Tag Archives: Greater Toronto Area

Poll shows that we want subways and we are willing to pay for it


The Toronto Transit Commission's bus #1303, a ...

The Toronto Transit Commission's bus #1303, a Daimler Buses North America/Orion Bus Industries Orion 07.501 "VII" NG HEV, travels west along St. Clair Avenue East on the 102 Markham Road route in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Greater Toronto Area supports a local sales tax dedicated to public transit and other infrastructure by 74%. Just when you though the transit debate was over in Toronto, we may be in for another round. In one corner Mayor Rob Ford who wants subways without taxes and on the other side council who wants taxes but no subways. As I said before there must be some compromise, but so far egos are prevailing. Both sides want to win, at the expense of others. If we plan on creating subways, with taxes, we should first look into a Downtown Relief Line and get something to help the Yonge line. I remember a while back wondering why council never looked into sending the Sheppard line south, through the Don Valley overground and running express to downtown; connecting at possibly York Mills, Lawrence, Eglinton and then express downtown. It should be interesting to see what debate turns up in Toronto council regarding this poll. Maybe we should forget Toronto and just fund transit initiatives in Peel, York and Durham region. It should be another interesting month in the G.T.A.

Link

2012 APA-W5 used car mystery shopper investigation


Highway 401 west of the Don Valley Parkway/Hig...

Highway 401 west of the Don Valley Parkway/Highway 404 junction. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2012 APA-W5 used car mystery shopper investigation

For this year’s investigation, the APA mystery shoppers visited 20 used car sellers in the Greater Toronto Area. The shoppers were accompanied by an expert mechanic and all visits were recorded on W5’s cameras. The APA shoppers looked for popular vehicles selling at low prices; this year, the most common models shopped were the Honda Fit and Civic, and Toyota Corolla and Matrix. Sellers were evaluated for the accuracy of their representations. Verbal and advertising representations made about the vehicles offered for sale were double checked by the APA’s expert mechanic and by searching in third-party databases.

Two of the misrepresented salvage cars came from Stark Metal and Iron – a wrecking yard. Among the so-called private sellers, four out of seven had advertised five or more cars from the same phone number over a three month period.

One was a licensed dealer who tried to slip the APA shoppers a car with a slipping clutch. One appeared to be a private party, but he concealed the fact that his car was a rebuilt insurance write-off.

Several “private” advertisers contacted by the APA quickly identified themselves as auto dealers over the phone. One “private” advertiser made an appointment to meet the mystery shoppers at a residential address in Thornhill, and showed up with a used Honda Accord sedan sporting a dealer plate. In Ontario, a dealer is not supposed to sell from a residential address.

The APA has discovered that the worst curber cars it shopped this year and in previous investigations shared some common elements:

  • Selling for a low, often below-market price on websites like Kijiji
  • Rebuilt wrecks sold by insurance companies to salvage yards and resold at auto auctions (in one case this year, the car was still registered in the name of the auction or a related company when shopped by the APA)
  • A dealer, recycler, or autobody shop in the background that appears to be working with the curbsider, who is a sort of front person for the selling activity.
  • The private seller (i.e. curber) can arrange for a safety standards certificate and emissions test for the buyer. In some cases, the curber asked only for a copy of the buyer’s driver’s licence and insurance to complete the sale.
  • The investigation raised questions about government oversight and the integrity of the salvage rebuilding and re-inspection process; two of the cars shown to the APA shoppers had yet to pass a structural inspection and were still classified as “unfit,” yet they were being shown by private individuals. For one of the cars still classified as “unfit,” the seller’s garage issued the APA shopper a safety standards certificate.

Read more: http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/WFive/20120413/w5-apa-investigation-toronto-120414/?s_name=W5#ixzz1s8CDadC1

I forgot to mention Makimono Sushi Restaurants Pickering location


In an update to my previous post on “The Best Sushi in the GTA” I forgot to mention Makimono’s other location in Pickering. In case you are in the Pickering Town Centre area just take a quick walk arcross the street to 1790 Liverpool Road, just north of the 401. It’s also a great location for Sushi in Durham Ontario. The location is sometimes busy during lunch, however it’s also has a great atmosphere and staff. Of course, being that it’s an all-you-can eat location, you may want to leave a lot of room to “expand”. Otherwise you may need to take a quick nap afterwards. We all love good eats and if you have other locations, please be sure to share them with us. Happy eating!

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

The Best Sushi in the GTA – Ajax, Ontario in Durham


I do not normally comment on food, however today I will make an exception. I just had some of the best sushi I have EVER tasted. If you are a fan of sushi / Japanese food you will not be disappointed. It is located at 50 Kingston Road East in Ajax (beside Casey’s) with Dine in / Take Out & Party Trays. In case you are not sure they are in the RioCan Durham Centre in Ajax.

www.makimono.ca

The service is awesome and the prices are good!

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

Weekend Lakeshore West GO Train service extended starting October 28


Starting Sunday, October 28 weekend train trips will now start and end at Aldershot GO Station, rather than Oakville GO Station. The extension offers new weekend service for Bronte and Appleby passengers. This is a big improvement and gain for G.T.A residents. On weekends one can now take trips from Oshawa to Burlington. Hopefully, this is permanent and at some point maybe all-day service to Hamilton will begin. We can only hope that further improvements start to appear on other GO transit lines around the Greater Toronto Area.


For more information, on the changes, go to the GO Transit website.

Toronto and the surrounding regions are not immune to ecological change


The environment is important to all of us in the Greater Toronto Area. This is not merely a governmental and environmental group issue. With the awareness of the effects of greenhouse gasses we are ever increasingly looking to both government and industry to provide answers to the multifaceted problems we face. Regardless of the fact that we are becoming more aware of the impacts of looming ecological problems, the majority of people still act in a fashion that lacks an understanding on how much we impact the earths environment. Toronto and the surrounding regions are not immune to ecological disaster and change. We can no longer disregard the issues of population growth, ecological change and regressive beliefs, which hold our planet in the balance. We must take the time to tackle these problems and evolve in our thinking about planet Earth and the urban areas in the Toronto region.

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

Time to get more use out of the Sheppard Subway line and go west?


To be honest, I love subways and I have a bit of a bias towards the Sheppard Subway line. I have always believed that if the subway was completed, or at least ½ done, than it would have never been considered as an option to close or shut down, in the Toronto tax crunch. I still blame the Harris “conservatives” for their shortsighted plan to fill in the Eglinton West Subway dig, which was already well under way. Along with the plan to offer a no frills Sheppard subway line, stopping it at Don Mills, rather than the obvious Victoria Park, or even better yet Warden Avenue in Scarborough. Regardless, what was done is done and we have a subway that needs finishing. However, there maybe a better plan, that has not been considered. The fact is that the Sheppard line exists and it needs to be completed. One of the transportation issues, I have found, in the city is the lack of an east-west line across the top of the city. Now that the Liberal Government has decided that the subway will go to Vaughan; even though I feel that it should only go to York University for now, consideration should be given to the idea of completing the Sheppard Subway westwards and then curving the Sheppard line north-west to York University and beyond. It was pointed out to me by ‘Cal’, from the Toronto LRT information blog,

“that extending the Sheppard line west to Downsview then up to York U/Steeles may be a better use of the money in terms of providing a more useful connection and making the Sheppard line more useful.”

In addition, the Sheppard Subway lines signaling system and design are based on newer technology, which would allow greater flexibility in the operation of trains (I.e. driver-less subway cars, the possibility of multiple lines, operations in different directions, etc…). It has already been stated that millions (maybe more) would have to be spent to upgrade the Yonge-University and Spadina lines. If this is the case, why not simply complete the Sheppard line westwards, along Sheppard Avenue and then northwards? Along Sheppard we would only need a stop at Bathurst, for now and since the trains are only 4 cars long, for now the platforms could be a bit smaller (in terms of the amount of people using the line). In addition, albeit maybe a bit of pie in the sky thinking, but we could also consider imploring some New York Subway style options in the northern part of Toronto. I remember at one point, before the EA (Environment Assessment) was completed for the Spadina line to York University one of the Toronto councilors wanted the line to go along Finch westwards towards Jane & Finch and beyond, due to the high-density in the area.We all know that the TTC will not send all trains north into Vaughan. I believe that it will be every third train; however I could be wrong (anyone can update me on that one to correct me on the intervals). This means that there will need to be a larger trail-track or interchange at either the Steeles or YorkUniversity stations. If this is the case, why not send one portion northwards into Vaughan and the other westwards along Finch or better yet , using a cheaper option, the Finch Hydro corridor into Etobicoke and beyond, using a Sheppard-Vaughan-Finch line instead? This is just an idea; however I would hope that Toronto officials and the provincial government would think outside the box a bit and complete the Sheppard line. It’s just an idea, but I hope that the Sheppard line put to better use.You will notice that I am not advocating going eastwards to Scarborough Town Centre. I just believe that if we can “kill two birds with one stone”, than lets use the Sheppard Line to complete Greg Sorbara’s dream of a subway to Vaughan and get a little more use out of the subway. I am a big believer in portions of the “Transit City” plan, offered by the City of Toronto. I just feel that we need to somehow finish or put Sheppard to better use. Of course I would have preferred an LRT, for Sheppard in the past, but that was said and done (no sense crying over split milk). If we have no choice, in getting a line to YorkUniversity than why not maximize what we can do for the city, now? Once the Sheppard-Vaughan-Finch line is completed, then we can end this argument and stain on Toronto’s past. We can then move onto using LRT, light-rail and other forms of technology to move people around the Greater Toronto Area. The unfortunate thing is politics, may again get in the way or progress. I can only hope that officials in charge will do the right thing.

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario