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cityscape

Our Friendly Neighbourhood Spiderman Spun a Web in Kensington Market

A web on the web!

Spiderman

BY: Toronto Spiderman
LOCATION: Bellevue Park
PHOTO BY: Ian Siu-Ming Lawrence
FIELD NOTES: We may not be the Daily Bugle, but Spiderman is still making headlines. Frequently seen skateboarding around town, our local Spiderman has been witnessed spinning webs approximately the size of Bellevue Park in Kensington Market. This tangled web he wove isn’t traditional graffiti—we see it more as urban intervention or an elaborate yarn bomb. The real question: is this an entertaining use of the space or an inconvenience to the park? Is Toronto Spiderman an eccentric gentleman having some innocent fun or a menace to the city? Is he a superhero or super-zero? Tune in next week, same spidey time, same spidey channel!

Once a week, Vandalist features some of the most interesting street art and graffiti from around Toronto. Find something great? Email vandalist@torontoist.com.

cityscape

Five Things You Need to Know about the Bloor Bike Lanes

Council votes on the pilot project next month.

There’s a development in the seemingly endless battle for bike lanes on Bloor Street, and it comes in the form of a City Council vote next month. If approved, temporary bike lanes will dawn the Annex-Bloor region, running between Shaw Street and Avenue Road this summer.

The project, however, is no more than a pilot—as mayor John Tory has strongly emphasized as a condition of his support—and is aimed at evaluating the impacts of cycling infrastructure along the downtown thoroughfare. As such, the pilot project is subject to removal if the lanes are deemed detrimental to the flow of traffic.

In light of the approaching vote, here’s what you need to know about the current proposal, and the long and winding road that got us here.

Keep reading: Five Things You Need to Know about the Bloor Bike Lanes

cityscape

Community Housing Tenants Weigh in on Mayor’s TCHC Task Force

As City staff wraps up a series of public consultations, the public is still divided on what Toronto's new community housing model should look like.

Photo by Greg's Southern Ontario from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Photo by Greg’s Southern Ontario from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Robert Frederickson is ready for change. Last Saturday, he, along with more than 100 other tenants, gathered at the 519 Church Street Community Centre, eager to have their thoughts heard about changes to Toronto Community Housing.

Over the last two weeks, Toronto City staff has been meeting with the public in different communities to gauge how they feel about the recommendations put forth by the Mayor’s task force on Toronto Community Housing in January. The last of the consultations took place Monday, and for most of the community, particularly TCH tenants, there’s no question that social housing is past due for an overhaul.

What that change should look like, however, is still a topic of debate. At the 519, some tenants were frustrated with what they saw in the report, while others were anxious about the unknown outcomes of the proposed changes. Perhaps Frederickson was the more optimistic of the bunch, relieved that any change was on the horizon.

“We’ve been trying to get real changes, and we’ve been promised stuff before but nothing happens,” said Frederickson, a Scarborough resident who’s lived in community housing since 1997. “This report is the first time I’ve really seen something that shows they’re serious about improving the system. I’m just waiting to see what the City comes up with.”

Keep reading: Community Housing Tenants Weigh in on Mayor’s TCHC Task Force

cityscape

Second Toronto LGBTQ Transitional Home to Open in 2017

Construction for the proposed shelter, run by Egale, will begin this fall.

For 10 years, activists lobbied City Council to support Toronto’s LGBTQ youth. Far too many, they said, were living on the streets, without a place to call home. Statistics proved their concerns to be true: on any given night, up to 2,000 young people across the city are homeless, with 460—nearly a quarter—of them identifying as LGBTQ.

Years passed, and finally, in 2015, the City voted in favour of funding shelters for queer youth—the first of which, the YMCA Sprott House for LGBTQ youth and allies, opened in January.

Now, construction on yet another LGBTQ transitional home is in the works.

Keep reading: Second Toronto LGBTQ Transitional Home to Open in 2017

cityscape

Making Toronto a Better Home for Bees

Toronto was just named Canada's first Bee City–what that means for the dwindling population of pollinators.

Photo by {RuthMaria} from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Photo by {RuthMaria} from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

The long-term prognosis of bee populations has been a hot topic of discussion of late within the environmental community. While these flying critters are vital to human survival due to their work as pollinators, beekeepers and scientists alike are alarmed by the increasingly common problem of colony collapse disorder. Scientists have singled out neonicotinoids, or neonics, a form of pesticide that became common in the 1990s, as a major contributor to this problem. Following the revelation that 58 per cent of Ontario’s honeybee population died over the winter of 2013-2014–far exceeding the “normal” die-off rate of 15 per cent, and more than double the Canadian average of 25 per cent–the provincial government vowed to take action. Subsequently, on July 1, 2015, Ontario implemented new rules designed to reduce the amount of farmland utilizing neonics by 80 per cent come 2017. In doing this, the province became the first in Canada to pass such legislation.

While this legislation promises to help stabilize bee populations in rural Ontario, there is an active movement to improve conditions within urban communities. This past week, Toronto was proclaimed Canada’s first “Bee City.” Based on a motion introduced by Councillor Michelle Holland (Ward 35, Scarborough Southwest) and passed unanimously by City Council, this designation brings with it a number of concrete measures.

Keep reading: Making Toronto a Better Home for Bees