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Accessibility debate heats up on Toronto restaurant’s Instagram page

FAIZA AMIN | posted Friday, Nov 16th, 2018

Chris Stigus thought he was asking a simple question when he posted on a Toronto restaurant’s Instagram page, writing “Are you guys wheelchair accessible?” The restaurant, Sugo Toronto, responded saying “not really no, we’ve had a couple chairs in but we have a step and it’s a very small place.” Stigus didn’t expect what happened next.

“That started an avalanche of Instagram comments,” Stigus said. “People were saying that the restaurant has a duty to accommodate people in wheelchairs, they were upset about the responses given by the store owner. They felt they weren’t doing enough to accommodate people in wheelchairs.

When other social media users began to criticize the restaurant and commented that it had a duty to be accessible, Sugo Toronto, located on Bloor Street West near Lansdowne Avenue, responded by saying, “actually we don’t if there is a step. check city bylaw. thanks for the two cents,” and “put your money where your mouth is and start fixing steps or mind your business.”

“I felt the restaurant maybe didn’t handle it in the best possible way in their responses but I do feel that they were innocent and not malicious,” said Chris. “It seems the machine of social media really started piling on.”

Chris said that he was shocked and hurt by the responses the restaurant gave to the other commentators. The owner of Sugo Toronto and the eatery’s Instagram page Conor Joerin, said the comments were interpreted the wrong way and offered to buy and deliver a plate to Chris.

“It’s completely on brand, I’m a knucklehead from the west-end,” Conor said. “I was upset that he was personally hurt and obviously I apologize if anyone was offended. But I didn’t say anything wrong, I just stated it’s not law for me to be wheelchair accessible.”

The restaurant has been around for 15 months, but next door to Sugo Toronto, is The Emmerson, a restaurant that’s been in the neighbourhood for six years. Joerin owns both of these restaurants, and although Sugo isn’t wheelchair accessible, The Emerson is.

He tells CityNews the space, located inside an old Toronto building, doesn’t allow for accessibility.

“I don’t have a lot of money, I’m a cook, I’m an owner-operated business and I’d love to accommodate everyone but it’s not reasonable to think we can make every space accessible,” Conor said. “There’s a line-up, the tables are very close to each other, and the bathrooms have steps leading to them as well.”

Following the CityNews interviews, both men had a conversation over Instagram, with plans to meet up in the future.


Luke Anderson, the Executive Director of StopGap Foundation, an organization focused on community projects that raise awareness about moving barriers, says buildings/structures that aren’t accessible are common throughout the city of Toronto and a business might benefit from opening to a bigger customer base.

“I think it’s a really big problem, here in the city we have a subway system where half of the subway stations aren’t accessible,” Luke said. “To install an elevator at a subway station takes a lot of time, and we don’t really have a lot of time to uphold that goal of becoming barrier free by 2025.”


LCBO expanding hours from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. to align with cannabis stores

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Nov 16th, 2018

The LCBO will be open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. to align with the hours of Ontario’s private retail recreational cannabis stores.

The hours “will provide retailers with the flexibility to respond to local market conditions and consumer demands,” the provincial government said in a news release.

It is unclear if every LCBO store will operate under the expanded hours or if it will be a select number of outlets. LCBO has told CityNews those details will only be revealed once the Doug Ford government officially announces the expansion on Thursday.

Right now, most LCBO stores in Toronto close at 9 p.m., with several closing at 10 p.m. and a few already closing at 11 p.m.

It’s expected that the hours will start in April, the same time the cannabis stores are planned to open.

The Beer Store will also be able to be open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. if it so chooses.

More to come

Christmas spirit arrives in Toronto this weekend with Santa Claus parade

PATRICIA D'CUNHA AND CHRISTINE CHUBB | posted Friday, Nov 16th, 2018

It is the most wonderful time of the year.” The Christmas season makes its arrival in Toronto this weekend and what a sight it will be! Below are some events taking place this weekend that will put you into the festive spirit.


Santa Claus Parade
“Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus lane … hear those sleigh bells jingle jangle, what a beautiful sight.”

Several streets in downtown Toronto will turn into Santa Claus lanes on Sunday for the 114th annual Santa Claus Parade. The parade starts at 12:30 p.m. at Bloor and Christie streets. It then heads down Bloor to Queen’s Park Crescent East, University Avenue, and ends at Front and Jarvis streets around 3-4 p.m. Ahead of the parade, runners will spread their merriment in the Holly Jolly Fun Run. The five-kilometre run starts at 11:45 a.m. on Bloor Street between Manning and Euclid avenues, and ends at Maple Leaf Square. This year, everyone who finishes the run will receive a medal.

There’s no doubt Christmas is an expensive time so why not kick the season off with an evening of live music and dancing for FREE! This Saturday head down to the heart of the city – Yonge-Dundas Square – for a magical evening. The Devin Cuddy Band will take to the stage at 5:30 p.m. before the big Christmas tree lighting. Then belt out some classics with a huge holiday sing-along! Plus, you’re right near the Eaton Centre if the festivities inspired you to kick off your holiday shopping.

Rosedale Cavalcade of Lights
The Rosedale neighbourhood gets into the Christmas spirit on Saturday with a tree lighting festival. Yonge Street between Woodland Avenue and Crescent will be lit up at the event, which takes place from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. There will be live music, as well as food and drinks. On a sidenote, do you know how Rosedale acquired its name? Back in the 1820s, the wife of then-sheriff William Botsford Jarvis named their estate after the wild roses that grew on the property. The neighbourhood then became known as Rosedale.

Bloor-Yorkville Holiday Magic
A children’s choir, a beautiful tree and helping a good cause. For many that’s what Christmas is all about and you’ll find it this Saturday at Bloor-Yorkville Holiday Magic. Starting at 5 p.m., the free evening at the Village of Yorkville Park (at Cumberland & Bellair streets) will feature The Rosedale Day School Choir, a tree lighting and a musical performance by Shawn Hook. Enjoy a tasty refreshment for a suggested $2 donation to support the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research.

Trinity Bellwoods Flea-Christmas Is Coming Market

When was the last time you had fun when holiday shopping? That long, huh? Bring back the fun into your festival shopping this Sunday at the ‘Christmas is coming market’ in Trinity Bellwoods. Browse the goodies being offered by 70 vendors, which all come together at the Great Hall on Queen Street West. The market runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Once you are done your shopping, partake in some food, drinks and live music. Admission to the market is free.

Markham Home for the Holidays
Head just north of the city this weekend to enter a winter wonderland at the 31st annual Markham Home for the Holidays. With strolling Victorian carolers, over 130 exhibitors and thousands of gift ideas for any budget, the event is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit. And, of course, Santa will be there too. Christmas shortbreads, personalized ornaments and stained glass can make any home feel a little more festive. The sights, smells and sounds are sure to delight you.

TTC and road closures

Line 3 shutdown
Trains won’t be running on Line 3 on Saturday due to track and infrastructure work. Shuttle buses will run between Scarborough Centre and Kennedy stations.

Road closures:
Several roads will be closed this weekend for festive events, including the Santa Claus parade. Click here for a full list.

Slippery, sloppy commute after heavy snow in Toronto overnight

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Nov 16th, 2018

Give yourself extra time Friday morning to clear the wet, heavy snow that fell overnight from your front steps, the sidewalk, and your car.

As the city got its first real taste of winter weather Thursday evening, continuing into the overnight, sloppy and slippery streets could make the morning commute a slow one.

The TTC says streetcar customers may experience delays of up to 15 minutes due to downed wires.

The City of Toronto says salting operations continued overnight with two to three rounds applied to main roads and one round to local roads. Sidewalk plowing and salting started around 2 a.m. on high volume routes.

Crews will continue salting efforts through the morning rush as the winter weather continues.

“Periods of light snow continuing through the morning hours and some flurries,” 680 NEWS weather specialist Denise Andreacchi explained.

“As we climb to highs near minus four, we’ll start to see some mixed precipitation through the afternoon, especially through areas south of the 401.”

Ahead of the storm on Thursday Environment Canada issued a winter weather travel advisory for Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, York, Durham, Hamilton and the Niagara region, with a snowfall of five to 10 centimetres expected across the region. The advisory ended Friday morning.

Ontario releases cannabis regulations for retail stores set to open April 1

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Nov 15th, 2018

The Ontario government has released regulations that will guide the startup of private cannabis stores on April 1.

The stand-alone stores can be open any day between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m., but they must be at least 150 metres away from schools and bar entry to anyone under 19 years old.

A market concentration limit of 75 stores per operator has been set.

Until April, cannabis can only be legally purchased from the online Ontario Cannabis Store.

Applications for licences will begin on Dec. 17 and illegal cannabis retailers who were operating after legalization on Oct. 17 will not be eligible to receive cannabis sales licences.

Licences won’t be issued to any person or organization who has an association with organized crime, and applicants must demonstrate their tax compliance status to show they are in good standing with the government.

“The purpose of these regulations is to keep kids safe and to ensure all people operating in this tightly-regulated retail system behave with integrity, honesty, and in the public interest,” Attorney General Caroline Mulroney said in a statement.

Retail managers and employees must complete approved training in the responsible sale of cannabis.

The government says it will provide $40 million over two years to help municipalities with the implementation costs of recreational cannabis legalization.

Patrick Brown bio alleges Brian Mulroney bargained over daughter’s political future


A new book purporting to tell the truth about the fall of Patrick Brown offers a rare glimpse into the machinations inside the Ontario Progressive Conservative party following his abrupt resignation as leader amid sexual misconduct allegations he denies.

In his new tell-all biography — titled Takedown: The Attempted Political Assassination of Patrick Brown — the former Tory leader portrays himself as a victim of a conspiracy led by senior party officials opposed to what he calls a moderate brand of conservatism with help from his most trusted aides.

However, the book also pulls back the curtain on what went on during the leadership race following Brown’s resignation in January, including allegations of bargaining with former prime minister Brian Mulroney about the political career of his daughter — now Ontario Attorney General Caroline Mulroney.

Brown, who is now the mayor of Brampton, Ont., alleges that Brian Mulroney promised him a place at the “centre” of his daughter’s government if the ousted Tory leader pledged his support to help her become party leader, and eventually premier.

The alleged negotiations took place during a late-night meeting in a downtown Toronto hotel’s presidential suite where the then-resigned Brown met with Brian Mulroney and his daughter Caroline’s husband Andrew Lapham.

The group met to discuss Brown potentially swinging his political support and organizational power to Caroline Mulroney, who at the time was a Tory leadership candidate but did not attend the meeting.

“…you’ll be at the centre of her government,” Brown alleges the former prime minister promised him, calling it a “handshake deal.”

Brown also alleges that months earlier, he offered Caroline Mulroney to run for Tory nomination in Toronto, but she turned it down. She also turned down an offer to run in the Etobicoke-Lakeshore riding, he writes, and her father was opposed to her running in Burlington, Ont., because he felt “it was a swing seat.”

Caroline Mulroney ended up winning the nomination — and a seat in the legislature — in the York-Simcoe riding northest of Toronto. Neither Caroline Mulroney nor her father responded to a request for comment late Wednesday.

During his tenure as leader, Brown and the party came under criticism for voting irregularities that were alleged to have taken place at a number of nomination meetings across the province. After Brown’s resignation the party overturned the results of six disputed nominations.

Police continue to investigate allegations of voter fraud at a Tory riding nomination meeting in Hamilton West-Ancaster Dundas in May 2017.

Political parties in Canada operate as private entities, so the public rarely gets to see the manoeuvring that takes place behind the scenes, said Cristine de Clercy, a political science professor at Western University.

“So it is pretty rare, in my experience and in the canon of books about politics, to have accounts of leadership selection mechanics written by people who were leaders or who were at such an elite level as Mr. Brown,” she said.

While it’s not surprising that Brian Mulroney would help his daughter’s political career, the fact that the Ontario election saw so much overlap between federal and provincial politics is unusual, de Clercy said.

“We tend often in Canada to keep the federal politicians at the federal level and the provincial politicians at the provincial level, but this past campaign we saw a lot of interlacing of federal politicians interested in the provincial race, running in the provincial race, wanting to run in the provincial race,” she said.

University of Toronto political science professor Nelson Wiseman said what stands out about Brown’s book is his “exceptional bitterness.”  There appears to be little political strategy behind the release of the tell-all other than to “throw boulders”, he said.

“It puts Patrick Brown’s name back in the news cycle for a day,” he said. “But what will it accomplish for Brampton or for him or for the Conservative party? Nothing. It’s good news for the Liberals and NDP.”

Ontario to announce tax exemption for low-income workers in fall fiscal update: sources

PAOLA LORIGGIO THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Nov 15th, 2018

Ontario workers earning less that $30,000 will no longer have to pay provincial income tax starting next year, and those earning up to $38,000 will pay less tax, The Canadian Press has learned.

Government sources say the plan will be laid out in the province’s fall economic statement, slated to be tabled in the legislature this afternoon.

The sources say the tax changes will apply to 1.1 million Ontario workers making minimum wage or slightly above it, noting some other low-income workers who currently use a combination of rebates and other measures are already spared provincial income tax.

They say those who will be newly exempt are expected to save roughly $850 per year, or $1,250 per year for households with two exempt workers.

The sources say the plan will cost the province about $120 million between Jan. 1 and the end of the fiscal year. No further projections are included in the fiscal update, they say.

Premier Doug Ford had promised to eliminate provincial income tax for low-income workers in exchange for scrapping a minimum wage hike planned by the previous Liberal government that was set to take effect next year.

His proposal was criticized by opposition parties, and an independent economic analysis conducted at the time showed low-income workers would benefit more from a higher minimum wage than lower taxes, because the wage hike would bring more money than a tax cut would save them.

Ontario’s minimum wage rose from $11.60 to $14 an hour on Jan. 1 and was scheduled to increase to $15 next year, but the Progressive Conservative government has since introduced legislation that would cap the minimum wage at $14 until October 2020. Any future increases would be linked to the rate of inflation.

The government announced earlier this week that the fall economic statement would also raise the number of seats in the legislature required to achieve official party status, but has otherwise given few details on the fiscal update.

Finance Minister Vic Fedeli has promised to offer a clear snapshot of the government’s finances, and said the government does not plan to use one-time revenue to tackle the province’s $15-billion deficit.

That figure was reached by a commission of inquiry convened by the governing Progressive Conservatives and factors in their decision to adopt accounting practices used by the auditor general.

The Liberals had clashed with the auditor general over their choice to view pensions plans as assets and move borrowing for a hydro plan off the province’s books.

However, the Tories’ deficit number has been called into question by opposition parties, who say the government has overstated the deficit by including spending promises made by the Liberals that are being cancelled by the current regime.

Opposition legislators expressed concerns about a return to austerity, and said they expect the fall economic statement to lay the groundwork for cuts.
“We’re pretty worried,” NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said. “We expect an economic statement that’s going to hurt everyday families.”

The Liberals said Thursday’s update will be the first thorough look at the impact of Ford’s campaign promises, noting his camp did not release a costed election platform.

“Ontarians deserve answers about what the fiscal plan is for Ontario under the Ford government,” Liberal legislator Mitzie Hunter said in a statement. “He said no one would be laid off and we will be holding him to this promise. If Ford is going to continue cutting services that people rely on, he needs to come clean with Ontarians.”

Green party Leader Mike Schreiner said the Tories campaigned on fiscal responsibility but haven’t lived up to that image.

“I don’t think the people of Ontario voted for cutbacks to essential services,” he said.

One public service union said the government should focus on generating revenue rather than finding so-called efficiencies.

“Ontario doesn’t have a spending problem, it has a revenue problem and that’s the real story behind both insufficient service levels and the province’s deficit,” said Candace Rennick of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
Category: c

Driver in custody for impaired after Queensway crash

NEWS STAFF | posted Thursday, Nov 15th, 2018

One person is in police custody after a single-vehicle crash in Mississauga.

Emergency crews were called to the scene at Queensway East and Dixie Road around 2:30 a.m. on Thursday.

A vehicle crashed into a hydro pole, causing a power outage at the intersection.

There has been no word on injuries.

Police said the driver was taken into custody for impaired.

Hydro crews are on scene but police say the lights are likely to be out until after the morning rush.

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