27 Gamble is getting better


Posted: June 6th, 2017
The front steps of the apartment building at 27 Gamble Ave. in East York are crumbling. While residents say that it is not one of the worst buildings in the city, it still has its share of tenant complaints and a history of violations of Toronto municipal licensing and standards bylaws.


165 Cosburn Ave.: garbage in the garage

Posted: May 24th, 2017
If you look up the city's Municipal Licensing & Standings division, there are many buildings around the city being audited because of tenant complaints about building conditions. In 2011 the city audited the apartment building at 165 Cosburn Ave. in East York after residents complained about property standards pertaining to the parking garage. Six years later, the building still has problems.


New tenant bylaws may improve living in East York buildings

Posted: May 20th, 2017
Janet Davis, councillor for Ward 31, East York-Beaches has listened to the experiences of her constituents over her years on Toronto city council. Many apartments in East York, including her ward, are old buildings that have similar issues.  Davis was among the 41 councillors who voted in favour of the new apartment bylaws on March 29, […]


Maintenance issues plague Flemingdon Park community housing

A picture of the buildings with a school bus and cars parked along the street

Posted: May 11th, 2017
Some of the residents in one of Toronto’s oldest community housing complexes have waited as long as seven years for the City of Toronto to make property standards repairs. Data released by the city's Municipal Licensing and Standards department shows over 100 tenant complaints have been made to the city about Vendome Place, with some dating back to 2010.


Nightmare at 500 Dawes

Rotting billboard for rentals at 500 Dawes

Posted: May 11th, 2017
Jennifer Reid has lived at 500 Dawes Rd. in East York since 2015. For her, it has been nothing but a nightmare. When she first moved in, the screen door to her balcony was broken. It still has yet to be repaired, in 2017.


Noise complaints change the tune of Toronto’s music scene

Local residents at the Sauce

Posted: May 11th, 2017
Toronto has gained a reputation for it's dying live music scene. Now, the city is looking to implement a number of changes to its noise bylaws to help out artists. That's music to the ears of some bar owners, but not everyone agrees.


Unhappy tenants vow to move out of East York building

A long shot of 104 Goodwood Park Crt.

Posted: April 5th, 2017
For some residents living in 104 Goodwood Park Crt., the very cheap rent of their apartments, and fear of reprisals from the building management may outweigh speaking about the property standards and problems associated with the East York building. We interviewed several tenants who said “There are problems but I don’t want to say more than that” and […]


Graffiti, street art and the City of Toronto


Posted: April 5th, 2017
In the last three years, St. Luke’s United Church on Sherbourne and Carlton streets has spent around $1,000 annually to remove graffiti. The church even needed to buy an $800 power-washer.  St. Luke’s would remove graffiti once every couple of years. Now, that happens about twice a year. Joanne Mastrotucci is the church administrator at St. Luke’s. She […]


Gentrification: Why the owners of Pape Avenue’s Milk Mart are retiring

Three owners of a convenience store

Posted: March 25th, 2017
Every day for the last 19 years, Salim “Sam” Hadad, his daughter Mary and his son-in-law Emel were up at 7 a.m. to open Milk Mart Convenience at Pape and Cosburn avenues in Toronto’s Pape Village. Milk Mart serves hundreds of customers daily, all with different needs and wants. Hadad said they’ve been around so long they’re like […]


Trauma by the tracks

Commuter at train station

Posted: March 16th, 2017
TTC commuters are accustomed to delays on the subway, which are sometimes caused by suicides on the tracks. Though for most commuters the announcement might result in being late for work or school, some have the misfortune of witnessing a suicide. This can translate into either shock or trauma. People suffering in the aftermath of witnessing suicides have found refuge in online forums, with many coalescing on Reddit. The social media forum features posts from witnesses to TTC suicides.


There’s no place like home — except in Florida

Posted: March 9th, 2017
BRADENTON, FLA. — A couple that fights together stays together. Never has that been more true than for Ralph Zezza and Renita Pennick, a married couple who attended a spring training game between the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday. Zezza’s a Yankees fan, and Pennick’s a Pirates fan, but the love for […]


Tigers’ fans come together in the spirit of tradition

Posted: March 9th, 2017
LAKELAND, FLA. – Most afternoons in March, Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland could easily be mistaken for any number of places in Michigan. Ask most waiting in line for the gates to open and you’ll hear the cities of Grand Rapids, Detroit, and numerous smaller towns roll off their lips. Remembering Mr. I For Detroit […]


Here we go again: City of Toronto 2017 Budget

Toronto sign

Posted: February 24th, 2017
Don’t be surprised if you get a sense of déjà vu as the mayor and Toronto city council wrap up the budget for 2017, this week. City council finalized the budget during a meeting scheduled for Feb. 14-15. On the chopping block for budget reductions are popular public services such as library hours, childcare and the potential closing of a men’s shelter in North York for people addressing substance-abuse. They’ve all faced similar threatened cuts in previous years.

Science & Health

How Far Will You Go To Look Beautiful?

Glittered lips

Posted: February 24th, 2017
As the years go by the more people get obsessed with looking young and beautiful. Some are willing to using weird ingredients, participate in beauty trends that can be harmful such as tattooed makeup, while some put too much glitter on places people wouldn't usually— or even get facials there (but that can be for cleansing purposes too, so we’ll let it slide). Now you can look just as good looking as those sexy fictional vampires by getting a vampire facial (even though that's not really what it does). You can relax while somebody smears bird poo on your face, it's not gross if it's for beauty, right? They are some people that try to rejuvenate the skin by putting on a placenta mask. Better yet, just freeze yourself in the name of beauty


Leaving the Game: Sex trafficking in Toronto

Girl with stockings being manhandled

Posted: February 10th, 2017
When an 11-year-old Toronto girl went missing for four days in September 2016, it was assumed that she was just another child runaway. However, the reality is that the Toronto elementary school student — who we'll call Emily, to protect her identity — didn’t simply go missing: she had been sold by an older friend into the Toronto sex trafficking circuit, known as "The Game". This case is not uncommon. Last year, Toronto police rescued 60 victims from sex trafficking, and officers assume countless others are still being exploited.


Gun Violence in Toronto

Posted: January 30th, 2017
The city of Toronto has seen a 35 per cent increase in gun violence from 2016 over the year before. According to figures released by the Toronto Police Service, in 2015, there were a reported 414 victims of gun violence. In 2016, there were over 513.


Toronto clowns not laughing about Creepy Clown Craze

Scary Clown

Posted: January 10th, 2017
Just before Halloween, in October 2016, police across North America began receiving calls about pranksters dressed as creepy clowns driving around town and scaring people. Two teenagers dressed as scary clowns were detained in Toronto in early October for allegedly chasing other students around school property. The local school board issued a warning. On Sept. 27, […]


Ontario gamers are making a name for themselves in eSports

Posted: January 7th, 2017
Thousands of professional eSports players gather all year round for tournaments, including the recent AMD ExtravaLANza in Markham, Ont. in early November 2016. Follow the team of local players who won the DOTA 2 tournament.


Canadian University Football: An exciting product with an uncertain future

Posted: December 6th, 2016
Picture a football stadium, the bright lights shining down on future sports superstars battling it out on the gridiron. Students and team supporters dressed in their school colours as the stadium quickly fills up. It's the biggest game of the year in university football. Ohio State University hosted the University of Michigan in college football action on Saturday Nov. 26, 2016. The announced attendance was a staggering 110,045.


Raptors 905: Making the Cut

Coach with basketball team.

Posted: December 2nd, 2016
Negus Webster-Chan joins fellow Canadian and Burlington native, Brady Heslip as the only two Canadians on the Raptors 905 roster for 2016-2017.


Top three places to see fall foliage in Toronto

Posted: November 12th, 2016
You don’t have to travel miles away to a provincial park just to get a chance to view the colourful fall leaves this season. Right in the heart of Toronto you will be able to see these magnificent fall colours. All you need is to dedicate a lovely afternoon, a good pair of hiking shoes and that cup of pumpkin spice latte to keep you warm during your city adventure.


The 2016 World Cup of Hockey: from the fans’ point of view

Posted: October 19th, 2016
The World Cup of Hockey 2016 tournament garnered mixed reviews and inconsistent attendance. Some fans enjoyed themselves at the free viewing parties outside the Air Canada Centre, while some within the hockey community, including amateur players who might be expected to feel a deeper connection to the event, were lukewarm.


Succeed in the LSAT: Prep Courses or Solo Study?

Posted: October 17th, 2016
The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is a key hurdle for anyone who wants to apply to a North American law school, and is just the first step in an anxiety ridden and expensive few months for tens of thousands of young Canadians every year. Many students take formal preparatory courses, shelling out hundreds of dollars to do so. There are so many private prep courses, public information sessions and study options, how can prospective Canadian students know which is the best path towards acing the LSAT?


Where Hollywood gets its cop cars. Hint? Ontario

Posted: October 13th, 2016
When people think of police cars, they immediately think of flashing lights, high speed-chases, and uniformed police officers catching bad guys. This is what police cruisers are meant to do, but what happens when the car has too much mileage, or isn't worth fixing? When law enforcement vehicles are put out for retirement, they often find second careers. They turn into someone else's private car, or maybe even turn up as a prop in a blockbuster movie.


2016 federal budget: transit, housing, seniors, Bombardier

Pape subway station platform

Posted: March 23rd, 2016
On March 22, the new federal Liberal government released its first budget. The Toronto Observer’s Bradley Dobson, Daniel McKenzie, Cherry (Changhong) Liu and Amy McNeill take a look at what’s in store for Ontario’s public transit, social housing, old age security and Bombardier.


Families spring to Dunedin to bond over Blue Jays

Posted: March 10th, 2016
For some, baseball is just a game, but for others it capsulizes decades of family tradition. Two seasoned Blue Jays fans were having a bite to eat at Marguerite’s, a fan hotspot outside the Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, before the team hosted the Atlanta Braves. John McKague reminisced about his ongoing tradition at Blue Jays spring training with his wife, Jenny. “It was a sad story,” he said. “My wife’s father died and my brother died about two weeks later. We said, ‘I need a holiday, let’s get the hell out of here.’ We came down here, and we have come down here ever since. That was 25 years ago.


The G-Word on Danforth East: Who has a say in gentrification?

Posted: December 11th, 2015
Gentrification. Most people agree it's a loaded word. Depending on where you sit on the property ladder, it could mean enjoying the boon of higher property values, or the fear of being displaced by them. The latest neighbourhood in Toronto's east end to see this kind of change is the strip of the Danforth from Greenwood Avenue to Main Street, sometimes referred to as Danforth East.


Brave the Winter: Upcoming Toronto Festivals

Posted: December 10th, 2015
With a bevy of festivals quickly approaching, a chilly Canadian winter won't be a strong enough deterrent to keep Torontonians within the confines of their homes. From genre-specific music festivals to art exhibits and three-course dinners, locals have plenty of reasons to brave the cold this season. The Observer samples some of Toronto's ongoing and upcoming winter festivals.


Rising UFC Fighter Still Calling Toronto Home

Posted: December 9th, 2015
Mixed martial artist and Mississauga native Elias Theodorou is riding a three-fight win streak in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), his sport's most reputable promotion. But despite a steadily rising stock, Theodorou is keeping his camp at home.


Vinyl stories: Inside 5 Toronto record shops

Posted: December 3rd, 2015
The emergence of iPods and mp3 players may have caused the near demise of the CD, but Toronto's dozens of record stores are proof that vinyl is still alive and well. From the Danforth to Little Italy, one would be hard-pressed to venture into a neighborhood without its own purveyor of LPs, 45s and 12-inch singles.


From raw to roasted: The journey of a coffee bean

Posted: November 29th, 2015
From raw to roasted, the path of the humble coffee bean is a marriage of both art and science. The Observer visited Pilot Coffee Roasters in Toronto's east end to discover how to create the perfect roast profile every time.


Looking for love beyond The keyboard

Posted: November 23rd, 2015
Modern dating has become a minefield of options: Tinder, OKCupid, Plenty of Fish,, eHarmony, and the list goes on. All of them are digital, happening from behind a screen. What does meeting someone even mean anymore? Two young journalists decided it was time to find out by experiencing dating the old-fashioned way and actually meeting like-minded singles face-to-face.


Swimming in Canada: A new pool and a bright future

Posted: November 9th, 2015
With the 2015 Pan American Games in the past, the pool at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre in Scarborough has turned its focus to the future of swimming in Canada. Coming off the most successful summer muti-sport event in the country’s history, the goal is to continue to grow the sport not only for the 2016 Olympics, but for the next few cycles. However, the first step is Rio, and improving on the two medals won at London 2012.


Ryerson Rams on verge of unlikely transformation

Posted: November 5th, 2015
Canadian basketball was on the cusp of something special back in 2008. Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson – years away from their NBA debuts – silently pioneered a youth movement to one of best prep schools in the U.S., opening the doors for their fellow countrymen. The high school talent was exploding with two basketball titans – Eastern Commerce and Pickering High – taking centre stage and showcasing a record number of future National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Canadian ballers. And an off-season deal for the hotly touted Hedo Turkoglu had the Toronto Raptors’ fanbase delirious for the upcoming season. But in the middle of it all the Ryerson Rams basketball program stood oddly still.


Danforth area cafe crawl

Posted: November 4th, 2015
East York residents are starting to appreciate the complexity of high-end quality coffee blends. Typically, Canadians are known for their reputation of consuming cup after cup of Tim Hortons brew. However, the quick convenience of the daily double double is being pushed to the side with the emergence of many artisan cafes throughout the East York community. These cafes provide a quality cup of joe, meticulously brewed specific to the customer’s preferences.


Bring on the Summer: Toronto’s Hottest Music Festivals

Posted: May 20th, 2015
Check out the Observer’s rundown of notable music fests hitting Toronto this summer, including Riot Fest, Veld Music Festival, CARIBANA, Electronic Island, Edgefest, OVO, Digital Dreams, NXNE, and TD Jazz Fest. What event? Riot Fest When is it happening? September 19-20 Where is it? Downsview Park What’s it sound like? Punk, hardcore, metal and rock […]


No snow tires on TTC buses: Riders at risk?

Posted: March 1st, 2015
Imagine being on your way somewhere and the TTC bus you’re in is not moving, because it can’t get up the hill in the snow. That is exactly what happened to many passengers on Monday February 2, when at least one bus on York Mills Road east of Yonge Street was struggling to get up the hill, due to the 22 centimetres of snow that walloped Southern Ontario overnight Sunday and into the morning commute. The TTC buses do not use snow tires.

Toronto politics: Stuck in the past

Toronto’s new council: white, again

Posted: November 24th, 2014
First-time candidate Randy Bucao never thought the colour of his olive skin was going to be a problem in his campaign during the recent 2014 Toronto municipal election. A mechanical engineer who moved to Canada in 1994, he’s been heavily involved with the city’s Catholic school board, and his Filipino-Canadian organizations in Toronto. Bucao knew he would face a challenge campaigning for a council seat in a heavily ethnic area, Ward 10, York-Centre, but not blatant racism from some residents.

Women's Hockey

Women’s pro hockey moves to a bigger media pond

Posted: November 8th, 2014
The Canadian Women's Hockey League has signed a four-year deal with Sportsnet to broadcast the Clarkson Cup every March. The partnership will provide young female Canadians with a more visible goal to aspire to.

Toronto politics: Stuck in the past

Councillor for life: Toronto’s incumbency problem

Posted: November 7th, 2014
Four years ago, Jon Burnside came up just short in his bid to defeat long-time incumbent councillor John Parker in the Toronto municipal election. This fall, Burnside got his revenge. He surged past Parker Oct. 27, and became the only challenger to beat an incumbent.


Two decades of misery: A guide to Toronto’s losing generation

Posted: November 6th, 2014
In many ways Toronto is a great city. But for all of its merits there is one way Toronto is a cesspool and arguably the worst city in North America: the quality of its professional sports teams. Over the last two decades this town has put on a clinic in sporting ineptitude, leaving an entire generation with no recollection of a major North American championship.

Alzheimer's and dementia

Providence Healthcare has a drop-off program for Alzheimer’s patients and their families

Providence Healthcare has a drop-off program for Alzheimer’s patients and their families

Posted: October 24th, 2014
Though some people diagnosed with dementia may be apprehensive about joining, Elizabeth Davison and her staff employ a variety of techniques to help patients decide to give the program a try. “Sometimes to get them in there we’ll say ‘Why don’t you come for a cup of tea and we’ll see if you like it?’… We really try and promote that club atmosphere”

Alzheimer's and dementia

Technology can keep wandering Alzheimer’s patients safer

Posted: October 24th, 2014
Technological innovation is helping some families in the GTA keep track of where their loved ones with Alzheimer’s are, from a GPS wristband in York Region called Project Lifesaver, to a special colour-coded MedicAlert bracelet. They are also using smartphones that incorporate geofencing, which is a software that administers and alerts the families of the individual when the tracked person leaves his or her arranged boundaries.

Alzheimer's and dementia

Some GTA police forces using Project Lifesaver to track wandering dementia patients

Posted: October 24th, 2014
More cases of wandering Alzheimer’s patients are appearing in the news. And experts are predicting the number of people in Ontario with Alzheimer’s to rise dramatically soon. Now a police department in the GTA is offering a new program to keep these at risk people safer. Observer TV News’ Jennifer Lee reports.

Alzheimer's and dementia

Why Ontario’s new Alzheimer’s strategy is stalled

Posted: October 24th, 2014
One day before the federal health minister's Oct. 1 announcement that Canada is working on a national strategy on dementia, a high-profile Ontario politician said government is “acting far too slowly.”

Alzheimer's and dementia

Wandering elderly: 1,200 Alzheimer’s and dementia patients lost in Toronto

Posted: October 24th, 2014
The federal government announced on Wednesday, Oct. 1 that it is in the “early stages” of developing a national strategy for dementia. But with no definitive money pledged, no allocation of funds, and no timeline provided, the announcement by the federal Minister of Health, Rona Ambrose, is too little, too late for the Basdeo family of Vaughan, Ontario.