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Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde looks on as Lakota Sioux Donnie Speidel (left) honours singer Gord Downie with an eagle feather and name at the AFN Special Chiefs assembly in Gatineau, Que., Tuesday December 6, 2016. Downie was given the name "The Man Who Walks Among the Stars," during the ceremony. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Ahead by a year: Remembering the Hip’s last show

Michael Barclay | posted Tuesday, Aug 15th, 2017

Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde looks on as Lakota Sioux Donnie Speidel (left) honours singer Gord Downie with an eagle feather and name at the AFN Special Chiefs assembly in Gatineau, Que., Tuesday December 6, 2016. Downie was given the name “The Man Who Walks Among the Stars,” during the ceremony. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

This time last year, the Tragically Hip were entering the final stretch of their 2016 tour, an event coloured by singer Gord Downie’s diagnosis of terminal brain cancer. It all culminated with their final show on Aug. 20, 2016, in the band’s hometown of Kingston in front of 6,700 people in the K-Rock Centre and 25,000 in Springer Market Square around the corner; at least 11.7 million Canadians watched the CBC broadcast of the concert. Over the band’s 32-year career, the Hip became mentors to generations of Canadian musicians. In an exclusive excerpt from my upcoming biography of the band—due in early 2018—22 of the Hip’s peers reminisce about where they were and what they were thinking on that unforgettable night.

Allan Gregg: principal, Earnscliffe Strategy Group
Relationship with the band: Co-manager, 1986-94

I watched it on television. My kids literally grew up on Gord’s lap, at band meetings in my basement. I brought them to the Air Canada Centre show [in Toronto]. We didn’t go backstage. The show was remarkable. I should’ve felt deadeningly sad, but I didn’t—because Gord didn’t. He looked like he was having the time of his life. I told my kids that they’ll be singing “Bobcaygeon” 50 years from now. That will be Gord’s legacy: the songs. Those songs will be here forever and part of the Canadian fabric when you’re an old, old man.

Colin Cripps: guitarist, Blue Rodeo
Relationship: guitarist in Crash Vegas, which opened for the Tragically Hip from 1991 to 1993

I was playing at the Molson Amphitheatre [in Toronto] with Blue Rodeo that night. We played “Bobcaygeon” as a tribute. Somehow [the tech crew] got a feed to show [the Hip] playing live on our screens, and they were also doing “Bobcaygeon.” Total f–king fluke. We had no idea that was happening. Suddenly people started going crazy, and we looked up and there’s Gord. It was an amazing Canadian moment. People were crying. We were emotional. It was fantastic. You couldn’t help but feel all the history you have together.

I watched about a third of [the Kingston show] later. I couldn’t watch the whole thing, to be honest. I went to two of the shows, one in Toronto and one in Hamilton. I stood at [guitar tech] Billy Ray’s station at the side of the stage. It was an amazing show, both times. I was blown away. That was enough for me. The last show was too much. They’re my buddies and I’m a big fan. If I was watching it in the moment, it would be different. But to go back and watch it? No. It was a communal experience of religious proportions. People were celebrating the Hip but also all of us being a part of that community, and feeling that through music, which is such a powerful thing.

Michelle McAdorey: singer
Relationship: Singer in Crash Vegas, which opened for the Tragically Hip from 1991 to 1993

I was at the Blue Rodeo show. That was really intense, for so many reasons, for me, personally. Backstage at this Blue Rodeo gig everyone was watching the Tragically Hip show. Then Blue Rodeo did their Tragically Hip tribute [by playing “Bobcaygeon”], and I had a friend there who was so riddled with cancer—and that was the last time I saw him. There were so many emotions. I’d watch a bit of the Hip show, then a bit of the Blue Rodeo show, then I’d be talking to my friend. That was an overwhelming day and night. It was such a gorgeous moment, that “Bobcaygeon” moment. But it was hard to watch.

MORE: In search of the Tragically Hip’s mythical Bobcaygeon

Chris Tsangarides: producer
Relationship: produced Fully Completely (1992)

I was here [in England], in my studio, watching it through the tears. To watch him break down, you felt his pain. Everyone in that room felt the anguish and unfairness of it all. One of the worst things that can happen is knowing you only have so much time to live. That must be godawful. I don’t know how he could carry on. The best way about it is to go when you don’t know, because then you carry on in your merry old way. Then a few months later I saw the blanket ceremony [where Downie was honoured by the Assembly of First Nations], and I broke down watching that. I have a real thing about Native Americans, an amazing people with an amazing ethos. It brings it home just what a bunch of s–theads we were to these people all these years ago, and still are today.

Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde looks on as Lakota Sioux Donnie Speidel (left) honours singer Gord Downie with an eagle feather and name at the AFN Special Chiefs assembly in Gatineau, Que., Tuesday December 6, 2016. Downie was given the name "The Man Who Walks Among the Stars," during the ceremony. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde looks on as Lakota Sioux Donnie Speidel (left) honours singer Gord Downie with an eagle feather and name at the AFN Special Chiefs assembly in Gatineau, Que., Tuesday December 6, 2016. Downie was given the name “The Man Who Walks Among the Stars,” during the ceremony. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Dave Clark: drummer in Rheostatics and Dinner Is Ruined
Relationship: Played drums in Gord Downie and the Country of Miracles, 2001 to 2010

I’d been watching it on my TV [in Toronto], and it sounded amazing in the house with the windows open. I went outside to see what the city’s doing. Everybody had their windows open. People all over my neighbourhood, no matter where I walked, it was like a living boom box. Then bars and cafés and courtyards on College Street were hanging bedsheets and projecting it outside. It was blasting out of wide-open doorways. It was amazing. And putting the Prime Minister on the hot seat in front of Canada—that was a really good thing. Whether you like the Hip or don’t like the Hip, man, you can’t deny that stuff. That night that they galvanized Canada. It was a really special national moment. I was glad to witness it. It made me cry.

Bruce Dickinson: former A&R executive
Relationship: Signed the Tragically Hip to MCA Records in 1988

I’ve had my own medical issues in recent years. That afternoon of the show, part of having been ill, I was very dizzy. I fell off a bus and landed square on my chin. I went into an ER at Columbia Presbyterian, a few blocks from where I live [in New York City], with a mild concussion and my shirt was covered with blood. They looked at me and said, “You’re going to need 14 stitches.” I looked at the doctor and said: “Here’s the deal. I have to be walking out of here at 7:30.” “What if we want to keep you here for observation?” “No. I’m walking out of here at 7:30. Do what you have to do so that can happen.” Because the show was going to start at 8 o’clock! I came home, kind of woozy, and watched the show on my Mac. It was very bittersweet. I was extremely proud of the guys. They were phenomenal. To see Gord Downie be able to summon what he did to do that show—my throat is catching as I describe it to you. It’s part of what makes him a great artist. He’s got that inner drive and that inner spirit.

I saw that right away, way back at [the first time I saw them, at] Massey Hall [in 1988]. This is a guy who will not be denied. That’s what you need. You need an artist who will grab you by the lapel and go, “I have something to say and you’re gonna listen.” And you could see the love and support from the other guys. When Gord might have about to falter on some words, Paul [Langlois] could see it coming and he was right up there next to Gord, doing a harmony so the lyrics came through. [Rob] Baker and [Gord] Sinclair were watching Gord throughout the show, ready to do whatever needed to be done to support him. When they did the encores, Johnny [Fay] was literally carrying Downie down the steps at the back of the stage. All of that stuff added up to one of the most powerful things—if not the most powerful thing—I’ve ever seen on a stage.

Dale Morningstar: guitarist, Dinner Is Ruined
Relationship to the band: guitarist for Gord Downie and the Country of Miracles, 2001 to 2010

I was at [my spouse’s] mother’s house in Manitoulin Island. Her whole family was there: brother, stepdad, sister and her husband. We were all down in the basement. They knew I had an association with Gord, but they didn’t know how close. We’re watching it, and I’m saying, “The best part of it is when the band leaves the stage and Gord delivers a soliloquy. It’ll drive you to tears.” As soon as the band left the stage, there was a storm, and—boom—no signal. It was like, “Wait, what?” The timing was impeccable. The TV kicked back in for the last song of the last encore. I went out for a swim after, alone. It was still storming out. I was just yelling at the sky.

Ian Blurton: guitarist and singer, Change of Heart, Public Animal
Relationship: opened for the Tragically Hip multiple times, from 1991 to 1997

Not all of it, but I did watch it, yeah. I was at home. I thought they way they did it was great, and calling out Justin Trudeau was a stroke of genius. But it was hard to watch.

Steven Drake, guitarist and singer, the Odds
Relationship: opened for the Tragically Hip, 1994-95; mixed Trouble at the Henhouse(1996) and Music @ Work (2000); produced Gord Downie’s Coke Machine Glow (2001)

I kinda watched it and didn’t watch it. I’d just seen them a few weeks before in Vancouver. I had the broadcast on while I was doing other things in the house. I think I was building a telescope or something. I couldn’t sit there and watch it; it was too intense. But I couldn’t turn it off.

José Contreras: guitarist and singer, By Divine Right
Relationship: opened the Tragically Hip’s 1999 tour, played on Coke Machine Glow

I didn’t watch it. Friends of mine from Edmonton, the Wet Secrets, asked me to play a show at the Drake in Toronto. No one checked the calendar; we only realized 10 days before that it was the same night of the Hip show. I called the Drake and said, “Can we broadcast the show, 8-10, and then play our show after?” They said they had an event and couldn’t do it. I was really torn up. Then I realized I got this gig for the same reason I played with the Hip: because a friend offered it to me. I’m a working artist; that’s what I do. I don’t have management, a label, or a booking agent. I take what comes to me. It sucked, loading into the Drake, bumping into friends, who asked me, “What are you doing?” “Um, loading into the Drake.” “Okay, weird. Bye!” But you know what? We had a great show. Lots of people there. I took a picture of the Wet Secrets during their set, when they hit that moment when they were great. I remember thinking: this is worth it. This is music. This is life. This is my life.

Crowds watch the Tragically Hip's last concert on an outdoor screen outside City Hall in Kingston. (Photograph by Nick Iwanyshyn)

Crowds watch the Tragically Hip’s last concert on an outdoor screen outside City Hall in Kingston. (Photograph by Nick Iwanyshyn)

Sam Roberts: bandleader, the Sam Roberts Band
Relationship: opened for the Tragically Hip more than any other act, beginning in 2002

One of my relatives from South Africa was here last summer when the concert was being broadcast on the CBC. We had a big party at another cousin’s house: brought the TV outside, speakers out. It was a very emotional time. I’m watching my cousin, who has never heard this music before, going, “What is this about? What am I listening to?” But after half an hour, 45 minutes, there was definitely the dawning of something [for them]—which to me suggests that [the Tragically Hip’s music] is not just this impregnable fortress, where if you’re not literally born to it that you’re not going to understand it. Whether it was the music itself, or the delivery, or the performance, or Gord’s character coming through. I don’t know what it was, but it left an impression.

The grief [for the rest of us] was very real. Very deeply felt. It was not a superficial grief in any way, and it was collective. I don’t know what people’s expectations were in terms of what they were going to see on that stage. The fact is the band went out once again and went far beyond even what I’ve seen them do before—in terms of the depth of their commitment on stage. Maybe we take it for granted because they’ve done it so consistently over the years. It takes a great deal out of you to be able to do that.

Bry Webb: guitarist and singer, the Constantines
Relationship: opened for the Tragically Hip in 2006

I watched it on TV. The most moving thing about it was Gord’s vulnerability and his response to his own vulnerability, or his own fight—the guttural release coming from him in moments of that set, and the look of peace and bliss and enlightenment on his face. Two minutes later, he would be bestial, just catharsis and release. It was everything I value about him and performance and art—it was all there. It was pretty punk, from five men kissing each other full on the lips before taking the stage, to watching him drop a few lines and be aware of it and just say “f–k it!” There was a lot of great punk rock energy to that show. The shout-out to JT was full of intent and was a really interesting decision. I read it as putting the pressure on. It wouldn’t make sense, in terms of the energy of that moment, to say “f–k you” about this issue. It was him saying, “Here’s some energy. I’m putting a spotlight on this at the moment, in a way that I can.” Knowing the intention with which Gord does things, I felt that was what was happening at that moment.

Kate Fenner: singer/songwriter
Relationship: backing vocalist on the Tragically Hip’s 2000 tour, one of only three guest musicians to have ever toured with the band in 30 years

I couldn’t do any of those shows. I didn’t see any. Just couldn’t. [My family and I] went to Greece and Malta. I was born in Malta, but I’d never been back. I was on a rock in the middle of the Mediterranean. I got a coffee and opened the paper, and—motherf–ker!—the Times of Malta had a huge picture of the last show. It was unbelievable.

Brendan Canning: co-founder, Broken Social Scene
Relationship: Opened for the Tragically Hip as a member of hHead in 1994 and as a member of By Divine Right in 1999; opened as a solo DJ during 2015 tour

I went to a Toronto show and thought it was sweet how tight they were on stage. And it was nice to hear new material as opposed to just all the old songs again. But the last show? I wasn’t interested. I’d been on tour with them in 2015. I’ve been watching them play since 1989. I didn’t need to see another Hip show. Everyone was talking about it, and I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, I get it.’ I was in [the Hip’s studio outside Kingston], with Broken Social Scene that night. Kev [Drew] went to the show. I’m not one for fanfares of that regard. It’s a heavy emotional thing—which is the understatement of the year—but I don’t need to be there for it. Any chance I can be at the studio without a bunch of people around, I’m going to take it.

Shannon Cooney: choreographer
Relationship: Worked with Gord Downie on a dance piece in 2002

I watched it [where I live] in Berlin, where there is a six-hour difference, so it started at 2 a.m. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to watch it, because CBC video content is usually blocked outside the country. But then I realized I couldn’t miss this, and the CBC unlocked it. All of Berlin was sleeping while I watched this show until 5 in the morning. I danced in my living room. But then I was kind of emotionally destroyed for the next few days. It was hard to explain to my German boyfriend just how much Canada loves Gord and that whole band. They could have broken up long ago; Gord could have been a solo artist, but he’s a loyal member. What a show! It was political: he was talking about strong women, and he called out Justin Trudeau on our dirty, dark secrets that we didn’t all know we had until the reconciliation process. Music is present, but it’s also a marker of time. We went from the late ’80s until now with this presence, this poetry that you either completely love or you push up against because you don’t like it, but it runs through these generations. It has personal resonance; it’s not just about watching these people on stage.

Neal Osborne: guitarist and singer, 54-40
Relationship: Peer

In the 1980s, we were in Saskatoon at some festival: it was Spirit of the West, us, and Tragically Hip. I hadn’t seen them much until then; I knew they were starting to grow a following. It was really rainy. Spirit went on and it was drizzly and rainy and I felt bad for them. Then for some reason, for us the clouds broke and it was all nice and the sun was setting. Then a storm came in and just poured, and there was lightning, and Downie was out in front just givin’ er, and I thought, “Okay, I get it. This guy is committed.” That’s when I became a fan. I always think back to that gig, because both those guys [Downie and Spirit of the West singer John Mann, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s] have gone through some trials. [On the night of the Hip’s last show] we were playing in Saskatoon again, actually. We did a shout-out to them and then we managed to catch the last couple of songs in the hotel lounge; we finished our show early enough to do that.

Jim Creeggan: bassist, Barenaked Ladies
Relationship: Peer

I’d already seen one of the Toronto shows. I watched a bit of the final show on TV. I was on a family vacation, sleeping in a cottage on P.E.I. Down the way, some neighbours were blasting it. The ocean wind was blowing, and it was this ethereal Hip experience. It was good, because then I had time as I was falling asleep and listening to the sound blowing around, to process how I felt about it. It was a good time to reflect.

Jennie Punter: journalist
Relationship: Covered the band extensively in the ’80s and ’90s for the Queen’s Journal,the Kingston Whig-Standard, Impact Magazine

My husband doesn’t really like that kind of music, so we had plans to go to the Markham Jazz Festival to see Lonnie Smith that night. We had to eat first, so we went to a pub. They had the show on, and it was just starting. I could imagine what it was like to be in Kingston, because the Whig-Standard building used to be right there, off the square. I didn’t feel like I wished I could be there. But I was very emotional inside. I was with my husband and my daughter, so it was a very private thing for me.

It was a surreal experience: I was in a bar in a town I never go to, going to an event I’ve never been to, in a pub I’ll never go to again, in this festival setting with ice-cream booths and people tying balloons and all the stuff you see on a street closed to traffic. Then there’s this event that all of Canada is watching, and I’m not one of those people. It made me aware of how big an event it was. If I’d watched it at home alone in a room with the door closed, I wouldn’t have thought about that factor.

Musician Gordon Downie of The Tragically Hip performs on stage during "Man Machine Poem" tour at the Air Canada Center on August 10, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (GP Images/WireImage/Getty Images)

Musician Gordon Downie of The Tragically Hip performs on stage during “Man Machine Poem” tour at the Air Canada Center on August 10, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (GP Images/WireImage/Getty Images)

Virginia Clark: Kingston promoter, the Grad Club, Wolfe Island Music Festival
Relationship: Friend

I was sitting in the family section at the venue [in Kingston], and there was a lot of crying—pretty much non-stop for three hours. It was crying but also elation and joy, not just sadness. All the feelings! I’d never felt this way during any performance, ever, and how many shows have I seen in my life? Countless. I held on to that show for at least a week with melancholy. I was depressed and exhausted. I don’t know how to describe it.

Steve Jordan: founder and director, Polaris Music Prize
Relationship: At CKLC in Kingston in the late ’80s, he was the first DJ to play the Tragically Hip on Top 40 radio; MC’ed many early gigs

I don’t go back to Kingston often. My wife and I walked up and down Princess Street; every single place was blasting Hip songs. Went to Zap Records. [Owner] Gary [LaVallee] was playing some bootleg he had from ’88. The gravity of it was getting weird. Went to [Kingston venue] the Toucan for some pre-drinks. All the people I’d see at the shows all the time back then, that was their HQ. Right upstairs, in [a room once called] the Terrapin, was the first time I saw the Hip, capacity: 40. The reality of it started to kick in. I couldn’t help but drink.

When the band went into “Courage,” I thought, “This is the last time they’ll play this song—ever.” I collapsed. Started bawling. I felt like I was crying out of my pores. It was such a weird sorrow. I’d never felt anything like that before. Then the crying subsided and I tried to live in the moment. On that tour, I had a new appreciation for the band that I didn’t have before. They’re a proper f–king band, an excellent band. It’d be an easy show to have collapse around you, and those guys held it all up. Then I got sad again, cried out of my pores again. But it was definitely joy in the room. It wasn’t just undistilled sadness. It was every strong emotion in one cocktail. And I’m just a guy who sort of knows them, who was lucky enough to see the very early beginnings. That’s what was informing a lot of my emotion: “I’m not in the band. How are they even doing this? How did they do this for three weeks?”

Jake Gold: CEO, the Management Trust
Relationship: manager, 1986-2003

I saw six shows on the 2016 tour, including two in Vancouver and the show in Kingston. I hadn’t seen them play live since I [last] worked with them [in 2003], so: 13 years. It was great to watch them as a fan. It was good. It was interesting. While I think for others there was melancholy, I saw it as a celebration. I completely saw where Gord was coming from. He was saying goodbye to everyone he loved. That, to me, was how I walked in the door. It was really emotional, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t shed a tear until the day after the Kingston show. Kingston was so beautiful the day of the show. It was everything you want for a Hip show: hot and sweaty and sunny out all day. The next day I woke up and it was pouring rain. I broke down and started to cry. But it didn’t happen until that day.

Rich Terfry, a.k.a. Buck 65: rapper and CBC radio host
Relationship: opened for the Tragically Hip in 2006, hosted CBC Radio broadcast of the Aug. 20 show

Through the night Gord is communicating in two different ways: with the microphone and his words, but with the rest of his body as well. I don’t know if what he’s feeling is being translated in that way, or maybe there’s something he’s taking from us that he’s reflecting back. I was never sure. I’ve seen Iggy Pop and Tom Waits and James Brown and Bruce Springsteen—I’ve seen them all live. But I’ve never seen anything quite like that, ever. It’s hard to imagine that I ever will.

Protest planned for Toronto over violence at Charlottesville white supremacist rally

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Aug 14th, 2017

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A vigil was held outside the U.S. consulate in Toronto on Aug. 13, 2017, to remember the victims of Saturday’s violence in Charlottesville, Va. CITYNEWS/Nitish Bissonauth
A rally is planned in Toronto on Monday to protest the weekend violence in Virginia that saw one woman killed and nearly 20 others injured.

Demonstrators are expected to gather outside the American consulate to express their opposition to white supremacists.

“We are gathering peacefully in front of the U.S. consulate on Monday morning to oppose violent right-wing bigotry in the US and support victims and survivors of the recent violence in Charlottesville,” the Facebook post reads.

The rally is expected to start at 8 a.m.

On Saturday, a car plowed through a group of people who were protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

The driver, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. from Ohio, faces charges that include second-degree murder. A high school teacher said Fields was fascinated with Nazism, idolized Adolf Hitler and had been singled out by school officials in the 9th grade for his “deeply held, radical” convictions on race.

A vigil was held in Toronto on Sunday night to remember the victims of Saturday’s violence.

A rally was also held in Montreal according to social media and local media reports.

Vigils and protests also took place across the U.S. The gatherings Sunday spanned from anti-fascist protests in San Francisco to a march to President Donald Trump’s home in New York.

Canadian pastor freed from North Korea gets rock star-like welcome home

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Aug 14th, 2017

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Despite a grim account of his imprisonment, the mood was joyful as a Canadian pastor freed from a North Korean prison addressed the congregation at a Toronto-area church Sunday.

During his first public appearance since arriving home, Hyeon Soo Lim described his two years in isolation, where he says he did gruelling physical labour that landed him in hospital on several occasions.

In an English translation of the address he gave in Korean, Lim describes the work he was forced to do and the effects it had on his body.

Lim had been sentenced to life in prison with hard labour for alleged anti-state activities, but was released on what the North Korean government described as “sick bail” last week.

“The mud was so hard it took two days to dig one hole. It was incredibly challenging. My upper body was sweating; my fingers and toes were frostbitten,” he said.

“One year of this difficult labour took a toll on my body and I was admitted to the hospital for two months. There would be three other occasions where I would be admitted to the hospital in serous condition.”

im said he often felt lonely and sometimes hopeless during his imprisonment. “It was difficult to see when and how the entire ordeal would end,” he said. A member of the congregation said he told his audience he didn’t know about his release until 15 minutes before it happened.

When Lim arrived at the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, Ont., he was greeted by a cheering crowd. Some in the crowd reached out to embrace him as he walked by.

About a half hour later, Lim gave his address in front of a church so full that some people who couldn’t find seats stood in the back.

And although the speech’s contents read as solemn in the English translation, he delivered them energetically. He and the audience laughed as he delivered jokes in Korean that congregants later described as self-deprecating.

“You can see I’ve had a haircut,” he reportedly told the congregation, gesturing to his bald head. He also joked that he’s now an expert on North Korea, explaining that he read more than a hundred books on the country while in prison.

He said he also read the Bible in both English and Korean five times “and memorized over 700 Bible verses.”

Church officials passed out sheet music for a song with lyrics that Lim wrote while he was imprisoned. Congregants were encouraged to sing along to “Forever, Forever Hold Steadfast,” a song about faith.

After the service, Lim told members of the media he was grateful for the support of his congregation, and for the Canadian government officials who secured his release.

“It is a miracle for me to be here today,” he said through a translator.

Lim then greeted members of the congregation, who were eager to speak with him.

Timothy Cho, 22, has been attending services at Light Korean Presbyterian Church since his childhood. He says he was worried the imprisonment would take a significant toll on Lim, but was relieved to see him making the same kinds of jokes he used to make before he left.

“I was amazed to see him,” Cho said. “I don’t think there’s a lot of change, despite his solitary confinement.”

Photo released of man wanted in TTC bomb threat scare

NEW STAFF | posted Monday, Aug 14th, 2017

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Photograph of man wanted in bomb threat investigation (TPS / Handout)
Police have released an image of a man wanted in connection with a bomb threat aboard at TTC subway that caused a temporary suspension of both Line 1 and 2 on Sunday.

Police were called to the Yonge-Bloor station just before 2 p.m. following reports a man on a southbound train claimed he had a bomb and would blow the train up.

According to police, the man’s actions forced an unsafe evacuation of the crowded train.

The suspect managed to leave the station under the cover of the crowd.

The bomb squad was called in to investigate and determined there was no threat.

The suspect is described as white and last seen wearing dark shorts, a t-shirt with rolled up sleeves, a baseball cap and glasses. He was also carrying a black back pack.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police.

Photograph of man wanted in bomb threat investigation (TPS / Handout)

Protests, vigils decry Charlottesville white supremacist rally

JENNIFER PELTZ AND PHUONG LE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Monday, Aug 14th, 2017

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Candles are held during a vigil for victims in Charlottesville, Va., at the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Memorial Statue in North Las Vegas, Nev., on Aug. 13, 2017. Protesters decrying hatred and racism converged around the country on Sunday, saying they felt compelled to counteract the white supremacist rally that spiraled into deadly violence in Virginia. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)
Protesters decrying hatred and racism converged around the country, saying they felt compelled to counteract the white supremacist rally that spiraled into deadly violence in Virginia.

The gatherings Sunday spanned from anti-fascist protests in San Francisco to a march to President Donald Trump’s home in New York. In Toronto, a vigil was held outside the U.S. Consulate, and a rally will be held on Monday morning.

Some focused on showing support for the people whom white supremacists condemn. Other demonstrations were pushing for the removal of Confederate monuments, the issue that initially prompted white nationalists to gather in anger this weekend in Charlottesville, Va. Still other gatherings aimed to denounce fascism and a presidential administration that organizers feel has empowered white supremacists.

“People need to wake up, recognize that and resist it as fearlessly as it needs to be done,” said Carl Dix, a leader of the Refuse Fascism group organizing demonstrations in New York, San Francisco and other cities. “This can’t be allowed to fester and to grow because we’ve seen what happened in the past when that was allowed.”

“It has to be confronted,” said Dix, a New Yorker who spoke by phone from Charlottesville on Sunday afternoon. He had gone there to witness and deplore the white nationalist rally on Saturday that spiraled into bloodshed.

In Seattle, a rally previously planned for Sunday by the conservative pro-Trump group known as Patriot Prayer drew hundreds of counter protesters. Police arrested three men and confiscated weapons as Trump supporters and counter-protesters converged downtown.

A barricade separated the two groups as police officers stood by dressed in riot gear. Police said they used pepper spray and blast balls to disperse crowds after fireworks were thrown at officers. In a statement, police said they observed some people in the counter protest carrying axe handles and two-by fours as they infiltrated the hundreds of peaceful demonstrators.

In Denver, several hundred demonstrators gathered beneath a statue of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in City Park and marched about 3.22 kilometres to the state capitol. In Fort Collins, Colorado, marchers chanted “Everyone is welcome here. No hate, no fear.” One demonstrator’s sign said, “Make racists ashamed again.”

In New York, protesters marched from several locations in Manhattan to Trump Tower, demanding the president denounce white nationalist groups involved in the violent confrontations in Charlottesville. One sign read: “Call out evil.”

Helen Rubenstein, 62, was among hundreds of people who marched through downtown Los Angeles. She said her parents were Holocaust survivors, and she’s worried that extremist views were becoming normal under Trump’s presidency.

“I blame Donald Trump 100 per cent because he emboldened all these people to incite hate, and they are now promoting violence and killing,” Rubenstein said.

Charlottesville descended into violence Saturday after neo-Nazis, skinheads, Ku Klux Klan members and other white nationalists gathered to “take America back” and oppose plans to remove a Confederate statue in the Virginia college town, and hundreds of other people came to protest the rally. The groups clashed in street brawls, with hundreds of people throwing punches, hurling water bottles and beating each other with sticks and shields.

Eventually, a car rammed into a peaceful crowd of anti-white-nationalist protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. The driver, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. from Ohio, faces charges that include second-degree murder. A high school teacher said Fields was fascinated with Nazism, idolized Adolf Hitler and had been singled out by school officials in the 9th grade for his “deeply held, radical” convictions on race.

During Saturday’s incident, a Virginia State Police helicopter deployed in a large-scale response to the violence then crashed into the woods outside of town. Both troopers on board died.

A crowd gathered on the street where the crash happened for a vigil Sunday evening. They sang “Amazing Grace” and prayed around piles of flowers that mark the spot where Heyer was killed.

Prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer, who attended the rally, denied all responsibility for the violence. He blamed the counter-protesters and police.

Trump condemned what he called an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides,” a statement that Democrats and some of the president’s fellow Republicans saw as equivocating about who was to blame. The White House later added that the condemnation “includes white Supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.”

Some of the white nationalists at Saturday’s rally cited Trump’s victory, after a campaign of racially charged rhetoric, as validation for their beliefs. Some of the people protesting Sunday also point to the president and his campaign, saying they gave license to racist hatred that built into what happened in Charlottesville.

“For those who questioned whether ‘oh, don’t call it fascism’ … this should resolve those issues,” Reiko Redmonde, an organizer of a Refuse Fascism protest planned in San Francisco, said by phone. “People need to get out in the streets to protest, in a determined way.”

Associated Press writers Dake Kang, Jonathan Drew, Jennifer Kay, Holly Ramer and Dan Elliott contributed to this report.

Woman seen abusing dog on subway charged; animal in care of OSPCA

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Aug 11th, 2017

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An OSPCA animal care staff member with the Chinese Crested-type dog. OSPCA
The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA), along with Toronto police, have arrested and charged a 37-year-old woman after a video surfaced of her mistreating her Chinese Crested-type dog on the subway.

Teresa Rutledge has been charged with willfully permit pain and suffering of an animal. She’s scheduled to appear in court on October 11, 2017.

After police notified the OSPCA, an investigation was started and a warrant was obtained to seize the dog from the woman.

The dog has since been in the care of the OSPCA and from pictures they released Thursday, seems to be in good health and high spirits.

An OSPCA animal care staff member with the Chinese Crested-type dog rescued from a 37-year old woman. OSPCA

“We are grateful for the public coming forward with this evidence that allowed us to conduct this investigation,” said Connie Mallory, chief Inspector of the Ontario SPCA.

However, she added that the video evidence was only one part of the investigation.

The charges laid against the Rutledge and the legal removal of the dog were not based solely on the video, but rather on a full and thorough investigation

Rutledge also faces one count of causing distress to an animal under the Ontario SPCA Act.


Related stories:

Dog seen being hit by woman on subway seized by OSPCA

OSPCA investigating after video surfaces of dog abuse on subway

SIU determine Hamilton police justified in fatal shooting of unarmed suspect

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Aug 11th, 2017

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The Special Investigations Unit headquarters in Mississauga. CITYNEWS
The Special Investigations Unit says it will not lay charges against a police officer in the fatal shooting of a Hamilton man last September.

Anthony Divers was shot and killed last year following a confrontation with police near the Hamilton GO station.

Police had been dispatched to the area following reports a woman had been assaulted. They were told the suspect may be armed.

The SIU report into the shooting noted Divers failed to respond to police commands to “stop” and “get down” on several occasions before he was shot twice.

SIU Director Tony Loparco said even though it was later determined that Divers was not armed, the officer who fired the fatal shots reasonably believed his life was in danger.

“It is clear the SO (subject officer) believed he was at risk of death or grievous bodily harm at the time he discharged his firearm. He based that belief on both his observations at the time and his knowledge of Mr. Divers’ past behaviour,” wrote Loparco.

“The SO did not have the luxury of delaying and risking his own life by waiting to see if a shot was actually fired from whatever weapon that Mr. Divers was intimating that he had hidden inside his waistband or sweater.”

Richmond Hill teen Denis Shapovalov upsets Rafael Nadal at Rogers Cup

BILL BEACON, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Aug 11th, 2017

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Denis Shapovalov of Canada celebrates after defeating Rafael Nadal of Spain during round of sixteen play at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Montreal on Aug. 10, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Even Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov was amazed he had beaten tennis superstar Rafael Nadal.

The 18-year-old from Richmond Hill shocked himself, the crowd that roared with every point he scored, and the tennis world with his 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory over top-seeded Nadal in the third round of the Rogers Cup on Thursday night at a sold out Uniprix Stadium.

Shapovalov dropped to the ground and covered his face in joy and surprise as the cheers reached deafening levels after the match point fell, completing his comeback from a 3-0 deficit in the third-set tiebreaker.

“It’s what I dreamed of all my life growing up, playing guys like Rafa (Nadal), Roger (Federer), Andy (Murray),” said Shapovalov. “You know, my dream came true today.”

The victory put him into a quarter-final Friday against France’s Adrian Mannarino, who beat Hyeon Chung 6-3,6-3.

It was one of the biggest wins in Canadian tennis history and it came at the tournament that some still call the Canadian Open.

Shapovalov became the youngest player to reach the tournament’s quarter-finals since Bjorn Borg in 1974.

He also became the youngest quarter-finalist at a Masters Series tournament ever and is the youngest to beat a player ranked in the top two in the world since Nadal beat Federer in 2004 in Miami.

Shapovalov will reach his goal of moving into the top 100 in the world in a week that saw him save four match points in a first round win over Rogerio Dutra Silva, then beat 2009 U.S. Open winner Juan Martin Del Potro in the second round before toppling Nadal.

“I’m very thankful that I’m in this position,” said Shapovalov, who had hockey great Wayne Gretzky and Olympic swimming star Penny Oleksiak cheering for him from the seats. “If I didn’t save those four match points in the first round, there wouldn’t even be a chance to play Juan Martin or Rafa.

“It’s difficult to say how I was feeling during the match. It was extremely hard physically and mentally. Rafa is such a warrior. I’m just so happy to come out with the win.”


Related stories:

Sportsnet: Shapovalov shoots to star status with win over all-time great Nadal

Sportsnet: Denis Shapovalov’s upset of Rafael Nadal historic in more ways than one

Big Read: Shapovalov doing what it takes to succeed at tennis’s highest level


Nadal, who could have claimed the No. 1 ranking if he had reached the semifinals this week, said it was the worst match he played all year, but he had kind words for Shapovalov.

“He played well,” the 31-year-old said. “He has a great potential.

“I wish him the best. He has everything to become a great player. He played with the right determination in the important moments.”

Shapovalov looked unfazed in facing the biggest opponent of his young career. After Nadal cruised through the first set, Shapovalov kept battling, breaking service while taking a 3-0 lead in the second. When Nadal would start taking a control of a game, the younger of the two lefthanders would respond with big serves or impressive forehands down the lines.

Nadal fought off two break points to hold serve at 4-2, then earned his own break to win back the momentum from the 2016 Wimbledon junior boys champion, only to see Shapovalov snatch it back and clinch the second set.

The two held serve through the third. Nadal went up 3-0, but Shapovalov used two aces to fight back and complete the upset victory over the 10-time French Open champion.

Second-seeded Roger Federer, a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 winner over Spain’s David Ferrer, isn’t one to gloat over his stunning record against Spaniard, who was ranked third in the world in 2013.

Without playing especially well, the 19-time Grand Slam champion from Switzerland stretched his career record against the Ferrer to 17-0. It started with a win in Vienna in 2003.

“Maybe in the beginning he was not as good as he is now,” Federer said of Ferrer. “Maybe I won five times because I’m better than he was.

“I was No. 1 in the world. I played him on hard courts also. I didn’t play him often on clay. Also, there were many tight matches, so maybe it became a mental thing for him. I have a lot of respect for David. As a person, he’s very nice. He’s a great fighter on the court. So this type of head-to-head is a bit strange.”

In Friday’s quarter-finals, second-seeded Federer will face 12th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, against whom he is 6-0. Bautista Agut outlasted Frenchman Gael Monfils 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2) in a two hours 56 minutes battle.

Unseeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman posted a strange win over American Jared Donaldson 0-6, 7-5, 7-5 to advance to a quarter-final meeting with Robin Haase, the 52nd-ranked Dutchman who upset seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-1.

Kevin Anderson of South Africa downed American Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-1 and will next play fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev, who ousted 16th seeded Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 6-3.

Federer, who breezed past Canadian Peter Polansky in the second round on Wednesday, looked lost in the opening set, spraying balls long, wide or into the net, but gradually rediscovered at least some of the form that has seen the 36-year-old Swiss put back the clock with two grand slam wins this year.

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