Backbone: dance performance inspired by the ‘spine’ of the Americas

Scores of people gathered into the dimly lit and hushed lower-theatre of Berkeley Street Theatre to see the latest production featured by the Canadian Stage, a not-for-profit contemporary theatre company. It was the opening night, on Nov. 3 of Red Sky Performance’s latest indigenous contemporary performance —Backbone. Nothing could have prepared me for the invoking performance that was presented before me.

In anticipation of the performance, I had a chat with Red Sky’s founder and artistic director, Sandra Laronde. Laronde was inspired to create Backbone using her indigenous beliefs based on the ‘spine of the Americas.’

” I wanted to show the ‘backbone’ of the Americas in dance and music, a rocky spine ( Rocky Mountains) that has life, circuitry, electricity, and impulses that are alive and dynamic—much like the human spine. For indigenous peoples, there is a strong connection between the earth’s backbone and a human one, we are inseparable.” Laronde said.

Laronde’s connection to indigenous culture and interest in indigenous mapping inspired the core of Backbone. Indigenous mapping sees the land as a live and spiritual space. Instead of seeing the mountains (Rockies and Andes) as divided by borders, as traditional western mapping does, Indigenous mapping marks it as a continuous fluid.  Many characteristics of Indigenous mapping lays respect to Mother Earth and speaks about the meaning of the land instead of naming an area after a person or a discoverer.

Laronde asked herself how she could translate this concept into movement? With a team of nine dancers and one live musician, Laronde partook in collaborative choreography training with Jera Wolfe, Ageer, and Thomas Fonua to create the contemporary aesthetic of Backbone that visually and audibly appeals to the viewers.

The sounds that accompanied the dancers movement on stage was crucial to create visuals and situations that allows your mind to imagine and feel the moment. In the opening sequence of Backbone, dancers present themselves as a spine, with each movement in cohesion with the cracking  and popping sounds of human bones. The spine coming to life, unfolding, separating, and eventually merging together again.

This stunning performance was only possible through the use of talented dancers using every bit of their intense training. On average, the dancers trained from 10 AM to 6PM, Monday to Saturday, their training is akin to a high-level athlete, with many training since childhood.

With music being such a big component to this performance, Laronde turned to percussionist and composer, Rick Sacks, a long-time collaborator with Red Sky. Sacks was the 10th, but most crucial performer on stage, delivering sounds to accompany the dancers.

“Most of the music was performed live except for about 10 ambient cues from a computer in a booth. Rick played and/or triggered all the music. He triggered sounds from an electronic drum set and an electronic MalletKAT. The composition is made vital by ornamentation and punctuation that he could change each night depending on the dancer’s movements and the energy of the performance. This could only be the result of a live performance— it keeps it spontaneous,” said Laronde

Backbone marks the third back-to-back Toronto premiere that Red Sky has had since August. This is also their first collaboration with Canadian Stage, where Red Sky will be in residence for two years — the 17/18 and 18/19 seasons. Red Sky Performance was founded in 2000 and for the past 17 years they have focused on highlighting different traditional areas of indigenous dance theatre and music in a contemporary form.

Backbone runs from Nov 2-12 at the Berkeley Street theatre in Toronto. Red Sky Performance has also been invited to perform Backbone at Live Art Dance in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Nov 17. they will tour to Europe and Asia in January and February 2018-19. For more information visit redskyperformance.com.


Baking Minute: bread week with the Canadian Baking Show

The second episode of the Canadian Baking Show focused on one of my favourite things — bread! The bakers were challenged to make some of the most difficult and technical kinds of bread, while still including a unique and personal flare on their creations. I was excited to watch this episode as bread is, unfortunately, not something I have mastered.

The first challenge was to make Focaccia, a fluffy Italian flatbread seasoned with oil, herbs, and various vegetables, meats, or cheeses. It’s a delicate bread — the dough must have even air pockets and too many toppings can turn this dish into a pizza. I was enthralled with Julian D’Entremont’s baking this week. His use of Nova Scotian dulse, a kind of seaweed, was really inspiring and representative of his hometown of Halifax. I loved that other bakers were trying it out while their breads cooked. At the end of the day, I think the unofficial winner of this particular challenge was Sabrina Degni, whose Focaccia was inspired by her Italian grandmother, and Linda Longson, who used rosemary-infused oil and sea salt for an absolutely gorgeous and simply delicious bread.

The technical challenge was, of course, the Montreal-style bagel. I thought this challenge would be easier, but I’ve since learned that bagels are deceiving. First you have to kneed the dough, but not over-kneed it. Then boil it in honey water. Then dry it. And then FINALLY you cook it. There are so many ways it could go wrong, even the bakers from Quebec had a hard time. The judges wouldn’t even try James Hoyland’s bagel as it was raw. Poor guy.

The showstopper challenge was to create a bread centrepiece with a sweet filling. I have to say, there is a huge difference between how these bakers performed last week and this week. Maybe it took them a while to get used to the cameras being in their faces or to get used to the tent-in-a-field atmosphere, but the final products of this challenge were a lot more put together and clean than the cake challenge in the premiere.

What was even better than the final product was the reaction of the bakers. When the judges cut into the bread and they saw how it looked in the inside, whether a bunch of even layers of filling or swirls of fruit. They were so proud! While there were a lot of amazing creations, my personal favourite was Julian’s, who made some mouth-watering cinnamon buns with a Kraken in the middle. Oh, and he also had fried bread as tentacles!

There has been some criticism about the judging of the Canadian Baking Show, and I do agree that at times it can get repetitive, especially during the technical challenge where they just keep repeating the words “crispy”, “soft”, and “chewy”. But, I was rather impressed with the commentary in the Focaccia challenge. The judges gave advice to the bakers, patiently explaining what went wrong and what went right. I’m hoping the judging gets a bit more creative as more contestants leave and there is more television time for this part of the show.

The winner of bread week was Sabrina, who rocked all three challenges and created a really unique centrepiece with a weaved bread basket. The person who left this week was Sinclair Shuit of London Ont. (hometown of Winnipeg), whose centrepiece pear puff pastry wasn’t cooked enough to please the judges.

Next week is dessert week…God help me!

Let us know what you thought of the episode in the comments below! In the meantime, I’m going to go and eat a muffin…or some french toast…or maybe just a whole loaf of bread.

Heritage Minute reveals immigrant culture of Kensington Market

Kensington Market in the heart of downtown Toronto has always felt like home to me. As an immigrant, I relate to its uniqueness as well as the essence and the spirit of the shop owners. I’ve walked around there, ate there, shopped there, and even partied there. There is something for everyone in the Kensington Market.

Canada’s latest Heritage Minute pays tribute to this immigrant-friendly neighbourhood. It’s also very much different than past Heritage Minutes —  instead of focusing on a single character and hiring an actor or actress to play the part, this Heritage Minute is an animation, depicting the journey of one shop over five decades.

Heritage Minutes are 60-second stories that use actors and costumes to mark an important part of Canadian history. This latest Kensington Market animation piece is the 88th presentation put together by Historica Canada and it is classed as a short documentary film.

The idea for the Kensington Market special came from filmmaker Michael Goldlist, who wrote and pitched the new Heritage Minute inspired by his personal family history. Goldlist’s grandfather, Charles Goldlist, opened a chicken shop in the market after he emigrated from Poland in 1948 as a Holocaust survivor. Goldlist ran the shop for decades and  lived among many other Jewish families who settled in the neighbourhood. The large immigrant population in Kensington Market opened the way to other cultures, as the chicken shop was later replaced by a Portuguese fish market, followed by a Jamaican music store. There is so much history to be found in the Victorian style buildings that not only housed immigrant business, but homes and families as well.

Next to Goldlist’s chicken shop, his neighbour William Mihalik opened a clothing store after he emigrated from Hungary in 1958, and today the clothing store takes over both properties. Tom’s Place is still thriving and very much family run by Tom Mihalik, his son Tom Jr., and his daughter Anett.

Tom was only 12 when his father started the second-hand clothing store, but he grew up in Kensington where he was surrounded by different nationalities. Today, Tom’s Place offers top-quality business suits.

The Heritage Minute was scripted by Goldlist and narrated by Tom Mihalik

“They thought my voice was very, very fitting because I still have an accent and they thought that somebody with my understanding of the area could speak from his heart, which I did.”

The stories of immigrants who found their first home and their first business in Kensington Market won’t end here, as there are many similar stories and experiences to be found. All you have to do is walk through the narrow streets and take in the bursts of different cultures.

Check out the latest Heritage Minute below:

What’s your favourite shop at Kensington Market? Let us know in the comments below!

Five unique desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth in Toronto

There are so many options when it comes to satisfying your sweet tooth in Toronto. Thanks to a solid mix of culturally diverse and ethnically-diverse foods, Toronto is home to a global array of sweets. Women’s Post recommends these five unique desserts to try in the city.

Bubble Tea – Taiwan

I’m still amazed when I meet someone who has never tried Bubble Tea before. This magical treat comes in many versions and variations — from creamy iced milk-tea to fruity light teas, all with added tapioca (the bubbles) or substituted for chewy coconut or lychee jelly bits. At some places, there is the option of adding pudding or grass jelly. Bubble Tea originated in Taiwan and there are Taiwanese shops or specialty bubble tea stores almost on every street corner in Toronto. Try places like ChaTime or CoCo Fresh Tea and Juice.

Going for Chatime classics or the new twilight drink in the middle? #chatime #delicious

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Halo Halo – Philippines 

After always hearing about this popular Filipino dessert, I finally got my hands on one this summer. Its principle is rather similar to a snow-cone, but this isn’t just any ordinary shaved ice treat. Traditional halo-halo comes with shaved ice, evaporated milk, various fruits, boiled sweet beans, shaved coconut pieces, custard, and a topping of ice cream. You can also get unique flavours like ube or mango. When I had my halo treat, I was lucky enough to get it from a Filipino food-truck called the Crane Express. But check out other Filipino restaurants in the city that may offer this treat as a dessert.

Austrian Cheese Bun- Austria

Austrian Cheese Buns are a speciality treat made of homemade bread often filled with a sweetened cream cheese. The Guschlbauer is a traditional Austrian brand that dates back to 1919 and they opened their first North American location in downtown Toronto this summer. The buns are made fresh daily and the cream cheese is imported from Australia and New Zealand. The buns take almost three hours to prepare as they are carefully crafted with five layers of melted cream cheese. It’s almost like a cheesecake infused in a soft pillowy bun. Try flavours like original, mango , strawberry, chocolate and even sweet potato.


Nitrogen Ice-cream- United States

Regular ice-cream is just so passe, (just kidding)  but if you are looking to try a unique take on ice cream , try some nitrogen ice cream. While Dippin’ Dots was once poised to be the future of ice-cream, many creative innovations have come along. This innovative way of preparing the dessert involves infusing the creamy ice cream base with liquid nitrogen to whip up your frozen treat in seconds. Try places like Lab Sense or Cool N2 Canada. You can get traditional flavours like mango, strawberry triple Oreo or try something wild like Super-Frozen Cheetos!

This is the taste of summer sunshine ☀️ #cooln2downtown #nitrogenicecream

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Uji Matcha Tiramisu- Japan

This tiramisu is a twist on the classic Italian dessert, but it’s sure to not disappoint. Essentially you’re trading your espresso for some matcha green tea. This matcha cake will combine layers and flavours you did not think possible. The Cheese Garden in North York offers traditional Japanese treats, and recently they launched the Uji Matcha Tiramisu to celebrate their one year anniversary. The tiramisu comes with a top dusting of matcha straight from Uji, then a layer of melted cream cheese followed by layers of matcha flavoured lady fingers. This creamy and cheesy treat will only be around for a limited time.


Did we miss your favourite? Let us know in the comments below!

UPS cargo bikes begin pilot run in Toronto streets

Are cargo bikes the answer to Toronto’s traffic nightmares? Mayor John Tory thinks so. In a statement to reporters on Monday outside City Hall, the Mayor announced the official launch of a UPS pilot program for cargo delivery bikes in the City of Toronto.

UPS is a recognized international shipping brand that is trying to ensure your deliveries get to you on time. There have been other testings of the cargo bike program in countries around the world, and Toronto is their latest stop. The president of UPS Canada, Christoph Atz. said this is a move towards a more sustainable city.

Just last week, a Pembina Institute report that focuses on climate change and Canada’s transition to clean energy, said that 16.4 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from the use of vans, trucks and SUV’s in the city streets. The report suggested the implementation of transporting more goods by bicycle, as seen in other cities.

As the cycle flow in the city of Toronto increases, more companies have adopted pedal-friendly deliveries, like as Foodora or even Uber Eats. However, the UPS cargo bikes will be the first set of large scale and high-capacity bicycles to potentially replace delivery trucks.

The testing area for the bicycles will be around the York University campus and the program will run until changes in the weather begin to jeopardize the delivery rate, or safety of the driver.

“It’s time we take a look at something like this,because its being done in Frankfurt, in Vienna, in Hamburg, in Rome. and it has made a difference in those cities; they know that,” Tory said at the press conference.

The cargo bikes will improve congestion due to their smaller size and should help improve air quality in the city. A major pilot by such an internationally-recognized brand may make the idea more mainstream.

But, the question remains: can these cargo bikes do an equal or even better job than someone operating a delivery truck? It will obviously need man power to cycle boxes along city streets. These bikes will also not be allowed to operate in the bike lanes, meaning they have to keep up with the movement of traffic.

The cargo bikes weigh 217.kg when empty and can hold a cargo load of 408.kg, including the driver. Solar panels are used to power the hazard lights, headlights, tail lights, and turn signals featured on the bikes.


What do you think of this pilot program ? Comment below

How to become a blogger, according to Rachel Esco

You can’t just snap your fingers and become an established blogger overnight — well, not unless you’re Trump or a Jenner. For us mere commoners, getting paid to do what you love is no easy venture. In turn, most bloggers will simply write for free, satisfied with the sheer notoriety of getting credit for their published work. But, the burning question on everyone’s minds is how to start raking in some green for your words? How do you start?

Many women dream of being like Miranda Priestly, dominating a business empire while wearing the hottest designer pumps. Realistically, however, being a professional blogger is not all that glamorous. Let’s put the fantasies to rest. Here’s how to become a successful entrepreneur online.  

Be annoyingly persistent

You may have heard it all before, but never underestimate the power of persistence. Before I began getting hired to blog for brands, I probably went six months looking for work with no avail. So, what did I do? I began voluntarily writing for online magazines to build my experience and portfolio. Eventually, I had collected enough impressive work to showcase for potential clients. But, you must be willing to invest this extra time and energy if you’re serious about blogging as a career.

Join popular blogging platforms

What’s better than making your own website? Joining popular blogging platforms!  With established websites like She Knows or Elite Daily, you can submit your work to gain exposure for your blogs. In the early stages, this approach gives you more credibility and authority as a blogger. These platforms also let you link to your personal blog and social media accounts, helping you drive more traffic to your awesome material.

You can even use these sites as your online portfolio if you don’t already have your own website. But if you do decide to create your own, make sure it looks modern and professional. Since it’s essentially a representation of you and your talent, you must make it count! First impressions are everything. And don’t forget to promote your portfolio on social media to further increase its visibility.

Pitch your services

Another promising route to becoming a blogger is learning how to pitch your services. Now, I’ll be honest. This process is very tricky and rarely successful. But at the very least, if you know how to sell your services well, there’s always a chance you’ll get some interested replies.

Next, when you pitch your services, you have to have a niche. Any random schmo with a laptop can pitch themselves as a “blogger”, but if you’ve got a specific area of expertise, you’ll be more desirable to clients. For example, maybe you’re an organic food blogger; you can cater your services to organic grocery stores and related businesses. You’ll get much farther when your present yourself as a specific type of blogger.

Don’t reach out to the biggest businesses right away. Remember that at the beginning, you’re just a tiny entrepreneurial fish in a sea of blogging barracudas — sorry. So instead, reach out to mid-range businesses who are not as heavily swamped with thousands of pitch emails. You’ll have a better chance at getting noticed and hired for your services.

Use LinkedIn like crazy

Pledge your loyalty to LinkedIn and never look back. While most people go gaga for Instagram and Snapchat, focus your energy on LinkedIn as if it’s your main source of social media. Recruiters are constantly scoping LinkedIn to find fresh talent. Plus, there’s always people with startup companies looking to collaborate with bloggers they find on LinkedIn. My first big client actually found me through LinkedIn, so I genuinely can confirm it works!


Ready to begin to become Canada’s next top blogger? Best of luck everyone!

Top places to visit in New York City and Toronto

An announcement of a joint tourism deal between the City of Toronto and New York City means cheaper flights for the new year. The announcement was made at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Toronto by Tourism Toronto’s CEO Joanne Belanger.

“Toronto and New York city are the financial, entertainment, and cultural centres of our two nations and this partnership goes a long way to share our big-city experiences with each other’s residents and visitors,” Belanger said.

This new partnership will include a deal with Air Canada that will feature discounted trips to New York, with one way tickets starting at CAD $154 for trips before Feb 15.

This means there will be a boost in advertising for trips to New York and ads for travel to Toronto will be featured in the big apple later this month. The ads will focus on different activities to do in each respective city for the winter months . So, if you’re thinking about your next NYC trip, now is the times to take advantage of this special deal. Women’s Post suggests these top places to check in each city.

New York City:

Bryant Park Winter Village

Enjoy everything from ice-skating to to christmas shopping in this Christmas village. Bryant park will feature the most talked about christmas market, which includes over 125 shopping and food vendors and a 17,000 sq. ft ice-skating rink. Just remember to bring your own skates.


New York City is home to the most famous theatre district in the world. This is the same spot where many famous faces got their breakout role. It is best to research which plays you are interested in seeing and buy your tickets early. Some popular broadway shows this season include: Radio City Christmas Spectacular, starring the Rockettes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Phantom of the Opera,  Hello Dolly! (Bette Midler returns to broadway),  Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway and much more. If you are willing to shell out the big bucks, don’t forget about Hamilton!


Museum of Modern Art

While there are many museums to check out in the city, try visiting the Museum of Modern Art for a different experience. This museum offers a great display of  pop culture and 20th century history. Some famous pieces you can see there include, Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans and Van Gough’s Starry Night.


The Sugar Factory

The popular Sugar Factory brand has opened a 9000 sq. ft American Brasserie in the poplar and ever-busy Meatpacking District. If you are unfamiliar with this American brand, they are known for their candy-land theme and their famous sugary cocktails. For the Christmas season they will include sweet selections from the Mariah Carey Christmas Factory.


Le Bain Rooftop Bar

Le Bain is located at the Standard Hotel in NYC. This popular rooftop bar is known for its spectacular views of the skyline, a seasonal pool, and of course, dancing the night away to music by world famous DJs.




Friday Night Live at the ROM

The Royal Ontario Museum gets pretty wild ever other Friday night of the month. Friday Night Live at the ROM transforms the museum into one big party. Now that summer is over, the ROM is just getting started and there are different themed parties each weeky. You can expect live performances, popular DJ’s, interactive attractions for some museum displays, and lots of food and fun.

Image courtesy of Maker Festival Toronto

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Ever since it’s open in 2013, it has been a popular attraction for Torontonians and tourists. The site was originally set to be open in Niagara Falls, but it was relocated to the heart of downtown Toronto. Go explore the popular sea-life and marvel at the sharks as you walk through an underwater pathway.


Harbour Cruise

Toronto’s waterfront is always busy with many activities that you can enjoy, and it is also where you can find all the harbour cruises you can take as you marvel at the skyline from a distance on the waters of Lake Ontario. There are many different cruises to choose from, including daytime, or nighttime trips, and some that include dinner and dancing.


Casa Loma

Casa Loma is an actual castle located on the heart of downtown Toronto. It was constructed in 1914 and was built as a private residence for Sir Henry Mill Pallett. It is now a public museum and landmark, and popular spot for photography or hosting wedding events. During the christmas season, it will transform into a winter wonderland, complete with many light displays in the castle garden and various Christmas treats.


Niagara Falls

While not technically in Toronto, Niagara Falls is just a short 90 minute drive away and closest to the border with Buffalo, New York. In a sense, it’s the perfect starting point, or ending point of your Toronto adventure. There are countless things to do in Niagara Falls and one of the most exciting opinions may be to take a helicopter tour to see the falls and the city from above.


 Will you be heading to New York this winter? Let us know in the comment below!

Toronto to get a high-tech waterfront neighbourhood

Toronto has grown so much over the last 10 years. All it takes is a quick scan of the city skyline to see the massive influx of construction across the downtown core. The city is definitely still under development and because of this there is an increased cost of living and looming growth challenges.

Google’s sister company, Sidewalk Labs, in collaboration with Waterfront Toronto and the Canadian federal government, announced the development of an innovative city hub in Toronto, coined Quayside. The announcement was made on Tuesday at Corus Quay to a crowd that included Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier Kathleen Wynne, and Toronto Mayor John Tory.

There will be 800 acres of land available for revitalization in the eastern waterfront area. This hub will be the first high-tech neighbourhood in the city, and a model of a city that reflects the future.

Quayside will be a neighbourhood that combines people, culture, environment, and technology to help people thrive. Sidewalk Labs, since their launch in 2015, expressed their desire to create a modern community hub in an international city. The aim is to use technology as a tool to address urban living challenges, resulting in a more comfortable space for residents in the city. The ‘smart’ neighbourhood will have an impact on the future of Toronto as it will generate global interest and improve economic growth and development.

“We looked all over the world for the perfect place to bring this vision to life, and we found it here in Toronto.” Said Dan Doctoroff, the CEO of  Sidewalk Labs to a packed audience.

One of the most important aspects that Quayside will provide is an increase in jobs, as well as an increase in tech talent. Creative and innovative minds will have an opportunity to work and even live in a community that matches their skills. In getting this project underway, Sidewalk Labs also reached out to many residents across the GTA to get input and feedback on the community development idea. Now that Quayside will be a reality, starting Nov. 1 , Sidewalk Labs will spend approximately $50 million to have a yearlong discussion, consisting of public meetings, with residents, universities, and the government on how the project should unfold.


Sidewalk Labs also says they hope to have a blueprint on what the proposed neighbourhood would look like by the end of the year. Google Canada will also shift its headquarters to this waterfront neighbourhood. This kind of high- tech community will attract innovation and design concepts that should set Toronto apart from other cities in the world.

The Quayside is expected to be a community focused on the overall goal of people thriving. A place to feel comfortable  and grow. While all the specifics of the development remain unclear at this time, Sidewalk Labs gave a few examples of what people can expect, such as smart robots that clean the streets or self- driving transit, which is already being tested in other parts of the world.

How excited are you to see this unfold in our city? Comment below


Pearson International moving forward with mobility hub

Toronto Pearson International wants you to take public transit to the airport — and they want to make it really easy.

Three representatives from the Greater Toronto Airport Authorities (GTAA) gave a presentation to the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) board on their desire to create a new mobility hub north of Airport Road, near terminal two. This transit hub will connect various areas of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area with the airport, making it easier for passengers to get to their final destination.

Only 10 per cent of passengers moving through Pearson International use public transportation. This is low compared to other international airports, with Heathrow at 36 per cent, Amsterdam at 40 per cent, and Shanghai at 60 per cent. Instead of having to wait in line to catch a cab or an expensive shuttle bus, passengers should be given the option to jump on a train, subway, or public bus to get to where they are staying.

Another reason to create a mobility hub is to acknowledge the growth potential of the airport. Pearson International employees 49,000 people and contributes 6.3 per cent of Ontario’s GDP. The airport is working towards becoming a mega-hub and increasing the economic opportunities already present.

The GTAA is working closely with regional and federal partners to make this happen. They have already procured an RFP and have pledged half a million dollars towards the project. The organization will be studying a number of different transit lines to determine which ones should connect to the hub. Possible connections include the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, Finch West LRT, Mississauga Bus Rapid Transit, GO Transit rail lines, and the UP Airport Express. The GTAA is seeking input from Metrolinx and the TTC in order to ensure the best transit options for passengers.

According to Metrolinx, a mobility hub is defined as a place of connectivity between regional rapid transit services and other modes of transportation, with a high level of employment, shopping, and areas of enjoyment. Pearson International hits all of these qualifications. All it needs is an access point.

What do you think of a mobility hub at Pearson International Airport? Would you use public transportation if given the option? Let us know in the comments below.

Public to take part in SmartTrack station consultations

The first public consultation for SmartTrack was held last night in Scarborough. The city, as well as representatives from the Toronto Transit Commission and Metrolinx, was on hand to answer questions and give a quick presentation about the stations that would be built in that neighbourhood.

There will be two other consultations held in the next two days, one at Riverdale Collegiate Institute and the other at New Horizons Tower on Bloor.

The public consultations are the next step into the planning of what James Perttula, Director of Transit and Transportation Planning, called a new, connected “urban transportation system.” He said the stations, which consist of six SmartTrack stations and two new GO stations, will be built in already developed areas so that it is able to effectively connect with hubs throughout the city.

The presentation given to the public will include brief information on the 14-stop SmartTrack plan (and 8-12 stop Eglinton LRT). The city is hoping to provide all-day service along the three rail corridors — Kitchener, Lakeshore East, and Stouffville — with six to 10 minute service during peak hours and 15 minutes during off-peak. Fare integration will be pivotal to the success of SmartTrack.

Over the next week, the city is looking for public input into how these stations can integrate into each neighbourhood. The discussion will be limited to the design of the station rather than location or the SmartTrack plan as a whole.

Each station is specific to a neighbourhood’s needs, but they are also part of a bigger design for Toronto, including the integration into the Relief Line, the Gardiner Expressway revitalization, and Rail Deck Park.

Toronto Mayor John Tory spent Wednesday morning in Leslieville/Riverdale talking to residents about SmartTrack. At a press conference, he said the area would be the best transit-served neighbourhood in the city.

The city will report to council in the spring of 2018 on all elements of SmartTrack, including cost analysis and ridership information. At this moment, the cost estimate is between $700 million and $1.5 billion. The city will only be paying for the six SmartTrack stops as opposed to the GO stations that are included in the overarching plan.

According to Perttula, SmartTrack should be operational as of 2025.