Watching the hand luggage drop on Air Canada

Bags and briefcases just keep on dropping
Dwayne Stewart posted a video on YouTube today that shows Air Canada baggage handlers dropping hand luggage off an approximately 20-foot set of steps into a bin at the bottom. This, rather than carry the bags to the ground as Air Canada policy requires. The hand luggage was being placed in the cargo hold because of crowding in the cabin. Global News first reported that Stewart was complaining about the handling of the baggage. He took the video while waiting on the tarmac at Pearson Airport and told the broadcaster that passengers on the Vancouver-bound flight were asked to check their carry-on luggage because there wasn’t enough room in the overhead compartments. He looked out his window and started shooting as a handler dropped several bags. “Sorry Air Canada, this is a fail,” he says while filming. In a statement, Air Canada said it is “extremely disappointed by the actions” depicted in the video. “This clearly goes against our standard baggage handling procedures which dictates that gate-checked bags are to be hand carried down to the ramp. An investigation into this has been launched.”  See video 

Grief sweeps South Korea after ferry disaster

The captain of a South Korean ferry that capsized and sank earlier this week has been arrested, Yonhap news agency reports. The South Korean agency said Lee Joon-seok (top inset) faced charges including negligence of duty and violation of maritime law. And the vice principal (inset bottom) who organized the ill-fated student excursion has killed himself, apparently unable to live with the guilt he felt. The ship, the Sewol, sank Wednesday, leaving hundreds missing and feared dead. The investigation into the disaster has focused on the ferry's sharp turn before it started listing, and on whether a quicker evacuation order by the captain could have saved lives. Investigators also were determining whether the captain had abandoned the ship. Rescuers are searching for about 270 people still missing and feared dead. At least 28 bodies have been recovered. Officials said there were 179 survivors and about 270 people remain missing, many of them high school students. BBC report at this link is an excellent summary of the search.  

Dead set against Keystone but just can't say it

Barack Obama has decided that six years is not enough to ponder whether the Keystone XL pipeline should be built.  He has done again what he's been doing his entire presidency -- kick his "decision" over past the next election.  Globe and Mail 

Kay Gardner mural ready to paint #TOpoli

Next month work is scheduled to begin on a mural to decorate and commemorate the history of the Kay Gardner Beltline Trail. The work will be done by students from Greenwood College School with the guidance of celebrated Toronto muralist Monica Wickeler. The mural's design has been released by Greenwood and reveals a work of artistic charm and historic pertinence. Top and bottom inset are the design and an overlay of the design where it will be painted. The mural will grace the now bare concrete wall beside the steps which lead to the Beltline from the west side of Mt. Pleasant Rd. just south of Merton Street. This is the location of the well-remembered storage silos of the Canada Coal and Wood Company. The mural tells those on the trail that the Mt. Pleasant Village shopping area is just up the stairs. At  the bottom is the walking and cycling pathway which follows the 19th Century Beltline Railway. This undertaking was intended to provide commuter service from downtown to the then new neighborhoods of Rosedale, Moore Park and Forest Hill. It failed and sat dormant for many decades.  Greenwood College School has noted that the idea for a mural at this location came from local resident Ann Dempster two years ago. The City was consulted and the Grade 12 Drawing and Painting class went to work researching the history of the site. Funding was secured for the mural through the auspices of Josh Matlow (Ward 22) who has taken a continuing interest in the project. Mr.Matlow said, "Local residents and Greenwood College School students came together to celebrate our community's history with a mural that will be a vibrant new addition to our public realm. I am so happy to support this wonderful initiative."

Rob Ford makes spirited speech based on record

Rob Ford has made a spirited speech based on his record of caring about the taxpayer and saving money as he kicked off his re-eection campaign tonight. At 8.30 p.m.  as Mr Ford was said to be making his speech and the picture (inset) was taken by Ivor Tossell showing the enormous hall in which the event is being held. It seems to show many empty chairs and tables. Mr. Ford and his brother Doug were promising to make a big splash and create history. Doug Ford said he expected "thousands" of supporters to show up. Despite the appearance in the picture above, CityNews said the Toronto Congress Centre was packed with rambunctious supporters. Here is the Twitter search for Rob Ford which is very busy with comments and pictures
Some would say that the Toronto Star made Robyn Doolittle the media celebrity that she is today. Others might say that Doolittle has capitalized on her chances at the Star and executed her move to the Globe and Mail like a man. No higher praise. Whatever, there's no doubt that the girl who started as a radio room apprentice in 2005 has written herself into the history of Toronto with her book Crazy Town and her exploits chasing the "crack video" with fellow reporter Kevin Donovan. For the Globe its about self respect as Canada's national newspaper. They got licked on the Rob Ford story and no fooling. We'll see how this move suits them and their new star investigator.  

Vaughan tries for Lib nod in Trinity Spadina

Adam Vaughan (Ward 20) will quit City Council and seek the Liberal nomination in the riding of Trinity Spadina, The riding is set for a byelection following the resignation of Olivia Chow as the NDP member to run for mayor. A Liberal source told The Globe and Mail Mr. Vaughan approached the party a few days ago. Is the nomination guaranteed? Either way, Mr. Vaughan, in announcing his bid was his usual rather indignant self. Let's see if he can work up the same high dudgeon of the Opposition leader, Mr. Mulcair

Fish of all kinds for Good Friday at our shops

Tomorrow is the holiest day on the Christian calendar but regardless of just how observant any of us may be, we love our fish. Penrose Fish and Chips, De La Mer on Bayview and Cracked and Smoked will all be open on Friday. Also open Friday is Grilltime on Laird Drive with a selection of seafood items including salmon fillets and sides, black cod, marinated and grill ready shrimp, scallops and calamari. Hours are 10 until 6.  The origin of the fish tradition is murky although there are lots of references to fish in Christian history. Christ was a fisherman and the medieval church specified no meat Fridays. It's not too clear why. But the taste for fish has hung on at this time of year. You can buy wonderful seafood at De La Mer, legendary fish and chips at Penrose and great lobster dishes at Cracked and Smoked.  Good Friday is thought by some to be a corruption of God Friday, while others say it is a "good" because of the universal redemption flowing from Christ''s death.

Chow turns up human gridlock villain #TOpoli

Call it Transit Thursday, as the longest mayoral campaign in the world grinds toward October, 2014. Olivia Chow plunked herself on Donlands Ave to say she has a plan to make this town move faster. A most arresting discovery on the candidate's part is that Mayor Chow could fine construction companies for leaving a roadway blocked while there is no actual work going on. That's what they do in Chicago and even if it doesn't make the traffic move, it sure is a tempting source of revenue. Ms. Chow also spoke of hiring a person to be in charge of traffic. Isn't there someone like that already?  The media has jumped on this as a "Transit Czar." We sincerely hope not. Over at Queen's Park, the Premier is threatening to electrify the GO system if only she can electrify voters to give her a majority government.  (We've enlarged on her remarks for that little Hydro conceit).
John Tory was in Leaside Thursday morning speaking with housewives about transit but later appeared on CP24. He got asked about his idea for water taxis (on which Chow dumped scorn today).   Tory then got feisty about keeping the Gardiner Expressway and insisted that Chow will tear it down. That seems a reasonable guess. At the end of his exchange with Stephen LeDrew,  Mr. Tory made his most critical move. "Rob Ford is done. He's done," said Tory. This is so important for him because it is Ford who will lose the election for both Ford Nation and John Tory. Between them they have more than enough support to beat Ms. Chow, but as it stands, these two guys are the most important part of her campaign to occupy the big office overlooking Phillips Square. It is, as The Bulldog observed earlier, like watching a traffic accident unfold in slow motion. That's it so far for Transit Thursday. But at this writing it is only noon.

Sunnybrook bid for foreign patients questioned

Sunnybrook Hospital's tentative plan to solicit foreign patients has the Ontario government fussing. There is also opposition from groups like the registered nurses which typically might be resistant to such things. As noted in the Globe and Mail story, there is already a program at the University Health Network (TGH, Mount Sinai and others) to accept foreign patients. It says 380 patients have been treated since 2011.  

132nd Scouts Leaside garden products campaign

Wilmar Kortleever, parent volunteer on behalf of the 132nd Toronto Scouts writes to alert everyone to the group's Annual Garden Products Fundraiser. The products on sale – like soil, manure, mulches, peat moss, garden bags – tie in very well with Scouting activities. Wilmar says the 132nd also wishes to thank everyone for the donations received for the  ‘Plant a Tree’ program and to send deserving and needy Scouts to camp. The garden campaign runs through Sunday, April 20 and orders can conveniently be placed online or over the phone at (416) 425 6881, or delivered to 104 Glenvale Ave. Scouts are also still going door to door in Leaside (although they can not cover all streets). Delivery will be next Saturday, April 26. 

Leaside Garden Society events coming in May

Beth Parker notes that the Leaside Garden Society will have its Spring plant sale of both perennials and annuals on Saturday, May 10, 2014 at Trace Manes Community Centre, 110 Rumsey Rd. from 9 a.m. to noon. At its regular meeting on Thursday, May 8, 2014
 speaker Malcolm Geast will present ’The Wonder of Insects in the Garden’ That's at 7.30 PM, Leaside Library, 165 McRae Drive

Meaningless does not describe mom's killing

Toronto police held a news conference Wednesday afternoon to clarify as best they could the motive behind the killing of Scarborough mother and homemaker Andrea White. What they had to say is depressing beyond belief. White's friends and neighbors are calling her killing another meaningless death. But the alleged motive for the shots that took a good woman's life goes well beyond anything like meaningless. It will be for the Crown Attorney to give it a name. But as told by Detective Sergeant  Hank Idsinga in the video below, the shots fired into the homes on Forest Parkway in Scarborough four nights ago were intended for no one in particular and anyone in general. Idsinga said two accused in the shooting had attended a graveside memorial and for a man named Kwado Mensah on April 12,  2014, the day of the shooting. Mensah had been a visitor in the Forest Parkway neighborhood  a year ago April 12 when he was shot  and killed. A man is before the courts in connection with the death. Police say that the two accused in the White killing came away from the memorial so incensed by Mensah's death a year earlier that they drove to the neighborhood in a white SUV and sprayed bullets out the passenger side of the vehicle as they drove by. One person "in general" who took one or more bullets was Andrea White. She died within a minute or two. Meaningless does begin to describe it. One of the accused is Alwayne Bigby, a former high school basketball star and a promising NCAA recruit.

Wires too close together caused TO blackout

The cause of last night's widespread power outage was a short circuit which occurred between two power lines -- one a Hydro One transmission line carrying heavy voltage -- the other a Toronto Hydro local transmission line underneath it. They got too close and that caused "a flash." And that caused the lights to go out. Sounds reasonable and given the number of wires strung around town it's a bit of a surprise that it doesn't happen more often. Those who look up at mixed service areas of transmission wires and distribution wires would normally expect to see them strung with at least four or five feet between them. 

Final farewell to Flaherty set in scarlett and green

The final farewell to Jim Flaherty was a sombre but luminous event made so by the galaxy of politically-important mourners and the rich colour of a Canadian state funeral.  Scarlett-coated Mountie pallbearers and green-scarved notables throughout venerable St. James Cathedral set the tone. The Canadian Press report quoted the Prime Minister: "What a sad time this is in the life of our country," he said.  But Mr.Harper was mostly upbeat in his personal tribute to his longtime political confidante, CP says. Directly addressing Flaherty's wife Christine Elliott and the couple's triplet sons, Harper said, "We have lost a partner in politics, but you have lost a partner in life." Harper kept his composure throughout most of what turned out to be a cheerful, light-hearted look back on the time he and Flaherty shared together in power on Parliament Hill. "Occasionally, I imposed a final decision," Harper said of their periodic cabinet-table disputes. "Occasionally I decided he was probably right. And occasionally, I decided he was wrong, but let him have his way because I just got so damn tired of arguing with him." But as Harper's eulogy drew to a close, he had to compose himself as he described the day he accepted Flaherty's resignation. "I told Jim that he had truly been over these eight years, in my judgment, the best finance minister in the world, if not indeed the best in our history," Harper said. "I also wished him well in his next career ... and I told him not to be a stranger." One of the most touching moments came when the prime minister addressed himself directly to Flaherty's three sons, John, Galen and Quinn. "I lost my own father almost exactly 11 years ago, to the day," he said. "That period, I remember almost nothing of what I said or what was said to me, so powerful were the waves of emotion. "But once that passed and perspective took hold, I came to appreciate my father's place in my life probably even more fully and deeply than if he were still here. And it is all good, and it will be all good for you." 

Mounties charge teen in Heartbleed theft at CRA

The face of the Heartbleed threat in Canada is, according to police, a very young face indeed. Yesterday the RCMP charged 19-year-old London, Ontario student Stephen Arthuro Solis-Reyes with hacking the Canada Revenue Agency computer and stealing 900 social insurance numbers. The young man is the son of a University of Western Ontario computer sciences professor, Roberto Solis-Oba.  It is all no doubt a case of heartache not Heartbleed for the family.  The teen will  appear in an Ottawa court July 17. An RCMP spokesperson said no one else was involved. "We would absolutely want to share this with Canadians. They have a right to know," said RCMP Cp. Lucy Shorey.  Canadian Press notes that an 11-year-old Stephen Solis-Reyes appeared in The London Free Press in 2006 as one of four local students heading to the national spelling bee. On his Facebook page, Solis-Reyes is listed as attending Western in computer science. 

Trains of Leaside video released

An extension of the Leaside 100 activities, this new video recalls how the main line of the Canadian Pacific came to run through Leaside and Toronto and points to the west. It was the railway as much as anything that ensured the preeminence and survival of the name Leaside. This is also the pattern of Canadian place names in the 19th century. Many cities, including most of those west of Winnipeg, are named after the stations of the CPR.