Smoke screens

smoking-ban_1572168cSoon enough, this will be one of the only ways to smoke a cigarette in Toronto. It actually looks quite comfortable. It’s certainly a step up from standing on freezing windswept sidewalks with shoulders heightened and rocking back and forth to keep warm.

But once we run out of places to smoke, doesn’t that beg the question: why do we even sell them anymore?


The early bird gets the consumer

IMG_1354This is a picture of the Crate and Barrel store in Yorkdale Mall. It was taken on October 25th. I couldn’t believe it. Why on earth are Christmas displays up before Halloween is over? I had to investigate whether this is socially acceptable or not:


Map to the future

torontoI’ve been staring at this subway map since I was a kid. I can’t believe it’s barely changed, yet the population of Toronto has exploded. So the TTC wants to change our subway line names to numbers. Ya ok, go ahead if you want, but how bout looking at the ENTIRE map? May as well give it a makeover while you’re at it. Find out why:


Danish expectations

Leafs_Fans_LDenmark is the happiest country on earth. Why and what can Leafs fans learn from the Danish? Find out:


The present is getting tense

gardinertrafficIt’s sometimes hard to believe that Toronto is the same city I grew up in. I mean, it was always big and busy, but now it’s become far too populated for its own good… and getting around is a whole shemozzle. That’s Yiddish if you wanna look it up.

Anyway, we need some ideas to help ourselves pronto… so I’ve been cruising around the GTA and meeting some people who think they have some answers. I’m reporting back to Here and Now on CBC Radio this week.┬áHere’s a preview:


First up… I met with Baher Abdulhai. Here’s his recent report on congestion in the city.


Next, I met with Cherise Burda to talk transit. Here’s a blog she wrote as a follow-up to our conversation.


I chatted about the perception of the bike with anthropologist Marc LaFleur.


And finally, I chatted with Constable Hugh Smith about how pedestrians affect traffic flow and what we can do about it.


 

Reconditioning

Toddler-enjoying-air-cond-002I won’t live without air conditioning anymore. Been there, done that. I have spent many months of my life lying with multiple fans angled perfectly to maximize airflow, stripped bare lying on the bed with no sheets. It’s not a pretty picture I realize, but it’s my way of feeling less guilty about my use of air conditioning during the summer. Oh well.

I’m not great about adjusting the thermostat to conserve energy, but I accept it’s something we need to do. The question is… what does it take to actually get someone to turn their units off or up a few degrees… when they aren’t accountable to anyone but themselves?

Professor Dilip Soman has some ideas which I explain in my latest Here and Now piece:


Dirty little secret

WAL-MARTSaying the word Wal-Mart is almost like saying something racist in certain circles. It’s become an accepted norm to view it as wrong. That’s why so many people have signed this petition to prevent one from being built near Kensington Market.

I was certain it wouldn’t be hard to find people who claim to hate the store… but shop there anyway. See whether I could breakthrough in my piece on Here and Now called Wal-Mart guilt.

Here’s the website for the documentary I refer to during my interview with filmmaker Andrew Munger… a great guy who opened my eyes.

Savvy Diner

savvyeatingI can’t imagine there’s a downside to posting nutritional information directly on menus at chain restaurants… something Toronto Public Health is pushing for with their Savvy Diner campaign.

But I haven’t got a clue whether it will actually lead to healthier eating. I do know that nutrition labels are confusing as all hell to people… not because the information isn’t there, but because it lacks accurate context. I spoke with Rosie Schwartz about it and she’s ticked off.

Hear why in my piece Are we savvy diners? for Here and Now on CBC Radio Toronto.