1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar

Blogs

leonard cohen

Canadian poet, songwriter and artist Leonard Cohen has died

NEWS STAFF AND THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Nov 11th, 2016

Leonard Cohen – writer, poet, composer, singer, renowned seducer and, for many, the epitome of cool – has died at the age of 82.

His sonorous, tobacco-painted baritone was once described as “the musical equivalent of rotgut whisky” and his lyrics and texts relentlessly studied spirituality, sex, power and love.

Just weeks ago Cohen released a new album, “You Want It Darker,” produced in part by his son Adam. Cohen was still performing to sellout crowds and drawing new generations of fans at an age when most people would have settled back in their rocking chairs to reflect on their life’s accomplishments.

Now all that’s left is his prodigious body of work, which includes the oft-covered “Hallelujah,” which was sung by k.d. lang during the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Pointing to W.B. Yeats, Walt Whitman and Canadian poet Irving Layton among his literary influences, Cohen himself had fans among some of music’s top names, including U2, REM, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan.

In reviewing his 2008-10 world tour, Britain’s Independent newspaper declared that “to hear him sing is still an experience to truly make young women and romantics shiver and sweat.”

Cohen’s compositions endlessly entranced audiences, who usually treated the reclusive performer with awe. However, his poetic songs were far from being toe-tappers, with some clocking in at seven minutes long and dealing more in substance than sass.

His songs prompted him to be dubbed the “godfather of gloom,” the “poet laureate of pessimism,” the “grocer of despair” and the “prince of bummers.” One reviewer in the 1970s described his songs as “music to slit your wrists to.”

But he was hailed for his intelligence, humility, curiosity and generosity, donating unpublished poems, poems-in-progress, drawings and archival material to a fan website where it could be enjoyed by followers.

The 2003 Order of Canada inductee is said to have had a fantastic sense of humour and loved to crack jokes.

He wasn’t adverse to poking fun at himself, as he did before a sold-out crowd at Montreal’s Bell Centre during a 2012 concert.

“Sometimes, I stumble out of bed, look at myself in the mirror and say to the mirror, ‘Lighten up, Cohen’,” he said to laughter.

Cohen’s compositions endlessly entranced audiences, who usually treated the reclusive performer with awe. However, his poetic songs were far from being toe-tappers, with some clocking in at seven minutes long and dealing more in substance than sass.

His songs prompted him to be dubbed the “godfather of gloom,” the “poet laureate of pessimism,” the “grocer of despair” and the “prince of bummers.” One reviewer in the 1970s described his songs as “music to slit your wrists to.”

But he was hailed for his intelligence, humility, curiosity and generosity, donating unpublished poems, poems-in-progress, drawings and archival material to a fan website where it could be enjoyed by followers.

The 2003 Order of Canada inductee is said to have had a fantastic sense of humour and loved to crack jokes.

He wasn’t adverse to poking fun at himself, as he did before a sold-out crowd at Montreal’s Bell Centre during a 2012 concert.

“Sometimes, I stumble out of bed, look at myself in the mirror and say to the mirror, ‘Lighten up, Cohen’,” he said to laughter.

“A lovely man,” recalled Diane Bass, whose husband owns the restaurant.

But the 2008 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame struggled to define the location of the creative well that spawned his offerings.

“If I knew where the songs came from, I’d go there more often,” he said in a 1992 interview with The Canadian Press.

“Some people write great tunes in the back of taxicabs but it takes me endless amounts of writing and rewriting to come up with something I can wrap my voice around.”

Another time he compared it to being like a “bear stumbling into a beehive.”

The ever-dapper Cohen, who favoured black suits, fedoras and tweed caps, was born in Montreal on Sept. 21, 1934, to a middle-class family. His father, who ran a well-known clothing store, died when he was nine.

He pursued undergraduate studies at McGill University and became president of the debating union. He flirted with a legal career and attended McGill law school for a year after completing his bachelor’s degree. He also went to Columbia University for a year.

But literature had a stronger call than litigation.

“Let Us Compare Mythologies,” his first book of poetry, was published in 1956 when he was an undergrad. The “Flowers For Hitler” poetry collection and the novels “The Favourite Game” and “Beautiful Losers” followed in the 1960s.

But as eloquent as he could be on the printed page, establishing himself as a poet and novelist of renown by the age of 32, Cohen decided that songwriting might pay better.

It was a career change that raised a few eyebrows and agents in New York reportedly asked him, “Aren’t you a little old for this game?”

It didn’t stop him.

A big break came in 1966 when Judy Collins recorded his standard “Suzanne,” and he came out with his first album “Songs of Leonard Cohen” the same year.

That was followed up with “Songs from a Room” in 1969, which included the popular “Bird on the Wire.”

He had a fairly steady output although his popularity dipped in the 1970s as disco, not doom, was deemed to be the treat for consumers’ ears. But Cohen began a comeback in 1984 with “Various Positions,” which included “Hallelujah.”

Ironically, “Hallelujah,” was on the only Cohen album ever rejected by his record company and was little noticed when it did come out on an independent label. But it has become modern standard after hundreds of cover versions, high-profile performances and use in TV and movie soundtracks.

It’s played at weddings, funerals – including the 2011 state ceremony for then NDP leader Jack Layton – school concerts and religious services. It was repeatedly played on VH1 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and at a telethon for relief efforts after the Haitian earthquake in 2010.

But the Grammy- and Juno-winning Cohen, who once played the head of Interpol in an episode of TV’s “Miami Vice,” seems to have been defined almost as much by his libido as his music and his words.

Canadians honour war dead in services across the country

NEWS STAFF AND THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Nov 11th, 2016

Remembrance Day 20141111

Canadians will honour the country’s war dead, veterans, and those still in serving on Friday in Remembrance Day services across the country.

In Toronto, a sunrise ceremony will be held at Prospect Cemetery on St. Clair West, near Lansdowne Avenue, at 7:30 a.m. Mayor John Tory will be on hand lay a wreath.

Ceremonies will also be held at the Old City Hall Cenotaph and at civic centres across the city. The mayor is also expected to speak and lay a wreath at the Cenotaph ceremony.

The service at Old City Hall starts at 10:45 a.m. and will be live streamed on CityNews.ca and 680NEWS.com, as well as on Facebook.

Elsewhere in the city, a ceremony will be held at Veteran’s Memorial at Queen’s Park at 10:45 a.m. Earlier in the hour, a service will also be held at the Soldiers’ Tower memorial at the University of Toronto’s downtown campus at 10 a.m., where 51 bells will ring out for the fallen soldiers.

In a moving tribute, bagpipers will be stationed at nine intersections on Yonge Street from Richmond to Alexander streets. After leading everyone in the two-minute silence at 11 a.m., they will play The Lament. The digital billboards at Yonge-Dundas Square will also pause at 11 a.m. and display an image of the poppy.

At the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre, war veterans woke up to a sea of Canadian flags on Friday morning. As part of Operation Raise a Flag, around 30,000 flags were planted on the centre’s lawns on Thursday evening.

TTC vehicles will also stop for two minutes of silence.

Click here for a list of Remembrance Day services in the GTA.

Around 1,400 communities across the country will hold ceremonies remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The most prominent event is in Ottawa. Gov. Gen David Johnston and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be among tens of thousands of people who are expected to gather around the National War Memorial.

A British Columbia woman who lost a son during the conflict in Afghanistan has been picked as this year’s Silver Cross Mother.

Colleen Fitzpatrick will place a wreath on behalf of all Canadian mothers with a child in the military who died in the line of duty. Her son Cpl. Darren Fitzpatrick died in Afghanistan in 2010 when he stepped on an explosive device.

Vimy Ridge 100th anniversary includes work from Canadian photographer

OLGA PAVLOVA | posted Friday, Nov 11th, 2016

rPm-Racheal-McCaig-Vimy-Proofs-1024

Photojournalist Racheal McCaig will be representing Canada at the official Vimy Ridge 100th Anniversary celebrations in France in April, exhibiting a collection of photographs of the monument, the trenches and the tunnels.

The collection is entitled “Je Me Souviens: Vimy 100” and features 18 images that McCaig took on two trips to the historical site.

McCaig, who has photographed celebrities like Julianne Moore, Daniel Radcliffe and Hilary Swank, among others, says she originally took pictures of the monument on a family trip to France in summer of 2014.

One of the photographs caught the eye of the Pierre Senechal, the Mayor of Givenchy en Gohelle. Vimy is located in Givenchy en Gohelle. The image, titled “To You We Throw the Torch” has become the face of the exhibit and McCaig says it is symbolic of remembrance.

je_me_souviens

“It really is, just a reminder of the sacrifices that were made, and that it’s our responsibility as the following generations to hang on to that memory and remember why they fought and why we’re here,” she said.

After she was commissioned to create the exhibition by the French government, McCaig visited Vimy Ridge one more time.

“What I really tried to capture was the experience of seeing Vimy Ridge for the first time. But also understanding our history. The images are both of the monument itself – which is absolutely incredible – but also in the trenches and in the tunnels that our soldiers created and fought through, through World War I,” she said.

Canadians remember the significance of Vimy Ridge every time we look at a $20 bill or flip through a Canadian passport. The monument is a beautiful marble memorial in honour of Canadian troops that fought and died for our freedom during WWI in France.

While participating in the celebrations, McCaig will meet Queen Elizabeth and the President of France. She says she is very excited and honoured to be representing Canada at such an important anniversary:

“I am going to be meeting a lot of truly incredible people. It’s really so thrilling and so overwhelming. I’m like a 10-year-old kid. I’m so excited!”

Following the exhibition in France, “Je Me Souviens” will make its way to Toronto in June to kick off its Canadian tour and to take part in Canada 150 Celebrations. The tour will include Ottawa, Toronto and Halifax, and Canadians will be able to enjoy free admission to the exhibit.

As for Remembrance Day, McCaig says it’s important for younger generations to take the time to pay respect and remember.

“Whether you disagree or agree with why they fought, the reason you are allowed to have your opinion and the reason that we have our freedom is because they fought. And for that reason alone we owe them at least those two minutes respect on November 11,” she said.

 

Remembrance Day: What’s open and closed

News Staff | posted Friday, Nov 11th, 2016

sunnybrookraiseaflag

Here is a list of what’s open and closed in Toronto on Remembrance Day, Friday Nov. 11, 2016.

CLOSED:

  • Employment & Social Services
  • Banks
  • Post offices
  • City Hall
  • Government Offices (Passport Canada, Service Ontario, etc.)
  • Some Parks, Forestry & Recreation services (click hereto find the phone number of your community centre)
  • Solid waste management (operating on a holiday schedule. Click here for details)

 

OPEN:

  • Schools
  • Toronto Public Library branches
  • Civic Centres
  • Some Parks, Forestry & Recreation (click here to find the phone number of your community centre)
  • Long-Term Care Homes and Services
  • Emergency shelters and street outreach
  • Solid Waste Management (operating on a holiday schedule. Click here for details)
  • Shopping malls
  • LCBO and Beer Store locations are scheduled to open at noon until their normal closing hours.

 

Click here for a full list from the City of Toronto.

Toronto police stop rollout of new, grey police cars

News Staff | posted Friday, Nov 11th, 2016

police cruiser

Toronto Police Service are halting rollout of the new police cars following public feedback.

CityNews first reported back in September on the drastic stealth-like makeover of the new cruisers. The writing “Toronto Police,” the TPS logo and the service’s motto “to serve & protect” are decaled in a dark colour that blends into the vehicle. That is in stark contrast to the current cars being phased out, which are bright white with a blue and red stripe across the side.

Police chief Mark Saunders says the concern expressed through numerous town halls over the last few months about the new-look cars convinced him that further work is necessary.

“The new look of our police cars has come up often,” Saunders said in a statement. “There are people who like them. There are people who don’t like them.”

Saunders says they won’t be ordering any more of the new grey cars and further opportunities for consultation will be set up before making a final decision.

Ahead of the weekend, Toronto comes together on Remembrance Day

PATRICIA D'CUNHA AND SAMANTHA KNIGHT | posted Thursday, Nov 10th, 2016

Members of the armed forces form part of an honour guard at the monument of the 48th Highlanders as former members of the Regiment stand in rank during a Remembrance Day Service in Toronto, on Nov. 11, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

This weekend begins with a sombre note. At various ceremonies and institutions in the city and across the country, Canadians will observe two minutes of silence to pay their respects on Remembrance Day.

This Friday, Canadians will pause at the 11th hour to remember veterans, soldiers and military personnel who died in past wars, and those who are currently serving in missions around the world.

inflandersfieldspoem-1024x768

Inscription of the poem “In Flanders Fields” in a book at the John McCrae memorial in Guelph, Ont., on Nov. 11, 2009. CREATIVE COMMONS/Lx 121

As you make your weekend plans, take a moment to reflect on and appreciate the freedoms we enjoy today.


Remembrance Day ceremonies in Toronto

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Laurence Binyon, 1914

In Toronto, ceremonies will be held at the Old City Hall Cenotaph and at civic centres across the city.

Ceremonies will be held at 10:45 a.m. Friday at the following locations:

  • East York Civic Centre Memorial Gardens, 850 Coxwell Ave.
  • Toronto Centre for the Arts (George Weston Recital Hall), 5040 Yonge St.
  • Old City Hall Cenotaph, 60 Queen St. W.
  • York Civic Centre (York Memorial Collegiate Auditorium), 2690 Eglinton Ave. W.
  • Fort York National Historic Site, 250 Fort York Blvd.

 

Earlier in the hour, at 10:15 a.m., a ceremony will be held at the Etobicoke Civic Centre Cenotaph, 399 The West Mall.

Elsewhere in the city, a ceremony will be held at Veteran’s Memorial at Queen’s Park at 10:45 a.m. Click here for the full program.

In a moving tribute, bagpipers will be stationed at nine intersections on Yonge Street from Richmond to Alexander streets. After leading everyone in the two-minute silence at 11 a.m., they will play The Lament. The digital billboards at Yonge-Dundas Square will also pause and display an image of the poppy at 11 a.m.

sunnybrookraiseaflag

As part of the “Operation Raise a Flag” campaign, Canadian flags are being planted on the lawns of the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre to honour veterans on Remembrance Day. TWITTER/@Sunnybrook

Around 475 war veterans will wake up to a sea of Canadian flags at the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre on Friday. As part of Operation Raise a Flag, the flags will be planted on the centre’s lawns on Thursday. You can purchase a flag for $25, and proceeds will go to the centre’s Grant a Wish Program.

Click here for a list of Remembrance Day services in the GTA.

Weekend events

Last weekend of Royal Agricultural Winter Fair
The 94th annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is coming to an end this weekend. The event is the largest combined indoor agricultural fair and international equestrian show in the world.

It features farm animals, giant vegetables, horse shows, dog shows, butter sculptures, and more. There are also dozens of vendors selling a wide range of items including food, clothing, art, home accessories and horse riding equipment.

Making their Royal and Canadian debut, the Shetland Pony Races pack thrills and excitement into pint-size packages. Appearing opening weekend November 7 and 8. (CNW Group/Royal Agricultural Winter Fair)

Making their Royal and Canadian debut, the Shetland Pony Races pack thrills and excitement into pint-size packages. Appearing opening weekend November 7 and 8. (CNW Group/Royal Agricultural Winter Fair)

The annual rodeo takes place on Sunday at 1 p.m., with everything from bull riding to bareback riding, barrel racing and a special appearance by The Canadian Cowgirls.

Downsview Airport 8K, 5K and 1K
There will be a different kind of traffic on the runway this Sunday at Downsview Airport. Runners will be taking over for the annual 8K, 5K or 1K run.

The event is in support of Humber River Hospital and kicks off at 8:40 a.m. with the children’s 1K, followed by the 8K at 9 a.m. The 5K gets underway at 9:15 a.m. Runners will have the chance to get up close and personal with Bombardier aircraft, as they will be parked along the taxiway during the event.

There will also be hot chocolate and coffee on hand, and Lawrence Park Health Clinic will provide post-run therapy. Last year’s event raised $2,000 for the hospital.

Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Weekend
The Hockey Hall of Fame is welcoming its newest inductees this weekend. This year’s inductees include Eric Lindros, Sergei Makarov, Pat Quinn and Rogie Vachon.

The excitement lasts all weekend long, with tributes to the class of 2016, special guest appearances, Q&A fan forums and autograph signings.

http://twitter.com/HockeyHallFame/status/763393945179217920/photo/1

On Sunday at 3p.m. Team Lindros and Team Salming will take to the ice at the Air Canada Centre for the annual Haggar Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Classic. The events will wrap up on Monday evening with the Induction Celebration Gala, getting underway at 5:30 p.m.

Drop, Swap & Shop at Evergreen Brickworks
Try swapping instead of shopping this Sunday at Evergreen Brickworks. The Drop, Swap & Shopallows you to pick up one-of-a-kind items from a variety of ‘Swap Stores,’ while contributing to the sharing economy and connecting with people in your community.

Here’s how it works: for each item you drop off you will be given one ticket in return. Each item dropped has equal value, and there is a maximum of 25 items to swap per person. Organizers say all items must be gently used, clean and functional.

Shopping categories include baby supplies, men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, housewares and art, media and entertainment, and sports and recreational equipment. You can drop, swap and shop from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

TTC closure

Partial Line 1 shutdown
Another weekend and another subway closure. This time, trains won’t be running on Line 1(Yonge-University-Spadina) between St. George and Lawrence West stations. TTC crews will be upgrading the signal system. Shuttle buses will be running. Regular subway service resumes at 6 a.m. on Monday.

Next Saturday, Line 3 (Scarborough) will be fully shut down for track work. Shuttle buses will be in place.

‘Not my president’: Thousands flood U.S. streets to protest Trump win

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Thursday, Nov 10th, 2016

cad4a6b2-7082-46f1-b2d8-129715eec221

The raw divisions exposed by the presidential race were on full display across America on Wednesday, as protesters flooded city streets to condemn Donald Trump’s election in demonstrations that police said were mostly peaceful.

From New England to heartland cities like Kansas City and along the West Coast, many thousands of demonstrators carried flags and anti-Trump signs, disrupting traffic and declaring that they refused to accept Trump’s triumph.

In Chicago, where thousands had recently poured into the streets to celebrate the Chicago Cubs’ first World Series victory in over a century, several thousand people marched through the Loop. They gathered outside Trump Tower, chanting “Not my president!”

Chicago resident Michael Burke said he believes the president-elect will “divide the country and stir up hatred.” He added there was a constitutional duty not to accept that outcome.

A similar protest in Manhattan drew about 1,000 people. Outside Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in midtown, police installed barricades to keep the demonstrators at bay.

Hundreds of protesters gathered near Philadelphia’s City Hall despite chilly, wet weather. Participants – who included both supporters of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who lost to Clinton in the primary – expressed anger at both Republicans and Democrats over the election’s outcome.

In Boston, thousands of anti-Trump protesters streamed through downtown, chanting “Trump’s a racist” and carrying signs that said “Impeach Trump” and “Abolish Electoral College.” Clinton appears to be on pace to win the popular vote, despite losing the electoral count that decides the presidential race.

The protesters gathered on Boston Common before marching toward the Massachusetts Statehouse, with beefed-up security including extra police officers.

A protest that began at the Minnesota state capitol Tuesday night with about 100 people swelled at is moved into downtown St. Paul, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. Protesters blocked downtown streets and travelled west on University Avenue where they shouted expletives about Trump in English and Spanish.

There were other Midwest protest marches in Omaha, Nebraska, and Kansas City, Missouri.

In Des Moines, Iowa, hundreds of students walked out of area high schools at 10:30 a.m. to protest Trump’s victory, the Des Moines Register reported. The protests, which were co-ordinated on social media, lasted 15 to 45 minutes.

Marchers protesting Trump’s election chanted and carried signs in front of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Media outlets broadcast video Wednesday night showing a peaceful crowd in front of the new downtown hotel. Many chanted “No racist USA, no Trump, no KKK.”

Another group stood outside the White House. They held candles, listened to speeches and sang songs.

Dallas activists gathered by the dozens outside the city’s sports arena, the American Airlines Center.

In Oregon, dozens of people blocked traffic in downtown Portland, burned American flags and forced a delay for trains on two light-rail lines. Earlier, the protest in downtown drew several Trump supporters, who taunted the demonstrators with signs. A lone Trump supporter was chased across Pioneer Courthouse Square and hit in the back with a skateboard before others intervened.

Several thousand chanting, sign-waving people gathered in Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland, California. A night earlier, in the hours after Trump won the election, Oakland demonstrators broke windows and did other damage.

In San Francisco, hundreds are marching along Market Avenue, one of the city’s main avenues, to join a vigil in the Castro District, a predominantly gay neighbourhood.

In Los Angeles, protesters on the steps of City Hall burned a giant papier mache Trump head in protest, later, in the streets they whacked a Trump pinata.

Hundreds massed in downtown Seattle streets.

Many held anti-Trump and Black Lives Matter signs and chanted slogans, including “Misogyny has to go,” and “The people united, will never be defeated.”

Five people were shot and injured in an area near the protest, but police said the shootings and the demonstration were unrelated.

Back in New York, several groups of protesters caused massive gridlock as police mobilized to contain them under a light rain.

They held signs that read “Trump Makes America Hate” and chanted “hey, hey, ho, ho Donald Trump has got to go.” and “Impeach Trump.”

Arrest made after American man beaten to death in Toronto: report

NEWS STAFF | posted Thursday, Nov 10th, 2016

julian-jones-blu

An arrest has been made after an American man was beaten to death in Toronto, the Toronto Star reports.

Toronto police are expected to provide an update later on Thursday. Insp. Bryan Bott is expected to speak at police headquarters at 10:30 a.m.

Julian Jones, 26, was visiting Toronto from Maryland for a friend’s bachelor party. He was killed in a fight outside a bar in Little Italy on Saturday morning.

Officers arrived at Blind Tiger Restaurant on College Street at Manning Avenue just before 2:30 a.m.

Police said the incident appears to have been an unprovoked attack.

Page 8 of 13« First...678910...Last »