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Nineteen-year-old wins PC nomination to fill Tim Hudak’s vacated seat

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Oct 24th, 2016

A 19-year-old university student has beat out the president of the Progressive Conservatives to win the party’s nomination for an upcoming byelection.

Sam Oosterhoff won the PC nomination Saturday night to become the party’s candidate in Niagara West-Glanbrook.

The riding was vacated when former party leader Tim Hudak resigned last month and the byelection will be held Nov. 17, along with one in Ottawa-Vanier.

Oosterhoff was up against party president and former MP Rick Dykstra, as well as regional councillor Tony Quirk in seeking the nomination.

Oosterhoff is a student at Brock University and has worked as a legislative assistant in Parliament Hill.

PC Leader Patrick Brown says the byelection is an opportunity to share a “positive message of change.”

This weekend: Plan ahead with Gardiner shutdown, TTC closure, and events

Patricia D'Cunha and Samantha Knight | posted Friday, Oct 21st, 2016

gardiner closed

Don’t say we didn’t warn you. The Gardiner Expressway will be closed this weekend for fall maintenance.

With several events taking place in the city, you may want to consider transit or plan ahead for a different route into downtown. Keep in mind that subways won’t be running on a portion of Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) for TTC work.


Events

Van Gogh, Monet and Gauguin
Art lovers in the city have been counting down the hours to the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Mystical Landscapes exhibit, featuring around 90 masterpieces from 36 artists, including Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet.

The exhibit, which was co-organized by the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, debuts at the AGO on Saturday and runs until Jan. 29, 2017. It opens at Musée d’Orsay in the spring.

One of the pieces showcases is van Gogh’s ‘The Starry Night over the Rhone at Arles’ from 1888. See a photo of it below, or click here to view it.

Vincent van Gogh's "The Starry Night over the Rhone at Arles" from 1888. Photo via vangogh.net.
Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night over the Rhone at Arles” from 1888. Photo via vangogh.net.

 

Some of the other artists’ works on display include Emily Carr, Paul Gauguin, Georgia O’Keeffe and Edvard Munch.

CN Tower Climb for United Way
Hundreds of people will be showing some altitude this weekend at the CN Tower Climb for United Way.

The two-day event offers multiple climbing sessions, including a student climb and public climb on Saturday, and a corporate challenge and presidential challenge on Sunday.

File photo of the CN Tower stair climb. CITYNEWS
File photo of the CN Tower stair climb. CITYNEWS

 

Toronto’s most famous landmark has 1,776 steps in total, and as people climb them this weekend, the United Ways says they’ll be helping to “level the playing field for individuals, families and communities, elevating the region as a whole.”

The climbs take place between 6 and 10 a.m. Registration is now closed.

Old Book and Paper Show
If you love old books and historical documents, head down to Wychwood Barns on Sunday for theantiquarian book and paper show.

Toronto's Old Book and Paper Show in 2013. Photo via antiqueshowscanada.com.
Toronto’s Old Book and Paper Show in 2013. Photo via antiqueshowscanada.com.

 

Several new and returning sellers will be on-hand showing off their selection of rare books, as well as vintage posters, historic land grants, postcards, theatre programs and other unique items.

The cost of admission is $10, but children 12 and under can attend the event for free.

Toronto Women’s Run
The running series that started in May wraps up on Saturday with the 5K and 8K at Sunnybrook Park.

Although online registration is now closed, you can still register in-person on Thursday and Fridayat the Rosedale Running Room. Registrations will not be accepted on race day.

It is one of the largest running series in Canada, and a portion of the race proceeds will go towards Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario.

Sia at the ACC
Sia will be taking over the Air Canada Centre on Saturday for her ‘Nostalgic for the Present‘ tour.

Sia (left) and dancer Wyatt Rocker perform during a stop of Sai's 'Nostalgic for the Present' tour at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Oct. 7, 2016. GETTY IMAGES/Bryan Steffy
Sia (left) and dancer Wyatt Rocker perform during a stop of Sai’s ‘Nostalgic for the Present’ tour at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Oct. 7, 2016. GETTY IMAGES/Bryan Steffy

 

The tour comes along with her newest album ‘This is Acting’ and is actually Sia’s first official arena concert tour.

The singer began her career as a vocalist for a number of bands, eventually going solo in 1997. Sia signed with Sony Music in 2000, though her first big mainstream hit didn’t come until ‘Chandelier’ in 2014. Sia’s show gets underway at 7 p.m.

Volunteer Toronto Youth Expo
If you’re looking for some new and exciting volunteer opportunities, then Volunteer Toronto’s Youth Expo is the place for you this Sunday.

The event gives young people the opportunity to meet over 100 non-profits and find out where they can volunteer in the city. There will be all kinds of volunteer roles to check out, including arts and culture, children and youth, environment and animals, homelessness and housing, and community and social services.

Organizers say opportunities will be available from Etobicoke to North York and Scarborough. The free event takes place at Ryerson Mattamy Athletic Centre from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Boo at the Zoo
Calling all costumed kiddies! Boo at the Zoo is on this weekend at the Toronto Zoo.

One of the giant pandas at the Toronto Zoo balancing on a pumpkin. TWITTER/@@TheTorontoZoo
One of the giant pandas at the Toronto Zoo balancing on a pumpkin. TWITTER/@@TheTorontoZoo

 

There will be trick-or-treat stations throughout the Tundra Trek, with fun activities to test kids’ animal knowledge. Several prizes are up for grabs, including colouring books, Finding Dory stickers and Nickelodeon booklets. Children can also meet costume characters at the Courtyard Stage.

Best of all, the Toronto Zoo says anyone 12 and under will get into Boo at the Zoo for free. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Gladstone Flea: October Market
It might not have felt like it this past week, but soon it will be back to fall jackets and leather boots.

To help you get into the fall spirit, the Gladstone Flea October Market is being held at the Gladstone Hotel on Sunday from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. The fall- and winter-themed flea market features local artisans, collectors and designers selling unique items.

Guests can also enjoy the Gladstone Café, or check out some art in the gallery while taking a break from the hustle and bustle of the marketplace. The flea is free to attend.

Road and TTC closures

Gardiner maintenance
If you were planning to drive into downtown Toronto this weekend, the Gardiner Expressway won’t be an option for you.

The expressway will be closed between Highway 427 and Carlaw Avenue for annual fall maintenance. The lanes are scheduled to be closed from 11 p.m. on Friday to 5 a.m. on Monday.

Road crews will be conducting a slew of tasks including road resurfacing, cleaning and repairing catch basins, inspecting bridges and closed-circuit camera, repairing guardrails, repairing potholes, and more.

During the weekend closure, drivers can use Lake Shore Boulevard, The Queensway, King Street, Bloor Street and Evans Avenue as alternates.

Line 1 shutdown
TTC work continues this weekend on Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) with subway service shut down from Finch and Lawrence stations due to track work. Shuttle buses will be running.

Next week, riders won’t be able to access the line between St. George to Lawrence West stationsfor signal upgrades.

Bombardier cutting 7,500 jobs over next two years

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Oct 21st, 2016

AppleMark

A second large wave of job cuts is hitting Bombardier workers in less than a year as another 7,500 positions are to be eliminated around the world through the end of 2018.

About 2,000 positions will be cut across Canada, including 1,500 in Quebec. Two-thirds of the global positions will be in transportation and nearly 2,500 in aerospace.

In February, the Montreal-based plane and train maker announced plans to cut 7,000 positions by the end of 2017, including up to 2,000 contractors and 800 production development engineers.

Bombardier said the latest round of job cuts designed to save about US$300 million a year are part of its recovery plan launched last year to improve its profitability and competitiveness by 2020.

“I know these aren’t easy decisions in the short-term but they are the right decisions to ensure the future of the company,” CEO Alain Bellemare said in an interview.

Having reduced the risk of the company last year, he said this step will make Bombardier stronger by cutting costs so it can keep investing and winning in both the rail and plane businesses.

The job losses will be partially offset by more than 3,700 strategic hirings as Bombardier ramps up production of its CSeries commercial jet and new Global 7000 business aircraft, along with delivering rail contracts to customers like the Toronto Transit Commission and Metrolinx.

Bellemare said the new jobs will be added in low-cost countries and more established higher cost operations.

“It’s the only way that we can protect the thousands of jobs in the industry and at Bombardier. It’s a very competitive industry and it’s important to take the necessary steps to remain competitive in this context.”

Bombardier said it expects to record between US$225 million and US$275 million in restructuring charges starting in the fourth quarter.

The company said the latest restructuring will include the streamlining of administrative and other non-production related functions and creation of centres of excellence for design, engineering and manufacturing in aerospace and rail transportation.

The manufacturer has been struggling because of heaving spending on new aircraft, a slowdown in business jet demand and production challenges for its railway products. It also faces large pension obligations.

Bombardier has received a US$1-billion investment in the CSeries from the Quebec government, sold a 30 per cent stake in Bombardier Transportation to Quebec’s pension fund manager, the Caisse de depot, and has requested a US$1-billion infusion from the federal government.

Federal Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said Ottawa’s investment in the aerospace giant is not a matter of if but how will be done.

He said Ottawa wants Bombardier to keep its head office and the jobs connected to its research and development activities in the country.

Bellemare said the job cuts are necessary to ensure Bombardier’s long-term growth and have nothing to do with ongoing negotiations with the federal government.

He wouldn’t say if other decisions, including the rumoured sale of the Learjet business jet platform, are yet to come.

“We will continue to do what we need to do to ensure that the company is profitable long-term and that we have the necessary financial means to continue to invest in the new platforms so we can ensure the company’s growth in the long-term.”

On its website, Bombardier said it has 31,200 employees in aerospace and 39,400 in transportation.

Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton? Why not let pizza decide

Faiza Amin | posted Friday, Oct 21st, 2016

vote-with-pizza

As if the presidential election south of the boarder wasn’t heated enough, a North American pizzeria is making sure Canadians have a vote

North of Brooklyn Pizzeria has launched a pizza poll, creating a Hillary and a Donald dish.

In a YouTube Video, the restaurant says a man by the name of ‘Jimmy’, a dual citizen, will be casting his vote in the upcoming elections based on the pizza poll.

“I’m really putting together two really important things to me, the elections that’s going to affect a lot of us in Canada and pizza,” ‘Jimmy’ tells CityNews in a phone interview. “I’m letting pizza, which has been a guiding light in my life, guide my decision.”

The Hillary is topped with aged blue cheese, smoked chicken and arugula. While the Donald, consists of American pepperoni, sausage, orange cheese, and jalapenos not from Mexico.

Three days into the campaign, the restaurant has already sold 300, each one will count for a vote. The winner of the contest will then be announced after the election.

And if you’re wondering which pizza the anonymous voter prefers, don’t hold your breath. He’s just as confused about that as he is about the actual election.

“They’re both delicious,” he explains. “I’m going to have to try them again to make my final choice.”

Taking the election into the kitchen can cause further confusion for voters who are foodies. Should you cast a ballot for the better tasting pizza or the candidate you prefer?

“Make the political choice on who’d you rather choose,” ‘Jimmy’ insists. “Let the pizza surprise you.”

You can #VoteWithPizza until November 1st at the North of Brooklyn Pizzeria locations, on Church and Maitland or on Queen St. West.

Online literacy test cancelled due to technical issue

CityNews | posted Friday, Oct 21st, 2016

computer-mouse-e1453995197163

A test of a test has failed.

High school students across Ontario were attempting to take a standardized literacy test online for the first time on Thursday but encountered a “technical issue.”

The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), which oversees testing, was conducting a test of its new online assessment program at up to 900 high schools across the province.

However, just before 9 a.m. on Thursday, the EQAO said it was “experiencing a minor technical issue with the online OSSLT network, which is causing [a] system lag.”

Then, around 11:30 a.m., the agency tweeted that the test was cancelled altogether due to “widespread technical issues.” It also posted a message on its website.

“We regret to inform you that we have cancelled today’s assessment,” the tweet read.

The EQAO said it was “disappointed at the outcome of this trial” and issued an apology.

“When you’re looking at 10:45 in the morning and you’ve got students in classrooms, we really don’t know what the issue is. We can’t have students and teachers just basically sitting around waiting for a test to start that may never start today,” EQAO director Richard Jones said of the decision to cancel the test.

The voluntary test was a trial to see if the EQAO and the schools were ready to support online assessments, and it was billed as a “risk-free” way for students to take it ahead of the next scheduled assessment in March 2017.

Jones said there will also be a paper version of the test on standby should any issues arise.

Initially, if students passed the online test, it would count, but if they failed or didn’t complete it, they would be considered “first-time eligible” for the test next spring. That is no longer the case, as the test was cancelled and the students’ scores were not affected.

There were supposed to be two sittings for the test, each comprised of two 75-minute sessions. The program was open to all 72 school boards, as well as First Nations and private schools.

This is not the first time the province has experienced an issue with its systems.

Earlier this month, a technical glitch at Service Ontario caused problems for those using driver and vehicle services. However, other online services were still available.


Related stories:

Half of Ontario Grade 6 students failed to meet provincial math standard

81 per cent of Ontario Grade 10 students passed literacy test: EQAO


With files from Charlene Close

Body cameras on Toronto police move one step closer

CityNews | posted Friday, Oct 21st, 2016

police-cams

Toronto police have moved one step closer to wearing body cameras.

A meeting of the Police Services Board on Thursday approved the $500,000 in funding needed to hire a commissioner to look at the implementation of the body cams.

Those emerging from the meeting on Thursday said there were still some obvious questions to address before the body cam system is fully implemented.

“There are three schools of thought; Leave it up to the officer, have a strict protocol or just turn it on when your shift begins and leave it on,” explained Councillor Shelley Carroll.

“Having it on for the whole shift is in a way not realistic, but what is important is that once it is on for an interaction, the technology is good enough now that there really is no excuse for ‘oops, it turned off as I was in pursuit of this person.’ That’s exactly when I want the footage.”

Mayor John Tory said the decisions made Thursday were simply a first step forward in a bigger discussion.

“There is lots of homework to be done,” said Mayor John Tory. “But I think they will be a very useful tool in terms of law enforcement but more importantly, in building up confidence in policing.”

An 11-month pilot project that concluded last March saw 85 officers at 43 Division, 55 Division, Traffic Services and TAVIS outfitted with three different types of body cameras.

A report released back in September revealed 58 percent of officers who took part in the project approved of the idea.

“It would add another element of having objectivity to the encounters we have with the public,” said Chief Mark Saunders.

The full cost of implementing body-worn cameras is expected to be $85-million over 10 years.

Electricity rates won’t be going up until May 2017

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Oct 20th, 2016

hydro-smart-meters

For the first time in eight years, electricity rates in Ontario will not rise on Nov. 1.

The Ontario Energy Board sets rates for customers on time-of-use pricing every May and November, when it also changes the hours for peak and off-peak rates.

The board says it is holding the line on rates for about five million Ontario households and small business customers next month for the first time since 2008.

Electricity customers will continue paying the same rates they’ve had since last May until May 2017.

The off-peak rate of 8.7 cents a kilowatt hour is less than half the on-peak rate of 18 cents per kwh, and off-peak hours expand to 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. weekdays and all day weekends and holidays starting next month.

Mid-peak hours, which cost 13.2 cents a kwh, will run from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. weekdays, while on-peak hours will be 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. weekdays.

Auto insurance rates rise in Ontario despite Liberal pledge to cut by 15%

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Oct 20th, 2016

trafficlights

Auto insurance rates are rising in Ontario, moving the Liberal government even further away from a self-imposed target of an average 15-per-cent reduction.

The Liberals promised in 2013 to cut auto insurance premiums an average of 15 per cent by August 2015, but after that deadline came and went, Premier Kathleen Wynne later admitted that was what she called a “stretch goal.”

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario says that approved rates in the third quarter of 2016 increased by an average of 1.5 per cent.

That knocks the average since August 2013 — which had at one point climbed over 10 per cent — back down to 8.35 per cent, or a little over halfway to their goal.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa says programs that will reduce rates further have yet to come into effect, so though reductions are taking time, “they’re happening.”

He says the government still wants to see rates cut by an average of 15 per cent, though there’s no longer a deadline attached to the goal.

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