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Your Toronto 2014 Issue Navigator

How the candidates compare on some of the city's biggest issues.

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Newsstand: January 8, 2014

Day three of my community mailbox being frozen shut. I'm all out of ideas. Help me. In other, more poignant news: a major ground stop at Pearson results in major delays, the board of trade president wants municipal politicians to get serious, a Google Map of frost quakes, a woman stumbles upon the disturbing history of the Ku Klux Klan in the GTA, and Crime Stoppers tips led to 132 arrests in Toronto last year.

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The Greater Toronto Airports Authority halted all North American arrivals at Pearson International Airport for more than eight hours yesterday due to the extreme cold weather across Toronto. Over half of all yesterday’s arriving flights were cancelled, along with 381 departures, resulting in a backlog of delays that could take days to remedy. Toby Lennox, vice president of strategy development—whatever that means—with the GTTA said that temperatures have never been this extreme, and the -40 C wind chill made it unsafe for ground crews to work outside. It also caused operational problems in some aircraft, thus making the ground stop unavoidable. By contrast, other area airports remained operational, including Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, and Hamilton International Airport. Is it because those other airports are staffed by cyborgs immune to frigid temperatures? Needless to say, if you have a flight planned in the next few days, you’d better check your status online regularly and make allowances for delays, since as of this morning 230 arrivals and 165 departures at Pearson have already been cancelled, with dozens more delayed.

In a speech on Tuesday, the Toronto Region Board of Trade’s President Carol Wilding urged candidates in the upcoming municipal election to get serious about critical issues within the city and abandon the “dramatics and personalities” that resulted in frustration within the business community in 2013. “Our political leaders must enable progress, not hinder it,” said Wilding. Wilding said that issues including transportation, infrastructure, and job creation should be top priority and, although the board of trade is non-partisan, there were clear undertones of frustration with Mayor Rob Ford and the crack scandal that engulfed the better part of last year as Wilding urged candidates to show a higher standard of performance.

Polar vortexes and cryoseisms. Two terms you likely didn’t know existed until a few weeks ago and likely never want to hear again. But just so you can’t forget those booming and unsettling frost quakes, a Toronto graphic designer has made a customized Google Map to record them. Ashley King has been collecting as much information as she can since late last week and is entering it on the Google Map with hopes to eventually sort the entries and find data patterns. So far the map has grown to almost 90 entries. Well, at the very least, there are definitely less productive ways to spend your time.

If you need few more chills up your spine this morning, why not spend a little time reading about the history of the Ku Klux Klan in southern Ontario? Sarah Baumchem lives just outside of Bowmanville, Ontario, and was helping clear out an old wooden barn two and a half years ago when she stumbled upon a box of KKK materials from the late 1910s and 1920s that document the disturbing racialist ideologies of the organization, and chronicle its presence within GTA and surrounding areas. One Torstar News Service article from 1926 describes an open Klan event in Parkdale. It is a dark aspect of Canadian history most people do not know about. Baumchem thinks is worth preserving, even though she is still not quite sure what to do with the documents.

Finally, Toronto Police Deputy Chief Mark Saunders told reporters yesterday that 9,000 tips to Crime Stoppers last year yielded 132 arrests and resulted in 473 charges being laid within the city. The program —which allows people to send anonymous information to police for cash rewards if it leads to an arrest— enters its 30th anniversary this year.

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