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Turn off the light: Earth Hour takes centre stage this weekend

Patricia D'Cunha and Samantha Knight | posted Friday, Mar 24th, 2017

How many songs can you think of with the word “light” or “lights” in the title? There’s Bob Marley’s “Turn Your Lights Down Low,” CCR’s “Long as I Can See the Light,” “City of Blinding Lights” by U2, and “Harbour Lights” by The Platters, to name a few.

Light represents energy and hope, and that is exactly what Earth Hour on Saturday aims to achieve. Everyone around the world is encouraged to turn off their electricity from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time, but that doesn’t diminish the power of light. In fact, that very act to conserve power may one day create a better future.

Members of SPLASH, the Etobicoke School of the Arts' show choir sing during a WWF-Canada lantern walk in Roncesvalles Village, celebrating Earth Hour, on March 23, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Galit Rodan


There are several events taking place in Toronto and the GTA to mark Earth Hour. Below are some events taking place in the city. Click here for a list of other events.

Aside from Earth Hour, there are also other activities around the city to keep you occupied.

Earth Hour events

Parkdale Roncesvalles Earth Hour
It takes two villages to raise awareness about climate change and the need for communities to band together to demand action.

This year, two groups of people will start the walk at different locations, both beginning at 8:30 a.m. One walk will begin at the Parkdale Library on Queen Street West at Cowan Avenue, and another at the Roncesvalles Dundas Peace Garden on Dundas Street West at Roncesvalles. One group will head along Queen while the other strolls along Roncesvalles, and will meet up where Queen, Roncesvalles, King Street West and The Queensway meet.

If you are attending the walk, make sure to bring your own candle or lantern. The walk will be cancelled if it rains.

Green 13 Earth Hour
Walking along the Humber River surrounded by candlelight offers much-needed serenity in this stressed-out world.

The walk starts at 8 p.m. on the front lawn of Lambton House on Old Dundas Street and ends at 9 p.m. Once the walk is over, there will be speakers, entertainment and refreshments.

Remember to bring your own lantern or a flashlight. If you don’t have a candle, bring a mason jar – tealights will be provided.

AstroTours Earth Hour
Spend the evening taking a trip to the stars and back at the University of Toronto in downtown Toronto.

Planetarium shows will be held at McLennan Physical Laboratories building from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. There will also be a lecture from professor Suresh Sivanandam at 7 p.m. at the Earth Sciences Centre, as well as astronomy exhibits, telescope observing and chats with astronomers.

Beaches Earth Hour Lights Out
Candlelight and paper lanterns will illuminate Kew Gardens in the Beach from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday. Live acoustic music will also be on tap for the night.

Acoustic music being played as people gather for Lights Out in the Beach during Earth Hour. Photo via beachesliving.ca.


Lights Out with Mill St. Brewery
If you are more in the mood for a pint, then the Mill St. Brewery in the Distillery District is the place to be for Earth Hour. Relax with beer in hand as you listen to acoustic music by candlelight during the hour.

For each pint sold, Mill St. will donate 50 cents to Earth Day Canada. Since its inception three years ago, the event has raised more than $300,000.

Other events

Toronto Winter Brewfest
Lovers of craft beer will be flocking to Enercare Centre this weekend for the second annual Winter Brewfest. The event includes two sessions, one on Friday night and the other on Saturday night, from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Guests can sample over 150 beers from brewers across Ontario and Quebec. There will also be gourmet food from the city’s best food trucks.

Toronto Banff Film Festival
Explore Banff this weekend without even leaving the city. The Banff Mountain Festival World Tour will be taking over the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema on Bloor Street West this Friday through Saturday.

Each film festival program runs about three hours in length and features five to eight short films. The first screening goes Friday night at 7:30 p.m. and the last one goes Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Urban Sugar Shack
Wear plaid and celebrate Canada 150 at the Urban Sugar Shack this Sunday.

The event is being held at the Humber Arboretum at Humber College’s North Campus. It includes a pancake breakfast, a guided nature walk along the Humber River, maple syrup tapping, hot chocolate and live music.

All funds raised will help give Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter the opportunity to participate in nature camps and programming. The Urban Sugar Shack runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Parent and Tot Program: Toronto Zoo
Learn about families this Saturday and Sunday at the Toronto Zoo. Parents and tots are invited to take part in an interactive program to discover how animal families survive in the wild, including how they share, play, stay safe and grow.

The “Friends and Family” themed event features educational playtime, crafts, activities, songs/poems and an animal encounter. It runs this weekend and next weekend from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

TTC not ready to commit to driverless buses

CityNews | posted Friday, Mar 24th, 2017

The TTC says it will take a wait-and-see approach before committing to driverless technology on its buses.

At its monthly meeting Wednesday, the TTC board accepted a report that determined there are too many unknowns to move forward with a business case on automated vehicles.

“We are not adverse to new technology, but I don’t think our customers will thank us if we race into adopting something completely radical like an autonomous vehicle before that’s been proven,” CEO Andy Byford said.

He added the TTC has had “its fingers burnt” by getting in on technology, like hybrid buses, too soon.

The TTC is a member of a working group on automated vehicles, which recently partnered with the University of Toronto to produce a report on incorporating driverless technology in city vehicles.

David Ticoll, author of Driving Changes: Automated Vehicles in Toronto, said riders could be using some form of an automated bus within the next two decades.

“The TTC will be doing it certainly by 2040 — it will be the main way of getting around — and very likely by 2030,” Ticoll said.

Many cities in Europe are already testing driverless vehicles, including Amsterdam and Paris.

Trump seeks health care triumph – so he can move on

KEN THOMAS, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Friday, Mar 24th, 2017


President Donald Trump’s pitch on a polarizing Republican health care bill in the House amounts to a means to an end: a way to move on to what he calls “the biggest tax cut since Ronald Reagan.”

Backed by pro-business elements of his party, Trump has increasingly argued that the repeal and replacement of former President Barack Obama’s health care law is a necessary step along the road to other parts of his first-year agenda. In both his public pitches and private meetings with House Republicans to secure passage, Trump appears ready to move on.

“After we repeal and replace Obamacare, our Republican majority will pass massive, historic tax reform, the biggest tax cut since Ronald Reagan – and potentially even bigger,” Trump said Tuesday night at a fundraiser for the National Republican Congressional Committee. Trump said they had to start with health care but spoke of a tax overhaul in almost giddy terms: “That one’s going to be fun. That’s called the wheelhouse.”

Trump’s eager anticipation of the next item on his agenda is a response to how difficult this one has been. The health care debate has been more contentious, divisive and less politically popular than many Republicans anticipated. Although the party has been long unified in pushing for repeal of Obamacare, it was not united behind an alternative. The process has exposed persistent divisions between conservatives and moderate Republicans, and highlighted the political perils in scaling back government’s role in providing health care.

By comparison, even tax reform – a complex and politically tricky exercise – can start to look easy.

Trump’s first major hurdle on health care comes in a Thursday House vote. Failure to pass the bill, which was largely drafted by House Speaker Paul Ryan, could spell doom for Trump’s central campaign promise to rip apart former President Barack Obama’s health law. Rebellion among House Republicans also would undercut Trump’s image as a dealmaker, jeopardizing his ability to muscle through tax reform, infrastructure projects, immigration and other issues.

A senior administration official said the White House remained cautiously optimistic that the bill will clear the House on Thursday. Trump’s advisers are trying to persuade about 20 to 25 House Republicans who are either opposed to the plan or remain undecided, the official said.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said the administration is aiming for House passage Thursday to ensure the bill will be considered by the Senate prior to the Easter recess in Congress that begins April 10.

The Republican bill has generated plenty of opposition. Members of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus oppose it because they say it doesn’t go far enough to undo Obamacare. Some moderate GOP members, meanwhile, are wary of a recent Congressional Budget Office analysis predicting 24 million people would lose coverage in a decade.

The battle over the bill was enough to rattle the stock market Tuesday as the Standard & Poor’s 500 index slumped 1.1 per cent, its steepest loss in five months.

The stock market had been soaring in the wake of Trump’s election, a major point of pride for the administration that has touted lower taxes as key for accelerating economic growth. But the showdown over replacing Obamacare has investors starting to question whether Trump can deliver on their top priority: promised rate cuts for corporate and individual taxes.

Trump’s ends-justifies-the-means argument echoes one being made by business groups in Washington, who are eyeing a large corporate tax overhaul later this year. As a candidate, Trump proposed slashing the corporate tax rate to 20 per cent from 35 per cent, a move that would fatten corporate profits with the stroke of a pen.

House and Senate Republicans are divided over elements of the tax proposal, with Senate Republicans questioning a House plan that would replace the current 35 per cent tax on corporate profits with a border adjustment tax. If Trump can’t manage to steer the health care overhaul through the House, shepherding legislation like tax reform could be even more difficult.

Some Trump allies are already suggesting alternatives. Chris Ruddy, longtime Trump friend and the head of NewsMax, said the president was “given a damaged bill of goods by Paul Ryan and the House leadership.” There was conflict because “the president’s base, tea party Republicans, wanted a complete absolute repeal of the law. The president didn’t entirely subscribe to that. He wanted a repeal, but he wanted universal coverage for poor people,” he said.

Ruddy said Trump should “ignore the Freedom Caucus and go to the centre. I think it would be easier to get thirty Democrats to support a reform of Obamacare than it is to get thirty Freedom members to support any overhaul.”

Associated Press writers Jill Colvin, Catherine Lucey and Josh Boak contributed to this story.

‘Couch potato’ youth missing out on crucial bone development: study

LINDA GIVETASH, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Mar 24th, 2017

A new study has found teens who have a “couch potato” lifestyle risk having permanent negative effects on their bone health.

Orthopedics Prof. Heather McKay of the University of British Columbia says about 36 per cent of the adult skeleton is developed during adolescence when growth spurts typically happen, and physical activity is critical for developing bone strength and density.

The study looked at girls between the ages of 10 and 14, and boys between the ages of 12 and 16 over a four-year period, measuring their bone development and monitoring their activity.

It found that only 43 per cent of boys and nine per cent of girls were meeting the daily recommendation of 60 minutes of physical activity, and the amount of activity they participated in declined as they got older.

Of the more than 300 teens in the study, those who were less active had significantly less bone strength than those who were active, increasing their risks for fractures throughout their lives and osteoporosis when they become older adults.

McKay says the findings signal concerns for the long-term health risks for youth, and serve as a reminder that physical activity is not only important for cardiovascular health but skeletal health as well.

“We’re hitting a critical destruction point here in terms of the low levels of physical activity, so that is really sobering,” McKay, the study’s co-author, said in an interview.

The study was published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

In older adults, McKay said even small fractures can be “life-limiting” for a person by hindering their mobility.

Preventing the risk of fractures begins with developing bone health in childhood and adolescence, she said, and the good news is that it may not require much effort.

She said short spurts of exercise throughout the day or even one hour of exercise a day can have a positive impact on bone health in children and teens.

“They’re such responsive tissue, they respond very quickly to what we do, and they respond very quickly to what we don’t do,” she said.

McKay said in the future she wants to explore whether there’s an optimal amount of activity or type of activity to strengthen bones in childhood. But for now, she said she hopes the current findings encourage physical activity for children and youth.

“Our bones respond to everything we do from the time we’re born and I think the investment has to happen now,” she said. “It’s absolutely worrying as to what we’ll confront as this generation ages.”

Funeral on Friday for slain St. Catharines boy, stepfather charged

The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Mar 24th, 2017


Funeral services will be held Friday for a seven-year-old boy who died last week in St. Catharines, Ont., leading to a first-degree murder charge against his stepfather.

Nathan Dumas was rushed to hospital on Friday but died the next day.

Police launched a manhunt for his stepfather, 43-year-old Justin Kuijer.

He was arrested on Tuesday in Kenora and appeared in court Thursday to face the allegation.

According to local media reports his case was put over until April 19.

A visitation was held for Dumas on Thursday and his funeral will be held in Thorold.

Earlier this week, a makeshift memorial of flowers and stuffed animals was erected outside a St. Catharines sandwich shop owned by Nathan’s grandparents.

Kuijer is also charged with attempted murder in connection with an attack on a female employee at a St. Catharines branch of the Royal Bank.

British police identify London attacker, ISIS claims responsibility


LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 23:  Police forensic officers work on Westminster Bridge following yesterday's attack, on March 23, 2017 in London, England. Four people have been killed and around 40 people injured following yesterday's attack by the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.  (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

ISIS claimed responsibility Thursday for an attack by a man who plowed an SUV into pedestrians on one of London’s famous bridges and then stabbed a police officer to death at Britain’s Parliament. In a sombre but defiant statement, Britain’s prime minister declared that “we are not afraid.”

The man who killed three people Wednesday and was shot to death by police was born in Britain and once came under investigation for links to religious extremism, British Prime Minister Theresa May said Thursday in a sweeping speech before the House of Commons.

British officials named the attacker as Khalid Masood, a 52-year-old with criminal convictions who was living in the West Midlands, which includes the central city of Birmingham.

Police raided properties in London and Birmingham, and made eight arrests.

An Utah man visiting London with his wife for their 25th anniversary and a British woman who was a school administrator were killed by the SUV attack on Westminster Bridge and at least 29 others were hospitalized, seven critically.

May set an unyielding tone Thursday, saluting the heroism of police as well as the ordinary actions of everyone who went about their lives in the aftermath.

“As I speak millions will be boarding trains and airplanes to travel to London, and to see for themselves the greatest city on Earth,” she told the House of Commons. “It is in these actions – millions of acts of normality – that we find the best response to terrorism, a response that denies our enemies their victory, that refuses to let them win, that shows we will never give in.”

Parliament began its moment of silence at 9:33 a.m., honouring the shoulder number of the slain officer, Keith Palmer, a 15-year veteran of the Metropolitan Police and a former soldier. Then Parliament, which was locked down after the attack, returned to business – a counter to those who had attacked British democracy.

In 1,000-year-old Westminster Hall, the oldest part of Parliament’s buildings, politicians, journalists and parliamentary staff lined up to sign a book of condolences for the victims. Among them was a uniformed policeman, who wrote: “Keith, my friend, will miss you.”

The rampage was the first deadly incident at Parliament since 1979, when Conservative lawmaker Airey Neave was killed in a car bombing by Irish militants.

Some parliamentarians said they were shaken, and all were sombre. But they were also determined.

“There is no such thing as 100 per cent security,” said Menzies Campbell, a member of the House of Lords. “We have to learn to live with that.”

The London attack echoed deadly vehicle rampages in Nice, France, and Berlin last year that ISIS has claimed.

The group said through its Aamaq News Agency that the London attacker was a soldier of ISIS who “carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting citizens of the coalition” of countries fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

ISIS has been responsible for numerous bloody attacks around the globe and has specifically called for Western followers to carry out this kind of attack in their own countries, though the group has also claimed events later found to have no clear links to it.

Police believe the attacker acted alone and there is no reason to believe “imminent further attacks” are planned, May said. He had been investigated before but police believed he was a peripheral figure, May said.

Labour Party lawmaker Khalid Mahmood, who represents part of Birmingham, condemned the “barbaric attack” and urged his fellow Muslims to report concerns about radicalization to the police.

“We have to condemn this outright,” he said. “There are no ifs or buts. This is a hugely tragic incident. These people do not belong to any faith. They certainly don’t belong to my faith of Islam.”

Mahmood said the attacker and those like him “should be condemned by everybody and this shouldn’t serve as a tool for division within our community.”

Related stories:

8 arrested in London attack, British Parliament resumes

No change in Canada’s threat level after assumed terror attack in London

5 dead in vehicle, knife attack near British Parliament

Many suspects in British terror attacks and plots have roots in the city, which has been described in a recent terror analysis by the Henry Jackson Society conservative think-tank as a centre for Islamist extremism. Several local mosques have also been linked to extremist clerics.

British security forces have foiled 13 plots in the past four years. There are currently thousands of extremists in the U.K. who are known to officials but only a fraction of whom are under surveillance, according to a security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about ongoing security operations. It takes dozens of officers to watch just one terror suspect.

Witnesses said the attacker went straight after the police officer after ramming into the pedestrians.

“This man got out of the car with two knives in his hands and while he was running he was stabbing people. He arrived in front of the entrance to the parliament and he started to stab a policeman,” said Vincenzo Mangiacarpe, an Italian boxer who was visiting Parliament. “You can imagine if someone was playing a drum on your back with 2 knives – he gave him around 10 stabs in the back, then he left the policeman and he came toward us.”

Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief Mark Rowley revised the death toll from five to four, including the attacker. He said 29 people required hospitalization and seven of them were in critical condition. He also said that authorities were still working out the number of “walking wounded.” Police had previously given the total number of wounded in Wednesday’s attack as around 40.

May said people from 11 countries were among the victims. They included 12 Britons, three French, two Romanians, four South Koreans, one German, one Pole, two Irish, one Chinese, one Italian, one American and two Greeks required hospital treatment.

Kurt Cochran, a Utah man visiting London with his wife Melissa for their 25th anniversary, was named as among the dead by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was seriously injured in the attack as is still hospitalized.

President Donald Trump was among the world leaders offering their condolences.

London has been a target for terrorism many times over past decades and the threat level for the British capital was already listed at severe, meaning an attack was “highly likely.” Just this weekend, hundreds of armed police took part in an exercise simulating a “marauding” terror attack on a tourist boat on the River Thames.

May said the attack in London targeted “free people everywhere,” and she said she had a response for those behind it: “You will not defeat us.”

The Associated Press’ Paisley Dodds, Gregory Katz, Frank Griffiths, Lori Hinnant, Sophie Berman, and Bilal Hussein contributed to the story.

‘My name is Alexander Hamilton’: Hit musical is coming to Toronto

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Mar 23rd, 2017

The smash musical “Hamilton” is headed to Toronto.

Mirvish Productions says a touring production of the 11-time Tony Award-winning show will be a part of its 2019-20 subscription season.

Mirvish says it will be a limited engagement.

Exact dates and a venue will be announced later.

“Hamilton” profiles American founding father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who worked alongside George Washington during the Revolutionary War. He was also the first U.S. Treasury Secretary.

Acclaimed playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the story, music and lyrics for the show, which features a varied score with multiple genres.

Internship opportunity at Breakfast Television – Summer 2017

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Mar 23rd, 2017


Passionate about breaking news, lifestyle content, social media, and producing creative and engaging stories for television and online?

Breakfast Television is a three-and-a-half hour LIVE television news and lifestyle production and is looking for a full-time digital intern for its Summer 2017 term (May through August). The successful applicant must be studying a relevant program, and the internship must be part of their school curriculum.

We’re looking for an individual who’s bright, creative, and energetic, with a passion for news- and lifestyle-themed content, plus the ability to hunt down the latest trends before they go viral! Knowledge of video production and editing would be considered a strong asset.

The position is a full-time, five-day-a-week program, running from 6 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday in our downtown Toronto studios.

Should you fulfill the requirements and wish to apply for the position, please forward your resume and cover letter, along with your placement officer’s name and contact info, to:

Please include ‘Internship‘ in the subject line.

Alternately, send a hard copy to:

City – Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.
Breakfast Television Internship Program
33 Dundas Street East
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1B8

If we are interested in following up with you, we will be in touch to set up an interview.

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