Category Archives: The City is Beautiful

Colour in the streets • Bringing street murals to Toronto!

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Across North America, neighbours are coming together to paint murals – on the road! The idea was born in Portland Oregon and has now spread to cities from coast to coast.

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The idea is simple: Street murals are a great way to slow down traffic, make the road safer and also to engage neighbours in a creative process to beautify the community and build stronger connections.

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Inspired by the folks down at Intersection Repair, we’ve started a street mural project in our neighbourhood, Regal Heights.  We’re hoping to paint our first community street mural during 2015, but for now we’re promoting the project and building local support with temporary chalk installations.

This weekend, we took over the intersection of Regal Road and Westmount Ave, in front of Regal Road Public School, and we created our first full-scale intersection mural.

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Picnic update: David + Dave!

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So four weeks ago I wrote a blog post about my birthday picnic, scheduled for October 5th, 2pm, at Trinity Bellwoods Park.

Since then, I’ve learned that some other guy named David is ALSO having a party on October 5th, at 2pm, in Trinity Bellwoods Park!

It seems that the Logistics Team at the International Davids Schedule Coordination Centre was asleep at the wheel.

Luckily, it looks like it’s gonna work out fine! Continue reading

Who wants to be Mayor?

Who wants to be mayor?  A whole bunch of people!

Take the time to find out why these folks are running, and what they’re proposing for Toronto.

[Each photo links to their website. Listed alphabetically by first name]

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Birthday picnic ~ $40 for 40

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Forty days from now, I’m turning 40.

If you’d like to help me celebrate, please put aside one dollar each day between now and then, and join me for a potluck picnic at Trinity Bellwoods Park!

The donations will be split among these local all-star organisations: Social Planning Toronto   •   SOY   •   Urban Alliance on Race Relations   •   Unlock Democracy   •   Women in Toronto Politics   •   Toronto Environmental Alliance   •   Gerstein Centre  •  Cycle Toronto  •  Art Starts  •  Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance

The picnic is on October 5th, at 2pm, in Trinity Bellwoods Park.  We’ll be in the south end of the park.  Look for blue balloons.  : )

RSVP on Facebook

thank you!
xo


painting by Liam Rainsford.  Check out his amazing video showing how he painted it.

Two Neighbourhood Fence Removals: West & East!

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Hey folks,

The Downtown De-Fence Project is at it again, and we need your brawn to help us out!

No experience required.  Bring a pair of pliers, if you have any.  (Available at Dollarama)

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De-Fence • Sunday June 16

Each time we take down a fence, we liberate a lawn, and our hearts.

Open neighbourhoods say “hi“.  Fences say “go away“.

Learn more about the Downtown De-Fence Project, and then join us on Sunday!!

Neighbourhood Fence Removal
Sunday June 16, 2pm
50 Campbell Ave
Facebook RSVP.

“I’m a geek, you’re a geek” • RaBIT on TV

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This week, I had the privilege of spending some time with Steve Paikin, and talking about the merits of municipal ranked ballots and runoff voting.

Watch here.

Op-ed: Transit funding and beer


Here’s my latest op-ed, about how we can build financial support for transit expansion, by celebrating the shovels (and machines) that are already in the ground.

(Cross-posted from the Star, March 1)

(Also, here’s a great follow-up from TTC Chair Karen Stintz, March 5)

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Toronto STAR: Building support for Toronto transit expansion

After years of political bickering and setbacks, there seems to be a renewed sense of optimism about public transit in Toronto. Major outreach campaigns have been launched across the region. Metrolinx recently hosted public roundtable discussions, Toronto City Hall has announced a transit consultation process and Civic Action is running a campaign asking commuters how they would spend an extra 32 minutes a day – if transit was more efficient. Each project has similar goals: to seek input on future transit planning and help build public support for new revenue sources required to implement the province’s regional transit plan, The Big Move.

The campaigns are clever and effective, but if we want to get people really excited about building transit perhaps there are lessons we can learn from an entirely different Big Move.

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We Built this City on Rock n’ Roll

If you picked up the phone right now and called Rob Ford’s office, a nice fellow by the name of Tom Beyer would answer the phone.  Tom has been the ‘customer service’ face of Ford’s office for two years, spending long days answering hundreds of calls and even making appearances on behalf of the mayor.

About a year ago, Tom and I were chatting about our hobbies.  Tom’s an avid videographer, and his favorite subjects to shoot are off-street bike paths and indie rock bands.  That got us talking about music, and we came up with a fun idea: let’s create a non-partisan City Hall band!  I liked the idea of left and right coming together to make music.  It seemed to fit well with other efforts I was making to reduce polarization at City Hall and encourage civil discourse and mutual respect.  Oh, and it would be fun as hell.

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“Please Disturb” • Alone, Together, in Vancouver

Last week I spent four days at a brilliant conference in Vancouver called Alone Together.  It was all about “Connecting in the City”, and participants explored themes of urban isolation, social disconnectedness, and the sensation of feeling alienated or lost in your own city.

The conference was well-organised, with an amazing 6-day programme.  One of my favorite things was the back page of the official conference booklet.  They printed a door hanger – for your neighbours.  Love this: