Terror in Toronto – April 23rd, 2018.


Dbg_PgeWAAES_ggYesterday was a very sad day in the City of Toronto.  My hometown.  My City.  The 5th largest city in North America, and it happened on Yonge Street, the longest street in the world which connect Lake Ontario to Lake Simcoe.

The section of Yonge Street that this occurred on was from Finch Avenue to Sheppard Avenue.  I grew up, and lived at Yonge and Finch for almost 29-years.  I worked just north of Yonge and Sheppard for the Canada Revenue Agency for almost 11-years, and my mother and sister both live at Yonge and Sheppard – my sister works on Yonge Street as well.  This area I know very, very well.  It currently is predominately a hotspot for Korean and Persian residents and businesses.

Yesterday, for whatever reason, a 25-year-old male from North of Toronto, decided to rent a cube van and drive on the sidewalk down Yonge Street running over innocent people, as well as mailboxes, fire hydrants, lamp posts and anything else that was in his way.

As of the time I am writing this, 10 innocent Torontonians have lost their lives, and another 10-15 are in hospital fighting for their lives / receiving treatment.

If you have seen the video of the arrest of the driver of the van, you will understand what makes Toronto so amazing, and why our police are the best.  The unknown officer approached the driver, who whipped out his cell phone as if it were a gun and pointed it at the officer.  The officer did not flinch, but kept approaching the driver.

The officer yelled to the driver, “Get down”.

The driver yelled to the officer, “Shoot me.  Kill me.  I have a gun in my pocket.”

The officer kept approaching the driver, slowly, gun drawn and yelling, “Get down.  You’re going to get shot. Get down.”

The driver dropped his phone and was arrested.

He did not have a gun.  Guns are not allowed in Canada.

Amazing, caught on video footage of an incredibly brave officer!  Toronto Proud!

What else made me very proud of this city, and the people who live here is the countless stories of people rushing to the aid of the victims within seconds of the incident (which occurred over a period of 25-minutes) and administering CPR, and comforting the people as they lay in the streets badly wounded or dying.

Residents handed out water, supported each other, hugged those who needed to be held, and helped others to safety.

Any amazing reaction by an amazing community in an amazing city.  It brings tears to my eyes to know that in a time of crisis and unknown that people from all walks of life, of all ethnic backgrounds, of all ages, sexes, and from all races, religions, etc., realized that Canadians are special people and we need to support each other.

That is what makes Canada great.

That is what makes Toronto great.

Growing up in such a multi-cultural city is a blessing as it allows you the opportunity to look at people for what they are… people.  They are your neighbours, your friends, your colleagues, and your community.

Our city was under siege and our citizens reacted.

First responders, hospital staff, and police were incredible as usual, and everyone held their breath expecting news of this attack being a terrorist attack which would be adding to a horrific event, but it appears it was not terrorism.

News unfolding today reveals a man who was uncomfortable around women, who needed extra help in school and was unable to adjust to life as an adult.  Without confirmation, it tells a story of a man who was rejected by women and who felt the best way to deal with it was not to get help, but to inflict terror on innocent people.

I’m sick.

Words cannot express the sadness I am feeling for the families of the 10-people who will not be coming home from work today, or from their stroll on a beautiful sunny day.  Their lives will be changed forever as will the witnesses, the first responders and anyone who saw the footage on TV or the Net.

How do we prevent these from happening again?

I don’t know.

I feel that this man’s parents should have gotten him help.

I feel like they should have known he was dealing with these issues and they should have worked with professionals to address his feelings, his anger issues, and his rage.

Canada has socialized medicine.  It’s not like it would have costs the family a lot of money in appointments or medication…

Parents, it’s our responsibility, is it not, to help our children develop and contribute to society, not destroy it?

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims, and to those in hospital, we wish a speedy recovery.

Yesterday my city was under attack, and the people of this city made me so proud to be a Torontonian!

UPDATE: The drive has been charged with 10 counts of murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

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How Much Poison Is Acceptable In Our Technology?


If you’ve been paying attention to the news recently you would have heard about the dangers of putting your cell phone up to your ear, in your pocket or in your bra.

In Canada, the amount of radiation is significant that the Canadian government believes there should be a warning on the packages of cell phone to warn Canadians, well, not to use them as phones…

How Much Poison Is Acceptable in Our Technology?

via Ash Huang: How Much Poison Is Acceptable in Our Technology? — Design.blog

Stuff…


STUFF

When you type this into your iphone email: “I’ll let you knowcloser to the date”, your phone automatically corrects it to this: “I’ll let you know loser…”

That’s a good typo to catch!

Speaking of auto-correct… I like typing the word “Oy”, as in “Oy Vey”, but everytime I type “Oy”, it gets corrected to “it”.  I really need to figure out the override on this thing, eh?

……..

I’ve become folic-ly challenged – not surprising since I’ve heard that your hairline is determined by your mother’s father’s hairline and my grandfather was bald for as long as I can remember.

Long lost are the days of the mullet, and the crazy dark black, wavy hair. My kids never got to see that hair, but my oldest son, Linus, inserted this comment into a discussion about my hair recently:

“You’re a little bald like the ocean is a little wet!”

After realizing my mouth was wide open – not because I was upset at all – but because I was amazed and impressed with the analogy.  He’s awesome!

…….

 

A couple of weeks ago there was a Toronto Police officer in his cool grey police car sitting at the end of the street where my daughter attends school because there are a whole bunch of cars who go the wrong way on this one way street.

In typical Toronto police fashion, the officer was talking to everyone who passed by, offered to answer questions and in typical Boo fashion my daughter was dying to meet the officer. After a quick meet and greet he let her sit in the car (in the front, not the back) and she was just beaming.

She wanted to take the car for a spin which he wisely declined…

There is no better way to remind children that the police are here to “Serve and Protect” than through public relations like that, unless you count last night when two mounted officers walked by our house and stopped when my kids came flying out of the house to say hello.

The officers spent a good 5-minutes with the kids, talked about safety in the area and my kids explained how their presence slowed down the traffic on our street especially at a particular stop sign close to our house where 90% of the cars barely do a rolling stop.

We also learned that apples can kill horses and that horses love carrots!

Who knew?!?

It was also the closest I’ve ever been to a horse and those babies are massive!

The mounted unit sitting on top of those horses are very intimidating to say the least, but the horses alone do that job!

Toronto’s Cops are Tops!

 

 

How The Eglinton Avenue Re-Development Message Got Lost: It’s NOT About You!


This was a very troubling week for The Urban Daddy and our community.  An apparent sudden decision by the municipal government here in Toronto had thrust our neighbourhood into chaos and as citizens moved into action our efforts to seek the truth were suddenly derailed by the actions of one man – whom I will not mention by name, nor show his picture – who feels his 15 minutes of fame are far more important than the residents and taxpayers in this area.

It all started with a news report on CP24 alerting residents in Toronto that Toronto City Council was going to vote on the narrowing of Eglinton Avenue from Allen Road to Bathurst Street from 5 lanes, to just 2 lanes, so that the sidewalks could be widened, trees and artwork placed on the strip and bike lanes added.

All of this seems very nice, and very practical, and as a resident in Toronto, specifically someone who lives in between those streets and who is already impacted by the Eglinton Crosstown LRT / subway, this information came as quite a shock to me, and apparently to many of my neighbours.

This strip as it currently stands is terrible – construction aside – as a result of many one-way streets, and the absolute lack of traffic on the strip.  At night-time, the street is aglow with “MASSAGE” signs and very few people walk in this area at night because, frankly, there is nothing to walk to.  If the goal was to make this strip feel more “European”, then maybe Toronto City Council might want to think about the 3 months a year in which weather would comply with this drastic transformation.

In addition with St. Clair Avenue already being down to one lane in parts as a result of the transit right-of-way, doing the same to Eglinton Avenue, the next major road north, makes even less sense.  Eglinton is the end of Allen Road, an “expressway” of sorts which helps traffic flow north and south from Wilson Avenue without traffic lights, but with a lot of traffic.  People use Allen Road to head north to the 401 highway, and the delays have always been long and frustrating with or without construction, one could imagine it would only get much worse.

Let me at this point identify that I am pro every method of transportation.  Cars, bikes, walking, public transit are all great.  If I could take public transit everyone in Toronto, I would, where it makes financial sense.  If I could bike safely, I would, and my kids would too.  But we are not there yet, and don’t appear to be for quite a long time, so in the meantime, doing anything to slow down traffic does not make sense at all.  But that is my opinion…

So where is traffic going to go, if it cannot move along Eglinton Avenue, or St. Clair?  Well the side streets, of course.  We are already seeing a huge increase in traffic as a result of the construction, and in front of my house, for example, there is a stop street which very few cars actually stop at, some do not even try, and they fly through without even braking.  The “30km” traffic limit is always ignored, and speed bumps only cause a momentary delay as cars race off after passing them.  Even one-way streets are ignored, and it’s going to get worse.

But what about the kids?

This community, Cedarvale, which lies just north of Forest Hill, has a ton of children, and these children cannot safely walk in this community as it already stands.  Is Toronto city Council’s shortsighted view of the war on cars overlooking or ignoring the impact this re-development will have on the children in the community who are already scared to cross streets because vehicles travel very fast and do not follow the street signs when using Cedarvale as a short-cut to avoid the delays on Eglinton?

It would appear so.

When Toronto Mayor Rob Ford came to speak to the community about this issue, a couple of says after his return from rehab, I met some community members who lived on the other side of Eglinton Avenue in the next phase of this narrowing of Eglinton were just as shocked as I was, and who had put together a traffic study, which can be found right here; (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjP4HWMeieo&feature=youtu.be)

Adding to this frustration is that we learned that the City Planner had approved high density building along this strip with the widening of the laneways behind these buildings (which would require residential houses to be removed) to accommodate the traffic from these buildings.

More construction.

More traffic chaos.

Has the city planner, or city council ever been to these neighbourhoods?  $700K bungalows, and $1.5 million houses are common place in Cedarvale, much higher south and east of here, and a lot of families reside here who are certainly not going to need the extra sidewalk to walk to a massage parlour, a Whole Foods maybe, but clearly no one asked the residents what they want or need.  To look at the map of the area and declare it ripe for additional density of short-sighted.  This is not the right community for that.

Mayor Ford came to speak to us, and his message was lost, because of the actions of man who ran across the street, through frustrated traffic, so he could take off his shirt, pull out signs from his garbage bag and stop the community from hearing the Mayor’s views on this proposal, or to allow us to ask questions of the Mayor about what he knows about this plan.

The media at the event helped even less, but asking questions of the Mayor with disdain, like “How is it that you don’t know about this vote?  Is it not your job to do so?” when members of the community also knew nothing about this proposal, and then by diverting the attention to the few who took off their shirts for their own 15-minutes of fame.

If you watched any of the footage on TV, you probably heard me, and several others yelling for these 3 protestors to “shut up” and “let the Mayor talk” and while we did get a very short moment of quiet from them, it was when the guy yelling “resign” over and over again elbowed the Mayor’s campaign leader in the head while trying to get right behind the Mayor with his sign.

To his credit, the Mayor’s staffers did not respond or get as annoyed as the members of the community did, although, the police stepped in which this protestor yelled “don’t assault me” to the Mayor’s staff after apparently being kicked (I did not see this – I was recording the events) but the police decided to not charge either person, and the protestor was allowed to return and annoy the mayor and the residents.

The result of his actions were that the message of this proposal got lost.  The community were livid, the Mayor frustrated and the only person who got any attention was the guy with the sign, who proceeded to tell his story to everyone and anyone about how the Mayor lied, and how he works in a flexible position where he can follow the Mayor around and yell at him.

I waited after almost everyone left, and listened to his story evolve and change.  It was not about Eglinton Avenue and the residents or about traffic, but about someone who wanted to talk about how his was kicked, and assaulted, and how much support he has.

“Me Me Me”.

But it’s not about him.

It never was about him.

I looked at my video and saw a different unfolding of events which threw some key details of his story into dispute, and I shared that with the media and with the other Mayoral candidates teams so that they can be aware of the true intent of this individual.  He’s taking a very serious situation of an unwell person struggling with an addiction problem, who took the time to enter rehab and is now back trying to do his job, and he made it about him.

At the end of the day, we all lose.

As for the proposal along Eglinton….  I have no idea.

My message to Toronto City Council, Councillor Joe Mihevc, and the guy with the signs who likes to take off his shirt and disrupt important discussions impacting people their families and their community, is this:  It’s not about you.  It’s not about your legacy or your vision.  Leave Eglinton alone.  Don’t force another St. Clair on us because you want to be on TV.

Toronto City Council, don’t waste your time looking to spend money you do not have.  Clean up the area instead.  Fix the sidewalks, make sure the lighting is working, that dogs are on leash near schools, that the intersections are clearly marked and are safe (Ava and Strathern, for example), step up safety in the area and PLEASE, get rid of the raccoons!

Make the area safe and people will use it.

But Leave Eglinton Avenue alone.

And if you have a problem with the Mayor, address it the way everyone else does… At the ballot box.

Things I Have Learned as a Parent, a Father, a Husband and a Human Being


I have been doing a lot of soul-searching.  Doesn’t everyone?  And in doing so I have realized there are a lot of things that I have learned this past year, and I never thought about putting together a post until I had a “discussion” with my 9-year-old son after I told him that “I learn something new each and every day.”  He didn’t believe me because at 9-years-old you know as much as a 43-year-old does, right?

But off the top of my head, here are some of the things that I have learned in the not too distant past;

First off, I learned that I am truly blessed.  My family, friends, network… It could be better but it could be much worse.

Do They Know It’s Christmas by Band Aid makes me cry.  It’s the whole story from the song to the Live-Aid concerts…  It chokes me up to think about how the world came together for this cause.

Learning is NEVER a waste of time.

Plenty of people my age are just as confused about life as I am.

I do NOT like the Olympics – what they have become with the politics, greed, and lack of recognition that countries who participate should do so with the understanding that they have to be nice to their citizens outside of the games and that their participants have to be nice to other countries while in the games.  I do, however, love when our Olympians win and that chokes me up.  I’m all Pro Canada when the games are on!

Time isn’t slowing down for any of us.

I don’t like Miley Cyrus, or Justin Beiber at all.

It takes the little effort to be a good friend.

It takes even less effort to be a good person – say “hello” or “good morning” to people, or to smile and not be another reason people have to complain.

‘Health’ goes way beyond working out and eating well.

The real world isn’t that scary.

I’ve had way too many “I should have listened to my wife” moments.

Confidence can be faked – for good sometimes – as we push our children into areas we stayed out of so their futures might be different from ours.

No matter how badly someone needs to change, you cannot force them into it.  They have to be ready.

There is nothing to watch on TV and it gets worse year-by-year.

Be true to yourself.  Not matter what you are giving up to do so.  You’ll be able to sleep at night.

There still are some people in the world who were raised the right way.

Planning, preparing, and cooking dinner for a family AND making sure it tastes good AND is healthy AND all cooks at the same time AND is ready in time for dinner is REALLY hard!  My wife is AWESOME!  I don’t know how she does it, day after day, and night after night.

When something happens in my house – anything broken, items left-out, things damaged – it’s amazing to me that “not me” has done all this damage, and “I don’t know” seems to be there too.  This is right out of the Family Circus comics…

My family has horrible memories when it comes to picking up their laundry from the floor, putting their dishes in the sink, sweeping the floor or helping with lunches, but if they were promised iPad time… that they never forget.

So there!  I did learn new things today, and every day!