lllustration by Clayton Hanmer/Torontoist.
Cover your ears! No, seriously. Because Tasers didn’t make enough headlines, and tear gas is getting old, Toronto Police will be trying out a more obnoxious gadget—some say “non-lethal weapon”—during the G20. The SOUND CANNON will be affronting the senses of protesters, and anyone in its 600- to 1,500-metre path. Designed for the U.S. Navy, long-range acoustic devices, or LRADs, can blare out sounds at such a high frequency that they surpass the pain threshold. Police say the LRADs will be used mostly as a “communication tool.” Makers of the device say that if used responsibly, which it wasn’t at last year’s Pittsburgh summit, it shouldn’t cause permanent hearing damage. G20 protester Albert Petrarca, who as at that summit, likens the pain to a “root canal,” and said “It sounds like the most annoying car alarm ever.”
Mayoral candidate George Smitherman will be unveiling his vision for transportation in the city today. His ten-year plan, called “Get Toronto Moving Again,” will include subway and LRT expansions, as well as free rides for seniors between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. London has been waiving seniors’ fares for the past few years, an initiative transit consultant Ed Levy calls “a bit extreme.” Said former TTC Chair Howard Moscoe (councillor, Ward 15, Eglinton-Lawrence): “I would run like hell from any candidate that made that promise.” Seniors brought in more than thirty million dollars in TTC revenue last year. So how’s he going to pay for it all? Well, not by collecting road tolls.
Maybe Furious George will be financing his platform promises with a new side-gig as funny man. Anyone looking for a laugh (here’s hoping) can catch him on stage at tonight’s installment of Second City, themed after the election. Second City for Mayor debuted with Giorgio Mammoliti in the spotlight. Other candidates try to be funny at upcoming shows. Check back to see how Smitherman fared as comedian in the next few days.
And speaking of mayors, the summits, and public transit, but definitely not of anything funny, Mayor David Miller stuck it to Ottawa over the frightening billion-dollar tab the G8/G20 will rack up in a weekend. At a news conference of mayors of twenty-two Canadian cities, Miller said the money could have been invested in ten thousand jobs, affordable housing, or transit, which would have served Torontonians for a century. Miller also pointed out that it would have been cheaper to hold the event at Exhibition Place, instead of smack in the centre of downtown. PM Stephen Harper and PM-wannabe Michael Ignatieff are slated to speak in front of Miller and 1,500 others today, as part of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities meeting, which continues this weekend.
Go in a little chubby; come out frail, jaundiced, and balding. That’s what happened to feline Shaninya after she enjoyed a stay at the Toronto Humane Society last year. The heads of the THS were slapped with dozens more animal cruelty charges. Former THS president Tim Trow, current pres Bob Hambley, and the entire board of directors, save one, were all hit. The new charges mostly surround cats found in rough shape by the OSPCA last fall. All of this comes before a court-monitored election for new leadership on May 31. Said board lawyer Frank Addario, “Charges being laid during a contested election have a brackish odour”—a smell probably not unlike that inside the shelter.
And last, but not least to many, the iPad goes on sale at Apple stores today at 8 a.m. That’s two hours before the Eaton Centre, home of the flagship store, even opens, because techies and those who don’t like reading words on paper can’t wait like normal people. So if you haven’t hopped the border to get one yet, now’s your chance to stand in a line the length of the reach of a sound cannon and drop five hundred bucks.