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Canada is officially so great that it's scary

Is Canada the true threat facing America in the 21st century? That's what The Guardian's Sportsblog argues, with its tongue at least partway into its cheek.

The blog takes note of two Toronto products that are menacing their southern counterparts: The resurgent Toronto Blue Jays, who have found themselves on a roll. Then there's the recent dual of diss tracks between Toronto hometown hero Drake and Philadelphia's Meek Mill, which by popular consensus Drake roundly won.

"If Donald Trump truly wants to “Make America Great Again,” he must turn his squinty gaze to the north, to Canada, to America’s true threat," writes the Guardian.

Read the full story here
Source: The Guardian

Chatter mounts around a Toronto Olympics bid

Toronto has a fever, and the cure might be...hosting the 2024 Olympic games? While that remains a matter of local debate, outsiders are beginning to speculate as to what that would mean for the rest of North America.

The Associated Press reports: "North America has not hosted a summer games since 1996 in Atlanta, and from an American perspective, it would still feel like “home country games” with the Canadian government picking up the bills."

Toronto lost to Beijing for the 2008 Olympics, and to Atlanta for 1996. Canada spent $2.5 billion CAN organizing the Pan Am Games.

Read the rest here.
Source: Washington Post


Women's baseball makes historic Pan Am debut

As Toronto hosts the largest and most diverse Pan American Games to-date, history is quietly being made. This week marked the first time women's baseball was played in a large, multi-sport event. 

The New York Times reports: 
There was no live television coverage at the debut, and perhaps only 200 fans saw the first pitch as American left hander Sarah Hudek threw a ball just off the plate to open the game against leadoff hitter Astrid Rodriguez of Venezuela.

"To be here, this is awesome. This is it," said American player Malaika Underwood. "It doesn't matter that we're not on TV. I mean the fact we are out here is the point. When we look back at this, I think we'll appreciate the magnitude."

Read the full story here.
Source: New York Times

Parapan Am Games set to "leave a legacy"

Chefs de Mission from 27 National Paralympic Committees were in Toronto last week for a final meeting in anticipation of August's Parapan Am Games. As the event's Chief Executive Officer of TO2015, Saäd Rafi, told the German-based International Paralympic Committee, the games are poised to "leave a legacy in the Americas." 

The Toronto-hosted Games are set to be history-making, thanks to a few key additions. Among these: a National Paralympic Committee support grant developed to help cover travel costs to and from the Games, and a Parapan American Development Programme to build capacity in sport management, coaching, and developing the capacity of physically and visually impaired  athletes. 

“We continue to be impressed by the preparations for the TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games and the efforts by Canada to create a real legacy from these Games that benefits the entire region of the Americas,” said American Paralympic Committee President Jose Luis Campo.

Among the 15 sports included in the Games will be archery, judo, powerlifiting, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and sitting volleyball.

Source: International Paralympic Committee

Toronto's iconic Fairmont Royal York Hotel sold

The Fairmont Royal York Hotel has a new set of owners.

This week, InVest and KingSett Real Estate Growth LP partnered to buy an 80 percent share of the iconic downtown hotel for C$186.5million, leaving the remaining 20 percent to be held by current owners Ivanhoe Cambridge Inc. The news comes amidst a massive renovation initiative expected to be completed by the end of January 2015.

Bloomberg reports that the hotel was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1929 across from Toronto's Union Station with the intent of becoming the largest hotel in the British Commonwealth.

In a statement published by Market Business News, Managing Director of InnVest, Ed Pitoniak, said:

"We are delighted to partner with KingSett and Ivanhoé Cambridge on what we believe is one of Canada's most prestigious hotel properties. We are also looking forward to extending our relationship with Fairmont.With the nearing completion of the Union Station enhancements, as well as the introduction of the Pearson Airport Rail Link, theFairmont Royal York's location places it at the commercial,cultural and transportation crossroads of Toronto."

Read the whole story here.

Source: Bloomberg.  


Toronto to get an elevated park

"The need to retain public spaces in our cities as they develop and grow requires increasingly ingenuitive thinking. A new development in Toronto shows just that sort of thinking in action," writes Gizmag about Toronto's soon-to-be-developed new green space hovering above the train tracks down near Union Station. 

The park, which will be located at 45-141 Bay Street between two buildings, is the work of real estate company Ivanhoé Cambridge for Metrolinx and is "part of the ongoing development of Union Station. The plans include the addition of a new bus terminal, two office buildings to be constructed standing either side of the rail corridor, and the park area between the buildings," the article says. 

The park will not only connect the buildings, which are designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification, but will provide the city with a public space "for recreation and leisure" while also connecting them to the underground PATH. 

Another article in Bloomberg provides additional context. That article reports that the 2.7 million square foot office complex will cost around $2 billion, with construction set to begin in spring of 2015. 

Read the full story here
Original Source: Gizmag

How Thorncliffe Park's Tandoor oven changed the neighbourhood

It's been a year since the Thorncliffe Park Women's Committee's dream of opening the first tandoor oven in a public park was realized, and the impact is now being seen. 

Sabina Ali moved to the neighbourhoodo in 2008 and she quickly became involved in the community, rallying other mothers and founding the TPWC. "It was the most neglected park, I think, in the city of Toronto," she told CityLab. "I couldn't believe that I was in North America."

But the park isn't like that anymore. Located at R.V. Burgess Park, the oven has created a myriad of positive changes for the neighbourhood and the park itself has been given a new life. It has a playground again, a basketball court, a community garden and a splash pad thanks in no small part to the group's lobbying of city officials to improve the park.

Ali's activism impressed CityLab, who revered her accomplishments. 

"The success of Ali and TPWC shows what a few grassroots activists can accomplish in a relatively short time—especially when they have the patience to do the no-fun work like applying for permits, one of Ali's specialties. It also reveals the organizing power of mothers in a neighborhood that's full of young families," the publication writes.  

Read the full story here
Original source: CityLab

Aga Khan Museum opens this Thursday

The Aga Khan Museum is set to open to the public this Thursday and already international press is taking note. 

"Almost 20 years in the making, the Toronto site is the work of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture which, like a mini Unesco, runs an impressive programme of historic conservation of Islamic architecture around the world and a respected triennial architecture award. The 10,000-square-metre building is the new home for the Aga Khan’s spectacular hoard of Islamic art, more than 1,000 artefacts spanning three continents over 10 centuries, and is the first museum in North America dedicated to the subject," writes the Guardian

The Guardian offers a review and history of the Aga Khan Museum and the neighbouring Ismaili Centre. Both were unveiled last week. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and 77-year-old spiritual leader Aga Khan attended.

The account is quite descriptive.

"The museum is a monolithic shed, its canted walls giving it the look of a gigantic packing box that has been flipped open, with sharply chiselled skylights sliced into its crisp limestone skin. Across a vast pond-studded courtyard, the Ismaili Centre is a cluster of low-slung sandstone buildings, from which emerges a translucent pyramidal roof, ramping up at an angle as if pointing towards the stars. Together, they form an enigmatic complex that has the look of a cosmic observatory, or some mysterious lunar fortress." 

Read the full story here.
Original Source: The Guardian

Toronto has 15th most millionaires in the world

A new survey ranks Toronto 15th globally when it comes to the city’s concentration of millionaires, with one in 44 people—or just over two per cent of our population—considered having net assets of at least $1-million. The figure, the director of the University of Toronto’s Martin Prosperity Institute Richard Florida told the Toronto Star, points to Toronto’s place among world class cities such as New York and London. 

“This is just another indication that Toronto is in the ranks of the most affluent global cities in the world,” he said.

Conducted by WealthInsight, a British think-tank, the survey considered net assets, “excluding the value of one’s primary residence,” the Toronto Star reported. Toronto placed above Venice (16th) and Brussels (17th). At the top was Monaco, followed by Zurich and Geneva. 

But, says Florida, whose work focuses on social and economic theory, this report does not paint a full picture of Toronto as it stands right now. 

“It’s good that Toronto’s developing, it’s good that there’s more millionaires, but we have to take care of the bottom not just the top,” he says. “That’s where we’re not putting enough effort.”

The Toronto Star also interviewed Les Jacobs, director of the Institute for Social Research at York University, who echoed the sentiments. 

“I think that having that wealth is important in terms of competing in the global economy. The real question I guess . . . is the reason that you, the provocative policy issue is really about redistribution and the sharing of that wealth. That’s a trickier question,” he said. 

Still, Jacobs said, the report is indicative of Toronto’s wealth of opportunities and its strength as a city. 

Read the full story here.
Original source:  Toronto Star

Jennifer Keesmaat brings lessons from Toronto to Perth, Australia

Toronto’s chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat delivered a keynote speech at the Planning Institute Australia WA State Conference at the end of July to highlight Toronto’s “shift” to public transit and its mission to improve congestion, all while challenging the constraints of urban sprawl.

Perth and Toronto have different challenges. While Perth expands outward, Toronto’s challenge is to improve conditions within the boundaries of a city that has reached its growth boundary.  Still, Keesmaat said, Australia’s largest city with a population of just under two million could learn a thing or two from Toronto. 

“There might be some interesting lessons learned with respect to how you begin to transform to an advanced form of urbanism once you move away from that approach of continuing to develop in a very suburban way,” she said. 

“We’ve been there and gone down that trajectory over the course of the past 30 years and we’re now at a moment where we are beginning to urbanise our suburbs by focusing on adding mid-rise development along our corridors and by ensuring we have the density we need in order to make transit a real option.”

Toronto and Perth are both maturing cities, Keesmaat said, and as cities mature limits need to be put in place. She told Perth about Toronto’s protected greenbelt which caused a “fundamentally shift the land economics of the region and forced many suburban developers to become urban developers — they changed their game.” But beyond this, the focus of her speech remained on transportation and congestion, and its direct ties to population growth. 

She said planning high-density communities makes transit options more sustainable, the key to reducing traffic congestion in the long run. 

“It’s a zero-sum gain, that if you continue to plan low density communities there will never be environments that can successfully sustain public transit because there simply isn’t the critical mass to make high-frequency transit use work,” she said. 

For more from her speech, read the full story here
Original source: Perth Now

Watch: Paralympic video debuts one year ahead of Pan Am/Parapan Am Games

In one year, Toronto and the surrounding region will become home to the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games and to celebrate the Canadian Paralympic Committee has released a moving video showing three Canadian medal hopefuls practicing for the games.

Featuring 17-year-old swimmer Danielle Kisser, bronze medal winner of the 100 metres breaststoke at the 2011 Games; cyclist Jaye Milley; and wheelchair basketball player David Eng, who was part of the gold medal team at the 2012 London Paralympics; the video harnesses the power of training, hope and passion and turns it into fuel for the forthcoming games. 

Entitled, “Are You Ready?”, the slickly edited video focuses on Parapan athletes as the Toronto Games will feature qualification positions for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. 

"I am hugely confident that Toronto will deliver the best ever Parapan American Games in one year's time," Americas Paralympic Committee (APC) President Jose Luis Campo is quoted as saying. 

"Two years ago, I witnessed how successful the London 2012 Paralympic Games were in Great Britain,” he continues. “I really believe that the Parapan American Games can have a similar impact in Canada in terms of raising the profile of Para-sport and changing perceptions of people with an impairment."

The Pan Am and Parapan Am Games will kick off on August 7, 2015 and will feature 1,600 atheletes from 28 countries and territories. 

Watch the video below.

Read the full story here
Original Source: Inside the Games

Notable Toronto startups team up with Homecoming to lure homegrown talent back to city

A group of significant Toronto startups including Wattpad, Shopify, InteraXon, Bionym, and Freshbooks have teamed up with Toronto Homecoming to launch an event designed to attract Canadians living abroad back to Toronto's "thriving technology startup ecosystem," a release stated. 

"Returning to Toronto was the best career move I've made, giving me the opportunity to join Bionym at such an exciting time," said Andrew D'Souza, President of Bionym, in the release. "The current wave of startup technology companies emerging from this ecosystem have enormous potential and represent trajectory-shifting career opportunities for those looking to take the next step as technology leaders. All of these companies have attracted capital, customers and partners from around the globe -- now they're looking to add world-class talent to build their businesses."

Toronto Homecoming's startup event will feature 10 to 15 startups looking to expand their employee base and entice homegrown talent back to the city. It is estimated some 300,000 Canadians live and work in the Bay Area alone. 

"Toronto Homecoming is excited to partner with startups that have significant momentum, funding and great leadership teams. We believe this new startup stream will attract more talent to Toronto, and Canada," said Andrew Graham, Toronto Homecoming's Co-Chair, in the release. "Toronto Homecoming shows Canada's next generation of world-class companies."

The event takes place October 9-11. Applications are open until August 1. 

Participating startups include:

•    Bionym
•    Shopify
•    WattPad
•    500px
•    Wave
•    Freshbooks
•    Achievers
•    Ecobee
•    WealthSimple
•    FinMaven
•    Soapbox
•    Shoebox
•    Interaxon
•    Tab Payments

For more information and registration click here
Original Source: Market Wired 

Toronto named Intelligent Community of the Year

After months of deliberations, Toronto has been selected as the Intelligent Community of the Year at the Intelligent Community Forum, held in New York last week. 

This comes after years of "knocking on the door," as Network World put it, for many years now. Toronto ranked in the top seven in 2005, 2013, and 2014. The annual title celebrates cities that use smart IT infrastructure to grow communities, create jobs, and contribute to economic growth, among other things. 

"Toronto was selected because it performed impressively against a set of diverse criteria and focused its academic, creative and private sectors, as well as its City Council leadership on the work and continued success of the entire community. In our view, Toronto offers a glimpse of how to flourish in the new economy and of how to adjust to the changes of the digital era," said ICF co-founder Lou Zacharilla in a press release.

Zacharilla also apparently called Toronto "New York City with manners."

Really, it was the efforts of Waterfront Toronto that solidified this year's crown. The organization has been pushing to make Toronto's contributions in this realm known. Waterfront Toronto's forthcoming "innovation district" will "provide 12,000 new residences with 100 Mpbs broadband to individual homes, and 10 Gbps networking to businesses…with the goal of providing design and media companies in Toronto with the highest transmission rates in the world," Network World reports. 

"This is a significant win for Toronto; one that recognizes the great efforts made in the city to work together on using information technology to create jobs, attract investment and make us more competitive," said Toronto Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly in the press release. "The work of Waterfront Toronto to collaborate with government, businesses, and the education and research community is helping establish Toronto's waterfront as an example of how to use future-ready information and communication infrastructure to attract jobs and residents."

Read the full story here
Original Source: Network World

Turning vacant lots into mobile urban farms

Toronto-based nonprofit the Bowery Project was highlighted in a recent article for its forward-thinking approach to urban farming and for taking advantage of vacant lots. 

The Fast Company article describes the Bowery Project as follows: "Using a simple modular system built from milk crates, a new Toronto nonprofit plans to convert vacant city lots into instantly mobile urban farms that can supply neighborhoods with local produce."

The Bowery Project, founded by Rachel Kimel and Deena DelZotto, works with the city of Toronto and various developers to maximize space in the city and use it for good.

“If developers buy a piece of land, usually there’s a long period of time where the land sits vacant until they’ve gotten permits, finished their designs, and raised the money they need,” Kimel explains in the article. “We’re hoping to be kind of a transformative application for an interim project for these lots."

The food will be split three ways with one third going to local hunger organizations, another to the volunteers who work on the farm, and the last will be sold to local chefs to help sustain the organization. "They expect that chefs will request specific food items that are otherwise difficult to get in Toronto, such as shishito peppers," the article says. 

Kimel and DelZotto met while volunteering at another local food access organization, the Stop.

“We love the energy that comes along with growing food,” Kimel says in the article. “We wanted to engage the community and transform a part of the neighborhood that would otherwise be left as concrete and weeds.”

Read the full story here
Original Source: Fast Company

Toronto named world's most resilient city

Toronto has been named the best city for real estate investment because of its ability to "bounce back from an adverse event," according to a new report issued by the London-based Grosvenor.
Resilient cities are defined by their abilities to "thrive as centres of human habitation, production and cultural development, despite the challenges posed by climate change, population growth and globalization." Resilience, the report says, urgently needs to be rethought due to the pressures placed on cities by economic and population growth.
The report ranked the top 50 cities internationally according to their vulnerabilities (climate, environment, resources, infrastructure, and community), as well as their "adaptive capacity" (governance, institutions, technical and learning, planning systems, and funding structures). 
Toronto came out on top, followed by two other Canadian cities: Vancouver and Calgary. "Canadian cities have a strong combination of low vulnerability and high adaptive capacity. There is a high level of resource availability, and Canadian cities are well governed and well planned," the report says. 
Although Toronto received top rankings, it was not issued a case study as other cities, including Vancouver and New York City, were. "Toronto is no stranger to the importance of resiliency, having endured natural disasters such as the 1998 ice storm and even Hurricane Hazel, in 1954," Richard Barkham, Grosvenor’s Group research director, instead said in a press release.
"The investment of city leaders in infrastructure and its commitment to upgrading it over the decades has put Toronto at the top of Grosvenor’s list of the world’s most resilient cities. Canada, as a whole, is doing exceptionally well in developing resiliency."
Read the full report here
Original Source: Grosvenor
135 City Building Articles | Page: | Show All
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