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What’s open and closed over the holidays

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Dec 21st, 2018

The holidays are a busy time in the city, so as you head out and about below is a list of what’s open and closed during the festive season.


Dec. 25: Sunday service
Dec. 26: Sunday service
Dec. 31: Sunday service, with free rides from 7 p.m. on Dec. 31 until 7 a.m. on Jan. 1
Jan. 1: Sunday service

Click here to refer to the service schedule.

GO Transit
Dec. 24: Early homebound service (trains leaving Union Station earlier)
Dec. 25: Sunday service
Dec. 26: Saturday service
Dec. 31: Early homebound service, late-night trains and free rides after 7 p.m.
Jan. 1: Sunday schedule

Click here to refer to the service schedule.


Malls are closed on Christmas Day.

Bramalea City Centre
Dec. 24: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Dec. 26: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Dufferin Mall
Dec. 24: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 26: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Dec. 31: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Eaton Centre
Dec. 24: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dec. 26: 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Dec. 31: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Erin Mills Town Centre
Dec. 24: 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dec. 26: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Dec. 31: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Fairview Mall
Dec. 24: 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dec. 26: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Dec. 31: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Scarborough Town Centre
Dec. 24: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dec. 26: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Sherway Gardens
Dec. 24: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dec. 26: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Shops at Don Mills
Dec. 24: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 26: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Square One
Dec. 24: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dec. 26: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Dec. 31: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Toronto Premium Outlets
Dec. 24: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dec. 26: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Vaughan Mills
Dec. 24: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dec. 26: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Yorkdale Mall
Dec. 24: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dec. 26: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Grocery/drug stores

Grocery stores are closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day but some Shoppers Drug Mart locations will be open. Click here to locate your store’s hours.

LCBO/Beer Stores

LCBO stores will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. For the rest of the holidays, click here to locate your store’s hours.

Beer store locations will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Stores will be open until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and some locations will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Boxing Day. Click here for more information.

Tourist attractions

AGO: Closed on Christmas Day but open the rest of the holidays
Casa Loma: Closed on Christmas Day but open the rest of the holidays
CN Tower: Open on Christmas Day and the rest of the holidays
Ontario Science Centre: Closed on Christmas Day but open the rest of the holidays
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada: Open 365 days a year
Royal Ontario Museum: Open on Christmas Day and the rest of the holidays
Toronto Zoo: Open on Christmas Day and the rest of the holidays

Government offices, banks, and mail

Government offices and banks are closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Some banks will close early on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

No mail delivery on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

City of Toronto services

Garbage collection
There will be no garbage collection on Christmas Day (Tuesday) and New Year’s Day (Tuesday), but will be moved to the following day. Wednesday’s collection will be moved to Thursday, and so on.

Click here for more information.

Toronto Public Library
Dec. 24: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Dec. 25-26: Closed
Dec. 30: Closed
Dec. 31: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

City of Toronto facilities
Recreation centres will be open until 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. They, along with the indoor skating arenas, will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day.

Click here for list of other closures over the holidays, and a list of other activities in the city.

Skate under the Gardiner or see twinkly lights this weekend in Toronto


With the big day just around the corner, this weekend will be the last to get in good with Santa before the big man stuffs his sleigh with toys for all the well-behaved girls and boys. While some people will flood the malls this weekend, there’s also plenty of ways to drink in the Christmas spirit around the city. It only comes once a year. So, why not make the most of it.

Winter flower show at Allan Gardens
With the cold winds of winter blowing through the GTA, it’s hard to imagine that just a few blocks away from College Station grows a beautiful botanical garden filled with tropical flowers. Put away your gloves and hat for a few hours this weekend as you stroll through six greenhouses filled with the colours of summer at the Allan Gardens Conservatory Winter Flower Show. This beautiful conservatory was built in 1858 and houses a wide variety of interesting plants including orchids, begonias, palms, tropical vines, gingers, hibiscus and a variety of unusual cacti. The show is free and runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Miracle on Front Street
It was once the tallest building in the Toronto skyline, and this weekend all eyes will once again be on the Fairmont Royal York. Head down to Front Street this weekend to take in the holiday sights and sounds outside the historic hotel. Every half hour, the skyline will light up with Miracle on Front Street — a digital show projected on the front of the Royal York from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. As well, ring in the holiday season on Saturday with a visit to Santa’s holiday chalet, located on the hotel’s MM level. Take a photo with Santa and enjoy the homey abode. Santa will be available from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and guests must take their own photos.

The Bentway Skate Trail: Skate the 8 in the Six
If you’re looking for a little exercise between devouring Christmas cookies — head to the Bentway as its skating trail opens for the season on Saturday at noon. Do a few laps on the figure-eight skate trail and then grab some snacks and settle in under a blanket next to a fire pit to relax. There’s no price to get on the ice, but you can rent skates there if you don’t have your own.

Christmas in the Valley at Todmorden Mills
Take a trip back in time at Todmorden Mills in the Don Valley. The historic village has been active since the 1790s, and now it’s set up to give visitors a glimpse of what Christmas was like in the 1890s and the 1940s. Try out some festive treats, make some crafts, and go for a winter stroll in the wildflower preserve. It’s open to visitors Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. and costs $5 to $8 to get in.

We’ve told you about these events before but they are still ongoing.

Toronto Christmas Market
Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District ends this weekend! It’s your last chance to pose for a selfie in front of the 50-foot Christmas tree adorned with more than 40,000 lights. Grab a glass of mulled wine and head over. Admission on weekdays is free until Friday at 5 p.m. and $6 after that and into the weekend.

Winter at Ontario Place
Ontario Place is hosting a series of activities and exhibitions including a light exhibition, a synthetic skating rink, bonfires and more. It continues until March 17.

Evergreen’s Winter Village
Shop at the holiday market, skate and enjoy treats from food trucks and local vendors. Admission to the village is free.

Two arrested, one suspect outstanding in Mississauga hit-and-run

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Dec 21st, 2018

Two people are in custody and the search is on for another suspect following a collision involving a Peel Region Police cruiser in Mississauga.

The crash occurred around 8 p.m. near Hurontario and Dundas streets. Police say the suspect vehicle crashed into one car and fled the scene. Officers pursued the vehicle, which apparently lost control and crashed into two other cars and a police cruiser.

Police say one man and one woman were taken into custody. A third suspect fled on foot. He’s described as light skinned, has a cut on his forehead and was wearing only one shoe.

Feds give Toronto, police over $7M to fight gun and gang violence

COLIN PERKEL, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Dec 21st, 2018

The federal government has not ruled out further restrictions or even an outright ban on handguns to combat gun-related violence, Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair said on Thursday as he announced funding to address youth crime in Toronto.

The spike in shootings the city has seen this year has echoes across the country and is partly the result of vulnerable youth getting drawn into street gangs, said Blair, who has been consulting on potential law changes.

“We are considering any and all measures,” Blair said. “(But) if all we focus on is putting people in jail and not preventing these crimes, we will continue to see an escalation of violence.”

The federal money for Toronto comes at a time when Premier Doug Ford is under fire for cutting funding for various social and community supports for young people. Participants at the announcement stressed the importance of all three levels of government working to deal with the crime issue.

In one initiative, Ottawa said it would give Toronto $6.76 million over five years for a community “healing project” that aims to prevent crime by tackling the complex causes underlying gun violence. The program aims to train 250 young people to help more than 1,000 peers build skills, increase mental health resiliency and cope with violence.

“This isn’t just throwing money at a problem,” Blair said. “The program that we are funding today will make a real and lasting and positive difference in these kids’ lives.”

The second initiative will see Ottawa give Toronto police $400,000 over two years to help officers work with vulnerable youth in eight priority neighbourhoods. Officers would be assigned to a neighbourhood to gain insight into the community and build trust in relationships.

“This kind of community outreach is both effective and efficient in preventing crime,” Blair said.

Mayor John Tory, who said the city had been “devastated” by violence this year that includes the Greektown mass shooting, welcomed the federal support. Tory said he hoped the announcement was only the first in a series of city requests to Ottawa worth a total of $30 million.

“Crime prevention and intervention at the community level are important parts of combating the violence that we have seen in our city,” Tory said. “We are committed to working together and to doing everything we can to stop the loss of life and address the root causes of the violence.”

Police Chief Mark Saunders, who has said the surge in shootings this year was largely due to a rise in gang violence, said Toronto remains one of the safest cities. However, Saunders said young people have to see alternatives to joining gangs, and combating gun violence has to go beyond enforcement.

“We can’t arrest our way out of this,” Saunders said. “If we have stronger relations with our communities, then our solutions become sustainable.”

Toronto Liberal MP Adam Vaughan made an impassioned plea for whatever action is needed to ensure young people don’t join gangs.

“If we give up on these kids, they will give up on us,” Vaughan said. “When that happens, the despair we see and the violence we see on city streets is what the yellow tape has been all about this summer.”

5 St. Mike’s students face new charges in 8th incident

NEWS STAFF AND THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Dec 20th, 2018

Toronto police say five St. Michael’s College School students turned themselves in to police on Wednesday and have been charged with assault, sexual assault with a weapon, and gang sexual assault in connection to an incident on Oct. 17.

Of the five students, four were previously charged in connection to a separate alleged sexual assault at the school.

It’s the latest chapter in a scandal that has rocked the prestigious private Catholic school.

Inspector Domenic Sinopoli, Unit Commander of Sex Crimes, provided a thorough update on Tuesday. Here’s what we learned:

  • Police investigated a total of eight different occurrences.
  • Three of those occurrences resulted in criminal charges being laid against seven students.
  • Investigations into the other five occurrences have concluded without charges, either because there was no evidence of a crime, or alleged victims did not want to participate in the investigation, Sinopoli said.
  • Four of the five students charged on Wednesday were also previously charged in connection to an incident on Nov. 19.
  • Two of the five students charged on Wednesday, and in connection to the Nov. 19 incident, were also charged with assault and assault with a weapon in relation to an incident on Sept. 18.
  • All of the incidents involve members of the football team.
  • Police do not have grounds to lay charges against any school staff or coaching staff.
  • There are no reports of historical physical or sexual abuse and Sinopoli said police don’t believe criminal behaviour “extended outside of this school year or involved anyone outside of this small group of students.”

Sinopoli also warned students that police would seek charges against anyone who is in possession of videos depicting sexual assaults, adding that police believe some students are still trying to share the videos online.

“We are still actively investigating the fact that the original sexual assault was both videotaped and subsequently distributed,” he said. “Despite the various warnings, we have credible evidence to suggest that people are still in possession of this video and or have made attempts to upload it on social media.”

Interim President of St. Michael’s College School, Fr. Andrew Leung released a statement on Wednesday addressing the new charges.

“This is another painful and heartbreaking day, but also a necessary step in our school’s journey as we learn the truth about the terrible incidents that happened on one of our teams, and rededicate ourselves to both immediate and long-term change.

The latest update comes on the same day that six of the seven students charged in the case appear in court.

Those six teens face sex assault and assault charges for an incident at the school that was caught on video. The six teens, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, were all released on bail after their first appearance in mid-November.

All seven students will be back in court on January 28.

What led to the arrests

On Nov. 12, St. Michael’s College School administration said it received a video of an alleged assault that took place in a boy’s washroom in the school. The video, which has been viewed by CityNews, shows a teen in his underwear in a sink being splashed with water and slapped on his bare skin by several boys. Later that same night the school received video of a second incident of an alleged group sexual assault in a school locker room involving a broomstick.

The following day, four students were expelled in connection with the first video. The school continued its internal investigation but police were not notified. However, school administration informed faculty and staff of both incidents.

On Nov. 15, police visited the school after CityNews contacted authorities about a possible incident at St. Michael’s College School, unrelated to the assault investigations. It was only when officers arrived at the school that they were told about the video showing the alleged sexual assault involving a broomstick.

Four days later, five boys turned themselves in to police. One was arrested while on his way to school. They are all facing charges of assault, gang sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon.

The next day, Toronto police told CityNews they were investigating two new incidents at the school and there were videos of both.

Amid the scandal, the school’s principal Greg Reeves and board president Jefferson Thompson resigned. The school has been criticized for not promptly reporting the alleged incidents to police.

After the alleged assaults were made public, former students came forward with their stories of bullying at St. Mike’s dating back decades.

St. Michael’s has since established a “respect and culture” review panel that is set to report its findings by the summer. A tip line for students to report any concerns or allegations was also set up.

The school also cancelled its football program for the next year, citing “problematic dynamics” on those teams.

Read Leung’s full statement below.

School responds to closing of police investigation and additional charges laid

“This is another painful and heartbreaking day, but also a necessary step in our school’s journey as we learn the truth about the terrible incidents that happened on one of our teams, and rededicate ourselves to both immediate and long-term change.

“We are grateful to the Toronto Police Service for identifying the suspects and concluding the investigation. We are committed to understanding why this behaviour happened and what led to it, and to putting measures in place to ensure it does not happen again. With last week’s appointment of the independent Respect and Culture Review committee and the release of our updated Action Plan, our resolve remains unwavering. The safety and well-being of our students remain our highest priorities and guiding principles.

“Our school community prays for everyone involved and their families during this difficult time.”

The school notes the following facts from today’s police announcement:

  • The police investigated eight incidents involving SMCS football and basketball players, all of which occurred in the current academic year. They decided to lay charges in three of the eight incidents, all pertaining to members of one of the football teams.
  • In these three incidents, seven boys have been charged. Six boys were charged on November 19th, and an additional one was charged today. The charges are the same as announced previously, but were extended to include two other incidents involving the same group of students.
  • No charges were laid against any administrator, faculty, staff member or coach.
  • The police investigation is now closed.
  • The school is now able to continue and complete its own investigation into student conduct, which was halted to avoid interference with the police investigation.
  • More information about the police investigation is available from the Toronto Police Service website.

Last week, the St. Michael’s College School Board of Directors appointed an independent committee that will conduct a comprehensive review of the school’s social and cultural practices and related policies, with a report due by the summer of 2019.

The school also released an update of its comprehensive Respect and Culture Action Plan. For more information, please visit smcsrespectandculture.com.

3rd Canadian detained in China not believed to be linked to other arrests

ANDY BLATCHFORD, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Dec 20th, 2018

Chinese authorities have detained a Canadian woman over what they say are employment issues, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he didn’t believe the case is linked to the recent arrests of two other Canadians in the country.

Trudeau said Wednesday that the latest case, so far, doesn’t involve serious allegations related to China’s national security.

“These are two very different situations,” Trudeau told a news conference in Ottawa. “There are tens of thousands of Canadians who live, travel, work in China in any given year — there are obviously regular situations where Canadians require consular assistance.”

He added that the government is taking the most recent case seriously and that it’s looking into details that don’t “seem to fit the pattern of the previous two.” He raised visa issues as the sort of thing that might draw Chinese authorities’ attention.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying seemed to confirm that Thursday, saying the woman had received an administrative penalty for illegal employment. It did not provide further details.

Hua said the most recent case is different from the detention of the two Canadian men, noting they were taken in for endangering China’s national security, while the woman was given the penalty.

The case involves an Alberta woman who has been teaching in China for months and has indeed been held over a visa irregularity, Conservative MP Erin O’Toole said Wednesday in an interview. Until her detention, he said, she hadn’t had any problems with her visa.

O’Toole said the woman’s case was brought to the attention of a Tory MP in Alberta; O’Toole is the party’s foreign-affairs critic so he relayed the information to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland on Tuesday.

He declined to give any additional information about the woman, citing privacy concerns. O’Toole said he didn’t know whether the woman was still being detained by late Wednesday.

Several news outlets reported on Wednesday that the woman is a teacher named Sarah McIver. The National Post reported that she was teaching at a school in China when she was detained due to “visa complications,” and that arrangements were being made for her return to Canada.

Consular officials are providing assistance to the detainee’s family, Global Affairs Canada said.

“There’s hundreds of Canadians in one way or another working (in China) and is this something that they should worry about — existing visas?” O’Toole said. “That’s what’s very disconcerting about this … Canadians should know if suddenly visas are going to be pulled and reviewed and reconsidered.”

If China is indeed scrutinizing existing visas, O’Toole said Ottawa should post a new travel advisory to alert Canadians.

The latest detention comes with Canada locked in a diplomatic dispute with the Asian superpower.

Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of tech giant Huawei, was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1 at the request of the United States, where she is wanted on fraud allegations. Law-enforcement officials allege that she lied to U.S. banks about a corporate structure devised to get around sanctions against Iran.

Her arrest enraged China. It has demanded her release and warned of serious consequences for Canada.

Days after Meng’s arrest, the first two Canadians were detained in Beijing for allegedly endangering China’s national security.

Entrepreneur Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat on a leave of absence from Global Affairs, both remain in custody.

China has granted Canada access to both Spavor and Kovrig. Global Affairs Canada has said John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Kovrig on Friday and Spavor on Sunday.

Meng has since been released on bail and is to return to court in February for what most legal observers predict could be a long, drawn-out legal process.

Spavor is director of the Paektu Cultural Exchange and one of the few people from the West to have met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He also helped arrange a visit to North Korea by former basketball star Dennis Rodman.

Kovrig served as a diplomat in China until 2016 and has been working for the International Crisis Group, a non-governmental agency focused on ending conflicts.

Last week, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer demanded Trudeau send a “very high-level message” to China and denounce any repercussions on Canadians abroad.

Trudeau told reporters Wednesday that he’s holding off on publicly demanding Spavor’s and Kovrig’s release because that could be counterproductive.

He conceded that now that he’s in power, things look different from the way they did before he became prime minister.

“Every case is different. It requires a complex approach that is a combination of multiple different elements,” Trudeau said.

“I remember standing in the House and challenging (Stephen) Harper to ‘pick up the phone and get this Canadian released.’ I now understand that it’s a lot more complicated than that ? Sometimes politicizing or amplifying the level of public discourse on this may be satisfying in the short term, but would not contribute to the outcome that we all want, which is for Canadians to be safe and secure.”

In a recent interview with The Canadian Press, Trudeau said it’s often best to let diplomats speak to diplomats and ministers speak to ministers, and keep leader-to-leader talks as a last resort.

O’Toole challenged the go-slow approach.

“You don’t wait as if the call is some trump card after 10 detentions or something,” he said.

Drone activity shuts down Gatwick Airport

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Dec 20th, 2018

Thousands of holiday travel plans have been disrupted across the pond as Gatwick Airport remains shut down to all incoming and outgoing flights.

Police and airport officials are investigating reports of drones flying in the area of the airfield.

Passengers travelling Thursday are advised to check the status of their flights before heading to the airport, where any problem causes a ripple effect throughout Britain and continental Europe.

Gatwick first closed Wednesday night at about 9 p.m. local time when drones were spotted and didn’t reopen until 3 a.m.

It shut down again 45 minutes later, and Gatwick says drones are still active crossing the perimeter fence and entering the runway area.

RBC denies report it had access to users’ Facebook messages

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Dec 20th, 2018

Royal Bank of Canada is denying a report that it was able to read, write and delete users’ messages on the social networking website Facebook.

The New York Times has published a story claiming Facebook gave RBC, along with Spotify and Netflix, the ability to see private messages between its users.

The claims were based on hundreds of internal Facebook documents obtained by the newspaper, that have not been verified by The Canadian Press.

The Times story says more than 150 companies were given access to personal information from Facebook users, including entire friends’ lists and contact information without their permission or knowledge.

RBC says it was given permission to send messages to Facebook users from 2013 to 2015 when it offered a mobile app service that enabled customers to send money to their friends through the social network. It says it did not have the ability to see users’ messages.

The bank says it needed to be able to send the messages to confirm the identity of the Facebook user receiving the money and to send them a receipt of the transaction. The bank denied having access to private messages, or needing access to these messages.

The service, which used the bank’s mobile app, was decommissioned in 2015 due to low usage.

“RBC’s use of the Facebook platform was limited to the development of a service that enabled clients to facilitate payment transactions to their Facebook friends,” said RBC spokesman AJ Goodman in an email.

“As part of our security and fraud protocols, we needed to uniquely identify the recipient of funds and payments to securely process the transaction and deliver the notification. We did not have the ability to see users’ messages.”

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