R. Jeanette Martin
Toronto No Pants Subway Ride on the Yonge and University lines Sunday, January 12: deflating the stuffy seriousness of commuters the world over since the turn of the century. More shots of riders in skivvies.
Transit Trash Talk
It's 2010 and the war on the streetcar all over again. Although the TTC is in the midst of putting 204 new streetcars on the road, the mayor's brother/campaign chair was busy during last week's cold snap reviving the Fords' anti-trolley shtick after 61 of the 200 in the TTC's fleet were temporarily stalled by the cold. Doug said that if he had his way, they'd all be replaced by extra-long buses on downtown routes - even though buses cost more to operate and you'd need more of them to carry the load streetcars handle. The Fords believe every penny should be sunk into underground transit. Not that subways are immune to extreme weather: think flash floods and broken watermains.
Photo by Ben Spurr
Libs off & Running
The minority Libs aren't waiting until the legislature reconvenes next month to start electioneering. The party's campaign co-chair, Deb Matthews, launched the Grits' new online ad over the weekend. It closely resembles last November's "Never stop" ad that showed Wynne running, the pastoral hills of rural Ontario in the background. Insiders say that one played to favourable reviews. The message this time: "The power of being positive."
Jobs lost by the Canadian economy in December, raising the national unemployment rate to 7.2 per cent. So much for the HarperCons' talk of economic recovery. On that front, the feds' claims have been a smokescreen. According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, proportionally fewer Canadians are in the labour force today than were at the height of the 2008 recession. Of those who've come off the unemployment rolls since 2009, only one in five actually found a job. The other four stopped looking.
Stop, thief! Seems the Downtown Yonge BIA's recent abandoned bike cleanup effort snagged a cycle or two that actually belonged to people. The BIA, which has been actively tidying the famous strip, collects bikes left out for three months, and it's for a good cause. Unclaimed bikes are donated to Charlie's Free Wheels, which teaches bike repair skills to marginalized youth. In fact, the BIA won the 2013 Charlie's Freewheels Supporter Of The Year Award. But sometimes the road to good intentions can be hell for cyclists.
Photo by James Lee
When NOW checked in with screen actor Cate Blanchett, she was at TIFF promoting her breakout film, Elizabeth (page 40 of the issue). Her performance as the young queen earned her an Oscar nom, one of four Academy Award nods she's received; she won best supporting actress for her turn as Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator. The Australian star took the Golden Globe last week for her incendiary performance in Blue Jasmine and is sure to strike more Oscar gold in March.