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CityVote: Tory, Keesmaat taking part in special broadcast

NEWS STAFF | posted Thursday, Oct 18th, 2018

With just days to go before the mayoral election, a CityNews special on Thursday will be one of the last times to hear from the two leading candidates ahead of the vote.

Incumbent John Tory said he wouldn’t debate Jennifer Keesmaat one-on-one, but they joined us separately earlier this week to answer the exact same questions about why they think they should be the next mayor of Toronto.

On Thursday, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., you’ll hear where the candidates stand on transit, crime, housing and city finances.

And during the two-hour newscast, community leaders will join political specialist Cynthia Mulligan in the studio to react to Tory’s and Keesmaat’s responses live.

Vote in our Twitter polls and interact with us during the broadcast @CityNews.

Kawhi scores 24 points as Raptors beat Cavs 116-104 in opener

LORI EWING, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Oct 18th, 2018

A new superstar, a new head coach, and a victory for the new-look Raptors to open what’s been one of the most-anticipated NBA regular seasons for Toronto in awhile.

Kawhi Leonard, Toronto’s prized off-season acquisition, had 24 points and 13 rebounds in his first real game as a Raptor, while Kyle Lowry had 27 points and eight assists, and Toronto beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 116-104 on Wednesday.

Fred VanVleet added 14 points, while Pascal Siakam finished with 13 on a night that marked Nick Nurse’s first game as Toronto’s head coach.

Kevin Love led the Cavs with 21 points, while Cedi Osman added 17. Canadian Tristan Thompson grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds.

Leonard was playing his first regular-season action since Jan. 13 — the two-time defensive player of the year missed all but nine games because of a quadriceps injury in a bizarre season last year in San Antonio. The 27-year-old missed his first three shots before Lowry gave up an easy basket for a pass to the trailing Leonard four minutes into the game.

Jonas Valanciunas had six points to go with 12 boards, but it was his passing — including a beautiful behind-the-back bounce pass to OG Anunoby for a dunk — that delighted the crowd.

The Raptors took a 90-75 lead into the fourth quarter. Three straight baskets by Jordan Clarkson pulled the Cavs within nine points. VanVleet scored seven consecutive points to put the brakes on Cleveland’s run, and when Serge Ibaka drilled a three-pointer with 7:29 to play, it put the Raptors up by 12 in front of a capacity Scotiabank Arena crowd of 19,915 that included former Maple Leafs captain Doug Gilmour.

The Cavs sliced the deficit to seven points with 3:08 to play. A Siakam block created a couple of free throws for Leonard at the other end — during which a handful of fans chanted “M-V-P!” — and the Raptors led by 10 with two-and-a-half minutes to play and never looked back.

The game was a bit of revenge for the Raptors after being ousted by Cleveland in three consecutive post-season runs. The second-round sweep last spring was the final straw for team president Masai Ujiri, who fired coach Dwane Casey and then unceremoniously jettisoned DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl to the Spurs for Leonard and Green.

The anticipation of a fresh start was palpable in the arena, and when Leonard was announced during the glitzy pre-game introductions, the crowd’s roar drowned out the public address.

Green took centre-court for the traditional regular-season address, telling the crowd “I feel a warm welcome when I step in here.”

Nine of the top 10 Twitter trends in Toronto during the game were Raptors-related.

If there was a negative on the night, it’s that the Raptors lost Anunoby early in the fourth quarter with an orbital contusion. Delon Wright (strained groin) didn’t dress.

Neither team led by more than four points in a tight first quarter, and a layup by Green with five seconds on the clock send the Raptors into the second with a 28-25 lead.

The Raptors started to find a rhythm in the second, and a turnaround fadeaway jumper by Leonard capped a 20-7 run and gave Toronto a 13-point lead with 2:42 left in the quarter. The Raptors went into the halftime break up 60-47.

Lowry and Leonard combined for 18 points in the third quarter, and Lowry’s three with 4:25 to play in the quarter gave the Raptors a 20-point lead, their biggest of the game.

The Raptors host the Boston Celtics on Friday then fly to Washington to face the Wizards — last season’s first-round post-season opponent — on Saturday.

Toronto police launch ‘do not call 9-1-1’ for weed campaign

DILSHAD BURMAN | posted Wednesday, Oct 17th, 2018

What constitutes a 9-1-1 emergency? For most, the question is a no-brainer but as per a new Toronto Police Service educational campaign, some feel the concept is open to interpretation.

The campaign called “Do not call 9-1-1” uses real, fairly absurd 9-1-1 calls as examples of when not to call the emergency service.

Ahead of legalization Wednesday, police released three cannabis-specific public service announcements (PSA). The tongue-in-cheek PSAs address a few different, soon to be everyday, pot-related scenarios that don’t require critical emergency services.

The posters also include some basic information about legal marijuana including that consumption is allowed anywhere cigarette smoking is allowed, barring motor vehicles.

Each PSA ends with a firm statement: “Do not call police for this.”

Click through below to see the Toronto Police Service’s new cannabis related PSAs.


Ripley’s Aquarium naked swimmer arrested in Thunder Bay

NEWS STAFF | posted Wednesday, Oct 17th, 2018

The man who jumped naked into the shark tank at Ripley’s Aquarium has been arrested by provincial police in Thunder Bay.

David Weaver, 37, of Nelson, British Columbia was also wanted for an alleged assault on a man outside Medieval Times just hours before his skinny dip on Friday night.

According to police, Weaver was being unruly and was escorted out of Medieval Times by staff around 8 p.m.. He then came back inside and allegedly kicked two glass doors, shattering them.

The man was escorted out again and allegedly assaulted a 34-year-old man outside.

Shortly after, he bought a ticket to Ripley’s Aquarium, disrobed and jumped twice into the shark tank. He then got out, put his clothes back on and left the aquarium before police arrived.

Toronto police say they are working with OPP to arrange a transfer back to the city. He’s expected to be charged with mischief interfering with property and assault causing bodily harm.

Feds to announce plan to pardon Canadians convicted of simple possession of pot


The federal government plans to move Wednesday on easing the process of obtaining a criminal pardon for simple pot possession.

The Canadian Press has learned the announcement on setting aside minor marijuana convictions of the past will come the same day the government ushers in a historic new era of legalized cannabis.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has faced pressure to address the pot pardon issue, including within his own caucus, due to the effect of possession charges on marginalized Canadians.

Until now, simple possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana has been punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in jail.

Individuals have been eligible to apply for a pardon through the Parole Board of Canada five years after the conviction is handed down.

But the waiting period and the $631 cost of applying for a pardon, known as a record suspension, have proven difficult for some people saddled with records.

NDP justice critic Murray Rankin recently put forward a private bill calling for expungement of criminal records for minor cannabis possession offences.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh went further Tuesday, calling on the Liberals “to immediately delete” the criminal records held by thousands of Canadians for simple cannabis possession.

One insider said the process to be announced Wednesday would not involve a mass expungement of records.

Rather, it will streamline the existing process of obtaining a record suspension. A suspension doesn’t erase a record, but can make it easier to get a job, travel and generally contribute to society.

At a briefing Tuesday, federal officials told reporters that internal discussions had focused on an application-based process for speeding up pot pardons, instead of a blanket amnesty.

Much of the paperwork needed for a blanket amnesty resides in local courthouses out of the immediate and easy reach of the federal government and the Parole Board, officials said.

As of Tuesday the drug was still illegal, and officials at the media briefing said any charges or cases before the courts could still be prosecuted after legalization. The vast majority of drug cases are handled by federal prosecutors, who could decide, in the public interest, not to prosecute, they said.

The briefing was part of a last political push by the government to answer outstanding questions about a major social, legal and policy shift that will see Canada become the first G7 country to legalize the use of recreational cannabis.

Officials, who spoke on condition they not be identified by name, quietly admitted they are getting a lot of questions — from how Health Canada will handle complaints, to public awareness campaigns, to roadside impaired-driving tests.

As one official put it, they don’t expect the questions to end and foresee bumps along the way after legalization.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford was quick to sound off Tuesday on the reliability of drug-impaired driving screens.

“It was three years ago Justin Trudeau campaigned on legalizing cannabis,” Ford said during a speech.

“Three years later, the federal government still cannot give our police a single reliable piece of equipment to test for drug-impaired driving.”

The prime minister repeated his oft-stated view that a regulated market for marijuana — a pillar of his 2015 election campaign — will keep cannabis out of the hands of Canadian kids and combat the flourishing black market.

Canadians 18 or 19, depending on the province or territory, will be able to buy and use fresh dried cannabis, cannabis oil, plants and seeds for cultivation from regulated retailers beginning Wednesday.

Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair said there are “very significant” health and social risks related to edible forms of the drug — products expected to be widely purchased on the black market while it remains illegal to produce or sell them. Health Canada will develop regulations on edibles within a year, Blair said, adding he would caution consumers about their use in the meantime.

“They won’t know its potency,” Blair said. “It is very challenging to consume them in a safe way until those regulations are in place.”

Weed is legal! Here’s how to buy it in Ontario

NEWS STAFF | posted Wednesday, Oct 17th, 2018

Grab your credit card, get ready to rip open your bag of Doritos and click on that Ontario Cannabis Store webpage bookmark you made months ago, cause as of 12:01 a.m. — weed is now legal in Canada!

Here in Ontario, the only way to purchase marijuana is through OCS.ca — a government-run website that will allow people across the province to order weed and weed paraphernalia, which will be delivered between one and three days through Canada Post.

According to the province, the website has 70 types of marijuana available for purchase. That number will soon expand to 150 types.

There are also multiple accessories available including vaporizers, bongs, pipes, cleaning supplies and grinders.

The cheapest dried cannabis is available for $7.50 for one gram while the most expensive goes for $13.25.

Currently, the OCS website only takes Visa or Mastercard but the government is looking into making other methods of payment available in the future.

Customers have to be 19 years of age or older to shop at OCS.ca and have to confirm their age before even being allowed to enter the website.

See a photo gallery of the OCS website below.

Customers won’t have to create an account or set up a password to make a purchase but ID will need to be shown upon delivery.

For a step-by-step look at how to buy marijuana through the OCS website, click here.

The website is viewable on mobile but only through a browser — the government has not announced plans for an OCS app.

Customers curious about their bud can also go to the website to learn marijuana facts and rules, as well as health and safety information.

But what if you buy some marijuana and then have regrets? Good news! The OCS will have a return policy. Unopened product can be returned to the OCS for a refund up to 14 days after purchase.

The OCS website was originally created under the Wynne government’s plan to keep the sale of marijuana under government control — with stores across the province akin to the LCBO.

When Doug Ford was elected premier, he announced that he would move Ontario toward a privatization model. That plan is not expected to begin until 2019.

#MarijuanaFiles: all things cannabis

DILSHAD BURMAN | posted Wednesday, Oct 17th, 2018

Cannabis is now legal in Canada and celebrations commenced overnight with parties ringing in legalization and “wake ‘n’ bake” breakfast events kicking off the day on a high note.

In the lead up to legalization, CityNews explored every angle of marijuana legalization in our special series the Marijuana Files.

Below is a selection of articles and videos covering all things pot from official rules to personal experiences.


A homegrown mess: Canada ushering in legal marijuana with a patchwork of rules

With billions of dollars invested, millions of grams cultivated and thousands of people employed, the grand premiere of Canada’s legal cannabis system is upon us. But as the curtain lifts, it will debut as a ragged production. Parts of the set may be unpainted. Not everyone will know their lines. The theatre may be variously oversold and partly empty. And whole sections of the stage will remain in darkness. READ MORE.

Why are the cannabis regulations so different from province to province?

On a national level, marijuana is now legal. But the rules are not a one-size-fits-all format across the country. The rules governing all things pot differ from province to province and while that may seem haphazard, it was done intentionally. READ MORE.

When it comes to marketing marijuana, selling the sizzle is off limits

No TV, no radio, no magazines or billboards — unlike flashy beer ads, marijuana is being treated more like a “sin product” similar to cigarettes and gambling, putting cannabis companies under very strict guidelines on how they can brand their bud. Packaging can have colour but it has to be muted. No florescents, metallics, sparkles or shiny finishes are permitted. READ MORE.

Ontario to allow pot smoking wherever tobacco smoking allowed

Ontario residents will be able to smoke recreational cannabis wherever the smoking of tobacco is permitted. Under previous consumption rules, those over 19 would have only been able to smoke cannabis in a private Ontario residence, but the Progressive Conservative government has now moved to align pot consumption rules around the laws that already apply to tobacco consumption. READ MORE.

Will you be able to smoke pot in your condo?

An increasing number of Toronto condo boards are banning tenants from smoking cannabis on balconies and inside condo units. But is that legal? WATCH.


How to buy recreational pot online in Ontario 

The only legal cannabis retailer in Ontario is the government-run Ontario Cannabis Store website OCS.ca. Consumers can access the site from computers and mobile devices.
The products offered for sale include dried flower, oils, capsules, pre-rolled joints and accessories, but no seeds for the time being. Here’s a primer on how to purchase marijuana online. READ MOREand WATCH

A brief look at provincial approaches to recreational marijuana sales

The rules surrounding selling of marijuana will differ from province to province. Here’s a look at provincial and territorial plans to date. READ MORE

Won’t it be cheaper to buy pot from my regular dealer?

With the legalization of recreational cannabis, what is going to happen to the black market for marijuana? The price for illegal pot already dropped in anticipation of legalization, but the government has indicated that it intends to come close to matching those illicit market prices in order to provide a legitimate, feasable alternative. READ MORE.

Privacy issue with online pot sales after legalization needs watching: experts

Buyers who have to provide personal information to purchase recreational pot online should be able to rely on existing laws to protect their privacy, but the issue needs to be watched closely to ensure regulations are obeyed and mistakes are avoided, experts say. READ MORE.

Pot on planes: What to know about travelling with marijuana in Canada

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) told CityNews it doesn’t expect “any significant impacts” on its operations with the arrival of legalization, but it has updated its screening procedures to align with the Cannabis Act. READ MORE.


Will Canada’s first approved roadside pot test actually work?

Canadian government has approved the first roadside test aimed at stopping drivers who are under the influence of cannabis. But some experts are questioning whether the Drager DrugTest 5000 will actually be effective in detecting drivers who are impaired by THC — the main psychoactive agent in cannabis. READ MORE.

Will criminal records for pot convictions be expunged after legalization?

In January, the Trudeau government squashed hopes for exploring amnesty on possession charges until after the federal government’s legalization framework is instituted. A few months later, an NDP motion to pardon all cannabis offences that won’t be against the law post-legalization failed when the Liberals voted against it. READ MORE.

Toronto police will be barred from consuming weed within 28 days of duty: internal video

In an internal police video leaked to a Toronto radio station, Police Chief Mark Saunders says officers will be barred from using marijuana within 28 days of reporting for duty. In the video, Saunders says studies have shown that THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, can linger in one’s system, causing levels of impairment that are incompatible with police work. READ MORE.

Officers decry ‘offensive’ limits on pot use planned by RCMP, other forces

Some police forces are implementing nonsensical and downright offensive policies that prohibit or severely limit off-duty cannabis use, says a national association that represents front-line officers. READ MORE.

Pot-sniffing police dogs out of work?

What does cannabis legalization mean for pot-sniffing police dogs? Some have been retired, while others have been sold to private security companies. WATCH.


Legal pot FAQ: Your burning questions answered

With legalization come new rules governing everything ranging from where you can use pot to how it will be marketed and distributed. In the run up to decriminalization day, CityNews asked viewers and readers to send in their concerns about navigating the changes. We then reached out to experts in the field to weigh in. READ MORE.

Clearing the smoke: 5 interesting findings from a deep dive into cannabis studies

With many parts of the world shifting away from criminalizing cannabis, studies related to the plant are now being regularly conducted, with sometimes surprising and contradictory results.
As part of our Marijuana Files coverage, CityNews has delved into the wealth of established and emerging research on the topic. Here’s five interesting takeaways from our deep dive into marijuana, with links to 50 studies that shed new light on the physical, psychological, and societal effects of cannabis consumption. READ MORE.

What are sativa, indica, THC and CBD?

10 key terms every budding consumer should know about cannabis. READ MORE.

How bad is marijuana second-hand smoke?

Just 10 minutes of moderate exposure to marijuana smoke is enough for blood levels to exceed the legal driving limit, according to research out of the University of Calgary. Dr. Fiona Clement, the lead author of the Canadian Medical Association Journal Open study, said she was surprised by the results. READ MORE.

The truth about how cannabis affects your health

There’s a major lack of conclusive research on how cannabis actually affects the body, which has led to over-the-top claims, both pro and con. We asked experts to help clear the air. READ MORE.

Experiences, potential problems and more

10 things I learned trading weed stocks as a rookie investor

Weed stocks aren’t for the faint of heart. CityNews’ Michael Talbot shares the lessons he’s learned as a rookie trading weed stocks. READ MORE

Pot holds promise, problems, for pet owners

CBD oil, a product made from marijuana, is in high demand among Toronto dog owners, even though it is not regulated and there is little proof it actually works. CBD oil claims to do wonders for our four-legged friends when it comes to things like chronic pain, cancer and anxiety. READ MORE.

Baked goods: cooking with cannabis oil

While recreational cannabis is now legal, pot infused edibles are not included. That will come with legislation sometime in 2019. The Canadian edibles sector is expected to hit somewhere between $12 and $22 billion once the market is in full swing. Until then, you won’t be able to buy edibles in store and any (waking and) baking will have to happen at home. READ MORE.

The risks of growing cannabis at home

It is now legal to grow cannabis at home and that has some realty groups sounding the alarm about the relatively unknown risks of cultivating the plant. The damage can get extensive, even impact property values, and critics say it is far different than taking care of other common house plants. READ MORE.

Marijuana brings yogis to a higher level

CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt visited a Toronto yoga studio where you’re encouraged to consume marijuana to reach a higher level. WATCH

Advice for pot users who travel within Canada

For the first time in Canadian history, recreational marijuana will be allowed to be carried into Canadian airports and on any flights within our country’s borders. With that freedom comes some lingering questions about travelling with marijuana. Here are some Q&As. READ MORE.

Clinical scientists say youth should wait until they’re 25 before trying marijuana

Scientists are just starting to understand the effects of marijuana on the teenage brain, and while there are still many unknowns – they say they do know one thing for sure: the younger they start using it, the more it will impact their development. READ MORE.

Will cannabis legalization draw tourists to Canada?

Ganja-preneurs are dreaming big when it comes to making our country a tourist destination for cannabis users. The possibilities are endless, including pot tasting tours, cooking classes, bachelor parties and weddings. READ MORE.

Voter’s guide to school board elections

NEWS STAFF | posted Tuesday, Oct 16th, 2018

With John Tory pitted against his former city planner in Jennifer Keesmaat, and reconfigured ward boundaries turning former political friends into foes, there are plenty of intriguing plot-lines heading into the municipal election on Monday, October 22.

But aside from Rob Ford’s former driver Sandro Lisi running to be the Toronto District School Board trustee in Etobicoke North, we don’t hear a lot about the people who will ultimately help craft the educational experience for hundreds of thousands of students, not to mention make key decisions about multi-billion dollar budgets.

The battle for mayor and various dog fights for reduced council seats may garner most of the headlines, but the third column on your ballot shouldn’t be ignored.

Here’s what voters need to know about school trustees and the key role they play in shaping public education.

City of Toronto sample ballot by CityNewsToronto on Scribd

What do school trustees do?

Trustees are elected members of the school board, the body that operates the province’s publicly funded schools.

They are locally-elected representatives of the public and they advocate for public education. Trustees set the budget for the whole school board district as well as policies.

They are also accountable to their communities and must consult with parents, students and supporters of the board when developing the board’s multi-year plan.

According to the Ontario Education Services Corporation (OESC) website: “A trustee’s role is to maintain a focus on student achievement, well-being and equity and to participate in making decisions that benefit the board’s entire jurisdiction while representing the interests of their constituents. Trustees must also communicate the views and decisions of the board back to their constituents.”

Duties include: (Source: OESC)

    • Establishing the board’s multi-year strategic plan, which includes the vision to ensure a strong public education system
    • Setting goals for student achievement, well-being and equity
    • Monitoring progress against the board’s strategic goals and priority areas
    • Promoting accountability throughout the school board
    • Allocating resources in ways that ensure equity of outcomes and demonstrate accountability
    • Establishing a respectful, caring, professional climate throughout the school board
    • Creating collaborative relationships inside the board and across the community
    • Promoting continuous improvement
    • Promoting community involvement and establishing communications
    • Holding the director of education accountable as they lead, execute and monitor activities on behalf of the board of trustees
    • Ensuring effective stewardship of the board’s resources which includes passing the budget


To see what the ballot looks like in your ward, visit: https://myvote.toronto.ca/home

Who can run?

To run for any of the four school boards a person must be:

  • a Canadian citizen
  • at least 18 years of age
  • a resident in the area of jurisdiction of the board
  • not legally prohibited from voting
  • not disqualified by any legislation from holding municipal office


Learn more here

Who can vote?

You are eligible to vote in the election for a school board trustee if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • you are a Canadian citizen
  • you are aged 18 or older
  • you qualify to vote for that particular school board


Learn more here

Who is running?

For a full list of certified candidates, click here

How much do trustees get paid?

Trustees receive an honorarium made up of an annual base amount that varies from board to board. Toronto District School Board trustees earn $25,507 a year.

What are the four Toronto school boards?

Toronto District School Board (TDSB): This is the default. Unless you are qualified to vote for a separate or French school board, you will vote for the TDSB.

Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB): You must be Roman Catholic and a separate school board supporter or the spouse of a separate school board supporter. If your spouse is Roman Catholic and you are not, you’re not eligible.

Conseil scolaire Viamonde (French public school board): Your first language must be French and you must be a supporter (or the spouse of a supporter) of the French-language public school board.

Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud (French Catholic school board): You must be a Roman Catholic, your first language is French and be a supporter (or the spouse of a supporter) of the French separate school board. If your spouse is Roman Catholic and you are not, you’re not eligible. (Supporter refers to which school board the school portion of your property taxes goes to.)

Learn more here

When does the current term end:

Nov. 30.

When does the new term begin:

Dec. 1.

How long is each term:

Four years

New TDSB ward boundaries:

The Toronto District School Board approved a new realignment plan for its 22 boundaries that aligns with the 25 federal/provincial electoral boundaries in the City of Toronto. The new boundaries will come into effect on Dec. 1, 2018, when the new term of office begins.



To view the new maps that list the schools within each ward, click here. 

Information compiled from City Of Toronto, Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, TDSB, TCDSB, Conseil scolaire Viamonde and Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud

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