Category Archives: GTA History

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Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, no more…


Avro Arrow on display at the Canadian Air and ...

Image via Wikipedia

TORONTO – Second World War pilot Philip Gray says it is “immoral” that Downsview Park is evicting the Canadian Air and Space Museum.

“This is a terrible way to repay young 21-year-old boys who went to war and never turned 22. I am disgusted that their heritage can be just wiped out,” the 89-year-old Gray said Tuesday as the museum was packing up artifacts.

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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 Queen streetcar named among world’s best


National Geographic includes the TTC’s Queen streetcar, the 501, one of the top 10 trolley routes in the world. It’s a crowded ride, but oh, what a view. The 501 has become emblematic of the stretched service on the TTC. But finally there’s a glint of good news for the much-maligned queen of Toronto’s streetcar routes. The venerable 501 – known as the Queen car – has made National Geographic’s list of the world’s top 10Queen Streetcar Toronto trolley rides. It’s a distinction shared with streetcar routes as far-flung as Melbourne, Seattle and Lisbon, part of the contents of the coffee-table book Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips, published in October.

“Throwbacks to an earlier age, the great trolley routes we selected let you jump on and off with the locals while riding through some of the most scenic and historic districts of each city,” wrote National Geographic editor Larry Pogue of the selections.

According to the book, the Queen streetcar made the list because it is one of the longest routes in North America while showcasing “lively downtown Toronto.”

The 48.9-km. line stretches from Long Branch on the Mississauga border to the city’s easternmost streetcar loop at Neville Park.

“It is a wonderful route,” said TTC spokesperson Marilyn Bolton. “What I love about it is the interesting, shops, buildings and architecture you can see.”

Along with being the city’s longest route, the 501 has a reputation for being among the most troubled. The TTC’s estimate of 43,500 riders each weekday in 2006 is down from 63,000 in 1981.

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Digging up a Queen Street ghost story in Toronto


Queen StreetcarStreetcar platform dug in 1950s and never used sits behind a door, a buried relic of an old transit vision. To the thousands of patrons passing through the Queen subway station, it’s just another anonymous TTC maintenance door. But there are no mops and pails behind the grey door labelled “9Y94.” Instead there’s a link to the past and how a transit vision was mothballed as the city pushed north.

TTC insiders call it “Lower Queen” or the “Queen Street cave” – an underground streetcar platform installed in the early 1950s during excavation of the original Yonge subway line. It’s actually a tunnel about three streetcars long, closed off at both ends. For half a century it has sat empty except for some pipes and vents routed along its walls. Lower Queen is a lesser known TTC “ghost” station. Riders actually got to use another one, the Lower Bay station, last winter when it was briefly pressed into service while tunnel maintenance work was done nearby. The 1950s excavation of a streetcar platform at Queen was rated an act of foresight, anticipating a future streetcar system that would run partly underground.

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