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    This house went on and off the market for over a year. It was first listed at $3.5 million in July 2017 and then progressively dropped down to $2.5 million, until it finally sold last week.   220 glen road toronto

    This Rosedale home was stylishly renovated. The main floor was opened up into an open concept design that allows for natural light to pour into the space and plenty of room for living and entertaining.

    220 glen road torontoMy favourite space is the kitchen, which has lots of windows and those trendy brass taps. The waterfall counter is also very on-trend.

    220 glen road torontoOn the second floor are the bedrooms. They’re spacious and bright.

    220 glen road torontoThe sellers renovated the third floor and transformed it into a stunning master suite. The continuous room flows from bedroom, to walk-in closet, to spa-like en suite.

    220 glen road torontoThe only separation from bedroom and bathroom is a sliding glass door, which isn’t the most private of bathroom barriers—definitely not for the self-conscious.

    220 glen road toronto Out back there’s a nice patio and deck but no grass, which is awesome if you hate mowing the lawn.

    220 glen road torontoAnother unique selling point is the garage which has been converted into a working studio. It could easily be transformed back into a place to park your car.

    220 glen road toronto The Essentials
    • Address: 220 Glen Road
    • Type: House
    • Bedrooms: 4 +1
    • Bathrooms: 4
    • Size: 29 x 100 feet
    • Realtor: PSR Brokerage
    • Hit the market at: $3,499,000
    • Sold for: $2,710,000
    220 glen road torontoWhy it sold for what it did?

    The neighbourhood combined with a recently-renovated house automatically means it’s going to sell for over $2 million.  

    220 glen road toronto Was it worth it?

    The fact that a newly renovated home in Rosedale took a year to sell makes me think that there’s something a bit off about this house. But then again, a house this size in any decent Toronto neighbourhood is usually worth this much.  220 glen road toronto

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    One of the best parts of summer is being able to ditch your gym membership for a couple months, and instead, opt to exercise outside and treat yourself to some fresh air that will give you a ton of energy.

    After all, experts say that just 20 minutes of working out outside is the equivalent of downing one cup of coffee due to its energy-boosting effects 

    Luckily, one of the best hidden gems for workout fanatics is the 99-Step Trail in Newmarket - just 40 minutes north of Toronto. This trail, which marks the head of the Thornton Bales Conservation Area, is famous for its rugged hiking trails and steep natural staircase. 

    Until a couple years ago, these stairs were assembled with uneven natural logs, making it a challenging and slightly dangerous trail to enjoy.

    The stairs have now been replaced with better-constructed lumber, and widened considerably, so that you can safely jog the steps with a partner or furry friend.

    A post shared by Jenna-Lea Patey (@pateyjay) on

    This trail though, is no easy feat. Good footwear is pretty much mandatory, and be prepared to sweat. The change in vertical elevation from the top of 99-steps to the bottom is greater than the drop over Niagara Falls!

    Thornton Bales Conservation Area belongs to the greater Koffler Scientific Reserve, which is owned and operated by the University of Toronto. The area occupies roughly 850 acres of wetlands, lush forests, and open fields on the western portion of the Oak Ridges Moraine

    This stunning conservation area is called "an island in a sea of development" as mass subdivisions take over nearby land, which makes the quiet, untouched nature of Thornton Bales seem like a hidden paradise.

    The 99-Step Trail is open year-round and the small parking lot at the top of the trail's head is located off Mulock Sideroad, 3 km west of Yonge Street. 

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    Toronto City Council is still fighting for its life, with the latest attempt coming in the form of an open letter to the premier, penned by John Tory

    In the letter, the mayor pleads with Premier Doug Ford to "hit the pause button" on the cuts to council that would reduce the number of councillors from 47 to 25. Tory insists in the letter that the process has ignored common sense and democratic norms. 

    "It is unacceptable and unfair to change the rules in the middle of an election," Tory writes. "In light of this lack of any public consultation, I urge you to consider putting the process on hold to allow for a referendum so we can let the people speak."

    The mayor, speaking on behalf of council, does not ask the province to abandon Bill 5, but rather to postpone it until the public can weigh in.

    With the announcement of plans to cut council, some councillors sided with the province. However, a vote to oppose Ford passed on council 24-17. 

    The Ford government has been pushing the bill through as quickly as possible. Just this week, the party announced plans to fast-track the amendments, introducing a motion to bypass the committee stage (which also allows the bill to bypass expert and public consultation). 

    "Something as fundamentally important as an election –a primary mechanism of civic democracy –should not be changed without public input and in the absence of a clear process or robust understanding of public impacts and costs," Tory writes in the letter. 

    He also added that pausing the process, and allowing democracy to work, is a "sign of strength" for the premier. 

    "I would respectfully suggest that the legitimacy of your government’s position dramatically increases if supported by a legitimate process. It is always better to do something right as opposed to doing it quickly."

    Regardless of your views on the bill, who doesn't love a little shade being thrown once in a while? 

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    Toronto's eclectic food scene takes centre stage during food events this week. Taste of the Danforth brings a community together while tapas, rosé, beer, vegan food, sweets, fancy cheese and a whole roast pig are set to fill the city with the sweet scent of summer.

    Events you might want to check out:

    JerkFest (August 9-12 @ Centennial Park)
    JerkFest continues into this weekend, grilling up mountains of chicken and other Caribbean favourites alongside games, music and dancing.
    Feast of St. Lawrence (August 10-11 @ St Lawrence Market)
    St. Lawrence Market is getting into the summer spirit with a two-day festival, including a dinner under the stars and street party.
    Taste of the Danforth (August 10-12 @ Greektown)
    One of the biggest events of the year is back with patios, street food, music and activities in celebration of Toronto's Hellenic community.
    Waterfront Night Market (August 10-12 @ Ontario Place)
    The highly anticipated return of this big Pan-Asian market features food, activities and entertainment at its new spot at Ontario Place.
    Estrella Damm Tapas Journey (August 10-19 @ Multiple Venues)
    Take a tour of 39 different restaurants around the city offering up tapas, specially-curated with fixed menus and new items.
    Rosé Picnic (August 11 @ Stanley Barracks)
    Back again is this huge garden party worth dressing up for. Food and drinks are on while DJs spin the tunes inside the historic Stanley Barracks.
    Cheese and Charcuterie (August 11 @ TOCA Restaurant)
    Cheese aficionados can get their fill of decadent cheeses, alongside curated meats served on charcuterie boards and paired with wine.
    Chef K and Dave's Voodoo BBQ Party (August 11 @ Muddy York Brewing Co.)
    A traditional voodoo barbecue party is on at this Louisiana Cajun smoke out with a whole pig getting the La Caja China treatment.
    Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival (August 11-12 @ Roundhouse Park)
    Steam Whistle's Roundhouse Park gets a two-day extravaganza of samples and food trucks. Picnic blankets are encouraged!
    Sweetery (August 11-12 @ David Pecaut Square)
    For all the sweet tooths out there, this festival of desserts features local chefs, students and artisan creations of the sugary persuasion.
    Vegandale Food Festival (August 11-12 @ Fort York National Historic Site)
    Vegan foodies take over Fort York for two days of vendors serving up food, drinks, goods and products from non-animal sources.
    Korean Harvest Festival (August 24-26 @ Mel Lastman Square)
    Hangawi, also known as Korean Thanksgiving, looks to celebrate Korean culture with traditional food, music, dance, local artists and performances.
    Witchstock (September 29 @ Bellwoods Brewery)
    Bellwoods Brewery welcomes brewers from as far away as Belgium to this beer festival, featuring food, merch and unlimited tasting samples.
    Smoke’s Poutinerie World Poutine Eating Championship (October 13 @ Yonge–Dundas Square)
    Everything has been leading up to this: music, food and a big poutine party with three eating companions to see who comes out victorious.

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    The best cocktail bars in Toronto always lift spirits, often beginning with a dazzling presentation. Ranging from the classic to the molecular, bartenders across the city combine scents, flavours, ingredients and garnishes to create a buzz in more ways than one.

    Here are the best cocktail bars in Toronto.

    6 - Cocktail Bar

    This humming joint with a killer patio from firecracker restaurateur Jen Agg is the place to crowd around a flickering candle. This spot boasts a menu of colourful cocktails based around flavour palettes, the seasons, and whims, with names like "No New Friends" and "Crusta Rhymes."
    7 - Civil Liberties

    You could order any old cocktail at this Bloorcourt bar, but why do that when they can whip up pretty much anything based on an occasion, feeling, flavour or preference? Rows of rare ingredients backlit like in a Harry Potter movie attest to the alchemical capabilities of the bartenders here.
    8 - Pretty Ugly

    With a mini mezcal bar in the front, this Parkdale spot is a twofer. Cocktails in the back are based on themes ranging from horror movies to nights when certain staff members drank all the vermouth, featuring ingredients like "rainforest elixir" and flower garnishes.
    3 - Northwood

    This parkside spot close to Christie Pits sports a gorgeous patio and makes for an excellent spot to polish off a classic martini, or try something at the house’s suggestion. Pair with a darling cheese plate and you’re good to go.
    11 - The Cloak

    Cocktails like the gin, lime and rosewater Kapu Kulu are the perfect Instagrammable end to the day at this King West area hideaway.
    4 - Bar Raval

    Cocktails pack some serious punch at this Little Italy tapas spot. Whether you’re ordering something heavy and boozy or a refreshing Ms. Primo, the expert folks behind the beautifully carved bar have the cure for what ails you. Opt for the "Drink Me" option to get a bevvy curated specially for you.
    5 - BarChef

    The ultimate artsy molecular cocktails aren’t so much drinks as science experiments here, with presentation that could have these beverages mistaken for floral arrangements.
    10 - Cold Tea

    The names of cocktails here—with ingredients like sochu and chili tequila and frilly fresh herb garnishes—make cheeky references to pop culture. Try the Eastbound & Down at this speakeasy-like Kensington hangout with a fun Asian menu.
    9 - Famous Last Words

    Cocktail nerds and bookworms intersect at this literary-themed bar in the Junction. Creative cocktails based on books like the pungently smoky, rosemary-garnished Goldfinch are part of a menu that’s practically a novel in itself.

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    It's been two years since the nostalgia-inducing Promenade Mall — home of the world's first Yogen Fruz and, at one point, an IT Store (R.I.P.) — was sold to developers in Vaughan. 

    Now, thanks to a comprehensive redevelopment proposal, we finally know what they have planned for the sprawling commercial site at Bathurst and Centre: An even bigger mall. 

    Liberty Development Corporation just submitted Phase 1 of its modernization and expansion plan for Promenade Mall to the City of Vaughan and, according to Urban Toronto, it involves the addition of everything from residential apartment towers to an outdoor amphitheatre.

    promenade mall redevelopment

    The new-and-improved Promenade Mall will serve as an 'architectural centrepiece' for the surrounding commercial and residential campus. Image via City of Vaughan / Urban Toronto.

    The mall itself will be revamped to add more high-quality retail space for new and existing tenants, but the biggest changes are set to take place in the parking lot surrounding the current building.

    Here, Liberty plans to build four brand new towers with a combined floor area of 144,613 metres: Three of them for residential use and one of them, a 28-storey, mixed-use building with offices and a hotel.

    The idea is make Promenade Mall "less auto-centric and more transit and pedestrian-oriented."

    promenade mall redevelopment

    The revitalized shopping centre will be within steps of public transit connections. Image via City of Vaughan / Urban Toronto.

    Designed by Toronto's WZMH Architects, the residential towers will contain a total of 1,066 units. 

    The first two, if approved, will be built atop the space formerly occupied by Sears (again, R.I.P.) and rise 30 and 35 storeys high. Both will contain a mix of one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units.

    A third apartment building is slated to be 28-storeys-high and contain a mix of one and two bedroom units. This building will be situated north of the existing mall's entrance.

    promenade mall redevelopment

    Three new residential buildings will be erected around the existing Promenade Mall if the redevelopment goes as planned. Image via City of Vaughan / Urban Toronto.

    The Richmond Hill-based landscape architecture firm Schollen & Company Inc. has signed on to create a "pedestrian-friendly gateway plaza" that, based on site plans, will include plenty of beautiful ponds and green space.

    Also included in the site plans are a transit hub, community centre and tree-filled park.

    Cool as it all may sound, don't get hyped just yet. It'll be a while before any of this actually materializes in real life, and that's only if the City of Vaughan approves the proposal without any changes.

    promenade mall redevelopmentWhatever the case, the Promenade Mall built in 1986 will soon be a thing of the past.

    Good thing you took so many photos there by the fountain with your friends in Grade 8.

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    The world's top ranked male tennis player is in Toronto this week for the first time in nearly a decade to compete for the Rogers Cup— among other things.

    Rafael Nadal marked his first local win since 2010 at the Aviva Centre in North York on Wednesday night, thrilling fans of the Spanish superstar all around the world (especially those who got to see it live).

    Last night, he did it again, beating Swiss pro Stan Wawrinka in a nailbiter match that critics are hailing as one of the tournament's best highlights so far.

    The 32-year-old athlete plays once again tonight and, if all goes well for him, he'll advance to try and win his fifth Rogers Cup tournament this weekend.

    Hence the constant need to practice (and unintentionally provide opportunities for fans to creep on said practice sessions).

    As of Friday, Nadal has been in Toronto for a full week — and he's been spotted around town doing a lot more than playing tennis in his personal time.

    On Tuesday night, Nadal was spotted by many at the Shakira concert in Toronto's Scotiabank Arena.

    The Spanish tennis star was seen cheering for his friend and artistic collaborator in the audience, as well as busting a move or two.

    Over Caribana weekend, he was also spotted at an event with none other than Shaquille (sorry —"DJ Diesel") O'Neal.

    Nadal also hit the rooftop of the Bisha Hotel last weekend to do some press for the Rogers Cup at Kōst.

    Nadal has been incredibly gracious with fans who've asked for selfies and autographs, as evidenced by dozens of recent photos on Instagram and Twitter.

    It's not often that Toronto-based tennis fans get to rub shoulders with the world's greatest.

    Concerts and parties and autographs aside, what Nadal seems to have been doing most in Toronto so far is practicing his swing. Hey, you don't get to be best in the world by slacking.

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    The food court at Promenade Mall is bumpin' today with people lining up for their first taste of vegan cinnamon buns from Cinnaholic.

    Sizeable queues have been forming outside the American chain's long-awaited first location in the GTA all morning, where the store has been offering their cinnamon rolls for just $1 since 10 a.m. 

    A post shared by blogTO (@blogto) on

    The promo will last until 2 p.m., after which the customizable lactose- and egg-free buns will cost $5.50 each, with additional costs for frosting and toppings. 

    This Thornhill location marks the first of three Cinnaholic openings expected to take place in the next few weeks. 

    cinnaholic toronto

    People lined up outside the new Cinnaholic at Promenade Mall for their $1 cinnamon bun deal. 

    The Shark Tank-approved vegan bakery is set to open another store next to Chester Station at the end of the month, and a third at Steeles and Markham Road at the beginning of September. 

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    East Chinatown businesses are rejoicing now that a construction project is wrapping up early in the neighbourhood. 

    The intersection at Broadview Ave and Gerrard St. East has been receiving a streetcar track upgrade since July 24.

    The closure of the intersection and the diversion of the streetcars have both been a pain for businesses and pedestrians on the street, not to mention the transit riders on three separate diverted routes. 

    The City announced today that the project will wrap up early due to favourable weather throughout the duration of the work, and the infrastructure being in better condition than initially thought. 

    Pop Music, a vinyl store located on Gerrard, rejoiced in the news. After finding out that they may be losing thousands of commuter and pedestrian walk-in customers, the store offered a couple "Construction Sales" to drive traffic. 

    Pop Music said in an email that "the construction was a huge challenge," as the TTC stops were moved very far away, reducing the amount of "impulse customers." 

    Transit riders and frequenters of the neighbourhood can now celebrate the construction ending early, for once. Now, if only all Toronto construction projects could end early. Maybe in our collective dreams. 

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    This August, Tiger of Sweden is bringing its famous sample and end-of-season sale back. Want to go on a shopping spree? We've teamed up with the Toronto store to give you a chance to win a $200 gift card.

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    Say goodbye to saying hello to one of the weirdest architectural landmarks in Canada every time you hit the DVP via Adelaide.

    Toronto's famous "cube house" — a one-of-a-kind home built with three, giant, tilted green boxes at 1 Sumach Street — will soon be disappearing after more than 20 years of confusing drivers to make way for a condo development.

    Hey, if you wanted to save the cube house, you should have bought it.

    toronto cube house

    Toronto's mysterious cube house, unmistakable from any angle, was built in 1996 by architect Ben Kutner and his partner Jeff Brown. Image via Google Maps.

    The structure, inspired by Dutch architect Piet Blom's complex of Cubic Houses in Rotterdam, hit the market in early 2017, but didn't officially sell until May of 2018.

    It was purchased for a cool $2,750,000 by real estate developer Jeff Craig and real estate expert Taso Boussoulas. They plan on redeveloping the wedge-shaped lot off Eastern Avenue where the house sits — which means the cubes can't stay.

    That doesn't mean they need to be destroyed though, according to Boussoulas.

    toronto cube house

    The eco-friendly cube house is a popular attraction for photographers and fans of experimental architecture. Photo by Paul Flynn.

    "Our preference is that the cubes are relocated elsewhere on a city owned property, not demolished," he said on Friday. "We would happily donate them to the city."

    And if the city doesn't want the iconic green cubes? Boussoulas says they'll be "disassembled and thrown out, unless someone else would like to have them."

    Any takers? How about some background.

    toronto cube house

    It may look like art, but the cube house is a fully functioning, single-famliy residence. No word yet on how big the condo that replaces it will be. Photo by Derek Flack.

    The modular house at 1 Sumach was built back in 1996 by architect Ben Kutner and his partner Jeff Brown with the hopes of one day incorporating it into a larger community called UniTri.

    That didn't happen, but it did become someone's actual living space — after a years-long legal battle and eventual sale to Coffee Time founder Tom Michalopoulos.

    Michalopoulos bought the cubes in the early 2000s and briefly used them as billboards for Coffee Time. News producer Martin Trainor moved in around 2002 and lived there for 15 years.

    toronto cube house

    The cube house on Sumach has one bathroom, a kitchen, on office and one full bedroom according to longtime tenant Martin Trainor. Photo by Derek Flack.

    "Everybody should live in cubes," said Trainor to CBC Toronto when the property went up for sale last year. 

    "This is a great way to live. It's fun, it's functional, there's a lot of stairs — but it's good for your exercise."

    You'll find no other place like it in Toronto right now — but not for much longer at Eastern and Sumach, where the land it sits on is now worth far more than any 1.5 bedroom home, no matter how cool it looks from below.

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    If you love cheesecake, and you love doing the most, you can now combine your two passions. 

    This is because a popular Toronto cafe is now offering a gold cheesecake slice. 

    That's right: Eative Film Cafe, the makers of the famous gold ice cream cone, are now offering a slice of cheesecake wrapped in real gold―for a price of $20. 

    A post shared by blogTO (@blogto) on

    If you're looking to live your most extravagant life, but aren't much of a sweet tooth, don't worry! Eative says they plan to release a gold-wrapped burger and gold-wrapped sushi in the future. 

    Food trends in this city are getting more and more ridiculous every day. What's next, magical tea that changes colours when you drink it?

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    Today's events in Toronto rival that of any cottage weekend or vacation abroad with a stellar lineup of stuff going on. Electric Island keeps it hot with beats to make you sweat and it's the final day for Sail-In Cinema. Vegan food, beer, rosé and sweets are on, plus a big doggy festival.

    Events you might want to check out:

    Electric Island (August 11 @ Hanlan's Point Stadium)
    The second edition of Electric Island has a new lineup of electro/EDM stars, including Green Velvet, Shiba San and Sydney Blu.
    Sail-In Cinema (August 11 @ Sugar Beach)
    It's your last chance to catch a free outdoor screening from anywhere around this big floating screen. The final feature is none other than Space Jam!
    Paws in the Park (August 11 @ Woodbine Park)
    This pooch party, which is also a fundraiser, offers free admission, food, drinks, exhibitions, free training sessions and lots of free doggy pats.
    Rosé Picnic (August 11 @ Stanley Barracks)
    Back again is this huge garden party worth dressing up for. Food and drinks are on while DJs spin the tunes inside the historic Stanley Barracks.
    GhanaFest (August 11 @ Earl Bales Park)
    A huge celebration of Ghanaian arts and culture is on, with traditional food, cultural showcases and performances from local and international artists.
    Stranded Fest (August 11 @ Opera House)
    It's the classics with a twist at this big cover band festival, which features local bands playing the hits by Weezer, The Killers, Fall Out Boy and more.
    Vegandale Food Festival (August 11-12 @ Fort York National Historic Site)
    Vegan foodies take over Fort York for two days of vendors serving up food, drinks, goods and products from non-animal sources.
    Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival (August 11-12 @ Roundhouse Park)
    Steam Whistle's Roundhouse Park gets a two-day extravaganza of samples and food trucks. Picnic blankets are encouraged!
    Sweetery (August 11-12 @ David Pecaut Square)
    For all the sweet tooths out there, this festival of desserts features local chefs, students and artisan creations of the sugary persuasion.
    Parkdale Flea (August 11-12 @ Northern Contemporary Gallery)
    Back is this dog-friendly flea market that's teaming up with Save Our Scruff to feature some pups in need of a new home, among lots of shopping and food.

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    People who frequent the corner of Simcoe and Richmond or the Tim Hortons near it have probably met Tyme. He always has a big smile and greets people with a “Good Morning” “Hello” or “Have a nice day.”  

    A friendly and outgoing man, Tyme seems eager to talk to anybody who cares to listen. I recently sat down with him and asked him if he would like to share his story.

    Tyme grew up in Sault Ste. Marie back when it would be unrecognizable to us now. The Sault, as he fondly calls it, was a bustling city full of opportunities.

    Tyme worked in various jobs from construction to the steel mill, which, at that time, was a ticket to the coveted white-picket-fence lifestyle. At one point, Tyme even had his own business doing roofing, siding, and landscaping. 

    After work he would go out with friends, or relax with the TV at home. He enjoyed watching SNL. Occasionally he would go across the border to Michigan for dinner.  

    In 1976, the unions moved into Sault Ste. Marie for the first time. Tyme says the city was "never the same after that.”

    With the unions moving in, things changed overnight. Jobs became contracts, salaries increased, and companies could not afford to pay employees.  People were working from contract to contract, and it was getting harder to line up your next gig.  

    Never one to let change deter him, Tyme moved out of the Sault and worked odd jobs, including moving furniture across Canada.  He moved back to the Sault to give it another go and worked in a lumber mill for more than four years (one of his favourite jobs).

    Life was dealing him a good hand until he suffered a severe back injury. He was lifting a log and his vertebrae split in two. He beat the odds and was not paralyzed; months of rehab saw him walking again, but a career change was needed.

    Not one to give up, Tyme moved to Welland where he worked in a tube mill. However, luck was not on his side. The contract ended, and he was forced to move again, this time to London.

    After losing his wallet with all his money (about $500), he had to receive welfare for the first time in his life.

    Jobs in London were hard to come by as he was now older and companies preferred younger, faster, stronger, workers who had grown up in London over "outsiders." 

    Not wanting to be an outsider anymore, Tyme finally decided to move to Toronto where he had a close personal connection. He was staying near Queen and Sherbourne and jobs were easy to come by.  People would drive up and offer labour related jobs to anyone who wanted one.

    Money was flowing at a steady rate and Tyme was saving up to get a room. But when Personal Labour moved to the corner, Tyme said it felt like "Déjà Vu."

    The company "monopolized the jobs," and people had to go through the agency for a job. "Workers were getting paid much less than before and not in cash." 

    Tyme was back on welfare.

    By now, he was in his early 60s, and his life experiences were showing in his face. He was cut off from welfare after two months for  "not trying hard enough."

    Tyme felt that he was not respected as a senior citizen, and this was very offensive to him.

    But God, he says, was looking out for him and led him to someone who makes bracelets.  These gemstone bracelets are one-of-a-kind and said to be blessed to protect the person wearing them from evil, and give them good health.  Tyme says he dreams of opening up a small stand to sell his bracelets and to save enough for a tiny room.

    If you ask him what the most important thing someone can do for him is, his first answer is not money – it’s attention. Just for someone to stop and say: “Hello, how are you? I understand you’re trying.”

    He understands that not everyone is in the position to give money, and because of his hardships he appreciates it more than words when someone offers him a dollar. 

    Tyme’s bracelets are his way of starting a new life. The bracelets are $25 for a small one or $30 for a larger one.

    To give perspective on what this does for him: he buys 5 shirts for $10; a small meal three times a day between $3 and $5; as he saves up to get a little place some day and grow his bracelet business.

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    A fast food chain that's obsessed with potatoes is bringing a menu of starchy, cheesy goodness to Toronto. 

    A post shared by Marissa M (@rissam5) on

    Potatopia, a New Jersey-based kiosk-turned-chain, is set to open up its first Canadian location in the newly renovated Yonge Sheppard Centre food court sometime in the near future after delaying its unveiling by several months. 

    A post shared by EatsWithJo (@eatswithjo) on

    While the store only has a few locations in New Jersey, New York and Florida right now, Potatopia has been growing a following with its assortment of sleep-inducing bowls of potato-based goodness.

    A post shared by Eric Langholtz (@ericlangholtz) on

    Expect a menu of gourmet cheese fries, curly fries, potato skins and baked potatos for when you're craving a some good ol' spud. 

    They even have tater tots tossed in salt and pepper, and cripsy waffle fries doused in toppings like like onions (green, red, you name it), different types of cheese, and some craveable sauces made in-house. 

    A post shared by Potatopia (@potatopia) on

    And for those who don't feel like downing large quantities of potatos in one go (for health reasons, I suppose) there's sweet potato options as well. 

    A post shared by Potatopia (@potatopia) on

    It's not actually clear when Potatopia will have their building permits ready to go quite yet, but as the rest of the Sheppard Centre's food court is pretty much complete, spud lovers can only hope it will be sooner than later.

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    Toronto's waterfront might still be years away from being transformed into Sidewalk Lab's neighbourhood of the future, but a look back in time reveals just what a mess the area was back in the 1970s when its period as an industrial hub came to a close.

    While opinions are mixed about the continued build-up of condos along the lakeside, these images serve as a reminder that development along the water served as a catalyst for much of the improvement we've witnessed since it was one giant brown field.

    During the 1970s, industrial sites were expropriated to give way to art galleries, recreational space, and performance venues. It was also in 1976 that the federally funded Harbourfront project got underway - a key element in our waterfront's revitalization.

    Behold, the Toronto waterfront of the 1970s.

    toronto waterfront 1970s

    View of the central harbour and burgeoning skyline in 1970. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto waterfront 1970sLooking west across an empty Queens Quay in the early 1970s. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto waterfront 1970s

    The Queens Quay Terminal and harbourfront pre-revitalization in 1974. Photo via Harbourfront Centre.

    toronto waterfront 1970sThe Queens Quay Terminal in its last days as an industrial site in 1974. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto waterfront 1970sLooking towards the Eastern Gap and the young-looking Leslie Street Spit in 1974. Photo by Tom.

    toronto waterfront 1970s

    The Toronto Star Building and a rising Harbour Castle Hotel in 1976. Photo by Robert Taylor.

    toronto waterfront 1970s

    Looking west across Queens Quay towards the Maple Leaf Mills at Spadina Quay. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto waterfront 1970s

    Ship delivery at Maple Leaf Mills in the mid 1970s. Photo by Dan.

    toronto waterfront 1970s

    Looking east across the Ontario Place grounds in the mid 1970s. This is roughly where the new Trillium Park is now located. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto waterfront 1970s

    HMS Haida docked near Ontario Place in the 1970s. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto waterfront 1970s

    Harbour area south of Tip Top Tailors Building near Bathurst and Queens Quay. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto waterfront 1970s

    The CN Tower rises over the sprawling Railway Lands in 1974. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto waterfront 1970s

    For a bit more perspective, this is how disconnected Toronto was from its waterfront in the 1970s. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto waterfront 1970s

    The roadway to the right in this photo from 1976 leads to what is now Trillium Park. This exact view doesn't actually look wildly different today, save for the development of the skyline. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto waterfront 1970s

    The eastern end of Queens Quay approaching Parliament St. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto waterfront 1970s

    Back in the 1970s, there was no fancy Humber Bay Arch Bridge. These were the options for cyclists crossing the river. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto waterfront 1970s

    Someone checks out the massive hull of the Meaford cargo ship. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto waterfront 1970s

    Looking southeast across the Port Lands in the late 1970s. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

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    Take a day trip out of Toronto and escape the hustle and bustle of the city by exploring the wealth of towns and attractions that are just a short drive, bus, or train ride away.

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    There are few truly secret places in a city the size of Toronto, but we nevertheless remain fascinated by that which is under the radar, under appreciated or just out of plain sight. It's hard to stay hidden in a city this size, but a few things manage to go mostly unexplored.

    Here are some secret things that you might not know existed in Toronto.

    Air India Memorial

    Hidden just to the west of the mouth of the Humber River, the austere Air India Memorial can be one of the most tranquil places in the city. The memorial features a sundial pointed at Ahakista, Ireland, where the plane went down, as well as the names of the 329 victims on board.

    commerce court north

    The observation deck at Commerce Court North still comes with epic views. Photo by Tom Ryaboi.

    There's an off-limits observation deck in the heart of the Financial District

    While it might re-open at some point in the future, the observation deck at the top of Commerce Court North was once a tourist attraction until it closed in the 1950s. It's still in good shape and offers unreal views of the towers nearby.

    Toronto has an abandoned psychiatric hospital that's now a college campus

    Opened in 1890, most of the Kivas Tully-designed buildings from the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital remain standing at the edge of Mimico where the institution operated until 1979. Ghost stories abound on account of their Gothic Revival architecture and the fact that many of the were uninhabited before being taken over by Humber College.

    redway staircase toronto

    A staircase to nowhere or an escape route? Photo by Tanya Mok

    The Redway Road staircase

    This staircase to nowhere is actually designed as an escape route for employees of the North Toronto Sewage Treatment Plant. The Don Valley is still a flood plain, and in the event of a dire situation, these stairs are there to get to higher ground. They're also an amazing place to take in the fall colours in the valley.

    Enwave deep water cooling tunnels

    There's an extensive series of underground tunnels that pump water deep from Lake Ontario to cool major office buildings. The system draws water from the depths of the lake, which is then pumped as far north as Queen's Park. Notable buildings that derive cooling from the system include the TD Centre, the Scotiabank Arena and the Royal Bank Plaza.

    melbourne street

    Melbourne Place, one of Toronto's private streets. Photo by Derek Flack.

    Toronto is home to many private streets

    Most people are vaguely aware that Toronto has private streets or have heard of Wychwood Park, the best known of these types of enclaves. What fewer people know is that there are actually lots of private streets in Toronto. From the insular Percy St. in Corktown to Melbourne Place to the mansions of Elmsley Place.

    Centennial Park has a 12,000 square foot conservatory

    One of those places that likely gets a little less attention than it deserves because it's not located downtown, the Centennial Park Conservatory is a sprawling 12,000 foot greenhouse that feels like a natural paradise when you step inside. Featuring both a tropical house and an arid house, it's a stunning spot to escape to on a cold winter day.

    city hall clock toronto

    The clock at the top of the Old City Hall tower. Photo by Derek Flack.

    An elaborate clock keeps the time at Old City Hall

    Few people think about what powers the great chimes that ring out from Old City Hall every 15 minutes, but if they knew it was a clock that was activated on December 31, 1899 to ring in the new century, the sound might have even more gravitas.

    There's a hidden cemetery at Yonge and St. Clair

    St. Michael's Cemetery is completely obscured from the street, yet at 10 acres, it's not exactly small. Dating back to 1855, it's the city's oldest Catholic cemetery, and a remarkably serene place to quietly explore. Alas, these days the gates are almost always locked on account of misuse and vandalism.

    chester hill lookout

    Quite possibly the coolest lookout in the city. Photo by Tanya Mok.

    There's a secret lookout near Broadview and Danforth

    You'd probably never come across the Chester Hill Lookout unless someone told you exactly what it is. But once you get there, it starts to make sense. This is one of the most beautiful views of the city, stretching across the lush Don Valley before the skyline rises atop the Bloor Viaduct.

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    When I have friends visit Toronto for the first time, one of the first thing that strikes them as fellow book-lovers is that we have a remarkable number of small bookstores around the city.

    Over the years, they’ve dwindled down but comparable to many other cities, especially in the United States, there’s still a ton.

    The same can be said of our comic book market. While the shops are scattered around our large city and into the GTA, we are blessed with an abundance of places to buy our comic books, collectible statues and figures, trading cards, and more.

    It makes sense, as Toronto is a hub for all things geeky with a thriving movie and TV industry where many of the production companies film comic book adaptations.

    Our city is home to many top tier comic book creators like Ryan North, Chip Zdarsky, Sanya Anwar, Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez, and Francis Manapul.

    Toronto is also host to two of the biggest conventions in North America (FanExpo and TCAF, respectively). Plus, indie darling Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World was set here as a comic book and a feature film.

    There’s no denying that print media is dying off and the same things that caused many bookstores to close their doors is happening to comic book shops too.

    sidekick toronto

    The Sidekick in Leslieville pairs coffee with comics. Photo by Jesse Milns.

    Stores have had to adapt in order not just to survive but to thrive, especially those that continue to do business in prime locations like the Silver Snail.

    The Silver Snail occupied the same spot on Queen St. West for 35-years before relocating to Yonge and Dundas.

    In order to account for the rise in their rent and to build a bigger community around their brand, they partnered with The Black Canary Espresso Bar. This brought in new clientele who may have not previously thought to come into a comic shop at all, and helped increase their foot traffic.

    Whether that translated to sales in the comic shop itself is another story, but this did get bodies into the store. It diversified the shop, built a community, and helped people see that comic book shops aren’t always like something in an episode of The Big Bang Theory.

    The fact that the Silver Snail is not remotely wheelchair accessible remains another problem entirely, though. A problem that alienates a big demographic of geeks. This remains a problem for many other comic book shops as well.

    Other shops in Toronto and outside of Toronto have also begun integrating cafes into their shops.

    The Sidekick has more of a vibe of being a cafe with a comic book shop that happens to also be there. And then there’s Page & Panel, which came equipped with a cafe when they moved into the Toronto Reference Library (where a Balzacs already resides).

    page and panel

    Page & Panel in the Toronto Reference library is a great source for comics and other collectibles. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

    Page & Panel might be the best example of a comic book store that’s doing everything right. As mentioned, TCAF (Toronto Comic Arts Festival) is one of the best comic book conventions in North America, and also one of the most-respected. They are affiliated with The Beguiling, which is yet another great shop.

    Every year, TCAF is held in the Toronto Reference Library and draws in massive crowds of people. A few years back, it was decided that The Beguiling and TCAF team would open up a permanent shop within the Toronto Reference Library.

    The shop itself is the opposite of what most people think of when they think of a comic book store. It’s a bright shop with colours everywhere.

    There are displays of new and interesting comics that you don’t see prominently featured at other shops; the staff are welcoming, inclusive, and helpful; there’s a absolutely massive section of kids comics and merch; cool beverages are for sale (with coffee and other items available at Balzacs); and it’s accessible.

    Page & Panel also plays host to creator launch parties, creator signings, and other community building events from time to time, like Comic Shop Ladies Night. Plus, they carry a wide range of comics and zines from local artists and creators, which aren’t typically be found in other shops in the city.

    sidekick toronto

    The Sidekick takes their comic books theme seriously. Photos by Jesse Milns.

    The Sidekick is also excellent about incorporating events and socials into their calendar. The shop may feel more like a cafe than a comic book store, but that's not a bad thing.

    It's neatly organized and isn’t overcrowded with merchandise. There’s a great variety of things like collectibles, single-issue comics, and collected trade paperbacks for people to buy.

    Diversifying the way that stores present themselves is the way that stores in Toronto are continuing to thrive. Geek culture over the last several years has become very mainstream, possibly thanks to the success of comic book movies and comic conventions popping up in cities of all sizes around the world.

    As a result, it’s no longer considered “uncool” to be into Doctor Who, Batman, Wonder Woman, or Battlestar Galactica. As these shops realize that, they welcome in new crowds of people with open arms and helpful staff to guide them. This makes them more likely to do well in the long run, the industry is starting to see. 

    The "helpful staff" aspect goes a long way in this new era when people can simply go online to Amazon or ComiXology (also owned by Amazon) and purchase their comics.

    An even better deal is reading comics for free, as the library now carries them. Apps such as Hoopla integrate the library catalogue right into your digital devices, making it easy to read new comics anywhere.

    beguiling toronto

    The Beguiling is practically a Toronto institution. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

    Because of this, now more than ever, shops need to have environments where they’re helping usher in new readers with staff members who represent and understand the growing market of women, people of colour, and LGBTQ+ identifying people.

    Staff need to help showcase books that speak to those audiences who are trying to find their way in the market and will happily put money into supporting physical books if they find a place they feel welcome at.

    I briefly mentioned Comic Shop Ladies Night in passing, but this team is also doing their part in another sense. Bringing in new fans and helping to showcase new comic shops are vital projects.

    The event is quarterly and isn’t held solely at one comic book shop. Rather, the organizers behind the event choose different shops all around the city.

    The hosting shop ensures that only women or non-binary staff members are working for the evening, so that attendees can make purchases throughout the event.

    The women attendees are given the chance to win prizes, learn about new comics, and to mingle with other like-minded people in an inclusive environment where they can feel safe and welcome.

    These events and more help to build and strengthen a strong community within the city.

    It not only breeds new readers who approach the field with positivity and voracious appetites to discover more, but creates new aspirations for young writers and artists to breath new life into a medium that has been around for over 85 years.

    west end comics

    You can find all your classics at West End Comics in Parkdale. Photo by Brian Chambers.

    With the number of comic book shops and geeks within Toronto and the GTA, it puts us in a unique position to try new things that can help set a standard around the world for engaging with new audiences and keeping shops open.

    Very few retail markets have such an opportunity to build entire communities with their patrons. Toronto comic book stores can thrive with the help of those around them willing to think outside the box and find new ways to welcome fans with open arms.

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    Taste of the Danforth is taking over Greektown this weekend.

    Hitting it off on Friday evening to massive crowds, the stretch of the Danforth between Broadview and Donlands was packed last night with all the best in Greek and Mediterranean culture. 

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    Officially Canada's largest street festival, Taste of the Danforth celebrated its big 25th birthday #DanforthStrong with food, performances, and appearances from some major politicans. 

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    The event's Silver Jubilee is a welcome celebration for an area that — to put it lightly — has been through a lot this year. 

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    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived to show his support to the community, which just three weeks ago experienced a mass shooting, stopping to take some selfies with some super happpy festival-goers.

    taste of the danforth torontoAfter roaming the streets he headed to the OLG Celebrity Stage on Logan Street to speak in front of a massive crowd.

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    Following the Greek national anthem and honouring the victims of the shooting, the Prime Minister broke a plate Greek-style while crowds shouted the ceremonial "Opa!"  

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    Leader of the NDP Party Jagmeet Singh also showed up to have some fun with festival-goers.

    taste of the danforth torontoVisitors began flowing into the festival area around 6 p.m., were they were greeted with the usual offerings of Greek food from some neighbourhood favourites like Souv Like

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    The tzaziki sauces were flowing with the delicious gyros from the Danforth stalwart Messini, whose lineups were by far the longest of the festival.

    taste of the danforth torontoFunnel Cake Express delivered on massive plates of deep fried, ice cream-topped goodness.

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    Mango roses were all the rage at stalls like El Charro and outside the Danforth Foodland grocery store. 

    taste of the danforth torontoThe Forth was grilling up skewered sausages outside their event space while music blasted from their speakers. 

    taste of the danforth torontoOutside of Katsu Sushi, people lined up for skewered of fried Asian street eats like squid and tempura shrimp.

    The meats stayed spinning at the Athens Restaurant stall, which was serving up rotisserie chickens and skewers of their own. 

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    And people got a chance to vote for their favourite sneakers from the MARTK'D  Art on Sneakers competition, where local artists had 20 minute to design some canvas sneakers in honour of the Danforth.

    taste of the danforth torontoBurger Stomper opened up a cool beer garden with glowing seating and some speakers for a cool neon-lit getaway.taste of the danforth torontoMeanwhile, people got to take out some rage in a very therapeutic way at the Battle Sports stall, where people paid to smash some plates Greek-style. 

    taste of the danforth torontoDanforth's memorial to last month's shooting victims have been moved to its original location at the Alexander the Great Parkette to the St. Barnabas Church, where people took time from the festivities to pay their respects.

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    The festival continues all weekend until Sunday at 10 p.m. It's bound to be busy, so you can follow Taste of the Danforth's map to make sure you hit up all the spots. 

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