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Coach charged after lacrosse referee assaulted at Orillia recreation centre

The Canadian Press and News Staff | posted Monday, Jun 17th, 2019

Provincial police say they’ve charged a coach after a lacrosse referee was allegedly assaulted in Orillia on Friday night.

Investigators say they were called to Rotary Place around 10 p.m. for a report of an assault.

They say officers found the male referee bleeding as a result of an alleged physical fight.

Police say the incident occurred after a verbal dispute, but they didn’t specify what the fight was about.

Dwayne Palomaki, 47, has been charged with assault causing bodily harm. He is scheduled to appear in court on July 23.

Woman killed, 3 others hurt in Caledon crash

News Staff | posted Friday, Jun 14th, 2019

A head-on crash involving a pick-up truck and an SUV has left one person dead and three others hurt, Peel EMS said Thursday.

EMS said the collision happened at around 5:12 p.m. near Healey Road and Innis Lake Road in Caledon.

A woman was pronounced dead at the scene, EMS said. She was the driver of one of the vehicles, investigators said.

Three other people were taken to the hospital, two with life-threatening injuries, EMS said.

Investigators said they are trying to find a man who was in a red-burgundy vehicle that stopped at the scene but left before police arrived.

OPP tweeted at around 8:36 p.m. that Healey Road has been closed for the investigation.

Fans delirious as Raptors best Warriors to win NBA championship

Colin Perkel, Liam Casey, Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Jun 14th, 2019

The Toronto Raptors, a team whose magical playoff run sparked civic pride and raucous enthusiasm across Canada, sent fans into fits of unbridled joy on Thursday as they beat the reigning champ Golden State Warriors in a see-saw thriller to win the NBA championship.

Thousands of spectators who jammed Jurassic Park, the fan zone outside the team’s empty downtown arena, to watch Game 6 of the finals on big screens – some after waiting hours in pouring rain – erupted in a roar as the final buzzer sounded.

“This is the best day of my life!” said John Cooke, 35, of Toronto, as the Raptors won 114-110.

Fans gathered both indoors and at dozens of outdoor venues across the country to cheer on a team from a city many love to hate, their enthusiasm measured by unusually jammed bars.

According to latest figures from payments firm Moneris, spending in bars nationally jumped 63 per on Monday from the same day a year ago, when the Raptors lost a Game 5 nail-biter by a single point. The biggest increase was in Edmonton, which saw spending jump a whopping 279 per cent. Spending in Toronto area bars almost doubled.

“It’s difficult to put into words what this means to me, but my love for my son _ and the Raptors _ is off the charts,” said John Drzazga, 41, of Grimsby, Ont., whose 10-year-old son Dustin spent the first part of the game roaming the zone in an inflatable dinosaur suit with a two-metre tail.

Cities across Ontario held packed viewing events, as did many other places from coast to coast, such as Halifax, which threw a massive outdoor block party.

Montreal shut down two city blocks to allow the improbable: people cheering a team from Toronto. Thousands braved the rain, forming a red tide, with organizers handing out “We the North” T-shirts.

One man was booed when he showed up wearing a blue Warriors T-shirt but he ripped it off to reveal a Raptors jersey. The Warriors shirt was set on fire, burning until police moved in to extinguish it.

Fans in Regina, as they did on Monday, watched on the massive screen at the Roughriders’ home stadium, while those in Edmonton headed to the Edmonton Expo Centre.

Even in Rickford, Ill., hometown to Raptors star Fred VanVleet, fans began their party at 6 p.m. at the newly created Jurassic Park RKFD to take in their local hero.

“Fred is an amazing basketball player and a genuinely good person both on and off the court,” Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said. “We’re excited to support him as he works to bring home an NBA championship.”

In Oakland, Calif., where the Warriors hosted the Raptors, cheers erupted in Oracle Stadium as Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah McLauchlan performed O Canada and Pat Monahan, of pop-rock act Train, sang The Star Spangled Banner before the game got underway.

The championship win by the Raptors marked the first for a Canadian team in one of the big four professional sports since the Toronto Blue Jays won the 1993 World Series and the first NBA team outside the U.S. to go all the way.

“I remember coming here as an immigrant from Sri Lanka in 1989 and we watched Joe Carter hit that home run for the Jays,” said Subi Mahan, 37, of Pickering, Ont., who was with his two boys, Kiyan, 6, and Kishan, 9. “(So) to be here and share this with my boys is amazing. This is what love is.”

Outside Christchurch, New Zealand, a Canadian flag hung on a suburban fence emblazoned, “Let’s Go Raptors” and “We the North.”

Love of the Raptors, with their best performance in their 24 seasons, prompted Toronto Mayor John Tory to don his now-signature black-and-gold blazer to visit the gathering crowd Thursday.

“It is beyond comprehension that people could be down here, huddled under these makeshift tents, for hours on end, more than a day, overnight,” Tory said. “It’s cold, it’s rainy, it’s been such a terrible spring, but they’ve been here week after week, day after day, and they’re the greatest fans in sports.”

Raptors win first NBA championship, beat Warriors 114–110

Meredith Bond | posted Friday, Jun 14th, 2019

For the first time in franchise history, the Raptors are NBA champions.

It was a nail-biter in Oakland, but the Raptors pulled out a 114-110 win over Golden State Warriors in Game 6.

Toronto has become the first team outside the United States to win an NBA title and is the first championship for a major Toronto sports franchise since the Blue Jays in 1993.

Kawhi Leonard captured the NBA finals MVP after leading the Raptors in points for the entire post season.

Head Coach Nick Nurse commended his team on the victory, “We did a really good job of just keeping playing. It was kind of a fitting way our whole season where something went bad, we didn’t react, we just went to the next play and we made the next play. And we got ourselves a championship.”

Veteran Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakim both had 26 points to lead the Raptors to victory, VanVleet had 22, while Kawhi Leonard has 19.

Klay Thompson had a game-leading 30 points, but left the game in the third quarter with an apparent knee injury. The Warriors say Thompson will not return after suffering a left knee injury.

Kyle Lowry led the way for a strong start for the Raptors, scoring all of Toronto’s first 11 points. Siakim contributed beyond the arc as well, hitting two three-pointers shortly after.

The Raptors led 17-12 through the first five minutes of Game 6. The Warriors were quick to catch up, taking their first lead with just over two minutes left in the first, 27-26.

It’s was a back-and-forth match up with 16 lead changes.

Toronto has 13 three-pointers in Game 6 and are shooting just under 40 per cent from beyond the arc – a far cry from their performance on Monday.

This will be the last game played at Oracle Arena, as the Warriors move to San Francisco for the 2019 and 2020 NBA season.

Toronto had been anxiously waiting for the second shot at their first title after the Warriors beat the Raptors by one point on Monday night in Game 5.

The threat of thunderstorms had Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment contemplating whether to allow fans in and instead open up Scotiabank Arena for a viewing party, but say the weather forecast will keep people outside.

MLSE adds they will continue to monitor the weather and Scotiabank Arena will be used as a contingency plan if conditions “impact the safety of our fans.”

Mayor John Tory and Raptors Global Ambassador Drake both joined the crowd at Jurassic Park, showing their support here in Toronto.

Tory predicted a Raptors win tonight and praised fans at all the different Jurassic Parks across the GTA.

2 women, 1 child rushed to hospital in Etobicoke

News Staff | posted Thursday, Jun 13th, 2019

Three people, including a toddler, have been rushed to hospital in Etobicoke.

Emergency crews were called to a residential building near Lake Shore Boulevard and Long Branch Avenue just after 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“Once the uniform officers arrived on scene they were briefed by the paramedics and were advised that there were three occupants within one particular unit that were all in medical distress, showing the same symptoms,” Insp. Anthony Paoletta explained.

“The officers attended the unit with paramedics, first aid was initiated by the paramedics and they were all transported to local area hospitals where they are currently being examined by physicians.”

Police would not say what the two women and child were rushed to hospital for.

Paoletta said investigators will be going through the apartment to determine just what happened, as well as looking at security video and canvassing neighbours to see if there’s any information they could provide.

Police said this is not a criminal case at this time, but that it appears to involve a person in crisis. There is no concern for public safety.

Sarah McLachlan set to perform Canadian anthem as Raptors aim for title

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Jun 13th, 2019

Sarah McLachlan will sing Canada’s national anthem on Thursday as the Toronto Raptors attempt to win their first NBA championship.

The league has announced the Halifax-born singer-songwriter will perform O Canada prior to Game 6 of the NBA Finals between the Raptors and Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.

The American anthem will be sung by Pat Monahan of pop-rock act Train.

It is the last Warriors game at the Oakland, Calif., facility before the team moves to San Francisco. The Raptors lead the best-of-seven series 3-2.

Previous renditions of O Canada at the NBA Finals in Oakland have been met with mixed reviews.

Saskatchewan-born country singer Tenille Arts faced some backlash on social media after Game 3 as several people accused her of “butchering” the anthem by veering away from its familiar tune.

Walk Off the Earth, Burlington, Ont., band, divided audiences for Game 4 when the four members gathered around a triple-necked string instrument for an acoustic folk version of “O Canada.”

Longtime Toronto national anthem performer Doug Tranquada delivered the opening stanza to O Canada in Game 5 before letting fans at Scotiabank Arena take over on Monday night.

McLachlan, a Juno and Grammy winner, has a history of singing O Canada to usher in historic sports moments.

She performed the anthem at Canadian football team the BC Lions’ first game back at their newly refurbished home stadium in 2011. Two years later, she sang for the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks home opener.

Government asks Supreme Court for urgent stay of solitary confinement ruling

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Jun 13th, 2019

Faced with the prospect that segregation is about to become illegal next week, the federal government has asked Canada’s top court for an urgent stay of an 18-month-old ruling that declared the practice unconstitutional because of its lack of meaningful oversight.

In a hand-delivered application on Tuesday, the Department of Justice tells the Supreme Court of Canada that it needs the stay for safety reasons.

“This motion is urgent, as administrative segregation is will no longer be available after June 17, 2019, regardless of the safety and security of inmates administratively segregated, other inmates or corrections staff in federal penitentiaries,” the government says. “If the extension is not granted … the safety and security interest of inmates and staff in penitentiaries will be in jeopardy.”

Administrative segregation allows correctional authorities to place inmates deemed a threat either to themselves or others in solitary confinement. However, Superior Court Justice Frank Marrocco in December 2017 struck down parts of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act that allowed the practice.

Marrocco, who was critical of the lack of supervision, put his ruling on hold for one year to give the government time to remedy the situation. The government did not appeal the ruling but asked Ontario’s top court for more time to implement it.

In a scathing assessment of the government’s lack of action, the Ontario Court of Appeal agreed to stay Marrocco’s ruling in December. The Appeal Court then reluctantly did so again in April, saying there would be no further extensions.

It also imposed a condition for the stay: Correctional Service Canada had to implement an independent review after a prisoner had spent five days in isolation. Ottawa now says it has been unable to comply with that order and the government is seeking leave to appeal the issue.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which pressed the fight against segregation, expressed dismay at the government’s tactics.

“Canada has had a year and a half to address its constitutionally defective statute,” said association lawyer Michael Rosenberg. “It has failed to do so. This meritless application for leave to appeal is an outrageous attempt to prolong the suffering of prisoners in solitary confinement and perpetuate an abhorrent practice that has been thoroughly denounced by our courts.”

The government has long maintained it was addressing the problems with administrative segregation through Bill C-83, which is currently before the Senate. Asked on Tuesday what would happen when the practice becomes illegal next week, the government had little to say.

“The minister has nothing further to add at this point,” a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told The Canadian Press. “The government continues to review the implications of the rulings and is advancing Bill C-83 through the Parliamentary process.”

Critics have questioned whether the legislation will remedy the constitutional problems the courts have identified.

A spokeswoman for Correctional Service Canada said on Tuesday that prison authorities were “still examining the specifics of the ruling” and noted Bill C-83 was before Parliament but offered no details of what might happen next week.

“CSC will ensure that measures are in place to protect the safety of our staff, offenders and our institutions while being compliant with the law,” the spokeswoman said in an email.

The urgent request to the Supreme Court is similar to one it made in April, when, at the last minute, it sought more time to appeal another ruling from the Court of Appeal that declared any length of stay in isolation beyond 15 days to be cruel and unusual punishment and therefore unconstitutional.

It’s not immediately clear when the high court will consider the new stay motion.

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