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Monday, August 31, 2015

This Week on DineSafe: Queen Street Warehouse, Liberty Shawarma, Hogtown Smoke, Levetto, O Noir

dinesafeYou'd think Liberty Shawarma would clean up its act after recently landing on our list of worst restaurant offenders according to DineSafe. Alas, the Spadina location was dealt another yellow card this past week for inadequate temperature control and failing to ensure food safety.

See which other restaurants landed on DineSafe this week.

Queen Street Warehouse (679 St. Clair Ave. West)
Inspected on: August 25, 2015
Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
Number of infractions: 4 (Minor: 2, Significant: 1, Crucial: 1)
Crucial infractions include: Operator fail to maintain hazardous food(s) at 4C (40F) or colder.

Churrasco of St. Clair (679 St. Clair Ave. West)
Inspected on: August 24, 2015
Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
Number of infractions: 4 (Minor: 2, Significant: 2)
Crucial infractions include: N/A

Liberty Shawarma (4K Spadina Ave.)
Inspected on: August 24, 2015
Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
Number of infractions: 2 (Significant: 2, Crucial: 1)
Crucial infractions include: Maintain hazardous foods at internal temperature between 4 C and 60 C.

O Noir (620 Church St.)
Inspected on: August 27, 2015
Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
Number of infractions: 3 (Minor: 1, Significant: 2)
Crucial infractions include: N/A

Caribbean Queen (10 Dundas St. East)
Inspected on: August 27, 2015
Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
Number of infractions: 3 (Minor: 1, Significant: 2)
Crucial infractions include: N/A

Ferro (769 St. Clair Ave. West)
Inspected on: August 27, 2015
Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
Number of infractions: 4 (Minor: 1, Significant: 3)
Crucial infractions include: N/A

Hogtown Smoke (1959 Queen St. East)
Inspected on: August 28, 2015
Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
Number of infractions: 6 (Minor: 2, Significant: 3, Crucial: 1)
Crucial infractions include: Operator fail to ensure premises cleaned to prevent food contamination.

Levetto (940 College St.)
Inspected on: August 28, 2015
Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
Number of infractions: 4 (Significant: 4)
Crucial infractions include: N/A

Kensington Cornerstone (2A Kensington Ave.)
Inspected on: August 25, 2015
Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
Number of infractions: 2 (Minor: 1, Significant: 2)
Crucial infractions include: N/A

Note: The above businesses each received infractions from DineSafe as originally reported on the DineSafe site. This does not imply that any of these businesses have not subsequently corrected the issue and received a passing grade by DineSafe inspectors. For the latest status for each of the mentioned businesses, including details on any subsequent inspections, please be sure to check the DineSafe site.

by Liora Ipsum via blogTO

Today in Toronto: Pleasantville, Spelling Bae, Mick Jenkins, There Will Be Bounce, La Luz, Michael Rault

today in torontoToday in Toronto kick off September with a dose of live music. There are tons of bands and DJs performing around the city this evening, including La Luz, Mick Jenkins, and Vallens. If you'd rather take advantage of the last few days of warm weather, head to TIFF in Your Park to watch Pleasantville.

For more events, click on over to our events section.

Have an event you'd like to plug? Submit your own listing to the blogTO Toronto events section.\

Photo of Mick Jenkins

by Alice Prendergast via blogTO

Stormy Toronto

stormy torontoPhoto by Ronaldo Wanyou in the blogTO Flickr pool.

by Derek Flack via blogTO

The 10 craziest things that have ever happened at TIFF

toronto film festivalA film festival like TIFF doesn't last 40 years without a few memorable, crazy, or unconventional moments popping up along the way. There are bound to be celebrities misbehaving, screenings gone awry, or a controversy here and there.

Here are ten of the craziest, most memorable things that have happened at TIFF over the years.

1. When The Princess Bride premiered at the festival in 1987, most of the cast attended, including Andre the Giant. Because of his formidable size - he weighed 520 pounds and was 7'4" tall - a special seat had to be constructed just so the wrestler-actor could enjoy the movie.

2. Buzz for Michael Moore's Roger & Me was so strong throughout the 1989 festival that the final screening was oversold and had people sitting in the aisle. The theatre was declared a hazard by a Fire Marshall who demanded that 100 people leave before the movie could be started.

3. When The Fisher King premiered at TIFF in 1991, nobody could find director Terry Gilliam (12 Monkeys, Brazil). He was eventually found enjoying a Blue Jays game at the Sky Dome.

4. In 1995, Robert Downey Jr. attended the festival for Norman Jewison's Only You. While at the Sutton Place Hotel, he infamously lost his temper and began punching walls and crawling around on the floor. It's worth noting these were the years that he was struggling with substance abuse.

5. At a press conference for David Cronenberg's A History of Violence, actor Ed Harris tried to make an indiscernible point about violence by repeatedly slamming his fists on a table, picking up a glass and smashing it against a wall, then saying, "That's what the movie is about." Nobody understood his point.

6. In 2006, Sean Penn decided the press conference for All the King's Men was a good time to have a smoke. Except he didn't know (or maybe care) that it was illegal to smoke indoors in Canada. The hotel was fined $605 for Penn's indulgence.

7. The debut of Borat in 2006 certainly was a TIFF experience to remember. Not only did Sacha Baron Cohen show up in character as Borat on top of a cart being pulled by farm women, but a short while into the movie, the projector broke.

To help keep audiences entertained while the problem got fixed, Michael Moore and Cohen (still in character) hopped on stage at different times for impromptu Q&As. The screening was eventually cancelled because the technical issues couldn't be resolved.

8. In 2007, Colin Farrell came across a homeless man whom he then took on a shopping spree. He not only bought him a new wardrobe, he also gave the man money for first and last month's rent.

9. In 2008, Roger Ebert--mute due to the surgery that removed his jaw--couldn't see subtitles for Slumdog Millionaire because the man - who turned out to be New York Post film critic, Lou Lumenick - in front of him was leaning too far in the aisle. Unable to verbally express his frustration, Ebert tapped Lumenick on the shoulder. Lumenick yelled "Don't touch me."

Ebert tried again, same response. On the third try, Lumenick hit Ebert on the knee with a binder. There was a lot of uproar against the Post film critic, but Ebert, gracious as always, downplayed the resulting hullabaloo as completely overblown.

10. One of the biggest controversies TIFF faced happened in 2009 when the festival decided to highlight Tel Aviv as part of its City to City programme. That prompted celebrities like Jane Fonda and Viggo Mortensen to condemn the festival as being anti-Palestine. That in turn prompted celebrities like Natalie Portman and Lisa Kudrow to condemn the condemners.

What unique moments do you remember most from TIFF's four decade run? Let us know in the comments.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @alxhuls for all the latest on TIFF 15, including snap reviews.

Sources: Toronto Life, Hello!. Still of Andre the Giant courtesy TIFF.

by Alexander Huls via blogTO

Paris and Tokyo combine at new pastry and gelato shop

Millie PatisserieA popular Japanese-style crepe and gelato place in Kensington Market has opened a new, larger patisserie & creamery near King West. There's still gelato and the ever-popular mille crepe cake, but now there are also Japanese-style cheesecakes, rare cheesetarts and puddings in flavours that include, black sesame, matcha and azuki. It's like the best of Paris and Tokyo combined!

Read my profile of Millie Patisserie & Creamery in the bakeries section.

by Christina Cheung via blogTO

Healthy Minds Canada Annual General Meeting

Begins: 2015-09-24T17:15:00 Ends: 2015-09-24T19:30:00 Where: {'city': u'Toronto', 'journal_activity_id': 720215071, 'country': u'CA', 'changed': datetime.datetime(2015, 8, 17, 14, 13, 6), 'venue': u'Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP', 'zoom': u'13', 'longitude': u'-79.38085539999997', 'state': u'Ontario', 'postal_code': u'M5J 2Z4', 'address_1': u'200 Bay Street, South Tower (Royal Bank Plaza)', 'address_2': u'Suite 3800', 'longaddress': u'200 Bay Street, South Tower (Royal Bank Plaza), Suite 3800, Toronto, Ontario, M5J 2Z4, CA', 'latitude': u'43.6391851', 'is_saved': True, 'organizer': 7491289L, u'id': 11212835, 'user': 55197917L}
by via Toronto Networking Events

JVS Toronto Annual General Meeting

Begins: 2015-09-09T18:30:00 Ends: 2015-09-09T20:30:00 Where: {'city': u'Toronto', 'journal_activity_id': 749621549, 'country': u'CA', 'changed': datetime.datetime(2015, 8, 27, 6, 8, 55), 'venue': u'Beth Torah Congregation', 'zoom': u'13', 'longitude': u'-79.4522356', 'state': u'ON', 'postal_code': u'M6B 2L7', 'address_1': u'47 Glenbrook Avenue', 'address_2': u'', 'longaddress': u'47 Glenbrook Avenue, Toronto, ON, M6B 2L7, CA', 'latitude': u'43.7097316', 'is_saved': True, 'organizer': 2068389L, u'id': 10960876, 'user': 29568473L}
by via Toronto Networking Events

Street Style: 21 looks from the 2015 CNE

street style cneThe CNE isn't exactly the type of place to wear your finest threads but it's still fun to see what pairs well with poutine cake, giant stuffed dolls and rides on the midway.

Check out all the looks in the Style section.

by Jesse Milns via blogTO

Startup Finance Bootcamp - Toronto

Begins: 2015-09-14T17:30:00 Ends: 2015-09-14T20:30:00 Where: {'city': u'Toronto', 'journal_activity_id': 662322983, 'country': u'CA', 'changed': datetime.datetime(2015, 7, 29, 13, 45, 42), 'venue': u'TELUS', 'zoom': u'13', 'longitude': u'-79.38111400000003', 'state': u'ON', 'postal_code': u'M5J 2V5', 'address_1': u'25 York Street', 'address_2': u'', 'longaddress': u'25 York Street, Toronto, ON, M5J 2V5', 'latitude': u'43.6434772', 'is_saved': True, 'organizer': 6188651L, u'id': 11071239, 'user': 39776812L}
by via Toronto Networking Events

5 key Toronto issues at stake in the federal election

federal election toronto 2015Toronto is the most important city in Canada--NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said so. We knew that already, of course, but it's nice to have our collective ego stroked by the feds for once. As Canada's largest city and a central component of the country's economy, Toronto faces a number of unique situations that will be directly affected by the outcome of the October 19.

From public transit to affordable housing and the possibility of hosting an Olympics, here are 5 key Toronto issues to watch during the election.

Transit in general
The East Bayfront LRT, the Finch West LRT, the Relief Line, and various internal TTC projects all need funding. The NDP's promise of $1.3 billion a year in transit funding may help get some of these projects off the drawing board, as would the Liberals' plan to double federal infrastructure spending. The Conservatives are promising increasing transit funds, up to a $1 billion a year after 2019, if elected.

toronto scarborough rtThe Scarborough subway
It might have been one of the most contentious decisions in recent Toronto history, but it looks like the city's decision to close the RT, reject a fully-funded light rail line, and extend the Bloor-Danforth subway to Scarborough Centre is safe.

The Conservatives, Liberals, and NDP have all committed to funding a portion of the cost, if elected. The Conservatives are sticking with their pledge of $660-million while the NDP have promised $1.3 billion a year for 20 years for cities (not just Toronto) to spend on transit.

toronto regent parkAffordable housing
As real estate and rental prices continue to climb in Toronto, how best to ensure everyone but the rich isn't priced out? Through capital gains tax, the NDP wants to invest $500 million in 10,000 new affordable units over the next decade.

The Liberals have pledged sustainable, predictable funding for the same purpose without committing to building a specific number of units. The Greens would ensure a percentage of new units are reserved for affordable housing, among other things.

The Olympics
Right now, discussion about whether Toronto will make a $50-65 million bid for the 2024 Games is going on behind closed doors at City Hall. A Twitter account claiming to represent the official bid has suggested that Mayor John Tory will announce public consultations, to be held in September, some time this week.

So far, no federal leaders have commented on the possibility of hosting an Olympics in Toronto, but it's hard to see a bid succeeding without federal support. Critics say courting (and possibly hosting) the Olympics would be a colossal waste of money with unpredictable benefits and potentially serious negative side effects. The deadline for expressions of interest in the is September 15.

toronto canada postDoor-to-door mail deliveryThe decision by Canada Post to phase out its $500 million a year door-to-door home delivery scheme has proved controversial. Though it doesn't affect Toronto's multitude of condo and apartment dwellers, the move would mean owners of detached homes switching to a shared box.

The NDP and Liberals are both promising to keep door-to-door and reverse changes made under the Conservative government, but haven't said where the money would come from.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: Benson Kua in the blogTO Flickr pool.

by Chris Bateman via blogTO

Toronto real estate market approaching "risky levels"

toronto real estate marketFor many in Toronto, buying a single-family detached home is a pipe dream. With the average price of these properties hovering around $1 million, breaking into the current housing market is a difficult task.

Today, RBC released its quarterly housing trends and affordability report. It details how affordability for detached homes is inching closer to "risky levels" in both Toronto and Vancouver.

"In fact," reads the report, "affordability in Toronto is moving ever closer to the historically poor levels that prevailed in 1990, which may signal that risks are mounting because those were associated with a housing bubble at the time."

RBC calculates affordability by measuring the amount of median pre-tax household income needed to cover mortgage payments, properties taxes and utilities at current market prices. For a detached bungalow in Toronto, this number sits just under 60 percent, meaning nearly two-thirds of a person's income would go towards paying for their house.

For a standard, two-storey detached house, this number jumps to 67.5 percent. As the report notes, however, condos are much more affordable on account of a continued supply (thanks condo boom). The current affordability measure for condos is just over 30 percent -- a number that hasn't changed in the last five years.

Photo by Vic Gedris

by Amy Grief via blogTO