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Honest Ed's, originally uploaded by scruss.

Ed Mirvish died today. Honest Ed's is an institution of the City of Toronto. Mirvish was a philanthropist, the city's biggest patron of theatre, shameless marketer and horrible comedian. If there was a Canadian Dream he definitely lived it.

The CBC explains the man and his life better than I can.

Honest Ed' Mirvish praised as 'man of the people who made it big'

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Jane Jacobs

Jane Jacobs, notable economist, proponent of cities and activist died in Toronto today. She was 89 years old. Her ideas on cities were, at the time of modernism, revolutionary. And were important in the prevention of many city destroying projects including a proposed Manhattan expressway in NYC and the Spadina expressway in Toronto.

In related news: Wal*Mart gets a make-over. Now instead of a stark warehouse of endless disorganized shelving it's a stark warehouse of endless disorganized staggered shelving with fluorescent mood lighting and laminate flooring! Isn't that great? After you shop there you won't get that dirty regrettable sex feeling after checking out. 'Cause it's classy with like, art and stuff, on the walls.
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Loose Canon

Catching up here but this happened exactly a week ago. The Loose Canon (not "Cannon") gallery on James St. N and Cannon in unpopular downtown Hamilton had an opening. The same night Mixed Media and a few other spaces on the same stretch were displaying shows. There were bands playing, cameras flashing and people walking the streets waking dazed spirits of a place seemingly forgotten.

The exhibit "Landscapes" was pretty all right. Digital prints of rural landscapes on light boxes with some sort of funky subtle luminance highlights. I could take it or leave it. The "organic" light sculptures were total bullshit. "Organic" is a marketing term like "No money down". The best piece of art is the old exposed plumbing in the gallery that has been gold leafed. I fucking love that shit.

Now remember, the place I live is a city that has seen some serious decay. The only people downtown on a weekend night are homeless, drunk, selling drugs or using them. Just like any medium sized town from Windsor to Gatineau the City of Hamilton has the same big box developments, orbital highway and disposable homes we've all come to accept as the best our economy has to offer us.

Many Torontonians and urbanites in general use Hamilton as the brunt of many jokes about the smell and dirt. They are of course just uncomfortable with a city where many people have dirty hands. And it's not just the soot from the coke mill but acrylic paints and calloused fingers of musicians. Increasingly creatives from Toronto are moving to Downtown Hamilton because it offers the connectedness of the city with a price they can afford. There's just a lot to do and I'm glad to be part of it.
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Contested Streets: Breaking New York City Gridlock

Click for the trailer.


"Contested Streets: Breaking NYC Gridlock is the result of a creative partnership initiated by the New York based activists Transportation Alternatives and the film-makers Cicala Filmworks, who have collaborated to produce a full length documentary film that explores the rich diversity of New York City street life before the introduction of automobiles -- and then goes on to show how New York can follow the example of other modern cities that have reclaimed their streets as vibrant public spaces."

This looks like a neat film, however just in the short preview I think they are adding a tiny bit of bias. As if since the congestion charge London has become some sort of pedestrian friendly eco-paradise? I spent most of my brief experience on the M25 taking pictures of stationary trucks.

But there are a lot of good points that I feel I'd best not belittle. They definitely got that footage of London off the tourist season. Although granted getting around that city is surprisingly easy given how damn old it is. Paris too... suburban Qu├ębec and France actually seem totally identical. Same signage, side of the road and language.

There is no point here. None.

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