• A Toronto councillor's bid to rename the city's railway hub after Canada's first prime minister is getting a surprising amount of stick on social media.

    Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong is proposing to rename Union Station for Sir John A. Macdonald in time for the 150th anniversary of Macdonald's birth next January.

    “Union Station is a great monument to Sir John A. because he is known for his National Policy, for building a railway from coast to coast,” Minnan-Wong said Tuesday, according to the Toronto Star.

    “What better place in terms of recognition of Sir John A. than Union Station, probably the most important railway station in the country?”

    [ Related: Sally Ann's brass band booted from Toronto's Union Station ]

    But not everybody thinks it's a good idea; in fact almost no one, if Twitter is anything to go by.

    Even if they rename Union Station, I'm still going to call it Union Station - just like the Skydome will always be the Skydome. #TOpoli

    — Megan Shrubsole (@MeganShrubsole) February

    Read More »from Councillor proposes renaming Toronto’s Union Station after Sir John A., Twitter loses it
  • A British Columbia hospital that has been battling overcrowding for years is the site of a rare outbreak of a deadly superbug known to be highly fatal when spread to people with weak immune systems.

    Fraser Health announced an outbreak of Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) in a medical unit at the Royal Columbian Hospital, in New Westminster.

    "Infection prevention and control measures are already in place; however, because of sustained transmission of the bacteria on this unit, we are now declaring an outbreak and have implemented further measures," Fraser Health stated in a recent announcement.

    You are forgiven for not recognizing Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae. It isn't a household name like C. difficile or other hospital-spread infections, though the superbug has been spotted in Canadian hospitals in recent years. It is believed to be brought in from areas of the world where it is more common.

    "It was inevitable that we would see this in British Columbia, in

    Read More »from Fraser Health declares outbreak of deadly ‘superbug’ at British Columbia hospital
  • Dude Chilling Park sign, courtesy of Vancouver Park BoardAn East Vancouver park that achieved infamy just over a year ago when a local prankster/artist surreptitiously renamed it “Dude Chilling Park” will forever be associated with the cheeky moniker thanks to a recent decision by the city's apparently chill parks committee.

    The little-known Guelph Park, southeast of downtown Vancouver, attained instant fame after an official-looking sign with the hip, new name was posted without formal approval. The change was celebrated in local newspapers, trumpeted on social media, and Google Maps briefly began identifying the park by its new name before city staff ended the party.

    Thanks to a recent decision by the Vancouver Parks Board, the change is now official and the comical sign will be returned to the park.

    The story behind this amazing evolution, which took the boringly-named Guelph Park to the cutting edge and beyond, began in November 2012, when an unauthorized sign was secretly erected declaring the space to be named "Dude Chilling Park."


    Read More »from It's official: Dude Chilling Park approved by Vancouver Parks Board
  • Nichelle Rowe Boothe, 28, and Garfield Boothe, 31, have been charged in the death of 10-year-old Shakeil Boothe.The list of injuries and indignities suffered by 10-year-old Shakeil Boothe before he died is sobering to read.

    The boy's father, Garfield Booth, and stepmother Nichelle Boothe-Rowe are charged with second-degree murder in the May 2011 death of Shakeil.

    He'd been beaten, stomped, starved and in his final weeks chained to his bed before finally succumbing to pneumonia, Crown prosecutor Kelly Slate told the opening Monday of the couple's trial in Brampton, Ont., The Canadian Press reported.

    The child, who'd come from Jamaica just two years earlier to live with his father and stepmother, hopefully to have a better life, instead was systematically brutalized and starved, the Crown alleges.

    Evidence at the trial recalls the 2002 starvation death of Jeffrey Baldwin of Toronto, who died locked in his urine- and feces-stained room by his grandmother and her partner, who had guardianship of him.

    Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman were convicted of second-degree murder in Baldwin's death.


    Read More »from Murder trial begins in case of Brampton, Ont., boy found beaten and starved
  • Second World War veteran Bruce Bullock salutes at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.

    If Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino wants to mend fences with his angry constituency, perhaps he could start by repairing thousands of veterans' graves and memorials.

    A report by Veterans Affairs auditors has found tens of thousands of graves need work – either maintenance or repair.

    The same goes for a number of memorials in Canada and overseas for which the department has responsibility. They warn it needs to find efficiencies, or rising costs "may soon force the department to prioritize which monuments will continue to be maintained annually, and to what level," the Vancouver Sun reported.

    The report was completed last February but the report's results were only made public recently. It generated little comment amid the furor over Fantino's handling of living veterans' protests over the closure of regional Veterans Affairs offices.

    The report estimated more than 250,000 veterans are buried in Canada, though only about 193,000 have been identified and recorded in the department's

    Read More »from Thousands of veterans’ graves in disrepair, report finds
  • When an airline passenger was arrested at Vancouver International Airport over the weekend and accused of being a general jerk on board a flight from China, it underlined a sad fact most of us have come to realize: Common courtesy is not a given in-flight accessory.

    Cursing and complaining is common, drinking and carousing often goes too far. Jockeying for space, fighting for elbow room and invading fellow passengers' senses with unfortunate smells, sights and the oomph-oomph of unwelcome music are all too frequent. With scores, if not hundreds, of strangers cramped together for extended periods, one would desire a world where we go out of our way not to inconvenience others. Too often, the opposite is true.

    Air travel is not the classy, dignified experience it was pictured to be in its Mad Men-era. Today, airplanes are little more than subways in the sky.

    [ Related: Manitoba snowmobilers survive 26-hour ordeal in blizzard ]

    While we all have airline horror stories – do you really need

    Read More »from With another unruly passenger, airplanes are apparently becoming subways in the sky
  • Each year, more than $130 billion in trade crosses the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit.

    When it comes to big projects dear to its heart, the Conservative government's approach is press on regardless.

    That's true with the stalled Keystone XL oilsands pipeline from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast and with the proposed International Trade Crossing, a new bridge to link Windsor, Ont., with Detroit, Mich.

    What these massive projects have in common is they're both being stymied by American foot-dragging.

    Keystone XL is awaiting a green light from President Barack Obama, which was expected at least two years ago and may now not happen until after U.S. mid-term elections in November because of deep political divisions it's created.

    The bridge over the Detroit River a couple of kilometres downstream from the aging Ambassador toll bridge is a little different. Obama has already issued the presidential permit for the $2-billion project, a move welcomed by Ottawa last April. But since then, the administration hasn't lifted a finger to facilitate progress towards building it.

    Canada is

    Read More »from A bridge too far? Ottawa pushes ahead with new Windsor-Detroit link without U.S. funding
  • A new book that delves into the history of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, his rise to power and his troubles with drug addiction was released internationally on Monday, but anticipated nowhere more than Toronto itself.

    Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story, by Toronto Star reporter Robyn Doolittle, went on sale on Monday and promises more details into the life of Rob Ford, including details that suggest his wife tried to get him into rehab as early as 2010.

    Since the Toronto Star and Gawker reported on the existence of a video of Ford allegedly smoking crack cocaine, the scandal has grown, spun and evolved to the point of international prominence. American news outlets have covered the latest twists and turns as feverously as local outlets, and agencies as far as South Korea and Australia have also tuned in with great interest.

    But no one has more invested in understanding what drives the Toronto mayor than Toronto. And somewhat ironically, that interest is best seen at the library.

    The Toronto Public

    Read More »from Toronto libraries flooded with requests for 'Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story'
  • As a disclaimer, not everything is Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's fault. But is he responsible for the devastating loss suffered by the Denver Broncos on Sunday?

    No. But also yes, according to a trending theory that the football-mad mayor jinxes teams by wearing their jerseys.

    Check out this tweet from Toronto social media trainer Cher Jones for the details:

    Last week, Ford wore a Denver Broncos jersey to city hall, holding a key budget press conference in blue and bright orange. The jersey proudly displayed the number of Toronto-born Orlando Franklin, whom he later referred to as a “buddy.”

    On Sunday, the Broncos lost the Super Bowl in embarrassing fashion, 43-8 to the Seattle Seahawks. Not only that, Franklin was on the sour side of one of the game’s key plays. Franklin, tasked with protecting quarterback Peyton Manning, was beaten by a

    Read More »from The Rob Ford jersey curse is real, and it got the Denver Broncos
  • Last month's decision has generated a growing backlash in legal academia (CBC)

    A bid by Trinity Western University (TWU) to set up its own law school may end up being torpedoed despite getting a green light from the group representing Canadian law societies.

    The privately run evangelical Christian school, based in the Fraser Valley just east of Vancouver, thought it was clear sailing after the Federation of Law Societies of Canada gave preliminary approval to accredit the proposed school.

    Opponents in the legal community wanted the school's application rejected because TWU requires students to sign what's called a community covenant agreement. Among other things, it includes a promise that students, faculty and staff abstain from "“sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman."

    The ban on pre-marital (and presumably extra-marital) sex covers both heterosexual and homosexual couplings. But because gay marriage is legal in Canada, the requirement is seen as discriminating against homosexuals.

    A special committee struck by the

    Read More »from B.C. university’s law school plan still under threat over requirement viewed as anti-gay


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