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    0 0

    An Ontario Super Court judge has ruled that Tesla Motors was treated unfairly and unlawfully by Doug Ford's PC government when the province abruptly cancelled its electric vehicle rebate program last month in favour of lowering gas prices by 10 cents.

    This means that the PCs can no longer move forward with their plan to immediately block Tesla buyers — and only Tesla buyers — from receiving Electric and Hydrogen Vehicle Incentive Program (EHVIP) rebates.

    Like any other type of electric car sold in the province, a Tesla delivered and registered by September 10 will still be eligible for rebates of up to $14,000.

    Yesterday's court ruling also stipulated that Ontario must now pay $125,000 to cover Telsa's legal costs. How's that for fiscal responsibility, folks?

    The decision comes less than two weeks after Tesla Motors Canada ULC filed a lawsuit against the provincial government, asking court to throw out what it called an "arbitrary and entirely unreasonable" transition plan.

    Tesla Canada argued at the time that its business and its customers had suffered "substantial harm" following the cancellation of Ontario's EHVIP rebates.

    Ontario Superior Court Justice Frederick L Myers agreed.

    "If the government wants to transition out of the electric car subsidy program, [Transportation Minister John Yakabuski] must exercise his operational discretion in a lawful manner," wrote Myers in what Robert Benzie called a "scathing" 17-page ruling.

    "He has yet to do so," continued the ruling. "I therefore quash and set aside the Minister’s unlawful exercises of discretion to implement the transition program announced July 11."

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    Summer is ending and work is starting, but the fun doesn't have to end, because there are many free events in Toronto for September. Nuit Blanche is back with an all-night artscapade and the MOCA is finally opening. Festival Street overtakes King St. and the Roncy Polish Festival returns with polka and perogies.

    Events you might want to check out:

    TIFF Festival Street (September 6-9 @ King Street West)
    King Street shuts down once again for a four day street party including free film screenings, food, installations and prime red carpet viewing.
    Cabbagetown Festival (September 8-9 @ Cabbagetown)
    Historic Cabbagetown comes out for a big festival with an all-Canadian market, food from local vendors, activities and live performances.
    Toronto Ukrainian Festival (September 14-16 @ Bloor St. West)
    Ukrainian culture takes over Bloor Street with dancing, food, music and activities. If you haven't tried real borscht or paska yet, this is the time.
    Roncesvalles Polish Festival (September 15-16 @ Roncesvalles Village)
    This yearly staple is back on Roncy with Polish cultural offerings of food, music, dance, entertainment — and a polka party.
    Open Streets TO (September 16 @ Bloor and Yonge Streets)
    Parts of Yonge and Bloor go car-less for the day during the second instalment of Open Streets with wandering and activities in the street.
    Beaches Festival (September 22-23 @ Woodbine Beach)
    There's still time to hit the beach and this sand bash offers free admission, food and drinks, yoga, a 90s dance party and shopping.
    MOCA Grand Opening (September 22-23 @ MOCA)
    After an initial delay, the MOCA is finally ready to open up its newly revamped space. Tour through all five floors during this free, two-day celebration.
    The Word on the Street (September 23 @ Harbourfront Centre)
    Lit nerds, rejoice! This big, all-day book and magazine festival is back with literature-based programming, vendors, author talks and activities.
    Nuit Blanche (September 29-30 @ Multiple Venues)
    Nuit Blanche returns with an all-night art event both downtown and in Scarborough, with installations, performances and a dumpling market.
    Pedestrian Sundays (September 30 @ Kensington Market)
    Dance, drink, eat, shop, play oversized games or take a moment to meditate during this all-day pedestrian takeover of Kensington Market.

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    The Toronto Argonauts are facing off against the Hamilton Tigercats on September 8. If the rivalry game isn't exciting enough, the Argos are also hosting their first ever Country Day. Want to go? We've teamed up with MLSE to give you a chance to win tickets.

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    Get your fill of the 514 Cherry streetcar while you can, TTC riders, because soon it'll be gone for good.

    The Toronto Transit Commission is set to make one of its regular, roughly 10-times-per-year service changes to "adjust routes and schedules to better meet customer needs" on October 7, according to its website.

    One of those changes is to King Street — Toronto's most popular surface transit corridor.

    "In October, we are bringing in a change on King Street to provide more reliable service with fewer scheduled short turns," wrote TTC Chief Executive Office Richard Leary in his August 2018 CEO's report, which was released yesterday.

    "The current 504 King and 514 Cherry routes will be replaced by two branches of the 504 King service," he explains. "504A will run from Dundas West Station to the Distillery Loop, and 504B will run between Broadview Station and Dufferin Loop."

    As Toronto transit advocate and author Steve Munro points out on his blog this week, the 514 Cherry car has actually been on a "temporary hiatus" since June 24 due to construction on Broadview Avenue.

    Standard service is set to resume in early September when the reconstruction of Broadview wraps, but it'll only last for one month before the TTC permanently ditches the Cherry route.

    There will no longer be one car running between Dufferin Gate Loop and Distillery Loop, but two different 504 King routes for those who want to make the full trek across town.

    "The two services will operate at the same frequency and will be scheduled, to the degree anything like this actually happens on the TTC, so that they blend in the central part of the line rather than running in pairs," writes Munro.

    "Most of the recovery time (layovers) will be scheduled at Dufferin and Distillery Loops so that streetcars are not sitting in subway station loops with queues extending out onto the street."

    Munro says that all service on the split line will be scheduled to operate with new Flexity low floor streetcars — that is, once Bombardier delivers enough of them for that to happen.

    Standard CLRV streetcars will bridge the gap in the meantime, on King Street and everywhere else in the city. When they can.

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    Toronto has been buzzing in recent days over the news of a sex doll brothel set to open in our own backyard. 

    Yes, Aura Dolls will be opening next month in North York with six beautiful, anatomically correct, TPE silicon-based sex workers for guests to... spend time with.

    But Aura won't be North America's first sex doll brothel — or even the first of its kind in Toronto.

    Meet KinkySdollS: An "adult love doll rent before you buy service" that's been open for nearly a year now in an industrial area on Champagne Drive in North York.

    sex doll brothel toronto

    KinkySdollS opened in North York almost a year ago, long before Aura Dolls announced its entry into the local market. Screenshot of

    Like Aura Dolls, KinkySdollS boasts a number of different fake women that you can either buy or rent by the hour (reservations only, no walk-ins).

    Guests are charged $80 per half hour to hang out with one doll in what the company's website refers to as a private and luxurious room.

    "Outcalls," in which a doll comes to your house (or meets you at a hotel or wherever) cost $250 an hour.

    "Come experience unforgettable time that will make you come back for more," reads the KinkySdollS website. "Our dolls will be ready for you in every position you would choose. They lubed warm and ready to play."

    sex dolls toronto

    The dolls can be posed and dressed however a guest might like them to be at both Aura and KinkySdollS. Image via

    The company's website makes clear that the dolls get "sanitized with antibacterial products after every session" and also that they "feel just like the real thing" (in an uncanny valley sort of way, I'm sure).

    KinkySdollS hasn't yet had to worry about licensing, according to its owner, as the business is set up more like a showroom than a brothel. Prospective buyers can simply "take 'er for a spin" before plunking down as much as $4,000 on a sex doll.

    That said, the owner says there are at least 50 regular customers who come by on a weekly or monthly basis to visit their favourite ladies. I don't know if any car dealerships will let customers do that, but holla at me if you do.

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    The relatively new-to-Canada ride hailing service Lyft has graciously offered to discount the bill for anyone and everyone to attend the beleaguered CNE this week on Wednesday and Thursday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

    It's as easy as showing up to Exhibition Place and walking in for free— or rather, it would be if not for the picket lines.

    Members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 58, which represents skilled technical workers, have been picketing outside the city-owned Exhibition Place for over a month now after being locked by the venue's Board of Governors on July 19.

    The widely-publicized labour dispute has yet to be resolved as the CNE comes close to an end for 2018, and poor attendance is costing The Canadian National Exhibition Association (CNEA) millions.

    "As we have repeatedly warned the Mayor, the Board of Governors of Exhibition Place and City Councillors, this lockout is having a significant negative impact on both attendance and revenues at the 2018 CNE," reads a letter to Mayor John Tory from the CNEA published last Tuesday.

    "Despite overwhelmingly positive feedback from visitors over our initial few days, we regret to report that our projected losses to-date are in the range of $1.5 million."

    Lyft to the rescue? Not quite.

    Some might see the ride hailing app's free entry promotion as a nice gesture, but others see it as an incentive to help the public cross IATSE 58's picket lines.

    It's all a bit too rich for those familiar with Lyft's recent socially- and politically-conscious branding efforts.

    "Lyft has recently pitched itself as a more ethical alternative to rival Uber, which was accused of interfering in a labour dispute last year as it continued to service JFK airport during a taxi strike," explains Motherboard's Jordan Pearson.

    "Lyft co-founder John Zimmer seized on this and other bad press for Uber and described his ride-sharing company as being 'woke.'"

    Torontonians in support of the union's position are both blasting and making fun of Lyft on Twitter right now for entering the fray at all.

    "Company deeply invested in the Precarity Economy teams up with CNE to subsidize picket-crossing," wrote one local.

    "You could lyft our spirits even more by not crossing the @iatse58 picket lines," wrote someone else.

    Burn pun. That's gotta sting.

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    King Street just got a little prettier, thanks to the artists behind a new series of murals

    While Toronto has plenty of wall art beautifying the backs of stores and alleyways, these murals are actually painted on the street. 

    This is because they are made for streetcar safety—that is, painted in the boxes where the streetcar stops, helping to prevent cars and pedestrians from entering the dangerous zone at the wrong time.

    streetcar safety murals

    The murals, which are a brainchild of Andrew Patterson and Lucas DeClavasio, won the NXT City Prize in 2016, and were supported by then-chief city planner, now-mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat.

    The idea was meant to be a part of the King Street Pilot project, and has now been completed at the corner of King and Church streets. 

    streetcar safety murals

    One of the murals seems to have faded a bit after a few days of heavy rain, but the artists did plan to test different types of paint to see which would be the most durable. Another coat should spruce it right up. 

    streetcar safety murals

    According to the artists, it took six people approximately 16 hours to finish the work, which is visually stunning due to its bright colours and geometric patterns. 

    streetcar safety murals

    The City threw a ton of support behind the project during the planning and implementation of the King Street closure, so if these prove successful, we may see colourful creations popping up along other streetcar routes as well. 

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    There's lots of ways to support Toronto's local economy, and markets and pop-ups for September are a good place to start. Vintage and antique treasures are waiting to be found and the Toronto Flower Market returns for the second-last instalment of the season.

    Events you might want to check out:

    Surfers Market (September 8 @ Surf the Greats)
    Surf season is always on somewhere and this swap and shop encourages people to sell gear they're no longer using and pick up something new.
    Kensington Pop-Up (September 8-9 @ 301 Augusta Ave)
    Kensington's creative community joins together for this curated market with original works, prints, vintage clothing, leather goods, jewellery and more.
    Hard Feelings Mental Health Pop-Up Market (September 9 @ Hard Feelings Mental Health)
    Come out, craft and shop at this artisan market dedicated to reducing barriers and increasing access to mental health supports.
    Toronto Flower Market (September 15 @ CAMH)
    Growers from all over Toronto are on hand with fresh-cut flowers, pre-made arrangements and beautiful bouquets made upon request at your price point.
    Pop-Up at the Barns (September 15 @ Artscape Wychwood Barns Park)
    Get your mitts on everything for the home, your life and the rest from over 40 local vendors, alongside a farmers' market and activities.
    Trans Makers' Market (September 22 @ The 519)
    Pick up a ton of goodies from this market designed to support trans, non-binary and two spirit artists, entrepreneurs and vendors.
    Bi Arts Festival Handmade Market (September 22 @ Trinity-St Paul's United Church and Centre for Faith, Justice and the Arts)
    All sexual identities are welcome at this big annual market with handcrafted items of all kinds including zines and original artworks.
    Nerd Market (September 29 @ OISE)
    The Nerd Market is back with all kinds of used geeky-goods. Browse all kinds of anime, comics, tabletop and video games, manga and more.
    Etsy Fall Market (September 29 @ MaRS Discovery District)
    Gifts, jewellery, clothing, flare, household goods, lifestyle and beauty products can all be found at this big market by local Etsy makers.
    Toronto Antique and Vintage Market (September 29-30 @ Queen Elizabeth Building at Exhibition Place)
    All vintage everything from designer clothing, gadgets, furniture, housewares, art, vinyl and books can be found at this big, two-day market.

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    Toronto might be trading in strip clubs for sex doll brothels. The number of adult entertainment establishments in the city will continue to dwindle next month with the closing of Remington's after 25 years.

    In this episode of the Only in Toronto podcast, we find out why Remington's have decided to call it a night, and talk to the owner of Toronto's first sex doll brothel.

    Plus, we check in with the person behind two of Toronto's most popular vintage clothing stores to discover why the city's vintage shopping scene is so strong.

    Background information on this episode:
    Articles referenced in this episode include:
    Places mention in this podcast:
    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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    The last Hump Day of August is here and there's a number of ways to spend the day with events in Toronto. Drink beer the way it was meant—from a big, hefty cask, or check out some indie horror flicks. The CNE is offering free admission and finally, there's a free outdoor film screening of Wonder Woman.

    Events you might want to check out:

    CNE Free Admission (August 29 @ Exhibition Place)
    Lyft has teamed up with the CNE to offer free admission to the park—a roughly $20 value—from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today. Enjoy!
    Caskapalooza (August 29 @ Craft Beer Market Toronto)
    Casks galore are on at the first annual cask festival with over twenty unique casks from local breweries and proceeds going to charity.
    Movie Nights in the Beach (August 29 @ Kew Gardens)
    Show up and spread out for a free outdoor screening of 2017's Wonder Woman along with complimentary popcorn to boot.
    LVL UP (August 29 @ The Garrison)
    Rock out with New York surfer-esque punk-poppers LVL UP who, on occasion, infuse a bit of country into their tunes. You just never know.
    The Surreal Life Comedy (August 29 @ 187 Augusta Gallery)
    Comedy is an art form that deserves nothing less than a gallery showing, and that's exactly what this is—a comedy show inside the 187 gallery.
    Counting Crows (August 29 @ Budweiser Stage)
    Sometime it seems like "Mr. Jones" plays everywhere, and now you can see the masterpiece live as the Counting Crows drop by Toronto for the night.
    Get Sam a Van! (August 29 @ Parlour Salon)
    Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs' van was totalled and they're looking to raise some funds to replace the ol' gal with a performance inside a beauty salon.
    Bombay Artisan Series (August 29 @ Artscape Sandbox)
    Some of the city's best emerging artists show their stuff during this big art party and competition with none other than Lights on the judges panel.
    Indie Horror Fest (August 29 - September 1 @ Eyesore Cinema)
    Independent filmmakers from all over the world come together to showcase all the blood, guts and gore of a good horror film.
    Ukrainian Film Days (August 29 - September 2 @ Imagine Cinemas Carlton)
    The rich history and culture of Ukraine arrives with new feature films and some classics spread across five days.

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    If you ever curious about what living in a laneway house would be like, now’s your chance to find out. This two-bed, two-bath house is modern and spacious.2 crystal arts square toronto

    The home is owned by Alex Sharpe, who used this home in 2011 as the beginning of his push to change housing as we know it in Toronto. And it seems to be working, just last year Toronto passed a motion to cut some of the red tape surround laneway suite building.

    2 crystal arts square torontoThe coach house has an open layout and high ceilings.

    2 crystal arts square torontoThe kitchen is complete with stainless steel appliances and has a large eat-in kitchen island.

    2 crystal arts square torontoSurprisingly there’s outdoor space with a large deck and BBQ station.

    2 crystal arts square torontoThe master suite is bright and comes with a large walk-in closet, laundry and a six-piece en suite.

    2 crystal arts square torontoI don’t know who needs two showers in the same bathroom but this place has it. I guess it’s like taking a shower with your partner but neither of you has to be cold.  

    2 crystal arts square torontoThe home also boasts a whopping five parking spots and is close to all the amazing restaurants on the Danforth.

    2 crystal arts square torontoSpecs
    • Address: 2 Crystal Arts Square
    • Type: Laneway House
    • Rent: $5,250 / month
    • Listing agent:  Philip Lago
    • Furnished? No
    • Utilities: No
    • Air conditioning? Yes
    • Bedrooms: 2
    • Bathrooms: 2
    • Parking: 5
    • Laundry? In suite
    • Outdoor space? Deck
    • Pet friendly? Yes
    2 crystal arts square torontoGood For

    An early adopter who doesn’t mind being the guinea pig of a real estate game changer.

    2 crystal arts square torontoMove On If

    You don’t want to live in what is essentially a renovated garage.2 crystal arts square toronto

    0 0

    Doug Ford's buck-a-beer policy launched at the beginning of this week with only three brewers on board. With the controversial new legislation, you might be wondering what incentive there even is for these brewers to sell their product at such a low profit. 

    "As part of the ‘Buck-a-Beer’ challenge, the LCBO looks forward to working with any beer supplier who agrees to meet the Premier’s challenge to reduce the price of beer," said an LCBO spokesperson. 

     132 LCBO's across the province, many of which are in Toronto, have seen a series of new promotional materials pop up, including some big signs and dedicated sections of buck-a-beer brews.

    buck a beer toronto

    A new display at the LCBO at College and Baldwin Streets promotes cans of $1 Loon Lager from Barley Days Brewery. 

    The displays are definitely not works of marketing genius (it's a chalkboard-looking beer bottle drawing with text that says 'It's Here!') but these breweries will apparently also have the advantage of some "limited time offers and advertising" on top of that. 

    According to the spokesperson, the money spent on this extra promo is "[a] normal business expense for our stores that will incur no costs to either LCBO consumers or Ontario taxpayers."

    As of right now, only three brewers have hopped on the dollar-beer deal wagon, meaning only Barley Days, Cool Beer Brewing, and a limited-time President's Choice beer will be getting the boost, though you'd think the $1-per-beer concept should sell itself. 

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    Road closures in Toronto are never nice, but summer seems to come with a lot of them. However, as we try to make it through the last few days of August, the city has slapped us with a final closure, last minute.

    And we almost made it, too. 

    The intersection at Dundas and Lansdowne is about to close for streetcar track replacements, and of course, won't be open again until the first week of October. 

    The closure starts this coming Sunday, and should see workers completing the replacements on a 24-hour schedule, to minimize the disruption. However, be wary that the first few days will involve breaking concrete, which will be very loud.

    The city is advising commuters to take Queen or Bloor to avoid Dundas West, and Roncesvalles or Ossington to avoid taking Lansdowne. 

    Last time a major intersection was closed, the work finished early, so perhaps we'll get lucky again. One can only hope. 

    0 0

    This scorcher of a week isn't letting up any time soon, as we start another day in heat wave mode.

    Today's humidex should make it feel close to 40C. And on top of that, it's going to be muggy and humid, making all your clothes stick to you and leaving you soaking wet every time you go inside from being out in the heat. 

    It's truly the worst.

    Environment Canada has issued a heat warning, one of multiple this week already, and it's only Wednesday. 

    toronto weatherOh, and it's also likely we'll have to suffer a thunderstorm later today. Isn't weather fun? 

    Weather experts are predicting that a cold front will move in soon, finally relieving us of our temporary vacation in Death Valley. 

    Remember to stay cool, drink lots of water, and avoid being in the direct sun whenever possible. Good luck, fellow travellers. 

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    This Labour Day weekend, three different brands of beer will available to the people of Ontario for just $1 a can (plus tax, deposit, and various social, health, education and environmental programs). 

    Come Monday, however, that number will drop down to two when President's Choice exits the game — only a week after entering it in the first place.

    The Loblaws-owned brewer is set to pull its buck-a-beer promotion on September 3, according to The Beer Store's advance price list for vendors.

    Being that you can't buy PC brand beer anywhere other than The Beer Store — not even at Loblaws supermarkets — this means that the limited-time deal is ending everywhere... just after a little bit more limited a time than most people were expecting.

    buck a beer loblaws

    Loblaws says it doesn't sell its own beer brand because it only comes in 12 and 24 packs. Grocery stores can only sell 6 packs and singles.

    PC brand beer will go back up to its regular price of $20.95 for 12 bottles (or $35.50 for 24) after spending exactly 7 days at $13.20 per dozen ($26.40 for 24) on Monday.

    The only other two brewers who signed on to support Premier Doug Ford's controversial campaign promise will continue to sell one dollar bottles at the LCBO into next week and beyond — though this is subject to change.

    Both Barley Days Brewery of Picton, Ontario and Etobicoke's Cool Beer Brewing have also called their buck-a-beer promotions "limited time only," but no end date has yet been released by either company.

    As for the roughly 300 other brewers across Ontario, you'll have to pay full price as usual so that they can continue to pay employees a living wage and maintain the quality of their products.

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    The Japanese retailer-turned-global fashion powerhouse Uniqlo is bringing more of its functional, minimalist wares to the GTA this fall. Much, much more.

    Earlier this year, the company said it would opening not one, but three new stores near Toronto by the end of 2018: One at Vaughan Mills, one at CF Markville and one at Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga.

    What we didn't know until today was when, exactly, those stores would open. Uniqlo changed that this morning with a press release.

    The new Uniqlo at Vaughan Mills will be the first to open on Friday, September 28 at 10 a.m. It'll also be the largest of the the three with about 20,000 square feet of sales space.

    new uniqlo stores toronto

    A rendering of the new Uniqlo store at Mississauga's Square One Shopping Centre. Image via Uniqlo.

    Uniqlo at CF Markville in Markham will open on October 12 at 10 a.m., while the Square One location will open its doors on November 2, also at 10 a.m. Both of these stores will boast approximately 15,000 square feet of space each.

    "Encouraged by the warm welcome we have had to date, we are thrilled to be opening three new stores in the Greater Toronto Area and a fourth new store in Greater Vancouver" said Uniqlo Canada CEO Yasuhiro Hayashi in this morning's release.

    The press release also notes that one HEATTECH item "will be given to the first 500 customers who make a purchase on opening day of each new store."

    Guests will also encouraged to spin a wheel of some sort for the chance to win free or discount items between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on opening day at each of the stores.

    Vaughan Mills, CF Markville and Square One will join Toronto's Eaton Centre and Yorkdale malls in getting Uniqlo stores, bringing the total number of the brand's outposts in Ontario up to five — all of them located in the GTA.

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    The American owner of Town Shoes Ltd. has announced that it will be closing all 38 of its stores across Canada, effectively killing the Toronto-born brand just three months after acquiring it.

    Founded by Leonard Simpson in 1952, Town Shoes has grown from its roots as one store in the Sunnybrook Plaza strip mall to become a mainstay in malls across the country for more than 66 years. 

    Ohio's DSW Inc. (Designer Shoe Warehouse) purchased a 44 per cent interest in the brand four years ago but had come to own the entirety of Town Shoes Ltd. by May of 2018.

    DSW confirmed to Retail Insider this week that all of the footwear brand's locations would be eliminated by the end of its fiscal year in January, affecting some 400 workers who are currently employed in Canada.

    The company hopes to find those workers alternative employment through its other brands that have a presence in Canada, such as Shoe Company and Shoe Warehouse.

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    What's open on Labour Day 2018 in Toronto will help you sort out the final long weekend of summer. Whether you need to do some last minute shopping, want to hit up an amusement park or are looking to pick up some brews, let this be your guide on September 3.

    Here's what's open and closed on Labour Day in Toronto.

    • Government offices
    • Banks
    • Libraries
    • Post offices
    • The TTC will operate on a holiday schedule.

    open labour day toronto

    Last minute grocery shopping will be a breeze on Labour Day with many stores still open. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

    • It's worth calling ahead to restaurants before heading out — many already consider Mondays a day off.
    • Most major grocery chains will be closed on Labour Day with a few confirmed exceptions listed below.

    open labour day toronto

    Indie bottle shops across the city will be open for all of your beer purchasing needs. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

    • LCBO
    • The Beer Store
    • For a complete list of independent bottle shops in Toronto, see this directory. Holiday hours are provided where applicable, but we advise calling ahead to confirm.

    open labour day toronto

    Promenade will be just one of the many malls open on September 3. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

    • Bayview Village Shops
    • CF Fairview Mall
    • CF Sherway Gardens
    • Dufferin Mall
    • Scarborough Town Centre
    • Yorkdale Shopping Centre

    open labour day toronto

    Labour Day is your final chance to check out The Ex. Photo by Hector Vasquez.


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    The TIFF screening schedule can be a bit overwhelming so who better to point out the hidden gems and what to see than the people who selected the films in the first place. 

    Here are the must-see films at TIFF 2018, according to the programmers who help bring the festival to life.

    Cameron Bailey (TIFF Artistic Director)

    Zhang Yimou is a master of screen spectacle. This time he pays homage to Akira Kurosawa in this story of warring kingdoms. It begins in court intrigue then leaps into pure, dazzling action.


    Nicole Kidman may be one of the boldest actors of her generation. Here, she hurls her movie star persona aside to sink into the skin of a tortured LA detective investigating a murder. Director Karyn Kusama keeps things' on a knife's edge until the bracing conclusion.

    Jason Anderson (Short Cuts)
    Emptying The Tank

    A portrait of Ashley Nichols, a mixed martial artist from Chippewas of the Thames First Nation. Director Caroline Monnet pays tribute to this truly inspirational athlete in a way that’s somehow both visceral and lyrical.

    To Plant A Flag

    Full props to Norwegian director Bobbie Peers for putting together a comedy duo we’ve always wanted to see: Jason Schwartzman and Jake Johnson. They’re as hilarious as you’d expect starring as two American astronauts in the early 1960s training for a lunar mission in rural Iceland.


    This animated film by Brazil’s Nara Normande is certainly one of the most original films at Short Cuts this year, using ever-shifting grains of sand to tell a deeply moving story of childhood, friendship and loss.

    Steve Gravestock (Senior Programmer)

    Casting a cold, near nihilistic eye on human foibles leavened by a poignant, deep compassion, Aniara is an extraordinary piece of work about a trip to Mars that goes terribly wrong.


    The whip-smart Freaks is driven by insight, intelligence and ingenuity and boasts a truly wicked cast which also includes Bruce Dern (at his cackling fearsome best), Amanda Crew and Grace Park.

    The Stone Speakers

    This film is shot with a serene calmness that allows us to wallow in the beauty of the landscape, and marvel at the more fantastic (and often comic) elements of the sites. It leaves ample proof of why Drljača is one of the most assured and significant filmmakers working in Canada today.

    Thom Powers (International Documentary)

    Janus Metz and Sine Plambech follow several relationships between Thai women who emigrated to marry Danish men, allowing for a fascinating longitudinal study of cross-cultural marriages.

    Walking on Water

    Filmmaker Andrey Paounov follows his fellow Bulgarian, the artist Christo as he mounts the stunning installation of "The Floating Piers” on Italy’s Lake Iseo in 2016. Watching this act of imagination brought to life feels like witnessing a miracle.

    Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema

    This film is Mark Cousins' sweeping survey of women directors from around the world. Narrated by Tilda Swinton, this 4-hour instalment is the first of what will eventually grow to be a 16-hour work.

    Andréa Picard (Wavelengths)
    RAY & LlZ

    A stunningly-shot, smart, heartfelt and feisty feature debut by Turner-nominated artist Richard Billingham. Far from miserabilist, the film is as funny as it is moving, and includes a terrific period soundtrack from Siouxisie and the Banshees and the Fine Young Cannibals.

    Ada Kaleh

    Mysterious, entrancing, soothing, and gorgeous, Helena Wittmann's luminous new story extends the filmmaker's interest in Michael Snow-esque formalism as the camera pans back and forth inducing soft sensations and good vibes.

    Peter Kuplowski (Midnight Madness)
    In Fabric

    Peter Strickland haunts with us with the tale of a haunted dress which corrupts the lives of those who come across it in an eerie department store. A special brand of captivating Midnight cinema that envelopes you in the moment and continues to linger in your subconscious for days.

    The Man Who Feels No Pain

    An outrageous action-comedy with the requisite crowd-pleasing fisticuffs from India - a country that has somehow never been featured in the section! Abhimanyu Dassani makes a charismatic debut as the titular hero, a young man born without pain receptors and raised on a diet of kung fu cinema.


    An absurdist satire about a soccer savant that hallucinates giant fluffy puppies whenever he steps onto the pitch. Also features a Kitten named Mittens.

    Jane Schoettle (International Programmer)

    After his discharge, an Australian soldier returns to a remote village in Afghanistan in an attempt to make amends for a botched mission. Beautifully photographed, with a remarkably compelling narrative, this film also has a making of back story that is as dramatic as the film itself.


    This Guy Nattiv piece is based on the true story of an American white supremacist and his life-threatening struggle to leave the movement. Performances from Jamie Bell, Danielle Macdonald (Patti Cake$) and Vera Farmiga, and spirited direction make it a 'must-see.'

    Working Woman

    This is the most nuanced, textured, realistic—and yet ultimately optimistic—film I've ever seen about workplace sexual harassment, brought to you by director Michal Aviad.

    Michèlle Maheux (TIFF Executive Director/COO)
    Float Like A Butterfly

    Carmel Winters' film shows the power of family love and the passions of a 15 year old girl to live her dream, even if not completely accepted by her father. And, the central character is a head-strong young woman!

    Light As Feathers

    Rosanne Pel's first feature is tough to watch at times, as a teenage boy comes to terms with his choices, actions and consequences.


    Mette is (or isn't) balancing the pressures of motherhood, relationship and career in this insightful look at what it means to try to "have it all." Esther Rots brings the world premiere of her film to TIFF.

    Piers Handling (TIFF CEO)
    Cold War

    A highly emotional, beautifully executed and precise film about a man and a woman who fall in love in 1940s Poland. Music ties them together and freedom is what fuels his desire to leave for the west, but she is hesitant of losing her identity, and their star-crossed destiny is played out against this backdrop of where they belong and where they should live.


    This fictionalized portrait of Silvio Berlusconi takes us on a wild and energized voyage through parts of modern day Italy and the state, not just its politics, but also of the former Prime Minister himself in this swirling merry-go-round of a film.

    The Image Book

    Jean-Luc Godard, the eternal iconoclast, has assembled a film devoid of actors, that is as much an enquiry into the image as it is into questions that have always obsessed him.


    Argentinian cinema has been obsessed with the period of the dirty wars in the 70s, and this film captures the mood and tone somewhat obliquely through the character of a lawyer who finds himself engaged in a chess game after an incident disrupts his life.

    The Good Girls

    Played out against the economic troubles of the late 70s/early 80s in Mexico, this film is directed by Alejandra Márquez Abella. Acutely conscious of status and hierarchy, the film focuses on the wives who carefully guard their social status against the inroads of the nouveau riche.

    Diana Sanchez (International Programmer)
    The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste Garcia

    A tongue-in-cheek debut by Cuban filmmaker Arturo Infante, this piece explores the life of a woman who lives next to an extraterrestrial while working at a planetarium.

    Gloria Bell

    After winning the Oscar for best foreign language feature for his movingly beautiful, A Fantastic Woman, Chilean filmmaker Sebastian Lelio remakes his 2013 international critical hit Gloria with Julianne and John Turturro.


    Intimate and lovely, Federico Veiroj's latest feature explores the many layers that make up one's identity through a portrait of a single dad trying to balance the various aspects of his life.

    Kiva Reardon (International Programmer)

    After being jailed in an Israeli prison for over a decade, a Palestinian man has to adjust to life on the outside. But, he finds the world around him unfamiliar, even hostile.


    Set after the annual pause in fighting (due to the mud) in the South Sudan, hajooj kuka makes his narrative feature debut with a comedy about an unlikely duo trying to doge their higher-ups in the army and ex-lovers alike over the course of one very eventful day.

    Giovanna Fulvi (International Programmer)
    The Crossing

    Director Bai Xue displays an exceptional cinematic storytelling sensibility and a great talent in directing a cast mainly composed of newcomers and in telling a story of "crossings:" the traversal of national boundaries; of the line that separates the law-abiding citizen from the criminal; and of the frontier that divides childhood from adulthood


    Chinese celebrity Yang Mi delivers an outstanding performance in Baby, the latest from Liu Jie (Courthouse on Horseback), a tautly paced, emotionally searing story that tackles the issues of fostering children and cost of medical care in China.


    Kei Chikaura’s film addresses the issues of identity and human interaction while telling the story of an illegal Chinese immigrant, living on the margins in Japan who decides one day to adopt someone else's name in order to survive.

    Our Body

    On one level, this film takes a critical look at contemporary social issues among young adults in an economy, where employment is hard to come by and your age becomes a handicap. On another level, it’s a bigger discussion about how society shapes us as individuals.

    Michael Lerman (International Programmer)
    Sorry For Your Loss

    Elizabeth Olsen and Kelly Marie Tran star in a moving and often hilariously honest episodic portrait of a young woman coping with the death of her husband and the secrets he left behind. 

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    The popular ridesharing service Lyft has cancelled a promo that gave new users $10 toward journeys to or from the CNE after facing backlash from locked out union workers and their supporters.

    A page on The Canadian National Exhibition's website promoting the offer has been taken down on Wednesday afternoon, but as of yesterday it read "Are you taking a rideshare to or from the CNE? Here’s a Gyft from our friends at Lyft!"

    The promo code associated with the discount was meant to be valid until September 3.

    Lyft decided to end it August 28, however, when criticism started mounting on Twitter over the company's perceived role in encouraging people to cross picket lines.

    "We originally agreed to provide a promo code to CNE attendees simply in order to ensure those attending the event had access to affordable, reliable, and convenient transportation," said Lyft Communications Manager Campbell Matthews by email on Tuesday night.

    "We recognize, though, that this undermined the concerns of certain parties so we have chosen to cancel the promo code for tomorrow," she continued. "As always, Lyft wants to provide the best transportation for those who need it."

    The "certain parties" she refers to are the skilled technical workers who have been picketing outside the city-owned Exhibition Place for over a month now after being locked out by the venue's Board of Governors.

    Lyft made clear that the company did not intend to take sides in the labour dispute, but that it does want to ensure its efforts don't interfere with or undermine the workers.

    The company's decision was announced just hours after several local news outlets reported on the social media fray, proving that it is possible for a ride-hailing service to address user concerns without making them jump through hoops for days.

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