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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Are Your 6-9 year-olds Ready To Be Famous? Hillcrest Mall, North of Toronto, is Looking For Models!


Hillcrest Mall

Hillcrest Mall (at Yonge and 16th Avenue just north of Toronto) is conducting a private search for one or two fashionable and outgoing boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 9 to star in its Back-to-School social media campaign set for release in mid-August. If you know any style-savvy children who would be suitable for this, Hillcrest would love to meet them.

Here’s the deal:

The Gig: The selected child(ren) would star in their own 30-second videos (2 per child) where they would talk about their Back-to-School clothing trends. It would require one day of shooting.

The Kid: The ideal candidate will be comfortable talking on camera (ad-lib or answering questions from director) and can speak about fashion trends and Back-to-School shopping.

The Reward: Participants will receive a $500 Hillcrest Gift Card (and your child would be famous!).

Bonus Round: If the candidate(s) have a fashionable parent, we would love to have them appear in the video with their child.

So now what’s next?

Send any photos and/or video of the potential candidates with a brief description (name, age, special talents) to Heidi Ruggier at hruggier@budmanpr.com. Hillcrest Mall’s marketing director, Rashmi Aimiuwu, will review the entries and invite selected candidates in for a screen test (date and locations are TBD).

I’m not sure of the closing date, so make sure to act fast!

Update: As of June 10th, I can confirm that the event is closed!  Best of luck to everyone who entered!

Urban Daddy Recommends: Good places to eat on Eglinton Avenue in between Bathurst Street and Allen Road.


Having now lived in our new area for just over a year we have now had some time to get out, with and without children, to try some local restaurants. I think the whole Groupon phenomenon has helped with that, as it gives us incentive to try places in and around our area (or not) and help us find great places to eat with and without children.

As for our area… I could mention what this strip needs – like a sit down dessert place, or an evening destination with or without kids, but what I really want to share is my thoughts on what are the best choices on this strip for food that is fresh, friendly, tasty and priced reasonably, and where the location is clean and the owners appreciative of your business.

Here are my top four places right now;

1) Tokyo Sushi. The family that owns this place is REALLY nice, the food is REALLY fresh and the prices are very reasonable. We’ve eaten in and taken or, and now matter what you want or if there are changes to be made, they are happy to accommodate. My friend started eating there regularly with his family and when I went in a month later they thanked me for introducing my friend to them.
I like the fresh, delicious food and it makes me feel good going in there and spending money.

2) Big Bite Burger. Again, the owner is VERY friendly and the food is very fresh. I do, however, have a really hard time figuring out why it’s not packed every night. The burgers and fries are extremely well priced, the portions are large and all day breakfast… Who doesn’t love an all day breakfast! This place reminds me of John Anderson’s which was our neighbourhood burger joint which had great homemade burgers, plenty of fries and salad. The food was great there and we ate there quite often growing up. Fast forward and now there is a restaurant that needs our support. There are foot long hot dogs, chicken burgers, pancakes, grilled cheese, french toast, regular fries, curly fries, sweet potato fries, regular burgers, chili… OY. For children, this is the perfect place to go for a healthier food option without breaking the bank.

I took the 3 kids and our nanny there for dinner the other week and we ate and ate and ate until we couldn’t eat anymore. When the bill came, I thought he missed something, but he didn’t.

3) Indus Tavern – Simply some of the best Indian food we have tasted in quite a while. Everything is homemade, the flavours are strong, but not overpowering and the spices are traditional but also not that spicy (unless you want it to be). It has been a long time since I have eaten food this tasty and when we order food for delivery, we look forward to its arrival.
4) Piazzetta Trattoria 2 – We checked this place out because there was a deal – either Groupon, or something of the sort, and I’m glad my wife bought it because the food here is fantastic. I ordered the grilled calamari because quite frankly, a top-notch Italian restaurant should be able to make a top notch piece of calamari so that it is not rubbery, yet not over grilled. I think about Parmigiano on Yonge Street just north of Lawrence Avenue as being one of the absolute best Italian restaurants in Toronto. Their grilled calamari is out of this world… Well, let me tell you… The grilled calamari at Piazzetta was incredible. Each bite was full of flavour and the calamari melted in my mouth. Not a chewy bite was found, and the plate was adorned with olives and made for a very pleasing plate. I was done after eating that appetizer. My entrée was a baked penne pasta with what I thought the menu said contained ossobuco juice but was pleasantly surprised to see actual chunks of lamb in it.

The portion was so big I could not finish it, and with each bite of the appetizer and actual meal I’m pretty sure there were lots of “Mmmmmmm’s” and “yummmmmms”. My wife ordered the warm mushroom salad which she said was nice save the packaged spinach the mushrooms were on, and she had them make pasta for her which she thoroughly enjoyed. I will for sure come back here and the waitress said Sundays are very busy and there are lots of kids present and welcomed. Sounds great.

So please, come out and support these places so they can continue to make a living and stay open for a very long time.

All in a days work for this Urban Daddy: Kids, Interviews, Bomb Threats and Sweat.


Today was the first day in over 2 years that we were Nanny-free (she is on vacation from Wednesday this week until Monday next week) and boy did this day get started on the wrong foot for everyone, especially for me.

To begin, Linus appeared in our room at 3am this morning but not to sleep, there was something bothering him and so he spent the next couple of hours doing his impersonation of a blender as he tossed and turned, talked, cried and melted down when his mummy turned her back on him to go back to sleep.  It’s so cute how much they love their mummy.  Maybe I’m just a little jealous.
Sigh.

So in a moment of self-sacrifice, my wife sent me out of our bed and into his room so that I could get some sleep before a very big day for me.  That was a very kind gesture, however, his bedroom does not have a clock in it as of yet, so my plan to leave the house at 7:30am did not come to fruition and my 9am interview almost started without me.

I had a 9am job interview, and I really needed time to get cleaned up, put on my rarely used – somewhat tight suit and really uncomfortable dress shoes and then walk 15 leisurely minutes to the subway to go downtown.

My hope was that this interview would be the first of many – or the one – to get me out of the government.  I’ve done all that I can there and I need more challenges.  Nothing personal.  I found that the more I remained there the more complacent I became and that now after 3-years of accounting courses and almost completed my MBA, I was ready for a bigger challenge and the Director of the tax office agreed with me.  Problem is that the government is business casual – for me at least – since I meet clients regularly, so my suit is a little tight and my dress shoes a little uncomfortable.  I was worried that my 15 minute walk to the subway would kill my feet or I would arrive sweating, especially given the fact that I was running the risk of being late!

I made it to the interview with 15 minutes to spare – so on-time and I was quite worked up.  I needed a few seconds to walk around and cool down.

Given that it is summer-time, I calmly hopped back on the subway and hiked into the office.  Being in a suit was certainly going to draw the attention of my colleagues and peers and in anticipation of the “did you just come from a job-interview” question, I had prepared the following response; “No, I was at a funeral.”  I only needed to use it once, and the person took me seriously until I winked and was prepared to lose the jacket at my desk when I entered the premises.

On my way into the office, I noticed a familiar face walking towards me… It was Josh-O (Haley-O’s husband). So I grabbed him and forced him to come across the street with me to Starbucks, where I forced him once more to let me buy him a coffee. We chatted. He’s a nice guy and he’s really smart.  It was LONG overdue that we met up for coffee.

So once coffee was over, I went into the office and took off my suit jacket, tie and changed my shoes to a much more casual looking (and much more comfortable shoe) and that was when this already odd day, got even more awkward.

A couple of hours later I ventured across the street for a coffee from Tim Horton’s I noticed two firetrucks descending on my office building, from different sides, yet no one was evacuating the building.  As I waited for traffic to clear in order to cross the street, 4 more firetrucks pulled up and an ambulance drove up on the island right beside me.  I crossed the street, entered the building and asked the concierge what was happening and she said nothing to her knowledge.  We both watched 2 more firetrucks pull up.  So I raced up to my desk, notified my manager of what was about to happen – grab my stuff – and at that moment the alarm came on.

Normally, the concierge comes on and acknowledges that an alarm was pulled, and what the problem was and whether or not we should evacuate. In this case, the Fire Chief came on, and indicated that a bomb was found and that we should evacuate ASAP.  A bomb.

I made it down 6-storey’s in the building when the Fire Chief came back on the loud-speaker and told us that the situation was under control and that we should return to our desks. Instead of turning around in the stairwell – still full of people coming down – I walked to the lobby, turned back to the elevators and went back up to my desk.

I sat at my desk for about 5 minutes, logged in to my computer and began to work when I had this eerie feeling that I was alone, so I stood up and realized that I was the only person on the floor, so I did what every guy would do, I called my wife to let her know what was going on.  Soon after she answered, I spun to look out the window where I noticed that the police had blocked the street with 6 police cars and were frantically taping off the street to keep cars and people away from the building.  The building that I was still in.  Alone.  Working.

I suggested to my wife that I might be getting a little worried when she provided me with some sage advice, “get the hell out of the building ASAP”. So I packed up my stuff and took the elevator to the main floor.  I again walked over to the concierge and again asked what was going on.   This time she advised me there was a letter bomb scare and that the letter bomb was right there – she pointed to a letter on the floor about 10 feet from us.  You see, the police had roped off the building, there were 10 police cars, 10 fire trucks, an ambulance, 2 helicopters already in the sky overhead of the building and the bomb squad were on the way.  Everyone was across the street looking on, and me, I was in the middle of the action wondering how did this happen…

So I asked to be removed from the building and was thankfully escorted into the middle of an empty Yonge Street.  Helicopters hovering above me, police and firemen everywhere and me, standing alone in the middle of a roped off area.

I headed outside the secure zone for about an hour taking in the whole scene before heading to the subway to go home as many already had.

I joined my family at a birthday party, and after that we headed home for bath and bed time routine, then I sat down to type this post and try to make heads or tails of my crazy day.

What a long day.

 

All in a day’s work, I guess.

 

When a Blog crashes down, it pays to know how to fix it… But I don’t.


English: Government notice describing the duti...
English: Government notice describing the duties of those granted land on Yonge Street. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t know where to begin.

Maybe this past Thursday July 6th, 2006, after I posted my Thursday Thirteen and somehow managed to screw up my HTML coding – so people have told me – and the layout of my blog went berzerk.  I just wished I knew how to fix it.  I like to write but I’m not so great with the technology-side of blogging.

I asked my wife for her thoughts (she is awesome with computers but HATED that I referred to her as my “cyber geek” –  which I honestly thought was a compliment for someone like her who knows so much about computers – and she basically said, “Yup. Your blog is really messed up”.

Thankfully that consultation was free!  I knew she wouldn’t have the time to fix it for me.  She’s really busy.  Well, she’s always really busy and I think she’s tired of fixing computers that I destroy, so lesson learned indeed.

Then I reached out to a fellow Toronto blogger, and her response was pretty much the same… My blog is really messed and she has no time right now to help either.  Damn.  So for the time being, until I find a way to fix it myself, I will just have to come to grips with the fact that every time I look at my blog, I’m going to worry that my 3 regular readers will think I know nothing about HTML, well that would be right! So there!  I said it first.

Blogging aside, the rest of my Thursday was spent selling our scrapbooking supplies (embellishments mostly) from our online business www.theembellishmentstore.com at a warehouse sale of one of our suppliers. While we did not make that much money over the 4-days of the sale, the networking was GREAT.  Met some potential new customers and  a couple of potential new suppliers.

Always interesting at these types of sales are the number of people who accept cash and do not charge the tax.  I find it interesting because we have always charged the tax – as an employee of the CRA, not doing so could lead to immediate termination – so I always presumed that we would generate less sales than other businesses, however I guess people like the honest folks, and I have yet to see someone walk away when being charged tax.

Friday night’s dinner with my family had some significance this week as Linus had his first taste of a beef burger and at 18 months, ate almost 1/4 of his burger.  I always hoped he would come over to the dark side and eat meat, however he has no taste for it and now that he’s eaten it, I’m okay that we eat a predominately vegetarian diet.  I’m still not so sure about the hormones and stuff they inject into animals these days…

After dinner, once Linus was asleep and the kitchen was spotless, we went upstairs to our bedroom in order to do what ever other couple does on a Friday night – homework!   I have a case study due for one of my graduate school classes, a quiz in another class, an assignment and an essay due on the 10th (today).  Once I send off the last of those tasks, I have to get moving on a major 12000 word essay and begin reviewing for an exam in 2 weeks.  My wife, on the other hand, has 3 papers all due this week.  I feel bad for her because she is also working very hard on completing her Masters degree and her and stress do not mix well. They are quite the volatile pair.  Add to that, she is 6 months pregnant, feeling like she is 16 months pregnant, and you guessed it no time to actually rest and relax.

The rest of the weekend was not so relaxing either, mind you.

Saturday we went to my in-laws cottage for their 40th Anniversary party which they threw together themselves on short notice.  No other family was invited and I think there was an expectation that we would put Linus in a room, with his toys, and that he would be able to stay there and play quietly without disturbing the guests.  See my previous comment about stress and apply it up to my mother-in-law.  I asked if that was true and if so, we would happily stay home – there is no reasonable way an 18-months old would be able to play quietly on his own for 2-3 hours.  Especially our son.  And as for keeping all the toys together in one place… Another non-starter.

So we arrived at the cottage with a very tied and cranky Linus who forgot to nap on the way up, and there were a lot of people who we did not know, which was fine, however my in-laws cottage is for them, not baby-proofed in any way so I always get nervous leaving Linus to walk around in there.  My father-in-law always says to me’; “what’s the worst that can happen?  He breaks something.  It will teach him to not touch something like that again.”  I would always say that I’m not concerned about him breaking stuff, but getting hurt touching something or having something fall on him.  What this ultimately means is that we have to watch him carefully every moment he is inside, and of course being a waterfront cottage, every moment he is outside too.  It becomes a LOT of work.

To top things off, my in-laws like to prepare certain foods for parties which my wife – their daughter – would never touch so while everyone is eating salads with goat-cheese or BBQ chicken, my wife is eating raw veggies and has to make her own salad.  Considering her current state of pregnancy, she needs me to help make something and I’m a pretty terrible cook.

More stress.

So we came back from the cottage Saturday night about 9:30pm, put Linus to sleep in his crib, then came into our bedroom to do more homework.  My wife nodded off at midnight and I turned out the lights at 2am.  Very typical nowadays.

Sunday morning began with my wife’s suggestion to finally unpack the rest of the boxes from our move 6 months ago.  That kept us all busy until the Yonge Street festival began – living so close to Yonge street sure has it’s benefits.  We took Linus for a walk and he got to go on some rides, see the performers and eat.   We stayed cool with Chocolate Chillers from the Second Cup, and we bumped into our neighbour and her always happy son, and the 5 of us made our way up the street to various parts of the festival.

Linus kept asking to go down to walk, until he realized how hot it was, then he wanted back up into the stroller so he could lay down and have a nap.  It was too hot and really who wouldn’t want to be pushed around in a stroller in the heat!

After the festival, we walked home, Linus and his mummy took a nap, and I went back to pick up the rest of our goods from the scrapbooking sale.  When I came home, my mother came by to Linus-sit so we could grocery shop and upon walking into our neighbourhood Dominion – 3 houses over from us – I immediately realized that the person right inside the door shopping looked VERY familiar.  It was Haley-O from The Cheaty Monkey.  I pulled my wife aside to confirm with her this was in fact the much sought-after Haley before I said something (which I was going to anyways) but with super-hero like hearing, Haley came over to us instead. I immediately realized that she is much cuter in person than the pictures on her blog, and she is REALLY nice. Her daughter, if you have seen some of the many pics on Haley’s blog is adorable too, and at just 6 months younger than my boy… Hmmmm.

I like friendly local bloggers. Now I know 3 of them.

So we left Haley, finished shopping then came home to cook dinner for my wife’s friend and her son when we blinked and it was 9pm.  Linus’ bedtime is 7pm, so we ran upstairs for a super-fast bath, book and bed for him, then back to homework for us.  Tonight was better for me and not so great for my wife as we both packed away our books at 1am.

This week is going to be the week from hell with all the assignment and both of us down quit a few hours of sleep.  At least I had some time to blog this insane weekend and the fact that I managed to fix my blog HTML problem all by myself and it only took me 2-hours.

Off to do some more homework!  Thanks for dropping by!