1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar


What Orlando taught me about truth, courage – and love

Avery Haines | posted Saturday, Jun 18th, 2016

I’ve posted one photo on Facebook of my daughter’s grade 8 graduation; some videos of my freakish hairless cats. I’ve tweeted about the crazy places in the world I’ve travelled. Other than that my public life has been pretty much private. I tell myself it’s not a conscious decision. That it’s my inner bristle at the oversharing phenomenon, where every moment is plastered online. Where we all seem to know each other a little too well, without really knowing each other at all.

And then Orlando.

I have nothing to say about what happened that you haven’t already read or felt, or perhaps still feel, despite our short attention spans for tragedy.

Orlando happened eight weeks and one day after I got married. It was a small ceremony. And it was a surprise. As in, Mel didn’t know. The ruse was this: a fancy birthday dinner out and a faked emergency stop at City Hall for “a story I was working on.” We walked out of the third-floor elevator into the wedding chamber, and Mel still wasn’t sure what was happening. It only sunk in when my three kids, standing at the altar, enveloped us both in a tangle of hugs. The answer, through a stream of tears, was “Yes.” My kids insist that Mel married them that day, as well as me.

It was my 20-year-old son who suggested the surprise wedding as a birthday present: “Mum, Mel is our family. It should be official.” On the day of the wedding, my 15-year-old daughter and I had a magical day, while Mel thought I was at work. We went to the hair salon, raced out to get a dress and laughed at the sheer folly of a surprise wedding. My 12-year-old son and I jokingly played out what-if-the-answer-is-no scenarios.

I’m lucky to have loved and been loved throughout my life. Boyfriends, a husband, parents, siblings, friends and my children. But this is a love I had never experienced before. The truest of loves, a love that has survived and flourished over years–from its infancy as a secret to its maturity in marriage. It’s a love that has been embraced by my 81-year-old mum. A love that I know my dad would have cherished as well. One that had been accepted for years by my friends, colleagues, neighbours and bosses.

It’s a love that some of you hate. And tears are pouring down my face as I write those words. How could something so authentic, so beautiful and so right be a target for hate?

Mel is a woman.

And it’s 2016.

And coming-out stories are so 1990s.

But I went to a memorial in Toronto shortly after the Orlando massacre, and over and over again I heard about the importance of “taking up space,” of living lives openly.

You may think there is no reason for me to share this. Orlando is a reminder that victories for a love like ours can be short. As long as people are living in fear, there’s a reason to tell stories like mine.

I expect there may be some hate coming my way.

But unlike many, I have little to lose in sharing my love with you. I won’t be shunned by my family, as many are. I’m not risking my career, as many still do. I share my love with you because I hope it’s big enough to reach the kid who is being tormented, or those who are doing the tormenting. I hope it reaches the parent who just can’t accept that a love like mine can be filled with family and success and acceptance. And I’m sharing this love with you because I believe, in every last fibre of my being, that it is through the sharing of love that we make true the most beautiful statement of all: love conquers hate.

Avery Haines is a reporter, anchor and host for CityNews in Toronto.

Another weekend closure: Bike Share shuts down for upgrades

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Jun 17th, 2016

First a portion of Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) shuts down this weekend in Toronto for TTC work. And now the city’s bike-sharing network is out of commission for three days.

But that’s not all. With a slew of road closures this weekend for events and ongoing construction work, and the St. Clair streetcar line shutting down starting Sunday, how is anyone supposed to get around the city? Walking seems like a good option, or borrow a bike, but really, just plan your route ahead, and give yourself lots of time.

With respect to Bike Share Toronto, the network will be shut down for three days, starting Friday, for hardware upgrades.

“We’re going to be switching the technology that powers the system in order to be able to add more bikes and more stations later this summer,”Bike Share Toronto stated online.

The bike sharing network has around 4,000 active users.

Prior to this weekend’s closure, Bike Share asked its members to ensure their mailing address was up-to-date online to ensure they receive new keys for the new system.

The new bike keys were expected to arrive last week. Once they received them, members were asked to log in to their account again to activate the new key and re-enter their billing information.

The new system is expected to be running the week of June 20.

Related stories:

Bike Share Toronto gets $4.9-million boost from Metrolinx

Bike Share Toronto network about to double in size

City will take over Bixi bike-share program

Bike Share has undergone some changes over the past couple of years.

In July 2015, Metrolinx partnered with the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) and committed $4.9-million worth of bikes and docking stations to expand the network.The new bikes and docking stations will be in place by December 2016 and will be close to transit stations and densely-populated areas.

Then in April, the TPA announced it would buy 1,000 new bikes and 120 new stations from PBSC Urban Solutions, its new supplier of bikes and stations for the bike network. The move will double the number of bikes in the program.

Province investing $4.9M to expand Bike Share Toronto. Watch the video below or click here to view it

TTC heartache continues: Scarborough subway extension $900M over budget

CityNews | posted Friday, Jun 17th, 2016

The cost of the Scarborough subway is expected to cost $900 million more than originally estimated, CityNews has learned.

The cost of the one-stop extension was originally pegged at $2 billion, but is now approximately $2.9 billion.

“I was elected to build transit,” Mayor John Tory said on Friday, as he defended his support for the extension,

Tory was joined by TTC chair Josh Colle and deputy mayor Glenn De Baeremaeker for the news conference.

The price for the original version of the project, a three-stop subway, was budgeted at $3.56 billion.


If the city stayed with the three-stop subway, it would be been $1.4-billion over budget, and would cost $4.3 billion, CityNews has learned.

Related stories:

Tory’s new Scarborough transit plan: One subway stop, 17 LRT stops

Residents furious at prospect of losing homes for new TTC subway stop

TTC woes: Toronto-York Spadina subway extension $550 million over budget

Earlier this year, Tory said light-rail transit, not a subway, would be used to extend the Scarborough line. The proposed subway extension is now down to one stop, to Scarborough Town Centre, with the remaining corridor to be serviced by a 17-stop LRT.

The subway would run directly from Kennedy Station to the Scarborough Town Centre and would no longer stop at Lawrence or Sheppard.

The new plan is considered a compromise between councillors who pushed for a subway for Scarborough, and the city’s financial concerns.

And the TTC’s woes don’t end there. Earlier this year, the TTC said the Toronto-York Spadina subway extension is $550 million over budget. CityNews learned that of the $550 million, $400 million is for contractor claims and $150 million was used to reset the project last year and hire a new contractor.

Final Tragically Hip show to be broadcast on CBC

CityNews | posted Friday, Jun 17th, 2016

It’s confirmed: The Tragically Hip has announced its very final show will be broadcast live on the CBC.

The band posted the news on its website on Friday.

The final show is set for Aug. 20 in Kingston and will be aired commercial-free across all CBC platforms at 8:30 p.m. ET.

The CBC first said the show was in the works at the end of May.


Last month, the band announced that lead singer Gord Downie has incurable brain cancer, and the band is hitting the road this summer, widely expected to be the final one for the iconic Canadian band.

Related stories:

Many Tragically Hip fans disappointed as concert tickets sell out in minutes

Tragically Hip add third show at Air Canada Centre

Gord Downie has aggressive, incurable brain cancer

Fans had been calling for the show to be broadcast, because tickets were snapped up so quickly.

The band is slated to play the Air Canada Centre on Aug. 10 and 12. A third show was added for Aug. 14.

Fathers rule all this weekend in GTA, but expect TTC and road closures

PATRICIA D'CUNHA AND AMBER LEBLANC | posted Friday, Jun 17th, 2016

Fathers are sometimes unsung heroes, standing in the background far removed from the spotlight. And while dads should be celebrated every day of the year, Father’s Day on Sunday is reserved as their special day.

Not sure how to spend the day with your dad? We have curated some events below to help you out. Keep in mind that some road closures will be in place to accommodate the events.

Also, you knew this was coming. A portion of Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) is shut down this weekend for TTC work.

Happy Father’s Day!

Father’s Day

There seems to be more fanfare with Mother’s Day, while Father’s Day quietly comes and goes without much pomp and circumstance. Well, this has to change. Fathers deserve just as much attention as moms. Sunday is the big day, so below are some events to take dad to this weekend.

Do it for Dads Walk Run
Want to do something active with your dad while helping a good cause? The Do it for Dads Day 5K walk and run is being held to raise awareness and money for prostate cancer, which is the leading cancer affecting Canadian men. It starts at Ashbridges Bay Park at 8:30 a.m. Click here to register.

One for the Ages
The human experience is constantly evolving, shaping the present day and future generations. And what better way to share that experience than with music. The performance by Toronto’s Queer Songbook Orchestra at the Buddies in Bad Times Theatre tells the personal stories of LGBTQ elders – those who took part in the social movements of the 70s and 80s – along with songs that have shaped themselves and the community. The show starts at 8 p.m. Click here for ticket information.

People take part in the annual Pride Parade in Toronto on July 3, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ian Willms
People take part in the annual Pride Parade in Toronto on July 3, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ian Willms

Neighbourhood Food Festival
As part of the Luminato festivities, venture down to Union Station for a free backyard party that starts on Saturday and continues into Sunday. Dishes from 15 restaurants in the GTA, such as Caplansky’s, Valdez, My Little Dumplings, and Nana, will be featured at the event, as well as food demonstrations every hour. If your dad likes board games, there will be a giant chess board on scene and Jenga too. Admission is free and the cost of each food dish is $6.

Chocolate workshop
If your dad has a sweet tooth, then maybe you should take him to a chocolate workshop where he can make his own coffee-infused chocolate truffles and taste other chocolate delights as well. Tasty Tours is also offering two food tours – a sweet and savoury food tour and a chocolate tour – where your dad can try some treats while getting a tour of Kensington Market.

Chocolates in a tray. GETTY IMAGES
Chocolates in a tray. GETTY IMAGES

Toronto Wine and Spirit Festival
Celebrating Father’s Day later this week or on Saturday? Head down to Sugar Beach at the foot of Lower Jarvis for an outdoor wine and spirit festival. With sunny skies and temperatures in the GTA expected to hit the low 30s, so you may want to hang out under an umbrella to stay cool. And remember, don’t drink and drive. The cost of admission, which is $25 for advance tickets, includes five sample vouchers.

When the Beatles Rocked Toronto
It was “good day sunshine” fifty years ago, when, on Aug. 17, 1966, the Beatles played for the last time in Toronto. The concert came on the heels of releasing their seventh studio album ‘Revolver.’

The Beatles visit a television studio in 1964. GETTY IMAGES/Mark and Colleen Hayward
The Beatles visit a television studio in 1964. GETTY IMAGES/Mark and Colleen Hayward

Images and interviews from this concert, as well as the ones held in the city on Sept. 7, 1964, and Aug. 17, 1965, are being showcased at an exhibit curated by the City of Toronto Museums & Heritage Services, held at the Market Gallery from June 18 to Nov. 12. There will also be Beatles memorabilia to marvel at.

The exhibit also examines the cultural and musical change the city went during in the early-to-mid 60s. Click here for more details and ticket information.

Dragon Boat Race Festival
Now in its 28th year, the festival rows onto Lake Ontario near the Toronto Islands this weekend. Around 200 teams made up of more than 5,000 athletes from around the world highlight the event, alongside food vendors and other entertainment.

Admission is free, so you just have to pay for your ferry ride to Centre Island.

Other events

Pride Parade in York Region
York Region will be celebrating Pride this weekend with the annual parade.

It starts at 2 p.m. Saturday at Yonge Street and Crosby Avenue in Richmond Hill. Organizers encourage everyone to come out to celebrate inclusivity, equity and diversity. (The Toronto Pride Parade is set for July 3.)

The York parade travels south on Yonge, turns left onto Lorne Avenue and then heads along Church Street, ending at the Pride in The Park event in Town Park.

Yonge will be closed between Crosby and Major Mackenzie Drive from around 1 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Taste of Little Italy
College Street is shut down between Bathurst to Shaw for the annual Taste of Little Italy.

One of the dishes offered at Taste of Little Italy in the past. Photo via Facebook.com/TheTasteofLittleItaly
One of the dishes offered at Taste of Little Italy in the past. Photo via Facebook.com/TheTasteofLittleItaly

It’s a weekend filled with delicious food and drink, and it’s expected to be extra busy as fans take in Euro 2016 and cheer on the Azzuri. You can check out over 50 restaurants as you “go slowly (this year’s theme) and spend some time exploring this region of the city.

The party starts at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and wraps up at 10 p.m. on Sunday.

Family Fun on the 407
Families are getting the first crack at the new Highway 407 extension in the Whitby area on Saturday. Before the extension opens, people are invited to walk, run, cycle or rollerblade on the 1.5-kilometre portion between Baldwin Street South and Anderson Street.

There will be lots of activities for children, including face painting and a bike obstacle course. The event is from 9 a.m. to noon. Shuttle buses will be running to the highway, and you can see the locations to get one here.

Medium and Ellie Goulding singer at ACC
A pop star and a famous medium both take over the Air Canada this weekend.

On Saturday night, “Long Island Medium” Theresa Caputo will try to channel loved ones when she stops in Toronto. Tickets are available here.

Then on Sunday, British singer Ellie Goulding plays a show starting at 7 p.m. Click here for tickets.

TTC and road closures

Line 1 closure
It wouldn’t be a weekend without another subway closure. If you live north of the city and are planning to head downtown this weekend, trains won’t be running on a portion of Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) between St. Clair West and Downsview stations. The shutdown is part of the TTC’s ongoing work to improve its infracture. This time, the service shutdown is for signal upgrades. Shuttle buses will be running.

Next weekend, service will be halted on Line 3 (Scarborough RT) from McCowan to Kennedy stations due to track work. Buses will shuttle TTC riders to all stations including Kennedy Station so that they can hop on Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) and head into the city.

Road work
Construction is being ramped up on the Gardiner Expressway, in order to have all lanes fully reopened by June 25. On Wednesday, Mayor John Tory announced the closed lanes of the Gardiner will open next week – four months ahead of schedule.

Starting on Thursday, overnight lane closures will be in effect in order to remove the work zone for the deck replacement between Dufferin Street and Spadina Avenue. The expressway will be reduced to one lane in both directions between 11 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. each night until next Saturday. The closure times and locations differ on some days. Click here for details.

And a heads-up for drivers and TTC users on Monday, as the entire intersection of College and Bathurst will be closed for TTC work until July 12.

Also, Queen Street West between Spadina Avenue and Bathurst Street is reduced to one lane in either direction for watermain replacement and and reconstruction work. The construction is expected to last until Oct. 8.

Meat Loaf collapses on stage in Edmonton, says dehydration to blame

Wen Dambrofsky and Bob Weber, The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Jun 17th, 2016

After cancelling two concerts earlier this week due to ill health, the singer Meat Loaf collapsed on stage toward the end of his show in Edmonton on Thursday night.

A spokesman for Alberta Health Services would not provide any information on his condition, only confirming that a man had been taken to hospital.

statement published on Meat Loaf’s Facebook page said “severe dehydration” was to blame for the collapse.

“His vital signs are stable and normal — he’s responsive and recovering well. He extends his heartfelt thanks for everyone’s support and well wishes, and is expecting a speedy and full recovery,” the statement read.

“Any concert postponements / rescheduled dates will be announced at a later time. Thank you for your support and understanding.”

One video of the performance at Edmonton’s Jubilee Auditorium showed the singer bending over, then knocking over his microphone stand and falling to the floor. Audience members said he had been singing his classic “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).”

Watch the video below or click here to view it.

Mikey McBryan, 33, an ice pilot from Yellowknife who had taken his mom to the show for her 70th birthday, said the singer had appeared to be struggling earlier in the performance.< “It was him forgetting words, he wasn’t on cue, but it was forgivable,” said McBryan. “We’re all loving it and going crazy, and then it just took a turn for the worst.”

More than a few fans had noticed, with one tweeting Meat Loaf “did not look good 2nite. Was worried he wouldn’t last.”

“He sounded terrible from the start,” wrote another. “It was like he pushed through each song.”

Moments after he rolled onto his back, musicians from his band walked over while men from behind the scenes ran out onto the stage. A security guard directed some people away from the vicinity while other appeared to be running to get help.

“A lot of people thought it was part of the show — this is what’s going on,” said McBryan, who has himself appeared on the reality TV show “Ice Pilots NWT.”

“And then all of a sudden it wasn’t. The lights went on, they brought out a vertical screen that covered everybody, and they said ‘can everyone vacate the arena?’”

Jim Thibaudeau, who had second-row-centre seats, said he has enormous respect for the singer and felt awful at what happened.

“I thought he’d died. I thought he’d had a heart attack and died. It was a terrible feeling. It was awful.”

McBryan said concert-goers were calm but concerned as they left the auditorium.

“People were, like, ‘did we just see history?’ No one really wanted to make the conclusion of hey, this might be the last one.”

The singer had cancelled concerts in Moose Jaw, Sask., and in Calgary earlier, citing ill health. Fans flooded Facebook with stories of witnessing the collapse, along with well-wishes for the 68-year-old, whose birth name was Michael Lee Aday.

Does Listening To Meatloaf Or Springsteen Make You More Aggressive Behind The Wheel?

Best known for his iconic 1977 album ‘Bat Out of Hell,’ Meat Loaf was a pioneer of bombastic, theatrical rock. In his younger – and considerably larger – years, he performed with such intensity he dripped wet with sweat. But his career has also had longevity, and Meat Loaf has made a name for himself as an actor – on Broadway and in the movie “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” – and a reality TV star, on Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice.”

According to his website, he is scheduled to perform Saturday in Cold Lake, Alta., then in Lethbridge, Alta., next Tuesday; Penticton , B.C on June 23; Victoria on June 25 and in Abbotsford, B.C., on June 28.

He has collapsed on stage before. In 2011, medics rushed to his aid during a concert in Pittsburgh but he got up and finished the show. In 2013, he collapsed at Wembley Arena in London and was admitted to hospital.

Meat Loaf has said he suffers from asthma and from a medical condition that causes an irregular heartbeat.

TTC work to snarl riders on streetcar routes including St. Clair

CityNews | posted Friday, Jun 17th, 2016

For the thousands of TTC riders who rely on the St. Clair streetcar to get to and from work, Friday’s commute will be the last normal one for a while.

Just six years after it opened, the TTC is shutting down the 6.6-kilotmetre dedicated stretch of streetcar lanes starting Sunday so that changes can be made to accommodate the TTC’s new streetcars.

The new streetcars are set to roll on St. Clair in 2018, and the retrofit is required for customer safety.

During the closure, streetcars on the 512 route will be replaced by buses until Sept. 4.

The TTC released a video explaining the work being done. Watch it below or click here to view it.

The St. Clair and St Clair West stations also have to be modified.

At St. Clair station, crews will install a new roof and replace the streetcar loading platform, while at St. Clair West station the work includes construction of new elevators and replacing streetcar tracks.

Some of the work won’t be completed until the end of the year, but streetcar tracks between St. Clair West and Gunns Loop should be back in service by Labour Day.

Below is a detailed breakdown of the service that will be impacted, via a TTC release.

June 19 to Sept. 4

  • 512 St Clair buses will replace streetcars along the entire route, operating on St. Clair Ave.
  • 90 Vaughan buses will be re-routed to Bathurst station instead of St. Clair West station

Sept. 4 to December

  • Streetcars will return to the western portion of the 512 St Clair route between St Clair West Station and Gunn’s Loop
  • 512 St. Clair buses will continue to replace streetcars between St. Clair West and St. Clair stations

Meanwhile, starting Monday and until July 12, the College and Bathurst intersection will be fully closed in all directions for TTC track work, as well as road and sidewalk repairs. TTC service will be affected on the 506 Carlton and 511 Bathurst streetcar lines and the 47 Lansdowne bus route. Click here for details.

Also, keep in mind there is no subway service on Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) between St. Clair West and Downsview stations this weekend due to signal upgrades.

Baby found dead in London, Ont., dumpster

News staff and The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Jun 17th, 2016

Police are investigating after a baby’s body was found in a dumpster in London, Ont.

Investigators were called to Richmond and Mill streets around 11:35 a.m. on Thursday after they received a 911 call from a member of the public.

Const. Sandasha Bough could not say if the infant was a newborn nor could she say if it was a boy or a girl.

“That information is part of the investigation, we are not releasing it at this time,” said Bough. “When we do have it, we will be providing it to the public.”

Police add more details will be forthcoming once the results of the coroner’s examination is completed.

Area store owners say they hadn’t seen anything unusual and that it isn’t a high crime area.

Staff Sergeant Blair Harvey says the area has a lot of pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

Page 5 of 12« First...34567...10...Last »