Category Archives: GTA Development

Markham is building for the future


A 2005 Van Hool newA330 stops at Warden Vivast...

A 2005 Van Hool newA330 stops at Warden Vivastation, in Markham, Ontario. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So Markham wants to build a 20000 seat arena and entertainment complex that will rival the Air Canada Centre. In a way it makes perfect sense. There has been a lot of talk around bringing an NHL team to Markham, however I believe Toronto residents and possibly the media have it backwards. I used to live in Markham and based on the makeup, demographics and changes in Toronto, I think it will do quite fine with or without a team. Markham is building a new downtown and the facility is part of the plan. With a large ethnic mix of Asian and South-Asian residents; along with the diversity of York Region and north Toronto, other uses are possible. It’s perfectly situated near the Unionville GO station and is well served by VIVA. I remember when prices for brownstone styled homes were listed at $400000. At the time I thought it was high, but now it seems like a bargain. Will it work, who really knows. The world does not only revolve around downtown Toronto. I believe that Markham politicians have recognized that the times are changing and they are betting that they will be on the right side of the future.

You burb I burb we all scream for the suburbs


The Suburbs

Cookie cut lives in the suburbs

It’s a cookie cut life of mediocrity, welcome to the burb. It’s all the same, we love it and it’s nothing to absurd. Admit it, we were sucked into the dream; the dream of owning a piece of Canadian terra-firma and all that it means. You love the plastic playground and uniform styles. The box stores and endless cars scream out the word character. It’s perfect and fun! It’s lovely and glorious, isn’t it? We enjoy the hours spent in the daily commute; a life like this is a wonderful pursuit. We love, even more, waking up early to catch a GO Train; packed in like sardines, it’s all normal, we are not insane. We enjoy closing ourselves out from the world; shielded by our iPhone, Android, Blackberry and tools. Thank you fast food, easy meals, it’s all so divine. Yes, we live in the suburbs and our lives have never been better. It’s all so simple and pedestrian.

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Conservatives and Toronto’s Rob Ford Nation – Subways please…


Interestingly enough this election may be a boon for the G.T.A. Not that Toronto can expect the Conservatives to only pander to their needs. As the Prime Minister said last night “we will govern for all Canadians“. Despite that the Liberals took for granted the support of Torontonians and the G.T.A. For years, we voted for the Liberals without our needs being heard. Now the Conservatives will have to listen. However, my take is the Conservatives will take a page out of Rob Ford‘s book. Rob said “we will get subways”. Will the Conservatives deliver? I imagine that they will have to. Why? Rob Ford nation is a powerful force. Although he is now mayor and tends to be on the right-wing of the political spectrum, Rob is not afraid to push his agenda and fight for what he believes. The Conservatives would be wise to not upset Toronto’s exalted leader. He wants subways and an end to waste. The Conservatives will have to deliver. He wants Toronto’s common-sense issues listened to. The Conservatives will have to deliver. The Conservatives can no longer ignore Toronto. The Prime Minister had a strategy to target the G.T.A and it worked. Albeit, a lot of vote splitting happened. It does not matter. They solidified their base, in the G.T.A and gained additional votes. You cannot take that away from the Conservatives. However, much care is needed. Ontarians are also sometimes not as forgiving. The Conservatives would be wise to not follow their Liberal predecessors. Do not take that vote for granted!

By Mannee Jay

Election Day in Canada – May 2, 2011


Stephen Harper, Canadian politician

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Well a historic election has just taken place in Canada. The Bloc was decimated in Quebec, and almost wiped off the map. Newfoundland told Conservatives what to do with themselves. The Greater Toronto Area is painted blue and Toronto has gone NDP Orange. Also, it looks like we have our very first Green member of Parliament. So what went wrong for the Liberals? They took their support for granted. Canadians were looking for change and they did not see it in the Liberals, in Ontario. Yes, there was a lot of vote splitting, however lets be honest. Ontario has been red for a long time. This is a breakthrough for the Conservatives in Ontario. The question is, can they live up to that support?

The G.T.A is an important battleground and they better take note. As for the NDP, they better not take their Quebec support for granted. The Bloc imploded, Liberals were yesterdays news and they did not like the Conservatives. So we are left with the NDP. Jack the time to start working is now. As for the Liberals, there is a lot of soul searching.

However I will offer this advice to all parties. (1) Liberals, you need to go back to your roots. Your party is not dead. I’d rather say that it is in hibernation and healing. Canadian’s have not forgotten you, rather the opposite happened. You forgot them. Remember who you are and what you stand for. Otherwise, what is the point of the Liberal Party. It is time for you to reconnect. (2) NDP you have been given the chance to prove your worth, so do not disappoint. From the people I have spoken to many parked their vote with the NDP. Also, in Ontario, people simply love and trust Jack Layton.  It will be important, despite a majority Conservative government, that the NDP choose their battles well and fight for those who voted for them. Less we forget, as often Canadians do! (3) Conservatives fought a simple and straight-forward campaign. You delivered your message and Canadians listened. We are concerned about the economy and trust in that has been given to you. However, do not take that trust for granted. A lot of Canadians still do not trust the Conservative Party and a lot of seats were gained from vote splitting. Be careful how you govern. Canadians are watching. Do not slip to the right with arrogance. As Harper said, keep a steady ship. If you can prove your worth maybe your quality will be remembered. (4) Finally, to Elizabeth May and the Green Party. You have made Canadian history! Despite the media ignoring you, thank you for running and not giving up. The Green Party should be a wake up call to ALL parties. People voted for Elizabeth May and the Greens across Canada. Their ideas and policies should not be ignored! Summed up in Elizabeth May’s own words “amateurs built the ark and professionals built the Titanic”. People are wary in Canada and if the status-quo parties cannot deliver, Canadians may decide someone else can.

Congrats to Prime Minister Harper, who has finally gotten a majority government for the Conservative Party. We will all watch, wait and see what policies are implemented and what happens in the next Parliament. See you in 2015!

By Mannee Jay

Toronto Mayoral candidate Rossi plans on stopping all TTC Light-Rail (Transit City) Expansion


TTC LRT

New Light-Rail for Toronto

Have we learned nothing from history and the reasons why there is a lack of good public transit options in the city of Toronto? What about jobs for the people of Thunder Bay? Again, with another knee-jerk reaction we may loose all we wanted in the city of Toronto and public transit by electing Rossi. Remember, if this is the attitude we took in the past, we would never have had the full Bloor-Danforth line, Spadina extension or top-end of the Yonge line (even our network of Streetcars that make the city). In other words, if you think transportation is bad now, what do you think it would be like in the future?

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Rocco RossiToronto mayoral candidate pledges to make waves at city hall by banning bike lanes on major arteries and possibly quashing light-rail plan.

When Rocco Rossi vowed to banish bike lanes from major streets, the suit-and-tie crowd at the Empire Club event erupted into its most enthusiastic applause yet for the first real speech of the 2010 mayor’s race.

The line demonstrated that Mr. Rossi knows whom he’s after: right-leaning suburban voters fed up with David Miller’s city hall.

Mr. Rossi is promising to halt all but one of the city’s planned light-rail lines until he can review the project’s finances; to replace the Toronto Transit Commission’s board of councillors with private-sector experts; to create a region-wide economic development corporation; to sell assets, including Toronto Hydro; and to outsource city work in a bid to decrease the power of unions.

“Make no mistake, last summer’s city workers strike showed just how weak the city has become in the face of its major unions and how utterly without a plan we are to correct this imbalance,” the former Liberal fundraiser and businessman told a packed room at the Royal York hotel. “As mayor I will bring us back into balance by pursuing outsourcing and managed competition for certain city services.”

Mr. Rossi’s speech was unusual for making concrete commitments early in the marathon campaign, leaving his competitors 10 months to savage his proposals. They didn’t waste time.

“I’m glad to see he’s throwing out 1,000 ideas and seeing what sticks,” scoffed Joe Pantalone, the deputy mayor who is running to replace his boss. “But this is not a carnival we’re talking about here. This is a city that’s complicated.”

Mr. Rossi drew the most fire for suggesting he might halt the Transit City plan, even temporarily.

In his speech, Mr. Rossi lamented the delays and cost overruns that plagued the construction of a streetcar right-of-way on St. Clair West, but it wasn’t until afterward that he expressed his concerns about Toronto’s plan to lay 120 kilometres of light rail on dedicated lanes.

“I think there’s some real problems that have been shown by what’s happened at St. Clair and I think we’d be foolish not to have a deep and long look at that,” he told reporters.

Asked whether that constituted a moratorium, he replied: “On anything that we can stop right now, yes.” Only one Transit City line, Sheppard East, has broken ground so far.

“Mr. Rossi’s suggestion that he would freeze all new transit projects until he has reviewed the city budget would not only put countless constructions jobs at risk, it reflects a troubling lack of understanding of the city’s finances,” a senior member of George Smitherman’s campaign said. “These projects are funded almost entirely by the province, sometimes with federal help.” Mr. Smitherman, the former deputy premier, is the race’s early front-runner.

The centre-right voters Mr. Rossi is hoping to attract likely would have voted for former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader John Tory.

But Mr. Rossi will have to run a campaign vastly different from Mr. Smitherman’s if he hopes to make the leap from virtual unknown to mayor. For now, he’s casting his lack of elected experience as an advantage.

“It’s been over a hundred years since we elected a mayor who wasn’t already in elected politics,” he told the crowd. “Maybe, just maybe, that’s part of the problem.”

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Why the Conservatives and the PM need an election now to save themselves.


Elections for Canada - October 2008

Elections for Canada - October 2008

Some high profile Conservatives are not seeking re-election. Do they see the title wave coming? Are they afraid? The real reason the federal Conservatives are calling for an election now is that they really do not have a choice. What do I mean by that? Let’s make just a few points.

  1. The longer they wait, the better chance they will loose even more seats next year, pending the coming downturn in the economy. In case your head is stuck in the sand somewhere, the economy is not doing well.

  2. The numbers for the Conservatives are still strong in Quebec and they have a chance to grab some seats in Ontario. The election may affect the Liberals more than the Conservatives.

  3. The Honourable Stéphane Dion polling numbers are not strong. However, that is slowly changing and they need to go to the polls now, rather than later. The longer they wait, the more “sympathy” for Dion. I believe that the Conservatives will stay away from poking fun at Dion, because this stragedy does not help. They will will HAVE TO focus on making the PM more personal to win.

  4. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is betting that their low-profile governance will help them at the polls. To be honest, there is not much news and “substance” to go on. People tend to figure, if it is not broken why fix it, to be frank.

  5. The overall view is, when the economy is in a downturn, you need a “fiscally conservative” approach. That is a perception that has not changed much. This is probably what did in the government of Bob Rae in Ontario, leading to the extreme right in the Harris “common sense revolution. Again, I have already said it, but the PM does not want to have the stain of being the government that caused a ressession. Even though it would not be true, it does not really matter. Its all about perception.

  6. The western provinces are doing well, so “milk it while we have a chance to”, because the Greens are coming!

  7. The George Bush factor! Need I say more, as November approaches? If people believe that they have become a bit too “neo-conservative”, than the Conservatives are in trouble, especially in Ontario and Quebec. So go now while we are “a sleep at the wheel”.

  8. The PM needs an election fast, before the historic election in the U.S. It is a fact the a huge amount of Canadian’s are watching the American election. No matter what you think the Conservatives “DO NOT” want to be caught in the “change title wave” that is approaching. If they do, they will basically drown in the possible Obama factor, no matter what side of the fence you are on.

The fact is the only point the Conservatives are riding is the fact that they can say “the Green Shift is not a prudent policy for the coming economic downturn”. While, offering no option of their own, they are “fear mongering” people into thinking that this is all about raising taxes. This is a dangerous gamble, seeing that people list the environment as an important factor, despite economics. Now make no assumption, I am not a Liberal member. To be honest, if there was a viable Libertarian Party I would go down that route (albeit I do like the Greens a bit). But that is besides the fact! There is a burning ship in parliament, and the Conservatives are doing what ANY party would attempt to do. Get a few more years and hope, you can ride the possible recession out. Maybe even a possible Liberal, NDP leadership review and like magic call another election. We will probably see another Conservative minority. Who really knows? This election may end up hurting the Liberals, more than the Conservatives and the NDP or Green Party may make substantial strides in politics this time around. The question is, at who’s expense? What will happen if Canadian’s want change? Can any leader capitalize on this? Or is this a bit of Russian roulette? I welcome your comments!

By Andy MJ
a.k.a the G.T.A Patriot

Toronto introduces first ‘scramble’ crossings to improve pedestrian safety


Toronto Scamble Crossing - at Yonge and Dundas

Toronto Scamble Crossing - at Yonge and Dundas

TORONTO — Pedestrians and drivers in Toronto will have to get used to a new traffic term: the scramble.

Thursday was the first day for the city’s new all-stop crossing at the busy downtown intersection of Yonge and Dundas streets.

The system allows pedestrians to cross normally as well as diagonally through the intersection while traffic is stopped in all directions.

Coun. Kyle Rae says the idea for the intersection is to make pedestrians – not cars – a priority in the city.

At the scramble intersection, the traffic flows normally for two cycles, then stops in all directions to allow pedestrians to cross.

Officials say the $60,000 pilot project is just a start, with more scrambles planned at other major city intersections in the coming years.

Curiosity of the Canadian Press

TTC streetcar deal to Alstom?


Alstom Trams and Streetcars for Toronto

Alstom Trams and Streetcars for Toronto

By Christina Blizzard

It’s a contract worth $3 billion in tax dollars and thousands of jobs for the provincial economy. The TTC’s bid to buy 204 low-floor streetcars is the largest public transit contract in the world right now. Yet it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the way it’s been negotiated is more like a soap opera than a massive public transit deal.

In what would be a major upset, it seems likely the deal will go to a French company, Alstom, and not to the Bombardier plant in Thunder Bay.

Last year, the TTC issued a request for proposal (RFP) from bidders. It’s a two-phase deal worth $1.4 billion in the first part and up to $3 billion by the time it is finished.

There were only three serious bids at the time — Siemens, the big German corporation, Bombardier, and Tram Power, a small British company whose bid, according to TTC Chair Adam Giambrone, was deemed “not commercially viable.”

In July, it was thought Bombardier was a shoo-in when Siemens abruptly withdrew from the bidding. Industry insiders were shocked when the TTC announced the Bombardier bid didn’t meet their technical requirements. Not just that, they made dire warnings that the Bombardier streetcars would derail, a claim Bombardier says is ridiculous.

In a July 26 press release Bombardier called for TTC commissioners to conduct a review of the decision after a team of Bombardier engineers and experts reviewed the TTC’s reasons for the disqualification and “found no acceptable rationale.”

The TTC threw the deal open for all to come and negotiate. Giambrone told me yesterday there are three finalists for the deal: Bombardier, Siemens and a last minute entry, Alstom, which built the Washington subway. Between the three companies they have 90% of the world public transit market.

All this comes at an embarrassing time for the provincial government. They recently instituted a 25% Canadian content regulation for public transit projects.

The TTC will make a mockery of that requirement if it awards the deal to an off-shore company at a time when the manufacturing sector in this province is in such dire straits. Thunder Bay has been particularly hard hit with the loss of jobs in the forestry sector.

“It is not the obligation of the TTC to do province-wide economic development,” Giambrone said in a telephone interview yesterday.

He pointed out the TTC pioneered the 25% Canadian content requirement even before the province mandated it.

“It was a realistic and a reasonable compromise that allowed us to have fair competition while at the same time ensuring that economic benefits come back to the Toronto area. The automobile industry is centred around the GTA so that will produce a lot of parts for it. There is also the possibility of assembly in Thunder Bay,” he said.

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More political interference with the Transit City plans will cause delays


Light-rail for the Eglinton crosstown route

Light-rail for the Eglinton crosstown route

Leave the Transit City plan alone and do not attempt to hijack the Eglinton-Crosstown line or any other part of the Transit City plan. Who am I speaking to? Well none other than Metrolinx. The organizational body in charge of coordinating transit plans across the city. The Eglinton-crosstown line will meet the needs of Toronto. I will not go back into my opinions on the ill-fated and wasted expense of a subway extension to Vaughan and the political interference in that situation.

The Eglinton-crosstown line will essentially be underground from the Leslie area, through the mid-point of the city. The question is should it be upgraded to handle a full subway or should it link to the Scarborough RT and its “upgraded vehicles”. Its starting to sound like the same old political interference that happened when the original RT was supposed to be a streetcar/LRT on a dedicated ROW. We ended up with those wonderful mini-trains (UTDC), which of course can barely handle a Canadian winter. I do not have all of the details, however you can read more on The Toronto LRT Information Page. Sure it is not a full subway, but we do not need one on Eglinton. The character and charm of light-rail can work, if it is done right! The Eglinton line will be just fine, as long as there is no political and 3rd party interference. The danger, as always, is that if we leave it to the politicians, we may end up again with something we cannot afford or a half completed job. If you really want to get to the airport, I doubt you will be taking the Eglinton line anyway. Maybe Metrolinx should concentrate their time and effort on other solutions or GO Transit? However, don’t take my word for it. Check out the following link for information on LRT (light-rail transit) and get informed. We do not need more empty promises. We do not need another group attempting to undermine a good plan. Keep it simple and lets just get something done for the city of Toronto and now!

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a. The G.T.A Patriot

More information on LRT (Light-rail) is available at http://lrt.daxack.ca/


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What is the point of Toronto council, Provincial regulators or the Feds? Hundreds of Propane Sites in GTA near residential areas….


From CFRB Toronto:

With the safety of propane filling sites near residential areas under question following Sunday’s explosions and fire in Downsview, a report has come out that indicates 337 sites exist in the GTA where there are propane filling tanks.

Read more below….

http://www.cfrb.com/news/565/770644

The end of GM Oshawa has begun? The time of the small car renaissance has come!


General Motors says it will cease production at four factories in Ohio, Wisconsin, Canada and Mexico that produce trucks and SUVs. As General Motors Corp. prepares for its annual shareholders meeting on Tuesday, workers across the country are worried that the next round of the company’s restructuring could cost them jobs or even their factories.

GM may also furlough entire shifts of workers at some truck factories and may move them to car plants as it restructures to adjust to a rapidly changing U.S. market brought on by $4 per gallon gasoline.

With high gas prices, more expensive groceries, the credit crunch and declining home values, fewer people are going to dealer showrooms, Gettelfinger said.

“People are going to stay away from the big-ticket items like automobiles,” he said.

GM sales through April were off 12.2 percent when compared with the same period last year. The company sold 20.8 percent fewer Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks, and the market for big SUVs has all but collapsed.

GM also lost $3.3 billion in the first quarter and a record $38.7 billion in 2007, largely due to a charge for unused tax credits.

JP Morgan analyst Himanshu Patel said he would not rule out a cut in GM’s 25-cent-per-share dividend, and said in a note to investors Monday the company likely will have to borrow more money.

“GM no doubt needs to raise financing given current cash burn rate — we think as much as $10 billion of total financing may be needed, though not all immediately,” Patel wrote.

Already the company has announced indefinite layoffs of one shift each at the Pontiac and Flint pickup plants, and more are expected.

Last week the company announced that 19,000 of its 74,000 U.S. blue-collar workers had signed up for buyout or early retirement offers. That clears the way to shrink the company’s production footprint, but few know where the cuts will come.

For workers, it could mean being forced to move to another city, away from families and lifelong ties to the community, if their jobs are eliminated or their plant is closed. If they’re lucky, there could be a factory nearby where GM will increase production of cars that get good gas mileage.

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