Posts Tagged With: UTSC-Centennial Journalism Student

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.

Categories: Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is drinking wine apart of your daily lifestyle? Find out how wine could be the new health diet drink!

Red Wine is Good for Your Health – Photo Courtesy of Google Images

By Christina Cheng

Wine expertise says drinking wine may help prevent weight gain and help live a healthier lifestyle. Time to sit back, relax and pour yourself a glass of pinot noir!

Wine is not considered just a pleasure drink anymore, it also offers health benefits and I’m a firm believer in that! Although I’m just shy of 22-years of age, I enjoy a glass or two of (either) red, white, and/or Zinfandel at least once (sometimes twice, maybe more) a week. I also exercise from home and from the gym 4 times a week and I can honestly say, I have never felt this healthy and fit until now. A glass of wine after a good workout is ideal because it acts as a relaxant- it is a non-chemical means of relaxing because of the alcohol affect- it tends to soothe my muscles and clarify my blood cells after an intense class of Pilates. When it’s wine time, it’s my time!

If you’re a wine lover who enjoys drinking in moderation (like me), it’s a safe bet that you’re enjoying good health as well! Why do I say that you ask? Well, through new research, it has been found that drinking a glass or two (no more than 8 ounces) of wine a day, has some perks in keeping your health and weight in check by reducing cholesterol and blood pressure. I asked wine expertise, Tony Aspler who is an accomplished wine educator and lecturer, and Christopher Waters who is the editor of VINES magazine and author of a weekly wine column, Waters & Wine to explain. I must say, the evidence is quite impressive.

One of the reasons why a wine may contribute to a healthier life is because wine is considered to be one of the safest, pleasantest, and most wholesome of beverages for us. Containing vitamins A, B, and C and the other thirteen trace minerals necessary to support human life, these vitamins in a balance will not upset the body’s metabolism. In fact, wine is safer than water and milk because you can’t get diseases from it.

“You cannot get typhoid or TB from any wine, be it old or young, cheap and nasty, or rare and costly. No microbes live in wine. It is pleasanter than other safe drinks because it is more gentle as well as varied,” confirms Aspler.

Not only is wine considered a health drink, it is now also considered the new diet drink. Studies show that those who drank wine moderately were likely to eat less and less likely to gain weight. Yes, believe it or not, drinking wine could lead to taking in fewer calories.

“Wine can be used to replace 500 calories of fat or sugar intake in the daily diet. These calories will be completely consumed and not add an ounce of weight,” says Aspler.

In fact, Christopher Waters found that people who drink wine are the ones who tend to lead a healthier, active lifestyle by making healthier lifestyle choices, and he says wine stimulates that.

“Wine digests food and disperses care. It dispels flatulence and clarifies the blood. It clears the complexion and quickens the body,” stated Waters.

I personally have to agree with both Aspler and Waters because I found that since I’ve been enjoying a glass or two of wine every week, I’ve been more motivated to stay healthy and active- I went from working out 3 times a week to working out 4 times a week! I’ve also noticed that I lost some weight and I’m seeing faster results with muscle gain.

Although I’m still in my early twenties, my life isn’t like many 21-year-olds. I have a 5-year-old son, I attend university five times a week, and work three times a week on top of everything else. Skin breakouts and stress have taken over me but I’ve found that through staying active and enjoying a glass of wine here and there, has personally helped my blood pressure go down a bit and my skin complexion has been at its best!

Waters, who studied wine, found that the one particular component in red wine, called resveratrol was the most effective health wise.

“Resveratrol helps rid the body of bad fats. It acts as a scrubbing agent in your veins and arteries and washes away low-density lipoproteins which is the bad part of cholesterol, that can lead to heart disease,” says Waters.

Resveratrol also acts as an anti-age component with the benefits of caloric restriction within the human skin; resveratrol in wine has also been linked to longevity and prevention of cancer.

Susan Benitez is a mother of two who enjoys a glass of wine a day with her supper and revealed that ever since she started drinking wine and becoming more active, she found her cholesterol level had dropped. Benitez’s family physician had recommended that she try consuming a glass of wine at least once a day in order to test if it’ll help with her cholesterol.

“My total cholesterol before was at 6.2 millimoles (mmol) per liter (L) which was borderline high, but now I’m at 5.2 millimoles per liter which are considered a desirable level. I haven’t felt this good in a long time!” expressed Benitez.

Drinking wine alone isn’t considered a weight-loss strategy on its own- if you start replacing food with wine, you’ll be sure to miss out on key nutrients that food offers. Enjoying a glass of wine every day (no more than 8 ounces), along with the proper exercises and a healthy diet seems to be the perfect way to living.

A glass of wine a day keeps the doctors away so here’s to a healthier lifestyle. Cheers!

Categories: Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, travel, Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dog day afternoon at the spa

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

By: Andre Thurairatnam

After her morning run, she spends a nice relaxing day at the spa – complete with manicure, pedicure and another pampering. She fashionably exits the establishment in her brand new designer shoes and jacket, looking like a model fit for the runway. Rested, and with more confidence than ever, she finally makes her way home to a meal fit for a queen. No, it’s not her birthday, anniversary, or wedding, it’s just another Saturday for Fluffy – the family dog.

According to the Canadian Press and Leger Marketing, over half of all Canadians have household pets, 30 percent of these people being dog owners. If we do the math, that’s about five million dog owners in Canada alone.

Although Fluffy’s Saturday may seem a bit over the top, the reality is that a good portion of these five million dog owners routinely spoils their pets. Owners may feel as though they’re doing a good deed by making their pets “happy”, but could very well be harming them psychologically.

Dog owners have been known to go over-the-top out of “love” for their pet. Everything from letting your dog sleep on your bed, to painting their nails, to feeding them gourmet meals three times a day.

Lisa Wagner of Walks ‘N’ Wags Pet First Aid in Vancouver, B.C. warns that dogs who get used to this type of treatment tend to become over-dependent on their owners.

“Dogs really thrive on being given things to do and being told that they’re smart,” she said.

In this day and age, people forget that dogs were originally bred to serve a purpose, whether it be hunting, guiding, herding, sledding, etc. When dogs feel as though they aren’t living up to their purpose, there is a chance they may suffer from low self-esteem issues.

Lauren Molloy of Banda Mastiffs in Zephyr, Ontario urges that the number one thing to keep in mind is to let your dog be a dog. Do not treat it like a human being. Molloy has seen her share of spoiling behaviour in her 21 years experience with dogs.

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Image result for Pretty dogs

“I have seen many people, with small dogs in particular, in baby backpacks or carriages, and I really think that is ridiculous. They have legs. I have Mastiffs, and they carry my things in backpacks when we go out, and they love it,” She said.

Matt Belvedere of Barks n’ Rec doggy daycare in Mississauga, Ontario concludes that the best preventative step to “over-humanizing” your dog is to have it become comfortable around other canines. He strongly believes that having your dog fully socialized and comfortable around other dogs is the number one thing you can do for it.

“It’s more important to socialize your dog than to give it a walk every day,” Belvedere said.

Wagner also recognizes the importance of socializing your pet.

“If dogs don’t understand how to communicate with other dogs, they become fearful of them creating aggression problems,” she said.

Wolfram Klose of the Havelberg Dog Academy in Orona, Ontario, however, says that rewarding your dog for good behaviour is not something to frown upon. Reinforcing good habits by feeding your dog treats, or buying them a new toy is highly effective in moderation. Klose swears by this system.

“A dog should know the difference between play and work,” he said. “It is all right to spoil your pet a bit, but on the other hand, you expect him to listen and behave well in certain situations.”

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Image result for Pretty dogs

What it all comes down to is balance, moderation, and discipline. The old saying is that if you treat your dog like a human, they will treat you like a dog. Fluffy deserves to be treated like a dog. You’re the one who deserves the spa day.

Categories: Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Pets, travel, Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Buying a Used Car

Patrycja Klucznik - March 23, 2010

Buying a used car
Patrycja Klucznik
March 16, 2010

Purchasing a vehicle is stressful enough, having to consider the model of the vehicle, the mileage it has on it, and the year it was made. Furthermore, these considerations have to be made on top of considering the price tag. Once you’ve found your dream car, how do you make sure it’s not too good to be true?

People looking to purchase a vehicle from a private dealer now have protection through a bylaw that was enacted by the provincial government on January 1, 2010. The Motor Vehicle Dealers Act was in collaboration with the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council to provide consumer protection from purchasing cars that turn out to be lemons.

Private dealers who are licensed under the Act are required to disclose all information concerning a vehicle to the customer, including additional fees on top of the advertised price. Dealers would also be held under a standard code of ethics across the board.

The new law will eliminate the too-good-to-be-true aspect of purchasing a vehicle, as the history of the car must be provided on paper.

The next time you’re looking for a car, make sure to do your homework, and always read the fine print.


Categories: Beauty, Business, cars, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Technology, Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sudan ceasefire to be signed today

Amanda Kwan Writes about Sudan – Photo Courtesy of

Amanda Kwan - March 1, 2010

By Amanda Kwan

The conflict in Darfur may soon end if Sudan’s government and main opposition group implement a peace deal, set to be signed today.

President Omar al-Bashir will sign the framework agreement in Qatar, which outlines power-sharing roles between the government and the rebel group.

The accord is seen as an important step toward peace, but the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) told Reuters that it was unlikely to reach a final deal by March 15, before the national election.

The accord documents, obtained by the BBC, show that JEM will be recognized as a political party after a final agreement is signed.

The conflict in Darfur began in 2003 when African rebels began an uprising against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government.

In the past seven years, more than 300,000 people have been killed by combat, disease, and malnutrition, according to the United Nations.


Categories: Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Living, Media Writing, travel, Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.


Categories: Beauty, book reviews, Business, cars, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Categories: Beauty, Business, cars, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Sports, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: