Posts Tagged With: TTC

Fair Pass for Low-Income TTC Riders Approved

Become a TTCriders member

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Women and Cats on Bus

This video shows two women with cute cats on the TTC.

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New Streetcars Roll Into Service

Ontario Newsroom Ontario Newsroom

News Release

New Streetcars Roll Into Service
August 31, 2014

Ontario Improving Public Transit, Creating Jobs

Ontario is investing $416.3 million to provide better transit service to TTC riders as a new generation of streetcars go into service on the 510 Spadina line route, marking another step in the province’s plan to help improve transit in Toronto. Continue reading

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TTC Service Alert [System Notification]‏

Customers will experience delays from St. George to Downsview due to signal problems at Spadina. 

Last updated Dec 07, 2013 17:17:09

Sent: Dec 07, 2013 17:17:13
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A Tale of Missing Underwear

Kirk Verner Writes about an Interesting Bus Ride – Photo Courtesy of

Image result for Men's underwear

By Kirk Verner
July 4th/2009 11:14 p.m.

The 60C bus rattles loudly down Yonge Street as I sit in a scotch-induced haze; I’m heading home after a long night in the studio. I’m sitting in the back half of the bus, staring at a middle-aged Asian man with a curly, black mullet and a brown leather jacket. He seems suspicious to my keen sense for the unusual. He nibbles at his fingernails; a hideous habit he seems to have a problem with. I simply continue to watch the man, I guess trying to make him feel even more uncomfortable than he already appears.

He turns his head quickly towards me, and attempts to look deep inside of my mind; he will not win a stare-down against me. He quickly turns back to his original position and begins toying with something that is sitting on the seat next to him. He makes sure his back is concealing whatever it may be that is sitting between him and the smudged window.

The automated voice of the bus announces that Steeles Avenue is approaching; I remain fixated on the sketchy Asian man. He seems lost as he frantically looks out his window, searching for a landmark or possibly a street sign. He reaches up towards the yellow bus-cable, pulls the cord, and stands up in preparation to exit the bus that slows down. The back door opens and the man rushes off. He takes a quick look at me through the closing back door; I am still examining him. Neither of us shows any emotion as our encounter is terminated due to the proceeding bus.

I chuckle to myself as I think of what has just occurred. I reach inside of my backpack and pull out my portable CD player and commence my music. As I grin from the music now playing in my ears, I glance over to the now vacant seat that was just occupied by my new Asian friend. I see what the man was toying with. A white bra with purple polka-dots sits crumpled beside an orange pair of women’s underwear. The skimpy underwear is not that of a child, but certainly not that of an elder woman; they must belong to a teenager or a young lady. What was that man doing with these?

My over-active imagination immediately begins brewing up a scenario that may or may not be far from fiction. I think of the last story I heard of an Asian man on a bus; the horrible monster, Vincent Lee.

Could The Man Kirk Verner Met On The Bus Be As Evil As Charles Manson?

Could The Man Kirk Verner Met On The Bus Be As Evil As Charles Manson?

Perhaps the underwear belongs to his daughter? Maybe he’s just returning home from the laundry mat? But it is now almost 11:30 p.m.? Maybe the man is a transvestite? Or maybe, just maybe, I was sitting beside a murderer? I could now be sitting mere feet from his trophies and or potential criminal evidence.

The strange thought gusts out of my mind as I once again hear the automated voice of the bus announce my stop. I hastily gather myself as I peek once more at the lost underwear before exiting the 60C bus.

I think it would be a perfect time for a killer to dispose of a body in Toronto. There’s a garbage strike. Now two weeks in, it would be plenty long enough for a body to decompose beyond recognition. Perhaps buried in a pile of maggot infested garbage bags, in a happy Toronto park, rests the owner of this underwear.

July 5/’09

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TTC Fair Hike

Image result for Toronto Transit Commission

Please note: “fair is correctly spelled fare in the case of the TTC.”

What a shame the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is hiking fairs, again. With the low, low price of $3.00, you can travel the city. You can go to the glorious Korean shops up at Yonge and Steeles, you can go to see a colourful array of humans in Scarborough, you can shop at The Eaton Centre, you can see the beautiful red brick solid homes of Etobicoke. All this for $3.00 CDN – what a deal!

Now, if you are really, really, really, and I mean really, really pissed off with the TTC hike – blade, bike, jog, motor, roll, scoot, skate or walk. A wonderful woman I will be speaking to on Sunday afternoon reminded me of what a blessing it is able to even walk. She works with students who cannot. Think of every time you have noticed the inconvenience that someone in a wheelchair goes through trying to get on the TTC or the groans of other passengers who are delayed for about exactly 70 seconds while someone puts their bike on the convenient front racks of those bossy buses.

If you can afford it, and you have become as fed up with the TTC as I did – leasing a car is an option. Renting a car is an option, as well as being a part of a car club. You can even rent bikes for Heaven’s sake. Toronto is a fantastic city and please enjoy your ride on it. That bus is helping you to get to where you need to be, to see people you either love or hate, or somewhere in between, as well as most importantly – taking you to your lucky gift of work so you can pay the darn fair.

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Is TTC an Essential Service?

Is the TTC an Essential Service? – Photo Taken by Christina Cheng

Image result for TTC workers striking

By Christina Cheng

It’s 7:30 on a Monday morning. The hustle and bustle of the morning rush have begun. Newspaper stands are half empty. There is not a seat on the subway or even room to stand. Hundreds of people are packed in every subway car, shoulder to shoulder, back to back trying to get to work or school in time.

The TTC is the country’s largest public transit system providing service to over 1.3 million people a day in Toronto.

Is it safe to say that the TTC should be considered an essential service?

Ontario’s Liberal government announced last Tuesday a prohibition on strikes by Toronto Transit Commission workers, declaring the transit system an essential service.

The government and the city are looking to have this declaration officially passed before the first labour contracts expire at the end of March.

A TTC driver for the Malvern Division in Scarborough who only identified himself as Paul W., says he’s not happy about the decision.

“As a union, it’s your own way to get people to listen when everything else fails. It’s either you strike or for years to come your job is in smoke!” he said.

With their right to strike taken away, Paul worries about his and his co-workers’ safety on the job.

“Have you ever been spat on? Abused at your job for no apparent reason?” he asked. “One woman in the union is now half deaf because of a rider who was having a bad day and decided to punch her in the ear continuously. So are you saying we have no right to strike for our safety? For our benefits?”

The government argues that a city as large as Toronto cannot afford to grind to a halt when buses, subways, and streetcars aren’t running.

Vikas Gupta, a student at Centennial College HP campus in Scarborough, relies solely on the TTC.

The TTC is Needed Throughout Toronto – Photo Taken by Christina Cheng

Image result for TTC workers striking

“I totally depend on TTC for my convenience to school, to my job, and even for my weekend groceries,” Gupta said sitting on the 38 Highland Creek bus heading to school.

Paul doesn’t agree with making public transportation an essential service when he believes people have other means of getting around.

“If there’s no bus there’s taxis, bikes, and people can walk. So when you can walk and you are not stranded then it’s not essential,” he said. “Everything in North America is essential because we’re spoiled,” he expressed loudly, gesturing animatedly with his arms.

Due to a recent experience from the 2008 TTC strike, it has shown that TTC workers have had the right to strike for only two days before they were legislated back to work by Queen’s Park. The strike was expensive and disruptive to many. It can cost the local economy an estimated $50 million a day.

However, in the case of Ontario, the legislation says they are not about saving money and by declaring TTC an essential service, it is expected to cost the city more, but for all the right reasons.

Mike Foderick from Ward 17 is Coun. Cesar Palacio’s executive assistant. He mentions that a TTC strike is unnecessary and causes chaos in and around the city.

“I don’t want to generalize but the polls show that those who take the transit are workers and so people can’t go to work, can’t make it to their shifts, and they’ll have to take their vacation days. This causes Toronto a ton of chaos,” he said.

Paul argues that TTC union workers aren’t as important as police drivers or ambulance drivers but according to legislation, that is all about to change.

The legislation has mentioned that they would agree to put the TTC workers within the same category as EMS, firefighters, and police for the sake of labour contracts including a review after five years of the essential service designation.

According to Foderick, he explains that he can only speak on behalf of a Torontonian’s perspective and believes, “making the TTC an essential service is the most pro-worker thing you can do because when transit shuts down, it literally grinds the city to a halt.”

If the motion to make the TTC an essential service fails and the public falls into another strike, Gupta said there would be thousands of students like him who depend on the TTC, left with no alternatives.

Gupta explained that without the TTC, he couldn’t even imagine himself attending school. He sees the TTC as his “lifeline.”

In the beginning of February, the Toronto Transit Commission mentioned they were going forward with the move to cut services to 10 bus routes in Scarborough (41 cuts altogether). Direct money is to go towards overcrowded routes instead.

The transit commission says they are looking to use $4 million to increase services on busier bus lines. As a result, affected bus routes will have no more weekend, late night or holiday services effective as of May 8.

Although cuts are being made, there are negotiations in no longer cutting routes that cater to 10 and 15 bus riders an hour.

Due to labour contracts expiring at the end of March, it has been recommended that part-time students be cut from post-secondary student metro passes. The rationale appears to be strictly financial.

Part-time students may have the remaining year to benefit from the new fare structure before it is retracted.

Reports on whether the TTC will be considered an essential service and updates on changes to cuts in bus routes are expected in May.

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New survey reveals more than half of Ontarians feel music enhances everything they do

Photo Courtesy of CNW

Image result for Music

A surprise TTC musical makes for melodic morning commute as TVO launches Music Week

December 02, 2010 @ 10:00AM

Toronto, ON – A surprise live musical in Toronto subway stations during morning rush hour yesterday kept TTC riders humming just as new insights from TVO reveal that Ontarians are willing to make sacrifices to keep music as a vital component of daily life. Almost half (47 percent) would give up beer or wine, and four in 10 (36 percent) would forsake their cell phones for a month in order to keep the music playing. TVO joined in an Angus Reid Strategies poll to gauge the importance of music in the lives of Ontarians in an effort to raise awareness for Music Week, which begins on December 5th.

The impromptu performances by an undercover professional chorus aimed to inspire, delight and entertain unsuspecting audiences and help to demonstrate the positive influence music has on the daily life of Ontarians.

“These new insights from Ontarians and the response we saw from commuters during our surprise live performances tell us that music is not just an important part of daily life, but it inspires conversation,” says Steve Rayment, Director of Marketing, TVO. “Interestingly, Ontarians told us that music, more than any other art form, has had the most influence on their learning and this is the driving force behind TVO’s Music Week, and TVO’s goal to inform, inspire and encourage all Ontarians to fully engage with the world around them.”

In an effort to engage people in a new and compelling way, TVO enlisted a 30-person professional chorus, who were disguised as commuters to hand deliver a memorable musical message by infiltrating subways and surrounding TTC riders with a song. Vocalists and street percussionists spontaneously performed renditions of Stevie Wonder’s classic, Superstition, as a human experiment to explore music and what it means to so many people.

The power of music
The power of music to enlighten, empower and heal is evident in TVO’s Music Week line-up, which includes the world premiere of Listen to This, on December 8. In this inspiring documentary, filmmaker Juan Baquero documents a unique song-writing class at Firgrove Public School in Toronto’s Jane-Finch area that uses music to build self-esteem in inner-city kids. The program was created by jazz pianist Thompson Egbo-Egbo who, along with three other musicians, works with students one-on-one to help them open up about what’s going on in their lives and work towards achieving a positive goal.

As the subjects of Listen to This may attest, TVO’s survey revealed that younger generation Ontarians, aged 18 to 34, are more inclined to believe in the extent to which music is a powerful social and cultural influence. More than half (54 percent) believe music has the power to inspire trends in pop culture, while 50 percent think it informs us about other cultures and more than four in 10 (42 percent) believe it’s a catalyst for change.

Similarly, the notion that music is intrinsically tied to the spirit of youth is captured beautifully in the TVO documentary Young @ Heart, which profiles an unorthodox chorus of senior citizens who channel a youthful passion in their interpretation of edgy and influential rock from the modern era. Featuring songs from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Clash and Radiohead, Young @ Heart, has inspired audiences young and old around the world.

“Music is a powerful cultural and social influence, and this notion is explored through a variety of engaging programs to air during TVO’s Music Week,” says Rayment. “We hope that these programs will not just delight and entertain, but will also inspire and fuel conversation around the integral role that music plays in all our lives.”

Encore performance: music and memory
It’s no surprise that music is on the minds of Ontarians. 91 percent say they always or sometimes get music stuck in their heads. But, music is also a powerful tool for Ontarians to unlock memories and past experiences. Seven in 10 believe music is important in their ability to recall past experiences or relationships, even more so with women (75 percent).

These results may inspire yet another conversation among Ontarians: if music helps to unlock memories, then what are Ontarians destined to forget without the aid of music to remind them?

About TVO Music Week: December 5 to 11
Music Week starts the month off on an upbeat with a number of documentaries, current affairs programs and films that will have audiences tapping their toes and looking at the art and science of music in new ways.

Featured programming includes:

* Young @ Heart, Canadian premiere on December 5, encores December 6 and 31
* Music of the Brain, North American premiere December 7, encore December 9
* Listen to This, world premiere December 8, encores December 12 and 31

For more Music Week listings and program previews, visit

TVO Music Week: survey results at a glance

What would Ontarians sacrifice for a month to keep the music playing?

* Almost half of Ontarians (47 percent) would give up wine or beer for music.
* Women are even more likely, with 56 percent saying they’d give up wine or beer for music.
* 45 percent of Ontarians would give up their daily newspaper, this number is significantly higher (58 percent) among 18 to 34-year-olds.
* Almost four in 10 Ontarians (36 percent) would give up their cell phone for music.
* 16 percent of Ontarians would sacrifice sex for music.

Music enhances life:

* More than half of the Ontarians (52 percent) said that music enhances everything they do, be it exercising, home or school work, spending an evening out on the town or watching tv/movies.
* This is even truer amongst younger generation Ontarians. Fifty-five percent of Ontarians aged 18 to 34 believe music enhances everything they do, and seven in 10 think it enhances exercise.

Music and the mind:

* Seven in 10 Ontarians said music is important in their ability to recall past experiences or relationships. Even more so with women (75 percent).
* 91 percent of Ontarians always/sometimes get a song stuck in their head. For most, it’s typically a song frequently played on the radio (62 percent).
* Of all art forms, music has the most influence on learning amongst Ontarians. 48 percent ranked music the number one influence.

Music and community:

* 70 percent of Ontarians believe music unites people through shared tastes or experiences.
* Half of Ontario women said music is an important cultural influence because it can be created by anyone, regardless of ability.
* 61 percent of GTA respondents believe that music’s cultural/social importance lies in its ability to demonstrate creativity.
* More than half of young Ontarians, aged 18 to 34 (54 percent), believe music has the power to inspire trends in pop culture, while 50 percent think it informs us about other cultures and more than four in 10 (42 percent) believe it’s a catalyst for change.

About the survey
Methodology: From November 15 to November16, 2010, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey of 808 randomly selected Ontarian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.5%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Ontario. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.
About TVO

TVO is Ontario’s public educational media organization and a trusted source of interactive educational content that informs, inspires and stimulates curiosity and thought. Celebrating 40 years in 2010, TVO’s vision is to empower people to be engaged citizens of Ontario through educational media. TVO is funded primarily by the Province of Ontario and supported by thousands of donors. For more information, visit
Where to find TVO

Cable channel 2 (channel may vary in some areas), Rogers HD channel 580, Bell TV channel 265, Shaw Direct channel 353.

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The TTC Conundrum

Chris Temelkos Writes About the TTC – Photo Courtesy of

Chris Temelkos - May 30, 2010

By Chris Temelkos

I, like many, spend most of my time getting around Toronto by way of public transit. Sure, it gets me to where I want to go, but at what cost. It seems a though a day doesn’t go by without there being some sort of delay on the subway. If it’s not a delay it’s the poor customer service or long wait times. I can’t believe I pay for such a service.

As I headed out this morning, I managed to make it half way to my destination before we were all evacuated from the train and told shuttle buses would be arriving. Yes, good old shuttle buses, you wait a few hours for one but are unable to get on due to overcrowding and by the time you do get on, either half your day has passed or the subway is back in service.

The buck doesn’t stop there, I often find myself waiting for the bus for over half an hour, even when it’s not rush hour. Not fun when your traveling long distances, by the time I reach my destination I feel jet-lagged and I wasn’t even on a plane. You would think that all these problems would leave TTC employees sympathetic and courteous to customers, but no, the TTC motto must be ‘the customer is always wrong.’

In order for the TTC to substantiate their constant fare hikes, service needs to be improved greatly and some employees need to have better training in customer service. When these aspects change, maybe the TTC will be the better way.

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Another Blow to the TTC’s Image

Sarah DeMille Writes about the TTC – Photo Courtesy of

Sarah DeMille - May 10, 2010

Online Story 10
Sarah DeMille

Another blow to the TTC’s image on Wednesday as a bus driver has been arrested for assaulting a passenger.

Police say an 18-year old man was pushed into a window during a fare dispute on a Lawrence Avenue west bus at around 10:45 on Wednesday morning.

The confrontation began when the teen failed to show his student card with his fare.

The victim, Ricardo Jardim, told CTV News that the driver challenged Jardim to hit him and then smashed his head into the bus window.

The union declined to comment on the incident.

Jardim’s injuries are said to not be serious.


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Swipe and go: TTC wants to introduce electronic payments

Kimberlee Nancekivell Writes about the TTC – Photo Courtesy of

Kimberlee Nancekivell - April 26, 2010

Online Piece 9
TTC electronic fare
Kimberlee Nancekivell
Swipe and go: TTC wants to introduce electronic payment

TTC riders can stop worrying about losing those tiny tokens; the commission is introducing a new way to pay.

Following transit systems in cities like New York, TTC wants to implement an electronic payment system. The system would allow riders of the Red Rocket to swipe their credit cards, debit cards, or even their cell phone in lieu of paying by token, ticket, or change.

TTC chairman Adam Giambrone says the new fare collection system would even include a prepaid card that would be convenient for children who may not have a personal card or cell phone to use.
Giambrone also says the new system would be beneficial to the city’s tourism because visitors would be able to use the same payment cards they use back home, skipping the hassle of figuring out where to buy tokens and how to use them.

The initiative is as of yet unfunded, but there will be an information session held on April 15 at City Hall to introduce the idea to the public. Former chairman of the Transportation Council of the Smart Card Alliance, Paul Korczak, will lead the meeting entitled Electronic Fare Payments and the TTC: Lessons from New York.


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Reckless TTC Driving

Sarah Demille Writes about Reckless TTC Drivers – Photo Courtesy of

Sarah Demille - March 24, 2010

Sarah DeMille
Online Story 6

A TTC driver who had her license suspended Friday will have the suspension lifted at 4 p.m. this afternoon pending an ongoing TTC and police investigation.

The driver, whose name has not been released, was pulled over on Dawes Road near Danforth Avenue Friday afternoon after rider complaints that her driving was erratic. Toronto Transit Commission spokesman Kevin Carrington has said that the driver was suspended for three days without pay.

When given a roadside breathalyzer test, the driver was found not to be over the legal limit, however, it was found that she had consumed enough alcohol to test the range of .05 to .08, justifying a 72-hour license suspension.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, a blood alcohol level concentration over .05 has the potential to decrease a driver’s ability to determine colours, depth, and motion, as well as a decreased ability, perform simple motor functions and create a slower reaction time in incidents.

“The TTC doesn’t condone any form of intoxication from any of our employees. Public intoxication and driving intoxicated is against the law, and we conduct our business as such,” Carrington said.

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TTC Recommendations

Fiona Persaud Writes about TTC Recommendations – Photo Courtesy of

Fiona Persaud - March 8, 2010

Fiona Persaud
Web story


Julie Tyios has joined nine other business and community representatives who will help review the TTC’’s customer-service practices.

Tyios will help Steve O’Brien, a Toronto hotelier, with the review in the hopes of giving the transit system a little more humanity. She is the CEO of an online marketing firm called Red Juice Media.

TTC officials announced an online invitation on Feb. 18 for riders to post on Twitter what should be brought to the panel. O’Brien has reviewed the resumes of the top tweeters.

The panel will also include an executive from WestJet as well as officials from Go Transit and the Montreal transit system.

Matt Blackett, the publisher of Spacing magazine, said that this was a good opportunity to give real input.

“That’s the mandate of Spacing, to help make Toronto better,” Blackett said. “Each time I present them they say, ‘This is a great idea,’ and that’s the end of it.”

Blackett convinced the TTC to create the stop button Spacing created. At the time Blackett noted that the transit officials were reluctant to even listen to his pitch. Today there are about 120 000 of those buttons in circulation.

Blackett would like to see maps on streetcars, maps in the subway with bus route numbers as well as more technology implemented faster.

The panel will meet this Friday. They are expected to give recommendations by June.


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Sarah Demille Writes about the TTC – Photo Courtesy of

Sarah Demille - March 4, 2010

Sarah DeMille
Online Story

The bid to have the TTC designated as an essential service has come to a stall very early on in its progress, as the city hall refuses to ask the province to strip TTC workers of their right to strike.

While the bill, first introduced by Liberal member David Caplan (Don Valley West), passed the initial reading by a vote of 39 to 7 with unanimous support from Progressive Conservative and Liberal members, the government still intends to nullify it.

According to the Toronto Star, Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne told reporters that the bill “does not reflect the government’s position.” She later added that there was a possibility of a cost increase due to the fact that arbitrated deals were often more pricey.

On a similar note, TTC chair Adam Giambrone warned those in favour of the bill that “this piece of legislation could end up costing tens of millions to the city and the province wouldn’t pay anything.”

A similar motion made in 2008 to ask the province to designate the TTC as an essential service was rejected by a single vote. Opinions amongst city councilors remained equally split during talks on Monday.

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Adam Giambrone, TTC Sex Scandal, Soduku

Sarah Demille Writes about the challenges of Adam Giambrone in the TTC – Photo Courtesy of

Sarah Demille - February 19, 2010

By Sarah Demille

Adam Giambrone received yet another blow to his chance at securing a position as the next Toronto mayor. On the heels of the heat he has been receiving for TTC shortfalls experienced within the city, the mayoral candidate admitted on Monday to an “inappropriate relationship with a young woman.”

This information was divulged following his questioning by the Toronto Star on the subject of his relationship with university student Kristen Lucas.

Lucas, now 20, claimed to have begun seeing Giambrone when she was 19 and said the relationship continued for over a year.

Lucas alleges that she has been involved with the Ward 18 councillour since late 2008, and has, on several occasions, had sexual relations with him during late night hours on a couch in his City Hall office.

The Toronto Star reported that Giambrone apologized to his family, friends, and his live-in partner Sarah McQuarrie, calling the situation “a serious lapse in judgment.”

In a statement he made to the Toronto Star on Monday, Giambrone said that his relationship with the young woman was never continued behind closed doors and consisted only of text messages and meetings in public places.

The mayoral contender further stated that his relationship with Lucas was on the outs for several months and said “realizing the mistake this relationship was I tried to end it some months ago and finally broke off all contact.”

Sarah Moore Writes about the TTC Sex Scandal – Photo Courtesy of

Sarah Moore - February 19, 2010

By Sarah Moore

Online Story Two:

Revenge is a dish best served hot off the presses

They say revenge is sweet. If that is true, then revenge in the form of publicly smearing the political campaign of the man who wronged you is even sweeter.

When it hits the papers that a politician has had a sordid, sexual affair with a younger woman, a scandal is born, and usually, a political career is ruined.

This may now be the case for Adam Giambrone, chair of the Toronto Transit Commission and Toronto mayoral hopeful, as the juicy details of a behind the scenes romance with university student Kristen Lucas graced the front page of the Toronto Star this morning.

The paper divulged all the gory details of the affair, including text messages and emails that Lucas says were sent to her from the councillor.

Giambrone left Lucas for someone “political”, and Lucas decided not to take the rejection sitting down. She opted instead to tell her tale to the most intentionally loose-lipped source she could think of, the newspaper.

Giambrone, despite questioning some of Lucas’s allegations, publicly apologized to anyone that may have been hurt by the affair, which he says was “inappropriate”.

Apparently, politicians with “dirty little secrets” hiding in their closet have yet to heed Shakespeare’s warning, for this scandal proves once more that Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Sarina Adamo Writes about the Numbers Game Soduku – Photo Courtesy of

Sarina Adamo - February 19, 2010

Sarina Adamo
Playing the Numbers Game

`You are either completely addicted or flip right by it in a newspaper. Sudoku is the puzzle craze that has recently swept the globe yet there is more to the numbers game than meets the eye.

Created in 1979 by 74-year-old American architect Howard Garns and originally titled “Number Place” the puzzle first appeared in Dell Magazine. The game proceeded to Japan in 1984 where the title of it was altered to Sudoku; “Su” meaning number and “Doku” meaning single; since each grid contains one of every single digit (1 to 9).

Wayne Gould, a retired judge that lived in Japan created computer software to generate Sudoku puzzles. He then proposed publishing them in the London Times at the end of 2004. By 2005 the puzzles appeared in many more newspapers. Now, there are thousands of books, calendars, and websites dedicated to the game.

A genuine Sudoku puzzle must have 17 starting numbers to work with. Any less and it would be impossible to solve. The amount of possible starting grids is impossible to determine but some mathematicians have reasoned there are approximately over five billion.

A common misconception is that Sudoku involves math but it is simply based on logic. The frequent use of logic helps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as it keeps the brain alert and open to new challenges.

So until the world conquers all five billion possibilities, Sudoku will be here to stay.


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TTC, Coffee Addiction and Baseball

Nadia Persaud Writes About the TTC – Photo Courtesy of

Nadia Persaud - February 17, 2010

Nadia Persaud
Online #2
Adam Giambrone: sorry for getting caught?

Last Tuesday, Adam Giambrone, Toronto mayoral candidate, entered a new club filled with the likes of Bill Clinton and Eliot Spitzer.

The club was a self-admitted ‘inappropriate relationship with a young woman’ and the admission was a then 19-year-old, Kirsten Lucas.

In a Toronto Star article, today, Lucas said she and Giambrone, 32, were involved in a year-long intimate relationship. It climaxed with late-night sex on a couch in his City Hall office.
But when Giambrone made his public bid Feb. 1, for the mayor’s chair it was another woman standing with him on the stage, Sarah McQuarrie.

A woman, Giambrone publically called his “longtime live-in partner,” but who told Lucas was really just there for “political” reasons.

Lucas said she was devastated when she first found out about McQuarrie, but on Jan. 2, agreed to keep seeing him provided he tells McQuarrie about their relationship.

Giambrone‘s campaign gave the Star an email where she threatened to reveal the affair to McQuarrie.
Giambrone much like Spitzer, who was born into a political family, started an early life in the public eye at the age of 22 as the President of the federal NDP party.

He should have known by default that information would leak and the people involved would tell.


Patrycja Klucznik Writes about Coffee Addiction – Photo Courtesy of

Patrycja Klucznik - February 17, 2010

Caffeine addiction
Patrycja Klucznik
Feb. 9, 2010

It’s 11:09 a.m. on a Tuesday morning and 20-year-old Fiona Persaud has not yet had a cup of coffee.

“It’s killing me,” Persaud says.

For Persaud, who goes through at least two to three cups a day, it really is a big deal.

The effect of caffeine addiction can be seen at the college or university level, as students experience higher levels of stress and schedules become increasingly full.

One 8 oz cup of brewed coffee contains roughly 135 mg of caffeine, which is nearly the same amount found in energy drinks that are designed to keep the mind and body alert.

A manual published by the American Psychiatric Association called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders claims to have studied the effects of caffeine withdrawal, which proves the addictive nature of caffeine. Withdrawal symptoms include headaches, decreased energy, decreased attentiveness and a feeling of depression or moodiness. The withdrawal period can range from two to nine days, which makes it easy to see why people would continuously drink coffee

With one hour left of her class, Persaud is lazily sitting in front of her computer screen, undoubtedly thinking of one thing.

“I really need a strong cup of it [coffee] right now,” Persaud said.

Hopefully the infamously long Tim Hortons line will be kind to her.


Ryan Jhagroo Writes about Baseball – Photo Courtesy of

Ryan Jhagroo - February 17, 2010

Pitching Tigers, Mariners, and Marlins sign contract extensions
By: Ryan Jhagroo

Justin Verlander is the latest staff ace to sign a contract extension, agreeing on a five-year $80 million dollar deal with the Detroit Tigers.

Along with Verlander, 23-year-old Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners and 26-year-old Josh Johnson of the Florida Marlins extended their contracts within the past month.

Hernandez agreed to a five-year contract reportedly worth $78 million.

Johnson agreed to a four-year deal worth $39 million US.

Under their previous deals, Verlander, Johnson, and Hernandez were scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after the 2011 season.

The 27-year-old Verlander has been a Detroit Tiger since they selected him in the first round, second overall in the 2004 MLB Amateur Draft.

Both Hernandez and Johnson have been with their current clubs since they broke into the majors.

Last season, all three pitchers posted career-high marks for wins in a season.

In 2009, Hernandez finished second in American League Cy Young Award voting with Verlander finishing third.

All three are expected to pitch the 2010 season openers for their teams.


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TTC, Student President Ousted for Smoking, Spice Girls

Kimberlee Nancekivell Writes about the TTC – Photo Courtesy of

Kimberlee Nancekivell - February 16, 2010

Kimberlee Nancekivell
Online Story 2

A news conference is being held at the Sheraton Centre on Tuesday morning to address the conflict between TTC workers, administration, and riders.

A group called “Toronto Transit Operators against public harassment” appeared on Facebook last week, collecting more than 500 members in a few days. The purpose of the group was to provide an outlet for workers to discuss how to deal with the recent accusations that they were not doing their jobs as well as they could.

These accusations followed the publication of photos and videos captured by riders showing TTC workers asleep, or taking breaks when they should have been working.

Among the solutions discussed by TTC workers in the group were a work-to-rule campaign, which hasn’t materialized, and retaliation via photography, with workers posting photos of riders breaking TTC rules.

Word of the possible work-to-rule campaign made it to already angry riders who joined the Facebook group and gave their two cents. Riders posted so many complaints about the TTC that the group had to be closed to new members.

Bob Kinnear, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, will be speaking to the media at the conference Tuesday morning. Though he hasn’t confirmed anything, Kinnear is expected to address the memo from administration to workers that he says puts all the blame on the workers.

Kirsten Parucha Writes about a President Ousted for Smoking inside – Photo Courtesy of

Kirsten Parucha - February 16, 2010

Online Story 2 – Kirsten Parucha

Zuhair Syed has officially been removed as president of the Student Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC).

After a three-day voting process (which took place from Feb. 3-5), 554 UTSC students voted yes to have Syed removed and 477 UTSC students voted no.

Syed’s removal was officially announced Friday night on the SCSU website.

The vote to have Syed removed as president was provoked in late December of 2009 when the Chairman of SCSU issued a tier 3 motion for his removal. His request was based on allegations that Syed was not attending mandatory meetings, was occasionally late for mandatory meetings and that he had been smoking and drinking in his office.

These allegations sparked much tension between SCSU members and students and provoked petitions and Facebook groups to have Syed removed.

After the tier 3 motion was placed, Syed’s presidential duties were taken away from him and were given to VP External, Amir Bashir in early January.

Now that Syed is no longer president, it’s up to the Board on whether they want to keep Bashir as acting president or if the role will be handed to another official.

Megan Harris Writes about the Spice Girls – Photo Courtesy of

Megan Harris - February 16, 2010

Spice Girls: The Musical
-Megan Harris

At the end of May 1998, fans everywhere mourned the end of an era. Geri Halliwell left the Spice Girls, and it seemed like it was the end for the popular British pop group. Then in 2007, the band reunited for a reunion tour, culminating on February 26 2008. Once the hype had died down, the world settled back to normal, and many thought the Spice Girls were gone for good this time.

But were they? After months of rumours, it was officially announced at the end of January this year that a Spice Girls musical, Viva Forever, is coming to the West End in London.

The contents of the show will be fictional but will include many of the band’s hit songs. It is being created by Simon Fuller, former manager of the Spice Girls, and Mamma Mia! producer Judy Craymer.

“I want to create a unique celebration of the band and its music, with its own flavour and joyful message,” Craymer told CBC news. “It is important to me that the excitement, style, and humour of the Spice Girls is well represented on stage.”

Although there is currently no timetable set for the show, it is expected to launch in two or three years, according to London’s Mirror newspaper. Judging by the huge fan base the Spice Girls still have, and the prior achievements of the group, things are looking up for the success of the musical.


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TTC, Late Night Battles, NBA Trades

Fiona Persaud Writes About the TTC Work-to-Rule – Photo Courtesy of

Fiona Persaud - February 16, 2010

Fiona Persaud
TTC rumors of a work-to-rule

The TTC workers union will be speaking today about the recent work-to-rule rumours sprung by the private Facebook group “Toronto Transit workers against public harassment”.

The TTC has been under scrutiny over the past few weeks after posts on YouTube of employees sleeping at the ticket counter or stopping a bus to take an unscheduled coffee break.

A statement has been issued by Chief General Manager Gary Webster urging employees to treat their riders better.

“We are in the customer service business, but some of the behaviour our customers have encountered recently would suggest otherwise. Our customers pay a fare and the City provides hundreds of millions of dollars every year to the TTC. This public transit agency belongs to the very people we serve,” Webster said.

The memo is speculated to have caused members of the group to call for a work-to-rule which has yet to be confirmed.

According to Bill Reno, media spokesperson for the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, “there’s going to be a press conference and the union won’t make comment until then.”

Reno would not comment on whether or not a work-to-rule has been called for by the Facebook group that describes themselves as “a group where Operator’s can give suggestions on how to fight back to the recent photo and video harassment from passengers just looking to make trouble for us. And post photos of your own of passengers breaking the rules.”

Josef Jacobson Writes about the Late Night Battles of Talk Show Hosts – Photo Courtesy of

Josef Jacobson 300479981
Online Story

From the beginning of time, humans have asked the question: “Who is greater? David Letterman or Jay Leno?”

The answer has not always been clear.

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has been recognizing excellence in television since 1949. David Letterman has won seven Emmys, while Leno only has one.

In terms of longevity, Letterman has stood the late-night talk show test of time. In 1980, NBC granted Letterman his first program, the David Letterman Show. Since then he has hosted Late Night with David Letterman on NBC and the Late Show with David Letterman on CBS. He has been on television for the past 30 years. That’s nearly half his life.

Leno, on the other hand, took over from Johnny Carson as host of the Tonight Show in 1993. Leno only lasted 16 years, as NBC decided to oust Leno and install the hipper, younger Conan O’Brien as the host in 2009. However, that experiment did not last long and Leno will once again host the Tonight Show after the Vancouver Olympics. In total, Leno has only been on television for the past 17 years.

In 1995, David Letterman was chosen to host the 66th annual Academy Awards. After two years of competition, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences concluded that Letterman would do a better job than Leno. Although Letterman was never invited back to the host, Leno was never granted the opportunity.

In the end, the answer to the Letterman/Leno question comes down to one’s opinion. When reviewing the men’s accomplishments, however, it is clear that Letterman has done more, and has more to offer than his nocturnal opponent.


Josh Ungar Writes about the Trades in the NBA – Photo Courtesy of

Josh Ungar - February 16, 2010

Josh Ungar

Once slated to fill the (overly big) shoes of Shaquille O’Neal, Andrew Bynum, a 7’0 centre for the Los Angeles Lakers has only begun to fill his potential.

Playing under the wing of Kobe Bryant, Bynum has had the luxury of taking his time to develop properly while still winning. As the NBA trade deadline approaches, Bynum may soon find himself attempting to step into some new shoes and a new role.

Trade rumours have been swirling for some weeks now. The most notable being one that involves Bynum being traded to the Toronto Raptors for arguably the best power forward in the league, Chris Bosh.

Bosh is eligible to become a free-agent this summer and has already said that he desires the chance to play for a winning team. Rather than allowing Bosh to walk away as a free-agent and getting nothing in return, the Raptors would be wise to trade him while his value is at an all-time high.

While Bosh is certainly the better player at this time, Bynum’s awesome physical characteristics still have scouts drooling over his potential to develop into a dominant centre.

Bynum would almost certainly be a better fit for the Raptors, who have lacked a bona fide shot-blocker and interior scorer since the days of Antonio Davis. Bynum would also free-up the perimeter for Raptors’ big man Andrea Bargnani, who is more of a perimetre threat than anything else.

While it will certainly be difficult to give up a dynamic player like Bosh, the Raps still have to keep the future in mind, and most NBA-insiders believe Bosh may not be part of that future.

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The Temptation to Buy a Car

TTC - November 23, 2009

Living in Toronto is difficult without a car. With all of this H1N1 flu virus talk going around, you cannot even cough on a bus without someone thinking you have been infected. Plus with the way the TTC has been running over a long period of time now, it seems ridiculous that now TTC wants to hike up the fees to $3 CDN, from $2.75.

Continue reading

Categories: Business, cars, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Temptation to Buy a Car

TTC - November 23, 2009

Living in Toronto is difficult without a car. With all of this H1N1 flu virus talk going around, you cannot even cough on a bus without someone thinking you have been infected. Plus with the way the TTC has been running over a long period of time now, it seems ridiculous that now TTC wants to hike up the fees to $3 CDN, from $2.75.

Continue reading

Categories: Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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