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Man shot in downtown hotel lobby

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Feb 21st, 2017

A man in his 20s has been rushed to hospital after a shooting at a downtown hotel.

Shots rang out at the Chelsea Hotel, near Yonge and Gerrard streets, around 10 p.m. on Monday.

Witnesses told CityNews there was an altercation in the lobby, and police later confirmed that’s where the shooting happened.

However, it’s not known if the man who was shot was the intended target, or a bystander.

His injuries are considered serious but not life-threatening.

There has been no word on suspects.

Police are canvassing the area and appealing to witnesses to come forward with any information.

Several snakes, including poisonous breeds, stolen from Ontario home

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Feb 21st, 2017

Niagara Region police are hunting for a number of venomous snakes.

A home near Hansler Road and Highway 20 in Thorold was broken into on Saturday evening, and the reptiles were stolen, police said.

The stolen snakes include several juvenile cobra species, rattlesnakes, adders and vipers, and a pregnant albino boa.

The snakes range in size from 12 to 106 centimetres while the non-venomous pregnant boa is 200 centimetres long and weighs about seven kilograms.

Police caution that a cobra’s venom contains neurotoxins that can cause respiratory failure and, eventually, death, and that even baby cobras have full strength venom and can defend themselves just like their parents.

Police say the snakes were being bred in the home for e-commerce and believe the residence was targeted.

Bizarre items that have been offered for sale on eBay

CityNews | posted Friday, Feb 17th, 2017

Police are investigating the online sale of two decommissioned, pre-amalgamation Metropolitan Toronto Police badges on eBay. Here’s a list of some bizarre items that have been up for sale on the e-commerce site.


Rob Ford’s ‘crack’ tie sells for $1,445 at online auction

Bieber’s sneaker sale on eBay hits snafu: buyer forgot to ask mom if it’s OK


Star Trek Apartment Up For Sale On eBay

Woman Puts Her Virginity Up For Auction On The Internet

Outraged Woman Sells Pic Of Underwear From Cheating Husband’s ‘Tart’ On eBay

Justin Trudeau’s 2013 ‘Just watch me’ note fetches $12,000 on eBay

‘Broke’ Ashley MacIsaac Sells Half Of Future Music Earnings On eBay

Baby Boy Taken Away After Mom Offers Him For Sale On eBay

Man Selling Life On eBay Off To Amazing Start

You’ll have ‘fun, fun, fun’ this Family Day long weekend

Patricia D'Cunha and Samantha Knight | posted Friday, Feb 17th, 2017

Family Day is not just for families. It’s a well-deserved long weekend — the last break we had was over the Christmas holidays and the next long weekend is Easter.

If you are looking for something to do this weekend, there are plenty of things happening across the GTA to entertain just about everyone. The City of Toronto is also offering free outdoor and indoor activities. Click here for a full list.

What’s open and closed on Family Day


  • Most tourist attractions and museums: Art Gallery of Ontario (10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.), Royal Ontario Museum (10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.), CN Tower (9 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.), Casa Loma (9:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.), the Toronto Zoo (9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.), and Hockey Hall of Fame (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
  • TTC runs on a holiday schedule and GO Transit operates on a Saturday schedule
  • Some malls: Bramalea City Centre (11 a.m. – 6 p.m.), Eaton Centre (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.), Pacific Mall (11 a.m. – 8 p.m.), Promenade (11 a.m. – 6 p.m.), Square One (11 a.m. – 6 p.m.), Vaughan Mills (10 a.m. – 7 p.m.), and Toronto Premium Outlets (9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.)
  • Some grocery stores, but call ahead for hours
  • Most city-run ice rinks and arenas
  • Federal government offices; mail will be delivered


  • LCBO and Beer Stores
  • Municipal buildings and banks
  • Schools and public libraries
  • Post offices located in closed retail outlets

Family Day events

Accessible fun in Whitby
Enjoy wheelchair basketball, sledge hockey and other fun activities at the Abilities Centre in Whitby – a 125,000-square-foot facility that allows people of all strengths to be themselves. Click here for a list of activities.

Art for kids
The Art Gallery of Ontario is not just home to some of the best art in the world. It is also a place where kids can let their imagination run wild.

Children dancing at the Art Gallery of Ontario. AGO













Children can make kites and paper sailboats, build cities and forts, take part in interactive skipping, or watch a short film written by two seven-year-olds. The fun takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free for children five and under.

Celebrate the world at ROM
The world awaits your family at the Royal Ontario Museum this Family Day long weekend.

Asafo flag artists will be on hand to show you how to make your own flag. Asafo are traditional warrior groups in Ghana’s Akan culture. You can also test your creative skills by adding hues to the flags on a giant colouring wall.

In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, you can also share a video of what Canada means, as part of a contest.

A Canadian flag blows in front of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Oct. 24, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick














As part of the Lunar New Year, there will also be traditional Chinese arts and crafts, a traditional lion dance, Chinese calligraphy workshops, and fortune telling.

To top it all off, watch performances by Opera Atelier that include Renaissance and Baroque court dances, 19th-century character dances, Spanish Sevillanas, an early Romantic ballet and a French Baroque aria.

Family Paint Day
What could be more fun than painting with your family on Family Day? There may be some squabbles every now and then, but collaboration is all part of the process.

The Paint Lounge has three sessions to choose from, each at a cost of $50 (plus HST) per family for a 24″ x 30″ canvas. Registration is required.

Family Day Weekend at the Toronto Zoo
Celebrate families of all shapes and sizes at the Toronto Zoo this Family Day weekend.

The zoo is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily and guests can meet Canada’s only giant panda cubs, Jia Yueyue and Jia Panpan. The zoo offers over 10 kilometres of walking trails and five indoor tropical pavilions, along with daily animal keeper talks.

One of the giant pandas at the Toronto Zoo balancing on a pumpkin. TWITTER/@TheTorontoZoo














Also on this weekend is “Connecting with Wildlife Conservation – Big and Small Wild Families,” where kids and adults can visit interpretive stations at the Tundra Trek (polar bear), African Rainforest and Indomalaya pavilions.

Beauty and the Beast Exhibit at Casa Loma
Casa Loma is bringing a whole new meaning to “be our guest” this Family Day weekend, with its unique Beauty and the Beast exhibit.

Visitors to the castle will have an exclusive opportunity to see nine costumes from the upcoming “Beauty and the Beast” film. The event also includes themed activities and special performances throughout the weekend.

Access to the exhibit is included with general admission. It runs from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday through Monday. The live-action adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast” hits theatres on March 17.

Other events

Canadian International AutoShow
Car buffs will be taking over the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for the Canadian International AutoShow’s 10-day stint.

Canadian International Autoshow Media Preview Day at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto on Feb. 16, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Dominic Chan
















The event is considered the biggest and best consumer show in Canada, with over 300,000 visitors each year in a 650,000-square-foot facility.

This year’s highlights include Auto Exotica, the new Hyundai Accent, the Aston Martin concept hypercar and a celebration of 50 years of Grand Prix in Canada.

The show is held in the north and south buildings of the convention centre. It wraps up on Feb. 26.

DJ Skate Nights: 1 Love T.O. 10th Anniversary Party
Lace up your skates for the final DJ Skate Night of 2017. This Saturday’s event celebrates the 10th anniversary of 1 Love T.O., a movement that aims to be a unifying voice within the city.

Guests will skate to funk, hip-hop, R&B and house. Mr. 1 Love T.O. – Tyrone “T-Rex” Edwards – will host. The party goes from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Toronto police launch investigation into badges for sale on eBay

Adrian Ghobrial | posted Friday, Feb 17th, 2017

Toronto police launched an investigation Thursday into two decommissioned, pre-amalgamation Metropolitan Toronto Police badges that had been up for sale on eBay.

EBay took the pages taken down later in the day, as police were investigating how they ended up online and who was trying to sell them.

The seller’s name is northernboy50, and the items were said to be in Sudbury.

When CityNews showed Chief Mark Saunders the items for sale on eBay, he was both surprised and concerned. And TPS spokesman Mark Pugash added personating a peace officer is a serious crime.

“What concerns us is if somebody tries to use a badge who is not an officer or no longer an officer, then you’re getting into significant criminal liability, and that’s the major concern,” he said.

Before the pages were taken down, a man said he was trying to buy the items so he could turn them in to Toronto police.

“I think it’s a dangerous item in the wrong people’s hands,” said the man, who wanted to remain anonymous.

“Somebody earned that badge and I think it should be respected as that.”

When officers retire from the force, they are supposed to turn in their badge.

Pugash said he has seen items that are “much less credible” than the badges for sale eBay, but CityNews has not been able to confirm their authenticity.

One of the items is an auxiliary badge complete with badge number; the second is a deputy chief badge.

Metropolitan Toronto Police badges for sale on eBay. EBAY


A York Regional Police badge was also among the items offered by the same seller.

EBay has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Stuart McLean, host of CBC Radio’s ‘Vinyl Cafe,’ has died

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Feb 16th, 2017

Stuart McLean, a bestselling author, journalist and humorist who entertained millions as host of the popular CBC Radio program “The Vinyl Cafe,” has died. He was 68.

His death was confirmed by the CBC.

“We were deeply saddened to learn that Stuart McLean passed away earlier today. Stuart was an exceptional storyteller who has left an indelible mark on CBC Radio and countless communities across Canada,” reads a statement from Susan Marjetti, executive director of radio and audio for CBC English Services.

In December, McLean announced he was suspending the long-running program to focus on treatment for melanoma, which he was diagnosed with in late 2015. He said his first round of immunotherapy treatment that winter was not completely successful and he needed to undergo another round this year.

The “Vinyl Cafe” radio show, which featured a mix of stories, essays and musical performances, was spun-off into bestselling books and became a touring production in 2008. The show’s stories centred on Dave, the owner of a second-hand record store, and also featured Dave’s wife, Morley, their two children, Sam and Stephanie, and various friends and neighbours.

“Every week for 22 years, Stuart connected with his listeners in a way that few before him have. His Dave and Morley stories were as entertaining as they were enlightening; they made us pause, reflect, but most of all laugh along together,” said Marjetti.

McLean had been upbeat about his cancer setback and told fans in an online message posted in December that he expected to return to work.

“I don’t want you to worry about me. A year ago I told you that I expected this to be just a bump in the road, not the end of the road. I still believe that to be true. I hope we will meet up again — on the radio or in theatres. We’ll make sure to tell you before that happens,” McLean wrote.

“In the meantime, look after yourselves and each other. And know that this isn’t goodbye. It’s just … so long for now.”

The CBC said a public tribute would be announced at a later date.

McLean was an officer of the Order of Canada and a professor emeritus at Ryerson University in Toronto.

Metrolinx considers fare by distance for GTHA transit users

Faiza Amin | posted Thursday, Feb 16th, 2017

Millions of transit users commuting across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area could soon find themselves paying their fare based on how far they travel.

In developing a new integrated fare system, Metrolinx is now considering a fare by distance model, where passengers would be paying based on the distance traveled through regional, local and rapid transit. This would include passengers commuting on 10 municipal transit agencies, on subways, streetcars, buses, and GO Transit.

“We’ve been studying travel patterns throughout the GTHA,” Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins explained. “Where people go, how long their trips are, how much do they pay, and looking at jurisdictions around the world, many of whom use fare by distance model.”

This latest model was announced in a public report on Tuesday, and is one of four models the transit agency is currently considering.

The first concept would include a discounted or free cross-boundary fare for riders who need to transfer.

The second model is based on geography — where shorter trips on local transit would be priced lower, depending on how many zones are crossed.

The third is a hybrid concept that would have different fares depending on the mode of transportation. A wide flat fare would be applied for local transportation, such as buses, while rapid transit, such as subways, LRT and Go Transit, would have a fare based on distance.

These models were developed after the Ministry of Transportation penned a letter this past September asking that the transit authority implement a fare integration.

Metrolinx said more than 55,000 riders currently pay two fares for one trip, which, according to the transit authority, discourages transit use.

According to the report, the fare by distance model is highly favoured, because it provides the greatest consistency in fares and would increase ridership due to the lower cost for short trips.

“The ideal way that fare integration would work throughout the GTHA is that we would all have the same policies,”Aikins said. “That’s what we’re working towards, it’s a huge challenge, when you’re working with so many different agencies.”

The decision on which model to adopt will be made along with the ten transit agencies.

“The TTC has been working closely with Metrolinx and all of the other GTHA transit agencies on fare integration concepts. We look forward to continuing with them,” TTC spokesperson Brad Ross said in a statement to CityNews.

“The TTC board would decide, ultimately, if the TTC fare structure is going to change.”

A board meeting is set to discuss the options on Friday.

Metrolinx will send a final proposal to the province by the end of year.

There’s no timeline yet as to when we could see a fare system put in place.

City council approves property tax hike

CityNews | posted Thursday, Feb 16th, 2017

Toronto homeowners will be paying more this year after city council voted 35-8 in favour of a hike to the residential property tax rate.

Mayor John Tory said he is proud of council for setting the property tax rate increase at a “responsible number.”

“I think that we have this just about right,” Tory said. “Taking into account the fact that, yes people are having some difficulty finding ways to make ends meet because of a lot of different bills they get.”

Factoring in other fees and levees, the average homeowner’s taxes will rise by about $160 this year.

During the debate, Tory got into war of words with Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti over efforts to get money out of Queen’s Park.

Mammoliti had put forward a motion to set the property tax rate at zero. The motion did not pass.

Meanwhile, other councilors were pushing for an increase of about double what was proposed.

“I suppose almost any number, given the complexity of the challenges of running a big city, might be argued as not being enough,” Tory said.

Councilors gathered on Wednesday to review the more than $12-billion operating budget and almost $40-billion 10-year capital budget plan. The plan included both the property tax hike and transit spending.

“We have put forward a budget that restrains property tax increases to the rate of inflation, a promise that I will keep to Toronto’s homeowners,” Mayor John Tory said at the Empire Club on Tuesday.

Tory said the budget includes includes $80-million more for the TTC than last year, which is the largest increase in as many years.

He said more than $180 million is being invested to make Toronto more affordable for low income residents, including hundreds of childcare subsidies.

Mayor John Tory spoke to 680 NEWS reporter Jaime Pulfer listen to the interview here.

Last month, Tory said the 2017 operating budget the city will be funding 300 new child care subsidies.

The police budget is lower, and Toronto Community Housing is getting more than $30 million in additional money.

However, many councillors argue the budget doesn’t do enough for affordable housing and many things low income families rely on.

Activists are expected to gather outside City Hall on Wednesday morning ahead of the 9:30 a.m. meeting.

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