Newsstand: November 10, 2014




Newsstand: November 10, 2014

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the "Mississauga Miracle," a train derailment that led to North America's second-largest evacuation. All under Hazel McCallion's watch during her first year in office. Not all the news is as exciting as that, but we try to make it interesting nonetheless: an organization bringing people to visit incarcerated loved ones needs financial help, Waterfront Toronto announces a new project, Homeless Connect Toronto reaches out to the city's most vulnerable, and a TTC bus crash killed one person and injured several others.

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A crash involving a TTC bus left one person dead and several others injured Sunday morning. The 96 Wilson bus was moving down Westhumber Boulevard when it collided with a Nissan Altima, then moved through the intersection before driving into the front of a CIBC bank. One passenger from the Altima died; there were three people in the car. There were just six passengers on the bus, some of whom were able to walk off the bus unassisted, while others were carried off on backboards in case of spinal injuries.

Jessica and Derek Reid are a father-daughter duo who try to alleviate some of the stress involved in having a loved one incarcerated through their organization F.E.A.T. for Children of Incarcerated Parents. The organization has a number of services, one of which is a bus that takes families on the sometimes hours-long trip to visit those in penitentiaries and provincial jails in Ontario. They offer the service for just $35 per round trip, a huge discount compared to the commercial services that might cost more than $100 for the same trip. Now the organization needs a new bus, which would set them back $70,000.

Waterfront Toronto is launching a “call for ideas” directed at redesigning both the ferry docks and terminal, and the stretch of waterfront surrounding the docks. Design suggestions should also include a planned park at the foot of Yonge Street. The shortlist of design firms is expected to be decided on in the next month, with proposals to be shown to the public by late winter. This new project, kicked off with a video advertising Toronto as a changing city with changing people and needs, has no known budget and is being introduced at the same time that a project shelved early in Rob Ford’s mayoralty is now back on track: a pedestrian bridge linking King Street to Fort York. However, Councillor Pam McConnell (Ward 28, Toronto Centre-Rosedale) said the City can pay for this new project “in bite-sized chunks” from funds already dedicated to parkland acquisition and maintenance.

Homelessness can mean many things in Toronto. There are the people living on the street, visibly homeless. There are also the people whose housing status is insecure, and those who have a place to live but can afford very little after paying their rent. Homeless Connect Toronto offered services to all of these people on Sunday, including buses to bring them to the event from the west and east ends. About 500 people attended. At the event, professionals volunteered their services to offer attendees haircuts, eye care, bicycle repair, child care, financial counselling, library services, and more. Among the most-demanded services were foot care, eye care, and haircuts: all things that can be of utmost importance in finding a job or moving unnoticed in everyday life. Missing a bus or filling out a form incorrectly due to vision problems, for example, can have disastrous consequences for those without secure housing or work. Melody Li, organizer of Homeless Connect Toronto, said she hopes to make the event semi-annual.