News today: the Regent Park Community Centre is opening, another person criticizes a mural at York, traffic and transit woes continue apace, and cigarettes are now more expensive than ever.
The Regent Park Community Centre will celebrate its official opening today at 3 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The centre is part of the Regent Park “revitalization” project and offers fitness and dance facilities, rooftop gardening, adult pottery classes, and more. It’s connected to the Nelson Mandela Park Public School, so that students have easy access to the centre without going outside.
Robert Lantos, a Canadian film producer, has criticized York University and its mural that appears to depict resistance to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. York benefactor Paul Bronfman withdrew his support from the school in January over the same mural. In response to Lantos’ letter, which asks that the mural be removed and calls York an “incubator of hate and violence against the Jewish people,” York president Mamdouh Shoukri responded that the mural is placed in the York University Student Centre, an autonomous legal entity. The student centre recently placed that mural in its permanent collection, and centre chair Gayle McFadden said, “It’s an artistic interpretation of the continued occupation of Palestinian land, but criticism of a state is not criticism of a people; it’s not anti-Semitic.”
Traffic and transit congestion are perennial problems in Toronto and, despite having had the same problems for decades, the people in charge are still struggling to find lasting solutions. One possibility is paying to have tow trucks situated along main roadways in the event that a stalled car or crash threatens to create traffic jams. Reports estimate the cost of congestion is at least $6 billion per year.
The provincial government has increased tax on cigarettes from 13.975 to 15.475 cents per cigarette ($3 per 200-cigarette carton). Critics say the move will push customers to the black market of contraband cigarettes, already possibly the largest in the country, and if that happens the gangs that produce and sell illegal cigarettes stand to profit immensely.