Newsstand: January 22, 2013




Newsstand: January 22, 2013

In which your writer gets her pun on. In the news: the province backs down on Bill 115; young adults are leading a boom in the downtown core; people get mad about strollers, again; Princess Margaret Hospital gets a sizeable donation; when it comes to real estate in Toronto, it actually could be worse; and Riverdale gives Tragically Hip Way a run for its money by honouring its own famous musicians.

The Ontario government will repeal Bill 115, but teachers say that the largely symbolic move—the two-year contracts imposed on Ontario public-school teachers remain in place—doesn’t solve the problems that have lead to organized one-day work actions in schools across the province. “It’s not going to change anything — it still doesn’t resolve any fundamental issues or concerns that both school boards and certain bargaining units would have,” said Ontario Public School Boards’ Association President Michael Barrett. Teachers’ unions have said that they’ll review the decision asking members not to run extracurriculars in schools on March 1 and are waiting until a new provincial Liberal leader is chosen to decide what comes next in their ongoing dispute with the Province over contracts and funding.

Thanks in large part to Echo Boomers—born between 1972 and 1992—the population in Toronto’s downtown core has more than tripled in the past five years, according to a report by TD Bank released on Monday. The Echoers’ desire to live close to where they work and spend their free time is a reverse of their parents’ moves to the suburbs. “There’s been a surge in construction of mixed-use communities in Toronto, which is attracting a more youthful, urban crowd who don’t want a long commute,” said Francis Fong, author of the TD report. “They want to be close to their jobs, surrounded by great restaurants and night life. They want the whole nine yards.” Echo Boomers are now the largest age group in the country and make up close to half of the population in the city’s downtown core, which is encouraging businesses to follow their lead and increasingly locate their offices downtown instead of in the burbs. And yes, this means that people born as late as 1992 are living on their own. Bet you feel old now.

Gird yourself for another kids-versus-no-kids battle, Torontonians, one that could make the fight over strollers in brunch hotspots seem tame. Because of a rider complaint, the TTC is looking at the issue of strollers on crowded streetcars and buses. Elsa La Rosa spoke before the 11-person transit commission on Monday, asking them to impose a $2 charge per stroller and limit the number allowed on buses during peak hours. TTC chair Karen Stintz and head Andy Byford don’t seem too keen on the idea, but the discussion has already heated up on Twitter. Neither official commented on the irony of the suggestion coming just as the city kicked off Red Tape Awareness Week.

In news that should just make everyone feel happy, not contentious, philanthropist and very wealthy person Emmanuelle Gattuso has made a $50-million donation—the largest private gift for cancer research in Canada—to Princess Margaret Hospital in support of personalized medicine, which uses the genetic information from individual patients to delivery highly specified diagnoses and treatments. Gattuso, who made the donation with her husband Allan Slaight, was herself successfully treated for breast cancer at Princess Margaret. The donation, spread over 10 years, will support the hiring and research of more cancer specialists at the hospital.

Looking to enter Toronto’s spendy real-estate market? You can take some comfort in the fact that it’s Vancouver, not our city, that ranks as the second-least-affordable housing market in the world, bested only by Hong Kong and followed by Sydney. The bad news is that Toronto actually became less affordable, while Vancouver became more affordable, though that may come as cold comfort if you’re looking to buy on the west coast of the country. Perhaps we should all consider moving to Detroit, ranked the most affordable major market in the world.

Try and you just might get your own roadway: Blue Rodeo will soon have their own street in Riverdale, connecting Jack Layton Way to the future Bridgepoint Drive near Gerrard Street and Broadview Avenue. Fans will soon be able to get lost together on Blue Rodeo Drive, so named because of the band’s ties to the Riverdale neighbourhood. Bad timing on the announcement, maybe, as construction won’t begin until 2014, once prisoners at the Don Jail are already gone and moved to a new detention centre in Etobicoke. No word on if the honour has hit the band’s members yet. (You’re welcome.)