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Blue Jays draw 3 million in attendance for first time since 1993

Shi Davidi | posted Wednesday, Sep 14th, 2016

TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays crossed the 3 million mark in attendance Tuesday night, a threshold they last reached in 1993. By the time all is said and done in 2016, they will have at least the sixth-best total gate in franchise history, with a shot at the fifth spot.

Getting there is no surprise – club president and CEO Mark Shapiro said they’re already at 3.3 million sold – but given the questions raised during some of the team’s lean years, lowlighted by the 1,495,482 drawn in 2010, there were doubts the numbers would ever be so high again.

“It’s a reflection of the intensity of the fan base,” Shapiro says of breaking three million. “For me, being here every night, it’s almost hard to appreciate it. You get a night like [Monday], where we’re under 40,000, and you almost note that more. But there’s also a constant reminder of how important it is to maintain that covenant, that it’s a two-way relationship, it’s not just the fans’ undying support, it’s for a team that plays the game a certain way, competes and contends at a certain level as well.

“So to me, I look at those things as fuel for our side of the covenant.”


The corresponding piece to the club side of the covenant is its payroll, and this off-season presents an important litmus test for the organization with longtime icons likeJose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion headed to free agency.

Fans will want to see the team spend money and bring both players back, especially given that last month the Blue Jays announced an average price increase of nine per cent on early-bird season-ticket renewals. On Tuesday, they announced a restructuring of their popular flex-pack packages in line with their move toward increase use of dynamic pricing.

As prices rise, people tend to expect a reciprocal investment in the roster.

“[Attendance] is a positive indicator on where we’ll be next year but that off-season planning process is not a simple process,” says Shapiro. “It’s a multi-pronged process that initially just involves internal meetings, meetings with player development, amateur and pro scouts, meeting with our major-league staff and then meeting with our front office to lay out a plan. And that plan, to me, would have a set of alternative payrolls and the implications involved with the types of teams those payrolls would support. Then it’s going and making a presentation to the ownership group here on what the implications are of different payroll levels, the projected revenue and collectively coming up with where we end up.”

Their payroll this year is believed to be creeping toward the $150 million range.


Known as the SkyDome back then, the Rogers Centre hosted its first baseball game on June 5, 1989, a marvel of its time with a first-of-its-kind retractable roof. Leaving dumpy and utilitarian Exhibition Stadium for the gleaming dome was like moving from a soiled refrigerator box to a mansion.

Now, however, Rogers Centre is the seventh oldest stadium in the majors and all the others – save for the decrepit Oakland Coliseum – have undergone substantial renovations. The Rogers Centre looks reasonably good for its age, though as a multipurpose facility it’s a relic of a bygone era, the ballpark game forever changed by the 1992 opening of retro-styled Camden Yards in Baltimore, a true gem to this day.

Either way, the dome needs an update, one that will “re-envision the building for the next 30 years,” according to Shapiro.

To that end, the Blue Jays have already “gone through initial presentations from a design firm to come up with concepts of where the greatest opportunities lie,” says Shapiro. They’ve done an “intensive” study of their fans, examined the dome’s infrastructure and the lifespan of its various systems and will eventually pick a design firm to work with.

At that point, explains Shapiro, “there will be a six-month process to go and look at trends, look at opportunities, understand how that fits into our marketplace and understand the building and where the greatest opportunities lie here.”

The infrastructure in place is relatively sound, Shapiro says, more so than one might think give the building’s age. Priorities include updating scoreboards and sound systems.

“Those are definitely things that’ll be addressed,” he says. “To me, the most important piece is looking at it comprehensively. What kind of views of the field do people have when they’re on the concourses? How wide are the concourses? Where are the opportunities to create spaces? There are a lot of spaces in the ballpark. How can we orient the stands to best take advantage of a baseball experience? Those are all questions that we have to ask and experts have to guide us through.”


Paul Beeston, Shapiro’s predecessor, often floated the idea of a natural grass field in time for the 2018 season. He approved the commissioning of a study by experts at the University of Guelph to determine what it would take to retrofit the dome so it could sustain a grass field.

The results so far?

“It’s an ongoing study and continues to be on the table,” says Shapiro.

What are the early indications?

“Just that we need to study it more to understand the precise implications of cost and building design.”

The departure of the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts to a refurbished BMO Field allowed the Blue Jays to install a dirt infield around the FieldTurf artificial playing surface in time for this year.

Given the bigger-picture possibilities in play, the current field may be what the stadium rolls with for years to come.


In 1991, the Blue Jays became the first big-league franchise to break the 4 million mark in attendance, drawing 4,001,526, then attracting 4,028,318 in 1992 and a team high 4,057,947 in ’93. That year, the expansion Colorado Rockies, playing at Mile High Stadium, attracted a big-league record 4,483,350 fans. The New York Yankees (four times, most recently in 2008) and New York Mets (once) are the only other franchises to break 4 million.

The Blue Jays entered Tuesday with their attendance at 2,988,267 and their gate of 38,338 against the Tampa Bay Rays pushed them to 3,026,605, the sixth-best total in team history. Depending on the final numbers for their final eight home games of the year go – Wednesday’s finale against the Rays and then four games with the Yankees and three against the Orioles to close out the home schedule – they may surpass the 3,375,883 drawn in 1989 for the franchise’s fifth-best total.

“I thought we crossed the threshold of how incredible the support and the fan base is earlier in the season, in contrast to what I’ve experienced [in Cleveland],” says Shapiro. “When you pull back and take a moment to reflect, the numbers are staggering. The support is overwhelming. Again, I would just reinforce that to me, it just fuels the desire and the need to continue to fulfil our end of the covenant.”

Blue Jays’ slow start to September continues with loss to Rays

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Sep 14th, 2016

TORONTO — Russell Martin couldn’t complain about Marcus Stroman‘s pitches on Tuesday night.

There was one he would have liked to have back, though.

With runners on first and second in the fifth inning, Stroman threw a 93 mile-per-hour two-seam fastball to Alexei Ramirez that the Tampa Bay shortstop hit over the wall to give the Rays a 3-0 lead. They never looked back en route to a 6-2 victory over the struggling Toronto Blue Jays.

“That’s really the story of the day, that one pitch,” Martin said.

“Just a two-seamer, maybe overthrown a little bit. … You could throw that pitch 9-out-of-10 times and maybe get more sink on it, get a ground ball and we’re out of the inning. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case right there.”

Steven Souza Jr., also homered for the Rays (61-83), Logan Forsythe had an RBI andDrew Smyly (7-11) went 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits with one walk and four strikeouts to hand Toronto it’s eighth loss in 11 games.

The Blue Jays opened their September schedule by losing three consecutive series for the first time this season, slipping down the AL East standings in the process. They could lose a fourth straight series with a defeat in Wednesday afternoon’s finale.

Toronto and Baltimore are tied for the first AL wild card after the Orioles beat Boston 6-3 on Tuesday. Both clubs are two games back of the Red Sox for top spot in the division.

Stroman knows things need to change if the Blue Jays want to make the post-season for a second straight year.

“My stuff feels great, but we’re in September and we’re at the point where we need to be getting wins so it’s frustrating,” he said. “We need to start winning games here.

“The whole morale of the team is confident, we just have to go out there and do it.”

Stroman (9-8) allowed three runs on four hits with four strikeouts and four walks over six innings. The outing snapped his streak of 12 consecutive starts with two walks or less.

“I didn’t really think it was an issue,” Martin said of the Stroman’s four free passes. “I thought he threw the ball well. I don’t really care what the stats say. The ball’s coming out good. Sinker was good, four-seamer was good, cutter was good. He’s throwing the ball well. I’m not going to try and find a reason.”

Martin hit a two-run homer for the Blue Jays (79-65), his 18th of the season, in the sixth inning, and Devon Travis had a single in the seventh to extend his hit streak to a season-high 10 games.

Tampa responded to Martin’s homer with Souza Jr.’s in the top of the seventh. His 17th homer of the season — a solo shot to left-centre field — came off reliever Joe Biagini, who hadn’t allowed a home run in his first 49 appearances. He has given up three in his last four.

The Rays added two more runs in the ninth. Forsythe scored Dickerson from third with a force out off Scott Feldman and Souza Jr., scored on a wild pitch from Aaron Loup.

Tampa, at 10-8, clinched its eighth winning season versus Toronto in the last nine years.

“We sit back and wonder. I mean, that’s one of the best ball clubs in the league and we always play them tough,” Souza Jr., said. “If we could harness that and play the rest of the league like that, we’d be a pretty god ball club.”

The Blue Jays left seven men on base, including a bases-loaded situation in the seventh that ended with an Edwin Encarnacion strikeout by Danny Farquhar.

All-star third baseman Josh Donaldson sat out a second straight game with a hip injury. Manager John Gibbons said Donaldson jarred his right hip while running to first base in Sunday’s loss to Boston.

The Rogers Centre, which hosted 38,338 for Tuesday’s game, surpassed 3 million fans on the season for the first time since 1993 when Toronto last won a World Series and the stadium was still called SkyDome.

NOTES: Damian Warner of London, Ont., the Olympic bronze medallist in decathlon in Rio, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Canadian outfielder Dalton Pompey. … Smyly hasn’t lost a game since July 18 at Colorado, his first start after the all-star break.

‘No one is going to be untouched:’ Doug Ford about tell-all book

The Canadian Press and News staff | posted Tuesday, Sep 13th, 2016

Doug Ford, the brother of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, has announced a tell-all book which he says will bring the public the story of ‘Ford Nation.’

The announcement on Tuesday followed speculation on social media that the former Toronto city councillor would declare his intention to join the race for the federal Conservative party leadership.

Ford, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2014 after his brother dropped out following a cancer diagnosis, said he would be “running politically” within a year but did not go into specifics.

The former councillor said the book, which was penned by both himself and his brother, Rob, who died in March of this year, will “rock” the political and media worlds.

HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. has acquired rights to the book. ‘Ford Nation: Two Brothers, One Vision – The True Story of the People’s Mayor’ will be published on Nov. 22.

He said the public has heard the critics’ and “the media story” about Rob Ford for years, but the book will reveal “the untold story” about the politician and his family.

“This is in Rob’s words, my words, his wife Renata’s words, my mother, Michael, some of the trials and tribulations … it’s going to be our story,” Ford said at a news conference outside his mother’s home on Tuesday.

“It’s going to be the true story of the people’s mayor.”

Ford warned the media who covered his brother Rob will be named in the book and they won’t hold back.

“No one is going to be untouched in this book,” he said.

“It’s no holds barred with the media, you’re going to be named in here. There is no politician safe in this country when this comes out from the Prime Minister to the premier to the mayor.”

“Boy, it’s going to be an eyeopener.”

When asked who will be named in the book, Ford said to “stay tuned for Nov. 22.”

Ford not only took aim with the media but also politicians like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

“Justin Trudeau is not qualified to be prime minister,” he said. “I sure wouldn’t have a part-time drama teacher and camp counsellor running my company or running my finances.”

All proceeds from the book will go towards various charities that the family supports, Ford said.

Two men missing from Queen and Ossington area

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Sep 13th, 2016

Toronto police are searching for two men who were last seen near Queen Street and Ossington Avenue.

Robert Bate, 38, was last seen on Friday.

Bate is white, six-feet tall and 180 pounds. He has brown eyes and short brown hair. He has grown a full beard since this picture was taken, police warn.

Police warn he is considered violent and dangerous, and should not be approached.

Vo Quang Thai, 53, was last seen on Sept. 11, 2016. HANDOUT/Toronto Police Service
Vo Quang Thai, 53, was last seen on Sept. 11, 2016. HANDOUT/Toronto Police Service


Vo Quang Thai, 53, was last seen on Sunday.

He is five-feet-four-inches tall and 100 pounds. He has grey hair and was last seen wearing blue jeans, a grey sweater and a plaid long-sleeved shirt.

Police are concerned for his safety and are advising people not to approach him.

Anyone with information on either man is asked to contact police.

Man dead in stabbing near York University

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Sep 13th, 2016

One man is dead and police are searching for the suspect after a stabbing near York University.

It happened on Boake Street, near The Pond and Sentinel roads, around 1 a.m. on Tuesday.

Toronto police said two men got into a fight, and one man stabbed the other.

Paramedics took the victim to hospital, where he as pronounced dead.

Police are investigating.

Toronto police are investigating after a man was fatally stabbed on Boake Street on Sept. 13, 2016. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy
Toronto police are investigating after a man was fatally stabbed on Boake Street on Sept. 13, 2016. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy

Review: iPhone 7 feels very different from previous versions

Mike Yawney | posted Tuesday, Sep 13th, 2016

Secrets are getting harder and harder to keep, especially when it comes to Apple announcements.

We knew the new iPhones would have pressure-sensitive home buttons, we were given glimpses of what turned out to be the twin cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus, and we even heard rumblings about the removal of the headphone jack. So many of the features within Apple’s latest iPhone didn’t come as a big surprise when the announcement finally hit.

But even the leaks couldn’t spoil just how different the iPhone 7 feels from any previous iPhone release.


With a quick glance, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between Apple’s iPhone 7 and last year’s model, the iPhone 6s. The phones have the exact same dimensions, the same button layout, and the same beautifully rounded edges that feel so nice in your hand. It’s not until you take a closer look that you’ll start to see the subtle changes Apple has made.

Apple has redesigned the outer shell to hide the antennas. The iPhone 6s had them running along the back side of the phone. On the iPhone 7, you’ll find them running along the upper and lower edges. In fact, if you splurge for the newer Jet Black model, you will be hard pressed to even see them. They blend right in.

Along the bottom of the phone you’ll find speaker holes on both sides of the Lightning port. Yes, the headphone jack has been removed. We’ll discuss that in greatest detail a bit further in the review.

So if the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have the same dimensions as last year’s model you would think you would be able to use your old case. Not so fast. We can thank the newly updated camera for that. The rear camera is slightly larger and is repositioned slightly lower (to make room for the image stabilization motor inside). This means the camera will not align itself with the camera hole in last year’s cases. Sorry, but a new case will be needed if you want extra protection.

The cameras on the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus
The cameras on the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus


New Colours

Apple has introduced a couple of new colours for the iPhone 7. Apple’s new Black has a beautiful matte metallic finish, and has quickly become a favourite of mine. If you like Space Grey, you’ll love Black.

Jet Black appears to be this year’s Rose Gold. This black model has a high gloss finish, similar to what you would find on piano. Stunning yes, but also a magnet for fingerprints and a bit slippery.

If you want to preserve that high gloss finish on the Jet Black model you will need to invest in a case. Apple has posted a note on its website that the Jet Black models can show micro-abrasions over time. Within two days I put a big ol’ scratch on the back of my Jet Black review unit, and yet I have no idea as to how it got there. Take it from me, it doesn’t take much to ruin this stunning finish.

The Screen

The Retina HD display still looks amazing with it 326 ppi resolution. It’s impossible to pick out individual pixels which makes reading email, and browsing the web easy on the eyes. For me, this is an important quality as I spend so much time on my smartphones throughout the day.

Apple claims the screen on the iPhone 7 is 25 per cent brighter than the iPhone 6. It’s bright, there’s no denying that. Will you see a big difference here? I thought the iPhone 6s was bright to begin with so the difference may not be as apparent as you may think.

The biggest change in the screen comes with the introduction of wide colour display. This is the first iPhone to utilize the same colour space as the digital cinema industry. So what does that mean? You now get a more true representation of real world colours on the screen.

You can see the difference while surfing the web. Certain images and tones will appear much more vibrant on the iPhone 7’s screen than on previous models. In fact, some colour tones didn’t even register on my iPhone 6s. It’s important to note, you probably wouldn’t notice this upgrade unless you held your new iPhone next to an older model, or a smartphone that did not support wide colour.

Instagram has announced it will be one of the first apps to take advantage of the iPhone 7’s wide colour display. It will be updating its filters to allow for brighter more vivid colours within the next few weeks.

The iPhone 7 home button
The iPhone 7 home button


The Home Button

This is without a doubt the one design change many will have the most trouble getting used to!

Previous iPhones had a physical home button which could be pressed to exit apps and return to the home screen. While the “button” is still there, it doesn’t physically move any more. It has been replaced with a solid-state button, which simply needs a bit of force to activate.

When you press down on the new home button you feel a tiny vibration, known as haptic feedback. This simply lets you know the iPhone has received the command. You can set the strength of the vibration when you initially set up your iPhone. You choose between three intensities. This can be adjusted in the settings afterwards.

It’s so strange to hit a button and not feel any physical give. If you’ve ever played game on your iPhone which places game controls on the screen you’ll know what I’m talking about. Pressing the picture of a button on the screen doesn’t give you the same satisfaction of pressing a physical button on a controller.

The vibration you feel when you push down on the home button certainly helps give you the sensation that it is actually “clicking” but it feels different. It’s a simulated click. The change is most noticeable when you have to double tap the button. The quick movement feels a bit awkward.

It took me a long time to get used to the change. A week in and I’m still wrestling with the sensation, although I’m sure it will become second nature over time.

Apple says the home button is pressure sensitive, meaning the button can detect how hard you press it. Right now it’s only being used in its simplest form, but future iOS updates could take advantage of it’s pressure sensitivity where different things can happen depending on how hard you press.

On a positive note the new home button is lightning quick when it comes to unlocking our iPhone. It recognizes your fingerprint instantaneously! Over the past week I have yet for it to ask me to try and unlock twice. It always worked the first time.


Both the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus feature Apple’s latest chip, the A10 Fusion. Apple calls it the most powerful chip ever in a smartphone. Specs alone put the processor up to 40 per cent faster than the iPhone 6s, and up to two times faster than the iPhone 6. Graphic-wise you’re looking at 50 per cent faster than the iPhone 6s’ A9 chip with up to three times faster graphics performance than the Phone 6.

Without getting too technical, the A10 fusion contains four cores. Two cores focus on high performance and two focus on high efficiency. A performance controller is able to determine in real time which processors should be running for the right blend of performance and power consumption.

Geek speak aside, you simply need to know the new iPhone 7 is quick! There is certainly no delay or lag on any of the apps found the App store, not that I was expecting there to be as I didn’t really experience any issues with my iPhone 6s either. The true test will come when apps are released that truly make use of the new processor.

One thing I can point it is my iPhone 7 runs cooler than my older iPhone 6s. My previous iPhone would heat up after streaming video through Facebook Live or Periscope. The iPhone 7 was able to maintain its cool, which shows the processor is not working nearly as hard.

The iPhone 7 is water resistant
The iPhone 7 is water resistant


Water Resistant

It baffles to me as why Apple waited this long to introduce a feature that has been on other smartphones for some time. Yet here it is. Finally, an iPhone that can stand up to water!

Both the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus are rated IP67, which means both are dust and water resistant. The phones can withstand depths of one meter for up to 30 minutes.

I cringed as I brought my iPhone7 near a sink full of water. My brain screamed “no” as the edges started to submerge into the cool depths. And yet a part of me felt satisfied. Finally, I can take my iPhone near a pool and snap photos without fear of getting splashed. I can jog outside and not worry that I might get caught in the rain. I can leave my iPhone out on the table at a restaurant and not worry about the waiter spilling water on it. This is the feature I have been waiting for!

My phone survived the dip test, but there is something I need to point out. The iPhone 7 is water-resistant…not waterproof. Apple doesn’t intend for you to go swimming with it. In fact, careful inspection of Apple’s footnotes on its website states liquid damage is not covered on the warranty. You’ve been warned!

Shomi playing on an iPhone 7
Shomi playing on an iPhone 7


Dual Speakers

I am a headphone kind of guy. If I’m watching a movie or video on my iPhone I will also use headphones. It just sounds better! The iPhone 7 may change that for me as it now features true stereo sound.

The tiny earpiece at the top of the phone that you use to listen to phone conversations on now doubles as a speaker when you play videos and games on your iPhone 7. What a difference it makes! YouTube videos, games, even songs sounds deeper and richer, with a surprising level of bass. The additional speakers also means twice the volume.

If you own an iPad Pro you will know exactly what I’m talking about. The experience is very similar, although the iPad Pro sports four distinct speakers rather than three.

The Missing Headphone Jack

Here is where the controversy lies in Apple’s latest smartphone…the headphone jack. Or more accurately the removal of the headphone jack.

Why did Apple remove it? Most people seem to be stuck on what Apple’s Phil Schiller said during the iPhone 7 unveiling, stating that it comes down to “courage” to move on and try something new. There’s more to this decision.

Headphone jacks take up space. Instead of making the iPhone 7 larger to include new hardware features, Apple chose to simply remove a technology that has been around for more than 50 years.

The removal of the headphone jack made room for a couple of new things. Apple introduced an improved Taptic motor, which sends out tiny vibrations or pulses while using the new home button, or 3D Touch. It also made way to include image stabilization to the cameras, which uses a tiny motor around the lens to counteract against both vibration and shaky hand movement in photos and videos. Up until this point the feature was only included in the larger iPhone Plus models.

Another reason is to increase water resistance. Headphones jacks are an obvious entry point for water once submerged. By removing the jack, Apple can better protect the phone from potential water damage.

Is the removal of the headphone jack a big deal? For some it may be. But after using the device for nearly a week I can tell you it’s being blown a bit out of proportion.

The iPhone 7 headphone adapter
The iPhone 7 headphone adapter


You have a number of options when it comes to listening to audio on your iPhone 7. You can purchase newer headphones which connect via Apple’s Lightning connector (Apple includes a set 0f Lightning earbuds in the box), use bluetooth headphones, or use the special Lightning adaptor Apple has included in the box to use your existing wired headphones.

I know what you’re thinking … another adaptor that’s small and easy to lose. True, it is small, and you could lose it, but considering it will retail for around $10, you could, in theory, buy a couple, stick them on your headphones and leave them there. An adapter for each set of headphones.

During my time with the iPhone 7 I mostly used the Lightning adapter. However I also had the chance to try out Apple’s new AirPods. I was quite surprised at how good they sounded! More on that in the near future.

Apple's new AirPod headphones
Apple’s new AirPod headphones


One issue you may run into is when you want to charge your iPhone while listening to music. Since the adapter takes up the one and only Lightning port on the iPhone, you are not able to charge it while listening to music. Companies like Belkin have already announced adapters with two Lightning ports that will allow for headphones and charging at the same time, but Apple has yet to offer an out-of-the-box solution.


Each and every generation of iPhone has come with an improvement in the cameras and this round is no different. The camera system has undergone a complete overhaul.

The front FaceTime HD camera has been upgraded to a 7MP, giving not only better image quality, but built-in image stabilization for sharper selfies and a better FaceTime experience. Meanwhile the rear camera remains at 12MP. Don’t let that fool you. It too sees an overall improvement.

The rear camera now utilizes a larger f/1.8 aperture with updated lens. This allows for 50 per cent more light to hit the new high-speed sensor inside. The result is brighter, more vivid photos and videos.

I took a number of photos on the iPhone 6s and compared them to photos I snapped on the iPhone 7. You can see for yourself the difference. Reds appeared to take on almost purple tone on the older iPhone 6s, while they remained true to life on the iPhone 7.


iPhone Compare Pic tomato 1
Photo of tomatoes taken with an iPhone 6s, CITYNEWS/Mike Yawney


iPhone Compare Pic tomato 2
Photo of tomatoes taken with an iPhone 7, CITYNEWS/Mike Yawney


Orange is another colour which really shows the strength of the new camera system. Brighter oranges tend to wash out on the iPhone 6s, while they remained bold and vibrant on the iPhone 7.


iPhone Compare Pic Orange Bucket 1
Photo of an orange bucket taken with an iPhone 6s, CITYNEWS/Mike Yawney


iPhone Compare Pic Orange Bucket 2
Photo of an orange bucket taken with an iPhone 7, CITYNEWS/Mike Yawney


Even in low light conditions the iPhone 7 outperformed the iPhone 6s when it came to colour reproduction. These photos not only show a more accurate green, but the lighting is more distinct on the iPhone 7, and not blown out as much as the iPhone 6s.

iPhone Compare Pic low light 1
A photo taken in low light with the iPhone 6, CITYNEWS/Mike Yawney


iPhone Compare Pic low light 2
A photo taken in low light with the iPhone 7, CITYNEWS/Mike Yawney


Even flesh tones come out more natural on the iPhone 7. The pictures below were taken in direct sunlight. The iPhone 7 photos shows a bit more rosy colour on the face, which is accurate. The wind was howling cold (snow falling not too far away in the mountains on this day).


iPhone Compare Pic Face 1
A photo of a child in bright light taken with the iPhone 6s, CITYNEWS/Mike Yawney


iPhone Compare Pic Face 2
A photo of a child in bright light taken with the iPhone 7, CITYNEWS/Mike Yawney


The iPhone 7 has another trick up its sleeve. It’s the first iPhone to utilize two rear cameras. One is a wide angle camera while the other is telephoto.

iPhone Photo 8
The two cameras on the iPhone 7


The biggest benefit of having two cameras is improved zoom. The lens on the iPhone doesn’t move, so in order to zoom, the phone uses digital zoom, or software, to enlarge photos. This often results in grainy photos.

When you zoom on the iPhone 7 Plus, it uses data from both cameras to create an image. You can use optical zoom up to 2X, and digital zoom up to 10X, twice the range of any other iPhone. The end result is better image quality.

Below you can see examples of the zoom on the iPhone 7 Plus. The first photo shows trees in the distance while the second photo shows one of those trees using 10X zoom.


A photo of a home with trees, CITYNEWS/Mike Yawney
A photo of a home with trees taken in the iPhone 7, CITYNEWS/Mike Yawney


A zoom in on the trees using the iPhone 7, CITYNEWS/Mike Yawney
A zoom in on the trees using the iPhone 7, CITYNEWS/Mike Yawney


Battery Life

This is always a tough one to measure. I use my phone all day. I begin at 3 a.m. (the joys of working on a morning television show) and continue to use my iPhone until I head to bed around 9 p.m. I check email, post pictures and video to social media, stream live video and surf the web. I would be referred to as a power-user, and I go through batteries like you wouldn’t believe.

Apple claims the iPhone 7 will give you two additional hours of usage compared to previous models. Like any previous iPhone, the battery never lasted a full day for me. My continuous use would eat it down to around 10 per cent within eight or nine hours. Keep in mind…I use it A LOT. I also like to keep the screen brightness fairly high, which adds to the problem.

For me, a smart battery case is still the best way to use the new iPhones, but it really does depend on just how much you use them. For most people the battery will last long enough but, if you’re a power user like me, be prepared to plug them in at least once during the day to sneak some extra juice.


With change comes controversy, and there is no doubt Apple’s latest iPhone will bring plenty of that. Some will complain about needing a new case, others will dislike the new home button, and of course you know people will gripe about the lack of a headphone jack.

There is an adjustment period with the iPhone 7, there is no denying that. It feels very different from previous versions. It’s also screaming fast, water-resistant, and has one of the best cameras on any smartphone currently available. Add in the new features from iOS 10 and you’ll be surprised at just how different this iPhone really feels.

Is the iPhone 7 for you? If you resist change, then it may not be. But for those who are willing to try something new, and adapt to new technology without looking back, you’ll be more than pleased with the iPhone 7.

Two women shot in North York

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Sep 13th, 2016

Toronto police are investigating after two women were shot in North York on Monday night.

Emergency were called to Islington Avenue south of Steeles Avenue around 11:50 p.m.

One woman had been shot in the hip and the other was shot in the thigh. Their injuries are serious, but not life-threatening. Paramedics took both women to hospital, where they are recovering.

No arrests have been made.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police.

Liberals promise to remove Ontario portion of HST from hydro bills

Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Sep 13th, 2016

It will cost Ontario taxpayers $1 billion a year to subsidize electricity ratepayers under a Liberal government initiative to remove the provincial portion of the harmonized sales tax from hydro bills.

The Liberals announced the plan in Monday’s throne speech opening the fall session of the legislature, saying Ontario’s eight-per-cent slice of the HST would be taken off electricity bills starting in January, and promising additional relief for rural ratepayers.

“I think it’s important to recognize that we’re doing something for our remote, rural and northern (electricity) customers as well,” said Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault. “They’re going to be saving about 20 per cent on all of their bills.”

The government said the HST reduction will save the typical Ontario household about $130 a year, and projected additional savings of about $540 a year for some rural electricity customers.

It was just nine months ago that Ontario scrapped the Clean Energy Benefit, which provided a 10-per-cent reduction on all parts of electricity bills, including the HST. That program also saved ratepayers just over $130 a year and cost about $1 billion.

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The Canadian Taxpayers Federation said Premier Kathleen Wynne was basically trying to bribe Ontarians with their own money and called it a “cynical” move.

“Our electricity bills grow at an average of eight per cent a year, so if we have a reduction of eight per cent in 2017, what’s going to happen in the next year when they don’t have an HST to cut,” asked CTF Ontario spokeswoman Christine Van Geyn.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said it was the Liberals who put the HST on electricity bills in the first place, and she wonders how long their rebate plan will stay in place.

“Six years later the premier says she’ll rebate the HST, but people have to wait four more months,” said Horwath. “That raises a lot of questions about how long this rebate’s going to last and how it will work.”

Other initiatives in the throne speech include a commitment to create an additional 100,000 licensed child care spaces for kids aged four and under over five years, starting in 2017.

“We’re investing in our child care and we’re doing it by setting aside between $600 to $750 million in terms of operating costs, and setting aside $1-to-$3 billion in capital funds to make sure we deliver on our promise,” said Indira Naidoo-Harris, the associate minister of education.

The government also promised to put a new emphasis on math skills after half of all Grade 6 students failed to meet the provincial math standard this year, continuing a steady decline in test scores over the past five years.

The throne speech was triggered by Wynne’s surprise move last week to prorogue the legislature, saying the government wanted to reset its priorities halfway through its mandate — with the next election less than two years away.

Wynne had indicated the government would offer some way to mitigate hydro costs for consumers after the Liberals lost a long-held Toronto riding to the Tories in a Sept. 1 byelection.

Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk has said the electricity portion of hydro bills for homes and small businesses rose 70 per cent between 2006 and 2014.

The opposition parties have been on the attack over rising electricity bills, demanding the Liberals stop selling any more shares in Hydro One, the province’s transmission utility.

The Liberals say hydro rates increased because Ontario stopped burning coal to generate electricity and because they invested heavily in transmission grid upgrades after years of neglect.

The Progressive Conservatives say rates were driven up higher than necessary by the Liberals’ generous, long-term contracts for wind and solar power, while the Green party blames expensive nuclear refurbishments for adding to hydro bills.

The Tories began the sitting on a high note with the swearing-in Monday of their newest member, Raymond Cho, who took Scarborough-Rouge River from the Liberals, giving the Tories a much-sought after seat in Toronto.

The throne speech also repeats the Liberals’ plan to introduce a cap-and-trade system in January, which the government predicts will add about $5 a month to home heating bills and about four-cents-a-litre to the price of gasoline.

“Cap-and-trade proceeds will be transparently invested in greenhouse gas reduction projects and incentives that will help Ontario households and businesses further reduce emissions,” said an advance text of the speech to be read by Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell.

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