• Pedestrians brave the cold as they get on a streetcar in TorontoPedestrians brave the cold as they get on a streetcar in Toronto

    In some cities beset by winter weather it can get so cold that families have to abandon their stalled cars for public transit.

    In Toronto, it would appear we have that reversed.

    As many as 25 streetcars were pulled from service on Wednesday because the cold was having adverse effects on their ability to operate.

    It appears they can’t hit the street without some heat.

    The Toronto Transit Commission noted early in the day that passengers should expect delays on streetcar routes because of “weather related equipment issues.”

    Later in the day, the TTC announced that service along two streetcar lines would shift to bus service to free up streetcars that still worked for busier lines.

    Considering the TTC runs 200 streetcars during peak service times, the loss of 25 cars is significant.

    And that was notable on social media, which at the best of times can be a clearinghouse of commuter complaints.

    Read More »from 30-year-old Toronto streetcars stop working in cold weather
  • A man holds a placard which reads I am Charlie in Paris Jan. 7, 2015 (REUTERS/Christian Hartmann)A man holds a placard which reads I am Charlie in Paris Jan. 7, 2015 (REUTERS/Christian Hartmann)

    The 12 people killed in the Paris terrorist attack, including journalists, police and political cartoonists, are being mourned across Canada and the globe.

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper has spoken out in the wake of the attack, as have city mayors, provincial premiers and community leaders from coast to coast.

    Leaders in Canada’s Muslim community were also speaking out against the attack in France, and voicing concern that their peaceful religion could be hurt by to the barbaric action of extremists.

    The Muslim Canadian Congress condemned the incident as a “barbaric Islamist attack” against freedom of expression.

    And the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) said justice must be served immediately.

    “We are absolutely shocked and horrified by what happened. It is an absolute tragedy and it is a crime,” NCCM human rights co-ordinator Amira Elghawaby told Yahoo Canada News.

    “We are shaken up by what happened in Paris today. Our hearts and thoughts and prayers are with the victims

    Read More »from Canadian Muslim leaders condemn attack on France's Charlie Hebdo
  • Ron Siwicki (left) and late mother Betty. Photos from Ron Siwicki's Facebook page and YouTube account.Ron Siwicki (left) and late mother Betty. Photos from Ron Siwicki's Facebook page and YouTube account.

    If you read just the headline on the story about charges against Winnipeg musician Ron Siwicki for leaving his mother to die on the floor of their home after lying there for up to three weeks you can’t help but be shocked and angry.

    It’s a clear case of elder abuse, the headline suggests, and certainly the authorities think so. They’ve charged the 62-year-old guitarist with criminal negligence causing death and failure to provide the necessities of life to his 89-year-old mom.

    But dig a little deeper and the story changes to perhaps something even more tragic, especially in a rapidly aging society like ours. It’s perhaps an object lesson to the rest of us who are unwilling to discuss candidly the end of life.

    Most details of the case remain under a publication ban but it’s alleged that Siwicki’s mother, Betty, stumbled and fell in the home the two shared sometime in late November.

    According to Siwicki's lawyers, the elderly woman, who suffered from dementia and other health problems,

    Read More »from Even if Ron Siwicki's mother wanted to die, she didn't need to do it on the floor: experts
  • Strap yourselves in, Ontario. The controversial series of performances by embattled comedian Bill Cosby are set to begin tonight.

    It seems everyone has chosen sides, either intent on attending the shows in Kitchener, London and Hamilton despite the more than two dozen allegations of rape and sexual assault recently leveled against the 77-year-old performer, or intent on protesting his presence in Ontario.

    Even the province’s premier was compelled to weigh in on the growing discord.

    But while it seems battle lines are growing ahead of Cosby’s three-night appearance in Ontario, so are appeals for calm.

    Related Stories:

    Bill Cosby worried about possible disruptions during upcoming Ontario shows

    Two women accusing Cosby of sexual offences join defamation suit

    Bill Cosby can expect half-empty theatre in Hamilton: activist

    Innovation Arts & Entertainment (IAE), the agency behind Cosby’s Ontario appearances, released a statement to Yahoo Canada News on Tuesday, urging everyone involved in

    Read More »from Bill Cosby's scheduled Ontario appearances met with calls for peaceful protest
  • Heritage Canada called out for not using Canadian art on website

    But does it really matter?

    A lovely photo, but not one from a Canadian photographer. (Screengrab via Canadian Heritage)A lovely photo, but not one from a Canadian photographer. (Screengrab via Canadian Heritage)

    Imagine a world where a website committed to promoting Canadian arts and culture was outsourcing the job to foreign professionals, and then open your eyes and log onto the Heritage Canada website.

    The Ottawa Citizen’s Glen McGregor noted on Tuesday that the department’s website is filled with stock photography purchased from foreign artists and used to promote “Canada’s cultural industries.”

    “A search of images appearing on the department’s site turned up numerous examples of pictures purchased online, without any apparent regard for using work created by Canadian photographers or artists,” he writes.

    Here is a shortened list of some of the indiscretions noted in the article:

    • A German photograph of a cheering concert audience found on the Canada Music Fund site
    • A Russian photo of moviegoers watching a 3D film on the Film and Video site
    • A photo of a group of young, smiling white people posted to the Youth Exchanges site coming from an artist in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    Sure enough,

    Read More »from Heritage Canada called out for not using Canadian art on website
  • Toronto Police Services released this picture of James Alfred Cooper on Jan. 6, 2014.Toronto Police Services released this picture of James Alfred Cooper on Jan. 6, 2014.

    Residents of Toronto were warned on Tuesday that a sex offender had been released into their community. The offender in question had completed a 21-year sentence for a litany of offenses against young victims.

    He had done his time, paid his dues. There is now nothing standing in the way of him returning to public life.

    And so it is that in the case of James Alfred Cooper – a sexual offender once called “pure evil” by a veteran Crown attorney – that he could be released into the public with little more than a community notice from police.

    Watch out, he’s out there. He has the potential to reoffend. And there’s not much else we can do about it.

    An official press release from the Toronto Police Service notes that Cooper, 79, was released from prison at the end of his 21-year sentence for a slew of charges, including two counts of rape, one count of buggery and one count of sexual intercourse with a female under the age of 14.

    He has been ordered to submit weekly reports to authorities,

    Read More »from Public notices about released sex offenders can escalate risk, expert says
  • (Thinkstock)(Thinkstock)

    When I was a kid in Calgary, we used to toboggan on a tall, steep hill behind the neighbourhood public school. The slope had been terraced in two places, creating a couple of thrilling little jumps, especially the lower one, because you’d build up a lot of speed by then.

    It was fun catching big air, especially if there was more than one person on the sled and you were really moving, but spills were inevitable. I remember slamming down hard once, slightly off balance. I banged my tailbone hard and then pitched forward, slashing my lip on the front of the toboggan.

    I limped home to relative parental indifference. No one called the school board to complain the hill was a death trap, or a lawyer to initiate a negligence suit.

    But those were different times. My best friend and I both had .22-calibre rifles we’d take to a gravel pit to shoot at tin cans. We were what they might now call “free-range kids.”

    Related Stories:

    Quebec backyard rink ordered closed in rare affront to Canada’s game

    Read More »from Bans on tobogganing a symptom of a risk-averse 'bubble-wrap generation'
  • On the left, the historic curb being protected in Windsor, Ont. On the right, new curb. (Google Maps)On the left, the historic curb being protected in Windsor, Ont. On the right, new curb. (Google Maps)

    In towns and cities across the country, street curbs are doing yeoman’s duties with little consideration or celebration by those in their community.

    Not exactly so in Windsor, Ont., however, where the presence of 130-year-old stone curbs is considered a matter of cultural heritage and being protected by the city.

    Consider it one of those moments when souvenirs from Canada’s past are discovered and not universally celebrated.

    The Windsor Star recently reported that one couple, whose home sits behind those celebrated curbs, has been stymied by the heritage recognition, which is blocking their desire to build a parking lot in front of their home.

    According to the newspaper, Karen Fisk’s application to cut away a piece of the curb to allow for a driveway is being opposed by the city’s heritage planner – who suggests destroying the curb would be an affront to a rare heritage resource.

    “I think it’s horrible. Whenever I tell somebody about this, they just laugh,” Fisk told the newspaper.

    Read More »from Historical protection of Windsor, Ont., street curbs halts driveway construction
  • (CBC Photo)(CBC Photo)

    The announcement that 13 male Dalhousie University dentistry students would be suspended from clinical practices for a series of misogynistic messages sent shockwaves across Nova Scotia on Monday.

    For some, the announcement came too late  delayed by two weeks over the holidays, and even then coming weeks after the school launched a touchy-feely restorative justice process.

    For others, the suspensions are seen as a step too far; having a direct and significant impact on the students’ ability to graduate and raising serious questions about their ability to become accredited dentists in the future. Some of the accused are said to have hired legal counsel to fight the suspension.

    Regardless of one’s take on the severity of the punishment announced on Monday, it is clear that more steps will be necessary.

    And they are already underway. The restorative justice process was launched to address the sexual harassment behind the Facebook comments. The clinical suspensions were initiated in

    Read More »from Dalhousie considers segregation as means of resolving dentistry school scandal
  • Photo: ThinkstockPhoto: Thinkstock
    Following a year highlighted by Ebola scares and measles outbreaks, it is the common flu that is causing Canadian health officials much consternation.

    Significant increases in flu cases have been reported across the country in recent weeks, with many healthcare centres urging the ill to visit overburdened emergency departments only when necessary.

    The flu is hitting Canada hard this winter, with heavy doses of the virus being reported across the country.

    Flu Watch, a site operated by the Public Health Agency of Canada, notes that the laboratory detection of influenza has increased sharply over the past five weeks ending on Dec. 20 the most recently published time frame.

    Between Dec. 14 and 20, Health Canada reports there were 2,740 positive influenza cases reported across the country. One week earlier, there were 1,920 – significantly higher than the previous year.

    Alberta has seen 2,006 cases of flu in the first 51 weeks of 2014, compared to 731 in the entire year of 2013; Ontario

    Read More »from Canadian emergency rooms battle holiday spike in flu-like symptoms


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