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CN Tower, Toronto sign to be lit gold celebrating Drake’s Grammy win

DILSHAD BURMAN | posted Tuesday, Feb 12th, 2019

The “six god” is getting a glittering tribute in his hometown after his win at the Grammy awards on Sunday night.

Toronto’s own Drake took home the best rap song award for “God’s Plan” and after his win, he told reporters that the mayor of Toronto should “turn the CN Tower chrome and gold” to mark the occasion.

On Monday afternoon, Mayor John Tory took the hint and announced that the Toronto sign would be lit up in gold to celebrate Drizzy’s win.

Soon after, the CN Tower joined in, saying it would also turn gold to recognize all the Canadian nominees and winners at this year’s Grammy Awards.

Drake used his acceptance speech to lambast the Grammys, calling attention to his tempestuous relationship with the awards show that has nominated him several times but rarely awarded him the coveted gold gramophone.

“We play in an opinion-based sport, not a factual-based sport,” said Drake. This is a business where sometimes it is up to a bunch of people that might not understand what a mixed race kid from Canada has to say.”

He ended by saying the love of his fans and hometown hero status already made him a winner.

“You’ve already won if you have people who are singing your songs word for word, if you are a hero in your hometown … you don’t need this right here, I promise you, you already won.

Several other Canadians also took home the hardware in a number of different categories.

R&B singer Daniel Ceasar won best R&B performance for “Best Part,” his collaboration with Gabriella Wilson aka H.E.R.

Music producer Greg Wells won for his soundtrack to “The Greatest Showman” and violinist James Ehnes won for his contributions to the album “Kernis.”

Art director Willo Perron, who is from Montreal, won the best recording package for his work on singer St. Vincent’s album “Masseduction” and Canadian-American violinist Lili Haydn won the best new age album award as part of the quartet Opium Moon.

Police investigating video of woman throwing chair near the Gardiner

NEWS STAFF | posted Tuesday, Feb 12th, 2019

Toronto police are looking into a video posted over the weekend that appears to show a woman throwing a patio chair onto the Gardiner Expressway from a balcony.

The clip, believed to be posted on Snapchat, shows a blonde woman standing on the balcony of a condo building holding a patio chair before launching it over the edge of the railing.

The video follows the chair on its way down towards the Gardiner below. The chair misses the expressway but the video cuts out before the chair lands.

A building resident told CityNews she saw the mangled chairs just a few feet away from the front door and thought the wind might have blown them over. She said she was outraged by what she saw in the video.

“It could have killed me. I walk in and out of this door multiple times a day. My husband walks out of here,” said Julia Mazurick. “There’s people with babies, with pets, dog walkers, everything. I don’t think there’s anything funny — I don’t know what kind of state of mind you would have to be in actually to think that would be funny.”

Const. David Hopkinson said the actions of the woman in the video are extremely thoughtless.

“How can you do something like that, that appears so callous? We’re looking at video of something that could absolutely cause somebody’s death,” he said

Sgt. Ron Boyce told 680NEWS police believe there were actually multiple items thrown off a very high floor of 55 Bremner Boulevard. Investigators also believe the incident could have been part of a social media stunt.

No injuries were reported in the incident which is believed to have happened at 10 a.m. on Saturday, with the chair landing next to a bike rack at the front entrance of the condo building. Police say no one has come forward regarding any crashes related to a collision with a chair.

Police are still working to identify the woman in the video and say she is wanted for mischief – endanger life. They are also looking for the person recording the video.

Const. Hopkinson says depending on the reason and what led to for the incident, the woman seen throwing the chair could also face more charges.

“Is she trying to harm somebody? Is her intent to throw the chairs on somebody specific? If that’s the case, we’re talking very, very serious either weapons or assault charges. Highest level you can think of.”

The woman in the video is described as white, in her 20s, five foot one to two inches tall, a slim build with long blond hair.

Watch the video here

Toronto, GTA under a winter storm warning

NEWS STAFF | posted Tuesday, Feb 12th, 2019

Get those shovels and snowblowers ready because a big belt of winter weather is headed to the GTA, including Toronto, on Tuesday.

A winter storm warning is in effect ahead of a system that’s threatening near white-out conditions for part of the morning rush, and snowy and icy roads for the trip home.

Environment Canada forecasts a combination of 15 to 25 centimetres of snow and ice pellets, along with possible freezing rain.

The agency said strong easterly winds of 40 km/h gusting to 70 km/h will cause reduced visibility in blowing snow, with stronger wind gusts up to 80 km/h possible near the shores of Lake Ontario.

680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor said there will be quite a mix of weather on the way.

“Snow, at times heavy, will mix in with some ice pellets for the early afternoon and then freezing rain for the late afternoon — around 4 o’clock — and then rain tonight,” she explained.

“It’ll be mainly freezing rain for Niagara and areas to the southwest and mainly snow to the east.”

The impending weather caused several school closures across the GTA.

George Brown College will be closed all day — including services such as libraries, and the school’s child care centres.

All campuses of Centennial College will be closed for the day.

As well, Ryerson University is closed today. This includes all classes, university-run events, research labs, business services and administrative operations. Student residences remain open.

A number of school bus cancellations are also in effect. Click here for a full list of school bus cancellations and school closures.

City of Toronto has prepared its salt trucks to hit the streets on Tuesday morning.

The TTC is advising commuters to allow for extra time for their morning commute, as service may be slower than usual with the weather.

Pearson airport is also reminding travelers to confirm flight status with the airline before leaving home, as delays and cancellations are expected.

Female acts, rap songs win big at the Grammy Awards

MESFIN FECADO, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Monday, Feb 11th, 2019

Women and rap triumphed at the Grammys on Sunday as female acts took home top prizes including album of the year and best new artist, and Childish Gambino made history when his hit “This Is America” became the first rap-based track to win record and song of the year.

Kacey Musgraves’ country-pop release “Golden Hour” won album of the year, and British singer Dua Lipa won best new artist – a year after female voices were somewhat muted at the 2018 ceremony and the Grammys were criticized for the low number of female nominees.

Six women were nominated for best new artist, and five of the eight album-of-the-year nominees were women, including Brandi Carlile, who described herself as “a kid from the ’90s from Lilith Fair.”

“Those women were just dominating those platforms. They were dominating those arena and amphitheatre stages. They were getting record deals. They were becoming record executives themselves,” Carlile said. But watching those gains “backslide for the last 20 years has been heartbreaking.”

“Tonight gives me hope as a mother of two young daughters,” said Carlile, who won three honours in the Americana category and was the most nominated women with six.

Musgraves and Gambino were the night’s top winners, taking home four awards each. “This Is America” also won best music video and best rap/sung performance.

Ludwig Goransson, who co-wrote and produced Gambino’s song, said he was surprised a rap song had never won in the past.

“If you listen to the radio or if just you watch our culture or look at the most downloaded and streamed artists and bought albums, you see what’s at the top and what people listen to and you see what people get inspired by. It’s about time something like this happened,” he said backstage.

Gambino’s historic win comes years after rappers have struggled to win in the top categories, including Jay-Z, Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar. Drake, who has lost in the big four categories over the years, told the room of musicians that winning awards isn’t necessary if you have real fans attending your concerts and singing your songs.

“Look, if there are people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain and the snow, spending their hard-earned money to buy tickets to come to your shows, you don’t need this right here. I promise you. You already won,” said Drake, who won best rap song for “God’s Plan.”

He tried to continue speaking but was cut off as the ceremony suddenly went to a commercial.

The last time a rapper won album of the year was in 2004 with Outkast. Only a handful of rappers have won best new artist. Cardi B also made history as the first solo female to win best rap album (Lauryn Hill won as a member of the Fugees at the 1997 Grammys).

She was shaking onstage as she tried to give a thank-you speech with her rapper-husband Offset holding her arm.

“The nerves are so bad. Maybe I need to start smoking weed,” she said as the audience laughed. “I just want to say thank you everybody that was involved … I want to thank my daughter.”

At the 2018 Grammys, male acts dominated in nominations, and the only woman competing for the top award, Lorde, did not get a chance to perform onstage.

Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow, who last year said women need to “step up” and later acknowledged that it was a “poor choice of words,” seemed to address his 2018 comments during Sunday’s show.

“This past year I’ve been reminded that if coming face to face with an issue opens your eyes wide enough, it makes you more committed than ever to help address those issues. The need for social change has been the hallmark of the American experience, from the founding of our country to the complex times we live in today,” said Portnow, who did not seek a renewal on his contract, which ends this year.

Lipa alluded to Portnow’s 2018 words when she won best new artist: “I guess this year we’ve really stepped up.”

The Grammys kicked off with a group of powerful women, including Michelle Obama, describing the role of music in their lives.

“Music has always helped me tell my story,” said Obama, who surprised the audience with her appearance. “Whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves. It allows us to hear one another.”

Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith and Jennifer Lopez also spoke and stood in solidary with Obama, Gaga and Alicia Keys, who hosted the show.

“Yes, ladies,” Keys said. “There’s nothing better than this.”

Gaga won three Grammys, including best pop duo/group performance for the Oscar-nominated hit “Shallow,” a win she shared with Bradley Cooper. Gaga performed the song solo since Cooper was in London for the British Academy Film Awards.

Dolly Parton was honoured and performed alongside Miley Cyrus, Musgraves, Maren Morris and Katy Perry. But the country music icon truly shined when she sang “Red Shoes” with country foursome Little Big Town providing background vocals.

Yolanda Adams, Fantasia and Andra Day teamed up for a stirring performance of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” in honour Aretha Franklin, who died last year.

Diana Ross earned a standing ovation when she emerged onstage in a bright red dress to perform “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” and “The Best Years of My Life.” She celebrated her 75th birthday early with the performance, saying afterward, “Happy birthday to me!” Her actual birthday is March 26.

R&B singer H.E.R., who won two R&B awards, stunned as she played her guitar and sang. Chloe x Halle, nominated for two awards, impressed when they sang Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack’s “Where Is the Love.”

Ariana Grande won her first Grammy in the same week that she publicly blasted Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich and accused him of lying about why she was no longer performing at the show.

Beck was a double winner during the pre-telecast, taking home best alternative music album and best engineered album (non-classical) for “Colours.” Emily Lazar, one of the engineers who worked on the album and won alongside Beck, was the first female mastering engineer to win in the latter category.

Beyonce, Jay-Z, Ella Mai, Pharrell Williams, Hugh Jackman, Sting, Shaggy, Dave Chappelle, “Weird Al” Yankovic, the late Chris Cornell, Greta Van Fleet and even former President Jimmy Carter also picked up early awards ahead of the live show.

Another winter storm brewing in the GTA, to arrive Tuesday

NEWS STAFF | posted Monday, Feb 11th, 2019

The GTA is bracing for another winter storm, with the potential for heavy snow, freezing rain and ice pellets accompanied by gusting winds.

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for the region that includes Toronto, calling for 15-20 centimetres of snow and ice accumulations.

The national weather agency said the snow will start early Tuesday morning, which will then mix with or change to ice pellets later in the day. There is also a risk of freezing rain.

Since the high on Tuesday will be near 0 C, the type of precipitation will depend on the temperature.

With the wind gusting to 80 km/h, the blowing snow will add to the treacherous driving conditions.

The storm system is expected to leave the region by Wednesday.

Drake wins best rap song Grammy award for ‘God’s Plan’

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Feb 11th, 2019

Drake picked up his fourth career Grammy for “God’s Plan” in the best rap song category at the awards held on Sunday night.

The Toronto rapper surprised many of his fans by showing up to collect his award — but he had a few choice words for organizers of the glitzy event.

The hitmaker, born Aubrey Graham, held his golden trophy in one hand while he acknowledged his turbulent relationship with the Grammys.

“This is like the first time in Grammy history where I actually am who I thought I was for a second, so I like that, that’s really nice,” he said as he accepted his award.

“I definitely did not think I was winning anything.”

Drake, who walked into the event with seven nominations, second only to Kendrick Lamar, wasn’t necessarily expected to show up to collect any wins. He often shuns appearances at awards shows and boycotted last year’s Grammys by not submitting anything from his previous release, “More Life.”

He’s also chose to forgo consideration at the Juno Awards again this year with his latest album “Scorpion.” Tensions have lingered after he hosted the 2011 show but was shut out of all of his five nominations.

As he accepted his Grammy, Drake added that working in the music industry is like “playing in an opinion-based sport, not a factual based sport.”

“It’s not the NBA where at the end of the year you’re holding a trophy because you made the right decisions and won the games,” he said.

“This is a business where sometimes it’s up to a bunch of people that might not understand what a mixed race kid from Canada has to say or a fly Spanish girl from New York or anybody else.”

He added that an artist has already won if “you have people who are singing your songs word for word” and “if you’re a hero in your hometown.”

1 dead after shooting outside nightclub near Queen and Parliament

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Feb 8th, 2019

One person is dead after a shooting in the city’s downtown core overnight.

Emergency crews were called to Queen Street East, just east of Parliament Street, around 2 a.m. Friday, for multiple reports of gunshots in the area.

Police said the victim was shot while standing in a doorway in front of a nightclub in the area.

“Our officers were in the area and arrived here very quickly,” Toronto police Insp. Jim Gotell explained.

“We located one male who had been shot several times in a doorway on Queen Street.”

The victim suffered critical injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

There has been no word on suspects.

Homicide has taken over the investigation.

Investigators are speaking with people inside the club as well as the multiple witnesses who called 911.

Queen is closed in both directions from Parliament to Power Street. The 501 streetcar is diverting both ways via Shuter Street.

Facts and figures about potholes in Toronto

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Feb 8th, 2019

The roller-coaster temperatures over the past couple of weeks have created ideal conditions for the potholes that have been appearing on roads around Toronto. Here are some facts and figures about how the city handles the problem.

By the numbers

$25: Cost to repair each pothole

$4 million to $5 million: Annual budget for repairing potholes in Toronto

15-20 minutes: The amount of time it takes to repair one pothole

4: Number of days after receiving a report the city aims to have a pothole repaired

25: Number of city crews out repairing potholes on a typical day


About potholes

Potholes are created when water penetrates the top layer of asphalt through cracks in the road. After the moisture freezes and expands, sections of the pavement are forced up. The weight of vehicles going over these sections breaks the pavement, forcing the asphalt out.

Potholes are more frequent in the spring, after the freeze-thaw cycle, but they happen at other times of the year.

The city has crews in each district which respond to potholes reported to 311 and another crew that patrols each district looking for potholes.

Much like plowing and salting, when there is a large number of potholes that need to be repaired, the city triages based on size and prioritizes repairs on expressways and arterial roads first.

Repairing potholes is an affordable way to maintain roads. City crews routinely monitor road conditions and identify areas that need repairs.

Road users and business owners can help by reporting potholes online, by calling or emailing 311 or by using the 311 online app

To repair, crews place asphalt and rake it into the pothole. Then they tamp down the asphalt and smooth it out until the road surface is improved.

Source: City of Toronto

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