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    One of the city's swankiest Mediterranean restaurants is opening a second Toronto location. 

    Byblos, the project by entertainment mogul Charles Khabouth and Hnaif Harji, is bringing its lauded menu of lamb and Turkish tea cocktails from the Entertainment District to Yonge and Eglinton. 

    byblos torontoByblos' second location will be at Yonge and Eglinton. 

    The restaurant will take over the space of recently-closed North 44, which operated for 28 years in midtown — presumably to fill the gap of upscale eats its departure left behind. 

    Launched in 2014, Byblos already has a spin-off restaurant in Miami Beach, but this location at 2537 Yonge St. will be an extension ​​of the first with the same menu as its original spot. Add an interior by Toronto's popular design firm, Studio Munge

    There's no exact opening date yet, but we can expect Toronto's second Byblos to be ready for dining sometime in the winter.

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    Tesla Motors Canada ULC, maker of electric vehicles and more, is now filing a lawsuit against the provincial government.

    The company said that the suit is over Premier Doug Ford's PC government cancelling cap and trade, a program that gave rebates to owners of electric vehicles.

    The PCs announced their plan to scrap the program while campaigning earlier this year, and finally did so in July. Following the cancellation, many predicted the electric vehicle market would suffer. As a result, Tesla seems to be taking action.

    Details have not been revealed, but the motor vehicle producer says many of its customers were expecting rebates that they will no longer receive.

    It is asking the Ontario Supreme Court to strike down the "arbitrary and entirely unreasonable" decision.

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    Brookfield Property Partners is finally moving forward with the third and final phase of its massive Bay Adelaide Centre development in downtown Toronto, as you will soon surely hear and see.

    The new 32-storey tower will be located on the north side of Temperance Street, right across from its sister skyscrapers, the 52-storey Bay Adelaide Centre West and the 44-storey Adelaide Centre West.

    It will be named "Bay Adelaide Centre North" and contain approximately 820,000 square feet of office space with what Brookfield describes as "best-in-class operational, environmental and life-safety systems."

    bay adelaide centre

    The third and final tower of Brookfield's Bay Adelaide Centre is expected to be finished sometime in 2022. Image via Brookfield Property Partners.

    This tower will be smaller in both height and square footage than the project's two existing structures, but its creation will come as a welcome opportunity for companies wishing to join the complex, as both the East and West towers are currently 100 per cent occupied

    Scotiabank has already signed on as anchor tenant for the new building and will occupy 51 per cent of the space for at least 15 years. For their commitment, Scotiabank will get a dedicated reception area and "exclusive access to an outdoor podium terrace."

    All building tenants will have direct access to the PATH and subway system via Bay Adelaide Centre North. Lucky ones will have a view overlooking Arnell Plaza or Cloud Gardens Park.

    bay adelaide tower

    The new Bay Adelaide Centre North tower will overlook Arnell Plaza, a half-acre open space, to the south. Image via Brookfield Property Partners.

    "Consistent with Bay Adelaide Centre West and East and several of Brookfield’s new office developments, Bay Adelaide Centre North will be designed to achieve LEED Platinum Core & Shell environmental certification," reads a release from Brookfield.

    "Brookfield anticipates substantial completion of the building in early 2022, with Scotiabank’s lease commencement to follow later that year."

    The firm projects a total cost of approximately $500 million for this phase of the development, though it stands to reason it won't be hard to make that back.

    Brookfield currently owns 11 properties with a combined 11 million square feet of space in downtown Toronto alone. At present, the entire portfolio is 99 per cent occupied.

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    The fallout from last Tuesday's nightmarish super-flood continues this week with news that one of West Queen West's best live music and comedy venues has closed due to water damage.

    The Drake Underground, a performance and party space found beneath the original Drake Hotel, is currently in the process of rescheduling, relocating or cancelling every show it had booked between now and November.

    Artists like Mahalia and Alice Phoebe Lou have already moved their concerts to The Garrison and Longboat Hall, respectively, while Mickey Blue's show on Friday night was simply called off.

    The fate of September's sold-out Let's Eat Grandma show remains up in the air.

    "Due to recent flooding, the Drake Underground has sustained significant damage and as a result, the venue will be closed until the end of October 2018," reads a statement from the company. 

    "We apologize for the disappointing news and are working with our teams to restore the space and reopen our doors as soon as possible."

    Fortunately for Drake fans (not to be confused with Drake fans, who must also suffer through the flood-related closure of their favourite rapper's restaurant Pick 6ix,) The Drake Hotel itself will be open for business as usual.

    That includes the lounge, café, dining room and, most importantly for the purposes of my life, the Sky Yard.

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    Construction on the massive zipper-inspired art installation called 'Unzipped' is well underway on King Street West, and it already looks amazing. 

    Slated for completion sometime in September, the fascinating structure can be found in a public parking lot at King and Brant Streets, where buildings are still working to re-assemble the 14-metre-high pavilion. 

    unzipped toronto

    The Serpentine Pavilion, also known as 'Unzipped,' will be complete sometime in September. 

    Tucked behind the Greek & Co., the installation will officially open to the public sometime in September before it makes its way to its permanent home along Vancouver's waterfront in November. 

    Unzipped comes by way of England courtesy of the Danish firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) as part of the annual architectural program at the Serpentine Galleries in London.

    Initially built in 2016, Unzipped can be torn down and reassembled again thanks to its innovative design. 

    unzipped toronto

    Unzipped will be making its way to Vancouver in November, possibly stopping by New York first.

    The pavilion's walls are constructed using 1802 stacked fibre glass boxes, stretching to 12-metres wide and curving 27 metres long.

    Inside, a cavernous opening with an 'unzipping' effect will allow visitors to check out the architectural exhibit curated by BIG, with plans to hold events in there at night. 

    Seeing the construction process is almost just as fascinating as the final product. Sadly it won't be staying for long, so check it all out while it's still here. 

    unzipped toronto

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    Happy Friday! The CNE is where you'll find everyone this weekend (if you're not sure where to start, here's a handy guide), while other events in Toronto today include a big astronomy party, a free concert, an outdoor film screening, and some Drake yoga.

    Events you might want to check out:

    Indie Fridays (August 17 @ Yonge–Dundas Square)
    Up-and-coming musicians perform for free in the heart of downtown, also featuring graffiti artists and a beer garden.
    Jurassic Park (August 17 @ Oakridge Park)
    Get your fill of a shirtless Jeff Goldblum, Newman and Laura Dern in this outdoor screening of the Spielberg classic that just keeps on giving.
    Fantastic Planet (August 17 @ The Royal Cinema)
    Catch a screening of René Laloux's classic animated film that broke new ground in the genre of sci-fi with its imaginative storytelling and challenging themes.
    Sate (August 17 @ Lee's Palace)
    Toronto's own Sate uses her powerful voice to sing about love and loss alongside shy kids, Moscoe and Shame Agent.
    Astronomy On Tap T.O. (August 17 @ The Great Hall)
    Astro enthusiasts, rejoice! An out-of-this world party is on with drinks, astronomy news, mind-expanding talks, games, prizes and cosmic merch.
    Dean Brody (August 17 @ Budweiser Stage)
    Canadian country superstar Dean Brody has been a busy man, starring in a documentary, winning awards, and making a stop in Toronto for the night.
    Small World Music Festival (August 17-19 @ Harbourfront Centre)
    The traditional and cutting-edge come together for a showcase of music from all over the world, including art and dance, all weekend long.
    Three Identical Strangers (August 17-30 @ Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema)
    The uncanny resemblance of three boys living in New York City in the '80s leads to the discovery of an unusual origin story in this new documentary.
    CNE (August 17 - September 3 @ Exhibition Place)
    Try a gold burger, catch a concert and ride on a 91 year-old tilt-a-whirl (don't worry, it's safe) and more at the city's annual downtown carnival.
    Drake Yoga (August 17 - October 26 @ The Attic, lululemon)
    Namaste for what? Stretch, breathe and flex to the tune of Aubrey during this weekly yoga class featuring hip-hop and R&B hits.

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    Last year was the first time this house was on the market in 60 years and it needed a ton of work. The current owners took on that momentous task and their hard work paid off. The place is stunning.99 willcocks street torontoThe beautiful Victorian-era family home was perfectly restored. They managed to preserve all the vintage character and charm.

    99 willcocks street torontoThe living and dining area are open concept and the restored oak hardwood flooring is dazzling.

    99 willcocks street torontoThe newly-renovated kitchen is sleek and minimalist with white cabinets and stainless steel appliances.

    99 willcocks street torontoI love the goth-esque theme that flows through the house. From the outside brick (which was painted black) to the interior black accents including doors, bathtubs, and tiles, it all fits together.

    99 willcocks street torontoThe master bedroom is bright and airy with a huge bay window. It also has custom-made floor-to-ceiling closets so you’ll never run out of space for that wardrobe.

    99 willcocks street torontoThe master en suite is all new with heated tile floors and a huge soaker tub.

    99 willcocks street torontoIt also has a fully contained apartment or “in-law suite” in the basement, a fenced deck and two parking spots, but no garage.

    99 willcocks street torontoThe Essentials
    • Address: 99 Willcocks Street
    • Type: Semi-Detached House
    • Bedrooms: 5+1
    • Bathrooms: 5
    • Size: 21 X 120 feet
    • Realtor: Sotheby’s Realty
    • Hit the market at: $2,625,000
    • Sold for: $2,650,000
    99 willcocks street torontoWhy it sold for what it did?

    The owners managed to transform a rundown house into a masterpiece. Plus it doesn’t hurt it’s so centrally located.  

    99 willcocks street torontoWas it worth it?

    Considering I’ve seen comparable houses in this neighbourhood go for more I’d say it’s worth it.99 willcocks street toronto

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    Many people associate white water rapids with the Ottawa River, but did you know that some of Ontario's largest and strongest rapids are just a couple hours from Toronto?

    A post shared by Kaya (@kayamarcus) on

    The Oxtongue River-Ragged Falls Provincial Park is located on the Southwest edge of Algonquin Park, and features Gravel Falls, which perfectly demonstrates the powerful force of glacial meltwater. Other scenic waterfalls grace the main trail within the park. 

    A post shared by Jullien (@jullien__) on

    The Oxtongue River Trail is a relatively easy hike at only one kilometre, and leads to the plunge basin at Gravel Falls. Depending on the time of year, and with extreme caution, you can climb along the rocks to the base of the falls for the most epic photo op. 

    A post shared by Jake (@jacobbrenner) on

    The beauty of this area has been admired for centuries, and has been immortalized in many paintings by the famous Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven in the early 1900s.

    There are over 40 known paintings completed by the Group of Seven depicting the Oxtongue River, including the well known 'Northern River' by Thomson. 

    A post shared by Josh Pratt (@jpcaptured) on

    Once you're done exploring the rapids and perhaps even taking a dip near the shallow shoreline, be sure to check out the lush trails inside this picturesque provincial park, where there are nine distinct forest communities.

    The Beetle Lake Trail consists of paths that wind through the thick brush, with perfect views of the Falls along the way. 

    A post shared by aidanrawnsley (@aidanrawnsley) on

    Although Oxtongue River-Ragged Falls Provincial Park is a day-use park only and doesn't currently have any overnight accommodations, you're extremely close to Algonquin Park where the camping facilities are endless. 

    Be sure to plan your visit before October 28th, when the park officially closes for the season. The entrance into the Park is accessible via Hwy 60, where you'll find a large parking lot and washroom facilities. 

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    The people of Toronto are nothing if not creative in getting the city's attention when calls to 311 go unheeded.

    Give us a steep park entrance and you'll get DIY stairs. A confusing intersection? We'll redesign it with chalk and leaves. In some parts of the world, people combat potholes with spray painted penises. Here, we prefer vegetation.

    An unlikely community garden of sorts has popped up in the base of a dangerous and unsightly sinkhole near Avenue and Dupont in midtown Toronto — a hole that residents say has been there for at least four months despite consistent, repeated cries to the city for help.

    toronto sinkhole tomatoesLocals say that the hole, found on the north side of Poplar Plains Crescent at Rathnelly Ave., has been growing exponentially since last Tuesday's monster rain storm.

    It's also been growing tomatoes.

    "I'm not sure exactly when the tomatoes were planted," says local resident Amanda Myers. "I pass by this sinkhole often and just thought there were weeds growing in the hole."

    Myers says she only noticed the fruit on these plants recently, after someone added tomato cages to support their growth.

    They're green, at present, but there are a lot of them, and they actually look pretty healthy — you know, for sinkhole tomatoes.

    toronto sinkhole tomatoesNobody seems to know who's behind this random act of community beautification, but people all over the city are loving it. 

    Photos of the sinkhole tomatoes were posted on Reddit yesterday, prompting hundreds of upvotes, comments, jokes and questions about whether or not these tomatoes will be okay to eat.

    "Given years of leaded gasoline use, and Toronto's industrial past, you should actually be careful about eating anything that comes out of the ground in the city," wrote one commenter. "If you're going to do serious urban gardening that produces food either import clean soil, or get your soil tested."

    "Now I know where to get fresh local tomatoes for free," commented someone else. "Thanks for posting up!"

    toronto sinkhole tomatoesSome online are making jokes about how very Toronto this little project is.

    "This is a quintessentially passive aggressive Torontonian response," wrote one Redditor. "This is passive aggressive at its finest," wrote another.

    Whatever the case, the spontaneous tomato plot seems to be working.

    "I'm not sure if the city has been notified," says Meyers, "but I assume they have been since there are Toronto pylons surrounding the sinkhole. "

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    Summer doesn't quit with food events this week in Toronto. Good music and drinks are on deck at Cityfest Parc Rosé and Little India is turning into a giant street party with cheap eats. Taste of Manila is back and there's a celebration of all things blueberries.

    Events you might want to check out:

    Pop-Up Caribbean Summer Market (August 18 @ Ralph Thornton Community Centre)
    Patties, cocktails, pudding and pone. It's all on the menu at this Caribbean summer market, alongside jewellery, oils, body scrubs and more.
    Cityfest Parc Rosé (August 18 @ Canoe Landing Park)
    A massive, all-day, pink and white party is going down featuring, a lavish garden, activities, dancing, food and Toronto DJs on deck.
    Weslodge’s Fried Chicken Party (August 18 @ Weslodge Patio)
    A classic summertime spread is on with crispy fried chicken, grilled corn, watermelon salad and a little of that old bourbon lemonade.
    East Coast Kitchen Party (August 18-19 @ Exhibition Place)
    The Maritimes comes to Toronto with a two-day traditional kitchen party featuring food, music, drinks and dance reminiscent of the east coast.
    Festival of South Asia (August 18-19 @ Little India)
    South Asian eats are on big time during this street festival with $1-$5 food, performances and live music from all the countries of South Asia.
    Taste of Manila (August 18-19 @ Bathurst and Wilson)
    Toronto's biggest Filipino street festival returns with a weekend of traditional food, performances, and activities, capped off with a big parade.
    Markham Craft Beer and Wine Festival (August 18-19 @ Markham Fairgrounds)
    Over 50 craft beer, wine and spirit producers from all over the province are heading to Markham to serve up the drinks alongside food and music.
    Wild Blueberry Festival (August 19 @ Evergreen Brick Works)
    Blueberries, blueberries and more blueberries are on at the big festival with over 20 food producers offering up the best in blueberry products.
    Indie Boat Hop (August 19 @ Tall Ship Empire Sandy)
    Hop on and have yourself some hops during this indie alehouse boat cruise around the Toronto harbour, with brews from 16 Ontario breweries.
    Summer Beer Dinner (August 20 @ Revere)
    You're in good company with The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies as they host a summer dinner with four courses and a sampling station.
    Harvest Wednesday (August 22 @ Gladstone Hotel)
    Harvest Wednesdays returns with a three-source dinner with regional ingredients, all sustainably sourced. Also enjoy drinks, music and a chefs talk.
    Summer Wine Jam (August 23 @ Berkeley Church)
    Soak up the summer at the sixth edition of this big wine party featuring over 75 wines up for the tasting and food pairings to accompany them.
    Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Fest (August 24-26 @ Ontario Place)
    There's always room for one more cookout before summer ends, and this one promises tons of food, drinks, music and country-themed activities.
    City Cider (September 16 @ Spadina Museum)
    The apple orchard behind the historic Spadina Museum is hosting an all-day picnic with fresh cider, music, activities and games.
    International Dumpling Festival (September 29-30 @ James Street)
    Part of Nuit Blanche, this all-night dumpling market will host a diverse spread of vendors with dumplings from cultures all over the world.

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  • 08/17/18--07:24: The Best Tapas In Toronto
  • The best tapas in Toronto allow the indecisive to thrive. Rather than having to choose just one main, diners at these restaurants are able to quickly share multiple small plates in a row. Some of these places stick more rigidly to Spanish tradition than others, but they all allow you to sample a range of what’s on the menu.

    Here’s the best tapas in Toronto.

    4 - Bar Raval

    By the same team as Bar Isabel, this swooping wooden all-day bar also situated in Little Italy turns out a shifting daily menu of conservas and small plates, as well as laying out little snacks of bread and cheese and house pastries out on the bar.
    8 - Madrina

    This Distillery District Spanish restaurant takes the cake for tapas presentation with El Bulli olives made of spherified olive juice, mille-feuille-inspired patatas bravas and gazpacho oysters.
    9 - Patria

    Tapas canapes are $4 across the board at this King West restaurant: tomato or cheese on house bread, croquetas, dates with Iberico bacon, and queso frito. Take the guesswork out of ordering with a canape platter.
    5 - Foxley

    The snacks at this Ossington restaurant mainly skew towards an Asian influence, but you’ll find plenty of fusion here with small plates like prosciutto dumplings, green curry P.E.I. mussels and lemongrass cornish hen.
    6 - Little Sister

    This Indonesian-Dutch food bar near Yonge & Eglinton specializes in beef and chicken skewers and snack tacos. Nosh on pickles or prawn crackers for cheap.
    7 - Mezu

    Dundas West has this spot for Korean tapas that utilizes the best of Canada’s ingredients. Stars include ssam lettuce wraps and bulgogi steak with kimchi. Crudo, octopus and veggie options round out the menu.
    11 - Campo Food Hall

    Both the daytime food hall on King West and Labora tucked in the back are a tapas oasis where seafood conservas as well as Iberico and Serrano pork can be found.
    10 - Carmen

    Jicama, dates, patatas bravas, steak, octopus, ceviche and tartare all make for excellent tapas options at this Spanish standby on West Queen West.
    3 - Bar Isabel

    Incredible things come in tiny packages at this Spanish restaurant in Little Italy, such as a pair of crostini with sobrasada and luscious foie gras or tiny portions of luxurious quesos, marinados and jamones.

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    If you've been outside in downtown Toronto literally just once over the past five years, I don't need to tell you that we have a lot of construction cranes in the sky.

    The New York Times doesn't need to tell you that either, but it's nice of them to validate what everyone who lives here has long suspected about the situation: It's extreme.

    Toronto has more cranes in the sky at present than any other city in North America according to a recent report from the surveying firm Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB).

    With an estimated 97 active construction cranes as of July 2018, Toronto has more than double the number of cranes of Chicago, four times as many as San Francisco, and nearly five times as many cranes in the sky as New York City.

    RLB's most recent North American Crane Index puts Toronto far ahead of even its closest competitor, Seattle (65 cranes) in terms of volume, and that doesn't account for "mobile cranes attached to trucks" — only fixed cranes at construction sites.

    Of all 97 qualifying cranes in Toronto, 85 are being used to construct residential buildings (read: condos, typically) or mixed-use properties, which will contain residential as well as office or retail space.

    "For the third consecutive reporting period, Toronto has the highest number of cranes of all the cities surveyed in this edition of the Index: 97, an increase over the last count of 88," reads the RLB report.

    "The market continues to be led by the residential sector, which makes up over 86% of the total crane count."

    The other 14 per cent of cranes are reportedly being used for commercial developments and in the sectors of education, healthcare and hospitality.

    "Looking ahead, Toronto is expected to see a boost in spending on infrastructure, which is anticipated to trigger an increase in construction activity," says the report. "More than 400 high-rise projects have been proposed, adding to the city’s dynamic skyline."

    So, more cranes are in store — but it's important to note that the number of buildings under construction doesn't necessarily correlate with the number of cranes we see outside.

    Some under-construction towers are surrounded by cranes (there are at least 3 at the CIBC Square project in Toronto's Southcore neighbourhood right now).

    RLB only counts cranes that are fixed in place. Adding in all of the mobile cranes (ones that can be moved from place to place) would boost the numbers significantly, not only in Toronto but across the continent.

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    Crowds of people dressed up in white risked total exposure last night by heading to Toronto's biggest all-white party as stormy rain clouds hovered overhead. 

    Dîner en Blanc ​​​​​​ — the city's annual outdoor dining event — took over one of the hottest venue's of the dummer, the Bentway and Fort York Park, for a boozy evening of cocktails, dinner, and dancing. 

    Unlike last year's event, which took place at Canoe Landing Park, it didn't rain. 

    Many guests congregated at designated spots around downtown like Union Station and Nathan Phillips Square to wait for the event's address. 

    Heading over to the Bentway with their own folding tables, chairs, picnic food and utensils in tow (it's required) the guests filed in for the sold-out event. 

    Seated under the Gardiner Expressway and on the lawn, people dined on food they brought themselves like fancy tiered cheese platters, charcuterie, and bread dips.

    A post shared by marijamm (@marijamm) on

    Oh, and Big Macs.

    A post shared by Samantha Cheng (@iamsamcheng) on

    As always, fashion is the main thing to see at Dîner en Blanc, although there were other attractions like a white bouncy castle. 

    A post shared by Gabriella (@gnborg) on

    Sparklers and candles lit up the rows of tables as it got dark.

    Guests were treated to some entertainment like a gymnast and a travelling band. 

    A post shared by Emily (@emily_yt16) on

    There was even a marriage proposal! 

    Once night fell, the DJ took over, with diners taking to the park for a big dance party. 

    Those who missed out on this year's event can risk the rain again next year for this all-white affair.

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    The 140th Canadian National Exhibition is now officially open to the public — but a labour dispute may leave you making a choice on whether to cross the picket line.

    More than 400 technical workers remain locked out of Toronto's Exhibition Place as of Friday morning at 10 a.m., when this year's CNE officially kicked off, and they're not letting people pass quietly through the Princes' Gates.

    Picket lines are in place, as promised, and protesters won't be moving aside until an ongoing labour dispute between Exhibition Place and its unionized stagehands is resolved.

    Members of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 58, which represents workers with technical and staging expertise at Exhibition Place, were locked out by the venue's board of governors on July 20 after what both sides say was a month-long collective bargaining process.

    Locked out workers vowed at the time that they would form picket lines at the entrance to this year's exhibition, and warned that the safety of guests could be jeopardized without their expertise.

    Things got even more intense after The Ex brought in workers from Quebec to fill their roles.

    Public support for the union remains high, but many vendors and guests are nonetheless crossing picket lines today — in some cases, just to do their jobs.

    Protests are making it hard for cars to get into The Ex, costing vendors time and money as they wait in gridlock traffic.

    "There's a demonstration at the south end of the [29 Dufferin] route which along with CNE traffic is causing some congestion headaches," wrote the TTC's customer service account on Twitter in response to someone complaining about transit delays. "I'm sorry about that."

    A giant rat that demonstrators are calling "Scabby" has become a mascot, of sorts, for the picketers.

    The blow-up animal even made a rather comical appearance during this morning's opening ceremony outside the CNE by popping up behind such dignitaries as Toronto Mayor John Tory and Ontario Premier Doug Ford on stage.

    "Management is demanding that Local 58 surrender its longstanding jurisdiction at Exhibition Place so that 'replacement' workers can take Toronto jobs and leave town when they are done," reads a letter of explanation on IATSE's website.

    "Local 58 says it would be impossible to negotiate away its members’ jobs. We have been willing, however, to bargain in good faith around other contractual issues, such as compensation and work rules."

    "Management has refused to talk about these matters until the union abandons its members and devastates their families," the letter continues.

    And so, a legal picket line has been set up around the entrances to Toronto's Exhibition Place, where they will remain throughout the two-and-a-half-week-long marquee event.

    "We'd rather be negotiating, as we have for more than 60 years," says the union. "But Mayor John Tory's hand-picked Board has said no. We ask for understanding and support from our fellow Torontonians."

    The CNE runs until September 3. Here are the things that you can eat, if you choose to cross the picket line.

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  • 08/17/18--11:11: The top 50 bars in Toronto
  • The Toronto bar scene is thriving. From expertly crafted cocktails to craft beer, video games, pinball, live music and drag shows there's literally something for everyone in neighbourhoods across the city.

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    It's about to get really wet in Toronto, if meteorologists are correct — but that's the last of this gloomy gray haze you'll see all weekend.

    Heavy rains and "very slow moving" thunderstorms are expected to make their way across the GTA on Friday afternoon and evening, bringing localized rainfall in excess of 50 mm.

    That's not far off from what we saw last Tuesday, when 64.3 mm of rain fell in just two hours, completely flooding the downtown core

    Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for the City of Toronto just before 3 p.m. this afternoon warning of "torrential downpours" that could hit anywhere between now and nighttime.

    toronto rain storm

    Slow-moving rain storms are expected to hover over the GTA on Friday evening, sending down up 50 mm of water overnight. Image via Environment Canada.

    "Heavy downpours expected over some areas," reads the alert. "Areas of showers and thunderstorms are expected to affect portions of the regions this afternoon and evening. Torrential downpours will be associated with these storms."

    Fortunately, the rain will usher in some welcome relief from this week's soupy air situation. With the humidex, it feels like 38 degrees outside in downtown Toronto right now.

    Saturday and Sunday will both be sunny with respective highs of 26 and 27 degrees. 

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    The King West of the 1980s was a different place than it is today. One of those areas that's undergone an almost complete transformation, prior to a condo boom that kicked off in the late 1990s, for over 100 years the street was dominated by Massey Ferguson, one of the world's leading manufacturers of agricultural equipment.

    The Toronto Works of Massey Ferguson took up much of the area along King West from Bathurst to Sudbury Street as far back as the late 19th century when the company was Toronto's leading employer.

    King West 1980s

    The Massey Ferguson head office, now King West Village Lofts, located on the north side at 954 King St. W (between Crawford and Massey St.)

    This ain't no Distillery District. Although a few signs of the former industrial character of the area remain, when the area was re-zoned for residential development in 1996, warehouse conversions weren't at the top of the list.

    King West 1980s

    Looking east along King St. W at approximately Sudbury St.

    And that's why these images, which might not seem particularly remarkable on the surface, are nevertheless fascinating.

    King West 1980s

    Looking west along King St. W at approximately just east of Shaw.

    King West 1980s

    Looking east along King Street from approximately Shaw St. This would be a view from what is now The Electra Lofts at 1029 King St W.

    King West 1980s

    Looking east along King Street at Crawford Street. The two closest buildings are now Massey Harris Park. The 3rd is now the Massey Harris Lofts at 915 King St. W.

    King West 1980s

    The south east corner of King St. W and Strachan Avenue looking south.

    King West 1980s

    Looking east along King St W from approximately Shaw St.

    King West 1980s

    Looking west along King Street at Crawford Street. The two closest buildings are now Massey Harris Park. The third is now the Massey Harris Lofts at 915 King St. W.

    King West 1980s

    Looking east along King Street at Crawford Street. The 3 closest buildings are now Massey Harris Park. The 4th is now the Massey Harris Lofts at 915 King St. W. The north side buildings are now 1000 and 954 King St W.

    King West 1980s

    The building to the left is the former Massey Harris head office, now the Massey Harris Lofts at 915 King St W. The building to the right is now part of Massey Harris Park.

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    For many, the call of the ice cream truck is a rite of summer. What better way to beat the heat than with a cool treat?

    In fact, these desserts have been enjoyed for hundreds of years. Like many of life's pleasures, however, they were originally reserved for only the wealthiest individuals.

    There are many stories that explain the origins of ice cream and other frozen treats. In Rome, it's believed that Emperor Nero ordered slaves to hike the mountains to collect ice and snow to keep his fruit drinks cool.

    Elsewhere, monarchs used flavoured ices in their banquets to impress their guests. Charles I of England may have tasted one of the first ice cream dishes at a banquet prepared by his French chef.

    According to the legend, Charles I enjoyed the frozen cream so much that he ordered the recipe be kept a secret.

    history ice cream toronto

    Photo of an ice cream parlour in Toronto. Date and locaiton unknown.

    It would take centuries before controlled cooling techniques were discovered (dissolving saltpeter in water). Once mastered, ice cream and frozen treats were no longer an exclusive luxury.

    The story of the ice cream vendor in Canada does not begin until the mid 1800s - and it begins in Toronto.

    Torontonian Thomas Webb was the first Canadian to sell ice cream in 1850. Shortly afterwards, the first commercial batch of ice cream was produced by William Neilson on Gladstone Avenue in 1893.

    history ice cream toronto

    A sign advertising Gough's ice cream parlour.

    By the 1900s ice cream was everywhere! Parlours opened up across the city and the chilly treat became a new favourite for many Torontonians - especially during the city's notorious summer heat waves.

    The ice cream truck that we recognize today did not appear in the city until the late 1950s.

    In the meantime, mobile ice cream vendors - often immigrants - used push carts or wagons. In a classic Pavlovian response, children were drawn to the vendors by the sound of a ringing bell.

    history ice cream toronto

    Ice cream carts near Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto. 

    Whether in push carts or wagons, ice cream was cooled using large blocks of ice. Originally served in reusable dishes, it wasn't until 1904 at the World Fair in St. Louis that ice cream was paired with its greatest love: the ice cream cone.

    In Toronto during the early 1900s, the cost of an ice cream cone was only 5 cents.

    The iconic white Grumman trucks that we see today were a product of the advances in refrigeration technology.

    Originally, trucks were owned independently, each equipped with its own recipe and process for ice cream making. By the early 1960s, these trucks could be found roaming all over the streets of Toronto.

    ice cream truck

    Ice cream tastes especially great at night. Photo by Bruce Reeve.

    However, there is an unsavoury side to this sweet tale. Due to an increase in auto accidents involving small children and ice cream trucks in the 1960s, some neighbouring municipalities enforced a ban on the mobile vendors.

    In the 1980s, Toronto had multiple occurrences of ice cream trucks being used as fronts for selling drugs.

    And what about the origin of the ice cream truck's familiar jingle, summoning children like a modern Pied Piper?

    The song is a version of "Turkey in the Straw," though some historians argue that the actual tune has disturbingly racist links thanks to American adaptations of the original.

    Today, ice cream trucks are less likely to be independently owned, though this set-up isn't quite extinct. Companies buy multiple trucks to create entire fleets and turf wars are common.

    ice cream truck

    Cooling down at an ice cream truck in 2015. Photo by yedman.

    Stiff competition, the expense of equipment, permits and strict regulations mean ice cream truck sightings are less common than they once were.

    The story of Toronto's ice cream trucks is far from over, though. As Canadians, we're ranked 7th of the top ten ice cream consuming countries. 40% of Canadians enjoy ice cream at least once a week.

    Wondering what to order? Try the vanilla ice cream. It is the most popular flavour.

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    The CNE is back and with it are the usual collection of nostalgic and outrageous eats. It's also the 50th anniversary of the famed Zipper ride.

    In this episode of the Only in Toronto podcast, we chat with one of the people behind the roaming midway as well as chefs coming up with the latest over-the-top creations.

    We also stop by the home of Toronto's next Instagrammable dessert, the Japanese taiyaki soft serve ice cream spot across from Trinity Bellwoods.

    Background information on this episode:
    Articles referenced in this episode include:
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    Ways to subscribe to the Only in Toronto podcast:

    You can also listen to the Only in Toronto podcast on Alexa. Just ask Alexa to play the podcast Only in Toronto.

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    It's a big day for events in Toronto as Taste of Manila returns and Camp Wavelength is on. The Toronto Flower Market shows off nature's bounty and there are two big street festivals in Chinatown and Little India.

    Events you might want to check out:

    Cityfest Parc Rosé (August 18 @ Canoe Landing Park)
    An all-day, pink and white party is going down featuring, a lavish garden, activities, dancing, food and Toronto DJs on deck.
    Jumanji (August 18 @ Downsview Park)
    Snuggle up under the stars and catch a free outdoor screening of the new remake to the 90s classic Jumanji, starring The Rock.
    Latin Sparks Block Party (August 18 @ Latin Sparks)
    After a successful Ottawa run, Latin Sparks is making its way to Toronto for a day of Latin American dancing, food and live performances.
    Animals Told Me (August 18 @ Illegallery)
    22-year-old Chinese prodigy Satr has been gaining international attention for her aerosol creations that depict wild animals.
    Toronto Flower Market (August 18 @ CAMH)
    Stop and smell the roses—literally—at this month's TFM with stunning flowers and custom bouquets sourced from local and regional growers.
    Figment Toronto (August 18-19 @ Dufferin Grove Park)
    An artist takeover is happening in Dufferin Grove for two days of interactive installations, exhibitions and activities—all free of charge.
    Festival of South Asia (August 18-19 @ Little India)
    South Asian eats are on big time during this street festival with $1-$5 food, performances and live music from all the countries of South Asia.
    Taste of Manila (August 18-19 @ Bathurst and Wilson)
    Toronto's biggest Filipino street festival returns with a weekend of traditional food, performances, and activities, capped off with a big parade.
    Toronto Chinatown Festival (August 18-19 @ Chinatown)
    Toronto's vibrant Chinatown neighbourhood shows its colours with a big street festival that includes vendors, activities and cultural showcases.
    Camp Wavelength (August 18-19 @ Fort York National Historic Site)
    Two days of dreamy synths, electro grooves and chill vibes is happening alongside art installations, dance, games and activities.

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