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Toronto went viral with a body positive campaign, Bowie songs, and winter beach sculptures

Toronto went viral with a body positive campaign, Bowie songs, and weather stations

This city has officially outdone itself, making news all over the world and trending on YouTube, since last week. What’s making Toronto so famous right now?
  1. NOW Magazine’s body positive photoshoot from the recent Love Your Body issue has gone viral. The photographer Tanja Tiziana has pulled together an amazing photoshoot filled with happy people loving the skin they’re in. It’s being picked up by Buzzfeed, People.com, UK Daily Mail and Huffington Post, and other media in Italy, Netherlands and probably everywhere else by now. Thumbs up and congratulations on this phenomenal work.
  2. The AGO hosted Choir!Choir!Choir! who sang Space Oddity and took our breath away. It’s only the most beautiful video you’ll see this week.
  3. Toronto's winters keep getting better. Winter Stations, a public art and design competition now in its second year, has turned Toronto’s lifeguard stations into magical winter beach sculptures, writes Slate. If you have missed the announcement, check out the winners of the competition here.
Have we missed anything else that made Toronto world-famous this past week? Let us know in the comments section below.


Toronto named seventh-best city to visit in 2016 by The New York Times

2016 is off to a good start for Toronto. The New York Times has included Toronto on its list of the 52 places to visit in 2016, and named the city Canada’s premier destination, ahead of Vancouver and Montreal. 

To make that list, The New York Times contacted dozens of contributing writers, aiming for “a selection of places that we expect to be particularly compelling in the coming year; reasons might include a museum opening, a new transportation option or a historical anniversary.” The new Queens Quay bike and pedestrian paths, The Junction’s live music and coffee shops, and the new UP Express train were mentioned among the reasons why Toronto would make a particularly compelling travel destination in 2016.

What to do in Toronto? Torontonians weigh in.

It’s terrific to see Toronto on the list, and it is even more interesting to dig into the suggestions that have been pouring in from the locals on fun things to do in Toronto. Here’s our shortlist! You can read more here, and add your own:

1.  “Check out Yorkville for art, culture, shopping, cafes, restaurants and an eclectic mix of people architecture and fun. One of Toronto's most exciting neighbourhoods. Yorkville is a mix of Victorian houses surrounded by interesting architecture and was once the home of the Riverboat club where the likes of Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young and many other performed. The neighbourhood still retains its creative energy.”  Asko Marjanovic

2. “The 501 Streetcar: Toronto has the largest and busiest streetcar network in North America and getting on any east/west route will take you somewhere interesting. Some highlights are the Trinity Bellwoods neighbourhood and park, Kew Beach, Riverdale/ Leslieville, Parkdale...and so much in between. These neighbourhoods offer their own glimpses of different aspects of life in Toronto, like the lakeside boardwalk at Kew Beach; the charming character and amazing cultural diversity of the Parkdale retail strip; the foot of hipster paradise - Ossington Ave. - just west of Trinity Bellwoods, itself a busy urban park; all the busy and eclectic new bakeries, restaurants and cafes of South Riverdale.” Justin Powers

3. “Visit Graffiti Alley, between Queen St. W and Richmond. Bordered by Spadina and Portland.” Dian Emery

4. “Discovery Walks - these are paths and trails throughout Toronto that provide beautiful scenery and some quiet time; whether it is the walk along the Humber River or trail along the Don River, which provides some surprises along the way.” Cheryl-Anne Scott

5. “Go on a Jane's Walk in honour of Jane Jacobs. See a new viewpoint of Toronto at Tommy Thompson Park. Find creative inspiration at CreativeMornings Toronto. Get some sun in any season at Sugar Beach. Try the naan at the R.V. Burgess Park Tandoor Oven. Play some shinny at the Sorauren Park natural ice rink with the hosers. Enjoy a beachfront campfire at Kew Gardens Beach. Take a laneway tour with The Laneway Project. Retrace the path of the Garrison Creek with the Homegrown National Park Project. Watch salmon swim upstream via the Humber, Don & Highland watersheds/ “ — Kyle Baptista

Photo credit: Jody Sugrue. Check out more of her photography on Instagram.

DriverLab: a high-tech simulator to test older drivers

The Economist has taken note of a Toronto startup called DriverLab, which holds out high-tech hope for elderly drivers who are at risk of losing their licenses. DriverLab is founded on the idea that maybe elderly drivers can be given a more fine-grained test, so that instead of risking losing their license completely, they might simply face restrictions on their driving as their abilities dictate - for instance, no driving at night, or driving for short distances only.

The trick is in constructing the test itself. That’s why DriverLab has built a unique test rig that has more in common with flight simulators than more driving simulators. The company has taken an Audi S3, removed the engine, mounted the chassis on a turntable, and hooked the whole thing up to panoramic projectors that can not only simulate a variety of driving situations, but shine realistic lights on the driver in a way that computer screens alone can’t. Will the government consent to this kind of reverse-graduated licensing? It’s too soon to tell - but now they can give it a test drive.

Read more here.

U of T researchers blame Jupiter for ejecting another planet

At Fox News, University of Toronto physicists have drawn notice for speculating that our solar system once had an extra planet, a gaseous body that - it seems - was ejected from our solar system by either Jupiter or Saturn. A planetary ejection occurs when a planet, or other body, accelerates so fast, it breaks free of the gravitational pull of the star that it’s orbiting - typically, after having a close encounter with another large body. The U of T teams arrived at their conclusions by studying the orbits of nearby planets and their moons; in this case, the evidence points towards Jupiter as the prime suspect. The results were published in The Astrophysics Journal.

Read more here. 

Toronto's Miss World Canada makes waves

Toronto’s Anastasia Lin, an actor who’s outspoken on human rights and who won the Canada Miss World crown in 2015, is attracting global attention as she attempts to attend the pageant's global finals in China. The Los Angeles Times reports that Lin, who has taken parts in film and TV productions that highlight human rights issues, including corruption and persecution, has not received the documentation that’s required to enter China, even as her trip looms. Now, she’s speaking out about her fears that her outspokenness on rights issues has blacklisted her from entering the country. “This is not just about me – it is a matter of principle,” she tells the Times.

Read more here.

Blue Jays offence a potential 2016 force

The Toronto Blue Jays might have wrapped the edge-of-seat postseason that had the world's ball-watching eyes poised on Toronto, but the local MLB team's all-star lineup is still making headlines. The Associated Press reports that the team's spellbinding offence could well return for 2016, adding, “if Toronto chooses, it can bring back all nine everyday players from the lineup that finished as the runaway leader in runs scored.”

Read the rest here.
Source: Associated Press

Toronto Public Library tweet-fights for the home team

The MLB playoff series between the Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals (which resulted in a heartbreaking Jays loss last Friday night) brought about a bit of flavour beyond bat flip GIFs. The public libraries for each team's respective hometowns took to Twitter to duke it out for the home team, offering a cheeky show of civic pride.

Read the rest here.
Source: NPR.

Toronto's diversity, waterfront, lauded in Pittsburgh news

Toronto's ongoing waterfront revitalization has caught the attention of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, pointing out that Pittsburgh has made similar strides in highlighting its own waterfront. The key difference, as one might imagine, is in the Toronto development's massive $1.5 billion scale.

As writer Christine H. O'Toole puts it:
The lake was always great. The problem was the lakefront, which by the mid-20th century was a polluted industrial relic blocked by the Gardiner Expressway. With its central portion complete, the plan that waterfront designers call “the new blue edge” is expanding along the East Bayfront, adding glistening towers, parks, and promenades that accommodate the city’s explosive growth.

You’ve heard about that, right? How Toronto now boasts 240 ethnic groups and speaks 140 languages? As Post-Gazette reporter Mark Roth reported last year, 49 percent of its 6 million residents were born in another country. The Queen’s Quay crowds are so completely multinational it’s almost impossible to guess what country you’re actually in.

Read the rest here.
Source: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

U of T political scientist contextualizes Trudeau's pragmatic takeover

University of Toronto political scientist Peter Loewen was called upon to help make sense of Canada's new Liberal government for the New York Times. Following the party's sweeping Monday night victory, the newspaper explained how Justin Trudeau's course would mark a departure from Canada's partisan, Conservative decade under the leadership of Stephen Harper. According to Loewen, “it is unlikely that the Conservatives will be able to spoil the general good will at least in the short term.”

He added: “I suspect when Stephen Harper sat down in the prime minister’s office for the first time, he didn’t blink. It’s clear now that we underestimate Justin Trudeau at our peril.”

Read the rest here.
Source: New York Times.


Blue Jays fandom a national affair

This week, the New York Times wrote up the seemingly improbable national support garnered by the much-loved Toronto Blue Jays.

Reporter David Waldstein writes:
Canada, a nation of some 35 million, has only one Major League Baseball team, with the Expos having moved to Washington in 2005. Some Canadians may prefer the Minnesota Twins, the Seattle Mariners or the Boston Red Sox, but from Vancouver to Moose Jaw to Witless Bay just south of here, the Blue Jays are the home team.

The account opens with a scene from St. John's, which the writer aptly points out is closer to Portugal's Azores than it is to Toronto yet still very much Blue Jays country.

Read the whole charming account here.
Source: New York Times.


Local professor suggests exostructures as the way to a greener urban future

Inverse, a digital magazine about futurism, profiles the University of Toronto’s Daniel Calero Jimenez, an urbanist who has mooted the idea of making cities more green and symbiotic by covering buildings in “exostructures” - external sheathes built around the existing building, that can create microclimates inside. With the use of advanced glass and ventilation systems to exchange air, exostructures could offer a better way to integrate a building with the environment around it. “You can think of it like a high-tech, low-energy greenhouse that can be built around buildings to keep them in optimal temperatures,” Calero Jimenez tells the magazine.

Read the full story here
Source: Inverse

Toronto YouTube star Lily Singh breaks big

The Los Angeles Times has profiled Toronto’s own Lilly Singh, a bona fide YouTube superstar, with more than 6.7 million subscribers on the site. Singh amassed her following by posting self-recorded videos that range from video blogs to scripted sketches and slice-of-life observations. Singh tells the Times that the keys to success include staying authentic, since audiences can always tell, and keeping a close relationship with your fans. With over 300 hours of YouTube video under her belt already, she’s talking about her new ambitions: A movie.
Read the rest here.
Source: Los Angeles Times. 

How about those Blue Jays?

So how about those Jays? Toronto’s baseball team has topped the American League East for the first time in 22 years, bringing the eyes of North America’s sportswriters back to the city. Not only are the once-struggling Jays guaranteed a playoff spot, but observers are already mooting the possibility that the World Series could return to the city for the first time since parents were children, and the SkyDome was still called the SkyDome. As ESPN put it, the Blue Jays are “back to thinking big.”  The New York Times notes that the longest playoff drought in Major League Baseball has come to an end. And the Detroit Free Press had a simple lament as it watched David Price - its former star pitcher, now propelling the Jays to victory - celebrate in the clubhouse: “Oh, what might have been."


Janis Ian reflects on her milestone Toronto wedding

In the September 13 edition of the New York Times' "State of the Unions" column, the singer-songwriter Janis Ian looks back on her 2003 same-sex marriage to Patricia Snyder, which took place in Toronto City Hall while on a trip to the city for a science-fiction convention. The couple would become the first lesbian couple profiled in the Vows column of the paper. 

Read the rest here.
Source: New York Times

Air Canada pilot rescues French bulldog on flight

An Air Canada pilot made headlines for making an emergency landing in Frankfurt on a Toronto-bound plane from Tel Aviv in order to save the life of a 7-year-old French bulldog in the plane's cargo bay. The pilot made the decision to land after noticing that the plane's cargo bay had a heating malfunction, which would have caused the dog (named Simba) to freeze to death without intervention.

Read the rest here.
Source: NPR
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