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Strong winds and low temps blow through GTA

CityNews | posted Sunday, Jan 19th, 2014

Winds along the shores of Lake Ontario could kick up to 70 km/h as a sharp cold front sweeps south across southern Ontario Sunday, reaching the 401 corridor overnight.

Following the front, an arctic air mass will settle over the area, sending the mercury down with wind chill values between -25 C and -35 Tuesday morning.

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for much of southern Ontario, including the City of Toronto, Halton, Peel, York, Durham and Hamilton.

The front could bring two to four centimetres of snow in some places, with areas north east of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay potentially seeing up to 10 centimetres.

Strong winds are developing ahead of the front, and gusts along the shores of the Great Lakes could be as high as 50 to 70 km/h.

The northeast shore of Lake Erie and Sandbanks Provincial Park in Picton could see winds as fast as 90 km/h.

Intense flurries and blowing snow could result in zero visibility at times.

Hamilton mom wants school to ban dairy products

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Jan 15th, 2014

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A Hamilton mother has pulled her 6-year-old daughter out of school and filed a human rights complaint because she says the school hasn’t accommodated her child’s life-threatening allergy to dairy products.

She wants the school to ban dairy so her daughter can enjoy her experience at school without the threat of severe allergic reactions.

The story has opened up a storm of controversy and CityNews reporter Tammie Sutherland has a full report in the below video.

Rain heading to Toronto, GTA under special weather statement

CityNews | posted Friday, Jan 10th, 2014

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Warmer temperatures and rain could be heading to Toronto and the rest of the GTA on Friday, Environment Canada warned.

The federal agency has issued a special weather statement for the region, warning that widespread fog patches and areas of freezing drizzle are likely on Friday morning.

680News meteorologist Jill Taylor said Toronto will see a cloudy Friday with some flurries ending by the afternoon, followed by flurries or showers in the evening.

“A centimetre or two of snow this morning, mainly for the west end. We get a break for the afternoon, generally just a cloudy sky, and then showers and flurries mixing in through the evening hours, so your drive home could be slippery as well,” Taylor said.

The GTA received more snow overnight, which made for slick driving conditions during the Friday morning commute. The 680News traffic department reports vehicles spun out on several routes.

There’s a high of 2C in the forecast, Taylor said, and the temperature is expected to rise overnight.

The same deepening low pressure system will bring widespread fog patches and areas of freezing drizzle across the GTA. It should clear later in the day, Environment Canada said.

Late Friday evening, the rain will move into southwestern Ontario and eastward. About 10-20 millimetres of rain are expected, and for most areas, it will end by Saturday afternoon.

Ponding and flooding are a concern with the incoming rain and melting snow and ice. Peter Noehammer with Toronto Transporation told CityNews on Thursday they have crews out with bobcats and front-end loaders trying to open clogged catch basins.

With files from Erin Criger and Jaime Pulfer

Toronto hammered by cold spell, air travel & roads affected

CityNews | posted Monday, Jan 6th, 2014

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Toronto is being hammered by a spell of cold weather that is affecting air travel and roads – and it’s going to get colder and snowier on Monday night.

With the wind, it will feel like -35 C to -40 C on Monday night and into Tuesday morning, and similar temperatures are expected across the region, CityNews meteorologist Natasha Ramsahai said.

Those working outdoors should take extreme caution, as exposed skin may freeze in 10-30 minutes.

The wind chill will improve slowly late Tuesday, Ramsahai said.

But before it does, parts of the GTA will get into snow squalls with reduced visibility and near whiteout conditions on Monday afternoon and evening. Road conditions in the city are expected to worsen Monday night, Ramsahai said.

Snow squall warnings are in effect for parts of the GTA including northern York and Durham regions where 15-30 cm may accumulate by Tuesday morning with near whiteout conditions.

For motorists that find themselves stuck on a snow-blocked highway or in an accident, they could potentially face dangerous wind chills if they have to leave their vehicle.

Travellers are advised to make sure they have an emergency kit in their cars, and enough fuel for their journey.

Weather alerts and warnings

The city is also under an extreme cold weather alert and a wind chill warning.

An extreme cold weather alert is triggered when temperatures are expected to fall below – 15 C. The city makes extra shelter spaces available and overnight street outreach is increased in the downtown core to get the homeless in from the cold.

TTC tokens are also offered so that people can use public transit to get to shelters.

Click here for the full forecast.

A flash freeze warning that was issued earlier Monday, warning of a messy morning commute, has since ended.

Travel advisories

GO Transit advised all passengers to leave extra time for their morning commute, as delays were expected.

Dozens of flights have already been cancelled at Pearson airport. Click here to see if yours was affected.

A Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) spokeswoman said nine flights have been diverted from Montreal and Ottawa to Toronto, which has affected deplaning, but most of the cancellations are weather related.

There were about 1,600 scheduled flights Monday and so far, 163 have been cancelled – about 10 per cent.

“It has been a busy day,” Silvana Aceto of the southern Ontario CAA told CityNews.

“As of 10 a.m. we had over 2,000 calls for service [and] we expect volumes to continue to rise as the temperature drops.”

Aceto noted that on an average winter day, the CAA deals with approximately 3,000 calls. That number can double during severe weather.

OPP Sgt. Dave Woodford said that since midnight, the OPP has received 960 calls for service.

Visit our Storm Centre for live updates on closures and cancellations.

Outside Toronto

Meanwhile, a blizzard warning has been issued for the following places in southern Ontario:

  • Caledon
  • Huron-Perth
  • Waterloo-Wellington
  • Dufferin-Innisfil
  • Grey-Bruce
  • Barrie-Orillia-Midland
  • Port Carling-Port Severn
  • Bracebridge-Gravenhurst

Blizzard-like conditions including near zero visibility and gusty winds over 40 km/h are expected to last for many hours on Monday night.

With files from Erin Criger, CityNews.ca

New Year’s Eve parties for families in Toronto

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Dec 31st, 2013

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There are plenty of events to keep the kids busy on Tuesday as the city prepares to ring in 2014.

Nathan Phillips Square
City’s New Year’s Eve party
8 p.m. to midnight

  • skating
  • food trucks
  • musical performances from KiSS 92.5 DJ Clymaxxx, R&B band Fathead and funk band God Made Me Funky
  • fireworks show

Toronto Zoo
Special animals and entertainment
5-8 p.m.
Tickets:

  • General (includes Adults & Seniors) $20.00
  • Children (3-12) $12.00
  • Children (2 & under) free

Natrel Rink (Harbourfront Centre)
Skating Party
10 a.m. – 2 a.m.

  • Two-for-one skate rentals after 10pm
  • DJ spinning music from 8pm-1am
  • $22.50 for a pitcher of beer and 1lb of wings

TIFF Bell Lightbox
Art workshops
10 a.m.-4 p.m.

  • Japanese animation workshop (ages 9-11)
  • Comedy workshop (ages 12-14)

Colbourne Lodge
Tour
Adults $7.07
Seniors/Youths/Children $4.42 + tax

On Wednesday, Jan. 1, Mayor Rob Ford and city councillors will be hosting a levee at City Hall from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion will host hers at the Mississauga Civic Centre from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, click here.

What’s open and closed over New Year’s Eve and Day

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Dec 31st, 2013

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year but it can also be the busiest on the roads and at the malls. Here’s a look at all of the information you need to know about what’s open and closed during the New Year’s period.

Shopping:

Bramalea City Centre
Dec. 31: 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Jan. 1: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Eaton Centre
Dec. 31: 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: noon – 5 p.m.

Dufferin Mall
Dec. 31: 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Fairview Mall
Dec. 31: 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Pacific Mall
The mall is open 365 days a year.

The Promenade
Dec. 31: 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Scarborough Town Centre
Dec. 31: 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Sherway Gardens
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Shops at Don Mills
Dec. 31: 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Square One
Dec. 31: 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Vaughan Mills
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Yorkdale Mall
Dec. 31: 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

LCBO/Beer Stores

LCBO:
Dec. 31: Closed at 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

The Beer Store:
Dec. 31: Closed at 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Government offices:
Dec. 31: Most banks and other government offices open until the early afternoon
Jan. 1: Closed

Libraries:
Dec. 31: Most libraries open until 1 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Toronto garbage collection:
Click here for more information on local pickup schedules.

Transit:

TTC:
Jan. 1: Sunday service schedule

Click here for more.

GO Transit:
On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, holidays known for shorter work days, some regular afternoon train and bus trips will be replaced by earlier ones.

And on Dec. 31, GO service will be free after 8 p.m. Jan. 1 will operate as a Sunday schedule.

Click here for more.

Click on the following links for more information on other GTA transit systems:
VIVA/YRT

Mississauga Transit

Brampton Transit

Durham Transit

Halton Transit

‘Significant winter weather’ tracking towards GTA: Environment Canada

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Dec 18th, 2013

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Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for southern and eastern Ontario, including Toronto and the GTA, warning of “significant winter weather” expected late this week and over the weekend.

According to the weather agency, two storms are tracking towards the lower Great Lake. One is expected to arrive Friday morning and depending on the temperature will include rain, freezing rain, ice pellets or snow.

680News meteorologist Harold Hosein said storm number two on Sunday will be much worse.

“That is going to produce a very gusty wind, along with the possibility of 15-25 centimetres of snow, if not more, if it all comes as snow,” Hosein said.

It’s certainly bad timing for the second storm as it’s the first travel weekend of the Christmas season.

Winter officially arrives at 12:11 p.m. ET on Saturday.

The statement is in effect for:

  • City of Toronto
  • Halton – Peel
  • York – Durham
  • Huron – Perth
  • Dufferin – Innisfil
  • Grey – Bruce
  • Barrie – Orillia – Midland
  • City of Hamilton
  • Windsor – Essex – Chatham-Kent
  • Sarnia – Lambton
  • Elgin
  • London – Middlesex
  • Simcoe – Delhi – Norfolk
  • Dunnville – Caledonia – Haldimand
  • Oxford – Brant
  • Niagara
  • Waterloo – Wellington
  • Belleville – Quinte – Northumberland
  • Kingston – Prince Edward
  • Peterborough – Kawartha Lakes
  • Stirling – Tweed – South Frontenac
  • Bancroft – Bon Echo Park
  • Brockville – Leeds and Grenville
  • City of Ottawa
  • Gatineau
  • Prescott and Russell
  • Cornwall – Morrisburg
  • Smiths Falls – Lanark – Sharbot Lake
  • Parry Sound – Muskoka
  • Haliburton
  • Renfrew – Pembroke – Barry’s Bay
  • Algonquin
  • Burk’s Falls – Bayfield Inlet

Former South African leader Nelson Mandela dies at 95

CityNews | posted Thursday, Dec 5th, 2013

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Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically-elected president after decades of apartheid rule, has died, South African president Jacob Zuma says. He was 95.

“He passed on peacefully in the company of his family around 20:50 on the fifth of December 2013,” Zuma said on national TV. “He is now resting. He’s now at peace. Our nation has lost his greatest son. Our people have lost a father.”

The health of Mandela, who was freed from prison in 1990 and became president in 1994, had deteriorated in recent months after being hospitalized a fourth time since last December.

Reaction to his death from world leaders was swift. Prime Minister Stephen Harper tweeted, “All of Canada mourns with the family of Nelson Mandela and the citizens of South Africa. The world has lost one of its great moral leaders.”

“A precious light has gone out in the world,” former prime minister Brian Mulroney said in a statement. “Mila and I join with Graca Machel, his devoted family, and the millions who loved him in every corner of our world, in mourning this giant of our times.

“It is hard to imagine how much poorer the world would be, were we not to have been blessed by the power of the life of Mandela — the teacher of his people, a model for leadership everywhere.”

Mulroney hosted Mandela’s first visit to Canada in June 1990 and set up a $5-million fund to help relocate South African exiles.

In the United States, President Barack Obama said, “He achieved more than can be expected of any man. Today he’s gone home. We’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings…He no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the ages.”

Obama said he was among millions who drew inspiration from Mandela’s life and said his first political action was to protest against apartheid.

“The day he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not by their fears,” Obama said.

Overseas, British Prime Minister David Cameron posted on Twitter, “A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time. I’ve asked for the flag at No10 to be flown at half mast.”

Born in 1912 to the Thembu royal family, Mandela studied law and moved to Johannesburg where he became a part of the anti-colonial movement.

In 1961 he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe and led a bombing campaign against government targets. The next year Mandela was arrested and convicted of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government.

He served 27 years in prison before an international campaign lobbying for his release was successful in February 1990.

His release was broadcast live around the world and would become a quintessential moment in the end of apartheid.

Mandela was married three times, had six children and 17 grandchildren.

Click here to view the comments of world leaders as they react to the death of Nelson Mandela.

CityNews’ Gord Martineau takes a look back at Mandela’s life in the report below.

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