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Carpoolers could face five-figure fines in Toronto

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Jul 14th, 2015

Uber, the controversial ride-sharing company, has launched a carpooling service for the next two weeks but a Toronto city councillor is warning users could face steep fines.

In a statement on Monday, Uber said it was launching a two-week carpooling pilot project that would last until July 26, until the end of the Pan Am Games.

It coincides with the new temporary HOV lanes all across the Greater Toronto Area. For the duration of the Games, certain lanes of the Gardiner Expressway, Don Valley Parkway, and Highway 401 are only accessible to vehicles with three or more people inside, and Uber is looking to exploit that loophole.

“We really see this as something that can help this city. HOV lanes have been nearly empty in this city, and we see this as an opportunity to help increase use of these HOV lanes,” Uber GM Ian Black said.

“Already we’ve had hundreds of requests.”

UberX connects private drivers, who use their own vehicles, with passengers. For the next two weeks, passengers can be matched up with other riders sharing a similar route.

But the legality of the service is under fire.

Toronto Coun. Jim Karygiannis said a section of the Highway Traffic Act prohibits drivers from picking up passengers for a profit without a license, permit, or authorization.

If caught, riders could face fines up to $20,000.

The new plan could add to Uber’s legal woes. In Toronto, Uber is already under fire from both the taxi industry and city hall.

The taxi industry argues that UberX is unregulated and its drivers don’t have commercial licences, putting passenger safety in jeopardy while simultaneously driving traditional cabbies out of business.

Meanwhile, the city had launched a legal challenge against Uber, arguing the company operated as a taxi broker and breached city bylaw. The legal challenge was dismissed and the city will be reviewing its taxi bylaws in September.

With files from Erin Criger, CityNews.ca

Pan Am roundup: Canadians lead the pack after golden Day 3

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Jul 13th, 2015

Canada remains atop the medal standings after a third day of competition at the Pan Am Games, thanks to 17 medal-winning performances — including seven gold medals.

Canada now has a total of 41 medals — 17 gold, 14 silver and 10 bronze.

Here’s a rundown of Canadian athletes that climbed the podium on Day 3:

Gold & 3 silver in synchro diving

Double gold, double bronze in rowing

Judoka toss their way to gold, silver

Canadians paddle to a medal of every colour

Canadian speedster captures bronze

Pan Am roundup: Canada dominates mountain biking, diving, rugby

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Jul 13th, 2015

Canada sits atop the medal standings after a flurry of gold medal performances on Day 2 of the Pan Am Games.

That was helped along by one-two finishes for Canadian women in both mountain biking and diving, as well as a golden sweep of rugby sevens on Sunday.

With Sunday’s haul, Canada has a total of 24 medals — 10 gold, eight silver and five bronze.

Here’s a full rundown of Canadian athletes that climbed the podium on Day 2:

Emily Batty won the gold and Catharine Pendrel took the silver at Hardwood Mountain Bike Park in Oro-Medonte.

Batty finished in an unofficial time of one hour, 27 minutes and 13 seconds — seven seconds ahead of Pendrel, who won gold at the 2007 Rio Games.

Later in the day, Quebec City’s Raphaël Gagné took the top spot on the podium in the men’s cross-country mountain biking event.

Medals in the pool

Canadian divers also finished one-two in the women’s 3m springboard final.

Jennifer Abel, of Laval, Que., won gold, while teammate Pamela Ware, of Montreal, took silver.

Gold for Canadian ruggers

In the gold medal finals of the rugby sevens event, the Canadian women trounced the United States 55-7 while the men beat Argentina 22-19.

Kiejko shoots for gold

Calgary’s Lynda Kiejko added to Canada’s gold medal haul on Day 2 in the women’s 10m air pistol event.

Dressage team takes silver

Gymnastics team captures silver

Judoka double silver

Luna-Grenier lifts his way to bronze

Double bronze in squash

Montreal’s Shawn Delierre also took home bronze in the men’s 66kg division.

Best of BT Weekend: July 10, 2015

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Jul 10th, 2015

Miguel chats about ‘Wildheart’

Miguel returned to BT to chat about his new album ‘Wildheart.’


Arlene Dickinson helps get our finances in order

Arlene Dickinson answered your questions and gives us helpful tips to make the best use of our money.


We kicked off the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games!

We celebrated the kick off of the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games at the Ontario Celebration Zone.



Week of July 13, 2015

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Jul 10th, 2015

Coming up on Breakfast Television this week:

Tune in Monday as we chat about how to save and splurge on your perfect wedding.

On Wednesday, we learn how to choose the perfect steak.

And to end off the week Friday, we will be chatting with the world-renowned ultramarathon runner Dean Karnazes.

Be sure to watch BT weekdays 5:30 to 9 a.m. on City, right here at BTtoronto.ca, or on our Breakfast Television mobile app for iOS and Android!

It’s showtime: Toronto welcomes the Americas to Pan Am Games

Patricia D'Cunha | posted Friday, Jul 10th, 2015

Six years ago, Toronto won the bid to host the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan American Games. And now, the city is gearing up for Friday’s opening ceremony in the largest international multi-sport event ever held in Canada.

Ten-thousand athletes and officials from 41 countries have descended on the city with some of the events already beginning on Tuesday. According to officials, 6,000 athletes will be competing at the Pan Am Games, while 1,600 will compete at the Parapan Am Games in August.

Around 45,000 people are expected to attend the opening ceremony that includes more than 6,000 athletes from 41 countries, 625 performers, and 600 volunteers.

Road closures will be in place around the Rogers Centre for both the opening and closing ceremonies, and along Lake Shore Boulevard for the opening ceremony. Click here for a list for a detailed list of road closures on Friday.

The opening ceremony, which is produced by Cirque du Soleil, is being held at the Rogers Centre — dubbed the Pan Am Ceremonies Venue for the Games — and includes a parade of nations and the lighting of the cauldron.

Around 45,000 spectators are expected to attend the nearly sold-out venue for the two-and-a-half-hour opening ceremony, which starts at 8 p.m. An international ensemble of performers will take the stage with wild acrobatics, dance and extreme sport, and showcase Canada’s diversity. Officials have also said the show will include surprise appearances from several Canadian sports legends, and that Pan Am athletes will be part of the show’s “set design.”

Click here to view the CN Tower photo on your mobile device.

Canoeist and Olympic bronze medallist Mark Oldershaw will be carrying the Canadian flag into the ceremony, leading a team of more than 700 athletes. Festivities start at 8 p.m., but for those who don’t have a ticket to the opening ceremony, they can watch a live feed at Nathan Phillips Square.

Over the past 41 days, torchbearers have carried the flame to more than 130 communities in Canada, after being lit in Teotihuacan, Mexico, in May.

The torch starts off at Pearson International Airport on Friday morning, where it will travel on the UP Express to Union Station, carried through the streets of Toronto to Osgoode Hall and the Hospital for Sick Children, and then continue on to the Jack Layton Ferry. Click here for a list of road closures that will be effect.

Marilyn Bell, the first person to swim across Lake Ontario, will pass the flame to former competitive swimmer Cynthia Berringer who will carry the torch on board a ferry to the Toronto Island.

The flame, carried by Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders, will return via police boat to the mainland before being carried by archery medallist Crispin Duenas to the Harbourfront Centre — the final stop before the opening ceremony.


Click here for an interactive map of the torch relay route.

Excitement for the games is mixed with some sore spots — complaints and traffic issues due to the temporary HOV lanes, lackluster ticket sales and high costs.

The cost of the games is pegged at $2.5 billion — most of which has come from the federal, provincial and Toronto governments — but the initial budget was $1.44 billion.

There is a lot hinging on the success of these games. According to a report, International Olympic Committee President Thomas said Toronto could be a good candidate for the 2024 Olympic Summer Games depending on how it fairs with the Pan Am Games.

City officials and Pan Am organizers are encouraging residents and tourists to take transit, as it’s free for anyone who has a ticket to an event on that day.

TTC brass said service would be frequent to venues in Toronto, along with increased bus and streetcar service. Subway service will start at 6 a.m. on three Sundays — July 12, 19, and 26.

The Pan Am Games run until July 26, followed by the Parapan Am Games from Aug. 7-15.

With files from The Canadian Press and News Staff

NEED TO KNOW: Road closures for Toronto Pan Am Games opening & closing ceremonies

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Jul 10th, 2015

After years of planning and investment, the moment the city and the world has been waiting for has arrived, with the opening ceremony for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Pan American Games on Friday.

Around 40,000 spectators are expected to attend the opening ceremony that includes more than 6,000 athletes from 41 countries and territories, 625 performers, and 600 volunteers.

But, as with any event in the city — big or small — several road closures will be in effect, and Torontonians are being asked to plan ahead.

Temporary road closures start on Thursday in the downtown core for the opening ceremony, and as the torch makes its way from Pearson International Airport to the city on Friday.


Click here for an interactive map of the torch relay route.

The relay is scheduled to start at 9:10 a.m. and ends on the city’s waterfront at Harbourfront Centre at 2:30 p.m., where the relay began on May 30.

Road closures will be in place around the Rogers Centre for both the opening and closing ceremonies, and along Lake Shore Boulevard for the opening ceremony.

Road closures

  • Bremner Boulevard, from Navy Wharf to Simcoe Street, on Thursday-Friday and July 26, from 3 p.m. to midnight on all three days.
  • Eastbound Front Street West from John Street to Simcoe Street, from noon on Thursday to 1 a.m. on Saturday. The two westbound lanes will be converted for two-way traffic.
  • Wellington Street, from Church Street to John Street, on July 10 and July 26, from 5:45 p.m. to midnight on both days.
  • Rees Street on July 10 and 26, from 3 p.m. to midnight on both days.

Click here for a detailed list of road closures in effect on Friday.

Other closures

  • Front Street south side sidewalk from Simcoe to John Street on July 10 and July 26, from 1 p.m. to midnight on both days.
  • Rogers Centre stairs, east of Gate 2, will be barricaded at the top and bottom on Thursday-Friday and July 26, from 3 p.m. to midnight on all three days.
  • Rogers Centre underground parking (south side of Bremner Boulevard) on July 10 and July 26.
  • John Street Bridge on Thursday-Friday and July 26 from noon to midnight on all three days.

City officials and Pan Am organizers are encouraging residents and tourists to take transit, as it is free for anyone who has a ticket to an event on that day.

Also, Chris Upfold said the TTC will announce a brand new electronic day-pass you can buy on smartphones starting on Wednesday.

With the changes in roadways and an increase in pedestrians on city streets, Toronto police are reminding drivers and cyclists to slow down.

The Pan Am Games runs until July 26, followed by the Parapan Am Games Aug. 7-15.

Helpful links

Click here to get daily road closure updates near events and for advice on how to avoid delays.

For those going to a event, click here for road closures, trip planners, venue and HOV maps, public transit information and more.

For those using transit, visit triplinx.ca to plan your trip.

Drivers can download the the trip planner app for real-time traffic information and route options.

5 things to do this weekend: Get your “Panamania” on and bebop at the Beach

Patricia D'Cunha | posted Friday, Jul 10th, 2015

Don’t be so blue about the Pan Am Games — cheer up! Toronto is a hub of activity this weekend with events galore shaking things up.

From swingin’ jazz to a “La Fête Nationale” party, and some Pan American fanfare, there is something for everyone — even the “woe is me” type. Remember, summer in the city is a good thing.

July 10-12, 2015

Beaches International Jazz Festival: The Beach will be a “whoopee spot” as jazz musicians take over the neighbourhood for the annual festival from Friday until July 26. So, come on, Toronto, it’s time to get your groove on with “all that jazz.” Click here for the show schedule. Drivers, take note: Queen Street East will be closed daily from Woodbine to Beech avenues from 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on July 23-25.beachesjazz.com

Toronto Bastille Day 2015: Experience the “joie de vivre” as the city celebrates Bastille Day on Sunday, ahead of La Fête nationale — France’s national holiday marking the start of the French Revolution — on Tuesday. The free event at David Pecaut Square at John Street and King Street West features French gourmet fare, music and a picnic. torontobastilleday.com

Panamania: Celebrate the Pan Am Games with Toronto’s lively arts and culture scene. Starting Friday and until Aug. 15, Torontonians and visitors alike can take in more than 250 free and ticketed performances and exhibitions at Nathan Phillips Square, CIBC Pan Am Park and the Distillery District. Athletes and fans can mingle at the nightly victory celebrations at Nathan Phillips Square.toronto2015.org/panamania

Pan American culture in film: Get out of your funk and into the spirit of the Pan Am Games by immersing yourself in documentaries about the diverse cultures that make up the Americas. Some of the films are from Peru, Cuba, Argentina, Brazil and Chile, and will be shown Saturday and Sunday, and Aug. 8-9, at the Hot Docs Bloor Cinema. bloorcinema.com

Union Summer: Once bland and dreary, the new St. John A. Donald Plaza in front of Union Station boasts a food market in a bistro-type atmosphere. Too long a lineup at Uncle Tetsu at Bay and Dundas streets? Check out the popular cheesecake at this market, along with a host of other vendors. On now until Aug. 30, in partnership with Front Street Foods. frontstreetfoods.com

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

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