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Mayor Ford diagnosed with rare form of cancer, doctors ‘optimistic’

Michael Talbot | posted Wednesday, Sep 17th, 2014

Rob Ford has been diagnosed with a rare form of abdominal cancer, but the mayor’s Mount Sinai colorectal surgeon said he’s “optimistic” it can be treated and says it hasn’t spread to any organs.

Initial treatment will consist of two rounds of chemotherapy, starting within the next 48 hours.

“The diagnosis is a malignant liposarcoma,” Dr. Zane Cohen confirmed. “It’s fairly aggressive, but we are treating this very aggressively in order to eradicate the tumour.”

Cohen said he’s “optimistic about this tumour” because it is responsive to chemotherapy, and Mount Sinai has one of the largest centres in Ontario to deal with sarcomas.

“This particular liposarcoma is more sensitive to chemotherapy than most sarcomas,” he said. “We will be able to say more after the (chemotherapy treatment).”

The type of tumour Ford has “comprises about one per cent only of all cancers,” Dr. Cohen revealed, adding that it originates in soft tissue, like fatty tissue, rather than organs.

The abdominal tumour is 12-by-12 centimetres and Dr. Cohen said it has likely been growing for several years, although a CT scan in 2011 for a kidney stone didn’t reveal any masses.

“These types of tumours are often slow growing, to get to the size that it is now, it is often several years,” he added.

A small two centimetre cancerous nodule has also been found in the mayor’s buttock behind his left hip, and Dr. Cohen called it “part of the same tumour.”

The cancer diagnosis was made with a second biopsy on Monday, after the first one from last week proved inconclusive.

“Depending on his (response to chemotherapy we’ll decide) what we do next,” he added. “He may require further cycles of chemotherapy.”

Cohen said other possible treatment options following chemotherapy include radiation and surgery.

In the meantime, political strategist Jim Warren says Ford insiders tell him Doug Ford will remain in the mayoral race.

“He will remain in the race because it gives Rob hope to fight through the chemotherapy … and literally have the fight of his life,” he told CityNews.

Doug Ford released a statement shortly after Dr. Cohen made the diagnosis public.

“Rob will beat this,” he said.

“He is an incredible person, husband, father, brother and son and he remains upbeat and determined to fight this.”

“Rob has always been so strong for all of us and now I ask us to be strong for him.”

Doug Ford’s rivals in the race to be Toronto’s next mayor were quick to respond to the cancer diagnosis.

Olivia Chow, who lost her husband Jack Layton to cancer in August 2011, said Ford should embrace the public’s support as doctors work to fight the aggressive disease.

“I know what it’s like when a family receives bad news, but I also know the strength that the support and warm wishes can give to you,” she said. “I hope the Ford family can feel that warmth that envelopes them right now.”

“I know that Rob Ford is strong, he’s a fighter.”

John Tory, who leads the mayoral race in the latest polls added: “Mayor Ford is a husband, a son, a brother a father, and I extend my best wishes and my continuing deep concern and my thoughts and prayers for a full and speedy recovery.”

Rob Ford running for Toronto council; brother Doug running for mayor

CityNews | posted Friday, Sep 12th, 2014

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Rob Ford’s brother Doug Ford has jumped into the Toronto mayoral race after the ailing mayor dropped out just an hour before the nomination deadline closed on Friday afternoon.

Rob Ford, 45, is now running for a council seat in Ward 2, Etobicoke North, one that he held for a decade before he became mayor in 2010. His older brother filed his nomination papers to run for mayor shortly after at city hall and had only this to say: “I’m good. I’m signed in and 100 per cent running for mayor.”.

Their nephew, Michael Ford, who was running for councillor in Ward 2, withdrew his nomination and filed to run as a Toronto District School Board trustee in Ward 1.

The mayor, who remains in hospital with an abdominal tumour, withdrew from the Toronto mayoral race shortly before 1 p.m.

In a statement, he said, “My heart is heavy when I tell you that I’m unable to continue my campaign for re-election as your Mayor.

“Now I could be facing a battle of my lifetime, and I want the people of Toronto to know that I intend to face this challenge head on, and win.”

But he said that while he was unable to commit to the heavy schedule required of a mayoral candidate he would still run for councillor in Ward 2 while focusing on getting better.

Doug Ford said he’d speak about his mayoral bid at 7 p.m. from his mother Diane’s home in Etobicoke. Mayoral rivals Olivia Chow and John Tory weren’t immediately available for comment. But they both planned to speak later in the afternoon.

On Wednesday, doctors discovered the mayor had a “fair size” abdominal tumour after he went to Humber River Hospital for unbearable abdominal pain, an issue he faced for about three months.

It remains unclear whether the tumour, which was biopsied on Thursday, is cancerous. Results wouldn’t be available for about a week, his Mount Sinai Hospital Dr. Zane Cohen said after he was transferred there for further tests.

Dr. Cohen, an internationally recognized colorectal surgeon, said Ford was resting comfortably and had some pain, for which he was receiving medication. Ford had abdominal surgery in 2009 to remove a tumour on his appendix. His father, Doug Ford Sr., died of colon cancer in 2006.

Ford has faced a series of drug, alcohol and other scandals over the past 18 months but had been a viable contender for mayor.

He was trailing rival candidate Tory in the most recent polls by Forum Research and Nanos Research.

Voters head to the polls on Oct. 27.

Click here for CityNews’ special on mayoral candidates and here for the official candidates list.

With files from The Canadian Press

Statement

As many of you know I’ve been dealing with a serious medical issue, the details of which are unknown. But I know that with the love and support of my family, I will get through this.

I want to thank the residents of Toronto for your wishes and prayers and I also want to thank the amazing staff at Humber River Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital for the care and compassion you have shown, not just me, but all the people who come here to get better.

People know me as a guy who faces things head on and never gives up, and as your Mayor I have done just that. I derailed the gravy train, cut unnecessary spending and made government more accountable. I did this by facing these challenges head on.

Now I could be facing a battle of my lifetime, and I want the people of Toronto to know that I intend to face this challenge head on, and win.

With the advice of my family and doctors I know I need to focus on getting better. There is much work to be done and I can’t give it my all at this point in time.

My heart is heavy when I tell you that I’m unable to continue my campaign for re-election as your Mayor.

While I’m unable to commit to the heavy schedule required for a Mayoral candidate I will not turn my back on Ward 2. I will be running as Councillor of Ward 2, to represent the fine folks that have become my neighbours and friends over these past 14 years.

Four years ago we made history. With your help we started a movement that would take back our city.

I was not alone in this, my big brother Doug was by my side, sharing my vision, fighting for the great people of Toronto. I never could have accomplished what we did without him.

Doug loves our city as much as I do. He believes that standing up for the average person and watching the bottom line are what matters most at City Hall.

Doug also believes in standing up for his family no matter what. His loyalty and willingness to be there for anyone, anytime is just who he is.

I’ve asked Doug to finish what we started together, so that all we’ve accomplished isn’t washed away.

I have asked Doug to run to become the next Mayor of Toronto, because we need him. We cannot go backwards.

I love our city and I love being your Mayor. It has been an honour and a privilege to serve you.

For the past four years I have gotten up everyday thinking about our great city and how to make life just a little bit better for each of you.

To anyone facing a serious health challenge, I wish you strength and courage on your journey, you are not alone.

Hope is a powerful thing. With hope, support and determination I know I will beat this, not just for my family, but for YOU, Toronto.

My family and I thank you for your continued support and prayers. God bless.

–Rob Ford

Apple unveils 2 iPhones & Apple Watch at launch event

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Sep 9th, 2014

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Apple has unveiled two new iPhones and the Apple Watch at its launch event in California.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be 50 per cent more energy-efficient than the previous iPhones, the technology giant says, and will be available on September 19. The two phones are the thinnest iPhones ever made.

CityNews technology specialist Mike Yawney was at the event in Cupertino, Calif., where Apple has its headquarters.

See the transcript of Yawney’s coverage below.

Vogue names West Queen West world’s 2nd coolest neighbourhood

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Sep 9th, 2014

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The people who live there already know this, and now, so does the rest of the world.

In its September issue, Vogue Magazine named Toronto’s trendy West Queen West area the second coolest neighbourhood in the world.

Vogue said it has all the “hallmarks of hipness … a verifiable artery of indie patisseries, homegrown labels and hidden-from-view galleries.”

The magazine also mentions The Drake and the Gladstone hotels, as well as Soho House and Grafitti Alley.

Tokyo’s Shimokitazawa neighbourhood took the No. 1 spot on the top 15 list.

Other neighbourhoods on the list include Sodermalm in Stockholm, Centro in Sao Paulo, Bushwich area in north Brooklyn, Milan’s Brera district, and Hackney in London, England.

What’s the coolest neighbourhood in Toronto? Let us know in comments.

New streetcar proof-of-payment system may slow down commuting process

CityNews | posted Friday, Aug 29th, 2014

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The new streetcars starting Sunday on the 510 Spadina route will feature a new proof-of-payment system and it may slow down the commute.

The fare payment box next to the driver will be replaced by a machine that will print out a proof of purchase.

CityNews timed out a ticket purchase using the new machine. It took about 16 seconds from the second a token went in to the minute the ticket printed.

With the older streetcars, it only takes a few seconds to pay with token or cash by dropping it into the fare payment box at the front of the vehicle.

“I think the TTC can do one thing really well and that’s waste my time,” one rider said.

When asked if the machines will cause congestion, the TTC said it might but that’s why there will be machines at some stops.

There will be two machines per streetcar and eight along the route at the actual stops.

With the new system comes amped-up security, with about 20 fare inspectors checking proof of payment.

In addition to the new method of payment, the new streetcars are bigger, lower, and are wheelchair accessible.

Two new streetcars will start running on the 510 Spadina route starting on Sunday.

Apple replacing faulty batteries in some iPhone 5 units

CityNews | posted Monday, Aug 25th, 2014

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Apple is acknowledging a problem with a small number of iPhone 5 units.

Some of the phones have faulty batteries that have very short battery life and need to be charged more frequently.

The affected devices were sold between September 2012 and January 2013.

The tech giant is replacing batteries for free in Canada on Aug. 29. It’s already available in the United States and China.

If you have an iPhone 5, click here to input your phone’s serial number to see if you are eligible for a battery replacement.

Burger King in talks to buy Tim Hortons

CityNews | posted Monday, Aug 25th, 2014

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It could be a whopper of a deal.

Burger King is in talks to buy Tim Hortons Inc. and form a new publicly listed company that would be based in Canada.

They said in a statement Sunday night that Canada would be the largest market of the combined company.

The statement said 3G Capital, the majority owner of Burger King, would continue to own the majority of the shares of the new company on a pro forma basis, with the remainder held by existing shareholders of Tim Hortons and Burger King.

The companies say Oakville-based Tim Hortons and Miami-based Burger King would operate as standalone brands while benefiting from shared corporate services, practices as well as global scale.

“A key driver of these discussions is the potential to leverage Burger King’s worldwide footprint and experience in global development to accelerate Tim Hortons growth in international markets,” the statement reads.

The statement adds that the new corporation would be the world’s third-largest quick service restaurant company, with approximately $22 billion in system sales and over 18,000 restaurants in 100 countries worldwide.

The companies say they will not comment further unless there is a deal.

Tim Horton’s is well known for its coffee which is a high margin area where U.S. fast food giants have raced to grab market share.

Recently Burger King has been adding more coffee items to its menus in order to catch up with its rival McDonald’s.

This is not the first time Tim Horton’s has been owned by an American burger chain. For nearly 15 years the company was owned by Wendy’s after a deal was struck with founder Dave Thomas in 1995.

With files from The Canadian Press

5 things to do this weekend: BuskerFest, Walk for the Children and Taiwanfest

Michael Talbot | posted Saturday, Aug 23rd, 2014

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Aug. 22-24

BuskerFest: This long-running festival in support of Epilepsy Toronto brings an eclectic mix of street performers to Toronto’s downtown core. From puppets and musicians to contortionists and magicians, this three-day event promises a full slate of jaw-dropping talent. Yonge Street, from Queen to College. Friday to Sunday. Free. torontobuskerfest.com

Walk for the Children: In support of the Herbie Fund at the Hospital for Sick Children, this family-friendly walking tour of the Toronto Zoo raises money to support lifesaving surgeries for kids from around the world. There will also be a BBQ, games, and live entertainment. CityNews anchor Gord Martineau, a longtime Herbie Fund supporter, will also be on hand. Toronto Zoo, 2000 Meadowvale Rd. Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. $20-$35. Children under three are free. herbiefund.com

Taiwanfest: Immerse yourself in Taiwan’s unique music, dance, art and food over this three-day event. Some festival highlights include the Symphony of Movies — a celebration of Taiwanese filmmakers and the Pili Puppetry fashion show. Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W. Friday to Sunday. Free.harbourfrontcentre.com

Waterfront Beach Festival: This fully licenced party on the beach will feature a slew of talented DJs from around the world. You must be 19 to attend. No dress code is in effect, so bring your beach attire. HTO Park, 339 Queens Quay W. Saturday. 1:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. www.wantickets.com

Rastafest: Drawing from the rich history of Rastafarian culture, the highlight of this event is a live concert featuring reggae stars from Canada and the Caribbean. The festival has a strong focus on education, with information booths where attendees can learn more about the Rastafarian culture. Downsview Park, 35 Carl Hall Rd. Saturday. 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. $10 at the gate; $7 in advance. rastafest.com

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

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