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Christmas snow not likely as mild temperatures, rain move into GTA

Patricia D'Cunha | posted Monday, Dec 22nd, 2014

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for much of southern Ontario, including Toronto and the GTA, calling for “some un-Christmas-like weather for the first few days of winter.”

The statement extends to parts of eastern Ontario as well, including Kingston and Ottawa.

Winter officially arrived at 6:03 p.m. on Sunday, but milder weather is expected to move into the region over the next couple of days.

A low pressure system over the U.S. Midwest will track towards the Great Lakes, bringing some rain on Tuesday, the weather agency says.

680News meteorologist Jill Taylor says it will be mainly cloudy on Monday and a high of 3 C. On Tuesday, the forecast calls for rain in the late afternoon or evening and a gusty wind, with a high of 5 C.

Parts of Eastern Ontario could encounter freezing rain before warmer temperatures arrive later on Tuesday, the weather agency says.

White Christmas not likely

According to Environment Canada, rain is expected to continue into Christmas, with the temperature forecasted to hit the single digits and potentially the low teens in many areas.

Taylor says rain will be heavy at times on Christmas Eve, with around 15-20 millimetres in accumulation, a gusty wind to 50 km/h and a high near 10 C. Rain is expected to change to snow overnight and the temperature drops to 2 C.

As for Christmas Day, some areas could see some light flurries accompanied by a strong wind. Although the temperatures will be cooler, the weather agency says “don’t expect much if any accumulation for a white Christmas.”

Taylor says the GTA will deal with windy conditions and wet snow on Christmas Day. The high will be near 2 C but will feel like -8 C with the wind.

5 things to do this weekend: Hallelujah time, winter solstice celebration

Patricia D'Cunha | posted Saturday, Dec 20th, 2014

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As our regular CityNews.ca series continues, we look at events happening in Toronto for a variety of ages and interests.

Dec. 19-21, 2014

Handel’s Messiah: Get swept up in the annual Toronto holiday tradition, featuring the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. The pinnacle moment of the concert, the well-known Hallelujah chorus, will make you leap for joy and warm even Scrooge’s heart. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St. Friday (8 p.m.), Saturday (8 p.m.), Sunday (3 p.m.). Prices: $38 to $105. tso.ca

Breakfast with Santa: With Christmas less than a week away, Santa and his crew are very busy, but they always have time for their fans. First up, fill your belly with Mrs. Claus’ scrumptious breakfast buffet that includes pancakes with maple syrup, scrambled eggs, shortbread cookies, and croissants. Then, enjoy story time with the elves, taffy rolling, decorating sweets with Mrs. Claus, and of course, a visit with Jolly Old St. Nick. Palais Royale, 1601 Lake Shore Blvd. W. Saturday and Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Children 12 and under: $15; adults: $20. Free parking. palaisroyale.ca

Holiday movie classics: “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings,” one of George Bailey’s children says in the classic Frank Capra movie It’s a Wonderful Life, starring James Stewart and Donna Reed. Select Cineplex Odeon locations. Saturday, various showtimes.cineplex.com

Home Alone returns to this big screen in karaoke-style holiday quote-a-long, so feel free to yell out some of Kevin McCallister’s (a.k.a. Macaulay Culkin) memorable phrases like, “you guys give up yet? Or are you thirsty for more?” Bloor Cinema, 506 Bloor St. W. Friday, 9:30 p.m. $11, and get some goodies with a donation to their food drive in support of the Stop Community Food Centre. hotdocs.ca

Toronto Christmas Market: This is the last weekend for you to check out the Toronto Christmas Market, now in its fifth year. The market has a European flare with its cobbled walkways and a beer garden, but also embraces Canadiana with mouth-watering poutine and homemade fudge. Children can marvel at the life-sized gingerbread house, sing along with Santa’s elves, say hello to Santa, and catch performances next to the twinkling tree. Adults can sample some mulled wine or hot rum while warming up next to the fire. Distillery Historic District, 55 Mill St. Friday (noon to 9 p.m.), Saturday and Sunday (10 a.m. to 9 p.m.). Free admission. torontochristmasmarket.com

Kensington Market Winter Solstice: Usher in the winter solstice — the longest night of the year — with light as the season officially arrives at 6:03 p.m. ET on Sunday. Stroll through Kensington Market with handmade illuminated lanterns as you encounter giant puppets, watch shadow play theatrics, dance to eclectic music, and take in the dramatic fire finale in Alexandra Park at Bathurst and Dundas streets. The 25th annual event is hosting by the non-profit community group Red Pepper Spectacle Arts. Kensington Market, starts at Oxford and August streets. Sunday, 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Free admission.redpepperspectacle.wordpress.com

If you have a suggestion, email us at torontoweb@citynews.ca,or submit it online at CityNews.ca or 680News.com, or via our iPhone & iPad apps.

5 things to do this weekend: City of Craft, The Nutcracker, and some un-Christmas joy

CityNews | posted Saturday, Dec 13th, 2014

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Dec. 12-14, 2014

City of Craft: More than 50 vendors will be offering hand-made trinkets and unique treasures just in time for gift-giving season, from crocheted cacti to botanical hangover remedies. The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen St. W. Friday, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. $2, children 12 and under are free. facebook.com

The art of Dr. Seuss: For the 13th year in a row, the Liss Gallery has mounted an exhibition celebrating the art of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss. The exhibit includes original paintings, drawings, and sculpture from Seuss’ time as an author as well as his other walks of life, from military propagandist to influential artist. Liss Gallery, 140 Yorkville Ave. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free. liss-gallery.com

The 12 trees of Christmas: See what your neighbourhood looks like in Christmas tree form at the Gardiner Museum’s 12 Trees of Christmas display. It’s the last weekend to see the 12 designer trees put together by local noted locals from TV hosts Steven Sabados & Chris Hyndman and Kimberley Newport-Mimran. The Gardiner Museum, 111 Queen’s Park. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adults, $15; Seniors, $11; Students, $9; Children 12 and under are free. gardinermuseum.ca

The Nutcracker: The holiday season is officially underway as the National Ballet of Canada’s production of The Nutcracker begins Saturday. The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W. Dec. 13-Jan. 3. $25-$409. national.ballet.ca

Stanley Kubrick Exhibition: As an antidote to all the Christmas cheer and consumerism, take in the photographs, letters, props and costumes from famed filmmaker Stanley Kubrick’s home and work. Known for 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange, the exhibition includes special screenings of the director’s award-winning films. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. Oct. 31-Jan. 25, 2015. Adults, $12.50; Students and seniors, $10; Members, free. tiff.net

If you have a suggestion, email us at torontoweb@citynews.ca or submit it online at CityNews.ca or via our mobile apps.

Thousands say goodbye to Beliveau at Montreal funeral

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Dec 10th, 2014

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A who’s who of the hockey and political worlds paid an emotional farewell on Wednesday to Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau, whose death last week unleashed a national outpouring of grief.

Dickie Moore remembered his longtime teammate as a “great man.”

“It is a tremendous honour to stand here for my teammate and friend Jean Beliveau,” said Moore, the first person to deliver an eulogy at the emotional funeral. “Everyone has said so many wonderful words about him, words like strength, dedication, devotion and elegance.

“I was lucky to have been with Jean for many glorious years with the Canadiens, lucky to share amazing moments together, lucky to have him as a friend.

“Would you rather be good or lucky? I was lucky. He was good,” he said to chuckles from the congregation.

Moore was followed to the podium at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral by Yvan Cournoyer, one of six pallbearers at the sombre event.

Cournoyer spoke about Beliveau, 83, in revered tones as his “captain” and described what he called almost a father-son relationship with the late icon.

“Oh captain, my captain, bon voyage,” Cournoyer said, his voice choking.

Other teammates who delivered eulogies were Serge Savard and Ken Dryden, who recalled being Beliveau’s roommate toward the end of the 1970-71 season as the goaltender was breaking into the league.

“He treated everyone with respect,” Dryden told the service. “He said the right things and in the right way, in French and in English, because that’s what he believed and that’s what he was.

“He made every occasion better. He made everyone who was there feel that their town, their organization, their province, their country, their event mattered. That they mattered.”

Canadiens owner Geoff Molson also addressed the service and spoke of Beliveau as an athlete, a friend, a champion and an example to follow.

“He was a special man, a Jean Beliveau like no other,” he said.

Beliveau’s casket was draped with the flag of the Canadiens, the team with which he won 10 Stanley Cups as a player and another seven as a team executive.

The other designated pallbearers were Savard and former Canadiens players Phil Goyette, Guy Lafleur, Robert Rousseau and Jean-Guy Talbot.

Those attending the funeral included Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Gov. Gen. David Johnston, former prime ministers Jean Chretien and Brian Mulroney, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and ex-Quebec premiers Jean Charest and Bernard Landry.

Former NHLers included Mario Lemieux and Luc Robitaille.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman also travelled to Montreal.

“He was just great to be around,” Bettman told reporters before the service. “And he’s going to be terribly missed.”

He was asked about suggestions that the Conn Smythe Trophy could eventually be named after Beliveau.

“We’ve been focused more on his passing and that loss and celebrating his life and I know at the appropriate time we’ll focus on what is a remembrance fitting for someone like Jean Beliveau,” Bettman said.

Harper described Beliveau as someone who transcended his sport.

“We’ve obviously lost a great citizen, somebody who was admired and respected by everybody everywhere in the country,” he said on his way into the service. “I certainly have admired Mr. Beliveau since I was a young boy.

“He was an individual who was great in his sport but ultimately even greater than his sport. He’s already part of the Hockey Hall of Fame and now he’s become part of the history of our country.”

A few hundred seats were reserved for fans on a first come, first served basis. Those who couldn’t get inside were able to watch the ceremony on giant screens nearby.

Montreal police, who have been wearing camouflage pants and red ballcaps in recent months to protest pension plan reforms, wore their regulation uniforms out of respect for Beliveau.

Beliveau entered the Hockey Hall of Fame the year after his retirement in 1971.

Thousands of people filed into the Bell Centre on Sunday and Monday to pay tribute to Beliveau and shake hands with his wife, Elise.

On Tuesday night, the Canadiens honoured him before their game against the Vancouver Canucks.

‘Significant snowfall’ expected for GTA on Wednesday evening & Thursday

Jaime Pulfer and Patricia D'Cunha | posted Wednesday, Dec 10th, 2014

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Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for cottage country, including Barrie and Owen Sound, calling for 15 to 20 centimetres of snow, while parts of southern Ontario including the GTA remain under a special weather statement.

A wall of snow in northern New England is approaching from eastern Ontario, and is expected to slowly spread westward across the regions on Wednesday evening, the agency warned.

“Driving conditions will quickly deteriorate as the snow arrives tonight,” Environment Canada said. “Motorists should allow extra time to reach their destination due to low visibility in areas of heavier snow and blowing snow.”

The agency said the snow storm is expected to have a significant impact on the morning commute on Thursday.

“Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions.”

Earlier, Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for parts of southern Ontario, including Toronto and the GTA, calling for “significant snowfall” for the region on Wednesday night and Thursday. The statement also extends to Barrie, Orillia, Waterloo, Hamilton and Niagara.

According to the weather agency, general snowfall totals are expected to be around 10 centimetres, but that depends on location. The eastern parts of the GTA could be hit with up to 15 centimetres of snow by the time the storm ends.

680News meteorologist Jill Taylor says the forecast calls for mainly cloudy and windy conditions to start on Wednesday, followed by snow around 9 p.m.

She said there will be some flurries before 9 p.m., which means the drive home could be tricky, and then back to work and school on Thursday morning.

Taylor said the bulk of the snow is expected overnight and early Thursday morning. Between 3-7 centimetres of snow could fall overnight in parts of the GTA, with another 3-7 centimetres on Thursday.

“It’s the east end of the GTA that could end up with 10-plus centimetres of snow,” Taylor said.

“Just expect a very slow commute early tomorrow morning — really, no matter where you are.”

There are questions about preparedness after the last snowfall in November and the problems with the contractors on the Queen Elizabeth Way.

It could be the most snow the GTA has seen this season so far, with 6.3 centimetres recording at Pearson International Airport on Nov. 17 and four centimetres on Nov. 19.

The snow is expected to end later on Thursday for central and southwestern Ontario.

For Wednesday, a high of 1 C has already been reached, but it will be near -1 C for the rest of the day with a wind chill near -8. The low will be -5 C with a wind chill near -12 in the evening.

Air Canada has issued a travel advisory for Toronto, saying flights might be impacted by the forecasted snow.

Many airlines have issued alerts about weather in other areas like Quebec, Ottawa, the East Coast and the U.S. Northeast.

5 things to do this weekend: Magical forest, Brick Works on ice and making moccasins

CityNews | posted Saturday, Dec 6th, 2014

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Dec. 5-7, 2014

Magical Christmas Forest: Take a walk through the woods north of the city — alive with lights and elves and other Christmas characters. Also check out Santa’s workshop and partake in crafts, carolling and treats by the fire. Kortright Centre for Conservation, 9550 Pine Valley Dr., Maple. Adults $25; children/seniors $18; three years and under free. kortright.org

Corktown Holiday Market & Social: A festive night with local artists, designers and bakers peddling everything from handmade cards to skincare. Redline Coffee & Espresso Bar, 354 Queen St. E. Friday, 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Free; non-perishable food and toys accepted for charity.facebook.com

Skating in Don Valley: The Brick Works’ outdoor skating rink — which encircles winter gardens and strings of lights under an exposed-beam roof — opens this weekend. Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Ave. Friday, 12 p.m.-6 p.m; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Free. evergreen.ca

Bob Marley and the Railers: A live band pays tribute to the late reggae star and his band, The Wailers, in the Junction neighbourhood. 3030, 3030 Dundas St. W. Friday, 9 p.m. No cover. facebook.com

Shoemaking workshops: Learn to make ballet flats, pumps or moccasins from a Toronto-based shoe designer who has heeled the likes of Cameron Diaz, Anne Hathaway and Rihanna. Ryerson University, 40 Gould St. Friday-Sunday, various times. $245-$475, including materials. artandsoleacademy.com

If you have a suggestion, email us at torontoweb@citynews.ca or submit it online atCityNews.ca or via our mobile apps.

5 things to do this weekend: Cavalcade of Lights, Whole Life Expo & Kidzfest

CityNews | posted Saturday, Nov 29th, 2014

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As our regular CityNews.ca series continues, we look at events happening in Toronto for a variety of ages and interests.

Nov. 28-30, 2014

Kidzfest: A full day of family fun, including face painting, crafts and games inside the Candy Playland. Expect a few special guest appearances, including the Octonauts, Peter Pan and the Frozen Ice Queen and Princess. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Yonge-Dundas Square. Free. wintermagic.ca

Cavalcade of Lights: ‘Tis the season to celebrate. Toronto’s official Christmas tree will light up the night, along with a brilliant fireworks show and musical performances led by Kardinal Offishall and Maestro Fresh Wes. Bring your own skates or rent a pair and take to the ice at Nathan Phillips Square. Saturday, starting at 7 p.m. Free. toronto.ca

Toronto Christmas Market: Shop ’til you drop – or at least until you’ve got a gift for everyone on your list. The annual market opens this weekend, featuring hundreds of handcrafted items. A full roster of musicians, carolers and choirs will help put you in the holiday mood. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Distillery District.torontochristmasmarket.com

Whole Life Expo 2014: Get eco-friendly at Canada’s largest showcase of natural health and green living products. More than 300 exhibitors will showcase the best in body care and organic eating. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Weekend lecture pass: $15, Weekend exhibit pass: $10.wholelifeexpo.ca

Toronto Fair Trade Show: From organic fair trade wine from Chile to honey from Zambia, you’ll find it all at Canada’s first annual fair trade show. Visit vendors from developing countries around the world or take in a live performance or documentary screening. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Gladstone Hotel. Free.thefairtradeshow.com

If you have a suggestion, email us at torontoweb@citynews.ca, or submit it online atCityNews.ca or 680News.com, or via our iPhone & iPad apps.

Jian Ghomeshi arrested on sex assault charges, released on $100K bail

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Nov 26th, 2014

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Ex-CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi has been released on $100,000 bail after facing five charges in a College Park courtroom on Wednesday — hours after he surrendered to Toronto police.

Ghomeshi was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking.

His criminal lawyer Marie Henein said Ghomeshi will plead not guilty and will fight the charges “fully and directly” in court. She also said Ghomeshi wouldn’t be making any media statements.

Under his bail conditions he is required to live with his mother and is forbidden from contacting alleged victims. He must also surrender his passport and remain in Ontario. He will be back in court on Jan. 8, 2015.

The charge of overcoming resistance by choking carries a potential life sentence according to the Criminal Code.

The head of CBC media relations Chuck Thompson said, “we don’t comment on police matters, criminal investigations or anything before the courts.”

Police chief Bill Blair also said he couldn’t comment on a case that’s before the courts but said it was important for the alleged victims to come forward.

Follow real-time updates from our reporters below:

The arrest comes exactly a month after he was fired by the CBC, and a day after the formerhost dropped a $55-million lawsuit against the CBC, alleging defamation and breach of confidence in his statement of claim.

The broadcaster fired him on Oct. 26 after saying it was shown “graphic evidence” that he had physically injured a woman.

Since his dismissal, nine women and one man have come forward with allegations, some dating back a decade, that Ghomeshi sexually or physically assaulted them.

The charges stem from complaints by three of them.

Former Trailer Park Boys actress Lucy DeCoutere is the only complainant who waived the publication ban on her identity. The other two can’t be named.

DeCoutere released the following statement on Wednesday:

“The past month has seen a major shift in the conversation about violence against women. It has been an overwhelming and painful time for many people, including myself, but also very inspiring. I hope that victim’s voices continue to be heard and that this is the start of a change that is so desperately needed.”

Ghomeshi, 47, admitted in a lengthy Facebook post published on Oct. 26, the day he was fired, that he engaged in “rough sex,” but insisted his encounters with women were consensual.

In a follow-up post a few days later, he said he would meet the flurry of allegations against him “directly,” but has not made any public statements since. The Facebook posts have since been deleted.

With files from The Canadian Press

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