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Mayor Tory wants to ‘more than double’ security cameras in bid to stem gun violence

Peter Goffin, The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Jul 20th, 2018

Toronto’s police services board is calling for more security cameras and new audio technology to be installed in parts of the city to help curb gun violence.

The board approved a request by Mayor John Tory on Thursday to formally ask city council to fund the measures, which he says were discussed at a special meeting between senior city and police staff last week.

Toronto has seen a rise in gun violence this year that has led to increased calls for the city to take action.

The board is requesting to “more than double” the number of closed circuit police cameras in public places where gang activity and gun violence are known to take place, bringing the total number of police cameras to around 80.

It is also asking the city to adopt “ShotSpotter” technology, already in use in the U.S., that uses microphones to detect and locate gunfire, and automatically informs police.

“This (proposal) came from the police service and senior police officials at their initiative at a meeting called by the city to discuss what we could do to combat gun violence, and these are two pieces of technology that the police service says they could use,” Tory told the board, of which he is a member.

“I support it strongly. The police chief has certainly convinced me these two things can be useful.”

Implementing the measures will cost $4 million over two years, which will likely be covered by crime prevention funding from the federal and provincial governments, Tory said.

“The city (would put) the money to fund it with the expectation that hopefully the federal and provincial programs will cover all or some of that money,” he said.

Asking city council for their approval is an urgent matter, as its last meeting of 2018 takes place next week, Tory said.

Police Chief Mark Saunders will make a full presentation to the board in September, further explaining the security camera and ShotSpotter technologies, and what oversight police will implement for them, the board decided.

Saunders will also report back on how the Neighbourhood Officer program — which aims to build connections between police and community members — could be expanded.

The city has taken a number of steps recently to address the issue of gun violence.

On Wednesday, Tory said Toronto will be providing more social services and job opportunities to at-risk youth and last week the police chief announced that 200 frontline police officers would be added to the night shift over the summer in an effort to combat gun crime.

Police figures shows gun violence has killed 27 people and injured 82 so far in 2018, compared with 17 deaths and 80 injuries at this time last year.

Trump tops Google image search for ‘idiot’

DILSHAD BURMAN | posted Friday, Jul 20th, 2018

Saying that people have strong feelings about U.S. President Donald Trump is an understatement.

Since he began his presidential run two years ago through to his inauguration and beyond, Trump has courted controversy and divided opinions at every turn.

But a Google image search seems to suggest that people the world over agree on a single word they can associate with the U.S. president: idiot.

Giovanni Paola, senior manager of search engine optimization (SEO) at Rogers says internet users are influencing Google’s algorithm to create the result.

“It’s not Google taking sides on the political spectrum. It’s actually users themselves,” he said. “To determine relevancy, Google relies heavily on relational data between words and images.”

He explains users are posting images of Donald Trump on the internet with the word “idiot” somewhere on that page, often within the metadata of the image itself — which could be as simple as the file name that image was given.

“Over the course of time, when you have a group of people en masse doing this, it sends Google information to make the algorithm think that the words ‘idiot’ and Donald Trump are connected,” Paola said. “So when people search for ‘idiot,’ Google thinks we have to show Trump.”

As of Thursday morning, eight of the top 10 results of a Google image search for “idiot” were photos of Trump, but Paola adds that it will likely be corrected and won’t last more than a few days.

Google searches do tend to present different results depending on where in the world you are, but the “Trump-idiot” connection seems to hold true in several countries.

CityNews found similar results were seen in the following cities:

  • Mumbai, India
  • Montego Bay, Jamaica
  • Dubai, UAE
  • Edinburgh, U.K.
  • London, U.K.
  • Sao Paolo, Brazil
  • Singapore

 

Similarly, Green Day’s iconic song American Idiot enjoyed a re-entry on music charts, in part thanks to a Twitter campaignthat urged people to download and stream the song across the U.K. ahead of Trump’s visit to the country.

The power of the online push got the song to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list and Google Play, 14 years after it was first released.

 

Don’t let July pass you by, here comes another fun weekend in Toronto

PATRICIA D'CUNHA AND MICHAEL GIBBONS | posted Friday, Jul 20th, 2018

This weekend is all about the arts and artisans, culture, scrumptious food, and pizza! Read on and the pizza part will all make sense.

As you plan out your weekend, take note of the road closures around the city. Also, a reminder that a portion of Line 1 will be shut down.


Events

Last weekend of Summerlicious
If you have not yet been to Toronto’s annual summer foodie festival, this is your last weekend to do so. If not, you will have to wait until the winter edition early next year. This summer, more than 200 restaurants are offering three-course lunch and dinner menus at affordable prices. If there is a restaurant you’ve always wanted to try, search here to find out. If you are not sure where to go, you can narrow down restaurants by cuisine, neighbourhood, and price.

There is always room for pizza
Who doesn’t like pizza? Toronto’s top pizza restaurants are coming together this weekend for the city’s first ever Pizza Fest at Ontario Place. This event will also feature fresh pasta, meatballs, cocktails, a wine bar, as well as live music, and pizza-making classes. It’s on from Friday to Sunday. You have to be at least 19 years old to get in.

Arts and culture on Bloor
Up to 100,000 people are expected to turn out in the Bloordale neighbourhood for the Big on Bloor Festival this weekend. The annual summer event creates a vehicle-free stretch of Bloor Street West between Dufferin Street and Landsdowne Avenue. This allows local artists to put on live musical and theatrical performances, as well as art projects. The week-long event gets started on Saturday and is open from noon to midnight.

Experience Brazil in Toronto
It is not the same thing as being in Brazil, but you can get a taste of what the country has to offer this weekend at BrazilFest. The city will come alive with Brazilian culture on Sunday, taking place at Earlscourt Park from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Enjoy live music and dance performances, food, and there will also be a family area for parents and their children.

Everything old is new again
The Ontario Vintage Market makes its debut at Evergreen Brick Works on Sunday. From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., you’ll be able to check out a curated selection of housewares, furniture, decor, and more from vintage vendors. The market takes place every other Sunday until September 30.

Partial Line 1 closure
Once again this weekend, subways won’t be running between Lawrence and St. Clair stations due to work on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and other track work at Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue. Shuttle buses will be running.

Road closures

Toronto Caribbean Carnival’s Junior Carnival: Road closures will be in effect in the area of Sewells Road, McLevin Avenue, and Neilson Road from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Big on Bloor: Bloor Street between Dufferin Street and Lansdowne Avenue will be closed from 8 p.m. on Saturday to 7 a.m. on Sunday.

Toronto Triathlon Festival: The eastbound lanes of the Gardiner Expressway from the Humber River to Carlaw Avenue, and the northbound lanes of the Don Valley Parkway from the Gardiner to Eglinton Avenue, will be closed from 2 a.m. to noon on Sunday. One eastbound lane of Lake Shore Boulevard from Windermere Avenue to New Brunswick Way/Remembrance Drive will also be closed from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Youth Day: Yonge Street from Dundas to Queen street will be closed from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.

Honda Indy roadblock removal: The westbound left and middle lanes of Lakeshore Boulevard West from Strachan Avenue to Ontario Drive, and the eastbound left lane of Lake Shore from Strachan to Ontario will be closed from 9 p.m. on Sunday to 5 a.m. on Monday, and from 9 p.m. on Monday to Tuesday at 5 a.m. The westbound curb and middle lanes of Lakeshore from Strachan to Ontario Drive will be closed from 9 p.m. on Tuesday to 5 a.m. on Wednesday and from 9 p.m. on Wednesday to 5 a.m. on Thursday.

Radiohead makes first Toronto appearance since fatal 2012 stage collapse

TINA YAZDANI | posted Friday, Jul 20th, 2018

Radiohead performed in Toronto Thursday night, for the first time since a fatal stage collapse at Downsview Park in 2012. The incident took the life of 33-year-old drum technician Scott Johnson, and injured multiple others on the crew.

Anticipation for the band’s return to the city has been growing for the six years since the tragedy. Dozens of fans camped out overnight outside the Scotiabank Arena for a chance to get to the front of the stage for the big performance.

“It’s just super important to me,” said fan Gary Winthorpe. “They’re my favourite band so I felt like I had to be here.”

The band is still looking for answers, and accountability.

The subsequent trial was derailed when the presiding judge declared he had lost jurisdiction over the case given his appointment to a higher court. That decision led to a senior justice declaring a mistrial and a new hearing was planned.

Last September, those charges were stayed after a judge ruled the matter took too long to get to trial.

“The court case broke down on a technicality,” Radiohead’s Philip Selway told the BBC. “There were 13 charges dropped against Live Nation, Optex Staging and the engineer, Domenic Cugliar. So with that court case breaking down, there will be no real answers. And without the answers we can’t ensure that an accident like this doesn’t happen again. So yes there’s real frustration.”

Music industry analysts say the incident had lasting impacts on Canada’s music scene.

“We got a lot tougher when it came to the standards of building these temporary stages,” said Alan Cross, host of The Ongoing History of New Music.

“Not only from a regulatory level, but from an industry level, nobody wants to be caught in one of these things, because the lawsuits are terrible and the loss of life is terrible, and the potential to have your business ruined is terrible. No one wants to see this happen.”

Johnson’s father says he expects a coroner’s inquest into the incident to begin early next year.

Ken Johnson said he spoke with Ontario’s chief coroner on Wednesday and was told the tentative window for the inquest has been set for February or March. A representative for the office declined to confirm the timeline.

Starting the proceedings would be a step towards what Johnson hopes will acknowledge the series of events that led to his son’s death, and ensure safety precautions are in place to prevent a similar accident from happening again.

“They can’t bring Scott back – that’s obviously painful,” Johnson said in an interview from Birmingham on Thursday.

“But it needs to be clear. I think people need to see what’s happened.”

In the meantime, fans are looking forward to the music, and thankful that despite everything, Radiohead decided to come back to the city.

“I thought Toronto’s definitely never gonna happen and when they finally announced it I kinda went crazy,” said fan Cody Stein. “It was definitely big news, a lot of excitement and for the past five months for me it’s been every day looking forward to the show.”

The shows both Thursday and Friday are sold out. The last time the band performed in the city was in 2008, at the Molson Amphitheatre.

Files from The Canadian Press were used in this report

Missing 5-year-old Brampton boy found, has life-threatening head injury

News Staff | posted Thursday, Jul 19th, 2018

A missing five-year-old boy from Brampton has been found and has a life-threatening head injury, Peel paramedics say.

The boy found just before 7 a.m. Thursday close to the train tracks. He was reported missing in the McHardy Court and McMurchy Avenue area, near Queen Street and McLaughlin Road.

The boy has been rushed to hospital but the extent of his injuries is not yet known.

According to police, the boy’s mother last saw her son at 2 a.m. But when she woke up, her son was gone and the front door was open. Police were called just after 6 a.m.

More to come

2 tractor-trailers collide on Hwy. 401, 3 people injured

News Staff | posted Thursday, Jul 19th, 2018

A major crash on Highway 401 has sent three people to hospital in serious condition.

It happened just before 1 a.m. on Thursday on the eastbound express lanes near Allen Road.

The crash involved two tractor-trailers, an SUV and possibly other vehicles damaged in the aftermath.

One of the tractor-trailers flipped over, trapping a man inside for roughly 25 minutes.

Toronto fire and paramedics pulled the man, believed to be in his 40s, from the vehicle. He was then taken to a trauma centre with serious injuries.

Another man was also rushed to a trauma centre with serious injuries.

A third victim was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Highway 401 eastbound express lanes were closed at the Allen for the majority of the night. They reopened just around 6 a.m. The westbound express lanes are shut down at Highway 404.

The Big Smoke: Survey says Torontonians smoke 141.7M joints a year

N | posted Thursday, Jul 19th, 2018

When it comes to marijuana consumption, Toronto has more than earned the nickname The Big Smoke.

According to new data released by Environics Analytics, Torontonians spark up the equivalent of 141.7 million joints a year.

To put that in perspective, Environics Analytics says if you stacked all of those joints (eight-millimetre average thickness) on top of each other, it would be equal to 2,050 CN Towers.

Despite the city’s passion for pot, the analytics company also found that 54 per cent of Torotonians think cannabis will have a negative effect on their home life.

We also pay a bit more than the national average for our weed in Hogtown. The average cost of a gram in Canada is $7.36, while it’s $7.67 in Toronto.

The data also revealed that weed is most popular among young, diverse singles in highrises. That could pose some problems as condo boards scramble to ban weed smokingahead of October 17, when marijuana will officially become legal across Canada.

All of the data came from Environics Analytics’ CannabisInsights — a database that projects how consumers view and use cannabis at the neighbourhood level.

Toronto FC fans allegedly set fire to stands at Ottawa match

News Staff | posted Thursday, Jul 19th, 2018

A shocking video that shows the stands at an Ottawa Fury FC vs. Toronto FC game on fire has circulated on social media.

Ottawa police say flares and fireworks were allegedly smuggled into the match by TFC supporters and were lit during the second half of the game.

The fires were quickly extinguished and no one was injured.

Officers are on the scene investigating the incident, but no one has been taken into custody.

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