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Posts Filed Under: Cityscape


Torontoist Explains: How Extreme Cold Weather Alerts Work

It's another frigid day, and the Chief Medical Officer of Health has issued a cold weather alert. Here's what that means.

Photo by Half my Dad's age from the Torontoist Flickr Pool

Photo by Half my Dad’s age from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Last winter was exceptionally brutal for Torontonians.

February 2015 was the city’s coldest month on record, with the lowest temperature dropping to -25.5 C (-40 C with the wind chill). This explains why 23 days got extreme cold weather alerts. And January 2015 wasn’t much better. Two homeless men were found dead—one inside a bus shelter and the other in an abandoned panel truck—all in less than a 24-hour period. These incidents fuelled protests at City Hall and led Mayor Tory to call on drop-in centres to extend their hours to ensure that no one is left out on the street during days of extreme cold.

Trying to inform the public about frigid weather conditions isn’t new. Toronto first implemented its extreme cold weather alert system during the winter of 1996-1997 in response to the increased number of homeless people who needed services. Over the years, the city has maintained this system—alerting Torontonians about when to stay home and bundle up.

We spoke with Rajesh Benny, a manager at Toronto Public Health, and he helped us understand how these extreme cold weather alerts function.

Keep reading: Torontoist Explains: How Extreme Cold Weather Alerts Work


City Labour Negotiations Continue as Union Offers Proposal

Union leaders stress job insecurity faced by workers.

CUPE photo flickr

Photo by OFL Communications Board on Flickr.

City workers who provide some of Toronto’s most essential services face so much job insecurity that many are left waiting for a phone call to tell them when they next work, union leaders told the media Wednesday.

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 79 President Tim Maguire and Matt Alloway, bargaining committee representative for CUPE Local 416, say many of these workers have been employed by the City of Toronto for years. The bargaining process, which has been ongoing since October, could affect rights and benefits for City workers in ongoing negotiations.

Keep reading: City Labour Negotiations Continue as Union Offers Proposal


Flushing Toronto’s Traffic Congestion With Gusto

Movie mayor Bert Xanadu on ending traffic wars—the 1973 way.

It’s been said that the word “traffic” is derived from an Ancient Greek prefix meaning “unlanceable boil.”

As God is my witness, I will lance Toronto’s boil.

Man may have stopped going to the moon, but that shouldn’t mean that other forms of transportation, such as the automobile, should return to their pre-Edwardian speeds. As your Mayor, I would sooner take my inspiration from Steve McQueen than from NASA.

Keep reading: Flushing Toronto’s Traffic Congestion With Gusto



Queen and Dovercourt Starbucks Closes, “Drake You Ho” Culprit Still at Large

Have we solved the mystery of the "Drake You Ho" graffiti?

Torontonians are devastated—devastated!—to find out that a cherished local landmark is closing. That’s right, the news is just beginning to settle that the Starbucks at Queen and Dovercourt will close on February 19th, and make way for the Natrel Milk Bar. Every caterpillar must become a butterfly, Toronto.

Just before its 2005 opening, the Queen and Dovercourt Starbucks was famously graffitied with the phrase “Drake you ho this is all your fault.” Which stealth activist railed against corporate interests? Who dared to speak truth to caffeinated power? Who was this city’s Dark No Foam Knight?

After a decade of investigation by a team of 33 barista-journalists, a week of extraordinary rendition, and many many skinny vanilla cappuccinos, we believe we have unearthed a memo that reveals the true culprit.

Keep reading: Queen and Dovercourt Starbucks Closes, “Drake You Ho” Culprit Still at Large



How to Help Syrian Refugees Without Donating Money

Refugees need your time, expertise, and stuff—not just your funding.

There’s no shortage of love for Syrian refugees in Toronto, but knowing how to channel that desire to help can be tricky. It becomes especially confusing when you want to offer support and don’t have a wealth of disposable income.

To help you navigate the vast refugee support network, we’ve compiled some ways to pitch in that don’t involve opening up your wallet.

Keep reading: How to Help Syrian Refugees Without Donating Money