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Police say car dangling off Millwood Bridge likely a prank

CityNews | posted Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

Toronto police say a car found dangling from a bridge near a busy highway during the morning rush hour was most likely a prank.

Around 7 a.m. emergency crews and police were dispatched to Millwood Bridge, west of the Don Valley Parkway, following reports a burnt out car was hanging from a wire.

Just before 8:30 a.m. Toronto police tweeted that the dangling blue sedan was for a movie shoot. They later sent a correction, saying no movie shoot had been authorized.

“Through our sources at City Hall and other sources we’ve confirmed that it was not a movie shoot,” said Sgt. Glenn Russell.

Wednesday afternoon, police indicated that the incident was most likely intended as a prank.

“This incident resulted in the use of significant resources that were not available to attend to genuine emergency calls for service,” read a brief statement from police.

Images from the scene show that the car was empty, with no windows or windshield, and its underbelly had been stripped.

“It’s a shell of a car. It was a Honda Civic, pretty much just a body and a frame,” Russell confirmed.

“You’re always very puzzled as to how a car would have got into that particular situation,” said Mayor John Tory when asked about the dangling car. “Fortunately the land that is right beneath that is not a neighbourhood or another street, I think it’s basically green space and the Don Valley. I just saw some of the pictures myself and I was mystified as to how the car ended up there.”

According to the Twitter account @WhatsFilmingON, a similar scene was staged near the Port Lands in the last couple of days but that was an authorized movie shoot.

Files from The Canadian Press were used in this report

New fare machines coming to TTC streetcars

Dilshad Burman | posted Thursday, May 3rd, 2018


If you’re one of the many who have struggled with the fare machines on the new TTC streetcars, relief is on the way.

Presto will be replacing the current touch-screen machines with different ones — which were originally used on the first new streetcar received by the TTC in 2014.

“These machines are part of an upgrade and will better meet the needs of our customers who pay their fare by cash or token,” TTC spokeswoman Heather Brown tells CityNews.

The new machines appear to be lower tech with no touch screen, but rather colour-coded buttons and a smaller digital display. They also currently do not accept debit or credit cards.

To mitigate this, the machines will be replaced in two phases — at first only one of the two machines on each streetcar will be replaced, so one of the current machines will still be available for debit and credit users.

The change over began mid-April and a note on the TTC website states “Passengers travelling by streetcar should carry a PRESTO card, a token, or exact change for fare payment in the event they board a streetcar with reduced payment functionality.”

Brown says the next generation of machines will have debit and credit capabilities and they will replace all current fare machines on new streetcars in the second phase of the plan.

There is no confirmed timeline for when the fully equipped second-generation machines will be rolled out, but Brown says the TTC is working with Presto to finalize the details.

However, if you happen to find yourself on a streetcar with both machines replaced with new ones, Brown confirms four streetcars were already fitted with two new machines each, which does not appear to be part of the plan. As of Wednesday, one such streetcar was running on route 510 and a second on route 504. The other two are in the Leslie Barns.

Presto will be going back “to replace one of the new machines with an older machine so that debit and credit will be accepted on these streetcars,” says Brown.

It’s unclear what prompted the revamp and if the reported frequent failing of current touch-screen fare machines was a factor. Brown says the TTC is continuing to work with Presto on fare recovery as a result of card readers and fare machines not working.

Air Canada agrees to give free tickets to love-struck man — with a catch

Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, May 3rd, 2018


A love-struck Michigan man has convinced Air Canada to give him free tickets to visit his Newfoundland girlfriend — if he can manage to make his campaign go viral.

C.J. Poirier of Clarkston, Mich., met Becca Warren of Corner Brook, N.L., online last year.

After six months of daily texts, Facetime calls, and chatting with each other’s friends and family, the two decided they wanted to meet in person. But neither could afford a flight.

So Poirier took to Twitter, asking Air Canada how many retweets it would take for free roundtrip tickets.

Air Canada responded Tuesday by asking what the population of Newfoundland was — and said it would take that many.

Poirier needs 530,000 retweets; he was at 7,900 late Wednesday afternoon, and rising fast.

“Quite honestly, I was very surprised to see the campaign start growing at the rate it is now,” Poirier told The Canadian Press over a Twitter message.

The 19-year-old barista said he didn’t expect a response from Air Canada, but it’s made him and Warren optimistic that the dream trip could finally happen.

“When they first responded, I had a sliver of hope. That sliver has become a mountain and I could not be any more excited,” said Poirier.

Poirier and Warren’s international love story has proven inspiring. Canadian comedian Colin Mochrie shared Poirier’s tweet on Wednesday, writing “Help true love….”

Isabelle Arthur of Air Canada wrote in an e-mailed statement that the company reacted to Poirier’s authenticity.

“We certainly hope all 530,000 of us get invited to the wedding,” Arthur wrote.

Warren said she isn’t surprised by Poirier’s far-fetched plan — in her words, “he’s a pretty quirky guy.” She found out about his Twitter campaign after it had already started racking up retweets.

“I was literally grocery shopping with my mom and my brother yesterday and he called me and was like, you have to see this,” Warren recalled with a laugh.

Poirier hopes to meet his goal by May 13, so he can use the time he has already booked off work to make the trip to Corner Brook.

Both are unsure if the Twitter campaign will meet its goal. But Poirier posted Wednesday afternoon that he’ll be livestreaming a fundraiser on YouTube Gaming Thursday as another way to cobble his ticket funds together.

“Even if we don’t make it, I still plan on going,” he wrote.

“The fact that Detroit is kind of a strange place to go from Newfoundland doesn’t make it cheap at all.”


Multiple shots fired near St. Lawrence Market

Daniel Berry, CityNews | posted Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018


Police are investigating after gunshots rang out overnight near the St. Lawrence Market.

Emergency crews rushed to the scene in an alleyway near Jarvis Street and The Esplanade after a number of people called police claiming they’d heard multiple gunshots.

Witnesses reported seeing a man running from the area.

Police said they searched the area and found bullet shell casings.

There has been no word on a suspect description.

So far, no injuries have been reported.

The area has been taped off while police investigate.

Cavaliers strike first, beating Raptors 113-112 in OT

Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

Toronto Raptors centre Jonas Valanciunas (17) and teammate Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) react after Valanciunas missed a shot late in the second half second round NBA playoff basketball action as Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) looks on in Toronto on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

It was the moment the Toronto Raptors had been building toward since team president Masai Ujiri uttered the words “culture reset” nearly a year ago.

But missed shot after missed shot Tuesday, the Raptors saw their hopes of striking the first blow in their second-round playoff series against old foe Cleveland disappear.

The Raptors missed 18 shots over the final 10 minutes of regulation before losing 113-112 to the Cavaliers in overtime, and in the moments after the heartbreaker, the Raptors talked about an opportunity they’d let slip away.

“For sure, without a doubt,” DeMar DeRozan said. “We had many opportunities to close this game out. We couldn’t buy a bucket, we got some great looks, we had a lot of shots point blank at the rim that were in and out, Freddy (VanVleet) got two great looks, we can name countless things.

“But it should never have come down to pin on none of those. It happens, now we understand what we’ve got to do next game.”

Cleveland star LeBron James had 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds to give the Cavaliers a 1-0 series lead going into Thursday’s Game 2 in Toronto. J.R. Smith added 20 points, while Kyle Korver had 19.

Jonas Valanciunas had 21 points and 21 rebounds, while DeRozan had 22 points, Kyle Lowry finished with 18 points and 10 assists, and Pascal Siakam had 11 points.

Turnovers also proved costly for the Raptors — they coughed up 21 points on 14 giveaways, nine in the first half alone.

The Raptors had been ousted by Cleveland in the past two post-seasons, including the humiliating four-game sweep in last year’s second round that prompted the reset. They went on to win a
franchise-record 59 games and clinch No. 1 in the East, earning the all-important homecourt advantage for the post-season.

In a game that saw the Cavaliers never lead in regulation, the Raptors gave up that advantage.

“We’re better,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. ”We are better than some of the situations we put ourselves in. I can do a better job. I didn’t like some of the possessions we had down the stretch
even though we got open looks. We all can be better. Some of the turnovers we had, we had a rebound our same two guys fought over it and lost it.

“I don’t know if it was nerves or yips or what, just things that just shot ourselves in the foot.”

The Raptors led from the opening tipoff, racing out to an early 14-point advantage and then tried to hold on for dear life. They staved off a Cavaliers comeback that made it a one-point game late
in the first half, then opened the second half with a 12-4 run capped by a Lowry three-pointer.

Toronto took an 87-82 lead into the fourth quarter in front of a raucous Air Canada Centre crowd of 19,954 that included rapper Drake, who twice got in verbal tussles with inactive Cavs player
Kendrick Perkins. Security intervened in both.

The Raptors shooting went south in the fourth — 5-for-24 from the field and just 1-for-5 from three-point range.

And the Cavs pulled within a point with 3:16 to play when Canadian Tristan Thompson drained two free throws, while the crowd chanted “Khloe! Khloe!” in reference to Thompson’s reported off-court indiscretions and girlfriend Khloe Kardashian who recently gave birth to the couple’s daughter.

The Raptors didn’t make a field goal in the final 4:19 of regulation and James tied the game with seconds to play on a jump shot over rookie OG Anunoby. Toronto had four misses on its next offensive possession, James finally hauling down the rebound that gave him his triple double and the Cavs possession of the ball.

James missed at the buzzer, sending the game into extra time.

Cleveland took a six-point lead in extra time after threes by Korver and Smith, but Lowry pulled the Raptors to within a point when he converted a three-point play with 58 seconds left. With DeRozan draped all over him, James turned the ball over on a shot-clock violation with 16 seconds left, but Fred VanVleet, playing just his second game of the post-season with significant minutes, missed on a three-pointer to end the game.

“He’s got a heckuva shot,” DeRozan said of VanVleet, who’d been out with a shoulder injury. “I’ll live with him shooting that shot 10 times out of 10.”

DeRozan put an arm around VanVleet after the miss.

“I told him if we’re in that same situation again, make the same exact pass, it’s not just me trusting him, it’s every single guy on this team, coaching staff trusts him in the moments, that’s why he’s in the game late in the game,” DeRozan said. “He’s got tough skin, he’s going to bounce back, respond from it, but still have the utmost confidence in him.”

Cleveland had dispatched Toronto in six games in the conference final in 2016 en route to winning the NBA title, then came last season’s humiliating sweep.

But after two years of running into the giant roadblock that is LeBron, the Raptors believe they’re better built to face Cleveland this season, revamping their offence to focus on three-point shooting and better ball movement.

The Raptors also had the benefit of a couple days rest over Cleveland for a change. The previous two seasons saw the Cavs enjoy a week off before facing a tired Toronto team. The tables were turned for this series as the Raptors knocked off Washington four games to two on Friday, while it took Cleveland seven games to get past Indiana, and James had talked about being tired after Sunday’s Game 7.

“We didn’t get to prepare like we have been preparing over the past few years for an opponent in the post season,” James said.

“It was a quick turnaround for us. We ended Game 7 and then we had to turn around the next day and catch a 1 p.m. flight. We were very good with the limited time we had.”

DeRozan led the way with 11 points in the first quarter, and the Raptors, despite giving up seven points on five turnovers, ended the quarter with a 16-5 run to take a 33-19 lead into the second.

James had five assists in the second quarter, with three three-pointers and 11 points, and the Cavaliers outscored Toronto 38-27 in the period. Back-to-back threes from Korver and Smith cut the Raptors’ lead to a point 30 seconds before halftime, and Toronto took a 60-57 advantage into the break.

The series shifts to Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland for Game 3 on Saturday and Game 4 on Monday.

TSX says ‘hardware failure’ to blame for Friday outage, not cyber attack

News Staff and The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Apr 30th, 2018


The TMX Group says Friday’s early shutdown of its exchanges in Toronto and Montreal was due to a hardware failure and not the result of a cyber attack.

The company said in a statement on Saturday that the outage began just after 1:30 p.m. Friday afternoon due to a failure in a central storage appliance of the trading system.

The issue prompted the TMX group to shut down its exchanges at 3 p.m. Friday, with the last data reading showing the S&P/TSX up 31.34 points at 15,668.93.

“This hardware failure impacted both the primary and the redundant components preventing storage failover procedures from engaging,” read the statement.

It says that due to the timing of the incident, it was impossible to implement disaster recovery systems in time to reopen on Friday.

“This incident was not the result of a cybersecurity attack.”

Besides the Toronto Stock Exchange, which primarily handles equities of some of Canada’s biggest companies, the company also operates the TSX Venture Exchange, the TSX Alpha Exchange and the Montreal Exchange, which is Canada’s largest market for trading derivatives.

The Canadian Securities Exchange, a much smaller operation under different ownership, was unaffected.

“We apologize to all of our valued clients across Canada’s capital markets and around the world,” TMX CEO Lou Eccleston said in the Saturday statement.

“TMX is committed to applying the lessons learned from this incident to help us prevent such issues from recurring in the future.”

Liberals, NDP gain ground, but PCs maintain strong lead: poll

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Apr 30th, 2018

A woman runs on a path along the Assiniboine River as the Provencher pedestrian bridge towers above her in Winnipeg, Man., on Monday November 30, 2015. Manitoba's latest flood forecast predicts the province is at a relatively low risk for major spring flooding. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The Ontario election is less than six weeks away, and a new poll suggests the Liberals and NDP have gained some ground among voters, but the Progressive Conservatives are still holding a strong lead.

The Mainstreet Research poll, which was conducted April 16-18, says Doug Ford’s party has the support of 44.9 per cent of decided voters — that’s more than 16 per cent ahead of Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals, who are in second place with 28.2 per cent.

The NDP is in third place with 21.3 per cent followed by the Green part at four per cent.

The Mainstreet poll that was done after the Liberals’ budget at the start of the month had the PCs at just over 50 per cent support.

“We are not surprised to see the PCs come down in support from our previous poll,” said Quito Maggi, the CEO of Mainstreet Research. “They have surrendered their lead in Toronto to the Liberals, but there is no doubt that the PCs will be starting the campaign as the frontrunners.”

The poll also found that the PCs have leading by a large margin in every part of Ontario, except Toronto. In the city, the Liberals have 37.6 per cent support of all voters, while the PCs have 30 per cent.

The NDP gained a bit of ground since the last Mainstreet poll, with more respondents saying they have a favourable opinion of its leader Andrea Horwath. Mainstreet says her net favourability rating has increased by six points to 14 per cent.

While Wynne’s favourability rating has increased by 10 points, her net rating remains -35.6 per cent, while Ford’s is -6.5 per cent.

The latest survey polled 1,763 voters using automated telephone interviews. The margin of error is +/- 2.33% and is accurate 19 times out of 20.

#TorontoStrong vigil: ‘We are strong, we will move forward together’

News Staff and The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Apr 30th, 2018


The site of a deadly van attack was transformed into a place of mourning Sunday evening, as the streets of north Toronto echoed with thousands of people singing O Canada at a vigil for the victims.

Religious leaders of multiple faiths led the speakers’ list at the event, all of them sharing messages of support and strength in the face of the tragedy that left 10 people dead and 16 more injured.

Many speakers commended emergency service personnel on their work the day of the incident, including the officer who was able to arrest the suspect without firing his gun.

“In Toronto, in Ontario, in Canada, we don’t run away – we run to help others,” said Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl of the Beth Tzedec Congregation, the largest synagogue community in Canada.

Frydman-Kohl also referenced other van attacks in cities such as Paris, Beirut and Charlottesville, Virginia.

“Toronto has felt the pain of other places, and those cities now share our horror and hurt,” he said.

Before the vigil, thousands took part in what was billed as a walk of “healing and solidarity,” roughly following the route of last Monday’s attack.

“It’s amazing how on this one stretch of street, so many people are connected and affected by it,” said Jennifer Ludlow, who is from the area and attended the walk and vigil.

“To come together as a large group really does bring us all together, and shows us there is hope on the other side.”

Multiple politicians also took part in Sunday’s ceremony, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier Kathleen Wynne, Mayor John Tory and federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.

Singh said it was particularly touching to see how multicultural the event was, wish speakers including rabbis, an imam and a Buddhist monk.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been to an event that’s been so well represented by such a wide diversity of faiths – and secular thoughts as well,” said Singh.

“The fact that despite this act of hate, people came together in really incredible numbers in an act of love is really incredible.”

One volunteer said around 200 people worked throughout the day to prepare for tens of thousands of mourners to show up.

Kevin Joachin said volunteering was an opportunity to give back to the community after it suffered through a tragedy.

“It’s been a great help so far – just by the numbers, the support, the encouragement,” said Joachin.

“Today’s event is a great demonstration – not just to the community here, but to Toronto – that we are strong, and we will move forward together.”

Adrienne Lyog said many of her friends were traumatized after witnessing the attack, and Sunday’s event would play a large part in helping them move forward.

“It’s devastating,” said Lyog. “Hopefully it’ll make them feel like there’s support, that they’re not alone.”

On Friday, officials released the names of all eight women and two men who were killed in the incident.

They ranged in age from 22 to 94, and included a student from South Korea and a man from Jordan.

By Sunday morning, a city-organized fundraiser for the families of those affected had raised almost $1.7-million.

Alek Minassian, 25, of Richmond Hill, Ont., has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder in the incident. Police say they will be laying three additional attempted murder charges.


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