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Donaldson homers as Blue Jays beat Rays 5-3

Fred Goodall, The Associated Press | posted Tuesday, Apr 5th, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Josh Donaldson, Michael Saunders and Josh Thole homered to help R.A. Dickey and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 on Monday night.

All three of the home runs were hit off Drew Smyly, with Donaldson connecting for a solo shot in the fifth inning, Saunders delivering a two-run homer in the fourth and Thole going deep on a third-inning drive that umpires initially ruled was a double after a fan interfered by catching the ball before it reached the stands.

The call was reversed after a replay review, erasing a 1-0 Tampa Bay lead.

Roberto Osuna, the fifth Blue Jays pitcher, worked a perfect ninth for his second save.

Smyly, limited to 12 starts a year ago when he spent much of the season on the disabled list due to left shoulder tendinitis, allowed five runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings. The left-hander walked one and struck out five.

Donaldson hit .297 with 41 homers and 123 RBIs in 2015. The reigning AL MVP helped the Blue Jays win 93 games and advance to the AL Championship Series in their first playoff appearance since 1993.

Troy Tulowitzki had a sacrifice fly after homering during the Blue Jays’ 5-3 victory on opening day. Monday night’s game drew a crowd of 15,116 to Tropicana Field, a little less than half Sunday’s announced sellout of 31,042.


Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (back) pitched in a minor league game in Dunedin, Florida, and remains on schedule to pitch Sunday’s game in Toronto against Cleveland. … Manager John Gibbons said Thole will work most of Dickey’s starts because it will help regular C Russell Martin physically to avoid the stress of handling knuckleballs.


Toronto centre fielder Kevin Pillar made a nice running catch on pinch hitter Steve Pearce’s drive to left-centre, extending his glove fully before leaping to make the catch and falling headfirst into the wall.


The Blue Jays’ lineup featured six straight right-handed hitters at the top of the order against Smyly. Gibbons finished it with three lefties, even though the manager acknowledged constructing the lineup that way figured to make it easier for the Rays to set up their bullpen “with us going right-right-right.”


Rays ace Chris Archer is one four pitchers to strike out 12 or more batters on opening day and lose. He was the first do it since Bob Gibson fanned 12 for St. Louis against Montreal in 1975.


Blue Jays RHP Aaron Sanchez, 7-6 with a 3.22 ERA in 2015, starts Tuesday in the third game of the four-game series between the AL East rivals. The Rays counter with RHP Jake Odorizzi, who was 9-9 with a 3.35 ERA last season.

Ontario elementary students to get five hours a week of math

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Apr 5th, 2016

Students in Ontario elementary schools will soon be required to have one full hour a day of math instructions.

Education Minister Liz Sandals says the province will spend $60 million to help students improve their test results in math, and some of the money will pay for professional development for teachers who specialize in the subject.

Related stories:

Ontario students struggling with math, test scores reveal

Ontario students get mixed results in literacy, math tests

Old school or new? Math teachers debate best methods as scores fall

The government wants each elementary school to have up to three lead teachers who have a special interest in math, so they can share their expertise with their colleagues.

Each lead math teacher will be released from regular classroom duties for five days for professional development, and some of the money announced by Sandals will help pay for supply teachers to replace them.

There will also be one additional professional development day on math for all teachers starting in the next school year. Sandals says jurisdictions that have better math scores than
Ontario spend four-to-six hours a week on mathematics, so the province’s new strategy will include 60-minutes a day, every day, on math.

“Many Ontario schools already do devote 60 minutes a day to math, but others devote significantly less,” she said.

“It varies quite dramatically, and I think that’s part of the issue.”

In standardized tests between 2009-10 to 2013-14, Ontario Grade 3 math results declined by four percentage points and Grade 6 results fell seven percentage points.

Man suing city for $2.5M, says iconic ‘Toronto’ sign was his idea

Diana Pereira and News staff | posted Tuesday, Apr 5th, 2016

A Toronto man is suing the city for stealing his idea for the iconic Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square – but the city says the existing sign bears no resemblance to the one he proposed.

Bruce Barrow, a branding consultant, said he came up with the idea for the sign and pitched it to the city in 2013 and 2014 in a confidential business proposal, but he didn’t receive acknowledgement or any compensation for the idea.

The city has responded by saying Barrow’s idea bears no resemblance to the city’s sign.

Barrow’s lawyers filed a statement of claim in Ontario Superior Court, seeking $1.75 million in damages and $750,000 for punitive, aggravated and exemplary damages.

Barrow came up with the idea in 2009, according to his lawyer, John Simpson.

The statement of claim alleges that his concept was a large-scale sign made up of free-standing, three-dimensional block upper-case letters spelling out TORONTO that could be illuminated at night.

“The city’s explanation to date, that by sheer coincidence it came up with exactly the same idea on its own and around the same time that Mr. Barrow shared it with them in confidence, just doesn’t hold water,” Simpson said in a statement in the claim.

Along with the city, Mayor John Tory and councillors Josh Colle and Michael Thompson are named in the suit.

The differences between Barrow’s proposal and the current sign are outlined in the statement of defence and in the chart here and below.

Toronto sign defence

“Toronto gets the credit for the sign,’ Thompson said.

In the city’s statement of defence, the sign was based on similar ones in Amsterdam, New York and Guadalajara.


Apparently Barrow met with Coun. Colle in 2013 and in 2014 to present the idea, making it clear that the idea was confidential. Barrow said that he was never told that the city was developing a branding concept similar to his via a third party.

See the presentation Barrow made to Josh Colle here and below.

City Brand

The current sign, based on an idea from a successful bidder on the city’s request for proposals, was circulated among members of the city’s economic development and culture committee three months before they met with Barrow, the city’s defence claim states.

The claim states that Barrow also met with Coun. Thomson, chair of the city’s economic development and culture committee, in 2014. Following the meeting, the claim states that Tory, who was running for mayor at the time, requested more information from Barrow.

Barrow sent the presentation to Tory in an email clearly marked “confidential.”

Tory’s campaign manager, Barry Avrich, apparently then wrote in an email that stated “Thanks for reaching out – agreed – good idea – best pitched once he wins – let’s keep in touch.”

According to the statement of claim, Barrow followed up with Coun. Thompson in Jan. 14, 2015 but did not receive a response.

The current sign was then unveiled in July 2015 during the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.

Barrow did not get credit for any of it, the claim states.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with immeasurable value that was denied to the plaintiff as a result of the city’s misappropriation of his proprietary concept,” the statement of claim states.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Read the full statement of claim here or below. Read the full statement of defence here or below.

Forget April showers: GTA digging out from snow storm

CityNews | posted Monday, Apr 4th, 2016

A snow plow clearing a Toronto street on April 4, 2016. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy.

No, you’re not dreaming. Yes, it’s April, and a spring snow storm has blanketed the GTA.

The winter storm swept through the GTA and much of southern Ontario starting Sunday and into early Monday morning, causing dangerous driving conditions.

Plows clearing away snow on a Toronto street on April 4, 2016. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy.

Plows clearing away snow on a Toronto street on April 4, 2016. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy.

A special weather statement was in effect for the GTA but ended around 7 a.m. Monday. As of 4 a.m., Pearson International Airport received 13 centimetres of snow, 680 NEWS meteorologist Harold Hosein said.

Hosein said the snow will end later Monday morning with some sunshine for the afternoon, and a high of -2 C. The City of Toronto has issued an extreme cold weather alert for Monday, triggering extra services for the homeless.

The storm led to some school bus cancellations outside of the Toronto area. Click here for a full list.

The storm caught many commuters off-guard. Ontario provincial police said they’ve received about 500 calls for collisions, including a pileup on Highway 400 north of Toronto involving as many as 40 vehicles.

The crash sent at least nine people to hospital with minor injuries, and blocked the lanes for hours.


In Toronto, police reported more than 100 crashes in the past 12 hours.

In one case, five people were taken to hospital for minor injuries a TTC bus crash on Highway 427 between Dundas and Bloor early Monday morning.

Plows have been out clearing the roadways, but drivers can expect slippery conditions on snow-packed streets.

Hector Moreno, manager of road operations for the city’s Transportation Services department, told CityNews salters have been out since 5 p.m. Sunday but fewer of them were out clearing the roads.

During the winter months, the city has 200 salters in its snow-clearing arsenal, but that number was scaled down to around 115-120 as of April 1.

Snow clearing crews on a Toronto street on April 4, 2016.  CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy.

 Snow clearing crews on a Toronto street on April 4, 2016. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy.

Snow clearing crews on a Toronto street on April 4, 2016.  CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy.

Snow clearing crews on a Toronto street on April 4, 2016. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy.

Subway closure this weekend, but fun events greet April’s arrival


Participants take part in a mass pillow fight in Toronto to mark International Pillow Fight Day on April 4, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young.

April arrives on Friday, finally, and just in time for the weekend.

Although the remnants of winter will linger around on Saturday and Sunday with cooler temperatures and flurries in the forecast, there are plenty of events taking place around the city to keep your spirits up.

As you make your plans, keep in mind that a portion of Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) is closed on Saturday. The intersection of King and Charlotte streets is also closed.

Have a great weekend!


Food Truck’N Friday
With summer just around the corner, the food truck season is also picking up steam. Food trucks will be gathering at Resurrection Road and Bloor Street West in Etobicoke on Friday to tempt your taste buds. Some of the vendors include I Love Lasagna, Jerk Brothers, Shopsy’s Food Truck and Delight Bite. Admission is free.

The Jerk Brothers food truck. Photo via Twitter/ @Jerk_Brothers.

The Jerk Brothers food truck. Photo via Twitter/ @Jerk_Brothers.

Harlem Globetrotters in Toronto 
One of North America’s most beloved basketball teams is back in the GTA this weekend.

The Harlem Globetrotters 2016 World Tour makes two appearances Saturday at Mississauga’s Hershey Centre and one at Ricoh Coliseum on Sunday. Tickets start at $25 and are available here.

The Harlem Globetrotters at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ont., in 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Spowart.

The Harlem Globetrotters at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ont., in 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Spowart.

Pillow Fight Toronto
A major fight is set for Saturday at Nathan Phillips Square, and those who want to participate are asked to bring their pillows.

Yes, it’s a massive pillow fight, to mark (yes, honestly) International Pillow Fight Day. There are a few ground rules: participants can only use soft, non-feather pillows, you’re not supposed to swing at anyone not carrying a pillow and you’re asked to remove your glasses (for obvious reasons). It starts at 3 p.m.

Old Book and Paper Show
If you love the smell and sounds of old books, then this antiquariabook show is the place to be on Sunday. The show, which takes place at Artscape Wychwood Barns, features rare books, posters, historical papers, postcards, theatre programs, and comics. General admission is $10, but children 12 and under can get in for free.

Toronto's Old Book and Paper Show in 2013. Photo via antiqueshowscanada.com.

Toronto’s Old Book and Paper Show in 2013. Photo via antiqueshowscanada.com.

Dragon’s Den auditions in Toronto
Are you still trying to get that business idea off the ground? The Dragons may be able to help.

Auditions take place Saturday in Toronto for CBC’s “Dragon’s Den.” The auditions wrap up a 35-city tour looking for small businesses who are in need of an investment.

Spring Cottage Life Show
Despite the fact it’s going to be a frosty weekend, you’ll warm up once you step inside the Spring Cottage Life Show.

Expect over 550 exhibitors showing off the latest in boats, docks, water toys and building products at the International Centre in Mississauga. The show runs through Sunday and is free for children under 13.


Yoga Conference and Show

Feel the power of the ‘Om’ this weekend as yoga enthusiasts converge at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The three-day yoga event features classes and workshops for novice and advanced yoga practitioners, as well as exhibits and expert advice from master teachers. Floor admission is $15.

People taking part in a yoga class. GETTY IMAGES/Dougal Waters.

 People taking part in a yoga class. GETTY IMAGES/Dougal Waters.

TTC and road closures

King and Charlotte closure
The intersection of King and Charlotte streets, east of Spadina Avenue, is closed until 5 a.m. on April 11 for TTC track replacement work and sidewalk repairs.

The intersection of King Street and Charlotte Street is closed to traffic from March 29 to April 11, 2016, for TTC track replacement work and sidewalk repairs. CITYNEWS/Bert Dandy.

The intersection of King Street and Charlotte Street is closed to traffic from March 29 to April 11, 2016, for TTC track replacement work and sidewalk repairs. CITYNEWS/Bert Dandy.

Eastbound traffic on King approaching Charlotte will detour to Spadina, while westbound traffic on King will divert to either University Avenue, John or Peter streets.

Pedestrian walkways and access to area businesses will be maintained.

During the closure, the 504 King streetcar will be on diversion with shuttle buses running on King Street between Church Street and Strachan AvenueClick here for more information.

Line 2 closure
Subways won’t be running on Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) from Kennedy to Victoria Park stations on Saturday due to track work.

Shuttle buses will run between the stations.

A TTC report proposing numbered subway lines was presented at a board meeting on Oct. 23, 2013. TTC

City council passes billion dollar hybrid option for Gardiner Expressway

CityNews | posted Friday, Apr 1st, 2016

City Council has given the green light to several transportation projects on Thursday, including approving the billion dollar Gardiner Expressway hybrid option.

By a vote of 36-5, council decided to go with hybrid option #3. This design pushes the portion of the Gardiner that runs east of Jarvis Street further north compared to the other two options, opening up more waterfront land for development.

This is the most expensive of the three options, with a projected cost of $569-million to build but when you include long-term costs, the price tag could top $1.052-billion.

City council also rubber-stamped a multi-billion dollar transit vision that includes the Scarborough subway extension, a downtown relief line and LRTs along Eglinton and the waterfront.

There’s still no decision on how to pay for it all.

Pedestrian killed, second injured, in separate incidents

CityNews | posted Friday, Apr 1st, 2016

A 56-year-old woman is dead after a hit-and-run crash in the east end on Thursday night.

The victim was struck near Markham Road and Nashdene Road, just south of McNicholl Avenue, around 10 p.m.

The driver did stop before taking off, police say, so the driver likely knew they hit someone.

Police say the woman was crossing Markham when she was hit by a dark-coloured Mercedes. There was debris left behind at the scene, and the Mercedes will have damage to the front end, including the grill.

There’s no word yet on a licence plate, but police have security camera video from the area. The video will likely be released later on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a man is in hospital after he was pinned under the wheel of a TTC bus.

It happened near Oakwood Avenue and Vaughan Road, also around 10 p.m. on Thursday night.

Toronto police say the man in his 60s may have been running for the bus when he was somehow trapped underneath it. He is expected to recover.

A man is in hospital after he was struck near Oakwood and Vaughan on March 31, 2016. CITYNEWS.
A man is in hospital after he was struck near Oakwood and Vaughan on March 31, 2016. CITYNEWS.

Gender-specific summer camps have Richmond Hill parents fuming

Betty Wondimu | posted Friday, Apr 1st, 2016

Extreme sports for boys, dainty mani-pedis for girls… those are the concepts for two gender-specific summer camps offered in Richmond Hill.

Angry parents are urging the town’s community services department to revise the concepts behind ‘Boyz Rule Camps’ and ‘Girlz Rock Camp,’ ironically classified under the town’s ‘general’ camp options.

Boys get to indulge in roller-blading, biking, skateboarding and ultimate frisbee, while their female counterparts stay inside and learn how to cook, bake and get manicures and pedicures.

All in the spirit of “girl-friendly fun.”

Since CityNews brought the issue to light, the town has made minor alterations to the names of the programs making them more gender-neutral. The names will be changed to ‘Extreme Sports’ and ‘Kidz Rock.’

But the damage was done and reaction to what many considered gender-stereotypes flooded social media:

The pressure was enough to produce a statement from the town of Richmond Hill on Wednesday, and another announcing the name change on Thursday.

To be fair, the town also offers a variety of other mixed-gender camp options, most of which are streamed by special interest like science or music and dance. Richmond Hill’s communications director Meeta Gandhi said these two programs have been in place for years and are quite popular.

“We don’t run a program if it doesn’t have the registration. The program has been in place since 2008 and they’ve been well enjoyed by all participants,” Gandhi said.

The details for two summer camp options offered by the town of Richmond Hill. RICHMONDHILL.CA.

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