Wednesday January 18, 2017
Richard Carson stands outside Hugh’s Room, having a smoke and talking about the specialness of his west-end music venue that now is in limbo because of financial problems.
“What I wanted to do here was to create a place where artists wanted to play, where staff wanted to work and where music fans wanted to be,” he says, looking off at the grey sky. “Some nights, I would stand back and watch those three things come together, and, I tell you, it was magical to see.”
With that, Mr. Carson, who opened the city’s premier folk club in 2001, shakes his head worryingly and stubs out his cigarette.
Just then, a friend who’s chipped in to fix an electrical problem in the building steps outside and pats Mr. Carson on the back as he walks by. “Hang in there, Richard,” he says. “Hang in there.”
The club owner laughs softly to himself. Hang in there? He’s been doing exactly that for nearly 16 years.
A Toronto councillor is renewing calls to implement a foreign buyers tax to cool down the city's red-hot real estate market.
Coun. Jim Karygiannis, who held a Thursday news conference alongside a McMaster University economist, has sent a letter to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne asking for permission to slap a five-per-cent tax on foreign buyers.
Ontario has balked at the idea of taxing foreign buyers over concerns that such a tax could significantly hurt the value of homes that people already own. The province is also keeping an eye on Vancouver's market, where a 15 per cent foreign buyers tax came into effect on Aug. 2, 2016.
"We're not taxing our own folks," Karygiannis told reporters at city hall.
Torontoist has pointed out that even if this tax achieves its limited goal of cooling down the market, it cannot be the only response.
Some real estate groups in the city have come out against implementing a tax here, warning that a “knee-jerk” reaction isn’t the answer. And that might be the case, but if a move like this might prevent Toronto market from reaching the absurd levels Vancouver has seen in recent years—where seven-figure prices on real estate are the norm—it could be worth looking into.
So many Torontonians are already priced out of home ownership, and it’s worth considering all options to make sure the situation doesn’t get worse. But a tax won’t fix everything: there are bigger issues to consider in the landscape of Toronto’s unaffordable housing situation. If imposing a new tax will alleviate some of the pressure, it could decrease housing demand, but it doesn’t solve the supply side of the problem. City Council needs to commit to more than just asking the provincial government to deal with it, and no one policy is going to solve an issue as nuanced as housing affordability.
The choice of homes may be limited in the dead of winter, but consumers waiting for the hot spring market should know that January actually provides the best chance for snagging a bargain.
Seven years of sales data on about 650,000 Toronto-area transactions, shows Tuesday is probably the day this year when buyers will pay the least for a home, according to an analysis by TheRedPin real estate brokerage.
That's because there is residual inventory — homes that didn't sell in October and November, sometimes because they were over-priced, said Tarik Gidamy, co-founder and broker of record with TheRedPin.
"(Sellers) who are desperate — who have bought a house already and need to sell what they've got — are willing to take a cheaper price simply because the supply of buyers is not 100 per cent there yet," he said.
Based on the seven-year averages, TheRedPin found that Toronto-area homes in January sold for nearly $70,000 less, compared to the spring housing market, which peaks in May.
The 514 Cherry car has been running since June 2016. Although originally planned as a net new service, budget for the route fell victim to the 2016 round in which headroom for the “new” service was created by reallocating vehicles from 504 King. The purpose was to concentrate service on the central part of King where there is higher demand, but in practice, the original schedule did not work out. In November 2016 the headways on 514 Cherry were widened to compensate for longer-than-planned running times.
The 514 Cherry car has been something of an afterthought for the TTC in several ways. Planning and construction for it began years ago, but implementation was delayed until after the Pan Am Games were out of the way and the Canary District began to populate with residents and students in the new buildings. Another major blow has been the failure to build the Waterfront East LRT which is intended to eventually connect with the trackage on Cherry Street as part of a larger network. In effect, the spur to Distillery Loop is treated by the TTC as little more than a place for a scheduled short turn of the King Street service, much as trackage on Dufferin Street south of King is for the route’s western terminus.
Riders bound for the Distillery District face two challenges. One is that the older streetcars do not have route signs for 514 Cherry, only a small dashboard card wrapped over the “short turn” sign. Tourists might be forgiven for wondering if a 514 Cherry will ever show up. As new streetcars gradually appear on this route, this problem will decline, but it is an indication of the half-hearted way service was introduced that good signage was not part of the scheme.
Jerzy Jarmasz was on track to have his son at school on time when the pair arrived at Dufferin subway station Monday morning.
But there was just one problem: when they tried to leave by the Russett Ave. exit, the one closest to the school, they couldn’t get out.
Bothof the new Presto smart-card-enabled fare gates that the TTC recently installed there were out of order and would not open.
[. . .]
According to TTC spokesperson Heather Brown, there are now 376 fare gates at 41 of the agency’s subway stations, and about 12 per cent of them don’t work at any given time.
That’s an improvement from November, when about 18 per cent of the gates were offline at any given moment.
Brown said various problems can cause the gates to fail unexpectedly. The figures also include a small number of gates that are deliberately taken offline, she said.
- Bad Astronomy's Phil Plait mourns the death of Apollo astronaut Gene Cernan and calls for a return to the Moon.
- Beyond the Beyond's Bruce Sterling wonders what future historiography will look like when it's assumed that British imperialism in South Asia was a bad thing.
- blogTO highlights an impressive new condo tower planned for Mississauga.
- D-Brief looks at how a literal heartbeat can transform the perception of an individual by race.
- The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper examining the potential for exoplanets orbiting red dwarfs to be habitable, finding that there seem to be no deal-breakers.
- Language Hat shares the reflections of Russian-born author Boris Fishman who reads his novel, written in English, translated into the Russian.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money links to a paper looking at the potential for industrial espionage to actually pay off.
- The LRB Blog considers what will happen to Cuban migration now that Cuban migrants to the United States have no special status.
- The NYRB Daily looks at post-revolutionary Cairo through film.
- Savage Minds considers the grounds for potentially treating artificial intelligences as people.
- Torontoist looks at two rival schools of medicine in 19th century Toronto.
- The Volokh Conspiracy notes that Washington D.C.'s Freedom Plaza can be cleared of protests.
- Window on Eurasia notes the potential financial catastrophe of Russia's declining villages, and looks at Belarus' national identity.
The Daily Specials at Casa Mia Restaurant for Wednesday, January 18, 2017 are:
- Chicken and Corn Chowder $4.99
- Chicken Parmesan Sandwich $13.95 Homemade chicken parmesan on a toasted baguette with a small ceasar
- Wild Mushroom Risotto $ 13.95
- Fettuccini Verdi-Chicken, Spinach, Goat Cheese, light Pesto with soup or salad $14.95
- Pasta To Go-Choose your pasta (Penne, Spaghetti, Fettuccini), choose your sauce (Meat, Alfredo, Rosato $9.95
- A bit more detail (Randy MacDonald)
- Acts of Volition
- Aiken House & Gardens
- An Island Walk
- Aquilium Group Inc.
- Brackley Drive-in Theatre
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- ~ Denise of Ingleside ~