How Toronto's Papers Covered Subway Air Pollution and Raptors Fever

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How Toronto’s Papers Covered Subway Air Pollution and Raptors Fever

Sorry Leafs fans.

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Illustration by Brett Lamb

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

It was only two weeks ago that the Toronto Sun‘s famed columnist and man-about-town Joe “Night Scrawler” Warmington declared that Toronto’s sports scene was on fire, with post-season action in hockey and basketball and the Jays and Toronto FC starting their seasons looking to repeat as post-season contenders. “Not even being stuck on the Gardiner Expressway could spoil these good times,” said Warmington. But a fortnight later, his confidence now seems like a hex: the Jays now sport the worst win-loss record in Major League Baseball, the Leafs were tossed out of the first round of the NHL playoffs, and only the Raptors are still breathing post-season air with a big win last night that puts them on the edge of advancing to the conference semifinals. Can any of Toronto’s other papers provide the antidote to the Curse of the Night Scrawler?


globe april 25
The Globe and Mail


The Globe covers the growing trade rift between Canada and the U.S. on two fronts, softwood lumber (with America threatening 20 per cent duties against our exports) and dairy (with new Canadian regulations on milk processing standards threatening the livelihood of American farmers). And Prime Minister Trudeau apparently pushed for an RCMP investigation into leaks of classified cabinet meetings after an internal investigation turned up nothing. The Globe, which has put inspirational coverage of the Raptors on the front page in playoffs past, declines to do so today.


post april 25
National Post


The Post‘s central image this morning commemorates yesterday’s Holocaust Remembrance Day with a story about a project to record the names of a million unnamed Jews murdered in Nazi death camps while there are still people alive who can help to identify them. Columnist Kelly McParland contributes what is hopefully not a “Famous Last Words” column about how the National Front’s Marine Le Pen winning a fifth of all votes cast in the French election and moving on to the second round of presidential voting is proof that Europe’s populist uprising appears to be dying down. The Post, which would sooner put hockey on the front page than basketball most days, has already moved on to the upcoming second round of the NHL playoffs rather than savour last night’s Raptors win.


star april 25

Toronto Star


The Star makes the connection that front-running French presidential nominee Emmanuel Macron is the Justin Trudeau of France: a centrist who presents himself as the youthful candidate of change, up against a right-wing opponent not above courting xenophobia in their quest for power. The Star reports on the high levels of air pollution recorded in Toronto’s subway system, meaning that dying of old age waiting for the next train may not be the leading cause of death for the city’s commuters for much longer. And the Star is the city’s paper doing the biggest Raptor boosting this morning with a feature on “Jurassic Park,” the gathering place outside the Air Canada Centre that has been teeming with fans watching the action on a large video screen.


metro april 25
Metro Toronto


Metro also reports on the air pollution in the subway, and commemorates the one year anniversary of the infernos in Fort McMurray, Alberta (and the lessons learned by firefighters battling the blaze) as the central image. They too celebrate last night’s Raptors victory and they hail yesterday’s return of former president Barack Obama to the world stage, with his first public appearance since the end of his presidency.


sun april 25
Toronto Sun


Columnist Sue-Ann Levy lands the Sun‘s cover this morning with her article about the latest interim CEO of the embattled Toronto Community Housing Corporation to leave the “scandal-plagued” agency. The Sun does find room at the top of the page to hail the Raptors for taking charge of their post-season fate, but our jury has seen much stronger Sun front pages in previous weeks and would have expected them to display more Raptor pride this morning, despite their possible guilt over that recent Warmington column that effectively cursed all of Toronto’s sports teams.


This week’s winner: The Star wins this week for putting Raptors fans front and centre on page one, congratulating them for infusing an otherwise uninspiring downtown public space with their undeniable excitement and enthusiasm.

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Illustration by Brett Lamb


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