for upending the Constitution and turning the downtown core into a police state.

The prosecutor, however, said that would be too harsh and that a one-rank demotion for one year would cost him between $10,000 and $15,000 in lost pay.

Fenton’s lawyer, however, said the demotion would cost as much as $45,000 in lost wages and pension and said it would be unfair to hold his client accountable for what he called the failings of an entire senior command that had no idea how to contain the violence.

The G20 weekend was marred by a spate of vandalism in which store windows were smashed and two cruisers set alight. About 1,100 people — most peaceful protesters or innocent passersby — were detained or arrested. Many were held in deplorable conditions at a makeshift detention centre.

At the time, Fenton described the protesters as a “marauding group of terrorists.”

In a 150-page decision, Hamilton convicted Fenton after finding the officer had no reasonable grounds to order the detentions, in one case just minutes after coming on shift. Hamilton also said Fenton’s testimony was not credible.

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