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Toronto Raptors’ Pascal Siakam captures most improved player award

The Canadian Press and News Staff | posted Tuesday, Jun 25th, 2019

Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam has won the NBA’s most improved player award.

Siakam, who helped the Raptors win their first NBA championship this month, beat out D’Angelo Russell of the Brooklyn Nets and De’Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings for the honour on Monday night. He is the first Raptor to earn the honour.

“We are so proud of Pascal,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said in a news release Monday. “His story is amazing and it shows what hard work and belief in yourself can do.  This award recognizes the countless hours Pascal has spent in the gym working on his game, and the tremendous contribution he has made to our team. We are really thrilled for him.”

Siakam averaged 16.9 points per game in his third year in the NBA this past season, up from 7.3 last year.

The native of Cameroon was rewarded with a spot in the starting lineup after coming off the bench most of last year.

While the awards are given for regular-season performances, Siakam also made a big leap in the playoffs. He averaged 19 points and 7.1 rebounds in the 2019 playoffs, up from 6.6 and 3.6 last year.

Siakam, 25, was picked 27th overall out of New Mexico State in 2016.

Teenage girl sexually assaulted on trail in Aurora

News Staff | posted Tuesday, Jun 25th, 2019

A teenage girl is being taken to hospital with injuries after reportedly being sexually assaulted while walking in trails in Aurora.

Police were called to John West Way, just north of Wellington Road around 2 p.m. on Monday.

Investigators say she was walking in the wooded area of the parks when she was assaulted and sexually assaulted by a male suspect. There is also some indication he may have been armed with a firearm.

Police are describing the suspect as a male in his 20s with a light brown skin tone. They say he was wearing a black hoodie, black pants and a red hat.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police immediately.

Siblings cross tightrope suspended 25-storeys up in Times Square

The Associated Press | posted Monday, Jun 24th, 2019

Siblings Nik and Lijana Wallenda have walked across a tightrope suspended between two skyscrapers – 25-storeys high up in the air in Times Square.

The duo started from opposite ends of the wire and when they met in the middle, Lijana sat down on the wire as Nik unhooked both of their harnesses to swap them – before stepping over her and continuing to walk.

The siblings offered motivational words to keep each other informed and on track during the stunt.

The moment Nik finished, he began rushing to the other end of the wire to be there for Lijana when she completed her walk.

Nik Wallenda is a seventh-generation acrobat and his sister joined him in a stunt for the first time since her near-fatal accident in 2017, when she broke nearly every bone in her face. The two siblings are from the famed Flying Wallenda’s circus family.

Raptors coach Nick Nurse jams on stage with Hamilton band Arkells

The Canadian Press and News Staff | posted Monday, Jun 24th, 2019

Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse took his off-court skills on stage Saturday night.

Nurse, who led the Raptors to their first NBA championship in franchise history earlier this month, joined Hamilton rock band Arkells at their Toronto show to perform a song with them on guitar.

Fans posted photos and video on social media Saturday night of the rookie NBA head coach, clad in his signature black NN baseball cap, strumming along to a cover of Stevie Wonder’s hit “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” at Budweiser Stage.

Crowds gather as massive Pride parade takes over downtown Toronto

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Jun 24th, 2019

Toronto was abuzz on Sunday as a colourful crowd lined downtown streets to celebrate all things LGBTQ at the city’s annual Pride parade.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who marched in the parade with some of his cabinet ministers and Toronto Mayor John Tory, extolled the importance of celebrating Pride.

“It’s a wonderful privilege to again be walking in Pride here in Toronto, Canada’s largest Pride parade,” he said. “As prime minister I think it’s important not just for everyone who is out here today celebrating, but to the people at home – young people especially who are still worried about coming out.”

The prime minister waved and blew kisses to the crowd as he marched, shouting “Happy Pride!” and stopping to shake hands with attendees on both sides of the street.

“Hi, happy Pride! I hope you have sunscreen on!” Trudeau told a young boy along the route.

Multiple Liberal MPs also marched in the parade, including Chrystia Freeland, Melanie Joly and Carolyn Bennett.

Premier Doug Ford did not be participating in the march. While he did take part in the York Region Pride event last weekend, he said he would not march in the Toronto event because uniformed police officers were excluded for a third year in a row.

Uniformed officers were first banned from the parade in 2017 over concerns of racial profiling, and were banned again in 2018 over criticism the force had not taken the disappearances of several men missing from the city’s gay village seriously.

Serial killer Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty earlier this year to murdering eight men with ties to the gay village.

The leadership of Pride Toronto had initially invited officers to apply to march in this year’s parade, but the membership narrowly voted to bar police once again.

Tory said he looked forward to having everyone being included and welcomed in the parade.

“I think it’s a day-by-day thing and I’m very optimistic and I’m going to work very hard to try and make sure that we have a police presence back in this parade, ideally next year,” said Tory ahead of this year’s event.

“It is a parade that is supposed to be about everybody being here and if the police are excluded then it’s not everybody. I think we’ll work it out if people of good will try hard to do so.”

Thirty-six-year-old Ryan Singh says this is his 17th Pride parade, and he believes the celebrations are safer without uniformed cops.

“I think police have a lot of work to do in order to reconcile with our community. They’ve done a lot of harm before and including the McArthur case,” said Singh.

He said every year is important to focus on the LGBTQ community that fought for acceptance, but it’s even more vital this year to recognize the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots – days of protests touched off by a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969.

“I just think knowing that this community has been resilient for so long – even before Stonewall – and being aware of that history and marking that history is so important,” Singh said.

Kiki Jahan said he’s been attending Pride for about 11 years, and he hopes uniformed police will be allowed back into the parade in the future.

“It makes me sad they’re not allowed. I think they should be out here celebrating who they are,” said the 38-year-old.

Pride Toronto Grand Marshall Gigi Gorgeous says no matter who shows up, she’s pumped for the festivities

“I can’t wait to see everyone and feel the energy and just celebrate Pride, being proud of who you are and just feeling great about it.”

Air Canada investigating after woman left in empty, locked airplane

News Staff | posted Monday, Jun 24th, 2019

Air Canada says it is investigating after a passenger claims she was left alone in a pitch-dark airplane after it landed in Toronto.

In a post on Air Canada’s Facebook page, Tiffani Adams says she fell asleep during her 90 minute flight home from Quebec City on June 9. She says the next thing she remembers is waking up inside the freezing cold aircraft still strapped into her seat around midnight, approximately two hours after her flight landed.

“I think I’m having a bad dream bc like seriously how is this happening!!?!” Adams writes.

Adams says she attempted to contact friends and family but her cellphone battery dies. She manages to find a flashlight in the airplane’s cockpit and uses it to send a distress signal out to anyone who may be nearby.

Adams says she managed to open the door to the plane but was faced with a 40 to 50 foot drop to the ground as there is no way for her to get down.

“I search frantically for a rope so I can climb down to safely (flight attendants seat is right by door I opened) but the seatbelt is too short to hang from so back to my distress signals,” she writes. “Now I’m hanging out the door reflecting the flashlight off the side of the plane (figuring reflective exterior will catch someone’s attention in the distance).”

Adams says she manages to catch the attention of a luggage cart driver, who brought her a ladder dock which she used to get off the airplane. She was then met by an Air Canada representative, who apologized and offered her a ride and hotel accommodation but Adams says all she wanted to do was go home.

An Air Canada spokesperson declined to comment on its disembarking procedures or how the passenger may have been overlooked but told CityNews they have followed up with Adams and remain in contact her.

“We are still reviewing this matter so I have no additional details to share,” said Peter Fitzpatrick.

Adams says she continues to experience anxiety and insomnia since the incident occurred.

“I haven’t got much sleep since the reoccurring night terrors and waking up anxious and afraid I’m alone locked up someplace dark,” she writes. “Please share if you know of anyone who has gone through this I don’t like feeling so alone.”

Raptors fan rally shooting has markings of targeted incident, Toronto police chief says

News Staff | posted Friday, Jun 21st, 2019

The shooting at the Raptors fan rally had all the markings of a targeted incident, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said on Thursday.

“It has the earmarkings to me of something that appeared to be targeted but I can’t get into specifics. It could start off as random in some sort of negative interaction but I don’t think it was just a ‘let’s shoot up the public type of thing,’ I think it was specific,” Saunders said, during an unrelated news conference.

The police are still looking for a person of interest related to the shooting, which happened at Nathan Phillips Square following the Raptors championship parade on Monday. The person is described as a male with a heavy build, around five-foot-nine, short brown hair and wearing a white button-down shirt.

“I don’t think it was just a ‘let’s shoot up the public type of thing,’ I think it was specific.”
– Mark Saunders

Police have charged three men. Police also recovered two guns related to the shooting but those guns do not match the one that was shot, based on the casings found at the scene.

Police are looking for a third firearm, the one they say was actually discharged at the event.

Four people were injured in the shooting. Moments after the shooting happened, a stampede broke out as people ran for safety.

1 man seriously injured in Jane and Finch stabbing

News Staff | posted Friday, Jun 21st, 2019

Toronto police are investigating after a stabbing in the Jane Street and Finch Avenue area Thursday night

Officers responded to a call in the neighbourhood just after 9 p.m.

Investigators say a man was stabbed and paramedics say his injuries were serious but non-life threatening.

There is no word on suspects at this time.

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