cbcA recent CBC/Angus Reid poll says two-thirds of Canadians believe “minorities should do more to fit in better with mainstream Canadian society.”

You could probably get more than two-thirds to agree that “criminals should do more to fit in better with mainstream Canadian society.”

At best, CBC is paying for fake news. At worst, it is stirring up trouble for minorities.

Bodega Henriette

I guess I was being unnecessarily mum about the name of our soon-to-open replacement for the former Cornerhouse pub. My concern was that an opportunist could grab the dot-com and dot-ca domains. They are still unregistered but the name is no secret. It was offered in conversation at yesterday’s Bench Warming and it appears online, too.


I like what I hear about plans for Bodega Henriette. In addition to offering coffee and pastries in the morning and sandwiches for lunch, it will sell a few grocery items. In the evening, dinner will be served. Cocktails and wine will be available.


Nuit Blanche, Beach Hill style

We never got downtown this year, there was so much going on Upper Gerrard-wise. A lot of the neighbours and more than a few from away felt the same way. Good turnout.

 Arts and crafts were well represented, with our new benches acting as stages as well as audience seating. Storytelling, music, dance, paper-folding, creative writing, knitting, cooking, giant lego building, singing, theatre and yes, free beer. What did I forget? Comments, please.


I saved neighbour Nigel for last, so I could fit in the amazing lyrics that he and a friend had performed back in 1990. It could just as well have been written yesterday, the issues remain that fresh. Not a good thing that the reasons for protest are so perpetual, but a fact.

Nigel was busking for the Glen Rhodes food bank.

Bigger may be badder

Might our public transit experts have made a wrong bet, buying bigger and bigger conveyances when smaller ones are getting smarter and smarter? In France, the City of Lyon has launched a new, driverless, electric shuttle service.


Toronto has years of expensive, disruptive route construction ahead and Bombardier is years behind delivering the extra-long streetcars we ordered. Fleets of smaller vehicles would offer flexibility in scheduling and, if driverless, would not increase labour costs.

You wouldn’t strive to build a TV screen with one giant pixel, or be better off with your blood circulating in big hoses rather than veins. Could high-resolution transit be the future we haven’t planned for?

Sign of continuing success

The banner was missing for a while, so I was happy to see a new one up on Upper Gerrard’s Beach Studio. Gwynne Giles paints his intelligent, carefully crafted canvases right there in the window.


His work is selling well, both locally and internationally. He told me today of an upcoming show in Florida, his selection as featured artist for the 2017 Artists Project and the near completion of a new ebook, primarily for the European market.

That’s important, but I liked best hearing that he is really enjoying the work he is doing now. Pure abstraction.

Joanne Doucette’s eye-opening book

Pigs, Flowers & Bricks
by Joanne Doucette
183 pages
( text, no photos)

A great warts-and-all history of Toronto’s Leslieville/Ashbridges Bay neighbourhood. Doucette pulls no punches documenting a colourful history of bigotry, religious intolerance, violence, corruption and pollution.

Anyone bored with today’s peaceful, tree-lined streets will be excited to learn how settlers turned a mosquito-infested lakeside marsh, teeming with fish and game, into a reeking cesspool. Deadly diseases were rampant and little wonder, considering the profound ignorance of any need for public health practices.

The bad old days aren’t that far in the past, either. We get to know the people whose names are on street signs and parks. Some weren’t very nice.

Joanne Doucette’s book is clearly a labour of love, full of fact but also many personal opinions. She has put a massive amount of work into researching, writing and self-publishing.

The book is not without warts of its own, but they are nothing compared with the fascinating content. I am sure Joanne is all too familiar with the pain of discovering typos after publishing. In addition to many editing mistakes, I counted 74 insertions of Error! Bookmark not defined.

I got my copy at Debbie Facey’s Vintage Hunter store, for 15 dollars. The book’s website is informative, too.

A big loss

I’m so glad I stopped the other day to admire the majesty of the gorgeous weeping willow on the Ashbridge’s Estate. I didn’t take my camera out, just enjoyed a moment with the beauty of the 97 year-old tree.

The top photo is from an August afternoon in 2014, when Danica were prowling the Leslieville Flea Market on the Ashbridge’s grounds.

big-lossPhoto: September 30, 2016 by Robert Miller

The willow fell to high winds last night.

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