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Ajax man charged with selling fake hockey tickets online

NEWS STAFF | posted Monday, May 29th, 2017

Fake hockey tickets investigation
A 20-year-old Ajax man is under arrest for selling fake hockey tickets on Kijiji.

Police say in March, the victim bought tickets from the suspect through an ad on the online advertising site.

The victim paid for the tickets using an email money transfer but did not find out the tickets were fake until he tried to get into the game.

Makuizalandi Mbuku is facing multiple charges.

Police want to hear from anyone else who may have purchased tickets from Mbuku or sent money to the email address: biancal.dial45@outlook.com.

Penguins could be the first team since Red Wings to win back-to-back Stanley Cups

JONAS SIEGEL, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, May 29th, 2017

Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz (14) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a game winning goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second overtime period of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final in the NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoffs in Pittsburgh on May 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Above all else, the Pittsburgh Penguins are here in the Stanley Cup final chasing history because of two long-time organizational pillars: Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Crosby and Malkin helped the Penguins climb from the depths of the NHL to the pursuit of a third title in the last nine years and, potentially, the first repeat win in the salary cap era.

“They’re both special,” Penguins winger Phil Kessel said. “If you watch them out there, they do some pretty special things.”

Related stories:

Penguins return to Stanley Cup final with Game 7 win over Senators
Video: NHL playoffs: Sissons’ hat trick helps Predators oust Ducks, reach 1st Stanley Cup Final

Good fortune is largely why both Crosby and Malkin ended up in Steeltown.

The Penguins were the NHL’s worst team in the 2003-04 season, but it was the Capitals who drew the first pick and opted for Alex Ovechkin. That left Malkin there for the taking at No. 2. Over a year later, every team in the league had a shot at the No. 1 pick following the 04-05 lockout, but the Pens – one of four teams with the maximum three lottery balls – emerged as the winner of the Crosby sweepstakes.

A franchise was changed – and perhaps saved – as a result.

Crosby and Malkin have already won two Cups for the Penguins and rank as two of the most prolific post-season performers in NHL history. Crosby is tied for ninth all-time with 1.11 points per-game, trailed closely by Malkin in 15th at 1.07.

“They just do whatever it takes to win,” said Justin Schultz, struck by the practice habits and competitiveness of the duo when he joined the Penguins last season.

Crosby said he was motivated more by the opportunity to win than any history at stake. Getting back wasn’t easy – the Penguins won two series in seven games – and he wanted to take advantage. Pittsburgh also lost his and Malkin’s first trip to the final in 2008 and after winning in 2009, needed another seven years just to get back once more.

“We wanted to get back here and we knew that it was going to be difficult and there’d be a lot of obstacles and we found a way to get here now so it’s up to us to do something with the opportunity,” Crosby said.

The Cole Harbour, N.S., native can join one-time mentor Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman and Wayne Gretzky as the only players to captain back-to-back Cup winners in the last 30 years. He could eclipse even Mario with a third Cup (Lemieux has added two as an owner) and add to an already storied legacy, which includes a Conn Smythe Trophy.

The last team to win back-to-back Stanley Cup championships was the Detroit Red Wings, in 1997 and 1998.

Crosby and Malkin have already made an dent as the first team in the cap era to reach the final four times. They managed to get back this spring despite losing their best defenceman, Kris Letang, for the season and top goalie, Matt Murray, for the better part of the first two rounds.

The two are described by teammates as understated leaders who drive the group mostly by example. Malkin, though, has been chattering more and more lately in the dressing room, according to Chris Kunitz, one of only five players left from the Cup-winning team in 2009.

It was little bits of positivity such as, “We can do this!” or “We’ve got to get better here!”

Kunitz thought Malkin, much like Crosby, was pressing the issue because he knew how rare the opportunity this opportunity was.

Both players have had shredded foes again in the post-season, ranked 1-2 in scoring – Malkin with 24 points, Crosby with 20.

Crosby set up Kunitz’s series winner against the Senators and had six points over the final five games of the series. Malkin had three assists in a 7-0 Game 5 win and then scored his seventh goal in a Game 6 taken by Ottawa.

The goal was a masterpiece which saw him bounce off 208-pounder Zack Smith behind the goal, fire a shot on Craig Anderson and then quickly drag the rebound from backhand to forehand and across the goal-line.

“I think when that happens you kind of get that hair on the back of your net and start watching him change the dynamic of the game,” Kunitz said.

Long in the shadow of Crosby, Malkin was oddly snubbed for the NHL’s 100 greatest players list despite boasting career numbers that match almost anyone – even Crosby.

“His body of work speaks for itself,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said. “But I think my sense of being around Geno is that his priorities are just trying to help this team win and trying to accomplish our team goals, which ultimately is a Stanley Cup. He’s been a big part of them in his tenure here.”

“I think these guys are ultimately driven to win championships,” he added of his two stars. “I think that’s their No. 1 priority.”

Safety review of Toronto’s bike and walking trails starts Monday

NEWS STAFF | posted Monday, May 29th, 2017

A bike is locked to a post in Toronto in undated file photo. CITYNEWS
A safety review of Toronto’s bike and walking trails starts Monday, after the death of a five-year-old boy last week.

Xavier Morgan lost control of his bike on the Martin Goodman Trail, near Lake Shore Boulevard West and Jameson Avenue in Parkdale, around 6:20 p.m. on Wednesday. He fell off his bike and into traffic, where he was struck by a vehicle.

The path where he was riding was not on the street, but there were no physical barriers separating bikes from cars.

Mayor John Tory said city officials are to meet Monday to begin a safety review of Toronto’s trails.

“As these things get used more, and as some of them are built closer to the roads than they might have been, we’ve gotta review it,” he told 680 NEWS

Tory says once the review is complete, the city will discuss short- and long-term solutions.

Monday is also Bike To Work Day in Toronto, and the start of Toronto Bike Month.

Tory will be serving pancakes at Nathan Phillips Square to mark the start of Bike Month.

Toronto police and the Toronto Helmet Initiative released a video to help make sure kids are wearing the right-size helmet, and that it’s properly fitted.

The 2-V-1 rule is explained in the video below. It means “Two fingers above your eyebrows to bottom of the helmet. Form a V-shape with the straps meeting below your ears. One finger under the strap below your chin,” police said.

Everyone under the age of 18 is required to wear a helmet when on a bicycle, rollerblades or on any wheeled device. The parents of children 16 or under are required to ensure they are wearing helmets.

Bracco sparks Spitfires to wild Mastercard Memorial Cup win

Ryan Dixon | posted Monday, May 29th, 2017


Host Windsor Spitfires hold off late-game Erie Otters’ surge to win their third ever Mastercard Memorial Cup 4-3.

WINDSOR, Ont. — If Warren Rychel thought he was getting an earful from Jeremy Bracco before, wait until the two are in the same room now.

A fantastic Mastercard Memorial Cup final was bookended by a touch of brilliance from Bracco, who registered a goal and two assists in the Windsor Spitfires’ 4-3 win over the Erie Otters on Sunday night at the WFCU Centre in Windsor. The victory made Windsor—which gained an automatic entry as the host team—the first squad in CHL history to win the national title after being bounced in the opening round of the playoffs. The Spitfires are also the third consecutive OHL-based winner and the first host champion since the Shawinigan Cataractes in 2012.

Aaron Luchuk netted the trophy-clincher 5:07 into the third period, blasting off the bench to convert a pass from Bracco, who’d attracted the attention of three Otters on the far wall. In the first period, Bracco glided through that same patch of ice towards the glass, pumping his arms to further gas up an already-firing crowd after he got his team rolling with the contest’s first goal.

“He lives at my house, he never shuts up, but I’ll tell you what, he can talk all he wants now,” said Rychel, the Spitfires GM who acquired Bracco—a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect—from the Kitchener Rangers in January. “This is why we made the trade, right here.”

“He was sick.”

And he wasn’t the only ill one.

Gabriel Vilardi, a highly-touted prospect for the coming NHL Draft, had a pair of assists, as did Ottawa Senators first-rounder Logan Brown. As for 17-year-old goalie Michael DiPietro, he displayed uncanny calm during the entire event. The hometown kid—who often sat in the stands cheering on Spits teams that won consecutive Memorial Cups in 2009 and 2010—defied the doubters and played like a seasoned vet. DiPietro, also eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft, finished the tournament with a .932 save percentage; the next-best mark in the tournament was .875.

“He was not fazed by age—everybody [says] you gotta be 19 years old—it doesn’t matter,” said Rychel. “I’ve known him since he was eight years old and he’s the guy.”

Credit the entire Windsor squad with keeping a steady hand throughout a thrilling final that teetered back and forth.

Just 49 seconds after Bracco got things going, Erie tied it on a perfect post-and-in shot from captain and tournament MVP Dylan Strome. A second-period Otters lead also proved ephemeral when, on the heels of a goal from Warren Foegele that required a second look from the refs, Windsor required just 52 seconds to find the answer from Logan Stanley.

T.J. Fergus put Erie ahead once again when his point shot glanced off Stanley, but Graham Knott slammed home a power-play goal after a nice feed from Vilardi to make sure it was all square at 3-3 heading to the final frame.

That set the stage for Bracco, who proved a seamless fit with the Spitfires.

“Bracs has been incredible for us ever since he got here,” said the 20-year-old Luchuk. “He just stepped it up another notch for the Memorial Cup.”

The big win was the second celebration for Bracco this season after he helped Team USA win the world junior championship five months ago in Montreal. Being in big moments—and thriving when there—is something he strives for.

“I think that’s what really defines a player,” Bracco said.

Timely contributions were a theme for this Spitfires outfit, which spent 44 days preparing for the Memorial Cup between a Game 7 loss to the London Knights and a 3-2 win over the Saint John Sea Dogs to open the event on May 19.

As is the major junior custom, sweeping changes now await Windsor. Bracco will join the pro ranks next year and, while he still has a year of junior eligibility left, Rychel said stud defenceman Mikhail Sergachev—who began this season with the Montreal Canadiens—has played his last game in Windsor, too.

But everybody, for the next little while, will relish all that went on during this unique week.

“The boys caught a bolt of lightning and they ran with it,” Rychel said.

Doors open to the city this weekend, but portion of subway closed

PATRICIA D'CUNHA AND SAMANTHA KNIGHT | posted Friday, May 26th, 2017

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto is one of the buildings featured as part of Doors Open in Toronto. CITY OF TORONTO
It is the one time of the year when the city opens its doors to spaces that are normally closed to the public. Doors Open also offers a behind-the-scenes look at buildings you walk into all the time.

The annual event is one of many being held this weekend. Also on offer is an outdoor festival for dogs, charity yard sales, walks and runs, waterpark fun, and the start of a pedestrian-friendly party every Sunday.

As you make your weekend plans, a reminder that a portion of Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) is closed for TTC work. But shuttle buses will be running to help get you to your destination.


Doors Open Toronto
In honour of Canada’s 150th birthday, 150 buildings across the city will be opening their doors this weekend.

It’s part of the 18th annual Doors Open Toronto, which offers free and rare access to various locations. There are 50 new participants this year. Some of the buildings include Toronto City Hall, Rogers Communications, City and OMNI Television studios, Gibson House Museum, Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and Spadina Museum.

A visitor to Citytv and OMNI headquarters has fun at the green screen at the weather centre. CITYNEWS


This year’s theme is “Fifteen Decades of Canadian Architecture,” with a special focus on centennial-period buildings and architects from the 1960s. Click here for a list of locations and admission hours. Doors Open also features a speaker series, new music program, walking tours, a photo contest and more.

North America’s largest outdoor festival for dogs, Woofstock, is taking over Woodbine Park this weekend. The two-day event is a one-stop shop for everything canine.

The festival features surf lessons, fashion shows, celebrity dog meet-and-greets with stars like Tuna and Smiley, a best costume contest and the crowning of Mr. and Mrs. Canine Canada Pageant. Dogs will also have the chance to participate in the Woofstock Games, an Olympic-style sporting event.

A dog and his owner playing tug-of-war. GETTY IMAGES/Hero Images


Yard Sale for the Cure
If you like yard sales, then you will have a field day on Saturday with several yard sales taking place to raise money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. One of the large treasure hunts takes place at Trinity Bellwoods Park from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Other organizations and individuals are also hosting their own sales across the city.

The program was started by breast cancer survivor Rachael Smith, who along with friends and family, held the first yard sale in the Beach in 2005. So far, the event has raised $1.8 million.

Splash Works Opening
If you can’t wait to take a dip in a pool, or shoot down a slippery slide, you’re in luck. Canada’s Wonderland’s Splash Works officially opens this weekend.

The water park will operate on weekends only until June 16, when it will then be open daily until September. Splash works is included with park admission and seasons passes. It is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Season pass-holders are eligible for early entry, at 10 a.m.

Pedestrian Sundays
The streets of Kensington Market are yours every Sunday, starting this weekend and every last Sunday of the month until Oct. 29. From noon to 7 p.m. pedestrians will be able to soak up the neighbourhood’s offerings without having to worry about vehicles.

Jazz musicians play during Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market. FACEBOOK/Pedestrian-Sundays-in-Kensington-Market


Brunch Fest
Get your brunch on this weekend at the Bud Light Radler Brunch Fest. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday through Sunday, at 99 Sudbury St. near Dovercourt Road.

Brunch Fest brings together an all-star roster of the most iconic brunch spots in the city. Vendors include Bacon Nation, Wafel Bar, Busters Sea Cove, Starving Artist and Morning Roast. There will be a cocktail bar, Caesar bar, smoothies, and of course, coffee. Attendees must be 19 years or older.

Charity walks and runs
Enjoy some exercise and fresh air at several walks and runs taking place this weekend, while you help to raise money and awareness for a good cause.

A runner tying their shoelaces. GETTY IMAGES/JGI/Tom Grill


Three events are taking place on Saturday, one of which is The Walk of Life, hosted by the Mikey Network. It takes place at the Ontario Science Centre and E.T. Seton Park at 8 a.m. on Saturday. The event includes the 1K, 3K, and 5K walks; 5K and 10K runs; chair exercises for seniors; and a kids fun run. A barbecue lunch will be served up including snacks and beverages, as well as live entertainment and children’s activities. Money raised will be going to heart health education and getting defibrillators at schools.

Outdoor enthusiasts can also sign up for the Spring Into Action! Walk or Run for Diabetes. The route for the 2K and 5K is through Sunnybrook Park. Proceeds from the event, which starts at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, go to the York University Diabetes Sports Camp and the Canadian Diabetes Association. There will also be children’s activities and gift bags.

From 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, people will be lacing up for The Walk for Alzheimer’s at Etienne Brule Park in Etobicoke. Walkers who raise more than $100 will receive a free T-shirt.

Two events are taking place on Sunday, including the Toronto Women’s Run Series at Sunnybrook Park. The half-marathon is at 8 a.m. while the 5K is at 8:20 a.m. The entry fee includes a race kit, a memento of the day, digital photos of the race, and a post-run party.

Take a walk along the Sunnyside boardwalk for the Borderline Walk, which raises awareness for dysregulation disorder. The 5K walk on Sunday starts at 10:30 a.m. and is in memory of Sasha Menu Courey, 20, who lived with Borderline Personality Disorder and and died by suicide in 2011.

TTC and road closures

Partial Line 2 shutdown
Subways won’t be running on Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) between St. George and Broadview stations due to work on the Prince Edward Viaduct and TTC maintenance.

Shuttle buses will be running and Wheel-Trans buses are available upon request. Regular subway service resumes at 6 a.m. on Monday.

Road closures
University Avenue will be closed in both directions from Wellington Street to Queen’s Park Circle from 10 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. on Sunday for the Aga Khan World Partnership Walk.

Partial closures will also be effect from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the area bounded by John Street, Wellington Street, University Avenue and Queen’s Park Circle.

Queen Elizabeth visits young survivors of concert blast

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Friday, May 26th, 2017

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 25: Queen Elizabeth II speaks to Amy Barlow, 12, from Rawtenstall, Lancashire, and her mother, Kathy during a visit to the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital to meet victims of the terror attack on May 25, 2017 in Manchester, England.  Queen Elizabeth visited the hospital to meet victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack and to thank members of staff who treated them. (Photo by Peter Byrne/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II met Thursday with children injured in the Manchester concert bombing, consoling them and pronouncing the attack at an event attended by so many young people “wicked.”

The 91-year-old monarch visited Evie Mills, 14, Millie Robson, 15, and other youngsters recovering from severe shrapnel wounds at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

“It’s dreadful. Very wicked, to target that sort of thing,” the queen told Evie and her parents.

Related stories:

Investigators explore Manchester bomber’s links to larger network
More raids in Manchester as soldiers protect key UK sites
Trudeau praises benefit of sharing intelligence with the U.S. and others

Millie, wearing an Ariana Grande T-shirt, told the queen she had won VIP tickets to the pop star’s Monday night concert at Manchester Arena and been injured in the bombing attack after the end of the show. The teenager said she felt fortunate to have survived.

“I have a few, like, holes in my legs and stuff, and I have a bit of a cut, and my arm and just a bit here, but compared to other people I’m quite lucky really,” she said.

The queen broke her normal custom of wearing a matching outfit by visiting the children in a blue coat topped with a jaunty orange hat – as if to try to lighten the gloom.

Elizabeth told Millie she thought Ariana Grande was a “very good singer,” adding, “She sounds very, very good.”

Millie was one of 12 children under the age of 16 taken to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital by ambulance after the blast that killed 22 people and the suspected bomber.

She said she was walking toward the exit to meet her father when the bomb went off. She remembers the explosion, an intense ringing in her ears, and people screaming. Millie didn’t know it right away, but she was bleeding badly from her legs.

“My dad ran over to me and picked me up and then like, we tied jumpers (sweaters) and stuff around the main wounds in my leg,” she recalled Thursday. “He just picked me up and we ran outside and then a lot of paramedics outside and strangers were just helping us, really.”

It was a parent’s nightmare. Her father, David Robson, said he was with his partner waiting for Millie when the explosion happened.

“It was surreal, it was just quiet,” Robson said. “And I saw Millie, at the bottom of the stairs, I just ran down, picked her up.”

He was running from the scene when he noticed her bleeding legs. They used a sweater and a shirt to try to staunch the flow and keep her alive.

“I just said, ‘Look at me, just don’t look anywhere else,’” the father said. “Because it was just, obviously as you can imagine, carnage, bodies and stuff.”

Emergency teams eventually helped treat Millie and got her to the hospital. She was well enough Thursday to enjoy the queen’s visit.

“She is lovely,” the teen said. “It’s like mind-blowing, really.”

Ontario seeking regulation change to allow online health card renewal

JESSICA SMITH CROSS, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, May 26th, 2017

Service Ontario office
Ontario is taking steps toward allowing people to renew their health cards online, a development that would save residents a trip to a ServiceOntario centre.

The Ministry of Health recently posted a notice asking for feedback on a regulatory change that would make it possible for the government to develop a new online option for health card renewals.

A ministry spokesman said Ontario has committed to providing online health card renewals by 2018, as part of an effort to “give Ontarians more choice in how they interact with government.”

For now, almost everyone who needs to renew their health card must do so in person.

Individuals can book an appointment ahead of time online, but still have to visit a ServiceOntario centre, with the exception of children younger than 15-and-a-half and most seniors over 80, who can renew their cards by mail.

Proof of residency in Ontario and proof of identity are required to renew a health card.

Some residents immediately welcomed the idea of an online renewal option.

“That’s great,” said Kashief Butt, who’d just waited in a long line at a ServiceOntario office in downtown Toronto. “If we could do it online, then we’d save so much time.”

But Alia Gomes, who’d visited the same ServiceOntario, said she doesn’t think the online option is a good idea and worried it could lead to fraud.

“I just feel like with being able to do everything online, there’s a certain sense of anonymity, and people could use your name for identity theft,” she said.

Besides, she said, the line at the centre didn’t seem that long to her.

Ontarians can give feedback on the government’s proposal for online renewal until June 5.

Ontarians can already renew their driver’s licenses online, and 200,000 people did so last year.

Heavy rains flood roads, Toronto Islands, Beach area

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, May 26th, 2017


Heavy, persistent rains and strong winds are wreaking havoc on the Greater Toronto Area, with flooding and power outages reported across the region.

Police closed Lake Shore Boulevard West in both directions for several hours from British Columbia Road to New Brunswick Way due to flooding. All lanes opened just before 4 p.m.

The Bayview extension was also closed south of River Street for several hours before reopening after 7 p.m.

“Right now, we have the highest water level that we’ve ever seen in recorded history, and it is expected that it will continue to keep rising for a couple more weeks at least,” said Nancy Gaffney of Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA).

She said water levels have yet to peak and precipitation from the other Great Lakes could add another five to 10 centimetres to Lake Ontario before levels recede.

There are also reports of further flooding on the already-soaked Toronto Islands, with Gibraltar and Algonquin islands being battered by powerful waves. City staff told CityNews Olympic Island is heavily flooded.

“While the water level is so high, it’s the increased winds that add far more pressure because they’re bringing in water at a higher rate, and then they’re jumping over all of our sandbagging efforts,” Gaffney said.

“We have sandbags that add another three feet to the elevation and the waves are just rolling right over those.”

Coun. Pam McConnell said the pumps on Algonquin, in some cases, are also not keeping up with the rain and waves.

“We have a couple houses that are really under extreme conditions and so we’ve sent in extra people,” she said. “We know that Red Cross is also there right as we speak.”

 McConnell said in the Beach neighbourhood, the small sand bar that was holding water back from Ashbridges Bay has eroded and the area is flooded again. Strong winds were pushing the water up to the Woodbine Bathing Station, and almost all of the volleyball courts were under water as of early Thursday afternoon.

The water will retreat from those low-lying areas, however, and return to normal, Gaffney said.

Toronto Hydro says around 1,100 customers were without power in the Midtown area before it was restored around 6 p.m. Brief outages also affected several hundred customers in Scarborough.

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for the GTA calling for up to 30 millimetres of rain on Thursday.

However, if the region receives just a few millimetres more than that rainfall amount, it could break a 64-year-old record set on this date in 1953, which was 34.3 millimetres.

The national weather agency said around 10 to 20 millimetres of rain have fallen since last night and an additional 20 to 30 millimetres is possible.

The rain is expected to taper off later this evening, but could resume on Friday.

So far this month, Pearson Airport has already received 82.6 millimetres of rain. The average for this month is 74.3 millimetres.

“We’ve only had a four-day stretch without measurable rainfall (May 8 to 11), so on-and-off rain showers for a good chunk of month,” 680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor said.

The Toronto Islands remain closed to the public after high water levels caused extensive flooding. The latest round of rain will only exacerbate the problem.

More than half of the buildings on the islands are being threatened by rising water levels, Mayor John Tory said earlier this week. About 40 per cent of the Toronto Island Park is already under water.

Unusually high water levels in Lake Ontario brought on in part by heavy rains in recent weeks have largely shuttered parts of the islands, which boast beaches, an amusement park and other tourist attractions.

The city said permits for events on the island have been cancelled until June 30, and ferry service is restricted to residents and staff only.

Taylor said it looks like the GTA will have a dry stretch to start June but that temperatures will remain below average.

Ports Toronto said Billy Bishop Airport has not been affected by the high water levels and winds. The airfield doesn’t have any low-lying areas and has added grooves on the runway to add texture and prevent rainwater from accumulating.

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