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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Children's Aid Society - A system that must be abolished across Ontario


 --- Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day is calling the reported actions of the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) an indignity to the community who just lost lives in a tragic house fire last week.

 “We continue to send positive thoughts and prayers to Chief Randall Phillips and the Oneida of the Thames First Nation after the tragedy that occurred last Wednesday,” said Regional Chief Day. “Reports that the Children’s Aid Society of London and Middlesex have allegedly provided false information to the Ontario Provincial Police is an indignity against a family and a grieving community and this should be dealt with swiftly.” 

Ontario Regional Chief Day was informed by Chief Phillips of the Oneida Nation of the Thames about his frustration with CAS for their latest indiscretion. Chief Phillips clearly provided details and shared with Ontario Regional Chief Day the way in which the CAS turned this tragedy and time of deep grief of the community’s loss into an encroachment and unwarranted infringement of the community process and a family addressing a terrible loss.

 It was explained to the OPP that the Children’s Aid Society of London and Middlesex had received permission from Chief Phillips and direction was given to CAS to proceed with an investigation, which Chief Phillips said is completely false. “The timing of this assault against the Oneida Nation of the Thames couldn’t come at a worse time. This is simply not acceptable. I wish to extend a message to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister Michael Coteau of Child and Youth Services – this is not a time for an agent of the Crown to make such a error. This simply goes way beyond ignorance. This needs to be corrected,” said Ontario Regional Chief Day. Chief Phillips said, 

“there is no excuse for the level of incompetency and insensitivity by the Children’s Aid Society and its representatives during a time of extreme tragedy and sorrow. They lied to the OPP. I think the surviving family members deserve a public apology from Children’s Aid and someone in their organization should be fired immediately.”

 Ontario Regional Chief Day agrees, but also says this is indicative of a system that must be abolished and jurisdiction of Child Welfare back in the hands of First Nations in Ontario. The Children’s Aid Society has been under scrutiny for their policies and approach with First Nations since the 1960s when they began taking First Nation children from their families without proper authority or process. There have been several lawsuits filed against the Children’s Aid Society over the years and they have been under heavy criticism for discrimination against First Nations families and children.
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Monday, December 26, 2016

What's open and closed in Toronto during the 2016 holiday season

Your guide to eating, drinking, and shopping your way through the holidays

Here's your 2016 survival guide for the holidays in Toronto.


Regular Saturday service on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, subway and most routes will open at 8 a.m. Boxing Day and December 27 will have holiday service, with subway and most routes starting at 6 a.m. On New Year's Eve, the TTC will run on extended hours and admission is free between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

GO Transit

Click here for information on GO Transit's holiday schedules.


All LCBO stores will open at regular hours and close at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. All stores are closed on December 25 and 26. On New Year's Eve, stores will be open at regular hours and close at 6 p.m. All stores will be closed on New Year's Day.

Movie theatres

Dec. 24
Cineplex theatres will be open. Check online for showtimes at your location.
TIFF Bell Lightbox and the Revue Cinema will be open.
​Dec. 25
Cineplex theatres will be open. Check online for showtimes at your location.
The Revue Cinema will be closed.
TIFF Bell Lightbox will be open.
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema will be open.
Dec. 26
Cineplex theatres will be open. Check online for showtimes at your location.
The Revue Cinema will be closed.
TIFF Bell Lightbox will be open.
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema will be open.


Eaton's Centre
The Eaton's Centre will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, closed on Christmas Day, and open from 7 a.m to 9:30 p.m. on Boxing Day. They will be open 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on New Year's Day.
Yorkdale will  be closed on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Their regular hours on all other days will be 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Sherway Gardens
Sherway will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas Day. Boxing Day hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. They will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve and closed on New Year's Day.
East York Town Centre
East York Town Centre will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, closed on Christmas Day, and open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Boxing Day. They will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve and closed on New Year's Day.

Grocery stores

These are only a few examples. Please check the websites of local stores.
Loblaws stores will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, closed on Christmas Day, and open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Boxing Day.
No Frills
No Frills will be open on Christmas Eve until 6 p.m., closed on Christmas Day, and open on Boxing Day. The stores will be closed on New Year's Day. Hours vary from store to store so check out your local store for specifics.
All stores will close at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. All stores are closed on Christmas Day. A number of stores will be closed on Boxing Day - click here for details.
Longo's stores will close at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve and will be closed on Christmas Day. They will be open until 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve, and closed on New Year's Day.


Shopper's Drug Mart hours and closures vary depending on the location. Some locations, such as Bloor West Village, will be open on Christmas Day. To find out your local store's hours, call the store and follow the automated instructions.


Libraries will be open on Christmas Eve from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. They will be closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. They will be open on New Year's Eve from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. They will be closed on January 1 and 2.

City Services

311 Toronto and Emergency Services are open.
Most City of Toronto operations and all municipal offices will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, December 27, New Year's Day and Monday, January 2.
Check out this City of Toronto website for more information on city services.

Garbage Pickup

The daytime curbside residential collection schedule is not affected by the holidays.

Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo will be open throughout the holidays with the exception of Christmas Day.

Skating Rinks

Indoor arenas will be closed on December 25 and 26 and January 1. Some outdoor rinks are open on Christmas Day but may be unsupervised. Click here for individual rink schedules.

Wheel Trans

All regularly scheduled trips between December 18 and January 2 cancelled. All travel arrangements need to be booked.
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Friday, December 23, 2016

Gord Downie named CP's newsmaker of the year

Gord Downie's spirited fight with terminal brain cancer struck a chord with Canadians in 2016.
Whether he was packing arenas for the Tragically Hip's summer tour or igniting a renewed dialogue on reconciliation with aboriginals, the poetic singer-songwriter's relentless energy offered hope in the starkest of circumstances.
His widespread impact on Canadian culture inspired news editors and directors across the country to name him the Canadian Press Newsmaker of the Year.
Downie received 26 votes (39 per cent) in the annual survey, marking the first time in the Newsmaker's 70-year history that an entertainer has been selected for the title.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was second with 18 votes (27 per cent), while Fort McMurray fire Chief Darby Allen and four-time Olympic medallist Penny Oleksiak tied with eight votes each (12 per cent).
It was Downie's public struggle with mortality that seemed to connect most deeply with voters.
His stage performance, captured vividly during the Hip's televised final tour stop in Kingston, Ont., was a celebration of life juxtaposed against the looming promise of death.
"The outpouring of support and grief for Downie was unprecedented, and the kind of shared cultural experience that doesn't happen often," wrote Treena Wood, program director at CKWX News 1130 in Vancouver.
"Everyone will remember where they were when they watched that final concert."
Formed in 1984, the Hip spent decades travelling the country's highways and working their way up from playing dive bars to filling arenas. Their perseverance earned a loyal fan base, particularly with working-class Canadians, who made anthems out of the band's biggest hits like "Ahead by a Century" and "Bobcaygeon."
When Downie's health condition was revealed in May -- only a few weeks after the Fort McMurray wildfires left many Canadians heartbroken -- it felt like another kick in the gut for the nation.
"He represents all those dealing with carnage in their lives," said Dori Modney, news director at CHLB and CJBZ Radio in Lethbridge, Alta.
"Whether it's the wildfire or the downturn in the economy, many people have soldiered on, in spite of their world crashing around them."
Downie's situation was unique in that he was still healthy enough to perform. That gave him an opportunity to shape his own final act.
When the Hip's managers sat alongside Downie's neuro-oncologist Dr. James Perry at a press conference in May -- absent the band -- it became clear that Downie had a plan. Despite battling glioblastoma, an incurable and rare form of cancer, the 52-year-old father of four was going to stick with the long-standing adage of the entertainment industry: The show must go on.
"His head space is, 'We want to blow people's minds,"' said Patrick Sambrook in relaying Downie's desire to tour one last time.
The "Man Machine Poem" tour became Canada's hottest summer ticket. Fans jostled for seats but many were left disappointed when they sold out almost immediately. But the Hip struck an agreement with the CBC to air the band's climactic final show in Kingston, their hometown. An estimated four million Canadians watched the broadcast and thousands more gathered across the country for public screenings.
Many of them, not even Hip fans necessarily, got swept up in Downie's story as a cancer fighter who refused to surrender quietly.
At the show, an impassioned Downie led the band through a nearly three-hour set that included most of the Hip's biggest songs. He also used the national platform to call for more attention to the inequities faced by indigenous people, particularly in the North. As he pointed out the prime minister, who sat in the audience wearing a Hip T-shirt, he sent a message.
"He cares about the people way up North that we were trained our entire lives to ignore, trained our entire lives to hear not a word of what's going on up there," Downie said.
"And what's going on up there ain't good."
His words hinted where Downie would shift his energy next.
Less than a month later, the singer-songwriter lifted the veil on "Secret Path," a solo multimedia project that recounts the life of 12-year-old Chanie Wenjack, who died in 1966 after running away from a residential school. Spread across a full-length album, a graphic novel and animated film, Downie's interpretation of the child's final hours brought a fresh urgency to a story many never heard.
Blue Rodeo singer Jim Cuddy says hearing Downie retell Wenjack's story elevated the history to a new level.
"I know the story of the residential schools and I've heard the Chanie story, but when I listen to the record ... I realize I don't know the story and I haven't fully absorbed the horror that was the residential schools," Cuddy said
"(It's) an example of the importance of culture on having an impact on people."
Earlier this month, an emotional Downie was recognized during the Assembly of First Nations special assembly in Gatineau, Que., and was anointed the "Man Who Walks Among the Stars."
"It will take 150 years, or seven generations, to heal the wound of the residential school, to become a country that can truly call ourselves Canada," Downie said after the tearful ceremony.
"We must walk down a path of reconciliation from now on. Together and forever."
Since Downie went public with his diagnosis, more than $1 million has been raised for brain cancer research. He's also motivated others to pitch into a fund that fosters relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous people.
Steve Wood of Northern Cree, who opened for the Hip at a Canada Day concert at London's Trafalgar Square a few years ago, said he's hopeful the singer's efforts have created momentum.
"It doesn't matter what colour you are, you could be the colour purple. You're a human, and that's what matters to him," said the co-founder of the Grammy-nominated aboriginal group.
"Hopefully the Creator gives him lots more time because he's needed here."
Canadian Press
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Sounds of the Season 2016 raises $500K for Toronto food banks

CBC Toronto’s annual charity drive supports 5 food banks around the GTA

Thousands of Torontonians in need will have access to food throughout the winter thanks to the generosity of CBC listeners this holiday season.
Through Sounds of the Season, CBC Toronto's annual charity drive, you've given $510,000 and more than 20,000 pounds of food to food banks across the GTA.
"This isn't just about Christmas — people have been looked after for Christmas. This is about making sure that there's food in January, February and March," said Gail Nyberg, executive director of the Daily Bread Food Bank.
Nyberg was on CBC Radio's Metro Morning to talk about how far the donations will go.
"We use the money to purchase fresh food, to put gas in trucks, to look after our infrastructure. It looks after all of our operations," she said.
For one food bank user, who spoke anonymously on Metro Morning, the food bank has been a source of community and kindness after she found herself unemployed and without savings.
"When you get to the point of desperation, this is what you have to do," she said.
Nyberg stressed it's a lack of income, not a food shortage, that leads to the existence of food banks. She said "good policy decisions" around poverty are needed to improve things from the top down.
"This is about your neighbours. This isn't anybody you don't know. This is the child sitting in the classroom, the person you sat with on public transportation," she said.
Sounds of the Season donations are open until December 31. Click here for more information on how to give.
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