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Articles on this Page
- 09/03/17--14:40: _Jay and Dan return ...
- 09/03/17--12:44: _Toronto police dog ...
- 09/04/17--03:00: _Salvadorans, Hondur...
- 09/03/17--13:38: _Photo of Mississaug...
- 09/04/17--05:00: _Her only hope of es...
- 09/04/17--09:06: _TD Centre marks 50t...
- 09/04/17--07:21: _OPP officer struck ...
- 09/04/17--04:23: _Prince William and ...
- 09/04/17--09:23: _Thousands march dow...
- 09/05/17--08:03: _Brand exposure key ...
- 09/05/17--03:00: _Canadian history le...
- 09/05/17--05:07: _Man stabbed in ‘unp...
- 09/05/17--03:00: _Why allergy suffere...
- 09/05/17--08:23: _Some Toronto school...
- 09/05/17--09:46: _Agnes Wenjack, resi...
- 09/04/17--15:35: _Utah hospital apolo...
- 09/05/17--05:58: _Charges laid after ...
- 09/05/17--04:47: _Florida declares st...
- 09/04/17--16:08: _Trying to stop prim...
- 09/05/17--03:00: _Why one Toronto fam...
- 09/03/17--14:40: Jay and Dan return to Scarborough parking lot roots
- 09/03/17--12:44: Toronto police dog dies after finding firearm
- 09/03/17--13:38: Photo of Mississauga imam used in fake story about Hurricane Harvey
- 09/04/17--09:06: TD Centre marks 50th anniversary with minimalist message in the sky
- 09/04/17--09:23: Thousands march downtown in Labour Day parade
- 09/05/17--08:03: Brand exposure key in Scotiabank Arena naming deal
- 09/05/17--03:00: Canadian history lessons need a back-to-school reboot: Paradkar
- 09/05/17--05:07: Man stabbed in ‘unprovoked’ attack during late-night jog
- 09/05/17--03:00: Why allergy sufferers may one day be eating peanuts
- 09/05/17--08:23: Some Toronto school buses experiencing delays on first day of school
- 09/05/17--05:58: Charges laid after OPP officer struck and dragged by car
- 09/04/17--16:08: Trying to stop prime Ontario farmland from being ‘entombed forever’
For every Canadian broadcaster that experiences success in the U.S. like John (J.D.) Roberts, Ali Velshi and the late Peter Jennings, there are several that make the leap but flounder in that country’s bigger pool.
That said, it is arguable that none have had a softer landing than Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole. After being lured away by Fox Sports 1 and spending the last four years in California, the pair are back where their many fans think they belong, manning the highlights and offering up their cracked brand of sports comedy with Monday’s launch of SC with Jay and Dan on TSN.
Of their American adventures, which featured a switch of the executive regime, multiple format changes to their show, and a point where they weren’t allowed to show highlights, the pair have no regrets at all.
“You can point to a bunch of things, but in the end, we went to L.A., got paid really well and got to live in California for four years, so nobody should feel bad for us,” Onrait says.
“They paid us to essentially go to four years of American broadcast school,” O’Toole says. “We became better broadcasters.”
Onrait interrupts, making a disagreeing sound. “You’re really setting us up with that.”
“Now we know different TV terms,” O’Toole says. “So that makes us better, right?”
TSN’s plan is for Onrait and O’Toole to tape their show at midnight, which will then be followed by a more traditional SportsCentre with current hosts Kate Beirness and Natasha Staniszewski. Then the two shows will repeat on a loop on the various TSN feeds.
“TSN is now, what, 60 feeds?” says Onrait. “No, five feeds, so the thing about Kate and Natasha’s show is that it’s so different from ours, and the complaint about TSN’s five feeds is what’s the point when four of them have the same thing on? Well, now you’re going to get a little variety if you want it, which is the way that content is going.”
For TSN, it is a bit of a no-brainer, as it opens up another show with advertising opportunities, and Canadian companies want to be in the Jay and Dan business. Tim Horton’s has signed on as a title sponsor for their new show, while Coors Light will be sponsoring the pair’s returning podcast.
As for what to expect, the boys are happy to be able to say it will be what you expect, with some new additions.
“We’ve been doing rehearsals all week, so that’s different. And the first one, it was like we had never left,” O’Toole says. “It was the show that we love doing. The show that has highlights, the show that has our personalities, and it was just like . . . deep sigh. It felt like putting on an old comfortable sweater.
“We also have some segments from our Fox show — our last incarnation, there were about seven — but we’re going to be bringing some of that too.
They plan to incorporate some more casual, chatty segments, and hope to have fun with their colleagues, who may want to get their goof on.
“We want to have Bobby Mack (NHL insider Bob McKenzie) on all the time, and I guess we’ll have (James) Duthie on. We want to have people on and get some more out of them,” Onrait says. “Like we were just talking about Ryan Rishaug, TSN’s Edmonton-based reporter, he is so different on the air than he is off, so we would like to show some of that.”
There has been a huge outpouring of support from their fan base, and they say everywhere they go, they have been met with people saying, ‘We’re so happy you are back.’ They are surprised by the lack of negative comments, but say they feel no pressure because the show is exactly what they want to do.
That said, they do admit they will miss some things about their time in Lalaland.
“The people. Americans are underrated. Not Trump, but the other ones,” Onrait says. “Even though the network itself was a bit of a work in progress, to put it kindly, the day-to-day going to work was really enjoyable, which made the other stuff not matter.”
“Driving onto the Fox lot in L.A. everyday, it was like, this is Hollywood,” O’Toole says. “There are palm trees, a street called New York Street they use to film commercials and sitcoms. Bones used to film there all the time. So you really got the sense that this is TV in America, so that drive into work, I’m going to miss.”
“It’s a similar situation now,” cracks Onrait. “Where we drive into work in Scarborough, at 9 Channel Nine Court, (it) has the remnants of where they used to shoot The Littlest Hobo in the parking lot.”
A dog that served with the Toronto police for seven years died following a police operation Saturday night.
Toronto police Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook said Kash, a German shepherd, and his handler, Const. Matthew Butt, were responding to a call about a person with a gun around 5:30 p.m. in the area of the Don Valley Pkwy. and Wynford Dr.
She said police received reports that someone had been seen tossing a gun into a bus. The police dog services unit was called when officers were unable to find the firearm.
Kash found the gun, Douglas-Cook said. When they went back to their station, Butt realized the dog was in distress.
“They took him to a local emergency vet service. Unfortunately, he did not make it. He passed away for medical reasons,” Douglas-Cook said.
In a tweet, the Toronto police K9 unit announced the death of Kash.
“I know the handler, as we all are, are grieving for the lost of this beautiful creature,” said Douglas-Cook.
In February, Kash and Butt captured four males after an attempted carjacking in the Jane and Wilson area. Two days later, the duo captured a man who fled into a ravine after shots were fired in Thorncliffe Park.
MIAMI—Salvador Sanabria was discussing the news about Haitian refugees crossing the border into Canada when he was reminded of the early 1980s, when prime minister Pierre Trudeau opened the door to thousands of Salvadorans in the United States to avoid expulsion to their war-ravaged country.
“I was talking with my friend, and we said, ‘What an irony! Now, we have Justin Trudeau in Canada, the son of the man,” said Sanabria, executive director of the Los Angeles-based immigration advocacy group El Rescate.
He now wonders if history will be repeated.
“How is the Canadian government going to respond in the event that the Salvadorans and Hondurans, and probably some Nicaraguans, with no alternative but to look for refuge in another nation, instead of going back to their lands of origin, cross the border into Canada?”
The question is increasingly relevant as a deadline approaches for the renewal or expiration of those groups’ special immigration designation, known as Temporary Protected Status, or TPS. The protections are afforded to citizens of 10 countries that have been ravaged by conflict or natural disaster.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security told 58,000 Haitians in late May that they should prepare to return home when their TPS expires in January. That advisory coincided with a wave of thousands of Haitian migrants crossing into Canada, most in July and August.
But 195,000 Salvadorans, 60,000 Hondurans and 2,500 Nicaraguans are also awaiting word on their status. The current designations are set to expire in January for Hondurans and Nicaraguans, and in March for Salvadorans.
“We’re preparing for the worst … because we have not gotten the best signals from this administration,” said Daniella Burgi-Palomino, a senior associate with the Washington-based Latin America Working Group, which is lobbying U.S. lawmakers for a TPS extension.
The problem, she said, is that the decision to extend or rescind protections for TPS nations lies solely with President Donald Trump and his secretaries of homeland security and state, not with the U.S. Congress.
“I think the Haiti precedent is very likely for the three countries,” Burgi-Palomino said.
The campaign to rally support for extended protections is gathering steam across the United States.
In North Miami, which is home to the largest population of Haitian expatriates, city council passed a resolution in April urging the Trump administration to grant Haitians with TPS the usual 18-month extension. It was ultimately unsuccessful.
There have been other campaigns to encourage local and state lawmakers to put pressure on the Trump administration. Reports this week said nearly 100 Democratic and Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed a petition urging extended protections for Salvadorans and Hondurans.
“We’ve got Republicans and Democrats. It’s a humanitarian issue,” said North Miami Councilman Alix Desulme, who was born in Haiti and who travelled to the country this summer on a TPS fact-finding mission.
“Haiti is not ready for anything. I don’t think Haiti is ready for the Haitians who are there now, so imagine 58,000 folks heading back to Haiti!” Desulme said.
Conditions are not much better in the three Central American countries seeking TPS extensions, Sanabria said.
“(El) Salvador and Honduras have demonstrated that they do not offer the best conditions for deportees or returning expats,” he said. “Those economies and societies are facing the same challenges that they did before civil war erupted there. The conditions of forced migration remain in those societies.”
After a 12-year civil war broke out in El Salvador in 1979, pitting left-wing revolutionaries against U.S.-backed government forces, hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans sought refuge in other countries.
Many were welcomed to Canada, which had more permissive policies specifically designed for Salvadoran refugees. In 1982, the Trudeau government allowed into Canada many of those Salvadorans who had been denied asylum in the U.S. and were facing deportation.
According to a 1986 report by the Library of Parliament, Canada took in 2,000 Latin American refugees in 1983, 75 per cent of them from El Salvador.
But there was a change in government and, later, a change in immigration policy when thousands of Salvadoran asylum-seekers arrived in Canada between 1986 and 1987, resulting in emergency shelters being erected in churches, Salvation Army buildings and even on the CNE grounds in downtown Toronto.
In 1987, the Conservative government of Brian Mulroney passed immigration changes requiring Salvadorans to obtain a visa before entering Canada and forcing refugee claimants to wait in the United States for their asylum hearings.
Activists across the U.S. are fighting to head off the next, potentially larger, wave of migrants coming to Canada. Some are appealing to employers in the hope that Trump will listen to the economic arguments for allowing housekeepers, hospitality workers and other, often low-wage, workers to remain in their jobs.
“No employer wants to start again, to have to hire and train new workers,” said Wendi Walsh, president of Unite Here local 355, which represents hospitality workers in the Miami area.
“This isn’t a partisan issue … This isn’t the Republican party standing unified. This is President Trump appealing to his most ardent supporters.”
A Mississauga imam who had his image used in a fake news article about mosques refusing to shelter victims of Hurricane Harvey says he’s never even been to Texas.
A photo of Ibrahim Hindy of the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre was the main image of multiple hoax articles about an imam who refused to shelter non-Muslims displaced by Hurricane Harvey in their mosques.
The article was shared by thousands on social media, with many expressing outrage at an event that did not happen. The Last Line of Defense, a conservative website where the post originated, says on its website that “everything on this site is a satirical work of fiction.”
The image of Hindy that was used shows the logo for Global, a Canadian television network, in the bottom right corner.
Hindy, who is in Saudi Arabia for the hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, responded to the Star by email on Sunday, saying he has received threats since the article was posted and fears for the safety of his family.
“… Such news could bring hate and some people might only read the title and don’t search anything to make sure,” he said.
Hindy told CityNews that the name of the mosque in the fake story “doesn’t make sense in any language” and he is concerned that fake stories can incite violence.
Hindy addressed the fake story on social media, clarifying that he is not in Houston, but is praying for victims of the hurricane that has caused catastrophic damage in and around the city.
He also encouraged people to donate to Islamic Relief USA, a charity that is raising funds to help those affected by the hurricane.
“I pray that Allah brings aid and comfort to all the victims, whether Muslim or not,” Hindy wrote on Facebook.
In April, Hindy received death threats for supporting Muslim prayer in schools within the Peel District School Board.
The Last Line of Defense website didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Similar false articles also used an image of Ammar Shahin, a imam based in Davis, Calif. Shahin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Houston area is home to over 250,000 Muslims, and many mosques and charitable organizations have been providing relief and shelter to those affected by the hurricane.
DADAAB, KENYA — It was time to go. Ayan Abdi slipped on a long black headscarf, grabbed her refugee ID and set out for the interview that could save her life.
Since she was 2, Ayan had lived in the world’s largest refugee camp, a constellation of tents and huts stretching across the red desert near the Somali border. Now, a few miles from her shack built of sticks and cardboard, three examiners with a Canadian university foundation were sitting at a wooden table, deciding which students were worthy of a way out.
Ayan hurried along the sandy road. Past the piles of burning trash surrounded by giant scavenging birds. Past the girls no older than her, at 20, who balanced firewood on their heads, trailed by barefoot children. Past the group of men who stared at her — a small figure in a flowing black robe and bright red shoes — and hissed in Somali, “Where are you going, girl?”
When Ayan finally found a taxi, it was already full. She squeezed in, her whole body tense, dots of sweat on her forehead.
“I’m in a rush,” she told the driver, who didn’t ask why but careened a little faster from pothole to pothole.
A year ago, Ayan was one of about 5,000 students who jammed into classrooms across the Dadaab refugee camp for a two-hour exam, the first step in seeking perhaps the most generous scholarship anywhere. The World University Service of Canada, or WUSC, would award 16 of those students not just a college education but a new life, with the Canadian government providing them with citizenship and a chance to sponsor their families.
Now Ayan was one of 29 finalists, heading for the interview that would determine whether she won.
Her other options were being snuffed out. Kenyan authorities were trying to close Dadaab, which for a quarter-century had sheltered the victims of Somalia’s endless war and hunger crises. In the United States, which had resettled more than 100,000 Somalis since 2000, President Donald Trump had ordered a temporary ban on accepting refugees. Around the world, countries were shutting their doors to people like Ayan, even as the number of refugees surged past 22 million in 2017, the highest in recorded history.
What was left was the WUSC scholarship — a chance for the bright young refugees of Dadaab to earn their way out.
“It’s life or death,” said Joseph Mutua, a program officer with the scholarship foundation in Dadaab. “That’s how it’s seen.”
In the taxi, Ayan was drumming her fingers against her knee. A printed verse from the Quran swung from the rearview mirror. On the bumper, a sticker read, “Succeed.”
The cab pulled up to a walled compound. “Is this the right place for the scholarship interview?” Ayan asked a security guard.
In her hand, which trembled, was a brown envelope with her documents. The white food-ration card that said “Family size: 1” because Ayan’s parents and siblings had returned to Somalia years ago without her. The report cards she had earned since primary school. The recommendations from a Dadaab school where she was now teaching biology.
She carried the envelope to the cinder-block building where the interviews were taking place and sat under a tree, waiting her turn. “I’m getting a headache,” she told one of the other applicants.
She looked down at the cracked screen of her white cell phone, where she had written notes reminding her what to tell the interviewers.
“This scholarship is my only way out,” it said.
“I’m the best girl in the camp based on merit,” it said.
“Here I cannot awaken my dreams,” it said.
She took a deep breath.
A middle-aged woman stepped outside and called her name.
Ayan walked inside.
The afternoon before the interview, Ayan had pulled two lawn chairs into the sandy expanse in front of her hut. Her best friend, Maryan Hassan, sat across from her, with a list of mock interview questions ready.
“Describe yourself,” said Maryan, 20, a tiny girl with a high-pitched voice who was also a finalist for the scholarship.
“I was born in a refugee camp in 1997,” Ayan began, in the careful English she had studied in school. “My parents are in Somalia.”
“Don’t forget to tell them what you want to do for your country,” Maryan interrupted.
They were trying to figure out how to distinguish themselves from the other refugees. But on the Internet, all they could find were generic interview questions, so that’s what they studied.
“What are your strengths?” Maryan asked.
“My ability to collaborate,” Ayan answered, a little unsure of herself, trying to remember what she had read online. “What are yours?
“I don’t give up,” piped Maryan.
A cloud of flies hovered around their faces. The goats living nearby yapped. In both directions were rows of hundreds of huts made of whatever people could find — tin cans, tree branches, plastic sheets bleached by the sun. There were 250,000 refugees in all, surrounded by police checkpoints.
“If I get out of here,” Ayan said under her breath, “I’m never coming back.”
For years, Ayan and Maryan had watched their friends disappear, dropping out of school as they were forced to marry older men, in accordance with old Somali cultural traditions. Fatima left when Ayan was 11. Mahado when she was 13. Farhiya when she was 14. They would re-emerge, sometimes years later, balancing babies in their arms, sullen and tired.
What was the point of school anyway, some of Ayan’s friends scoffed. You could finish high school, but there was little work in the camp. And refugees were not allowed to hold jobs in Kenyan cities.
Ayan was 12 when she learned of the WUSC scholarship, advertised in fliers taped to the sheet-metal walls of classrooms. It turned her from a good student who loved adventure novels into someone whose grades were part of a grand strategy of escape.
She and Maryan taught themselves to type at the camp in a market stall called Bukhara Computer School, with a row of old IBM desktops. In 2012, both girls received scholarships to attend top high schools hundreds of miles from the camp, with college-educated teachers and new textbooks. On their phones, they would enter in the search bar: “Best Universities in Canada.”
In 2015, when Ayan was away at high school, her mother and two siblings left Dadaab and returned to Somalia. They were sick of life in the camp and worried about Kenya’s threat to deport the refugees.
Come back to Somalia, her mom said by phone from a town outside Mogadishu, the capital.
Ayan knew what that meant. No schools. Few jobs. And a constant threat from al-Shabab, the Islamist extremists who controlled nearby villages.
In Dadaab, at least there was the WUSC.
I am going to disobey you for the first time, Ayan replied.
She graduated near the top of her class and then moved back to Dadaab, into a stick hut next to the home of family friends. She covered the dirt floor with a red bedsheet and surrounded the hovel with a pile of thorny branches, to keep out the men who knew she was unmarried and alone.
“The harsh realities of life here are traumatizing,” she wrote in her personal essay for the WUSC scholarship. Women were raped when they went out to collect firewood for cooking. Children died of chronic diarrhea during cholera outbreaks. When she was filling her water bucket one morning, Ayan was stung by a scorpion.
Ayan and Maryan talked about their lives in Canada, how they would walk across green college campuses, how they would get their families to safety.
“When I see her,” Ayan said, nodding toward her friend, “I see WUSC.” Maryan smiled.
Around the world, fewer than 1 per cent of registered refugees are resettled each year, and most have little or no control over the process. They are selected by U.N. agencies and approved by host governments, their fate determined by luck and charity, with the sickest and most vulnerable put at the front of the line.
The WUSC scholarship represented something different. It was about merit.
“Make sure you’re smiling,” Maryan had told Ayan as they prepared for their interviews.
Ayan was determined not to become emotional.
“It’s not professional,” she had said. “You need to show them that you’re confident.”
Five minutes had passed since Ayan climbed the steps into the cinder-block building. Then 10.
Through the screened window, the other students waiting their turn outside could see her silhouette in front of the three interviewers.
It was the middle of the afternoon, the sun slicing through sparse trees.
“It’s taking a long time,” said Mohammed Abdi, one of the applicants, looking at the building.
Finally, Ayan emerged, glancing at the students waiting in a cluster of plastic chairs.
“I think I said the right things,” she said. “I think.”
But in the next hours and days, she would replay her performance in her head, over and over.
She had walked into the cinder-block room. The three women welcomed her. Ayan remembered to shake the interviewers’ hands, even though she was so nervous she could hardly focus. One woman told her to relax, and that had helped. She sat at a wooden desk.
They asked her when she had arrived in the camp, what she remembered about the journey. Ayan told them that she had been born in another camp in Kenya but that her family had to leave after it was damaged by fire, and that was how they had wound up at Dadaab.
“I told them the name of the road we took. I told them I was just a baby.”
They asked about the importance of education.
“I told them it had shaped me emotionally.”
Then one of the administrators asked about the challenges she had faced as a refugee. And suddenly, the weight of it all hit her.
“I told them: ‘I’m here alone. My family has left. Without this scholarship, I have no other options.’”
And Ayan began to cry.
“I couldn’t stop the tears.”
The women waited.
“They handed me a tissue. I tried to get back under control.”
The questions continued. They asked what she wanted to study, and she said nursing.
They asked how she would adjust to Canada.
“I told them I would wear more clothes in the winter. I told them I would get used to the food.”
Ayan tried to hold back her tears. She didn’t want to look desperate. Finally she managed to focus on the words she had prepared.
“I said, ‘I am the best girl in the camp based on merit.’”
The day after the interview, Ayan walked to Hagadera Secondary School in the camp, where she teaches biology, sending most of her $80 monthly salary to her mother.
In the classroom, there were 21 boys and two girls in their mid-teens sitting on opposite sides of the room. A bell rang and class began.
“What is the difference between a plant cell and an animal cell?” she asked.
No one answered.
Ayan tried her best to push her thoughts about the scholarship to the side. It was early June, and she would have to wait about a month for the results.
“I’m 50-50,” she said one day of her chances. But a few days later she had reassessed, thinking about the caliber of the other candidates.
She thought: “Maryan will get it, but I won’t. I’m going to be stuck here forever.”
She wrote a text message to a friend: “I’m not sure I convinced the interviewers.”
The WUSC committee didn’t say exactly when the announcement would come. She checked her phone obsessively.
It buzzed and buzzed, often with messages from Maryan, who lived in another part of the camp.
“We still have to wait,” Maryan wrote in the middle of the month.
The school was a reminder of all the limitations of Dadaab. The boys often ignored commands from female teachers. Islamic clerics shut down the girls’ debate team, saying it gave women the wrong idea.
More female students dropped out every week, disappearing into marriage, often by force. Ayan had tried to intervene with one of the girls’ mothers, who responded with an old Somali proverb: “A woman should be at home or in the grave.”
In late June, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began, with its long, hot days of fasting. Ayan was desperate to get away.
She walked to the police station and applied for a temporary pass to leave the camp. She explained that she wanted to visit the family that had hosted her while she attended the private high school in Nakuru, in western Kenya.
Ayan was given a white piece of paper that allowed her two weeks outside the camp.
“I feel free here,” she said in the living room of the Abdirahman family’s home, on the bottom floor of a concrete apartment building, with a light bulb hanging from the ceiling and a gate that opened onto a paved road and passing cars.
She wore a pale yellow headscarf, shorter than the ones that women wore outside in Dadaab. She blared songs from her phone: Nigerian pop, American hip-hop, traditional Somali music.
It was easier to forget about the scholarship here, visiting her high school friends. But occasionally they would bring it up.
“We just hope you get it,” Anisa Abdirahman, 21, said one morning.
“Dadaab is not a place for a person to live,” said Anisa’s 23-year-old brother, Mohammed.
Ayan was looking at her phone.
The scholarship finalists had created a group on the WhatsApp messaging service where they shared rumours, news — anything at all about the WUSC program. But it was silent.
“Still nothing,” Ayan said the following morning, sitting on a couch in the living room.
She threw her phone down on the cushion and went to the kitchen to make tea.
She crushed cinnamon and leaves.
“All of us, we are qualified. All of us, we are refugees,” she told Anisa as the water boiled. “Maybe it’s just luck.”
In the other room, her phone started buzzing. The screen flashed.
From the kitchen, Ayan couldn’t see it.
“Ayan, I think your phone is ringing,” Mohammed said.
Ayan cleaned her hands, picked up the phone and saw the message.
Her eyes widened.
“WUSC? Is it a prank?”
Then she saw a list on the WhatsApp group: “The Successful Candidates for 2018 WUSC scholarships.” Her name was Number 4.
She burst into tears.
“Thank God! Thank God!” she yelled.
Her friend Farhiya ran into the room. She grabbed Ayan’s hands and they danced in circles, tears rolling off Ayan’s cheeks.
“You can stop crying now,” Farhiya said.
Ayan looked again at the list for Maryan’s name. It wasn’t there. “Oh,” she groaned.
But her phone was ringing nonstop now. There were calls from other winners. Calls from her teachers. Calls from numbers she didn’t recognize.
“Alhamdulillah,” she told one friend. Praise be to God.
“It is the beginning of a new life,” she told another.
Then Maryan’s number popped up on the screen.
“Congratulations,” said the voice on the other end of the line. It sounded as if she had been crying.
“Maryan, I’m very sorry,” Ayan said.
They would have another year together. Ayan would be applying to universities in Canada, practising her English and getting an introduction to Canadian culture. Maryan would have one more chance to apply for the scholarship — albeit with poor odds after being rejected already.
“Goodbye, sister,” Maryan said.
Ayan lowered the white phone from her ear and stared at it. More congratulatory texts were popping up. But Maryan had hung up and was gone.
Locals and tourists alike marvel at the Toronto skyline for its great heights and compelling shapes glittered with lights. On Labour Day weekend, it is projecting a message in the sky: “LESS IS MORE OR.”
The TD Centre, Toronto’s original set of skyscrapers, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a message created with the light from its windows. Artist Aude Moreau produced “Less is More Or” as a tribute to Mies van der Rohe, the TD Centre’s architect, who embodied the phrase “less is more” with his minimalist esthetic.
“It was my chance to reflect on Mies van der Rohe's emblematic statement on architecture and minimalism in the context of our time,” Moreau said. “In this site-specific intervention, I am adding the least possible, using what is already present. That is minimalism.”
After months of planning and collaboration with electrical contractors, the piece debuted on Saturday night, with volunteers and staff working the blinds on the five TD Centre towers to form the words.
“By playing with these superstructures’ typical, squared luminous emanations, I engage with architecture from within,” said Moreau, who has done similar projects in Montreal and Los Angeles, “but nothing this complex, ambitious and at this scale.”
“I think big ideas shown in artwork cannot be overstated,” said David Hoffman, general manager of the TD Centre. “The meaning of this artwork is significant, “less is more” and the principles of minimalism certainly apply today and definitely in the future.”
The “Or” in the piece is open to interpretation, according to Moreau.
“I wanted to revisit the interpretation of the evolution of modernism and the possibilities of what is to come . . . to say ‘what now’.”
Moreau approached the TD Centre to do the project, a complex that Hoffman calls a “symbol of leading Canadian business” and design excellence.
The TD Centre is undergoing a $200 million renewal, including repainting the towers and replacing the windows.
From ground-level, the best place to see the project is Roundhouse Park, where viewers are surrounded by the CN Tower and the Rogers Centre, some of the most iconic parts of the city’s skyline.
Monday night is the final night to see the project.
An Ontario Provincial Police officer has been taken to hospital in serious condition after being dragged by a vehicle during a routine traffic stop in Mississauga.
Peel Regional police say the incident happened just before 9 a.m. at Highway 403 and Hurontario St., where an OPP officer and a car he had stopped were involved.
“When he was conducting the traffic stop, the vehicle that he had pulled over had dragged him a (short) distance,” Peel police Const. Baljit Saini said.
The officer was rushed to Sunnybrook hospital with serious injuries. He is in non-life-threatening, stable condition, Saini said.
OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said the officer injured is Const. Patrick Chatelain. He has been with the service for four years and is part of the Port Credit detachment.
Police say the suspect vehicle fled northbound on Hurontario St. It is described as a charcoal grey Chrysler 300 with black rims and a Quebec licence plate FLK8756.
Saini said there were four people in the car. Police said not to approach the vehicle. Anyone with information is asked to call Peel police or Crime Stoppers.
Some Highway 403 on- and off-ramps in the areas are closed for the police investigation.
LONDON—Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, will soon welcome a third child to the royal nursery.
Kensington Palace officials announced Monday that the former Kate Middleton is pregnant, but was not feeling well enough to attend an engagement later in the day.
As with her other two pregnancies, the duchess is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, or acute morning sickness. She is being cared for at the royal couple’s apartment in London’s Kensington Palace.
The sickness failed to dampen the buoyant mood among the royals, however. Prince Harry will be bumped down in the line of succession, but was overjoyed, describing the news as “fantastic,” and offering a thumb’s up while on a visit to Manchester.
And asked how the Duchess was he said: “I haven’t seen her for a while but I think she’s OK.”
No details were immediately available about when the third baby is due, though the duchess is less than 12 weeks pregnant. That would put the due date somewhere between mid-March and mid-June.
William and Kate, both 35, already have two children: Prince George, 4, and Princess Charlotte, 2.
The announcement comes as the royal couple prepared to mark another milestone for their young family: Prince George is scheduled to start school Thursday at Thomas’s Battersea in south London.
Their choice of a south London school indicated that the royal couple was settling into their Kensington Palace apartment, having moved recently from their Norfolk home Anmer Hall
Betting agencies were quick to start offering odds on possible names for the soon-to-be addition to the House of Windsor.
Paddy Power offered 8-to-1 odds on Alice and 10-to-1 odds on Arthur. Also popular is Diana, after Prince William’s mother, particularly given the timing of the announcement.
William and Kate took a leading role in marking the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death last week. The couple, joined by William’s brother, Prince Harry, toured the garden of Kensington Palace to commemorate the princess’s contributions to their family and the many charities she supported.
“Given the recent anniversary, there’ll be plenty of interest in the name Diana if the baby is a girl,” Paddy Power said.
When asked on a royal tour in Singapore in 2012 about how many children he wanted, William said he was “thinking about having two.”
More recently, during a royal tour of Poland, Kate joked about a third child when she was given a cuddly toy designed to soothe tiny babies.
Kate thanked the well-wisher for the present and turned to William.
“We will just have to have more babies,” she said, laughing.
Kate is the eldest of three siblings, and reportedly had a very happy childhood. William and Harry are the only children of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
Some visitors to the palace Monday were taken aback by the news. Elizabeth Hopkins, 79, from west London was delighted and said Britain needs lots of royal children.
“They’re lovely and, you know, going around with a lot of children brings out the best in people as well,” she said. “And they’ve obviously very happy children and in a happy group, so I think it’s all the best for them.”
Others said the world would be watching.
Katherine Redo, 34, who lives in London but is originally from Metairie, Louisiana, held tight to her squirming 2-year-old daughter, Annabelle, and said she believed many people in the United States would be happy for the royal couple.
“It’s sweet because usually it’s just an heir and a spare and they’re having a third,” she said. “It just gives the idea or the impression that they’re just even more the sweetest, perfect little family.”
Alan Doucette’s father spent two years less a day in jail for union activity.
As member of the Canadian Seaman’s Union, he was part of the 1946 strike at England’s London Harbour, fighting for worker’s rights after the Second World War.
It’s a story his son has never forgotten.
“He was very proud of that because he did it on principle,” said Doucette, a member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 873.
“That’s why I belong to union and that’s why I’m marching today.”
Doucette is just one of thousands of people who gathered in downtown Toronto to support the labour movement Monday morning.
“The Labour Day parade is a celebration of all the things we are accomplishing together and a reminder about why we fight,” said Tracy McMaster, a member of OPSEU, which represents 130,000 public service workers across the province.
For Francesco Luberto, who spent decades working in road construction, on water mains and sewers, and bridges, the parade was a chance to celebrate his retirement five years ago.
“It gave me the opportunity and the chance to enjoy my retirement. It’s the best thing that ever happened to my life after my wife,” he said of his union, Laborers' International Union of North America, Local 183, which represents construction workers.
Jagmeet Singh, an Ontario NDP MPP running for leadership of the federal party, said the parade is an opportunity to celebrate the victories of the labour movement — everything from weekends to workers’ safety.
But an ongoing strike by about 700 ground crew workers at Pearson International Airport is a reminder there’s more work to do.
“It just highlights how important it is to continue to fight for rights,” he said.
It’s a sentiment Premier Kathleen Wynne echoed in a statement Monday morning.
“I have spent the summer travelling around our province, and what I am hearing is that people are worried.”
“We need to do all we can to ensure that people are given every chance to get ahead during this period of change,” she said, adding that’s why the government is raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
The home of the Maple Leafs and Raptors will carry the Scotiabank name for the next two decades, but branding experts say the bank will have to do far more if they hope to reap the benefits of the $800 million megadeal revealed last week.
Under the terms of the 20-year deal, the Air Canada Centre will be known as Scotiabank Arena as of Canada Day 2018.
Some doubt whether the deal will lead local sports fans, other than a few die-hard followers of the Leafs and Raptors, to switch banks.
“I think it’s a potentially huge waste of money,” said brand and marketing expert Allen Adamson, the founder of Brand Simple Consulting based in New York. “I just think it’s potentially one of the least effective ways to build a brand.”
Stadium branding might be worth the steep cost when companies need to build awareness or prove to the public they are substantial businesses, according to Adamson.
“But Scotiabank already has awareness and they’re already substantial,” he said. “Then the marketing challenge, the brand challenge, is tell me something different about you that I care about. Why should I do business with the bank?”
Jacquie Ryan, the bank’s vice-president of sponsorship and philanthropy, said external consumer research done for the bank shows people who are aware of its financial support for hockey are three-and-a-half times more likely to consider using its services, a potential boon for a bank in a nation where it’s difficult to entice consumers to switch institutions.
“It’s quite possible that number could go up,” she told The Canadian Press, thanks to increased visibility when the Scotiabank name appears on the Toronto venue.
Through the partnership, Scotiabank will handle the daily banking and financial needs of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, according to Brian Cooper, CEO of MKTG Canada, a marketing agency which was part of the bank’s negotiating team that brokered the deal.
The deal will also include benefits for Scotiabank customers. Existing card holders will have access to a “separate and glorified entrance” to the arena, and the company hopes other in-game promotions will encourage fans to switch over to Scotiabank.
In previous seasons, Bank of Montreal customers had access to an entrance that allowed them to skip lines at the gates of Air Canada Centre, through a special entrance reserved exclusively for their use at Raptors and Leafs games.
“Without a doubt, there’s a business reason to bring new, and to reward existing, customers of Scotiabank in their association with the Leafs,” Cooper said. “If people are questioning the value and the return, they will see why as time goes on.”
Cooper said the deal made sense for Scotiabank given its focus on hockey for more than a decade. He said the ACC’s location on Bay St., “the financial capital of the country” also offered an opportunity for branding exposure.
“The ability to host various investment bankers and clients and other people that they do business with at the games, both the Leafs and the Raptors, is significant,” he said.
This is the third time Scotiabank has bought the naming rights to an NHL arena. Its name previously graced the home of the Ottawa Senators and in 2010 it also purchased the naming rights to the Saddledome, where the Calgary Flames play.
The latter deal, which is still active, was significantly smaller than the new Toronto one, according to Cooper, whose firm analyzed the past 30 years of arena naming contracts, including factors such as city size, demographics, and the number of teams and events that it hosts.
“No one’s paid that amount of money (in Canada),” he said, adding the closest comparable might be Chase Bank’s marketing agreement with New York’s Madison Square Garden, worth $30 million (U.S.) annually, though the arena name doesn’t include the bank’s brand.
“By comparison, by the assets that we got, we think we got a good deal.”
Scotia considers hockey “core to our strategy,” Ryan said, noting that it supports more than 8,000 community teams as well.
“Hockey is a key driver of our brand health,” she said, adding “the reach of a hockey sponsorship portfolio in Canada is significant.”
Scotiabank might face a challenge in getting people to drop the catchy “ACC” nickname of the building, said Richard Powers, a sports marketing expert at the University of Toronto.
“That will take some time, but they’ve got it for 20 years and you can bet that they’ll be pushing it out as much as they can,” he said.
Powers said the move will allow Scotiabank to extend its brand to the U.S., where the vast majority of NHL and NBA teams are based.
“Every team that comes to Toronto, those games are always highlighted in news in Chicago, in New York, in L.A., and it will be ‘the L.A. Kings tonight at the Scotiabank Arena,’ ” he said.
“The big thing is for Scotiabank, how do they get $800 million of value over the next 20 years? I think they have a chance at it.”
With files from The Canadian Press
With files from The Canadian Press
There’s sweetness to packing the children back to school for a fresh academic year. If your Facebook feeds are like mine, they popped up with photos of kids walking on sidewalks shouldering their backpacks, or standing on the front porch holding blackboards declaring their new grades.
Much like time that continually draws curtains on a past less chronicled, social media feeds curated for cuteness obscure the yelling, the tears, the hustle-bustle of getting ready on school mornings.
When our children go to school, we expect inventions and new discoveries in science and math to have changed the curriculum from the years we learned those subjects. But we view history as static, assuming our scholarship of it was reasoned, factual and complete.
It’s no surprise then that the school system produces grown-ups intellectually incapable of reconciling the image of Canada’s first prime minister as astute statesman with that of a criminally flawed man.
Instead, we end up with adults who feel personally affronted by any slight on John A. Macdonald — except if you call him a drunk. Then it’s a laughing nudge, nudge, wink, wink. (Alcoholism is only derided as a cultural failing when applied to Indigenous people, but that’s another story.)
Why do we deify historical heroes and airbrush their complexities? I see historical stories as mythmaking vehicles created to foster a unified sense of national identity and pride in the past. In doing so, though, they sacrifice truth telling and integrity. This is true world over, but also in Canada, which prides itself on its exceptionally inclusive ways.
Macdonald was by all accounts a visionary and a deft negotiator, but he was also an enforcer of Aryan supremacy, an implementer of genocide of the Indigenous peoples. If he is credited with building the railway, he should also be held accountable for starving Indigenous people and marching them off to “reserves” to clear land for those railways. Under his authority, abusive residential schools were created, and the practice of segregation ensured Black children received substandard or no education.
For those who believe he should not be judged by today’s standards, historian Sean Carleton posted online newspaper cartoons from Macdonald’s era that showed he was considered racist even in his time.
It’s because the past cannot be discussed with honesty that reassurances about the present and future such as “things are getting better,” or that the next generation won’t have the same prejudices, ring hollow.
Why would today’s students be any different if they are learning the same things?
The Ontario Curriculum instructs teachers to include age-appropriate Indigenous references and diverse perspectives in all subjects. A Scope and Sequence of Expectations released in 2016 says the aim is to foster “greater awareness of the distinct place and role of Indigenous peoples in our shared heritage and in the future of Ontario.”
In Grade 3, for instance, it says, “Students will learn about the challenges faced by Indigenous peoples, including encroachment and racism during the late 1700s and early 1800s.”
So far so good. How does this translate in reality?
Teachers I spoke to from the TDSB were not even aware this document existed.
Why would they?
Their assumptions, too, are shaped by colonial narratives. Only 45 per cent of those surveyed for the Canadian Teachers’ Federation last year felt “somewhat confident” about their knowledge of Indigenous culture, while 35 per cent felt “not confident at all.”
That a majority of teachers are weaving in a small amount of Indigenous content in their teachings, suggests willingness. That they are doing so only occasionally indicates inadequacy of knowledge.
Teachers say they are already overburdened by expectations piled on them — teach the three Rs, develop character, build relations with parents, deal with special needs students without more assistance, deal with staff cutbacks, now prioritize math and science, now include “diverse” perspectives.
And oh, it’s not compulsory to do so.
The social studies curriculum for Grade 3, for instance, states students will: “describe some of the similarities and differences in various aspects of everyday life … of selected groups living in Canada between 1780 and 1850 (e.g., First Nations, Métis, French, British, Black people; men and women; slaves, indentured servants, habitants, seigneurs, farmers; people from different classes)”
Given a choice like that, you get no points for guessing which group teachers zero in on.
Apart from knowledge, incorporating different perspectives would require that teachers introspect on their own assumptions, drop their biases, not be fragile about past misdeeds of white settlers, and not be intimidated by new knowledge.
Teachers obviously care; it was their union that brought the John A. issue to the forefront.
Progress championed by educators makes me optimistic.
However, intention alone does not bring change. School boards will need to diversify teaching staff. They should provide teachers with a list of books for reference. Schools should have access to Indigenous Elders and consultants as well as Black educators. Teacher training on Indigenous knowledge should be made mandatory.
Otherwise, the goal of an inclusive curriculum risks being relegated to a mere feel-good rhetorical attempt at reconciliation.
Shree Paradkar writes about discrimination and identity. You can follow her @shreeparadkar
Shree Paradkar writes about discrimination and identity. You can follow her @shreeparadkar
A man is in serious condition after he was stabbed while out for a jog late Monday night.
Paramedics said a man in his 20s was taken to a trauma centre just after 11 p.m. According to police, he was stabbed in the back.
Police described the man’s wound as small, and said Tuesday morning that his injuries are not life-threatening.
The victim was found at Dupont St. and Manning Ave., near Christie St., but Toronto police believe he was stabbed elsewhere.
At this point, police do not have a motive for the attack, and currently believe it to be “unprovoked,” according to Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook.
Police are looking for a suspect described as a man between the ages of 55 and 60, with short grey hair and a stocky build. He was wearing a light-coloured shirt tucked into his pants. He was last seen holding a large hunting knife.
No arrests have been made.
With files from Alexandra Jones and Brennan Doherty
Sarah Nicholl mixes strict precaution into any meal she makes.
“We are very careful to read the ingredients on everything that we buy,” says Nicholl, whose 9-year-old son, Luke, has a serious peanut allergy.
“We read it in the store, then we check it when we’re through the lane, and then we read it again before we feed him,” the Aurora tech worker says.
Such vigilance is commonplace for parents of the two in 100 Canadian children who suffer from allergies to the common legume.
Yet as peanut-free lunches are being packed for returning schoolchildren across Canada this week, top allergy researchers are increasingly hopeful the condition can be cracked.
“There is a lot of exciting stuff that’s coming out,” says Dr. Adelle Atkinson, a clinical immunologist at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.
“Now, every time we turn around somebody is starting to think about a new way of approaching the problem,” the allergy expert says.
Atkinson — who calls progress in the field “explosive” — points to a recent study out of Melbourne, Australia, that has added to a growing list of promising treatments.
Released in August, it found that children fed a probiotic bacterium — coupled with an offending peanut protein and mixed in a starchy powder — could gain sustained allergy suppression, lasting four years after the 18-month treatments were ceased.
The study was published in the Lancet Child & Adolescent Healththe Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. While it was small — it enlisted some 56 children, half of whom were fed an inert placebo — it suggests yet another new direction in treatment, Atkinson says.
The need for such advances has become much more acute over the past decades as the incidence of food allergies — those to peanuts being amongst the most lethal — has risen exponentially.
Some 2.5 million Canadians now report having at least one food allergy. And on the peanut side alone, rates have risen by some 18 per cent in the past five years, Atkinson says.
“When we went to school I don’t remember knowing anyone with a peanut allergy,” she says.
“Now I have a (16-year-old) son with a peanut allergy and two of his best friends have a peanut allergy.”
So why is that?
Though not fully understood, the reasons could include the increasing practice of roasting peanuts before including them in food products like peanut butter, Atkinson says.
“Roasting peanuts probably makes the (active) allergen … protein a little bit more allergic in nature,” she says.
“The other thing is we used to give people what we now know to be the wrong advice, which was to avoid all these things until your child is 3. We now know that it’s the opposite.”
Some also point to the so-called “let them eat dirt” hypothesis, which posits that modern kids are too clean and that their immune systems are not trained to tolerate substances they would commonly encounter in nature.
Atkinson says the precise mechanisms that the promising probiotic treatment might employ to prevent reactions needs further study and that the method must be applied to a larger cohort of children.
“So we’re probably a ways away from applying that broadly … in our practices,” she says.
“But I think what it has shown us is (that it’s) probably possible that we can actually … take someone who has exhibited the allergy and cure that.”
Dr. David Fischer, president of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, says the study was the first to demonstrate an oral therapy having sustained allergy suppression after treatments stopped.
But Fischer also cautions that the small sampling of Australian patients who appeared to be “cured” might have “just happened to do well” without the novel probiotic element of the therapy, and that more and larger studies are needed before it can be brought into widespread clinical use.
Still, the study follows hard on the heels of new U.S. food guidelines released earlier this year that recommend infants be fed peanut products beginning at 6 months to help build up allergy resistance.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health guidelines were created by an international panel and based on a 2015 British paper that involved some 640 babies.
That so-called LEAP (Learning Early About Peanut Allergy) paper suggested that frequent peanut-product feedings from infancy through age 5 led to an 81-per-cent drop in allergy development.
As well, Atkinson says, researchers at Sick Kids and elsewhere are exploring new treatments that look to block a small protein that is produced more profusely in allergy sufferers and is responsible for causing the most severe reactions.
Animal studies have shown that interfering with the protein known as platelet activating factor — or PAF — may significantly reduce the severity of allergic reactions in those most vulnerable to them, she says.
Testing for PAF levels could also help to stratify patients by severity risk, with those most vulnerable receiving some form of blocking medications.
“We don’t know exactly yet, but (it would) probably be something you would ingest on a regular basis to reduce your risk of having a severe reaction should you be exposed accidentally,” Atkinson says.
She says Sick Kids researchers are also working on new techniques that would more accurately assess the risks posed by allergy tests conducted by doctors in clinic.
These would reduce the chance that children might have a severe reaction to a substance while being tested for their allergic susceptibility to it.
“We’re kind of hitting it from all angles,” Atkinson says.
“Prevention, cure, and if you can’t cure can you modify, can you come up with better testing” to manage the patient?
Fischer, who practises in Barrie, also says cumulative advances in the field have many allergy specialists excited.
“There are many different protocols that seem to be showing promise,” he says, mentioning new drug and skin-patch therapies that are showing early success.
Functioning much like a nicotine patch, the latter idea would introduce peanut — or milk or eggs — into patients through the skin to help desensitize them to the allergens.
Fischer cautions, however, that many of the novel therapy advances can be costly, hard to administer and even dangerous for patients.
While the probiotic capsules used in the Australian study would be cheap to manufacture, for example, testing their effectiveness in a broader cohort of patients would be hugely expensive, he says. Such studies would involve hospital stays, round-the-clock surveys and multiple clinic visits, he says.
“But we have much more excitement in terms of being able to help control things and make things less dangerous in general,” he says. “As opposed to just saying ‘strict avoidance,’ there may be other strategies that will fit in there as well.”
All these developments are heartening to Nicholl, whose son also has severe — or anaphylactic — allergies to dairy, egg and tree-nut products. He carries two EpiPen injectors, which can administer epinephrine to ease breathing, at all times.
“I’m really pleased with the research that’s going on,” Nicholl says. “The Australia study in particular looks very positive.”
Luke became severely ill after eating a “minuscule bite” of icing from a purportedly allergen-free cupcake at a birthday party a few years ago.
And Nicholl has made it a mission to police her son’s food intake and spread safety measures to his school and beyond.
“We have plans with the school to ensure a safe environment around his food and no food sharing,” she says. “We take our food when we go out and we don’t tend to eat in restaurants, so we’re always careful, and have avoided using the EpiPens for a number of years now.”
Nicholl is also a co-founder of the Toronto Anaphylactic Education Group, which offers information and support to some 300 families with allergic children around the GTA.
Such “prepared but manageable” vigilance and attention have seemingly had little negative impact on her son.
(When asked if his allergy precautions have made his social interactions more frightening or difficult than those of his friends, Luke answers: “Mmmmm, not really.”)
Still, Atkinson cautions that a reappearance of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in lunch boxes is still a long way off.
“It’s really difficult to say … how long it’s going to take,” she says. But the way things are moving, compared to five years ago, “we’re in a very different place than we were.”
Toronto saw delays on 139 bus routes on Tuesday morning – the first day of school for elementary and high school students.
Kevin Hodgkinson, general manager of the Toronto Student Transportation Group, said that this is about four times higher than a typical school day.
“On average, you’re looking at about 30 delays each day, morning or afternoon,” Hodgkinson said Tuesday morning.
According to the Toronto Student Transportation Group’s website, buses for both the Catholic and secular boards were delayed by anywhere from 10 to 80 minutes.
“We are having some delays as we do every day,” said Ryan Bird, a spokesperson for the Toronto District School Board.
He added that the actual number of routes with delays is somewhat lower. A single bus route may service three or four schools, Bird said – so a delay can show up several times on the website.
The reasons for delays, according to the website, range from mechanical breakdowns to drivers showing up late. By mid-morning, Hodgkinson said around 45 per cent of all delays were traffic-related.
Hodgkinson said that despite the delays, Tuesday’s bus situation is better than the first day of school in 2016.
Last year, hundreds of parents complained to the TDSB after a critical shortage of bus drivers affected over 2,600 students on the first day of school.
A change from last year is a requirement for school bus companies to call in the reasons for their delays to the Toronto Student Transportation Group.
Hodgkinson expects the delay situation will be about the same when Toronto students return home after their first day back. He said that schools tend to take extra time to ensure students are boarding the right bus home.
“Those types of general delays – we’ll see that after the first week or two,” Hodgkinson said.
The mother of Chanie Wenjack, the 12-year-old boy who froze to death while on the run from a residential school and who later inspired a generation of Canadians to learn about this devastating chapter in Canada’s history, has died.
Mrs. Agnes Wenjack passed away in a Geraldton, Ontario hospital on September 1. A mother, a great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother, the matriarch of the Ogoki Post, Marten Falls First Nations family was 89-years-old.
Her son, Chanie, was found dead by Canadian National Railway workers on October 23, 1966, after he ran away from Cecilia Jeffrey Residential School. He was trying to walk home – a nearly 1,000 km journey.
His death might have gone unnoticed if it weren’t for a 1967 Maclean’s magazine article, “The Lonely Death of Charlie Wenjack,” that movingly catalogued the tragic last movements of the boy’s life. An inquest was held into Chanie’s death but the family was not told about it. They didn’t have a chance to participate and they did not learn any details about how he died until they read it in the Maclean’s article.
Fifty years after Chanie’s death, his life has become an iconic symbol of the residential school era in Canada and the inspiration behind musician Gord Downie and documentary film maker Mike Downie’s, Secret Path initiative.
Across Canada there were 139 church run, federally funded residential schools operating from the mid-19th century until the 1990s. In Ontario there were seventeen, fifteen in northern Ontario and only two in the south. The schools were intended to assimilate Indigenous kids into Canadian society by taking them away from their families, their language and culture. About 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children attended residential school and it is estimated 6,000 died while there.
Cecilia Jeffrey, which changed Chanie’s first name to Charlie, was operational until 1974.
Marten Falls is a community within Nishnawabe Aski Nation, a political organization of 49 northern Ontario First Nations. Mrs. Wenjack was the matriarch of the Wenjack family, she loved to hunt, camp and fish. She was also a survivor of the residential school system, noted NAN Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler.
“Like many families whose children were lost to the Indian residential school system, Agnes waited a lifetime for an explanation of why her son’s brief life had to end the way it did,” Fiddler said in a statement.
“She never received an answer, but we pray that she found some comfort having lived to see Chanie’s story immortalized as a catalyst for reconciliation, and a lasting tribute to all Residential School students who never made it home.”
Co-creator of the Secret Path multimedia project, Mike Downie, expressed his condolences at Mrs. Wenjack’s death. The Downie family, brothers Gord and Pat, have worked with the Wenjack’s to create the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack FundGord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund to teach Canadians about residential schools.
“May her strength, love and devotion help guide and comfort you on your life’s long journey,” he said.
Mrs. Wenjack leaves behind her surviving daughters, Pearl Achneepineskum, Daisy Munroe, Evelyn Baxter and Annie Wenjack and many, many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She is pre-deceased by her husband, Jim Wenjack. A funeral will be held in Geraldton on Wednesday.
SALT LAKE CITY—Officials at a Utah hospital where a nurse was arrested after refusing to allow police to draw blood from an unconscious patient apologized that security officers didn’t intervene and said Monday that they have implemented policy changes to prevent it from happening again.
The announcements mark the latest fallout from nurse Alex Wubbels’ release last week of July 26 video from a Salt Lake City police officer’s body camera showing him dragging her from University of Utah Hospital and handcuffing her. The officer has been put on leave, and his agency has apologized.
Hospital CEO Gordon Crabtree said changes took effect in August that allow only senior nursing supervisors to speak with law enforcement and ban conversations with police in patient care areas.
Officials spoke publicly for the first time to make it clear that the hospital took action long before Wubbels released the video, said Crabtree, who called the officer’s actions out of line.
“There’s absolutely no tolerance for that kind of behaviour in our hospital,” Crabtree said. “Nurse Wubbels was placed in an unfair and unwarranted position . . . Her actions are nothing less than exemplary.”
Meanwhile, University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy said none of his officers at the hospital have been disciplined but will receive additional training in the wake of the arrest.
Wubbels has said she released the video her attorneys received through a public records request partly because she was unhappy that university police didn’t help her. She wasn’t immediately available for comment on the hospital’s announcements.
Brophy said that when he met with Wubbels and her attorney last Tuesday, he had not seen the video.
“It’s like seeing a picture or actually visiting a place — it’s completely different,” the police chief said. “It was clear that the arrest was completely mishandled and was inappropriate and didn’t need to happen. She had done everything she possibly could to make that situation work and she wasn’t rewarded for that.”
The video shows Wubbels, who works in the burn unit, calmly explaining that she could not take blood from a patient who had been injured in a car accident. A 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling said a blood sample cannot be taken without patient consent or a warrant.
Salt Lake City Det. Jeff Payne insisted, though police didn’t have a warrant and the unconscious patient was not a suspect.
The dispute ended with Payne saying, “We’re done, you’re under arrest” and pulling her outside while she screamed, “I’ve done nothing wrong!”
Wubbels, a former alpine skier who competed in the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics, told The Associated Press on Friday that she was grateful for support from her supervisors and hospital staff but disappointed she was left to defend herself with no help from university police.
“This cop bullied me. He bullied me to the utmost extreme, and nobody stood in his way. And that should have originally been the job of security and the university police,” Wubbels said. “And they decided that when they showed up, they didn’t want to play for my team, and so they essentially put on the other guys’ jersey.”
Criminal and internal affairs investigations are underway to review Payne’s actions.
Payne hasn’t return messages left at publicly listed phone numbers. He wrote in a police report that he grabbed Wubbels and took her outside to avoid causing a “scene” in the emergency room.
He said his boss, a lieutenant, told him to arrest Wubbels if she kept interfering. A second officer put on paid leave has not been officially identified, but officials have said they were reviewing the conduct of Payne’s boss.
Wubbels, who was not charged, has not filed a lawsuit but her attorneys say that could change.
MISSISSAUGA, ONT.—A 25-year-old Brampton, Ont., man is facing charges after he allegedly struck a provincial police officer with his car, dragging him along the road.
Peel Regional Police say OPP Const. Patrick Chatelain was conducting a traffic stop in Mississauga, Ont., shortly before 9 a.m. Monday, when the driver tried to flee.
They say the accused has been charged with obstructing a peace officer, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing injury, criminal negligence and failing to remain at the scene.
Peel police initially said the officer’s injuries were considered life-threatening, but his condition improved and he was recovering at home.
OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said in a tweet that Chatelain — a four-year veteran of the Port Credit detachment — was expected to make a full recovery.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a statewide emergency in response to Hurricane Irma, a roiling storm that intensified into “an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane” while it churned toward the United States.
Even as millions across Texas are reeling from the impact of Hurricane Harvey, which battered that region with record-setting rain and was blamed for at least 60 deaths, Irma continues to intensify and prompt increasingly alarming forecasts.
The National Hurricane Center said Tuesday morning that Irma had become a Category 5 storm, with NOAA Hurricane Hunters reporting maximum wind speeds of 280 km/h — making it among the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, according to the Post’s Capital Weather Gang. While the hurricane centre said Irma’s intensity may fluctuate, it is expected to remain a Category 4 or 5 storm over the coming days.
The Capital Weather Gang said that Irma’s forecast track shifted to the south and west over the weekend, but warned of a probable impact in the United States: “It seems likely now that the storm will impact or strike the U.S. coast early next week, although meteorologists don’t know exactly where. Florida and the Gulf Coast continue to be at risk.”
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Irma had sustained winds of 280 km/h and was centred about 440 kilometres east of Antigua. It was moving west at 22 km/h.
Irma’s centre was expected to move near or over the northern Leeward Islands late Tuesday and early Wednesday, the hurricane centre said. The eye was then expected to pass about 80 kilometres from Puerto Rico late Wednesday.
Authorities warned that the storm could dump up to 25 centimetres of rain, cause landslides and flash floods and generate waves of up to 23 feet (7 metres). Government officials began evacuations and urged people to finalize all preparations as shelves emptied out across islands including Puerto Rico.
“The decisions that we make in the next couple of hours can make the difference between life and death,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said. “This is an extremely dangerous storm.”
While its exact path won’t be known for days, the hurricane’s growth has sent many Floridians into familiar pre-storm routines of preparing hurricane shutters, stocking up on supplies and nervously monitoring the news.
“Everyone should continue to monitor, check supplies, and be ready to implement action plan,” the National Weather Service in Miami posted Tuesday morning on Twitter.
Scott signed an executive order Monday declaring an emergency in each of Florida’s 67 counties, pointing to forecasts at the time warning that Irma could make landfall in the southern or southwestern parts of the state and “travel up the entire spine of Florida.”
“Hurricane Irma is a major and life-threatening storm and Florida must be prepared,” Scott said in a statement accompanying the order.
The warnings arrive not long after Florida marked the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew’s devastating landfall there, and as residents of the state, like many others nationwide, have spent recent days glued to news reports documenting Harvey’s mammoth impact in Texas.
Scott said Irma’s potential impact — which could include millions of people in Florida and beyond — warranted the emergency declaration, which ordered state officials to waive tolls on public highways, ready the Florida National Guard and prepare public facilities such as schools to be used as shelters.
“In Florida, we always prepare for the worst and hope for the best and while the exact path of Irma is not absolutely known at this time, we cannot afford to not be prepared,” he said. “This state of emergency allows our emergency management officials to act swiftly in the best interest of Floridians without the burden of bureaucracy or red tape.”
The National Hurricane Center said Tuesday there could be up to 30 centimetres of rain and winds of 60-80 km/h with gusts of up to 96 km/h across parts of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
“Hurricane conditions are expected to begin within the hurricane warning area in the British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Wednesday, with tropical storm conditions beginning tonight,” the Hurricane Center said. “Hurricane and tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area in the Dominican Republic by early Thursday.”
People in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico braced for blackouts after the director of the island’s power company predicted that storm damage could leave some areas without electricity for four to six months. But “some areas will have power (back) in less than a week,” Ricardo Ramos told radio station Notiuno 6:30 a.m.
The utility’s infrastructure has deteriorated greatly during a decade-long recession, and Puerto Ricans experienced an islandwide outage last year.
“This is not an opportunity to go outside and try to have fun with a hurricane,” U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp warned. “It’s not time to get on a surfboard.”
With files from The Associated Press
The whiz of cars on Kennedy Rd. cuts through the sound of crickets singing and wind rustling through soy fields at Empringham Farms.
The busy north-south corridor can be “dangerous” for farmers moving equipment between fields, said Kim Empringham, who farms 800 acres with her husband.
They’re based on 10 acres in Stouffville, but they farm cash crops — corn, wheat, and soy — in fields from Markham to Newmarket. It can take an hour by tractor to travel between them.
Some of their equipment is so wide, it crosses the yellow centre line on narrow commuter roads that weren’t built for farmers.
At times, they have to stop what they’re doing and wait for rush hour to end, because “it’s just not safe,” she said.
It’s a familiar challenge for farmers in the GTA, but things could change: Ontario is developing an agricultural system in the Greater Golden Horseshoe to enhance the area’s agri-food industry. The sector contributed $37.5 billion to Ontario’s GDP in 2016.
The agricultural system will protect a continuous base of prime farmlands from development, support the services and communities critical to the farm and food industry and ensure farmers’ needs are considered in future infrastructure planning.
“It’s about making sure that the sector, as a whole, can survive,” said Empringham, who also serves as the secretary-treasurer for the York Region Federation of Agriculture.
For Janet Horner, the executive director of the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance, a simple rhetorical question almost says it all: “Don’t you want to eat?”
“Protecting our land, so we are able to be somewhat self-sufficient and food secure is important. If we could eat houses, that’s fine, but we can’t,” she said.
Protecting those prime lands for food productions becomes even more important as the population of the Greater Toronto Area is expected to grow by 42 per cent by 2041 and productive farmland is under threat from urban sprawl.
Most of Canada’s prime agricultural lands have already been lost, said Keith Currie, the president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.
Just look out from the top of the CN Tower. “It’s all the best farmland that’s been developed. Essentially it’s entombed forever under asphalt and cement,” he said.
While some agricultural lands are protected under current policies, even the Greenbelt Plan, which protected some farmland, including most of the land Empringham farms, left prime agricultural lands outside its bounds.
The urban development spreading outward from Toronto’s core has left farmland fragmented, at its worst creating farm islands in a suburban sea.
“When you’re surrounded by subdivisions, you can’t farm,” Empringham said.
The further your farm is from the other services and businesses that support you, the less competitive you are, she explained.
An agricultural system that ensures protection for a continuous tract of farmland creates an incentive for other agri-food businesses — vets, mills, equipment sellers and others — to expand or move into dense agricultural areas, boosting the economic outlook for farms.
For farmers, protected land can also give them confidence to plan long-term, without fear they’ll be squeezed out by development.
“We know we can stay here, so we can make improvements to the buildings, to the infrastructure that we’ve got here on our home base,” Empringham said.
Even if they sell, they know they’ll be selling to farmers, making investments in the farm worthwhile.
That’s not something she sees happening on the farms to the south, which fall outside the greenbelt in an area Empringham said is likely to become subdivisions at some point.
Developers in the region have a very different outlook. They are concerned the ministry isn’t considering pre-existing infrastructure and development approvals as it moves through the process of establishing an agricultural system.
“Remember 90 per cent of the housing that’s built is built by the private sector, so . . . if you want to provide that supply, the industry needs to have some certainty, not just in the future, but also some certainty with the approvals they currently have,” said Joe Vaccaro, CEO of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said the government is committed to managing growth, while protecting Ontario’s farmland and supporting economic viability.
The development of the agricultural system, which stems from the co-ordinated review of four land use plans and was recommended by the review panel chaired by David Crombie, is still in its early stages.
The provincial government has developed a draft map of the agricultural system, showing proposed protection boundaries as well as existing infrastructure and services.
The draft system map and implementation procedures are out for public consultation until Oct. 4. This concerns Empringham, who notes the summer and fall are a busy time for farmers.
For those that can spare two-and-half hours, there’s an online webinar, provided by the ministry, on Sept. 6, on the mapping and implementation procedures, for members of the agricultural community.
Once the public consultation is closed, the government will move forward with plans to update the map by the end of this year. Municipalities will have a couple years to refine it as part of their official plan reviews, which are required by July 2022.
Down the road, Horner, who is also a Mulmur Township councillor, expects there could be challenges between municipalities and the province over which lands should be protected for agriculture and which should be open to development.
For the Athanasopoulos siblings, collecting TTC transfers from every subway station in one day was all about strategy.
“Me and Matthew ran extremely fast up all the steps,” said 8-year-old Sophia Athanasopoulos, describing the race to climb flights upon flights of stairs on their journey to each of the TTC’s 69 subway stations (including the Scarborough RT).
She and her eldest brother Matthew drew up a game plan on their TTC map one night prior to their August 31 trip, after middle-child Lukas casually suggested the idea.
It’s something their mother Lydia said she may have subliminally planted in her kids’ minds through stories from her childhood, and memories of collecting TTC transfers back when they were multicoloured.
“It’s like collecting trading cards, they think it’s rare,” Lydia said, her family’s dining room table covered in arts supplies as the siblings worked away at showcasing their TTC treasures.
“We went to the (Canadian National) Exhibition the day before, and this was far more entertaining. They had so much fun the whole day,” Lydia said.
“I think that’s why they got extras,” she said, noting her kids usually picked up more than one transfer from each station, “because they think it’s going to be worth something down the road.”
With the encouragement of their mother, the Athanasopoulos kids kicked off their journey at 3 p.m., starting at Jane Station. They travelled east on the Bloor-Danforth line up to McCowan station, the last stop on the Scarborough RT line.
The family made their way back to conquer the northbound section of the Yonge-Univeristy Line and then travelled east on the Sheppard Line. Sheppard, or the purple line, was the favourite stretch of TTC track for the kids, who stopped to take a minute and enjoy the artwork displayed at each station platform.
Fuelled by carrot sticks, burritos, cookies, chocolate milk, and Bathurst station’s beef patties — the finest patties the TTC has to offer, according to the siblings — they went back down Yonge-University to seize the west side of the U-shaped line. Then they hopped back onto Bloor-Danforth to complete their trip, ultimately travelling more than 130 km on the TTC.
“It’s cool to just have them all,” said 13-year-old Matthew, who wants to keep his collection displayed beneath a Plexiglas sheet on his desk. “It’s a hundred per cent complete.”
Despite gentle nudging from their mother Lydia to call it a day as the hours wore on, the siblings raced to snag the last transfer just as the clock struck midnight.
Transfer time stamps show some trips were made in under a minute, but stops north of Yorkdale Station took up to 17 minutes to get to.
“At Wilson, it was really hard to get to Sheppard-West because the trains were all messed up and people wouldn’t get off,” said Lukas.
The children turned into animated transit critics as they described the subway shortfalls that got in the way of their efficiency, like signal delays, aging subway cars, and the inconvenient positioning of some transfer machines.
While Lydia was impressed with the boost in maintenance of some TTC washrooms since her youth, she said accessibility at the stations hasn’t improved as much as she expected.
“The accessibility factor . . . that should be a priority. I would say nothing’s changed really, from when I was a kid on the yellow and green line,” she said.
The kids say they’re relieved to now have a copy of all the transfers, but would make the trip again to include new stations.