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Real City Matters

Join us Tuesday night for a discussion about municipal ethics in Toronto

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Weekend Newsstand: March 8, 2014

Happy International Women's Day, everyone! Hug a woman today or, if you want to be really useful, help tear down the patriarchy (or racism, or transphobia). Us ladies sure would appreciate it. Other news stories today: Madonna's Toronto gym is overpriced and bizarre, a woman gave birth on Queen Street this morning, and some possible solutions to the city's public housing crisis.

matt newsstand gull


Madonna owns a gym with several locations, and one of those locations is in Toronto. There are people paying to work out in “cardio training class[es] wherein participants wear stiletto heels” that were maybe put together by Madonna (the classes, not the shoes) while finding affordable housing is a constant struggle for many of the city’s residents. So, if you’re ever feeling down about yourself, just remember that it could be worse. You could be paying $50 for a single day in Madge’s gleaming fitness complex, where you will be encouraged to get “addicted to sweat.”

A woman began giving birth on Queen Street West near Lansdowne Avenue early Saturday morning before attempting to continue walking down the street. Around 5 a.m. emergency crews were called to the area, where “several people spotted a crying baby emerging from between her legs.” The baby was delivered on the street and now both mother and child are healthy and in hospital.

As part of a new series involving some of the city’s “hidden experts” (“people within organizations who are the eyes and ears on the ground”), the Toronto Star spoke with three such people about affordable housing in Toronto. Nicole Stewart of the City’s Affordable Housing Office, Lindsay Denise of the Co-Operative Housing Federation of Toronto, and Neil Pattison of the Daniels Corporation all shared their thoughts on how to make it more affordable to live in Toronto. Denise—perhaps predictably, given where she works—suggested co-ops as a way to give tenants more control over their lives. Co-ops are non-profit, which means rent only goes up to cover operating costs. Pattison suggested a better mix of commercial and residential development and lowering fees on developers in the hopes that such savings would be passed on to renters or buyers. Given Toronto’s red-hot housing market and the extortionate rates people are paying, that last suggestion seems less than likely. Stewart’s big idea was actually a small idea: build micro-homes for far less money than regular-sized housing. Around half the names on the waiting list for public housing are waiting on one-bedroom units, which means they might be just as happy in a small detached home. Whatever mix of answers end up working, it’s imperative for Toronto to get working on making it affordable to live in the city.

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