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Newsstand: March 13, 2013

Today we celebrate 232 years of knowing about Uranus. Yay. In the news: Recycling keeps getting garbaged, Luminato gets to talking, a construction worker died on the job, and Margaret Atwood has a new Twitter muse.

newsstand eglinton

We only have ourselves to blame—unless you live in a residential home, then you have mostly condo and apartment dwellers to blame. But still, blame yourself a little because Toronto has still not hit the mark on diverting 70 per cent of our waste from landfills by 2010. That year has long since passed, and apartments and condos are only diverting 25 per cent of their waste, while houses are at a better, but still below-grade 64 per cent.

This year’s Luminato festival is getting a new featured event courtesy of the New York Times. The TimesTalks events will feature conversations between Times journalists and luminaries such as Willem Dafoe and Atom Egoyan over two days.

A construction worker died yesterday in the northwest of the city after being crushed beneath a concrete slab. The Ministry of Labour is investigating the events that lead to the tragedy at the construction site. The crews were contracted by the city to install the sewer-service for an industrial building.

Margaret Atwood, Toronto’s Twitter laureate, is taking issue with U of T’s plans for an synthetic replacement to the school’s back campus. As we have mentioned before, the space is set to be used for the 2015 Pan Am Games’ field hockey competition and international rules for the sport require a synthetic field—however, well functioning sewage systems require dirty, porous ground. Atwood implied that she may not leave money to the university in her will over the “anti-green plan.” Peggy, we promise that we aren’t laying fake grass anywhere. Just saying.


  • S. George

    U of T’s fields always turn into mud pits by October, although back campus is nowhere near as bad as front campus. The question shouldn’t be about what alums find quaintest, but what will allow students to have quality play-time for as much of the year as possible. Maybe that can be done with a “natural” field and proper drainage, but the discussion needs to be what’s best for students, not what’s best for the city. We could certainly use more green space downtown, but in this case there is a perfectly nice park one block away from the field in question, so it’s not fair to make students bite the bullet on this.

  • Winkee

    I may be missing something, but when did urban laws become “green?” When they’re in the suburbs they’re a blight and waste of land but when it’s on St. George Campus it’s the equivalent of the Boreal forest and ignites an environment crisis?

    • vampchick21

      Have you recently been in an urban landscape? Just how much green space do you see?

      • Winkee

        Lawns that should say, excuse the typo.

        And to answer your question, do you mean specifically in Toronto because my answer would be Lots (but we always need more). High Park, the Islands, the entire Don Valley including the new Don River Park, the Bluffs, Highland Creek, the new Rouge Valley National Park, the Humber River watershed and I could go on and on.

        My point was not that we don’t need to protect green space in an urban landscape, my point was that this is A) barely “green space” and B) if we are going to fight to protect green space in our urban environment a field at U of T would be at the bottom of that list, if it even makes it at all.

        As others have already explained, it’s not like they’re asking to pave over it or build a condo tower on it or something. This argument is basically a semantic one, do we want grass or do we want turf?

        • HotDang

          They pour concrete for the astroturf to sit on, bro. They are paving over the field. That’s why people are upset.

          • Winkee

            Not true, compacted dirt and fill works as a base as well. And why the need to call me bro? Can we not be civil here? What did I do to you?

          • Winkee

            You know like laying down sod, would you be against re-sodding the field which is a sloppy, bumpy muddy mess?

        • Glenn Storey

          we need green space, absolutely. do we need more lawns? i personally don’t think so. give me trees and gardens instead.

        • vampchick21

          Your basic question was what was the difference between overdone suburban lawns where they use various chemicals (unless the household is ‘green’) to maintain the green colour and keep out weeds and mow constantly to maintain the ‘perfect length’ and a playing field at an urban university. With regards to urban greenspace, yes, we have parks in areas, but for example, I work at Bay and Front, I’d have to cross under the Gardiner, risking concrete falling on my head, and walk a way past condos under construction to find the narrow green space at the waterfront. Ain’t no greenspace at Bay and Front let me tell you. Nor much of anywhere in the core, the mini lawn at Old City Hall nonwithstanding.

          • Winkee

            No my basic question was trying to get some perspective. Namely, is this some pristine head-water of an endangered ecosystem or is it simply a field? It is, in the end, just a field and it isn’t even being eliminated, it is simply a proposal for a modification that would make it more usable for the activities it has always been used for, mainly sport and recreation.
            The fact that the downtown has little green space is another arugment entirely and won’t be addressed by keep this space grass instead of turf.
            If you want to see some grass within a reasonable distance of Bay and Front consider heading to St James Park (which oddly enough saw Occupy booted because it was “wrecking the grass” and preventing the wealthy neighbours from monopolizing it for dog walking), or Queens park, the Grange, Cloud Gardens or some of the other parks around downtown.
            I am all for more green space downtown and more accessible and useful urban development, but clearly keeping this field grass will do almost nothing to address that and is overshadowing real problems and real opportunities in the meantime.

          • vampchick21

            You’re the one that used the suburbs in your example. Scroll up. Perhaps if you had been just a little clearer in what you were asking initally we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now. And clearly you think I have more than an hour in my workday to go all over downtown to catch some green space. I’m not stupid. I know where the damn parks are.

          • Winkee

            I used it as a sarcastic comparison asking why a field is sparking such an uproar, perhaps I should have been more clear, hence my clarifications.
            Much the same way you misunderstood what I said, it seemed you were saying your only option was the Harbour Front and there were no other green space options around you. I just wanted to point out that St James and the Cloud Gardens are virtually the same distance and the Grange is only another 5 minutes farther.
            Again if everyone is so concerned about planning and green space (and I am as well) what exactly does keeping a field at St George grass do to address the real problem here? This whole controversy reeks of NIMBYism and is not going to do anything for the City let alone Front and Bay.

  • iSkyscraper

    I like Ms. Atwood and enjoyed her calling out the Fords as idiots on libraries. But when it comes to current trends in landscape architecture she is way out of her depth.

    Look, we live in a city. We want there to be open space. We want that open space to be soft and not hard. We want it to be available year-round. These are all truths. The best way to combine them is to use artificial grass on any field that sees any kind of sports use. No one is proposing to pave over High Park or the Toronto Islands in plastic. But this particular field at U of T makes sense to do in turf.

    New York City now has several public parks that use artificial turf. Here is a photo of East River Park, which is downtown and includes playing fields. Note the contrast between the fake grass in the background and the real grass in the foreground. It’s pretty hard to argue with this.

    If there is a desire to keep things as green and healthy as possible, press U of T to use an organic infill (made of coconut and cork) rather than the rubber chips from recycled tires that older artificial fields use.

    U of T is right. Atwood is wrong.

  • dsmithhfx

    I’m sick of plastic. We’re literally choking on it. Fuck the pan am games.

  • OgtheDim

    Pardon me, but I can’t get upset about a potential change to green space at the well endowed downtown university campus, a space that is accessed almost exclusively by students. Fight it out if you must.

    But, this city can’t be bothered to care about developing useful green space for people in the inner suburbs.