How Toronto's Papers Covered A Gold Heist and Legalized Pot Plans

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How Toronto’s Papers Covered A Gold Heist and Legalized Pot Plans

You may need to smoke a joint to make it through yet another transit debate.

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Illustration by Brett Lamb

In Front Page Challenge, Torontoist analyzes the best and worst of Toronto’s major dailies.

Canadians get really excited when anything involving anything from Canada happens anywhere in the world, so yesterday’s daring late-night heist of a 100-kilogram Canadian gold coin from a museum in Berlin is one of the top stories in Toronto’s daily papers this morning, although Toronto’s conservative newspapers are still spluttering over CBC‘s weekend scoop that the Trudeau government is indeed on track to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the country by July 1, 2018. But between stolen gold and Acapulco Gold, which of the city’s papers will win this week’s Front Page Challenge…gold?


globe march 28
The Globe and Mail


The Globe is the only paper to run details of the Berlin gold coin heist on Page One. The massive coin, nicknamed “The Big Maple Leaf” (not to be confused with the recent Frank D’Angelo all-star thriller The Red Maple Leaf) was taken out of the museum in a wheelbarrow, and authorities figure the thieves intend to melt the coin down for the value of the gold which exceeds the face value of $1 million. The central image on the Globe this morning is of an exhibition at Ottawa’s National War Museum commemorating the centenary of the First World War battle of Vimy Ridge. The Globe also reports on the Trudeau government’s approval of a Chinese takeover of a Montreal high-tech firm, a reversal of the Harper government’s attitude towards such transactions.


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National Post


The Post runs a rare front-page cartoon this morning to accompany their feature on the impending end of marijuana prohibition in Canada. Chris Selley‘s commentary piece scolds the federal government for their apparent intentions to set up the licensing and product safety standards and then offload most of the heavy lifting on making this work to the provinces. But the Post‘s concern for the autonomy of provincial governments is undercut by an adjacent story, with Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary promising a new era of federalism where he would do everything in his power to “coerce” the provinces into adopting his economic policies.


star march 28
Toronto Star


GIRLCOTT is the top headline in the Star this morning, with a contract dispute with USA Hockey’s women’s team threatening to derail this Friday’s opening of the World Championship Games unless the inequitable treatment of male and female hockey players is addressed (the men’s team enjoys a year-round support structure that pays them a living wage, but the women’s team is only seasonally active). The Star also reports on Metrolinx’s plan to build a new $100-million dollar GO station in Vaughan despite a report that the planned location would have net negative impacts on the environment and the economy. And Ontario Conservative leader Patrick Brown is in front-page hot water for agreeing to speak at the men-only Cambridge Club, a tone-deaf signal to send out, says Ontario’s minister for the Status of Women.


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Metro Toronto


The massive gold coin heist makes the front of the Metro, but most of the stories on Page One this morning concern the city’s affordable housing market, with a feature on a possible solution to address the crisis, a design innovation out of Chile called the “half-house,” where the full frame of a house is partly left as a blank space to be repurposed by the new owners as they wish. There’s also an interview with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson on his city’s efforts to cool their red-hot housing market and lessons Toronto can learn from this.


Toronto Sun



sun march 28
Toronto Sun


The Sun is steamin’ mad this morning about the movement in Scarborough to revert to the original plan to revive the seven-stop LRT project instead of spending billions of dollars on a one-stop tunnel extension from Kennedy Station to Scarborough Town Centre. In a front-page editorial accompanied by an old-timey photograph of a trolley jam-up on King Street, the Sun calls this renewed LRT talk a dangerous step backward:

Scarborough is a transit ghetto.

Unlike the downtown, where you can get around relatively quickly and easily by subway, streetcar and bus, Scarborough is served by an inefficient network of buses with cumbersome connections to Kennedy station, which at rush hour is always clogged with commuters.

We invite councillors who oppose the subway extension to spend a day trying to get around Scarborough by bus, but warn them to prepare for long rides, waits and a fistful of transfers.

But don’t tell the Sun to smoke a joint and lighten up about all this, because Night Scrawler Joe Warmington is here to kill any and all buzzes with his concerns that Trudeau’s impending marijuana legalization on July 1, 2018 will be known as Cannibis (sic) Day, and worries about the operation of motor vehicles while under the influence of this soon-to-be legal substance. And if that wasn’t enough to harsh your mellow, columnist NARC Bonokoski, who generally scolds Trudeau for breaking promises, is furious at him for apparently keeping one, spluttering with resentment that “the Trudeau Liberals seem bound and determined to table pot legislation in time for the now cult-like obsession of dedicated dope smokers with the Americanized date of 4/20.” The Sun might be surprised at the percentage of their readership that are likely okay with marijuana legalization, but this is perhaps a lesson for another day.


This week’s winner: The jury is giving the trophy this week to the Toronto Sun for reminding Toronto straphangers how cool and stylish public transit in the city used to be, with a great sepia-toned shot of vintage streetcars lined up along King Street.

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Illustration by Brett Lamb


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