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Photograph of the type of packaging in which the stolen veal is contained (Handout)

Police search for $30,000 worth of veal stolen on Christmas Day

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Dec 27th, 2017

Toronto police say they’re seeking the public’s assistance in locating a stolen trailer that was carrying “an extremely large quantity of veal” — about $30,000 worth.

Police say the refrigerated trailer was parked in a commercial area in the north end of the city when it was stolen on Christmas Day.

The trailer was described as white, 14 metres long, with a blue W and “White Valley” written on the side, and an Ontario license plate.

Police say the rear doors are distinctive, with the right door coloured white and the left door made of stainless steel.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of the stolen trailer and meat is being asked to contact police.

Lifelong best friends discover they’re actually brothers

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Dec 27th, 2017

In this Dec. 23, 2017, image made from a video provided by Honolulu news station KHON, Alan Robinson and Walter Macfarlane are interviewed in Honolulu. The two Hawaii men grew up as best friends and recently learned that they're actually brothers. They revealed the surprise to family and friends over the holidays. The two, who have been friends for 60 years, were born in Hawaii 15 months apart and met in the sixth grade. (KHON via AP)

Two Hawaii men who grew up as best friends recently learned that they’re actually brothers and revealed the surprise to family and friends over the holidays.

Alan Robinson and Walter Macfarlane have been friends for 60 years. Born in Hawaii 15 months apart, they met in the sixth grade and played football together at a Honolulu prep school.

Macfarlane never knew his father, and Robinson was adopted. Separately, they sought answers about their ancestry.

Macfarlane turned to family history and DNA-matching websites after unsuccessful searches on the internet and social media, Honolulu news station KHON-TV reported .

“So then we started digging into all the matches he started getting,” said his daughter, Cindy Macfarlane-Flores.

A top match – someone with identical X chromosomes – had the username Robi737. Robison’s nickname was Robi and he flew 737s for Aloha Airlines, Macfarlane-Flores said.

It turned out Robinson used the same website to find answers about his family. They later learned they have the same birth mother.

“It was a shock,” Macfarlane said.

They revealed the relationship to friends and family during a party Saturday night.

“It was an overwhelming experience, it’s still overwhelming,” Robinson said. “I don’t know how long it’s going to take for me to get over this feeling.”

They have plans to travel and enjoy retirement together.

“This is the best Christmas present I could ever imagine having,” Robinson said.

Travelers flying to Jamaica stranded at Pearson Airport

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Dec 27th, 2017

Travelers line up at the Fly Jamaica counter at Pearson International Airport after their flight was delayed for over 14 hours on Dec 27, 2017. CITYNEWS/Tony Fera

A large group of travelers headed to Jamaica are reportedly stranded at Pearson Airport without their bags on Wednesday morning.

The Fly Jamaica flight they were supposed to board has been delayed since 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Frustrated passengers tell CityNews they have been waiting at the airport for over 14 hours. Their baggage has already been checked in by the airline and hence they cannot book another flight.

Some travelers have reportedly been told their flight will now leave at 3 p.m. — meaning they would have spent over 24 hours at the airport by the time they fly out.

There is no word from the airline or airport officials at this time.

Maple Leafs goaltending great Johnny Bower dead at 93

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Dec 27th, 2017

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Johnny Bower didn’t really want to come to Toronto. But the pint-sized goalie with the big heart went on to become part of Maple Leafs lore.

Bower, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner who helped the Leafs win their last Stanley Cup championship in 1967, died on Tuesday. A statement from his family said the 93-year-old died after a short battle with pneumonia.

“The entire Toronto Maple Leaf organization is deeply saddened following the passing of Johnny Bower,” read a statement from team president Brendan Shanahan. “The Toronto Maple Leafs, and our fans, are deeply indebted to Johnny for all that he gave to us, and taught us over the years.”

“There may not be a more loved Toronto Maple Leaf nor a former player who loved them as much back.”

Bower, who became known as the China Wall, was happily playing in the minors in Cleveland when he was picked up by Toronto almost 50 years ago. He said he only showed up to avoid being suspended for not reporting.

“They just wanted me for one year but I had a good team in front of me,” Bower recalled with a laugh in a November 2014 interview. “I was there for 13 years, so it turned out really nice for me.”

Years after retiring, Bower remained one of the most beloved ex-Leafs.

“I don’t know what it is,” he said of his popularity.

But Bower, whose age seemed flexible during a long hockey career that took a long while to come to a boil, always had time for his fans.

“I can’t say no to these kids. Because when I was a child during Depression time we had nothing at all. Like my dad said it costs you nothing for a smile. Just go ahead and work and do your job and be good to people and they’ll be good to you.”

Toronto honoured Bower on the occasion of his 90th birthday on Nov. 8, 2014, during a game against the New York Rangers, his first team. He was given a framed, autographed crest from each team and an enthusiastic rendition of “Happy Birthday” from the sellout crowd.

Bower’s career took off after the Leafs claimed him in a 1958 intra-league draft. Bower went on to play 475 regular-season games and win four Stanley Cups for the Leafs, plying his trade mostly without a mask.

“I got a couple hundred stitches in the face,” the fearless goaltender recalled during a 2005 interview. “You learn how to duck.”

Just five foot nine, Bower was named to the NHL’s first all-star team in 1961 and won the Vezina Trophy as best goalie that year, too.

He pioneered the poke-check, diving head first at opposing players to knock the puck off their sticks. The move came with a cost _ he suffered cuts and lost teeth by throwing himself into the action.

But he stopped pucks. And he got better with age – despite painful bouts with arthritis and eventually learning he was near-sighted.

Bower won the Vezina Trophy in 1961 and the Leafs hoisted the Stanley Cup in 1962, 1963, 1964, with Bower and Terry Sawchuk sharing the Vezina in 1965. In 1967, again sharing the job with Sawchuk, he helped Toronto win its last title at the age of 43.

He usually wore a mask for practices but didn’t use one in games until his second-last NHL season, 1968-69. That spring, he became the oldest goaltender to appear in a Stanley Cup playoff game at 44 years four months and 28 days.

“He was an inspiration to us,” said George Armstrong, who captained the Leafs’ last championship team. “He shamed others into hard work.

“John gave everything he could during workouts and we weren’t going to let that old guy show us up.”

After retiring, he served as a scout and goalie coach for the Leafs.

He was the only boy among nine children in a rural Saskatchewan family by the name of Kiszkan. He loved hockey and decided he wanted to be a goalie. He made leg pads from an old mattress, and he was on his way.

But there was a momentous detour: in 1940 at age 16 he lied about his age so he could enlist in the army and do his bit in the Second World War. He told authorities his birth certificate had burned in a fire.

After training in Vernon, B.C., he was stationed in England but did not see action due to arthritis.

“It’s a good thing I didn’t because the Germans were right there waiting,” he said. “A lot of guys there were killed on the beaches. I know four or five good hockey players from Prince Albert who were killed. They never came back.”

Upon his return, he played junior hockey with his home-town Prince Albert Black Hawks.

Turning pro with the Cleveland Barons in 1945, he changed his name to Bower because he felt Kiszkan was too difficult to pronounce. He played eight seasons in the AHL before getting a chance in the NHL, earning league MVP honours three times.

Bower played all 70 games for the New York Rangers in 1953-54, but the team chose to go with Gump Worsley the next year and Bower was back in the minors for most of the next four years.

He played 64 games for the AHL Cleveland Barons in 1957-58 before being picked up by Toronto.

“I didn’t even want to come to Toronto, to be honest with you because I was 35 years of age at that particular time and I didn’t know I could help them,” he said, further muddying the waters when it comes to his age. “I had the experience, mind you. But I was happy in Cleveland, I enjoyed myself there and had a good job. When they picked me up, I didn’t want to go. And Mr. Hendy (Cleveland GM James Hendy) said at that time if you don’t go, they’ll suspend you.”

Bower agreed to go when Hendy said he would have a job waiting for him if it didn’t work out in Toronto.

Bower went on to become a blue-and-white fixture. He finally retired after playing one game in the 1970-71 season – four months past his 45th birthday.

He played 552 regular-season NHL games with 250 wins, 195 losses and 90 ties. He posted 37 regular-season shutouts and had a against average of 2.52. Combining his AHL and NHL appearances, he was in a total of 1,207 regular-season games – a record no goalie will come close to.

“There is so much to appreciate in Johnny Bower’s accomplishments on the ice – including the four Stanley Cups and membership in the Hockey Hall of Fame – and yet there was so much more to the man who served his sport, his country, and his community with such distinction,” said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

He almost made a comeback in 1980. With Leaf goalies Mike Palmateer and Paul Harrison sidelined by the flu and a question-mark over whether Vincent Tremblay could make it in time from the AHL, Bower signed a one-game contract as an emergency backup.

Tremblay made it on time, so Bower’s services weren’t needed.

Bower was always coy about his age and, when asked about it upon his retirement, he said, “If you don’t know by now, you never will.”

Punch Imlach, coach of those championship teams, marvelled at Bower’s courage.

“Nobody ever, anywhere in sports, had more guts than Bower,” said Imlach.

Bower was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976. Toronto paid tribute to him with a commemorative banner in 1995 that still flies high at the Air Canada Centre, and his old AHL team in Cleveland retired his No. 1 in 2002.

Like other Toronto fans, Bower was forced to endure the Leafs’ long Cup drought.

“It hurts a little bit inside but I mean they’re trying.” he said in 2014. “They have a pretty good young club team right now going but it’s going to take a time to develop.

“It’s frustrating. At times there I don’t watch the game if they’re getting beat. But other times I watch it pretty closely. I keep an eye on the goalkeeper more than anybody else.”

In his free time, Bower loved fishing at his cottage near Bobcaygeon, Ont. In his later years, he was involved in numerous charity causes and made appearances for the Leafs, always to warm applause.

Christmas time in the city: What’s open and closed over the holidays

CityNews | posted Friday, Dec 22nd, 2017

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While most of us would love to snuggle up with hot cocoa next to a fireplace during the festive season, not everyone will be granted this leisure time. There are groceries to buy for Christmas Day and other holiday meals, shopping for gifts and Boxing Day sales, places to take your family during the break, and getting ready to bring in the new year in style. And some of us actually have to work (hopefully it won’t be too busy).

So if you are heading out and about during the Christmas season, below is a list of what’s open and closed. Happy holidays and a merry new year!

Transit

TTC
Dec. 24: Sunday service (most routes start at 8 a.m.)
Dec. 25: Sunday service
Dec. 26: Holiday service (most routes start at 6 a.m.)
Dec. 27: Holiday service
Dec. 31: Sunday service, with free rides from 7 p.m. on Dec. 31 until 7 a.m. on Jan. 1
Jan. 1: Sunday service

Click here to refer to the service schedule.

GO Transit
Dec. 22: Early homebound service
Dec. 24: Sunday schedule
Dec. 25: Sunday schedule
Dec. 26: Saturday schedule
Dec. 29: Early homebound service
Dec. 31: Sunday schedule, with late-night service and free rides after 7 p.m.
Jan. 1: Sunday schedule

Click here to refer to the service schedule.

Shopping

Bramalea City Centre
Dec. 24: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dec. 25: Closed
Dec. 26: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Dec. 31: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Dufferin Mall
Dec. 24: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 25: Closed
Dec. 26: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Eaton Centre
Dec. 24: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Dec. 25: Closed
Dec. 26: 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Dec. 31: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Erin Mills Town Centre
Dec. 24: 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dec. 25: Closed
Dec. 26: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Dec. 31: 9:30 a.m. to  5 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Fairview Mall
Dec. 24: 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dec. 25: Closed
Dec. 26: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Scarborough Town Centre
Dec. 24: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dec. 25: Closed
Dec. 26: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Sherway Gardens
Dec. 24: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dec. 25: Closed
Dec. 26: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Shops at Don Mills
Dec. 24: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Dec. 25: Closed
Dec. 26: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Dec. 31: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Square One
Dec. 24: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dec. 25: Closed
Dec. 26: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Dec. 31: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Toronto Premium Outlets
Dec. 24: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dec. 25: Closed
Dec. 26: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Vaughan Mills
Dec. 24: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dec. 25: Closed
Dec. 26: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Dec. 31: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Yorkdale Mall
Dec. 24: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dec. 25: Closed
Dec. 26: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Grocery/drug stores

Loblaws and related stores
Stores are closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, but most are open on Boxing Day. Click here to locate your store’s hours.

Longo’s
Stores are closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, but most are open on Boxing Day. Click here to locate your store’s hours.

Sobeys
Stores are closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, but most are open on Boxing Day. Click here to locate your store’s hours.

Shoppers Drug Mart
Most stores are closed on Christmas Day but select ones will be open. Click here to locate your store’s hours.

LCBO/Beer Stores

LCBO
Dec. 24: Open until 6 p.m.
Dec. 25: Closed
Dec. 26: Closed
Dec. 31: Most stores will have extended hours until 8 p.m., click here to locate your store’s hours
Jan. 1: Closed

The Beer Store
Dec. 24: Several stores will have extended hours, click here for details
Dec. 25: Closed
Dec. 26: Closed
Dec. 31: Several stores will have extended hours, click here for details
Jan. 1: Closed

Tourist attractions

AGO: Closed on Dec. 25, but open on other days
Casa Loma: Closed on Dec. 25, but open on other days
CN Tower: Closed on Dec. 25, but open on other days
Ontario Science Centre: Closed on Dec. 25, but open on other days
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada: Open 365 days a year
Royal Ontario Museum: Closed on Dec. 25, but open on other days
Toronto Zoo: Closed on Dec. 25, but open on other days

Government offices and banks

Dec. 25: Closed (no mail delivery)
Dec. 26: Closed (no mail delivery)
Jan. 1: Closed (no mail delivery)

City of Toronto services

Garbage collection
Since garbage is not collected during the day on Monday, which happens to be Christmas Day, daytime curbside collection will not be impacted. The same applies to New Year’s Day, which also falls on a Monday.

Nighttime curbside collection will be cancelled on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, but will be picked up the following day. Click here for more information.

Toronto Public Library
Dec. 24: Closed
Dec. 25: Closed
Dec. 26: Closed
Dec. 31: Closed
Jan. 1: Closed

Recreation centres and skating rinks
Recreation centres will be open until 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. They will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Indoor arenas will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Click here for list of activities to do in the city over the holidays.

Bombardier to miss streetcar delivery target yet again

CityNews | posted Friday, Dec 22nd, 2017

New TTC streetcars in Toronto. CITYNEWS/Diana Pereira

CityNews has learned Bombardier will not meet its revised, scaled-back streetcar delivery target for 2017, once again disappointing the Toronto Transit Commission and delaying the rollout of new streetcars on Toronto streets.revised-BOMBARDIER-STREETCAR-DELAYS-768x423

The Montreal-based company originally committed to delivering 120 streetcars to the TTC by now, according to TTC spokesperson Brad Ross, but CityNews has learned Bombardier has only delivered 57 streetcars.

Bombardier recently announced it would provide 65 vehicles by the end of the year. Two weeks ago that number was downgraded to 64.

In a statement to CityNews, Bombardier said a total of 63 streetcars will be shipped to the TTC by December 31 and “three cars will arrive early January.”

A three-city investigation CityNews took part in found that Bombardier was having significant troubles delivering transit vehicles to both San Francisco and New York City.

Today’s revelation comes on the same day Metrolinx announced it has slashed its order of light rail transit vehicles from Bombardier from 182 to 76.

Const. James Forcillo facing additional charges in wake of breach of bail arrest

CityNews | posted Friday, Dec 22nd, 2017

A Toronto police officer found guilty of attempted murder in the fatal shooting of a teen on an empty streetcar has been charged with perjury and attempting to obstruct justice.

A Toronto police officer found guilty of attempted murder in the fatal shooting of a teen on an empty streetcar has been charged with perjury and attempting to obstruct justice.

Toronto police said Thursday their professional standards unit began investigating Const. James Forcillo after the province’s police watchdog laid a charge in mid-November alleging he breached conditions of his bail.

Forcillo was sentenced to six years in prison last year for his role in the shooting of Sammy Yatim, an incident that set off a wave of public outrage after video of what happened went viral.

The officer had been out on bail under house arrest while he appealed his conviction, but had his bail revoked after police said he failed to live with his surety or notify officials of a change of address.

Forcillo’s lawyer, Michael Lacy, said the new charges were related to the same alleged incident regarding his bail, but declined further comment.

Forcillo, 34, was acquitted of second-degree murder in the death of Yatim, 18, but found guilty of attempted murder.

Court documents show the officer’s breach of bail conditions revolved around issues with where he was living.

He had been ordered, as a condition of his bail, to live with his now ex-wife.

Forcillo applied to have the conditions of his bail changed in order to live with his new fiancee, Sara Balderrama, at an apartment in north Toronto, according to court records.

Before his application could be conspired, investigators visited Balderrama’s apartment and found Forcillo there, court documents show.

He told investigators his new arrangement was “only temporary.”

Court documents allege it was Forcillo, not his fiancee, who had arranged the rental unit and signed the lease.

His appeal remains ongoing with a “fresh evidence phase” coming in the new year.

Forcillo is asking the appeal court to substitute a not-guilty verdict or order a new trial in his case.

He is also seeking a declaration that the mandatory minimum sentence for attempted murder is unconstitutional, and wants to be granted a suspended sentence. Barring that, he wants his sentence reduced to the minimum five years.

Former Toronto mayor June Rowlands dead at age 93

CityNews | posted Friday, Dec 22nd, 2017

The first female mayor of Toronto has died. June Rowlands was 93. Her son Bruce Rowlands says his mother died on Thursday night at a long-term care facility. Rowlands celebrates her election victory as the first female mayor of the city of Toronto, in Toronto on November 12, 1991. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Hans Deryk

The first female mayor of Toronto has died. June Rowlands was 93.

Bruce Rowlands says his mother died on Thursday night at a long-term care facility.

Rowlands was elected mayor in 1991 and served until 1994.

Her term as mayor was the culmination of a long career in municipal politics that started when she was elected to city council in 1976.

During her time on council she served as the city’s budget chief and was the first woman to head the Toronto Transit Commission and the Metropolitan Toronto Police Commission.

She also made her mark fighting for affordable housing and trying to preserve the city’s ravines and historical neighbourhoods.

Bruce Rowlands said his mother was a humble person who wanted to serve her community.

“She had a burning desire to make a contribution,” he said in an interview.

Rowlands was also a strong advocate for women and always spoke up to help the disadvantaged, her son said.

“Even socially she advocated for the disadvantaged, in terms of the kinds of conversations she got into around the dining room table,” he said.

“There wasn’t a lot of frivolous stuff generally speaking, we zeroed in on issues and that’s what she liked to talk about.”

Current Toronto Mayor John Tory called Rowlands a trailblazer.

“She helped build this city and blazed a trail as the first woman to serve as a TTC commissioner, budget chief, executive committee member, chair of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Commission and Mayor,” Tory said in a statement.

The family plans to organize a memorial service in the New Year.

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