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Neighbourhood group hopes to save Toronto’s Garrison Common cottages

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Oct 31st, 2017

A neighbourhood group is rushing to save a cluster of 160-year-old downtown homes that are in danger of being knocked down.

Two properties on Mitchell Avenue, a short walk from historic Fort York, have been sold. They’re some of the few remaining Garrison Common cottages, also known as the Robinson Cottages, built starting in 1858.

There were originally 32 cottages, eight each on Richmond and Adelaide Streets and the rest on Mitchell Avenue. But only 12 remain.

Now, neighbours are trying to save what’s left.

Local resident Dolores Borkowski has created the “Save Garrison Common Cottages” group on Facebook. She wants the city to designate the homes as heritage properties under the Ontario Heritage Act.

Bortowski explains that the cottages – a series of semi-detached bungalows, as well as a handful of detached homes – were built as an early planned community for working families. The eight-acre neighbourhood was bounded by Richmond, Tecumseh, Adelaide and Niagara Streets. Mitchell Avenue, formerly Garrison Street, went down the middle.

“The first people who lived here were labourers,” Bortowski says. “Then you had railway workers, telegraph workers. These are the people who were part of building the city.”

In 2005, four of the homes on Richmond Street were given heritage designations, but other homes haven’t been so lucky. None of the detached homes remain in their original state, and recently, two cottages were torn down because they didn’t meet the city’s heritage preservation criteria.

“We flagged them for our heritage preservation services division,” says local Councillor Mike Layton. When an application to demolish the two cottages was submitted to the city, they investigated their historical significance.

“At that point in time heritage preservation staff reviewed the application and didn’t identify the necessary level of heritage value to list them,” says Layton.

As for the future of the other homes, Layton says heritage preservation staff will continue looking into their value and determine if they can be put on the registry.

No charges in death of inmate who died while in restraints in segregation

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Oct 31st, 2017

Soleiman Faqiri is seen in this undated photo.

No charges will be laid after an inmate at a correctional facility in Lindsay died while in restrains in a segregation cell last December.

Soleiman Faqiri, 30, died on December 15, 2016, while he was being held at the Central East Correctional Centre.

An earlier CityNews investigation revealed that over a dozen correctional officers and managers at the Lindsay super jail were suspended following his death, which sources said involved “use of force.”

But in a statement Monday, City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service said there are no grounds to file charges.

“The City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service has now completed the investigation into the death of Soleiman Faqiri. Following a thorough analysis of all the evidence and witness statements … we have concluded that no grounds exist to process criminal charges against anyone who was involved with Mr. Faqiri prior to his death on December 15th, 2016.”

The Office of the Chief Coroner and Ontario Forensic Pathology Services also took part in the investigation.

Soleiman’s family says the former star athlete and straight-A student suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. He was diagnosed 11 years ago, during his first year of studies at the University of Waterloo.

Faqiri was charged with two counts of aggravated assault, one count of assault and another count of uttering death threats on December 4th. His family says he was being held at Central East Correctional Centre (CECC) and was waiting for a bail hearing.

The deceased man’s family doesn’t know if he was taking medication while incarcerated.

The group JusticeforSoli issued a statement on Monday following the news that no charges would be laid in his death.

“The outcome of this police investigation raises many questions that the Faqiri family, Ontarians and all Canadians deserve answers to. We do not live in a police state. There is no circumstances where it’s okay for a man to go into custody alive and to come out in a body bag. Why has our system failed?”

“Today’s decision is outrageous and is an attempt to conceal the truth of Soleiman’s death and evade any accountability.”

 

With first charges, Mueller sends warning to Trump, aides

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Oct 31st, 2017

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Special counsel Robert Mueller has sent a warning to individuals in President Donald Trump’s orbit: If they lie about contacts between the president’s campaign and Russians, they’ll end up on the wrong end of federal criminal charges.

With the disclosure of the first criminal cases in his investigation, Mueller also showed that he will not hesitate to bring charges against people close to the campaign even if they don’t specifically pertain to Russian election interference and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

Court papers unsealed Monday revealed an indictment against Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and a guilty plea by another adviser, who admitted to lying to the FBI about meetings with Russian intermediaries.

Perhaps more unsettling for the White House, the plea by George Papadopoulos came weeks ago and his initial arrest has been kept quiet for months, all while he has been cooperating with federal agents. The charges had been sealed specifically to keep the news of his guilty plea from discouraging others from cooperating with the special counsel or from destroying evidence.

At Papadopoulos’ plea hearing earlier this month, one of Mueller’s prosecutors, Aaron Zelinsky, hinted at the possibility of more to come. The Mueller probe is “a large-scale ongoing investigation of which this case is a small part,” Zelinsky said, according to a transcript unsealed Monday.

The developments, including the unexpected unsealing of a guilty plea, usher Mueller’s investigation into a new, more serious phase. And the revelations in the guilty plea about an adviser’s Russian contacts could complicate the president’s assertions that his campaign had never coordinated with the Russian government to tip the 2016 presidential election in his favor, the central issue behind Mueller’s mandate.

Manafort, who steered Trump’s campaign for much of last year, and business associate Rick Gates ended the day under house arrest on charges that they funneled payments through foreign companies and bank accounts as part of their political work in Ukraine.

Papadopoulos, also a former campaign adviser, faced further questioning and then sentencing in the first – and so far only – criminal case that links the Trump election effort to the Kremlin.

Manafort and Gates, who pleaded not guilty in federal court, are not charged with any wrongdoing as part of the Trump campaign, and the president immediately sought to distance himself from the allegations. He said on Twitter that the alleged crimes occurred “years ago,” and he insisted anew there was “NO COLLUSION” between his campaign and Russia.

But potentially more perilous for the president was the guilty plea by former adviser Papadopoulos, who admitted in newly unsealed court papers that he was told in April 2016 that the Russians had “dirt” on Democratic rival Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails,” well before it became public that the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails had been hacked.

Papadopoulos was not charged with having improper communications with Russians but rather with lying to FBI agents when asked about the contacts, suggesting that Mueller – who was appointed in May to lead the Justice Department’s investigation – is prepared to indict for false statements even if the underlying conduct he uncovers might not necessarily be criminal.

Mueller’s investigation has already shadowed the administration for months, with investigators reaching into the White House to demand access to documents and interviews with key current and former officials.

The Papadopoulos plea occurred on Oct. 5 but was not unsealed until Monday, creating further woes for an administration that had prepared over the weekend to deflect the Manafort allegations. In court papers, Papadopoulos admitted lying to FBI agents about the nature of his interactions with “foreign nationals” who he thought had close connections to senior Russian government officials.

The court filings don’t say whom Papadopoulos may have told about the Russian claims about possessing emails damaging to Clinton. According to a previous filing in the case, Papadopoulos told the FBI that he didn’t tell anyone in the Trump campaign about the “dirt” on Clinton because he didn’t know if it “was real or fake.”

Previous emails obtained by The Associated Press show Papadopoulos discussing his attempts to line up a meeting between Trump and the Russian government. The emails showed that Manafort and Gates, who were top officials in the campaign at the time, rebuffed those efforts.

Papadopoulos has been cooperating with investigators, according to the court papers. His lawyers hinted strongly in a statement Monday that their client has more testimony to provide.

There, too, the White House scrambled to contain the potential fallout, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders contending that Papadopoulos’ role in the campaign was “extremely limited.” She said that “any actions that he took would have been on his own.”

The criminal case against Manafort, who surrendered to the FBI in the morning, had long been expected.

The indictment naming him and Gates, who also had a role in the campaign, lays out 12 counts including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, acting as an unregistered foreign agent, making false statements and several charges related to failing to report foreign bank and financial accounts. The indictment alleges the men moved money through hidden bank accounts in Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Seychelles.

In total, more than $75 million flowed through the offshore accounts, according to the indictment. Manafort is accused of laundering more than $18 million.

Outside the courthouse, Manafort attorney Kevin Downing attacked the charges and said “there is no evidence that Mr. Manafort or the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government.”

Manafort’s indictment doesn’t reference the Trump campaign or make any allegations about coordination between Russia and campaign aides. But it does allege a criminal conspiracy was continuing through February of this year, after Trump had taken office.

Manafort, 68, was fired as Trump’s campaign chairman in August 2016 after word surfaced that he had orchestrated a covert lobbying operation on behalf of pro-Russian interests in Ukraine. The indictment against Manafort and Gates says the pair had managed a covert Washington lobbying operation on behalf of Ukraine’s ruling political party.

Gates directed the work of two prominent Washington lobbying firms, Mercury LLC and the Podesta Group. The indictment doesn’t refer to the companies by name, but the fallout at one was swift.

Prominent Washington lobbyist Tony Podesta, a Democrat and brother to John, resigned Monday, seeking to avoid further enmeshing his firm in the controversy, according to a person familiar with the decision who spoke anonymously to preserve relationships with former colleagues.

Specifically, the indictment accuses Manafort of using “his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States, without paying taxes on that income.” That included using offshore accounts to purchase multimillion-dollar properties in the U.S., some of which the government is seeking to seize.

The indictment also cites more than $900,000 in payments to an antique rug store, about $850,000 to a New York men’s clothing store and the purchase of a Mercedes Benz and multiple Range Rovers.

Manafort also had registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for parts of Ukrainian work that occurred in Washington. The filing under the Foreign Agents Registration Act came retroactively, a tacit acknowledgment that he operated in Washington in violation of the federal transparency law. The indictment Monday accuses Manafort and Gates of making several false and misleading statements in that FARA filing.

Associated Press writers Michael Biesecker, Stephen Braun, Tom LoBianco, Sadie Gurman and Jeff Horwitz contributed to this report.

Man stabbed multiple times near Moss Park

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Oct 31st, 2017

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A man has been rushed to hospital in serious condition after a stabbing near Moss Park.

Emergency crews were called to Sherbourne Street near Shuter Street around 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

According to police, a confrontation began between the victim and the suspect at a bus stop, which ended in a stabbing.

The injured victim was found a short distance away.

Police said a man, believed to be in his 30s, was stabbed once in the chest and twice in the leg.

The suspect fled the area before authorities arrived on scene. No description has been released.

A knife was recovered by police.

Sherbourne has been closed in both directions from Dundas to Shuter streets.

 

Photo project focuses on Indigenous youth and reconciliation

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Oct 31st, 2017

TORONTO – Colourful graffiti covers a massive wall next to a rumbling subway station. But it’s something far more mundane that’s caught the eye of budding photographer Jeremiah McLaughlin-Assinewai.

The 16-year-old sits on the ground to get the right angle with his smartphone, training his lens on a tangle of green weeds bursting through the pavement.

The affable teen considers himself a city boy, but says his newfound interest in photography is opening him up to seeing the world — and himself — in a new light.

“My whole life I never really wanted to pursue anything, it was always about my sports, hockey and everything, but this really changed (things) and now I have a fun hobby that I enjoy,” says McLaughlin-Assinewai, who lives in Sudbury, Ont.

“It expresses the way I feel and it’s just making memories. Every photo is a memory to me.”

Later, he darts into the brush at a nearby park to capture more images with eight other young photographers, all Indigenous youth taking part in a photography project centred around truth and reconciliation.

The outing has been organized by the charitable organization Jayu in partnership with the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto. Over the course of two weeks in August, seasoned photographers led classes in storytelling and photography, with Graeme Roy, director of news photography for The Canadian Press, among those involved.

It all leads up to a two-month photo exhibit in Toronto beginning Friday, with all proceeds going to the youth.

Stephanie Fox-Assinewei, a youth co-ordinator at the Native Canadian Centre, says it’s about more than just encouraging a new skill, but building self-esteem and pride in Indigenous culture.

Fox-Assinewei brought three of her sons to the project, including McLaughlin-Assinewai, and is happy to see interest in their heritage grow. The family is from the Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island.

“They take the culture more seriously as they’re getting older. They used to dance when they were small but they kind of grew out of that,” she notes.

“This program is giving them encouragement, empowerment, to let them know that it’s OK to identify as First Nations and that we are working on breaking those barriers to have reconciliation.”

Those are lessons that Cedar Landon says she’s seized on, noting that although she’s spent most of her life in Toronto and Vancouver she calls the Georgian Bay community of Neyaashiinigmiing home.

The 22-year-old says photography has helped her connect with her heritage, and focus on taking the first steps towards a career as a chef.

“I’ve always been living in the city and moving place-to-place and photography has really helped me just be in the moment, capturing what’s around me right then-and-there and the people who I’m with right then-and-there,” says Landon, who enrolled in a culinary program in Toronto that started in September.

“Drinking and drugs is a lot of my peers’ outlet in trying to fill a void, but photography’s helped me stay on my right path and use my outlet in a positive way.”

Previous incarnations of Jayu’s iAm program focused on homeless youth and young newcomers from the Middle East, including refugees from Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Jayu founder Gilad Cohen says he’s been impressed by how quickly this group of youth — aged 13 to 25 — responded to the program.

McLaughlin-Assinewai says it won’t be hard to apply the lessons he’s learned elsewhere in his life, especially a newfound drive to embrace his family’s culture, language and history.

“Being in the city, you kind of lose that, you lose that way of how you were raised. But this program’s really connected me back to that.”

iPhone X kicks off a new generation at a hefty cost

Winston Sih | posted Tuesday, Oct 31st, 2017

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Pros

  • All-new design is slick and seamless
  • Face ID doesn’t just work—it works well
  • TrueDepth camera makes way for interactive augmented reality

Cons

  • It’s expensive
  • No Home button means you have to learn a whole new set of gestures
  • You better put a case on it—or else

When Apple first announced the 10th-anniversary iPhone at their September event in Cupertino, Calif., analysts questioned the decision to stagger the launch of two premium smartphones—and whether a stray from their traditional annual launch strategy would do them more harm than good.

Many enthusiasts decided to wait and see how iPhone X stacked up to its recently-launched sibling. While lineups for iPhone 8 were shorter than previous releases, carriers are reporting record-breaking preorder demand for iPhone X. But is a smartphone really worth a whopping $1,300? We were among the first to put iPhone X through its paces.

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Redesigned from the inside out

The first thing you notice when picking up iPhone X is the gorgeous design. Everything has been reimagined. From the edge-to-edge 5.8-inch Super Retina OLED display, to the glass front and back that Apple touts as the ‘most durable ever in a smartphone,’ the stunning curvature of the edges makes this design an engineering feat and resembles a piece of artwork.

 

image2iPhone X remains water- and dust-resistant, featuring speakers 35 per cent louder, and is compatible with Qi-enabled wireless chargers. The device will turn heads and start conversations—though you’re best to throw a case on it, especially if you’re prone to dropping things. You know who you are.

No more Home button

First the headphone jack, now the home button. They finally did it. iPhone X is the first iPhone to do away with the one button that does virtually everything. Instead, users will need to learn a new series of gestures in iOS 11—like swipe up to go to your home screen; double press on the side button to activate Apple Pay; and hold the side and volume button to power off.

There was a learning curve for the first while. You’ll be reaching for the Home button annoyed it’s no longer there, and then cycle through the gestures. You get used to it—and is the price you pay for an all-screen display.

If you’re the type who likes using your smartphone with one hand, the new gestures may complicate things.  There are more swipes from the top, bottom, and sides. Unless you have long thumbs, you may need two hands to perform certain actions.

 

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Facial recognition is the new fingerprint scan

For those who have become accustomed to the fingerprint authentication (known as Touch ID), iPhone X introduces a new facial recognition technology. I was blown away by how quick it learns your face and how effortless it is to use.

Face ID uses a new, front-facing TrueDepth camera that maps over 30,000 invisible dots to your face. It is stored securely on your device and is accurate to 1 in 1,000,000 that a random person can unlock your device. It also adapts to changes in appearance like facial hair growth, and cosmetic makeup.

It is used to do everything from unlock your device, authenticate into apps, and pay for purchases through Apple Pay. And none of the information is uploaded to the cloud, similar to Touch ID.

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Cameras and AR

Camera enthusiasts will see a step-up in quality through not one, but two 12-megapixel rear cameras with dual optical image stabilization. This includes an updated Quad-LED True Tone flash that lights images more evenly and gives you more vibrant and accurate colours.

 

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The popular portrait mode that was once for the rear cameras on iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus is now coming to iPhone X’s front-facing camera—something that will delight selfie takers and up their social media game.

The same TrueDepth camera that maps your face for security also unlocks a whole new world through augmented reality technology. Apple continues to double down on AR as a future way of interacting with the real world, and apps including Snapchat and IKEA are making use of ARKit. New Animojis in iMessage enable users to have 10-second clips of emojis mimicking your expressions and facial movements captured. A lot of fun to use and without a doubt going to be popular with the tweens—that is, if they can afford one.

Is it worth it?

And for the age-old question… The phone is expensive. Over $1,000 expensive. iPhone X will run you $1,319 and $1,529 for the 64GB and 256GB variants, respectively. So is it worth throwing down a month’s mortgage payment on a smartphone that is made of all-glass? It depends on which features are important to you.

iPhone X is without a doubt one of the slickest devices I’ve seen in a long time. The build quality is unlike many other smartphones on the market today. The iPhone changed the smartphone industry and paved way for a lucrative app market. It is the combination of well-built hardware, easy-to-use software, and the potential of apps to personalize the mobile computing experience that put iPhone on the map a decade ago. And the tech giant is hoping to do that all over again.

As preorder sales have proven already, enthusiasts who want to be part of that experience will line up overnight or wait upwards of six weeks to get hold of a device. But for many others, iPhone 8—even iPhone 7—will suffice, especially if the Home button is still of great value. Though, iPhone 8 will still make a dent in your wallet at just under $1,000, off contract.

Apple hopes that choice and category redefinition will help boost sales, after the wait-and-see approach of iPhone 8 resulted in shorter lineups at retail stores.

Rogers Communications is the parent company of this website.

Hundreds of thousands rally in Barcelona for Spanish unity

CityNews | posted Monday, Oct 30th, 2017

Nationalist activists march with Catalan, Spanish and European Union flags during a mass rally against Catalonia's declaration of independence, in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. Thousands of opponents of independence for Catalonia held the rally on one of the city's main avenues after one of the country's most tumultuous days in decades. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Hundreds of thousands who want Catalonia to remain part of Spain rallied in downtown Barcelona on Sunday, two days after a separatist majority in Catalonia’s parliament exacerbated a political crisis by voting for the wealthy region to secede.

Organizers say the march’s goal is to defend Spain’s unity and reject “an unprecedented attack in the history of democracy.” Leaders of rival pro-union parties from the ruling conservatives, the pro-business liberals and the socialists have joined together under the slogan “We are all Catalonia. Common sense for coexistence!”

Rally organizers Societat Civil Catalana, the leading pro-union grassroots group, said that over 1 million people turned out for the march that maintained a festive mood without any incidents reported. Police haven’t yet provided a crowd estimate.

Many demonstrators waving Spanish, Catalan and European Union flags flooded a central boulevard. Some held hand-made signs and banners reading “We won’t let Spain to be torn apart into pieces” and “The awakening of a silenced nation.”

“Catalan leaders have broken the law. The central government has let this situation go for too long, for even 30 or 40 years, thinking that we were never going to arrive to this extreme, but here we are,” said Angelita Cuesta, a 66-year-old retiree. “Our society is fractured, there are family members and friends who no longer can talk about politics to avoid conflict.”

Three weeks ago, the same group organized a mass rally that brought hundreds of thousands onto Barcelona’s streets. That was by far the largest pro-union show of force in Catalonia in recent years, in contrast to huge rallies by separatists.

“We have organized ourselves late, but we are here to show that there is a majority of Catalans that are no longer silent and that no longer want to be silenced,” Societat Civil Catalana president Alex Ramos said.

Members of Spain’s central government, including Health Minister Dolors Montserrat, and Enric Millo, who is Madrid’s representative in Catalonia, also attended Sunday’s rally. No major pro-independence marches were expected.

Catalonia’s separatist leader, who was fired along with his regional government on Saturday, has called for Catalans to engage in peaceful opposition to Spain’s crackdown to keep the country together.

The vote by pro-independence lawmakers Friday in favour of secession, and Madrid’s response triggering unprecedented constitutional powers taking control of Catalan affairs, was the climax of Spain’s worst political crisis in decades.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy also dissolved Catalonia’s parliament and called a new regional election for Dec. 21.

Separatists only won 48 per cent of the vote in Catalonia in the last regional election in 2015, although they took more seats because of Spanish election law which gives more weight to sparsely populated areas.

The top politicians for pro-union parties wanted to use Sunday’s rally as a launchpad for the critical elections in just over six weeks.

“It’s time to take over the streets and take over the ballot boxes,” said Albert Rivera, the leader of the centre-right Citizens party.

Oriol Junqueras, the ousted vice-president of Catalonia’s rebellious government, wrote in an open letter in Catalan newspaper El Punt-Avui on Sunday that separatists should consider participating in the elections. That was in response to some secessionists who argue to boycott them.

The Catalan parliament’s vote to secede came after an illegal Oct. 1 referendum in Catalonia in favour of independence. Spain’s constitutional court had outlawed the vote, and local opponents to secession had boycotted the process after separatists violated parliament rules to push through its convocation.

Voting on the day itself was marred by violence when national police clashed with people attempting to cast their ballots, in what was widely seen in the region as a heavy-handed response by Spanish police. But Spain’s government said that the police response was proportionate to the resistance that officers met.

Ousted Catalan president Carles Puigdemont issued a televised message Saturday saying that he and other regional officials fired by Madrid would keep “working to build a free country.” His comments were a veiled refusal to accept his Cabinet’s dismissal as ordered by central authorities.

Following their official dismissal, Puigdemont and the 12 members who until Saturday made up the Catalan Cabinet are no longer paid.

Spain’s government has said they could be charged with usurping others’ functions if they refuse to obey, which could throw the region into further turmoil by prolonging a monthlong standoff.

Separately, a Belgian government official said Sunday it would be “not unrealistic” for Puigdemont to ask for asylum, and warned it would create serious diplomatic difficulties with fellow European Union member state Spain.

Asylum State Secretary Theo Francken said on Twitter that “it is possible to ask for asylum as an EU subject” in Belgium, adding it was up to independent asylum authorities whether to grant it.

The 28-nation EU is considered a bloc where the rule of law applies and granting asylum based on arguments that repression would endanger the full exercise of one’s rights would be exceptional.

“If you assess the situation at this stage, including the prison terms and the repression from Madrid,” Francken told VTM network, “there is the question whether a person like that can get a fair trial, of course.”

In another tweet, he stressed Belgium wasn’t seeking such a scenario. “I am not rolling out the welcome mat,” he said.

In the past, some Basque separatists have asked for asylum in Belgium and weren’t extradited to Spain, causing years of friction.

Swap, substitute and donate: tips on reducing massive Halloween haul

CityNews | posted Monday, Oct 30th, 2017

Teal-coloured pumpkin announces to all visitors that you have nut-free and non-candy items to offer kids with allergies or other restrictions

Neighbourhood kids flock to Farhad Khan’s house each Halloween for good reason: She owns a candy store.

But parents like to stop by, too, says the eastern Ontario entrepreneur, because she makes a point of packaging each bundle of sweets with a note explicitly detailing every ingredient.

As someone who grew up on a halal diet, Khan says she recalls the sting of watching her parents sift through her Halloween loot to toss anything that might have been made with pork gelatin.

Pork and its byproducts are among the forbidden items in the making of halal foods.

“And if anybody ever gave us anything handmade or homemade I’m pretty sure it would end up in the trash,” recalls Khan, who sells jellies made with beef gelatin and marshmallows made with fish gelatin.

Khan knows first-hand that the scariest thing about Halloween for many parents of kids with dietary restrictions or serious allergies can be the candy.

It’s enough to make some anxious adults just turn out the lights and pretend no one’s home. But have no fear, here are some tips for surviving the holiday:

TEAL IS THE NEW ORANGE

Consider putting out a teal-coloured pumpkin this year, which announces to all visitors that you have nut-free and non-candy items to offer kids with allergies or other restrictions that make it hard to find suitable treats.

The movement started in 2014 to create a safer and happier Halloween for everyone, even those who cannot have candy.

Food Allergy Canada suggests displaying a poster or sign to let visitors know you have options. The organization has free posters and flyers for download at their website.

If you’re handing out candy, look for mini treats that include an ingredient list on the individual candy’s wrapper. Parents should always read labels to make sure ingredients haven’t changed.

“And avoid things like bulk barns or bulk bins where there is no labelling and there is a lot of potential for cross-contamination,” says Food Allergy Canada spokeswoman Beatrice Povolo.

THINK OUTSIDE THE PUMPKIN

So what do you do if candy isn’t an option? Povolo says even the smallest trinket can be appreciated by a child who otherwise would be forced to surrender their haul.

Think inexpensive and small, like playing cards, yo-yos, or bouncy balls.

“Whether it’s little toys, stickers, pencils, just fun things that kids can also appreciate,” says Povolo.

Because of her company, S’more Treats, Khan has a healthy supply of halal, kosher, vegan, sugar-free, organic and gluten-free sweets. But at her house, she still stocks up on mini pots of modelling dough, just in case.

It’s hard to know what kids are allergic to these days, she says.

“I’ve seen a lot of people contact me for dye-free candies,” notes Khan, who also offers a line made with natural dye. “And it’s in everything… you’ve got to be very careful.”

CALL IN THE SWITCH WITCH

Even if your kid has no food issues, you might not want them to eat so much candy, even if it’s spread out over time.

So some families call in the Candy Fairy, Halloween Fairy, or the Great Pumpkin, but increasingly, the Switch Witch is gaining ground with plushies, books and mommy bloggers swearing by the burgeoning holiday tradition.

The idea is a mishmash of Santa Claus and Tooth Fairy lore: Kids get to indulge Halloween night, and before they go to bed they pick out an agreed-upon number of treats to save for the future. The rest gets packed up for the Switch Witch, a candy-loving creature that visits at night when children are sleeping.

The loot is placed at the foot of the bed, near the front door or next to a pumpkin for the witch to grab, and in exchange, she leaves a new toy, book or even money.

Not all little ones may be comfortable with the idea of a witch prowling around the house, so adjust the tale accordingly – some parents dispense with the ruse and offer to swap the sweets for a shopping date so the child can pick out what they like.

Food Allergy Canada suggests donating the candy to local food banks or seniors homes.

MIX IT UP

Candy-crazed kids may have only one thing on their minds, so try to shift the emphasis away from gorging and on to family-oriented experiences: an afternoon of crafts, a movie night, a special family dinner before trick-or-treating, or even a party.

Even though Khan runs a candy business, she tries to make sure Halloween is more than just about the sweet stuff.

She lives in the small town of Fraserville, Ont., near Peterborough, and says her family and neighbourhood pals enthusiastically embrace a range of fun stuff for the spooky season.

“Everybody kind of gets into the spirit – we make candy apples and we’ll make hot chocolate for the parents who are walking down with their kids,” says Khan, who has four kids between the ages of one and eight.

“It’s really to just to get out there and do something different and have fun dressing up. It’s the whole idea around Halloween.”

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