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Toronto subway accordion players learn new tune; TTC still unimpressed

The Canadian Press | posted Friday, May 18th, 2018

Two accordion players who have entertained and annoyed Toronto subway riders with their performances of Despacito have learned a new tune, but the city’s transit agency says the men are still breaking the law.

The pair, whose performances on subway cars have circulated online in recent weeks, had been warned to stop or risk being fined as busking on trains isn’t allowed.

Now, they are playing a different hit song on the subway: Havana by Camila Cabello.

The Toronto Transit Commission says it understands the men, believed to be brothers, are mixing up their set list.

But spokesman Stuart Green says that doesn’t make what they’re doing any more acceptable than when they were “subjecting our customers to that other musical abomination.”

Green says as of Thursday, the men have been issued one ticket with a set fine of $235 and two summonses compelling them to appear before a justice of the peace for a penalty.

He says the transit agency realizes the pair have their supporters and critics, but notes the bottom line is that their actions are against TTC bylaws and must stop.

“Not only is it disruptive to the expectation our customers have for a relatively peaceful ride, it can prevent those with sight loss, and who may rely on the audible stop announcements, from navigating the subway system,” Green said Thursday.

He said there is a legal way for musicians to perform on TTC property through the Underground Sounds program, but even then, “performing on vehicles is not permitted.”

He said if they continue, the TTC will escalate to what is called a Part 3 summons, which can carry increased fines and probation with conditions.

The first summons hearing is June 1, the second is scheduled for July 20, Green said.

Despacito, by Luis Fonsi, featuring Daddy Yankee, became the most viewed clip of all-time on YouTube last summer and the most-streamed track of all-time. However, the record-breaking video did not feature vocals by Canadian pop star Justin Bieber that appeared on a remix.

Prince Charles to walk Meghan Markle down aisle

The Associated Press | posted Friday, May 18th, 2018

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Prince Charles will walk Meghan Markle down the aisle at the royal wedding — stepping in after the father of the bride fell ill just days before the ceremony.

Kensington Palace said Friday that Markle’s future father-in-law, the heir to the British throne, would walk the American actress down the aisle at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor for her wedding to Prince Harry. The palace says he “is pleased to be able to welcome Ms. Markle to the Royal Family in this way.”

The decision comes after feverish speculation about who would have the honour after the bride announced that her father, Thomas Markle, wouldn’t attend because of poor health. The bookies had suggested that Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, was the favourite.

Unlike Ragland, Harry’s father has a lifetime of experience in appearing at large-scale public events amid intense scrutiny. The palace said Markle had asked Charles to offer a supporting arm.

Having the father of the groom take the honour offers yet another twist in a royal wedding that is proving to be different than many others. Normally such occasions are choreographed to the second — and replete with tradition.

But things began to unravel last week after it emerged that Thomas Markle allegedly staged paparazzi photos in what celebrity website TMZ said was an effort to improve his image and show him to be a loving father preparing for the big day.

Speaking from Windsor, TMZ’s Sean Mandell told the BBC that the father was hurt by negative headlines and inaccurate portrayals.

“He was trying to explain his side of things — that him working with the paparazzi for those staged photos was an attempt to recast his image to show him as a loving father who was getting ready for his daughter’s wedding, and not as a reclusive lush.”

Victoria Day weekend reigns supreme in Toronto

Samantha Knight and Patricia D'Cunha | posted Friday, May 18th, 2018

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We can thank Queen Victoria for this: a long weekend that marks the unofficial start of summer. And while one of her descendants is getting married this weekend, the rest of us will either be heading to the cottage or puttering around in town. One thing is for sure though, we are all destined to have fun this weekend, whether we are royals or not. So take your crown and scepter and rule the weekend.

If you are staying in town this weekend, you will be dazzled with fireworks and a slew of other events taking place around the city. As you make your plans, consult the list below of what’s open and closed on holiday Monday.


What’s open and closed on Monday

Open

  • TTC will run on a holiday schedule
  • GO Transit will run on a Saturday schedule
  • Tourist attractions: ROM, CN Tower, Casa Loma, Toronto Zoo, Hockey Hall of Fame, Ontario Science Centre, Canada’s Wonderland, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
  • Most malls: Bramalea City Centre (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Eaton Centre (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Square One (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), The Promenade (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Toronto Premium Outlets (9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Upper Canada Mall (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Vaughan Mills (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Yorkville Village (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
  • Curbside garbage is not collected on any Monday, but other services will be affected. Click here for details.

 

Closed

  • LCBO stores are closed on Monday
  • Beer Store locations will also be closed on Monday but some stores will open later on Sunday
  • Government offices, municipal buildings and banks
  • Toronto Public Library locations are closed on Sunday and Monday
  • No mail delivery
  • Recreation centres and programs in Toronto
  • Some malls: Dufferin Mall, Fairview Mall, Scarborough Town Centre, Sherway Gardens, Yorkdale Shopping Centre

 

Events

Fireworks
The season of fireworks starts this weekend with light shows at Asbridges Bay Park and Canada’s Wonderland. The fireworks at Wonderland is at 10 p.m. on Sunday, while the light show at Asbridges is at 10 p.m. on Monday.

Royal wedding
Get your fascinators ready! The city will be buzzing all the way from Windsor Castle as royal watchers take in the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this long weekend. The couple will be married Saturday at noon local time, which is 7 a.m. ET. Watch the wedding live on CityNews.ca starting at 6 a.m.

David Mirvish is hosting a massive viewing party at the Princess of Wales Theatre from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. As many as 2,000 people will pack the venue for the sold-out event, to experience the wedding projected live on a big screen. After the ceremony ends, Harry and Meghan will take a horse drawn carriage procession through Windsor as husband and wife.

Artfest Toronto
Artfest Toronto is taking over the Distillery District for its 12th annual event this Victoria Day weekend. The outdoor arts show celebrates painting, photography, sculpture, fine craft and live music from Canada’s top artists. It runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday through Monday. Admission is free and there will also be art workshops for kids all weekend long.

Spring BeerFest TO
Escape to the cottage-in-the-city this weekend at the Spring BeerFest TO at Fort York Garrison Common. The event will serve up 17 top-notch cold beers, delicious food from Toronto’s most popular food trucks, roasted marshmallows, campfires and outdoor games. The 19+ BeerFest runs on Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Queen Victoria’s Secret
Brewer’s Backyard is back with its annual Victoria Day event — Queen Victoria’s Secret — where the beers available are only revealed when the event starts. Queen Victoria’s Secret will be held at Evergreen Brick Works, and will feature Ontario breweries, including Shacklands Brewing Co, Muddy York Brewing, Big Rock Brewery and Collective Arts Brewing. There will also be food, and a “first call” special during the first hour of the event, which kicks off at 11 a.m. on Monday.

Victoria Day at Fort York
If you’re looking for some family fun and history this Victoria Day, head on over to the Fort York National Historic Site.Guests will be able to join a guided tour, take part in soldier’s drills, or watch historic cooking demonstrations in one of the oldest kitchens in the city. Visitors can also stop by the Fort York Visitor Centre and explore interactive exhibits on the history of Toronto and the Fort. The Victoria Day event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Regular admission applies.

POPnology at the Science Centre
A new exhibit is opening at the Ontario Science Centre this weekend — POPnology showcases how people connect, move, play, live and work. It also looks at how books, movies and games have inspired the world’s greatest technological innovations. Visitors will be able to test drive robotics, rovers and sci-fi inspired tech, as well as work with a robot arm and see the world’s first 3-D printed car. POPnology opens on Saturday and continues through August 6th.

City of Toronto activities
Not everyone is getting away to the cottage this long weekend. Others will be staying in town or heading to Toronto to soak in what the city has to offer. Ferries to the island will be running every 15 minutes, and to avoid the rush, you can purchase your tickets online. Splash pads also start running on Saturday. Most of the city’s historic sites will be open on Sunday, but only Fort York National Historic Site and Spadina Museum will be open on Monday. Anyone who enjoys outdoor sports can use the golf courses or tennis courts. Click here for a full list of Toronto-run activities.

Watch the royal wedding live on Citynews.ca on Saturday

News Staff and The Canadian Press | posted Friday, May 18th, 2018

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On Saturday, May 19th, Prince Harry will wed Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle’s St. George’s Chapel.

Watch a live stream of the the royal wedding on CityNews.ca starting at 6 a.m. Eastern.

Some 79 international broadcasters, including CityTV and outlets from the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, are planning to report on Markle and Harry’s wedding. More than 5,000 U.K. and foreign media and support staff have credentials to cover the ceremony and reception.

Americans in particular – some 46 U.S. broadcast affiliates will cover the wedding – are obsessing because the bride is one of their own. The E! TV entertainment network plans to devote five hours of air time to the wedding that matches a California girl with a British prince.

While Markle was raised in the Los Angeles area, she also has a Canadian connection, having lived in Toronto since 2011 while filming U.S. legal drama “Suits.”

The 33-year-old prince, who is fifth in line to the British throne, and the 36-year-old divorced American actress met through a mutual friend in 2016, bonded during a camping holiday in Botswana and managed to keep their relationship secret from the media for several months.

It won’t be the first time that a British royal has married an American, or a divorced person. In 1936, Edward VIII famously abdicated after he was forced to choose between the monarchy and his relationship with twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson.

 

Windsor Castle, west of London, is one of Queen Elizabeth II’s main residences. The 15th-century chapel is as historic but more intimate than Westminster Abbey, where William married Kate Middleton in 2011.

 

Ontario PC candidate Simmer Sandhu quits; cites anonymous ‘allegations’

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, May 17th, 2018

A Progressive Conservative candidate in Ontario’s provincial election has pulled out of the race citing anonymous allegations made against him.

Simmer Sandhu, who had been running in the riding of Brampton East, says the allegations pertain to both his work life and his nomination campaign.

Sandhu says he denies the allegations and will vigorously defend himself.

He also thanks supporters and volunteers for their hard work and dedication, and says he’s confident in PC Leader Doug Ford’s ability to earn the trust of Ontario voters.

A party spokeswoman says Sandhu’s resignation has been accepted.

Melissa Lantsman says the party is excited to announce Surdeep Verma as its new candidate in Brampton East, calling him a great addition to the PC team.

In his statement posted on Twitter Sandhu does not give details of the allegations.

“I have recently been made aware of allegations anonymously made against me pertaining to both my work life and my nomination campaign,” he wrote Wednesday.

“These allegations are totally baseless. I absolutely deny them.”

Sandhu said that while he is confident he will be cleared it is impossible for him to continue as a PC candidate.

Highway 407 investigating ‘inside theft of data’

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, May 17th, 2018

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The company that operates a major toll road in the GTA says the personal information of roughly 60,000 people was stolen from its offices “some time over the past 12 months.”

The privately-operated 407 Express Toll Route says in a statement that the stolen data is limited to account names and phone numbers, and no credit card or banking information was taken.

It says the incident is being investigated as an “inside theft of data,” and no external breach of its systems is suspected.

The company says it was informed of the issue last Thursday and immediately launched an investigation.

It has also notified police, the federal privacy commissioner and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

The 407 ETR bills itself as “the world’s first all-electronic, barrier-free toll highway,” running 108 kilometres from Burlington to Pickering.

Here’s a new way to get a parking ticket in Toronto

News Staff | posted Thursday, May 17th, 2018

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A new way of handing out parking tickets is bringing in millions of dollars in revenue for the city, but drivers are questioning whether it’s a valid tactic, or just a cash grab.

Up until this past August, parking officers had to place a bright yellow ticket on your windshield for the charge to be valid. But since then, parking enforcement officers have had a new tool at their disposal – the mail. Officials have been sending out 4,000 to 5,000 “drive away” tickets a month.

All a parking enforcement officer needs is a licence plate and the model of the vehicle to issue a ticket.

It will say “drove away” in the top corner and it comes with an additional $10 fee on top of the fine.

Drivers CityNews spoke had mixed reactions.

“It’s fair for the municipality to do that, absolutely when the infraction is just, but at the same time, it opens up a whole can of worms,” says Carmine Ciofani.

“You don’t know where the parking officer came from, so it could be that you just pulled up, stopped for a second, and drove off, and they’ve issued you a ticket,” adds John Buffett.”

Anthony Fabrizi, manager of revenue services for utility and parking operations at the City of Toronto, said it’s a valid form of ticketing and that the extra $10 fee is justifiable.

“If we find you parked illegally, and the officer can capture the information, we can send a ticket to you,” he said. “The municipality is charged a fee by the Ministry of Transportation to retrieve the [car ownership] information,” explains Fabrizi. “The extra charge is really a cost recovery, and the municipality doesn’t make any extra money.”

The city says the average fine for a parking ticket in Toronto is $53. Officials expect to issue 60,000 drive-away parking tickets this year alone, bringing in $3.1 million in fines.

The city says drive-away tickets are meant to protect parking enforcement officers from being clipped by cars that try and drive away.

The Toronto Police Service says there were 45 assaults on parking officers in 2017, including 24 assaults between January and May of last year. For the same period of time this year, there have been nine assaults. It’s not clear if those charges stemmed from drivers trying to evade a ticket.

 

 

 

 

 

Main Ontario party leaders to do most of their campaigning Wednesday in the GTA

News Staff | posted Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

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The main party leaders are doing most of their stumping for the June 7 election in the Greater Toronto Area today.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is campaigning in Toronto, starting with a stop at a childcare centre before visiting a restaurant.

Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford will be making a morning announcement in Oakville before heading to Mississauga where he’s to tour Fielding Environmental and attend an evening rally.

Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne is scheduled to make an announcement at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Mississauga before heading to Kanata, Ont., where she’s to speak at an Iftar dinner.

Hydro One was front and centre for the leaders on Tuesday.

Wynne called raises for the utility’s board of directors unacceptable, while her rivals slammed the pay hikes as the consequence of her government’s privatization of the utility.

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