Wednesday, April 16 Commentary
Welcome to the coldest April 16th on record in Toronto.
Environment Canada says the temperature at Pearson reached minus 6.4 an hour ago. The all time record low was minus 5.6 set in 1980.
The good news we are in the early phase of a warming trend and by Easter Sunday we're looking at a high of 18.
At this point it looks like daytime highs will generally be in the low teens until at least the end of the month.
It probably got a little cold for tens of thousands of residents for a couple of hours last night. The power went out at 9pm and wasn't fully restored until after 11.
Generally it was the west side of the city from Yonge Street to Etobicoke and roughly from the 401 to the lake...but there were other pockets hit as well. The problem was not at Toronto Hydro but at Hydro One which feeds the power which Toronto Hydro distributes throughout the city. Something happened in the transmission system but Hydro One isn't sure exactly why.
It's been 11 hours now since a South Korean passenger ship sank off the southern coast of South Korea and the prospect of rescuing any of the 2-hundred-93 people unaccounted for looks grim.
Most of them are kids...high school students. They were on their way to the resort island of Jeju for a four-day school trip. The ship left port later than normal because of fog. A lot of the students were down below where the restaurants, shops and games rooms are located. Suddenly there was a bang and the ship tilted over. It would appear many of the kids were trapped below.
So far authorities have two confirmed deaths, a woman crew member and a student. 1-hundred-64 have been rescued. Dozens are in hospitals with burns and broken bones.
If you have anything to do downtown today, do it early because driving will be crazier than normal. It's because of the state funeral for Jim Flaherty the former federal finance minister. The funeral is at St. James Cathedral on King east near Church. Many streets in the area will be closed off, meaning cars normally on routes such as Jarvis will be pushed off onto other streets. The funeral is at 3 o'clock but street shutdowns begin in a couple of hours.
This is the day a committee of Toronto City Council takes up the pitch from councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam to shutdown a nearly 15-kilometre stretch of Bloor Street and Danforth for four Sunday mornings this summer.
Imagine: Bloor Street closed from High Park in the west to about where Korry's Clothiers is located on the Danforth.
The streets running north and south would remain open but if Wong-Tam gets her way the traffic lights at the main intersections would still be active. That's my first problem with this. Why would you not set it up so the lights are always green on the north-south main routes across Bloor. You wouldn't be able to turn onto Bloor or Danforth and there'd be no vehicles on Bloor or Danforth so why create an unnecessary stop.
Toronto Police are near apoplectic about this scheme to have yoga classes, music lessons, cycling and the like on the asphalt along the nearly 15-k stretch because you'd need police at every intersection. Who is going to pay for that? Police estimate the additional policing cost alone at close to 8-hundred-50-thousand dollars for those 4 Sundays. To quote from the police response on this proposal "logistically, operationally and functionally impossible to achieve or support on the basis of extraordinary staffing requirements that far exceed capacity."
Police seem to be saying that even if corporate sponsors could be found to pay the policing costs, it would still be impossible.
Councillor Wong-Tam says this could be a great "social equalizer". Councillor if you want a social equalizer go to Taste of the Danforth, Corso Italia, Salsa on St. Clair, Dundas West Fest, Taste of Lawrence, Beaches Jazz Fest, Annex Festival on Bloor, Taste of Little Italy, The Junction Summer Solstice Festival, the Waterfront Festival, Festival of South Asia, Big on Bloor, Carribean Carnival, Cabbagetown Festival, Toronto Ukrainian Festival. How many festivals do we need in this city? How many social equalizers?
In my view this is just one more city councillor hell bent on causing traffic chaos because she wants cars gone and that is simply not going to happen.
To members of the Economic Development Committee, if you go along with this ridiculous idea be prepared for the wrath of motorists and I'll make sure they know each of your names.