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5 arrested after shots fired at downtown condo believed to be short-term rental

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Oct 14th, 2020

Five suspects have been arrested after police say shots were fired through the wall of a condo into an adjacent unit in a downtown building.

Officers were called to the condo building at 12 York street at the intersection of York Street and Bremner Boulevard shortly before 3 a.m. Tuesday.

Police say two shots were fired and they recovered two bullets and a gun. No injuries were reported.

Canadian Press journalist Lucas Timmons says he found bullet holes through a picture frame and through his drier after he was woken up by loud sounds

Timmons says he believes the shots came from a unit that is used as a short-term rental.

Police say the names of the suspects will not be released at this time to avoid compromising the investigation.

Councillor for Spadina-Fort York Joe Cressy says he’s relieved no one was hurt.

“Unmanaged ‘ghost hotels’ in short-term rentals are a detriment to our safety, quality of life, and affordable housing in too many downtown residential buildings like 12 York,” he said in a statement.

City council recently approved new regulations for short-term rentals including a ban on “ghost hotel” operations. The bylaw only permits short-term rentals — less than 28 consecutive days — in principal residences and homeowners must register with the city to do so.

Cressy said these bylaws are currently in the process of being implemented.

“I will continue to advocate for them to be proactively enforced, with an extra focus on buildings that have a high volume of serious complaints,” he said.

He also called on short-term rental companies to remove Toronto listings that do not comply with the bylaw from their platforms.

“They can and should do this now. In light of these serious incidents, there is no justification for the delay,”

High school apologizes, police investigating after racist messages printed in yearbook

FAIZA AMIN AND TODD HAYES | posted Tuesday, Oct 13th, 2020

A Durham Catholic high school is apologizing and launching a police investigation after a student’s tribute to his grandmother was replaced with racist messages in the school’s yearbook.

Joshua Telemaque, a student at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School in Pickering, wanted to honour his grandmother who had recently passed away.

He submitted a touching tribute to her that was to appear under his photo and name in the school’s yearbook. He originally wrote “RIP Grandma. Thank you for guiding me through my four years of high school.” But instead, in the yearbook editions that were handed out to students on Saturday, the passage read, “RIP Harambe Dooga booga.O.”

Harambe was a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo that was shot and killed after a child climbed into the enclosure and was grabbed by the animal. Needless to say the student and his family were devastated when they saw the yearbook.

In a press conference late this afternoon in front of the school with his family behind him, Joshua said he was crushed that someone would replace what he wrote with something so racist.

“It’s hurting me, I’m in shock,” he said adding that he has been breaking down. “I haven’t been myself, it’s devastating. I’m holding back tears, it hurts a lot. As a black man, it’s very degrading.”

In a letter posted online, the principal at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School apologized for the “offensive, hurtful” comments.

“We are horrified to discover that inappropriate comments were unknowingly published in the 2019-2020 edition,” Susan Duane wrote in the letter. “These comments were malicious, hurtful and racist in nature.”

CityNews reached out to the Durham Catholic District School Board for an interview, but one was not granted. Instead, a spokesperson pointed to another statement made by the board’s Education Director.

“I am deeply saddened by what has happened and extend my personal apologies to the individuals who have been harmed by the racist and malicious comments made,” wrote Tracy Barill. “We will work with the school not only to ensure that the incident is fully investigated but also to support students and the community in rectifying the harm that has been done.”

Duane adds that the school has launched a formal investigation with Durham Regional Police to “ensure that all individuals responsible are held accountable.”

Horrified to discover that the racist comments were unknowingly published, Joshua’s mother said it simply isn’t acceptable.

“I just think it should have been looked over before it was printed,” said Marva Massicot-Telemaque. “I hope the school’s investigation will find out what happened and the school board will take a serious look at how they deal with complaints of bullying and protecting my son.”

The principal is asking all students to return their yearbooks to the school on Tuesday, adding that inventory will be conducted to account for each copy.

Despite the pain, Joshua is thanking the thousands around the world who have sent well wishes, saying his grandmother continues to guide him in this painful time.

“She’s my guardian angel,” he said. “I know she’s watching down on me, every day. I want to show her that I’m living my life through her.”

4 injured in Scarborough crash

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Oct 13th, 2020

Four people are in hospital after a crash in Scarborough.

The crash happened on McCowan Road near Finch Avenue East around 11 p.m. on Monday.

The driver, who is believed to be in his 20s, has life-threatening injuries.

The three other passengers have serious but not life-threatening injuries.

It appears the driver was travelling at a high rate of speed when he lost control and crashed the vehicle.

Police investigating violent threats against Toronto mosque

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Oct 13th, 2020

Toronto police say they’re investigating threats made to a local mosque over the weekend.

Const. Edward Parks says officers were contacted about a “suspicious incident” on Saturday.

He says no arrests have been made and no suspect information is available.

The police confirmation came after a national Muslim organization shared an excerpt from violent messages it said the mosque received on Saturday.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims did not identify the specific mosque for fear it would make it the target of further threats.

It said the messages included the threat to “do a Christ church all over again,” referring to the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March 2019 in which a gunman killed 51 people.

The alleged threat came just days after the council — among other human rights groups — called on the federal government to come up with a plan to dismantle white supremacist groups.

The council noted in a statement that Toronto’s Muslim community is still reeling from the death of Mohamed-Aslim Zafis, a 58-year-old volunteer caretaker who was stabbed to death outside a Toronto mosque last month.

Guilherme “William” Von Neutegem has been charged with first-degree murder in Zafis’ death and is set to return to court on Nov. 5.

Investigators said last month that there was no known motive or relationship between the victim and the accused.

However, the Canadian Anti-Hate Network alleges that social media accounts under the name William Von Neutegem show a chant and symbol on YouTube associated with a neo-Nazi group that encourages killings.

It also alleges an account with the same name follows a white supremacist on Twitter. The Canadian Press has not verified that the accounts belong to the accused.

Police investigate deaths of 2 people at Hamilton home

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Oct 13th, 2020

Police are probing the deaths of two people at a Hamilton residence on Sunday night.

Police said they were called at around 7:30 p.m. for a report that two people had been found dead in a house on Tragina Avenue South.

“Hamilton Police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths and are currently waiting for the results of the post mortem,” police said in a news release on Monday. “Police are not looking for any additional individuals involved in these deaths.”


Trudeau to announce more federal funding for food banks during pandemic

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Oct 9th, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will announce today more federal funding for food banks across Canada to help them meet the surge in demand for their services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trudeau revealed plans for the “big announcement” Thursday night as he took part in a virtual, cross-country town hall with people who run or volunteer at food banks.

As a second wave of the pandemic sweeps the country and with the approach of Thanksgiving and Christmas, he predicted that food banks will be under more pressure to feed those who can’t afford groceries or are afraid to venture outside their homes to get them.

During the height of the first wave back in April, the federal government gave $100 million to national, regional and local organizations that work to alleviate food insecurity, including Food Banks Canada, the Salvation Army and Community Food Centres Canada.

Trudeau is expected to announce another similar infusion of federal funds to help such groups continue to meet demand, which has exploded during the pandemic along with unemployment.

During the town hall, Trudeau was thanked profusely and repeatedly for the first instalment and heard stories about how food banks have used the funds to find creative ways to help more people even as the pandemic has caused a shortage of volunteers and food supplies.

“I’ll give you guys a sneak preview,” Trudeau told food bank workers.

“I’ll be making a big announcement tomorrow about more supports that you should stay tuned for. But I know that the work you’re doing is incredible. We need to make sure that you have the tools to keep being able to say ‘yes’ when people ask for help.”

Motorcyclist injured in west-end crash

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Oct 9th, 2020

A motorcyclist is in hospital after a crash Thursday evening in the city’s west end.

Emergency crews were called to the scene on College Street near Gladstone Avenue around 11:30 p.m.

Police said it’s believed the driver was rounding a curve when he lost control of the bike and crashed into a parked car.

The driver, believed to be in his 30s, was rushed to hospital in life-threatening condition.

Ontario’s top doctor on COVID-19 situation: ‘Alarm bells are ringing louder and louder’

LUCAS CASALETTO, STUART MCGINN | posted Friday, Oct 9th, 2020

Provincial health officials say further restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 are being discussed as case numbers continue to rise, along with how many people are now being hospitalized with the virus.

Speaking at Thursday’s provincial briefing, Doctor David Williams says case and contact management was “easy” during lockdown when schools were closed, but it’s been made harder during the second wave as officials want to keep schools, businesses, and essential services open, for now.

Williams says people who have tested positive lately have been in contact with up to 100 people.

Ontario’s top doctor went on to say as the outbreak reaches record levels across the three hotspots of Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa, the virus is spreading to other parts of Eastern Ontario and the Greater Toronto-Hamilton area, as well.

That drives his latest concern, along with what our latest test results are showing.

“Our positivity rate is also up to a high of 2.1 per cent. We have not seen that,” William said.

“We break that down and look at our high risk areas, such as Ottawa, Peel and Toronto – their positivity rate is close to 3 per cent. That’s concerning.”

Williams making it clear that no one wants another lockdown but says the health table has recommended the province take further steps to keep things under control.

He stopped short of explaining exactly what provincial health officials have called for, saying details and decisions now lie within the Ford government’s cabinet.

“The key is that we’re seeing some concerning alarm with the data we have seen from the last number of days and, as a result, the alarm bells are ringing louder and louder,” he said. 

“Today we’re seeing an increase of 797 new cases. That’s a record high in Ontario, even in wave one. We learned things from the first wave. Let’s stick to what we have learned, let’s stick to what we have learned, do it well and do it again,” Williams added. 

Williams says the province’s case numbers are rising the same goes for hospitalizations and fatalities.

Ontario’s top doctor also stressed for the need for a safe holiday weekend, touching on how residents ought to exercise extreme caution noting that we’re seeing the sharp increase right now due to larger numbers of close contacts in recent weeks.

Meantime, Ontario is “continuing to see more and more outbreaks,” in settings including long-term care and schools.

Twenty-three new outbreaks were reported on Thursday, as the vulnerable sectors – being retirement homes, long term care homes, group homes and other sectors, increase in proportion.

On Thursday, 265 new cases were reported in Toronto, with 182 in Ottawa, 134 in Peel Region, 78 in York Region and 33 in Halton.

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