MLSE Basketball Courts in the CNE Proposal

As you may have heard, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. has approached the City with plans to build and operate a 68,000 sq. ft. basketball centre on the land just to the west of Medieval Times. MLSE will build the facility at their own cost. The City would own the facility but lease it back to MLSE for twenty years with a possibility for a ten year renewal. The centre would include two indoor basketball courts. One court would be reserved for the Raptors and other high performance teams such as the Canada Basketball Association. The other would be available for community use. The City would run a recreation program for part of the year, and community groups could book the court through the City.

A community meeting was held on August 11th to review the proposal and hear from community members and businesses on site. We heard widespread concerns about the protection of green space on Exhibition Place property while providing adequate parking options for services on site. Specifically, many Exhibition Place businesses felt that the grounds are already short of parking. The plan to pave over the baseball diamond on Exhibition Place grounds, to make up for the lost parking also had many critics. I was among the critics.

Too much open publicly-accessible land has been lost at Exhibition Place. Worse, we were being asked to use public money to pave this green space.

Exhibition Place Board of Governors met on August 14th to consider this proposal. The Board approved the proposal without adequately addressing the green space and parking issues. I opposed the move. Further, I pointed out that as the local Councillor I was considering using my right to require further planning reports to be sent to Council, which would delay the project.

I then had a series of meetings with MLSE and City staff which lead to a revised proposal. To their credit, MLSE has agreed to include $2 million towards a parking structure elsewhere on the grounds. This figure includes an overall parking study of Exhibition Place. While that work is being done MLSE would pay to temporarily convert the baseball diamond to parking and provide $1 million to regreen the site when the permanent parking structure is complete.

This modified, much improved arrangement was approved unanimously at the Executive Committee, and will go on to Council next week. The report is available on-line at:

I encourage you to review the Report and contact my office to provide your comments/concerns.

I want to thank the many community members who came on fairly short notice to speak up for maintaining public amenities on the grounds. You made a difference.


Gord Perks
City Councillor
Ward 14, Parkdale-High Park

It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! It’s SuperFan ComicCon Toronto! @superfancomicon

This Victoria Day weekend, SuperFan ComicCon will launch in Toronto and join the ranks of other comic conventions held around the world providing fans with a new means to celebrate their passions and embrace their personalities as fans, geeks, nerds, cosplayers, video gamers, and more. This inaugural fan-based event will run May 17th to 19th at the Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place and fans are invited to come dressed as some ‘one’ or some ‘thing’, and join a community of others alike. Show attendees will have the chance to participate in seminars and mini events, and meet their own celebrity superheroes.

The passion of people craving to be their own superheroes, and a growing number of fans are engaging in these practices by the thousands, daily, leading to the development of SuperFan ComicCon Toronto. The community participation in the convention will contribute awareness and appreciation towards several platforms including comics, local artists and celebrities, fashion, pop culture, and entertainment.

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Conrad Black and Denise Donlon set to co-host gutsy new current affairs and lifestyle show

Conrad Black and Denise Donlon set to co-host gutsy new current affairs and lifestyle show Mondays at 9pm ET starting October 7, 2013

Canadians will have a new weekly 60-minute current affairs show to catch on VisionTV, Monday evenings at 9pm ET starting October 7, 2013.

That’s the date Moses Znaimer, founder of ZoomerMedia and VisionTV Executive Producer, has set to premiere “theZoomer”, co-hosted by Canada’s provocative and highly controversial columnist, historian, and preeminent intellectual Conrad Black and former Citytv/MuchMusic journalist, producer, CBC Radio executive, and Sony Music Canada president, Denise Donlon.

Forty years after Moses co-founded Citytv, gutsy television lives on. It’s the next step in his New Vision of Aging, that is, Moses’ crusade to alter the stereotype and shape the agenda when it comes to topics of greatest importance to Canadians as they age. “theZoomer” is not about being apologetic. It will be groundbreaking, intelligent, and hard-hitting discussion on how our growing demographic is changing Canada and the world culturally, socially, politically, economically.

The issues go the core of how our society will function in the decades ahead,” said Denise in a recent editorial meeting. In every episode, with wit, verve, tongue, and cheek, Conrad will conduct a feature “Conversation With Conrad”, or participate in a panel discussion with some of the world’s Greats. His weekly “Talk Black” editorials will tackle issues that really get under his skin – the US justice system, prison reform, religious persecution, ageism, and the world’s financial crisis to name a few.

Denise, a Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame inductee, will be familiar to Zoomer viewers as the host and producer of groundbreaking music programs in the early days of Citytv, and MuchMusic/MuchMoreMusic, where Moses appointed her to mark and champion the careers of countless Canadian artists. Donlon will moderate the “The Zoomer Round Table”, a lively discussion of current affairs, health, finance, and new ideasaccompanied by cooking, humour, and live performances.

Regular contributors will include Zoomer Report host and broadcaster Libby Znaimer, Zoomer magazine Editor-in-Chief and fashion icon Suzanne Boyd, CARP’s game-changing VP Advocacy Susan Eng, Canada’s most outspoken consumer advocate Dale Goldhawk, “Zoomer Doctor-in-Residence” Dr. Zack Levine, ZoomerMedia VP, author and Boomer trend expert David Cravit, and CARP’s General Manager Ross Mayot. “theZoomer” is a perfectly timed addition to the television landscape. Generally speaking, the world is living longer and better.

Canada's 45plus population now accounts for 15.1 million or 54 percent of the adult population. 96 percent of Zoomers watched TV in the past week! Yet, no one is creating content that speaks specifically to, and for, this dominant, and vocal, demographic. “theZoomer” will be shot weekly in front of a live studio audience at The ZoomerPlex, a 2-acre multi-media, production, and event facility, and home to CARP’s Head Office, located in Toronto’s burgeoning Liberty Village.

INFORMATION FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC Interested in becoming a member of the studio audience? Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Comments or feedback? Call or email: 416.607.6227 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Photo credit: Jeff Higgins)

Kensington WALMART?

In just a few short weeks, a petition has cleared 79,000 signatures, all demanding that a proposed Walmart construction project be blocked from the Kensington Market area.

Citing economic concerns, as well as others related to the increase in car traffic and the change in the skyline, the group Friends of Kensington Market hopes to convince the city to keep Kensington Market as it is, and keep Walmart out.

Planning expert and former City of Toronto Director of Urban Design and Architecture Ken Greenberg said "it is hard to imagine anything more damaging to the health and vitality of this very special part of Toronto than big-box development.”

Recently, a Twitter campaign started by Dominique Russell directed this message directly to Toronto’s new Chief Planner, Jennifer Keesmat, who Russell describes as someone who “loves social media.” The campaign attracted more than 800 people, including author Margaret Atwood, all tweeting with the hashtag #SaveKensington.

For Russell, the issue is one of keeping Keesmat to her word, with Keesmat having championed bike lanes and walkability. Rusell said “This proposal doesn't even contribute to density, and car-based big-box retail is the enemy of walkable, bicycle-friendly neighbourhoods.”

It isn’t all bad
While it is easy to decry Walmart due to its undercutting the competition, and thus putting strain on local business, the construction of a Walmart often brings positives to its neighbourhood. A study by the University of Chicago and Brigham Young University found that Walmarts, on average, raised the value of homes in the area by as much as three percent.

Additionally, the low prices offered by Walmart can save consumers a considerable amount of money. A 2005 study by Global Insight found that American consumers who regularly shopped at Walmart could save as much as $895 per person each year.

The bad
Despite these positives, there are still negatives inherent to the addition of a Walmart to a community. According to the study “The Effects of Walmart on Local Labor Markets,” Walmarts destroy three jobs for every two that they create. Further, in a Chicago location, 82 stores went out of business within two years of the opening of a new Walmart.

On a somewhat different note, the health of the local population has also been shown to suffer when Walmart comes to town. An American study found that nearby residents gain an average of .7 kilos after the opening of a Walmart, and obesity rates jump by 2.3% in the area.

A public meeting to discuss the Kensington Walmart proposal is scheduled for July 9 at 7 pm, to be held at Toronto Council Chambers, 100 Queen Street West. The proposed site is not currently zoned to host a mall of the size that would include the Walmart.

Rob Cote

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