Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Toronto Confidential: May 15, 2012

                                                   @ http://www.aviewoncities.com

Issue No. 1
Welcome to Toronto Confidential, a new feature on Number 16 where there will be insights and comments on life in Toronto.   If you are looking  for news and trivia about T.O,, this is for you.  

I am a strong supporter of public transit and I use the TTC frequently.  Every month I purchase a Metropass.  That is why I become dismayed when I witness the TTC's shortcomings.  I bring them to the public's attention so that the TTC will rectify its problems and provide better service.

Last Tuesday, May 9th, there was a subway shutdown between the Islington and Jane stations due to a passenger injury. Subway patrons were told that there would be shuttle buses arriving to take us to our destination.  I heard this announcement at the Islington station and it occurred just after 5 p.m., at the peak of rush hour.  What ensued was pandemonium.

There were no signs instructing passengers where to get the shuttle buses.  There were no TTC employees directing people.  I finally asked a TTC employee where we should go to get a shuttle bus and he told us to go outside the station.  By this time, the crowd of confused subway riders had become larger.  The station was filling up rapidly.

We all went outside to the street to find a shuttle bus.  After waiting there for a short time, someone called out that the shuttle buses were arriving inside the station at a bus bay.  The crowd quickly headed back to the station.  The bus bay was so crowded that I could barely move. I felt really claustrophobic and I couldn't wait to get out of the station.

This is the second time I have experienced such disorganization at the Islington station.  I realize that accidents and delays happen, but why doesn't the TTC get employees to the scene immediately when people need direction, especially during rush hour?

* I really wish the TTC would stop referring to its patrons or passengers as "customers."  "Customers" is a misnomer because The Toronto Transit Commission is a public system.  The people of Toronto and Ontario pay taxes and taxes to operate it.  We are not customers.  How can we be customers when we ourselves own the system and support it?  This is not nitpicking,  Language matters!  Speaking of language, have you noticed that the automated voice on the TTC public address system, exhorts riders to "stand clear of doors?"  What ever happened to the definite article as in "the doors?"  

Attention art lovers!  The Art Gallery of Ontario is presenting a major exhibition of Picasso works until August 26, 2012.  It is called  Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musee National Picasso, Paris.  If you live in Toronto or if you plan to visit this summer, this is a great opportunity feast your eyes on the works of a great artist.

The exhibit consists of more than 150 highlights from the vast collection of the Musee National Picasso which is undergoing major renovations.  Toronto is the final stop and the only Canadian venue on a tour that has included Madrid, Abu  Dhabi, Tokyo, Helsinki, Moscow and St. Petersburg, Seattle, Richmond, San Francisco and Sydney.

Walk in High Park: What a great place to have a picnic or a pleasant walk.  Enjoy all four seasons there. Gaze at the geese and swans on Grenadier Pond.

Enjoy a baseball game at Christie Pits:  Pack a lunch and sit on the hill as you watch the Toronto Maple Leafs of the Intercounty Baseball League.  There is no admission charge.

Take the ferry to the Toronto Islands.  Ride your bike or just explore the islands.  Take a walk on the boardwalk or lie on the beach.

Christopher Plummer
Acclaimed actor Christopher Plummer was born in Toronto on December 13, 1929.  He was raised in the Montreal area (Senneville, Quebec) and is a great-grandson of Canadian Prime Minister Sir John Abbott through his mother, Isabella Mary Plummer (nee Abbott).  Known for his portrayal of Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music, Plummer is also recognized for his magnificent theatre performances, particularly in Shakespearean roles.  He has also played John Barrymore in a one-man stage show on the life and times of the famed actor.

For his role in the film Beginnings, Plummer won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.  At the age of 82, he became the oldest actor ever to receive an Oscar.

Toronto's City Hall was once located in the current St. Lawrence Market building.  From 1845 until 1899, the seat of City Council Chamber was located on the second floor of the Market.  It is now the City's Market Gallery.  There are old historical photographs of Toronto there and you can view the old Mayor's chair.  If you are interested in the city's history, it is well worth seeing.

- Joanne

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