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VIA Rail strike averted as two sides reach tentative deal

CityNews | posted Monday, Jun 13th, 2016

A Via Rail employee climbs aboard a locomotive at the train station in Ottawa on Dec. 3, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
A strike at VIA Rail has been averted.

Unifor, the union representing 1,800 VIA Rail workers, says it has reached a tentative agreement and avoided a work stoppage.

Reports indicate the deal is for four years.

The railway says trains will operate on a regular schedule Monday.

Bodies of two missing boaters found at Scarborough Bluffs

CityNews | posted Monday, Jun 13th, 2016

The Toronto police marine unit searches the water at the Scarborough Bluffs after two men went missing on June 12, 2013. CITYNEWS

Toronto police have found the bodies of two boaters missing in Lake Ontario near Bluffers Park in Scarborough. Their bodies were pulled from the water on Monday morning.

Two men – a 72-year-old and a 52-year-old – went out in a 17-foot aluminum boat at the Scarborough Bluffs around 8 a.m. on Sunday and were supposed to be return at noon.

A Hercules aircraft out of CFB Trenton, along with several several coast guard vessels, had been searching the lake since Sunday evening.

The winds were extremely gusty on Sunday in excess of 70 km/h on Lake Ontario.

Fifty dead in Florida nightclub shooting, worst in US history

CityNews | posted Sunday, Jun 12th, 2016

A gunman wielding an assault-type rifle and a handgun opened fire inside a crowded gay nightclub early Sunday, killing at least 50 people before dying in a gunfight with SWAT officers, police said. It was the worst mass shooting in American history.

Authorities were investigating the attack on the Florida LGBT nightclub called Pulse as an act of terrorism. The gunman’s father recalled that his son got angry when he recently saw two men kissing in Miami. He said that might be related to the attack.

At least 53 people were hospitalized, most in critical condition, officials said. A surgeon at Orlando Regional Medical Center said the death toll was likely to climb.

Mayor Buddy Dyer said all of the dead were killed with the assault rifle.

“There’s blood everywhere,” Dyer said.


Dyer says the shooter is among the dead and that he used an assault rifle on all those dead. Officials say one officer was shot, and has injuries to his face.

Earlier, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson identified the shooter as Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida, which Orlando police confirmed late afternoon. He cited law enforcement officials in speaking to reporters. Officials also have said they’re investigating whether the incident was an act of terrorism.

Police Chief John Mina also said the shooter had some sort of “suspicious device.’”

The suspect exchanged gunfire with an officer working at the gay club known as Pulse around 2 a.m., when more than 300 people were inside. The gunman then went back inside and took hostages, Police Chief John Mina said.

FBI investigating Orlando mass shooting as an act of terrorism.

President Barack Obama delivered a statement Sunday afternoon and voiced his concern for gun control in America, sighting Americans have to make a choice about cracking down on gun laws.

“This could have been any one of our communities. As a country we will be there for the people of Orlando today, tomorrow and for all the days to come.”

(Warning: Some of the images in the video are graphic and disturbing.)

Around 5 a.m., authorities sent in a SWAT team to rescue the hostages, and the suspect then died in a gunfight with those officers. Mina said police have not determined an exact number of casualties, but that “approximately 20″ people were dead inside the club.

Jackie Smith, who was inside the club, said two friends next to her were shot.

“Some guy walked in and started shooting everybody. He had an automatic rifle, so nobody stood a chance,” Smith said. “I just tried to get out of there.”

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent in Charge Danny Banks said during a news conference that the mass shooting is being investigated as an act of terrorism. He says authorities are looking into whether this was an act of domestic or international terror, and if the shooter was a lone wolf.


“This is an incident, as I see it, that we certainly classify as domestic terror incident,” said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.

Police had said previously on Twitter that there was a “controlled explosion” at the scene of the shooting at Pulse Orlando. Mina said that noise was caused by a device intended to distract the shooter.

Mina Justice was outside the club early Sunday trying to contact her 30-year-old son Eddie, who texted her when the shooting happened and asked her to call police. He told her he ran into a bathroom with other club patrons to hide. He then texted her: “He’s coming.”

“The next text said: ‘He has us, and he’s in here with us,’” she said. “That was the last conversation.”

The suspect was identified as Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida.


Rep. Alan Grayson named the shooter, citing law enforcement officials. A federal law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation also confirmed the name. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Mateen’s father, Mir Seddique, told NBC News about his son seeing the men kissing a couple of months ago.

“We are saying we are apologizing for the whole incident,” Seddique said. “We are in shock like the whole country.”

The attack had nothing to do with religion, he said.

FBI agent Ron Hopper said there was no further threat to Orlando or the surrounding area.

When asked if the gunman had a connection to radical Islamic terrorism, Hopper said authorities had “suggestions that individual has leanings towards that.”

Dozens of police vehicles, including a SWAT team, swarmed the area around the club. At least two police pickup trucks were seen taking what appeared to be shooting victims to the Orlando Regional Medical Center.

Pulse Orlando posted on its own Facebook page around 2 a.m.: “Everyone get out of pulse and keep running.” Just before 6 a.m., the club posted an update: “As soon as we have any information we will update everyone. Please keep everyone in your prayers as we work through this tragic event. Thank you for your thoughts and love.”

Police said local, state and federal agencies were investigating.

President Barack Obama was briefed on the attack and has asked for regular updates on the investigation, the White House said.

The incident follows the fatal shooting late Friday of 22-year-old singer Christina Grimmie, who was killed after her concert in Orlando by a 27-year-old Florida man who later killed himself. Grimmie was a YouTube sensation and former contestant on “The Voice.”

Related stories:

Canadian officials, Obama offer condemnation and sympathy after mass shooting

Police: Man arrested in California had guns, explosives

In Photos: Mass shooting inside Orlando nightclub

Jon Alamo said he was at the back of one of the club’s rooms when a man holding a weapon came into the front of the room.

“I heard 20, 40, 50 shots,” Alamo said. “The music stopped.”

Club-goer Rob Rick said it happened around, 2 a.m., just before closing time.

“Everybody was drinking their last sip,” he said.

He estimated more than 100 people were still inside when he heard shots, got on the ground and crawled toward a DJ booth. A bouncer knocked down a partition between the club area and an area in the back where only workers are allowed. People inside were able to then escape through the back of the club.

Christopher Hansen said he was in the VIP lounge when he started hearing gunshots. He continued to hear shooting even after he emerged, where police were telling people to back away from the club. He saw injured people being tended to across the street.

“I was thinking, are you kidding me? So I just dropped down. I just said please, please, please, I want to make it out,” he said. “And when I did, I saw people shot. I saw blood. You hope and pray you don’t get shot.”

Hockey legend Gordie Howe passes away at age 88


Hockey legend Gordie Howe leaves his hotel on his way tribute to him in Saskatoon, Friday, February 6, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards In a country where hockey is king, Gordie Howe ruled for decades. A Canadian icon, Howe grew up in the Great Depression playing hockey on prairie ponds — on hand-me-down or jerry-rigged skates. He went on to become Mr. Hockey, a tough and durable customer who could fight as well as he could score. Howe, who died Friday at the age of 88, could do it all.

Related stories:

There will never be another Gordie Howe

Gordie Howe: An essay by Stephen Brunt

Mr. Hockey’s life in photos

His hockey career spanned five decades — six if you count a 1997 cameo in the International Hockey League — and six prime ministers.

Making his NHL debut for Detroit on Oct. 16, 1946, against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Howe played 32 professional hockey seasons, more than any other man. He also was the oldest player to score in the NHL and made hockey a family affair when he skated with sons Mark and Marty.

Howe was named an all-star 21 times, including 12 first-team selections on right wing, and helped the Detroit Red Wings hoist the Stanley Cup four times. He won the NHL scoring title and MVP award six times each.

He was 52, and a grandfather, when he finally retired in 1980 — eight years after he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and nine years after being appointed into the Order of Canada.

“One of my goals was longevity,” he once said. “I guess I’ve pretty much got the lock on that.”

Howe was a fierce, physical competitor who could beat you with his elbows or a deciding goal. The Gordie Howe hat trick — when a player scores a goal, records an assist and gets in a fight in one game — is named after him.

In his 2014 autobiography “Mr. Hockey,” Howe credited his father for showing him the way.

“One lesson he taught me that stuck with me throughout my hockey career was not to take dirt from anyone, because if you do they’ll just keep giving it to you,” he wrote.

Respect equals space, he soon learned.

Rangers tough guy Lou Fontinato ultimately paid the price for carving open Howe’s face with his stick in early 1959. Howe bided his time before thumping him up in a one-sided fight that left his rival bloodied with a relocated nose. Howe dislocated a finger during the beating.

Related stories:

New Canada-U.S. bridge to be named after ‘Mr. Hockey’ Gordie Howe

Gretzky and other legends pay tribute to Gordie Howe in Saskatoon

Howe, however, was clear on how he preferred to be remembered.

“Respect gave you more room, and if you get a little more room to manoeuvre, then you’re going to be a better hockey player,” he said. “I played a little rough.

“I shaded the rules a little bit. I remember against the Russians somebody was bugging Wayne (Gretzky). ‘Just flush him down the right side and when you hear me get out of the way,’ I said. ‘I’m going over the top of him and teach him a lesson.’ And I did.

“That’s the way I played the game: not to get revenge but to get respect. It would make me very happy to be remembered with respect.”

Off the ice, Howe was soft-spoken, even shy.

“To me, Gordie is a contradiction,” said Howard Baldwin, former owner of the WHA and NHL’s Hartford Whalers. “I think anybody that followed his career knew that he was a fierce competitor and he was a tough hockey player. And yet he was a very gentle, kind soul off the ice.

“You just loved to be around him, he always had a twinkle in his eye, loved to chat and catch up. He was a pleasure to be around as a friend.”

Canadian hockey player Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings fires a shot during a game, late 1950s or early 1960s. GETTY IMAGES/Robert Riger
Canadian hockey player Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings fires a shot during a game, late 1950s or early 1960s. GETTY IMAGES/Robert Riger

Said former teammate Frank Mahovlich: “He was so nice to be around, it’s like two personalities. Once you got on the ice, boy you didn’t want to go in the corner with him without your eyes open because you were liable to get an elbow or something. He was a tough guy to play against.”

A tiger on the ice, Howe was a pussycat when it came to the love of his life, wife Colleen.

Howe never lost his love for the sport and the people who played the game. Howe was in the crowd with other hockey heroes like Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier when Canada defeated the United States to win the gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He also carried the Olympic flame in the Games torch relay.

In retirement, he became one of the sport’s most-loved ambassadors, although his public appearances were few in recent years as he dealt with cognitive impairment, a form of dementia.

In the afterword to Howe’s book, his four children — Marty, Mark, Cathleen and Murray — called it “a very slow decline over many years although it has become more noticeable recently.”

In March 2016, on the eve of his 88th birthday — and 17 months after suffering a stroke — Howe was feted at Joe Louis Arena by more than 20,000 fans who sang “Happy Birthday” as he was presented with a hockey puck cake.

Howe’s legend lived on.

When a panel of experts was assembled by The Hockey News several years ago to select the top players in NHL history, the outcome was: 1. Wayne Gretzky; 2. Bobby Orr; 3. Gordie Howe; 4. Mario Lemieux; 5. Maurice Richard.

To many older Canadians, Howe always was and always will be No. 1.

Howe held the NHL record for most goals, 801, until Gretzky broke it in 1994 en route to scoring 894. Howe is still No. 2 on the all-time goals list.

Gretzky was 10 when he met Howe at a sports banquet. The man would forever remain his idol.

“To play so well and for so long is simply incredible,” said Gretzky. “No player will ever do the things in hockey that Gordie did.”

In an essay on the back cover of “Mr. Hockey,” the Great One cedes his title. “The greatest player ever,” Gretzky said of Howe.

A young Wings fan holds up a sign in honor of Gordie Howe during a NHL game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Dallas Stars on December 4, 2014 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. NHL/GETTY IMAGES/Dave Reginek
A young Wings fan holds up a sign in honor of Gordie Howe during a NHL game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Dallas Stars on December 4, 2014 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. NHL/GETTY IMAGES/Dave Reginek

Howe’s 1,850 career NHL points (801 goals and 1,049 assists) are third only to Gretzky’s 2,857 and Mark Messier’s 1,887.

Howe collected another 174 goals, 334 assists and 399 penalty minutes in 419 games in the World Hockey Association.

Including regular-season and playoff games in both leagues, Howe finished his astounding career with 1,071 goals, 1,518 assists for 2,589 points in 2,421 games with the Detroit Red Wings, Houston Aeros, New England and Hartford Whalers.

Along the way, he spent 40 hours 19 minutes (2,419 minutes in all) in the penalty box.

Howe was born March 31, 1928, in Floral, Sask., the sixth of nine children of Albert and Katherine Howe.

It was another time.

On the day he was born, Howe’s mother was chopping wood when the labour pains began. No stranger to childbirth, she put water on the stove and got into bed. After Howe was born, she cut the umbilical cord herself and waited for her husband to come home.

Howe was nine days old when the family moved into neighbouring Saskatoon. His father worked as a labourer for the city. Floral long ago was merged into Saskatoon.

A strange twist of fate resulted in Howe acquiring his first pair of ice skates.

It was 1933 and a neighbour, whose husband was sick, knocked on the Howe family’s door. She had a “gunnysack full of used things” to sell so she could buy milk for her family.

The Howe family didn’t have much but his mother scraped together a few dollars to help out her neighbour.

“Like so many things in my life, I have my mother’s kindness for what came next,” Howe recalled.

Out of the bag came some old clothes — and a pair of skates. Howe grabbed one boot, his sister Edna got the other. A week later, Howe got the set when he gave his sister a dime — loaned by his mother.

“I know that putting on those skates was the moment I fell in love with hockey,” he wrote.

Later, Howe’s father would make skates, taking old shoes and affixing blades to the soles.

When Howe was six, a calcium deficiency in his back was diagnosed and the doctor told him he should strengthen the back by hanging from a doorway and swinging back and forth. It helped him developed powerful shoulders.

A mild case of dyslexia made reading difficult and he was often teased by elementary school classmates. As Howe grew bigger, he stuck up for himself.

In his teens, Howe worked construction with his dad during the summers and continued to develop a muscular physique. On the ice, he was a deceptively fast skater and was ambidextrous, which helped him stickhandle.

He had a tryout with the New York Rangers in Winnipeg when he was 15 — it was 1943 and many players were at war, so prospects were in demand. Asked by the trainer what position he played, Howe replied “All of ’em,” which was true. He had played goalie, defenceman and forward.

Howe had not been able to afford proper equipment back home, so he had to watch other players to see how to put on his gear.

The Rangers wanted Howe to attend Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask., but he figured that was too far from home so he said no. A year later Detroit scout Fred Pinckey signed him and the Red Wings assigned him to a junior farm team in Galt, Ont., now part of Cambridge.

When he showed up at age 17 at his first Red Wings training camp, he tried to fight everything that moved, until coach Jack Adams lectured him about picking the right spots.

”Thank God,” said Howe. ”Where would I be today if he hadn’t?

”I’d never have lasted. I would have been fighting anyone. He taught me to be aggressive but controlled.”

He played a year with an Omaha, Neb., farm team, getting $2,350, before moving up to the NHL at age 18 in 1946. He scored a goal in his first game, beating Turk Broda.

In his first game in Montreal, Richard challenged Howe with a shove, and Howe knocked Richard out cold with one punch.

“I didn’t have great expectations,” he once said of his rookie season. “I was just hoping that I could last one year.”

He was a hockey star at age 22 when he noticed 17-year-old Colleen Joffa in a Detroit bowling alley. They married four years later.

Colleen Howe’s death in March 2009 from Pick’s disease, a form of dementia, was a blow that inflicted more pain on the hockey legend than any hit he took on the ice.

“You can think you’re a big, strong guy, but if something like that happens, it makes you as weak as a kitten,” said Howe, who was involved in fundraising for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in his wife’s honour.

Howe worked relentlessly to improve as a hockey player, often staying 30 minutes after practice to shoot pucks into the tops of the nets. By the early 1950s, the six-foot 205-pound Howe had become the first NHLer to win three consecutive scoring titles.

Howe, a humble man who used a lot of shucks and darns in conversation, was always timid about having only a Grade 8 education.

“Gordie worries about his lack of education,” Colleen once said. “But I keep telling him people will accept him because of the kind of guy he is.”

He opted to wear No. 9 on his jersey because players with the lower numbers got bottom berths on railway cars during road trips.

The line of Sid Abel between Howe and Ted Lindsay was known as The Production Line — one of the greatest lines in NHL history.

In the opening game of the 1950 playoffs against Toronto, Howe tried to check Teeder Kennedy, took a stick in the face and crashed into the boards. He suffered a broken nose, fractured cheekbone, badly scraped eyeball and a serious concussion.

His head was shaved and a small hole was drilled through his skull above his right ear to relieve pressure on his brain. Doctors didn’t know if he’d live. His mother and sister Gladys flew in from Saskatoon to be at his bedside.

Howe emerged from hospital to attend the Stanley Cup-clinching win over the New York Rangers in the old Olympia. When the crowd began chanting, “We want Howe!” he emerged from the corridor to the dressing room with bandages covering his head and received a rousing ovation.

“Luckily, we were in a big city with a big hospital,” he said years later about the skull fracture. “If we were in a small town somewhere, I was gone.”

The indestructible Howe won the scoring title the next season.

Howe became a prolific scorer while leading Detroit to championships in 1952, 1954 and 1955.

An unselfish attitude was part of his allure. At the end of the 1952-53 season, he had 49 goals and only Richard had ever scored 50. On a breakaway with an open net in front of him, Howe passed to Alex Delvecchio, giving up a goal he could easily have scored himself.

“He was the greatest team player I ever saw,” said former teammate Bob Goldham. “Even on a breakaway you would see him looking for somebody who might take a pass.

“He was just as generous with his time. When the club worked out, Howe was always the first man on the ice. He was the last man to leave.”

Howe finished among the top five point-getters every year from 1949 through 1969.

“I’ve never played against anyone who does so many things so well,” Bobby Hull said in 1967.

Good at any sport he tried, he developed a friendship with Detroit Tigers outfielder Al Kaline and sometimes took batting practice with the major league baseball team.

“He could have been a big-leaguer in anything he did,” Adams once said.

Howe was named Canadian athlete of the year in 1963. That was the year he co-authored “Hockey, Here’s Howe,” which was the first of many book projects was involved.

The emergence of the Canadiens and later the Maple Leafs kept Howe and the Red Wings from winning another championship.

He was never much interested in the business side of hockey, and that cost him plenty.

He eventually discovered he’d been underpaid throughout his career in Detroit. He was stunned when Bob Baun, a teammate in 1969, told him he and Carl Brewer were being paid much more by the Red Wings than the US$45,000 US Howe was getting.

Howe marched into the office of owner Bruce Norris the next day and demanded his contract be renegotiated. Norris bumped him to $100,000 but a rift had been created. Howe felt he’d been cheated for years — and he was right.

Howe retired from the NHL in 1971. An arthritic left wrist had been forcing him to use one hand on his stick at times. Another factor was the sadness he felt after his mother fell down stairs at his cottage in northern Michigan and died.

“When Gordie came into the NHL hockey was a Canadian game,” said Clarence Campbell, the league president at the time, assessing Howe’s departure. “He’s converted it into a North American game.”

Howe filled a vice-president’s role with the Red Wings for a while but was given little to do and became bored so left the organization for good.

When the fledgling World Hockey Association formed in 1973, Colleen Howe helped negotiate a deal that was incredible at the time. Her husband would be paid US$1 million and sons Mark and Marty US$400,000 each in four-year contracts with the Houston Aeros.

Howe, who had an operation to improve his wrist, called it “the fulfilment of a dream” to play on the same team as his sons.

He got 100 points in his comeback season, led Houston to the championship, and at age 46 was named the league’s MVP. Mark, 19 at the time, was named rookie of the year.

“When we talk about the joys of my whole career, that was in Houston,” Howe said. “If it wasn’t for the kids, I would never have come back.

“They put fun back in the game.”

During that season, Howe chased a purse-snatcher for several blocks until the thief dropped the stolen goods.

The now-defunct WHA gained credibility with the Howes playing. Houston won the title again in his second season. He was hockey’s only playing team president, and he became pro hockey’s only playing grandfather when Mark’s wife gave birth.

“He had his own rules,” Marty Howe said of his father’s style of play. “You didn’t make him look stupid.

“He didn’t like getting hooked from behind in the ribs. If you did that, you usually got the stick or the elbow.”

Howe played what he liked to call “religious hockey” — better to give than receive.

He never forgot a slight. Montreal defenceman J.C. Tremblay once called him a dummy during a summer card game. A year later, Howe dropped Tremblay with an elbow during a game.

In 1974, during an eight-game WHA-Soviet Union series, the Russians were dumbfounded that Howe could be such a force.

“I mellowed a bit as I got older but when I was playing in the WHA against the Russians and one of them hurt (my son) Mark, I went out and played against the guy who did it,” Howe recalled. “When I came out of the corner, he didn’t.”

A couple of years later, he kidded with a reporter: “I’m going to play another year or two but my sons are going to retire.”

The family act moved to New England in 1977. Whalers coach Harry Neale recalled an incident regarding a team curfew check that reflected Howe’s attitude.

Neale, respecting Howe’s age and status, hadn’t checked to see if Howe was in his room. Howe took Neale aside the next morning.

“If I’m on this team, I want to be treated like everybody else,” said Howe. “Don’t ever do that again.”

When the Whalers joined the NHL in 1979, Howe stuck around for one last season, and he was still good enough to score 15 goals. He played the entire 80-game schedule.

“He’s a fantastic guy, not just as a hockey player but as a man,” said teammate Dave Keon. “The guys are just overwhelmed to have him around.”

The 1980 all-star game, played in Detroit, was Howe’s last and Gretzky’s first. Gretzky wore No. 99 throughout his career in homage to his boyhood hero.

“I have nothing left to prove,” Howe said upon announcing his retirement.

Whalers coach Don Blackburn called Howe’s career “the greatest sports story ever written.”

John Ziegler, NHL president at the time, said this of Howe’s legacy in hockey: “An assembly of everything that was ever written about him would still be insufficient to describe his achievements and contributions.”

“If he’s not the best player of all time, he is certainly the most resilient,” wrote Steve Dryden, former editor of The Hockey News. “His stop-and-start career was stunning.

“To emerge from retirement after a fabulous NHL career (averaging more than a point a game) and then score 15 goals as a 51-year-old in the NHL defies the laws of science.

“As Howe rang up a 96-point season the year he turned 50, he didn’t belong in the uniform of the New England Whalers as much as he belonged in the pages of the New England Journal of Medicine.”

Howe returned 17 years after retirement to play a shift with the Detroit Vipers of the International Hockey League in October 1997 to gain the distinction of playing in six decades.

Away from the rink, Howe had a gentle nature. He’d pull into a service station for gas and clean his windshield, and sometimes he’d clean the windshield of the car next to his.

He was happy to sign autographs for fans, had a sharp wit inherited from his mother, and liked to tease in a good-natured way. He once was asked on a TV talk show why he wore a protective cup but didn’t wear a helmet to protect his head.

“You can always get somebody to do your thinking for you,” he replied.

His playing weight stayed roughly the same throughout his long career. He drank little and never smoked. A strict diet in his later seasons helped keep him in shape. He’d eat eggs rather than steak on a game day.

“I feel stuffy if I have a steak,” he explained. “I feel I play better with eggs.”

He liked to work on crossword puzzles and play bridge, and he enjoyed golfing and fishing, although hockey injuries cut his golfing career short.

During his long career, he suffered two serious head injuries, broke a wrist, toe, fingers, ribs and collarbone. He broke his nose at least 14 times, had a hernia, surgery on both knees and took more than 300 stitches to his face.

Howe didn’t miss any games the year he broke the wrist. He just wore a cast and shot left-handed.

“I only had three teeth knocked out in my career and, oddly enough, it was in the first game I played,” he was quoted in an autobiography. “After that, someone had to come through lumber to get to my mouth.”

He worked briefly as director of player development in Hartford after retiring as a player.

He was involved in a variety of ventures after leaving the Red Wings. He was a sports adviser for the Eaton’s department store chain, did promotion work for a Detroit car company, had a financial interest in a ranch, co-owned a string of hockey schools, sold insurance at one time, with his wife pushed products for an international mail-order firm, and the family business Power Play International continued to grow.

Reflecting Colleen Howe’s significant role as the business manager, the two were inducted together into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

In February 2005, Saskatoon named the street in front of the city’s largest arena Mr. Hockey Gordie Howe Lane. In June 2010, Mr. Hockey became Dr. Hockey when Howe received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

In 1998, he had double knee replacement. In 1999, he had surgery to remove a cancerous spot on his left shin at the Ohio hospital where son Murray was head of radiology.

He had some heart problems in 2003. An irregular heartbeat was diagnosed and angioplasty was performed on the right coronary artery to relieve a blockage. In October 2014, he suffered a stroke.

Howe lived with his children in later life, rotating through the family.

“His greater accomplishments are what he’s done as a father and as a friend and as a grandfather,” said daughter Cathleen in a Howe biography.

“As good as Gordie was on the ice,” said Orr, “he has surpassed that off the ice as a human being.”

Canada’s unemployment rate hits lowest level since last July

CityNews | posted Friday, Jun 10th, 2016

While fighting a huge wildfire, Alberta’s labour market woes continued last month as job losses mounted, the unemployment rate surged and total hours worked hit their lowest mark in 30 years.

Statistics Canada released its first batch of labour data to coincide with the massive blaze that forced production shutdowns in Alberta’s economically critical oilsands region and triggered the evacuation of Fort McMurray.

The report Friday found that Alberta’s unemployment rate soared from 7.2 per cent to 7.8 per cent in May following the loss of 24,100 jobs across several industries. The biggest drops were seen in the resources and construction sectors.

Statistics Canada also says the total number of hours worked in Alberta decreased 5.1 per cent – the largest monthly decline since May 1986. In the 12 months leading up to May, employment in Alberta fell by 53,800 jobs or 2.3 per cent.

Related stories:

Bank of Canada says economic growth to weaken due to Alberta fires

Alberta’s labour struggles continue as Canadian job market unchanged

Consumer price index up 1.7 per cent compared with year ago

The story was different nationwide as the headline job numbers beat expectations.

Across Canada, the labour force survey showed an overall gain of 13,800 jobs in May, including 30,200 public-sector positions. The increase helped push the jobless rate down to 6.9 per cent from 7.1 per cent – its lowest level since last July.

The number of full-time jobs climbed by 60,500, while part-time positions slid by 46,800.

The number of employee positions in Canada increased in May by 24,800, while self-employed jobs decreased by 11,100.

The category of youth employment, representing workers aged 15 to 24, shed 35,400 jobs last month. Over the previous 12 months, losses in this category reached 82,400 — a 3.3 per cent decline.

Overall, however, Canadian employment last month was up 0.6 per cent compared to 12 months earlier, the report said.

The labour data surpassed expectations of a consensus of economists, who had predicted the country to add 3,800 jobs and for the unemployment rate to stay at 7.1 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.

Statistics Canada said it collected labour survey data last month for the sub-provincial area that includes Fort McMurray, but due to the Alberta wildfire, it did not gather data for the smaller census agglomeration that encompasses the city.

Luminato illuminates Toronto this weekend, but plan for subway closure

PATRICIA D'CUNHA AND AMBER LEBLANC | posted Friday, Jun 10th, 2016

Please don’t say you are bored with Toronto. With another jam-packed weekend in store, there is always something to do in the city.

Starting Friday and until June 26, Luminato will bring an artistic glow to the city with several events including a Rufus Wainwright show, The James Plays Trilogy on-stage, a ‘monumental’ dance and music performance, and a backyard party at Union Station.

There is also the Bestival music festival, a street party on Dundas Street West, a craft beer festival, a treat for foodies, and indoor fishing.

And yes, there is partial subway shutdown this weekend too, this time on Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) but only on Sunday. Shuttle buses will be at your disposal.


A former generating station in the Port Lands will be the site for several music, dance, theatre, and visual arts events, as the 10-day Luminato arts festival kicks off on Friday.

Now simply called ‘The Hearn,’ the industrial site is three times larger than the Tate Modern in London, England, and enormous enough to fit the Statue of Liberty upright or on its side.

The Hearn Generating Station will be used for several Luminato 2016 events, including The James Plays Trilogy. Photo via Facebook/luminatofestival
The Hearn Generating Station will be used for several Luminato 2016 events, including The James Plays Trilogy. Photo via Facebook/luminatofestival

The large cathedral-like venue seems like an ideal spot for music shows such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 & An American in Paris.

Canadian singer Rufus Wainwright is also set to recreate Judy Garland’s iconic 1961 Carnegie Hall show at the venue, which will no doubt be spectacular.

Music is not the only thing that will fill The Hearn. The stories of three kings who ruled Scotland during the tumultuous 15th-Century comes to life in an epic threatrical production, featuring James I, James II and James III. You can either watch one show at a time over four days or see all of them together.

If dance is more up your alley, then check out ‘monumental‘ – featuring dancers from Vancouver-based contemporary dance company The Holy Body Tattoo strutting their stuff on illuminated pedestals to the live music of Montreal post-rock band Godspeed You!

Click here for a list of events at Luminato.

Bestival at Woodbine Park
two-day music festival takes over Woodbine Park this weekend. The theme of Bestival Toronto – Canada’s answer to the UK music festival – is “Summer of Love” and there’s a full slate of talent both days.

Gates open at 12 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and it’s a 16+ event, but people under the age of 16 can attend if they’re with an adult over 30.

The Bestival Toronto music festival. Photo via Facebook/BestivalToronto
The Bestival Toronto music festival. Photo via Facebook/BestivalToronto

Toronto Taste
Toronto Taste, the city’s premier culinary event, takes place on Queen’s Quay near Sugar Beach on Sunday evening starting at 6 p.m.

Some of the city’s best chefs will be serving up delicious foods in support of Second Harvest, the country’s largest food rescue charity. The CN Tower will be lit up in green in recognition of the event.

The event is 19+ and tickets are available here.

Dundas West Fest
There’s a huge party on Dundas Street West on Saturday, as the annual Dundas West Fest takes over the street between Lansdowne Avenue and Shaw Street.

People are encouraged to walk, take the TTC or ride their bikes and use the free bike valet service.

Besides food and drink, there will be art, lots of stuff for children and live music. It starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 10 p.m.

Session Craft Beer Festival
Beer lovers 19 years old and over are invited to Yonge-Dundas Square for the Sessions Craft Beer Festival.

Various types of beer in glasses. GETTY IMAGES
Various types of beer in glasses. GETTY IMAGES

There will be over 100 beers to sample, along with food, live music and an opportunity to learn more about your favourite beverage. Tickets are available here.

Indoor fishing downtown
Fishing moves indoors this weekend at the Scadding Court Community Centre at Bathurst and Dundas streets

The annual Gone Fishin’ event starts Saturday. For $5 you can fish for rainbow trout in the heart of downtown.

TTC and road closures

Line 2 closure
Yes, this is happening again this weekend but only for one day. On Sunday, there is no subway service on Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) between Pape and St. George stations because of track work. Buses will be running and stopping at the affected stations.

Next weekend, subways won’t be running on Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) between St. Clair West and Downsview stations due to signal upgrades.

Event road closures


Family Fun Fit, Kids of Steel Triathlon: The westbound lanes of Kingston Road from Danforth Avenue to Birchmount Road will be closed from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Dundas West Fest: Dundas Street from Lansdowne Avenue to Roxton Road will be closed from 8 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.

Ride to Conquer Cancer: The westbound lanes of Lake Shore Boulevard between Strachan Avenue and Windermere Avenue will be closed from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Lane closures will take also place in the area bounded by Burnhampthorpe Road, the West Mall, Kipling Avenue and Lake Shore.


Shoppers Run for Women: Queen’s Park Crescent East and Queen’s Park Crescent West, between College Street and Bloor Street West, will be closed from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Grosvenor Street will also be closed.

Portugal Day: Lansdowne Avenue will be closed from Bloor to College streets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Toronto Challenge Run: Wellington Street will be closed from John Street to University Avenue from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Road closures will also take place in the area bounded by Wellington, John, Wellesley and Bay streets.

Road work

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

CityNews spots capybara at High Park pond

CityNews | posted Friday, Jun 10th, 2016

A capybara that has eluded capture for more than two weeks was spotted Friday morning by our very own Breakfast Television cameraman Bertram Dandy.

One of the two missing capybaras was seen swimming at the south end of High Park, near The Queensway, and then clambering up a bank.

Dandy says he was just setting up his camera for a weather shot when he spotted the capybara right at his feet.

“She was right there! And she was ninja-still. It looked like a log,” Dandy said.

The two female capybaras escaped from their pen at the High Park Zoo on May 24, as zoo workers were moving a third capybara into the enclosure.

One of them was spotted on June 5, but was not captured. City staff said traps were set the next morning.

Capybaras are the world’s largest rodents. Fully grown, they can reach over four feet in height and can weigh as much as 140 pounds – they also look like large guinea pigs. They enjoy swimming and don’t like children.

The escape led to the nicknames Bonnie and Clyde (perhaps Thelma and Louise would have been better) for the pair, a parody Twitter account, an online video game, and joking comments from Mayor John Tory about forming a search party.

However, the zoo could be in real trouble, an animal welfare group told the CBC. A representative for ZooCheck said that the zoo could face charges under the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, especially given the zoo’s history.

This isn’t the first time an animal has run free from the High Park Zoo.

Almost exactly a year ago, the High Park Peacock escaped from the zoo and was on the loose in Toronto for days before returning home on its own.

In 2009, six animals – four llamas, one yak and one wallaby – escaped from the zoo after someone opened their enclosures.

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