1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar


Toronto cop involved in 2016 McArthur arrest to appear at police tribunal Tuesday


The Toronto police sergeant facing misconduct charges in connection with the Bruce McArthur investigation is expected to appear in front of a police tribunal Tuesday morning.

Paul Gauthier is facing insubordination and neglect of duty charges in relation to the 2016 arrest of McArthur.

The serial killer was arrested following a report that McArthur attempted to strangle a man inside a van during a sexual encounter. McArthur was later released without being charged and would go on to murder two more men.

Gauthier said he is being used as a scapegoat for Toronto police, which is also facing backlash for its investigation into missing persons cases.

Earlier this month, Gauthier’s lawyer, Lawrence Gridin, said that the evidence will show his client “contributed” to the identification of McArthur as a serial killer and did not detract from the investigation.

He defended Gauthier’s actions in a 2016 incident said his client has “great sympathy for the victims and the community.”

“The decision not to charge Bruce McArthur for the 2016 incident was made in conjunction with Det. Gauthier’s supervisor and based on the information available at the time,” Gridin said.

“McArthur’s monstrous nature was difficult to uncover because he led a life of extreme deception, not because of anything to do with the 2016 arrest.”

Toronto police released a statement stating, “when Homicide Squad investigators working the Bruce McArthur case identified prior investigative concerns, they immediately contacted professional standards. as a result, an officer has been compelled to attend a tribunal in efforts to provide an explanation for his actions.”

McArthur pleaded guilt to the death of eight men with connections to the city’s LGBTQ community. The court heard the gruesome details of McArthur’s “planned and deliberate” murders — including his “post-offence rituals” such as photography, staging the bodies and keeping items.

A list of Oscars 2019 winners

LAUREN BOOTHBY | posted Monday, Feb 25th, 2019

LOS ANGELES (NEWS 1130) — The 91st Academy Awards ceremony is underway, without a host but not without intrigue. Here’s a list of the winners so far:

Best picture: “Green Book”

Best actress in a leading role: Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”

Best actor in a leading role: Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Directing: Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma”

Best supporting actress: Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Best supporting actor: Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”

Foreign language film: Mexico’s “Roma”

Original screenplay: “Greenbook”

Adapted screenplay: “BlacKkKlansman”

Original song: “Shallow,” from “A Star is Born”

Animated feature film: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Animated short film: “Bao”

Documentary short subject: “Period. End of Sentence.”

Live action short film: “Skin”

Cinematography: Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma”

Documentary feature: “Free Solo”

Original score: Ludwig Goransson, “Black Panther”

Makeup and hairstyling: “Vice”

Costume design: Ruth Carter, “Black Panther”

Production design: “Black Panther”

Sound Editing: “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Sound Mixing: “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Film Editing: John Ottman, “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Canadians win Oscars for sound mixing and animated short

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS AND NEWS STAFF | posted Monday, Feb 25th, 2019

Queen launched Sunday’s Oscars with a medley of hits that gave the hostless 91st Academy Awards a distinctly Grammy-like flavour as Hollywood’s most prestigious ceremony sought to prove that it’s still “champion of the world” after last year’s record-low ratings.

Singer Adam Lambert, who has been touring with the band, replaced Freddie Mercury, the subject of the best-picture nominee “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Though the opening number was known, the feel of an Oscars without a host for only the second time in decades had been a mystery.

Following Queen, the motion picture academy ran of montage of the year’s movies before Tina Fey — alongside Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph — welcomed the Dolby Theatre audience to “the one-millionth Academy Awards.” The trio ran through the kind of jokes, they said, they would have said if they were, in fact, hosting.

Rudolph summarized the situation: “There is no host, there won’t be a popular movie category and Mexico is not paying for the wall.”

They then presented best supporting actress to Regina King for her pained matriarch in Barry Jenkins’ James Baldwin adaptation “If Beale Street Could Talk.” The crowd gave King a standing ovation for her first Oscar.

“To be standing here representing one of the greatest artist of our time, James Baldwin, is a little surreal,” said King. “James Baldwin birthed this baby.”

Spike Lee won his first competitive Oscar while the motion picture academy spread around awards for Ryan Coogler’s superhero sensation “Black Panther,” Alfonso Cuaron’s black-and-white personal epic “Roma,” and the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” at a brisk, hostless Oscars awash in historic wins for diversity.

Lee’s win for best adapted screenplay to his white supremacist drama “BlacKkKlansman” gave the Dolby Theatre ceremony Sunday its signature moment. The crowd rose in a standing ovation, Lee leapt into the arms of presenter Samuel L. Jackson and even the backstage press room burst into applause.

Lee, whose film including footage of President Donald Trump following the violent white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, spoke about the upcoming election.

“The 2020 election is around the corner. Let’s all mobilize. Let’s be on the right side of history,” said Lee, who was given an honorary Oscar in 2015. “Let’s do the right thing! You knew I had to get that in there.”

The biggest surprise of the night, was in the best actress category. Olivia Colman won for her Queen Anne in the royal romp “The Favourite,” denying Glenn Close her first Oscar. Close remains the most-nominated living actor never to win, with seven nominations.

“Ooo. It’s genuinely quite stressful,” said a staggered Colman, who later turned to Close to say she was her idol, “And this is not how I wanted it to be.”

“Bohemian Rhapsody,” won four awards despite pans from many critics and sexual assault allegations against its director, Bryan Singer, who was fired in mid-production.

Its star, Rami Malek, won best actor for his full-bodied and prosthetic teeth-aided performance.

“We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant who lived his life unapologetically himself,” said Malek. “We’re longing for stories like this. I am the son of immigrants from Egypt. I’m a first-generation American, and part of my story is being written right now.”

The film was honoured for editing and sound editing as well as sound mixing — a category that saw Canadian sound engineer Paul Massey take home the coveted prize.

He won the trophy alongside Tim Cavagin and John Casali in the best sound mixing category.

“I would like to dedicate this to my kids,” he said, naming them in his acceptance speech. “I love you all. Thank you.”

Massey also thanked the film’s producers, sound crew and members of rock band Queen, who are the subject of the film.

“A massive shout-out to Brian May and Roger Taylor,” Massey said. “Thank you so much for your music and for your collaboration and your support.”

It was the eighth Oscar nomination for Massey, who was born in England but early in his career lived in Toronto for 13 years before moving to Los Angeles.

His other nominations include the films “The Martian” by Ridley Scott, with whom he’s worked on several projects, “3:10 to Yuma,” “Walk the Line” and “Legends of the Fall.”

Massey’s award was soon followed by another Canadian win — Toronto-raised director Domee Shi won her first Oscar for her animated short film “Bao.”

Shi wrote and directed the Pixar production, about a Chinese-Canadian woman with empty-nest syndrome who dotes on an adorable little dumpling that miraculously springs to life at the dinner table. The eight-minute film is set in Toronto and features many of the city’s landmarks.

Shi was born in China and moved to Toronto with her family at age two. She used her upbringing and love of food as inspiration for “Bao,” which played in theatres with “Incredibles 2.”

“I’m an only child, so I’ve always been that overprotected little dumpling for my whole life,” she said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press.

“I just wanted to use this short to explore that relationship between an overprotective parent and a child, using this magical metaphor.”

Shi, who shares the Oscar with producer Becky Neiman-Cobb, also thanked her parents and her partner for his support and for being her “human stressball.”

A graduate of the animation program at Ontario’s Sheridan College, Shi is the first woman to direct a short film at Pixar, where she works.

She beat out two other animated films by Canadians for the Oscar — “Weekends” by Hamilton-born Trevor Jimenez and “Animal Behaviour” by Vancouver-based couple David Fine and Alison Snowden.

“To all of the nerdy girls out there who hide behind their sketch books — don’t be afraid to tell your stories to the world,” Shi said onstage in her acceptance speech, which also thanked her parents and her partner.

“You’re going to freak people out but you’ll probably connect with them, too, and that’s an amazing feeling to have. Thank you to (executive producer) Pete Docter for believing in my weirdness and for giving me a voice at the studio.”

“Bao” was one of three short-film ideas she had presented to a panel of Pixar representatives as part of an open call for pitches at the studio in 2015. Shi is now working on a feature film.

Sunday’s show also featured two Toronto-raised presenters — Mike Myers and Stephan James.

Myers, who plays a record executive in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” did a “Wayne’s World” bit with Dana Carvey onstage as they presented the film as a best-picture nominee.

“Wayne’s World” features a famous scene in which the duo’s rock-worshipping characters sing “Bohemian Rhapsody” in their car.

“’Bohemian Rhapsody’ played a large part in the success of ‘Wayne’s World,”’ said Myers, wearing his Order of Canada pin. “We’re humbled to be associated with that brilliant song.”

The lush, big-budget craft of “Black Panther” won for Ruth Carter’s costume design, Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart’s production design, and Ludwig Göransson’s score. Beachler had been the first African-American to ever be nominated in the category. Beachler and Carter became just the second and third black women to win non-acting Oscars.

“It just means that we’ve opened the door,” Carter, a veteran costume designer, said backstage. “Finally, the door is wide open.”

Two years after winning for his role in “Moonlight,” Mahershala Ali won again for his supporting performance in the interracial road-trip drama “Green Book” — a role many said was really a lead. Ali is the second black actor to win two Oscars following Denzel Washington, who won for “Glory” and “Training Day.” Ali dedicated the award to his grandmother.

“Green Book,” a film hailed by some as a throwback and criticized by others as retrograde, also took best original screenplay.

The night’s co-lead nominee “Roma,” which is favoured to hand Netflix its first best picture win, notched Mexico’s first foreign language film Oscar. Cuaron also won best cinematography, becoming the first director to ever win for serving as his own director of photography. Cuaron referenced an especially international crop of nominees.

“When asked about the New Wave, Claude Chabrol said there are no waves, there is only the ocean,” said Cuaron, referring to the French filmmaker. “The nominees tonight have proven that we are a part of the same ocean.”

The wins for “Roma” gave Netflix its most significant awards yet, while “Black Panther” — along with best animated film winner “Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse” — meant the first Academy Awards for Marvel, the most consistent blockbuster factor Hollywood has ever seen.

The inclusivity of the winners Sunday stood in stark contrast to the #OscarsSoWhite backlash that marked the 2016 and 2015 Oscars. Since then, the academy has worked to diversity its largely white and male membership, adding several thousand new members and opening the academy up internationally.

More women won Oscars than ever before. Still, this year’s nominations were criticized for not including a female best director nominee or a best-picture nominee directed by a woman.

Though the once presumed front-runner “A Star Is Born” appeared to flame out as awards season continued, it won, as expected, for the song “Shallow,” which Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper performed during the ceremony. As she came off the stage, Cooper had his arm around Gaga as she asked, “Did I nail it?”

Best documentary went to Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s “Free Solo,” which chronicles rock climber Alex Honnold’s famed, free solo ascent of Yosemite’s El Capitan, a 3,000-foot wall of sheer granite, without ropes or climbing equipment. “Free Solo” was among a handful of hugely successful documentaries last year including the nominated Ruth Bader Ginsberg documentary “RBG” and the snubbed Fred Rogers doc “Won’t You Be My Neighbour.”

“Thank you Alex Honnold for teaching us to believe in the impossible,” said Vasarhelyi. “This film is for everyone who believes in the impossible.”

Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice” won makeup and hairstyling for its extensive physical transformations.

The category was one of the four that the academy initially planned to present during a commercial break and as its winners — Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia Dehaney — dragged on in a litany of thank-yous, they were the first to have their microphone cut off.

To turn around ratings, Oscar producers pledged a shorter show.

In the academy’s favour was a popular crop of nominees: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “A Star Is Born” and, most of all, “Black Panther” have all amassed huge sums in ticket sales. Typically, when there are box-office hits (like “Titanic”), more people watch the Oscars.

The list of the winners at the 91st Academy Awards:
Best picture: “Green Book”
Best actress: Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Best actor: Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Best director: Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma”
Best supporting actress: Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Best supporting actor: Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
Foreign language film: Mexico’s “Roma”
Original screenplay: “Green Book,” Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie and Peter Farrelly
Adapted screenplay: “BlacKkKlansman,” Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee
Original Song: “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born,” music and lyrics by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt.
Cinematography: Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma”
Best animated film: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”
Original Score: “Black Panther,” Ludwig Goransson
Costume design: Ruth Carter, “Black Panther”
Production design: “Black Panther”
Sound Editing: “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Sound Mixing: “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Film Editing: John Ottman, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Animated short film: “Bao”
Documentary short subject: “Period. End of Sentence”
Visual effects: “First Man”
Live action short film: “Skin”
Documentary feature: “Free Solo”
Makeup and hairstyling: “Vice”

Strong winds, blowing snow threaten to wreak havoc in GTA

NEWS STAFF | posted Monday, Feb 25th, 2019

Strong winds are wreaking havoc across much of southern Ontario.

Hydro One is reporting “a significant number of outages” as more than 30,000 customers have been left without power as a result of the intense high wind storm. The utility says it has put crews and support staff in areas predicted to be hardest hit in order to assess any damage and respond to any outages as quickly and as safely as possible.

So far the GTA has been spared any serious damage with Toronto Hydro reporting sporadic outages across the city.

Wind gusts of 97 km/h have already been recorded out at Pearson International Airport and Environment Canada warns winds could potentially reach 120 km/h near the east end of Lake Erie and over Prince Edward County near Lake Ontario.

Strong winds in the Niagara region have forced the closure of the Niagara River Parkway due to ice getting pushed over the retaining wall from the lake.

Pearson Airport is reporting more than 280 flights have been cancelled so far. They recommend checking your flight status before heading out.

Snow is expected to begin falling in the GTA later this evening and coupled with the high winds, could produce snow squalls and lake effect snow in some areas.

“We could see accumulations of 5 cm by Monday morning and through the Monday morning drive, blowing and drifting snow is still a possibility,” said 680 NEWS weather specialist Denise Andreacchi.

Fun is the word for last weekend of February

MICHELLE LEPAGE AND MICHAEL GIBBONS | posted Friday, Feb 22nd, 2019

It is the last weekend of February, which means spring is around the corner — less than a month away, to be exact. While you are counting down to spring, celebrate the weekend by enjoying one of the many events taking place in the city — that will make you forget that winter is still hanging around.

As you are making your weekend plans, keep in that that subways won’t be running on Line 1 between St. Clair West and Union stations on Saturday and Sunday. Crews will be installing the new Automatic Train Control signalling system. Shuttle buses will be running and Wheel-Trans service will be available upon request. Dupont and Museum stations will be closed. Regular service is scheduled to resume at 6 a.m. Monday.

Forever Yours – Cat Adoption Weekend
It’s shaping up to be a wonderful weekend to add a pet to your family. PetSmart is hosting its first national adoption weekend of the year. Cats and kittens up for adoption will be at seven PetSmart locations across the GTA. Adoption fees start at $175.

The Oscars LIVE!
Hot Docs is once again rolling out the red carpet for the Academy Awards. The Oscars will be broadcast live on the big screen starting at 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free and tickets are available at the box office.

Winterfolk Music Festival
The Danforth will play host to various folk, roots, and blues musicians all weekend. The Winterfolk Blues and Roots Festival is an all-ages event featuring more than 150 artists performing on five stages and three venues. There will also be special tribute events, musical workshops, and an awards ceremony. Wristbands are sold for entry to the venues, which allow admittance to about 90 performances over the weekend.

East York Family Skate
Coun. Brad Bradford (Ward 19) is hosting a free skate in East York on Sunday afternoon. The family-oriented event is happening at the East York Memorial Arena from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Get The Jump On Spring
New and seasoned gardeners are invited to the Toronto Botanical Garden‘s annual open house on Saturday. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features more than 30 exhibitors including horticultural societies, garden clubs and environmental organizations. There will also be a floral design competition and show. Admission is free but a small donation is welcomed.

Community Sundays at the MOCA
The Museum of Contemporary Art is allowing free admission this Sunday. It’s the start of TD Community Sundays at MOCA, where the museum will set aside a portion of one Sunday each month for the promotion. This Sunday’s event coincides with a new phase of exhibitions featuring the works of artists Chantal Akerman, and Basma Alsharif, running until April 14. So, if you want to enjoy some contemporary art for free, head down to the MOCA between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Franchise Canada Show
Want to become your own boss and own your own business? You can find plenty of opportunities at the Franchise Canada Show this weekend. The two-day event features 50 franchises, seminars, consultations and free samples. Tickets are $10 or free if you register online. The show runs Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Toronto Congress Centre.

Reptile Expo
Canada’s longest-running reptile show is back in the GTA. Vendors from across Canada will selling pet reptiles and amphibians along with supplies and other products. The expo is also an opportunity to learn how to be a responsible reptile owner. It’s on from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the International Centres Conference Centre in Mississauga. Admission is $8 for children and seniors and $12 for adults. Children under five years old are free.


HBC to shutter Home Outfitters brand, about 20 Saks Off Fifth locations

TARA DESCHAMPS, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Feb 22nd, 2019

Hudson’s Bay Co. is shuttering its Home Outfitters business and eyeing the closures of 20 of its Saks Off Fifth locations, in a bid to increase profitability.

The Toronto-based company behind a handful of big-box and luxury retailers said its decision to shut down its household goods brand with 37 stores in Canada and review its roster of 133 Saks Off Fifth stores is part of a plan to “reduce costs, simplify the business and improve overall profitability.”

“Further streamlining our retail portfolio enables even greater focus on our businesses with the strongest growth opportunities,” said Helena Foulkes, HBC’s chief executive officer, in a release. “The divestiture of (online retailer) Gilt, rightsizing of Lord & Taylor, the recent merger of our European retail operations in Germany, and today’s announcement exemplify the bold strategic actions we are taking to set HBC up for long-term success.”

Foulkes, who was not made available for interviews, and HBC have faced scrutiny over the last year due to the company’s performance.

The company has had to repeatedly defend itself against activist investor Land and Buildings Investment Management LLC, which sent a letter to HBC shareholders in late November, calling out the board for failing to take decisive action to unlock value for shareholders.

Land and Buildings said it believes HBC could double or triple its share price and find benefits by selling Saks Fifth Avenue, its remaining 50 per cent interest in its European business to Signa Holding GmbH, and Lord and Taylor to a mass merchant.

In its latest quarter, HBC’s net loss reached $164 million or 69 cents per share, including discontinued operations.

HBC said it expects the Home Outfitters closure and Saks Off Fifth review to be “slightly favourable to adjusted EBITDA.”

HBC said the shutdown of all 37 Home Outfitters locations will occur this year and most of the markets the brand is in will still be served by HBC.

The company said the review will allow it to focus on its “best locations” and on its e-commerce offerings.

Home Outfitters employed less than 700 employees.

“We know this news is difficult for our associates,” Foulkes said. “We are grateful for their ongoing efforts to serve our customers and we will work to find opportunities within HBC for impacted team members where possible.”

AG report finds fare evaders cost TTC $64M in 2018

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Feb 22nd, 2019

The City’s Auditor General says fare evaders cost the TTC at least $64-million in 2018, which includes $3.4-million due to faulty Metrolinx equipment.

Auditor General Beverly Romeo-Beehler’s report released Thursday says the figure is likely understated as she was not able to quantify the loss due to the malfunction of the TTC’s subway fare gate equipment and the use of so-called crash gates.

The report claims fare evasion is highest on streetcars which it attributes to the Proof-of-Payment system as well as the multiple-door design of the city’s new streetcars.

Romeo-Beehler issued 27 recommendations which includes expanding its fare inspection program to include buses and subway station entrances, improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the fare inspection program and find new ways to prevent fare evasion on streetcars with multiple doors and Proof-of-Payment policies.

Romeo-Beehler also raised concerns with the Child Presto cards, noting that during the six weeks of the audit no children under the age of 12 were using the cards. The report recommends the cards not be distributed until proper controls are in place to mitigate the risk of fraud.

“There are numerous serious control weaknesses with the issuance and monitoring of these cards,” she said.

Mayor John Tory says fare evasion is “absolutely unacceptable” adding TTC officials are committed to hiring more fare inspectors and transit enforcement officers in 2019.

“I hope they send a clear message to fare evaders very quickly that they will be caught and they will face costly penalties,” he said in a statement.

TTC Chair Jaye Robinson said fare evasion is a critical issue that has gone far too long without being accurately quantified.

“Fare evasion has a significant impact on the TTC’s operating revenue and transit service,” she said in a statement. “The recommendations included in this report will guide our action plan moving forward as we approach full transition to the PRESTO farecard system.”

DeRozan’s connection with Raptors, city of Toronto may never be replaced

MICHAEL GRANGE, SPORTSNET | posted Friday, Feb 22nd, 2019

What to get the guy who gave you everything?

That’s the challenge for the 19,800 lucky fans that will find their way inside Scotiabank Arena – the house that Vince Carter may have built but the one that DeMar DeRozan grew up in, decorated and never wanted to leave.

Here’s a hint – should anyone need it – about what to offer DeRozan when he takes the floor as an opponent for the first time on Friday night:

Give him everything. Don’t hold back, because he never did.

Don’t qualify it. Don’t measure it. Just let it flow.

Remember when he gave Milwaukee 52 on New Year’s Day or when he ‘emptied the clip’ in Game 7 against the Pacers or rescued the Raptors on the road in Game 4 against the Bucks?

Or when he said “I got us” after Chris Bosh left or signed as soon as he could when he became a free agent without even a split-second of drama?

Or all the nights when he made repping an overlooked franchise in an overlooked NBA market a mission he was put on earth the fulfill, like some kind of superhero sent from Compton?

Remember that and how it made you feel and pay it back.

It’s time.

Because here’s another hint: DeRozan misses what he meant to Toronto as much as Toronto should miss him.

“I watch certain shows and certain introductions for certain people and when they get that long standing ovation, I always thought that was the coolest thing in the world,” he said Thursday at the San Antonio Spurs’ downtown hotel. “I never received one so if it’s one of them long standing ovations, it’d definitely be overwhelming because… it’s crazy when people get on their feet showing their appreciation, so … I don’t know, I’m looking forward to it, to feeling the love,”

DeRozan was in Toronto for the first time since he was traded in the summer by Raptors president Masai Ujiri in a bold effort to change the trajectory of a franchise that DeRozan had helped elevate but couldn’t get over the hump.

DeMar DeRozan speaks for first time in Toronto since being traded to Spurs

Former Raptor DeMar DeRozan speaks for first time in Toronto since being traded to San Antonio Spurs

Posted by CityNews Toronto on Thursday, February 21, 2019

He gazed out on some familiar faces wearing a familiar fur hat he used to keep him warm when he lived here but dug out of storage from his place in San Antonio for the occasion.

Would he spend some time in the city walking around, seeing the sights?

“No, too cold,” he said.

Spoken like a true Torontonian. Once you’re one of us you can complain about the weather all you want. DeRozan has earned that much.

What to think, what to feel about his first visit to his first NBA home?

He’s not sure. Reducing a decade of his life since he was drafted by the Raptors let alone the “whirlwind” six months since he was traded into a digestible morsel was beyond him in advance of Friday night’s homecoming.

He’ll enter the visitors dressing room for the first time; he’ll go head-to-head against his best friend and teammate for six years, Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry. He’ll be trying to send the sell-out crowd home unhappy after nearly a decade of doing everything he could to make their nights memorable, their seasons worth something.

He wore his heart on his sleeve – right around where he has the word ‘loyalty’ tattooed cursive on his wrist.

And he paid for it. The trade – justifiable as it was – came like a jolt from a downed hydro wire, leaving him questioning everything he had come to stand for while sitting in a fast food parking lot trying to make sense of the news.

The anger has passed. In San Antonio he’s landed in a good place. His game – carved out piece by piece, off-season by off-season, has travelled well. He’s leading the Spurs in points while averaging career highs in rebounds and assists.

He’s come to terms with being on the wrong end of a break-up, of being told he’s no longer the one, of finding out how he felt about the relationship didn’t matter anymore.

“… She’s moved on and I’ve moved on,” he said, metaphorically. “We both have.”

The uncomfortable truth is Ujiri made the correct call from a basketball point of view. The risk was dealing DeRozan’s steadiness for Leonard’s superstar upside on the offensive and defensive end.

And while Leonard has had to be cautious about his health and is still a flight risk in free agency, it was the kind of calculation the franchise needed to make.

The payoff has been in seen in spurts on the floor with enough promise that the best is yet to come.

But Leonard – or anyone else – won’t or can’t replace the connection DeRozan built with the franchise and the city.

It may never be replaced. When again is a shy teenager from Los Angeles going to grow into a man and a father and a franchise icon before our very eyes, all while being about as humble and down-to-earth a high-profile professional athlete as you could ever meet?

“I just know this is a really good dude, and I didn’t know him any other way. Right?” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, who was an assistant with DeRozan for five seasons, told reporters. “I didn’t know him any other way. He was easy to coach, he was easy to talk to. And he was a great performer.

“I just can remember telling many people over the past five years, he’s the best dude ever. People would ask you, what’s he like to coach? He’s the best dude ever.”

It’s tough to replace a person like that, let alone the one who leads your franchise in scoring, games played and games won.

When DeRozan spoke about his feelings arriving back in the city for the first time since the trade he wasn’t nostalgic about the sights or the sounds or the 70 minutes he spent in traffic getting downtown from Pearson at the onset of rush hour.

But the 29-year-old father of two couldn’t help reflecting on nine years that have drifted away, never to return.

“It’s night and day,” he said of the difference between who he was then and now. “It’s just my approach to life, my approach to the game, my knowledge of the game, on and off the court.

“I became a man. I always go back and think, I was 19, turned into a father, raising two little girls that drives me crazy, so to see that sitting from here, it just lets you know.”

It’s not the way he wanted it to end. He never wanted to have a reunion under these terms. He was in for the long haul. But even so, he doesn’t wish he held anything back, that he was too cool to share how he really felt.

He put himself out there. Maybe we can all learn from that.

“No, I don’t regret what I felt. It was real,” he said. “You can say you love a woman and just because she comes back and says she don’t like you the next week, it ain’t your fault. It’s like ‘OK, cool. I still love you though.”

On Friday night at Scotiabank Arena, Toronto should let No. 10 on the San Antonio Spurs know the feeling was – and is — mutual.

Page 2 of 912345...Last »