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Toronto sign embracing National Indigenous People’s Day

Meredith Bond | posted Tuesday, Jun 19th, 2018

You may notice some new additions to the Toronto sign in Nathan Phillip’s Square over the next few days and it’s all in honour of National Indigenous People’s Day on Thursday.

A vinyl wrap will cover the outside of the letters of the Toronto sign while a Medicine Wheel has been placed next to the sign’s ‘T.’

The medicine wheel is based on Indigenous cultural values, tradition and spirituality and the four directions symbolize completeness, wholeness, connectedness and strength. It will remain through the Canada Day weekend and will be brought back in early October for the Indian Residential School Survivors Legacy celebration on October 9.

In a statement, Chair of the Economic Development Committee Councillor Michael Thompson said the city is “proud to mark Indigenous presence, historical and contemporary, in Toronto.”

Work on the vinyl wrap is expected to begin on Tuesday. It will resemble birch bark with symbols of significance for Indigenous communities.


The Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Affairs Advisory Committee Frances Sanderson commended the city for “honouring their commitment to the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people of this land by incorporating the healing of the Medicine Wheel in the iconic Toronto sign.”

The vinyl wrap will remain on until the fall.

This is just one of the ways Toronto is celebrating National Indigenous People’s Day. A free Indigenous Arts Festival is being held from June 21-24 at Fort York. It will showcase over 30 performances by Indigenous artists across a variety of mediums.

Blue Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna intends to plead not guilty to assault: lawyer

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Jun 19th, 2018

The lawyer for Blue Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna says his client intends to plead not guilty to an assault charge.

Osuna, a 23-year-old closer originally from Mexico, was arrested last month.

His lawyer Domenic Basile says Osuna’s charge is related to an alleged domestic incident.

Basile appeared on his client’s behalf in a Toronto court today, and noted that the Crown has turned over a “substantive” amount of their evidence to him.

Basile says Major League Baseball has placed Osuna on paid administrative leave and is renewing it week by week.

He says the pitcher, who is out on bail, has spent much of his time since his arrest in Florida working out in preparation for his return to the Jays.

Osuna’s case is scheduled to return to court July 9

Man dies after allegedly being trapped in bed rail at nursing home

Cristina Howorun | posted Tuesday, Jun 19th, 2018

Danny McNeill died alone, allegedly trapped in his bed rail, his 69-year-old body apparently fighting desperately to escape the very rails that were supposed to protect him. That’s how his son, Kevin, describes his father’s final minutes and death at the Maple Manor Long Term Care Home in Tillsonburg.

According to Health Canada there have been 25 reported incidents involving bed entrapment over the past two years, seven were fatal. Since 2008 Health Canada has issued several safety communications about the use of bed rails as restraints in hospitals and long term care homes — most recently in April 2017 — yet they are still used in most homes and hospitals.

“That’s why I’m here, to let people know that they’re being used. Our family members are using them and getting their heads trapped in them,” Kevin McNeill told CityNews. “I’m disgusted.”

“He got trapped between the bars of his bed rail and mattress. That was the call. They said he had died and that was pretty much it,” McNeill says, recalling the phone call he got from the home last Sunday.

McNeill doesn’t know why the restrains were in use. He says an alarm should’ve sounded when his father fell from the bed.

“If he was to fall off the bed or make a movement, the alarm would go off and notify the nursing station and buzz at the bed as well. In the case of falling, the alarm goes off,” he explains.

“The alarm should have been going off as soon as he probably left the area of the pad. He made it to the floor and got his head trapped for too long. That was the case. We really don’t know how long it took until that alarm was heard. I don’t know if they heard.”

In a statement, Maple Manor’s administrator Marlene Van Ham would only say: “We are deeply saddened by this incident. As this matter is presently under investigation we cannot comment on the specifics.”

Van Ham refused to tell CityNews if the home had set standardized response times for alarms, or if the alarm even sounded.

The home has been cited for safety violations involving both the use of restraints and bed rails in the past — including in 2016 when inspectors found that the “licencee (had) failed to ensure that no resident of the home was restrained by the use of a physical device.”

In 2015, the home was cited for failing to ensure that where bed rails were “used in the home (it) had taken steps to avoid patient entrapment” and later that year, 36 of 108 beds were identified as “failed” — in some cases because of a lack of mattress keepers or rails that required ongoing tightening.

Staff at the home told Ministry of Health inspectors that they had received no training on rail safety.

Van Ham refused to tell CityNews if staff had been trained on bed rail safety recently, both via email and when we visited her office in Tillsonburg.

When asked about this incident and the investigation, Ministry of Health spokesperson David Jensen told CityNews in an emailed statement: “The ministry is aware of the issue and is unable to comment on the specifics of this incidents, as per requirements under the Personal Health Information Act.”

McNeill is still very much grieving the loss of his father but says the practice of using bed rails has to be re-examined.

“Maybe they’ve got to change those rails and make sure we’re not using them as restraints, just using them for getting out of bed. i didn’t know what they were used for until I did some research myself. gotta let people know.”

‘Come From Away’ cast surprises 98-year-old man on birthday, Father’s Day

News Staff | posted Tuesday, Jun 19th, 2018

It was quite the birthday and Father’s Day surprise for a 98-year-old man at the Royal Alexandra Theatre on Sunday, with the cast of Come From Away singing him “Happy Birthday.”

After taking their bows, the cast singled out Harry Whalen, who happens to be from Newfoundland.

“There is a father hear today with us who’s a Newfoundlander from way back. He’s not only a father of four; he’s a grandfather of seven, and a great-grandfather to four,” one of the cast members said in a video posted on CBC News.

The video shows Whalen surrounded by family and his wife of 68 years, jumping out of his seat when he was introduced, dancing and looking 98 years young.

As it turns out, Whalen is also full of surprises. According to the CBC report, Whalen celebrated his 97th birthday last year by doing the EdgeWalk at the CN Tower.


Heat warning remains in effect for the GTA

NEWS STAFF | posted Monday, Jun 18th, 2018

A heat warning remains in effect for Toronto and the GTA with the humidity expecting it to feel like 40 C on Monday.

Environment Canada said hot and humid conditions will continue with temperatures expected to reach the low 30s to kick off the week. Plus, temperatures overnight only dropped to the low 20s, which offered little relief from the heat.

But the agency said that a cold front is expected to cross southern Ontario Monday night, bringing temperatures into the teens, seeing an end to the “heat event.”

On Sunday, the City of Toronto issued a heat warning that continues to remain in effect. It is advising residents to drink lots of cool water even before you feel thirsty, take shelter in air-conditioned places such as shopping malls and community centres and avoid leaving children or pets unattended in cars.

The city is reminding the public to take these precautions during high temperatures:

  • Drink lots of cool water even before you feel thirsty
  • Go to air-conditioned places such as shopping malls, local libraries and community centres
  • Take cool showers or baths or use cool wet towels to cool down
  • Wear loose, light-coloured, breathable clothing and, when outdoors, wear a wide-brimmed hat
  • Avoid the sun and stay in the shade or use an umbrella
  • Reschedule or plan outdoor activities so they take place during cooler parts of the day
  • Make sure that elderly people, children or pets are not left unattended in a car

Collection featuring Group of Seven paintings donated to University of Lethbridge

BILL GRAVELAND, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jun 18th, 2018

Margaret (Marmie) Perkins Hess spent a lifetime following her passion.

A lifelong educator and art collector, the Order of Canada recipient bequeathed a collection worth as much as $5 million to the University of Lethbridge following her death at age 100 in 2016.

The University of Lethbridge Art Gallery received word last year that Hess had donated her vast collection, which includes works from some of the most well-known artists in Canada and from around the world.

University president Mike Mahon knew Hess for eight years prior to her death. He said she created a masters-level scholarship for students at the university and her generosity was well known.

“I’ve seen her generosity in spirit, in volunteerism and in funds over the course of her life,” Mahon said

“I knew she had an amazing art collection partly because when I would have a cup of tea in her living room you’d be surrounded by the Group of Seven and Emily Carr and others hanging on the wall or stacked against a chair.

“She had art everywhere.”

The gallery at the University of Lethbridge, now renamed in her honour, has on display 112 of the 1,140 pieces she donated.

“It’s really exciting. I couldn’t possibly choose a favourite. It was hard enough to come up with a selection out of the gift to show this summer,” said assistant curator David Smith.

“What I’ve tried to do is replicate the areas of strength in her collection. More than half of her collection was work by Indigenous artists so more than half the works in this show are Indigenous artists,” he added.

“There’s a selection of Group of Seven works with Tom Thomson and an Emily Carr piece. They’re really great pieces. The Thomson is particularly exciting. A recent guesstimate says there are only about 75 of those panel sketches left in private hands.”

There are about 15 Group of Seven paintings safely behind Plexiglas.

Smith said the remainder of the collection will be displayed in years to come.

Hess, who was the daughter of a lumber magnate, never married and spent her life collecting art and lecturing on it.

She received a doctorate of fine arts from the University of Lethbridge and at one point was a member of the university senate.

“She was very close with A.Y. Jackson. He used to come and stay with her and visit her at her ranch near Cochrane. She’d drive him around to the best spots and they had a really great, lifelong friendship there.”

Also on display until Sept. 7 is an original sketch by Henri Matisse, a print by Pablo Picasso and the art of prominent Indigenous artists, including Alex Janvier, Bill Reid, Tony Hunt, Jessie Oonark and Helen Kalvak.

York University students not optimistic strike will end any time soon

TARA DESCHAMPS, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jun 18th, 2018

York University students aren’t feeling hopeful that they’ll be back in class soon, even after some of the school’s striking contract workers voted to accept the university’s latest offer.

CUPE 3903 Unit 2 said more than 1,000 course directors and some teaching and instructors who are not full-time graduate students will return to work on Monday, but about 2,000 other teaching and graduate assistants, who belong to two other units, will remain on the picket line of the 15-week strike.

Students, and even some staff, say they are confused about when, or if, classes will resume in lieu of Unit 2 accepting the offer and don’t feel optimistic that the uncertainty caused by the battle that began in March over wages and job security will end any time soon.

The university and union did not immediately respond to requests from The Canadian Press for comment, but in a Friday news release, CUPE 3903 chairman Devin Lefebvre stressed that the units that have yet to agree to the offer “cannot accept precarious work and the decline of academic integrity at York” and “will continue to work toward a fair contract.”

Carrie Cooper, a third-year history student, said she doesn’t feel optimistic that she will be headed back to class any time soon, because she said believes the university has been prolonging reaching an agreement, in hopes that workers will just give in to the school’s demands.

“I have seen the York administration’s true colours with the way they have dealt with students and workers. … Obviously, they don’t care,” Cooper said.

“Everyone is saying wait for your professors to email you (about the status of classes), but a lot of students have a) left or b) started working at a job for the rest of the summer. … There is confusion and tensions and the school is in chaos.”

Cooper said students have been emailing each other for advice about whether they should finish assignments or expect to be called back to classes soon. Many, she said, are feeling deterred from continuing their education with masters or PhD degrees and others are eyeing transfers to other universities.

Fellow third-year student Robyn Osbourne, who is studying law and society, considered transferring schools, but said she is sticking with York because she is more than half-way done her education.

She said she is “is not necessarily hopeful” the strike will end soon. Because it has been so lengthy and there has been a lack of summer classes offered in lieu of its duration, she will have to delay her graduation and commit to a fifth year of classes to get all the credits she needs.

Even if the strike ends and classes resume, Osbourne said it will still put students in a bind because many like her grabbed jobs after losing hope of the university reaching an agreement with workers any time soon.

“We can’t just abandon those commitments because we won’t have the money to pay for school next year,” Osbourne said.

Joanna Pearce, a teaching assistant in the Department of Humanities who is part of the striking Unit 1, said she is just as frustrated as the students.

She said she has been fielding emails from them seeking clarity about what is happening with classes, credits and degrees, but said even she doesn’t have answers.

She is particularly concerned about students who are transferring to other universities and colleges in the fall and are in danger of not being able to move because they don’t have grades to provide the institutions they are going to.

“I really miss my students,” she said. “I really hate not being able to give them a clear idea of what is happening and what their next steps are.”


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