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Ontario municipal funding cuts to public health, child care to start Jan 1

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Aug 19th, 2019

Doug Ford’s PC government will implement its controversial municipal funding cuts for public health and child care on January 1st.

The premier is expected to make the announcement later today at a gathering of municipal leaders in Ottawa.

The government tried to force retroactive funding cuts this year but cancelled them after municipal leaders complained that their annual budgets had already passed.

The new plan will see all municipalities pay 30 per cent of public health-care costs, and 20 per cent of the cost of creating new child care spaces, which the province previously fully funded.

Ford says the funding cuts are needed to tackle Ontario’s $11.7-billion deficit.

Nature Conservancy of Canada expands conservation area on Lake Huron island

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Aug 19th, 2019

A national not-for-profit land trust says it has expanded a conservation area on a Lake Huron island that has large forests and a long stretch of undeveloped shoreline.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada says the portion of land it now protects on Cockburn Island, west of Manitoulin Island, is 107 square kilometres – twice the size of Bermuda.

It says the island has one of the largest hardwood forest ecosystems in southern Ontario, and is a vital breeding area and stopover site for migratory songbirds and waterfowl.

The NCC says the island is also home to many mammals, and has rivers and creeks that support several species.

The organization had already protected more than 60 per cent of the island and launched a campaign in March to expand the conservation area.

It plans to conduct biological surveys to learn more about the island and look at removing invasive species in the area.

Anti-fur protestors trigger Eaton Centre lockdown

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Aug 19th, 2019

Toronto police say a lockdown at the Eaton Centre near Yonge and Queen Streets has ended after an anti-fur protest reportedly took over a portion of the mall.

Officers were called by mall security, who had placed the shopping centre on lockdown, around 7 p.m. Sunday shortly before the mall closed after dozens of activists filled the skywalk bridge that connects the main building and Hudson’s Bay Company and Saks Fifth Avenue.

According to police, they were called to help “keep the peace,” and no injuries, damage or arrests have been reported at this time.

Some of the protesters who left the mall told City News they were heading to a local police station to file an official complaint.

1 dead, 5 injured in Richmond Hill crash

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Aug 19th, 2019

One man is dead and five other people are injured after a three-vehicle crash in Richmond Hill.

York Region police were called to Yonge Street and Townwood Drive, near Jefferson Forest Drive, just before 9:30 p.m. on Sunday.

One of the three vehicles flipped over and caught fire. One man was trapped inside the vehicle and later died.

Five other people were taken to hospital with injuries ranging from serious to minor.

One of the five injured was from a third vehicle, which was not involved in the initial crash and struck by one of the two other vehicles.

Police are still trying to determine what caused the crash.

The area remains closed to traffic.

Teen boy injured in daylight shooting in Scarborough

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Aug 16th, 2019

A daylight shooting near Neilson Road and the 401 has sent a teen boy to hospital with serious injuries.

Police say he was shot in the leg and found in the Parsell Square and Murison Boulevard area around 4:30 p.m.

The shooting took place at another location and police are investigating to determine the details.

His injuries are not considered life threatening.

Police are asking for witnesses in the area to come forward.

‘Hurts just as bad:’ Tina Fontaine’s family, friends mourn 5 years after death

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Aug 16th, 2019

WINNIPEG — On a recent warm evening in Winnipeg a woman ran up to the Bear Clan Patrol in a panic asking for help to find her niece who had not returned home.

Patrol co-ordinator Melissa Stevenson says within minutes more than a dozen searchers wearing bright-yellow vests scoured the area, calling out the girl’s name until she was found on a nearby street.

The child’s face, Stevenson says, was small, innocent and full of potential. Stevenson almost cried because of how much the girl reminded her of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine.

“That potential for greatness will never be. We will just never know what Tina could be,” Stevenson says with tears running down her cheeks.

Saturday marks five years since Tina’s 72-pound body, wrapped in a duvet cover and weighed down by rocks, was found in the Red River in Winnipeg.

Stevenson knew Tina as a child and is still connected with her siblings and cousins. For the last four years, she says, the close-knit group has met almost every month to try to come to terms with the killings of too many of their family members and to find a way to heal.

Stevenson was just starting out as a social worker when she met Tina, her sister and her cousins at the Indigenous Family Centre. Tina was very young, but she was full of love, laughter and life, Stevenson recalls with a smile.

It was a safe place and the smell of Tina’s grandmother’s famous soup would waft from the kitchen. But tragedy would strike repeatedly outside the centre’s walls. Four of the dozen or so young relatives were violently killed.

In 2007, the body of Fonessa Bruyere, 17, was found with multiple stab wounds on the outskirts of Winnipeg. Her murder is still unsolved. In 2011, 15-year-old Clark Stevenson was stabbed to death by another youth.

Tina’s body was found in 2014. Raymond Cormier was acquitted in her death last year.

In 2017, Jeanenne Fontaine was shot dead and her home lit on fire. Three men have been convicted in her killing.

“They were all young. They were all beautiful. They all got hurt in a very violent way,” Stevenson says.

“When we come together, we pray for safety. We pray for justice. We pray just to keep hanging on.”

Last year the relatives, who are now all adults, held a special potluck to release Tina’s spirit. This year, they hope to work on their own healing journey.

There will also be private mourning on the Sagkeeng First Nation in the house where Tina spent much of her childhood being raised by her great-aunt Thelma Favel.

“It’s another year without her in it, and a daily thing for us to kind of absorb that she’s never ever coming back. It hurts just as bad,” Favel says.

Favel and her family will reflect on Tina’s funny stories, big dreams and easy-going attitude. She says every memory of Tina is a favourite one.

“I just wish I was able to live all those things with her again.”

Tina was stolen too soon, Favel says, but her legacy has made lasting change.

The discovery of Tina’s body renewed calls for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and revived the volunteer Bear Clan Patrol.

An extensive report released in March by Manitoba’s children’s advocate included five recommendations touching on justice, education, mental health and child welfare.

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs created the First Nations Family Advocate Office. A 24-hour safe space for Winnipeg youth was dedicated in Tina’s memory last May.

“Tina’s dream was always to help kids and people and I think she’s doing it,” Favel says. “She’s not letting this rest.”

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

CNE kicks off another weekend of fun in Toronto

News Staff | posted Friday, Aug 16th, 2019

It is that time of year again, when everyone flocks to the CNE for the last hurrah of summer — just before the kids head back to school. There are also other events taking place in the city this weekend, scroll below for a selection.

If you are taking the TTC to any of the events, three subway disruptions will be taking place this weekend. There are also road closures for events. The details are below.

Events

CNE time in Toronto
The fun starts on Friday and continues until Labour Day, so let’s go The Ex! There are several new things this year, including the arrival of Toronto’s beloved personality — the raccoon. Twelve three-dimensional large fiberglass raccoons, each decorated with its own personality, will greet everyone at the Princess Margaret Fountain. If you are in a selfie-taking mood, you might want to pose for one with an inflatable Godzilla who will tower over everyone at the lake. Also at the waterfront, Toronto Adventures will be offering free canoe rides on the 27-foot Voyager.

The food is always front and centre at the CNE, so this year, you can indulge in food items for $6 or less at the Bandshell Park. To mark the 70th anniversary of the Canadian International Air Show, which takes place Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, the Royal Air Force aerobatic team the Red Arrows will be performing stunts in the sky, as well as the Canadian Forces Snowbirds. The anniversary edition of the air show will also include historical and new age aviation displays at the Flight Festival. Click here for the CNE guide.

Fun on the sidestreets
Several streets that surround Bloor and Yonge will become pedestrian-friendly zones on Sunday for Open Streets TO — a free event that promotes physical activity. Several activity hubs will be set up along the sidestreets, featuring exercise and dance classes, street games, scavenger hunts, and a kids area.

Pan-American experience
Celebrate the arts, culture, cuisine and diversity of the 41 countries that make up North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean at the Pan American Food and Music Festival this weekend. The two-day free event is being held at Yonge-Dundas, and this year’s theme is Cuban food and music. More than 20 chefs will be at the festival, so there will plenty of dishes to choose from.

Embrace Chinatown
Chinatown is always a vibrant place to be, but this weekend it will be more energetic than usual for the Toronto Chinatown Festival. This year’s theme in “12 Zodiac.” Aside from indulging in yummy street food, check out the cultural performances on two stages that include dragon and lion dances, browse the 80 vendors showcasing Asian arts and culture, learn about the history of Chinatown, watch martial arts routines, and more.

Bouquets of summer
“I love daisies … They’re so friendly. Don’t you think daisies are the friendliest flower?,” Meg Ryan’s character says in You’ve Got Mail. Daisies are not the only friendly flowers … there are also sunflowers, peonies, lilies, marigolds, and the list goes on. You can buy at the lovely blooms you want at the Toronto Flower Market on Saturday. While at the market, learn about the different flowers and plants grown in Ontario fields and greenhouses. The next market will be held on Sept. 14.

Transit

TTC riders will have to pack their patience this weekend. On Saturday, Line 3 will be shut down for one day for power rail replacement, and trains will start running at noon on Line 1 between Bloor-Yonge and Osgoode stations due to signal work. Then on Sunday, subway service will start at noon on Line 1 between Sheppard West and Wilson stations.

Shuttle buses and Wheel-Trans service will be available. Subway riders travelling northbound on Line 1 who require an elevator should exit at Lawrence West Station.

Road closures

Wheels on the Danforth (Saturday closure): Danforth Avenue from Byng to Warden avenues and Danforth Road from Landry to Danforth avenues will be closed from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday.

Taste of Manila (Saturday-Monday closure): Bathurst Street will be closed between Wilson Avenue and York Downs Drive from 12 a.m. on Saturday to 1 a.m. on Monday.

Toronto Chinatown Festival (Saturday-Sunday closure): The west side of Spadina Avenue will be closed from St. Andrew to Sullivan streets from 12:01 a.m. Saturday until 11 p.m. Sunday.

India Festival and Grand Parade (Sunday closure): The northbound curb lane on University Avenue will be closed from Queen to Dundas streets from 12:01 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Armoury Street will be closed from University Avenue to Chestnut Street from 12:01 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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