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Freezing Temperatures in Edmonton May Lead to a Freezeway

Edmonton Freezeway

Rather than cursing the cold weather, the city of Edmonton is turning lemon into lemonade – or rather turning sub-zero temperatures into an 11-kilometre long “freezeway” which would allow residents to strap on a pair of skates and glide to work.

The Freezeway, which was proposed two years ago by UBC landscape architecture graduate Matt Gibbs, would be an 11-kilometre greenway with a “winter skating lane” that would allow Edmontonians and visitors to skate around the city. And in the summer (wait… does Edmonton have a summer?) the path could be used by pedestrians and cyclists.

Gibbs took the idea from an offhand comment made by a city councillor back in the 90s.

“Why don’t we just crack the fire hydrants open, flood the streets and let people skate to work in the winter?” Former city councillor Tooker Gomberg said in the 1990s.

Maybe because the last thing people want to do on a Monday morning is skate in below-freezing temperature with a briefcase in their hand and then have to walk the rest of the way to work carrying their skates? Or maybe because investing the money is a working LRT system might be more useful than a seven-mile ice rink?

Nevertheless, Gibbs took the idea and built a design – winning him first place in the 2013 COLDSCAPES international design competition, which focuses on maximizing the potential of cold climate cities.

The idea garnered plenty of attention and Edmonton city organizers, eager to follow in the footsteps of Ottawa’s Rideau Canal, are now planning a pilot project for as early as next winter.

Councillor Scott McKeen said the Freezeway would be a welcome addition.

“Edmonton has not exploited to any great extent one of its greatest natural resources – winter,” said Mr McKeen. “Like other North American cities in colder climates, we’ve tried to engineer our way out of it. … Even most of our hockey facilities are now indoors and heated.”

But not everyone agrees.

Councillor Mike Nickel called the Freezeway “the stupidest idea I’ve heard”.

Meh, worst case the Edmonton Oilers can use it to practice. Actually, better keep the Oilers off it – they might get in the way of people who can skate.

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Gunman/men Attack Canada’s Capital

Current Event Cat - Canada Attack Gunman

What is going on in Canada?! Two days after two military officers were run over in Quebec, a gunman (or possibly gunmen) attacked Canada’s capital, wounding and killing a Canadian soldier and opening fire inside the nation’s parliament.

The gunman fatally shot a soldier who was standing guard at the National War Memorial then ran into the nearby parliament building and opened fire.

MPs and other witnesses reported several shots fired inside Parliament, but no one was seriously injured – except for the gunman. Police say the shooter was killed inside after exchanging fire with police – but that’s not the end of that. Police believe that there may be more than one assailant on the loose.

“The indications are there is more than one gunman. There may be several,” Canadian MP Marc Garneau said, adding he and fellow politicians were evacuated from the area.

And for those Stephen Harper fans out there, don’t worry – his director of communications tweeted that the Prime Minister “is safe and has left Parliament Hill”. Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau are also reported safe, but no one cares.

In the meantime, downtown Ottawa is on lockdown as police search for the other gunman. The nearby University of Ottawa has been placed on lockdown, as well as all local police buildings and the US Embassy.

The latest attack comes two days after a radicalized Muslim struck two Canadian soldiers with his car in Quebec, killing one of them. Earlier on Wednesday, the Canadian government raised its terror threat alert from low to medium reportedly in response to an increase in online “general chatter” from radical groups including Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

Details are still developing but I think it’s safe to say that “Dead Canadian Soldier” and “Wounded MP” can now join “Rob Ford’s Tumor” on the list of Canada’s Top Taboo Halloween Costumes.

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Rob Ford Quits Mayoral Race

Current Event Cat - Ford Quits Mayoral Race

Torontonians will no longer have to struggle with the decision of whether Ford more years of terrible leadership is worth Ford more years of hilarious crack stories. Toronto’s crack-smoking mayor Rob Ford has officially withdrawn his name from the Toronto mayoral race – but surprisingly not because of his alcoholism and crack use.

In light of the pseudo-mayor’s recent health problems, Ford’s campaign pulled a surprise move on Friday just before the 2 p.m. candidate deadline and submitted paperwork to take his name off the ballot for the Oct. 27 vote.

But that’s not the end of the Fords. Rob Ford’s brother, Councillor Doug Ford, is replacing him in the Toronto mayoral race. Essentially, Toronto is now facing it’s worst possible nightmare: a healthier, more sober, more aggressive Ford running for mayor. But luckily, Doug doesn’t have the same kind of “star quality” or cult following that his brother did. Back in May, a Forum Research poll suggested that Doug Ford would fare considerably worse in the mayoral race than his brother, who was polling in second place, behind John Tory but ahead of Olivia Chow, when stomach pain sent him to the hospital Wednesday.

As for the fate of Rob Ford, the crack-addict is currently holed up in Mt. Sinai Hospital with what doctors are calling an abdominal tumour.

Doug Ford told the Toronto Sun that the mayor could be facing “a surgery and chemotherapy and could be on his back for six to eight weeks” and his brother “is in for the fight of his life.”

And unlike the fight for the mayoral seat, this is one fight where crack use and drunken stupors won’t improve your chances of success.

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Depressed Polar Bear Wants to Move to Canada

Arturo the Polar Bear

Arturo the polar bear, also known as “the world’s saddest animal”, wants to escape his cramped, concrete enclosure at Argentina’s Mendoza Zoo and move to Canada where the winters are freezing and the maple syrup is plentiful.

After pictures of Arturo the polar bear looking ‘depressed’ in a cramped enclosure were shared online, thousands of worried polar bear lovers have signed an online petition calling for Arturo to be transferred to Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Canada. Animal rights advocates say Arturo paces nervously in his concrete enclosure and suggest the animal suffers from depression. They say Canada would provide the bear with a “better life” where he can enjoy a cooler climate at the specialist polar bear rehabilitation centre.

But the director of the Mendoza Zoo in western Argentina isn’t feeling the relocation of their only captive polar bear. Claiming that the 28-year-old bear is too old to safely be relocated, the zoo announced that Arturo will stay at Argentina’s Mendoza Zoo, where temperatures can climb to 104F (40C). But don’t worry – Arturo can cool off in his 20-inch-deep pool.

In fact, the sight of Arturo rocking back and forth in the heat is so sad that even former Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has taken up his cause.

“If you love animals the way I do, you’re going to want to sign the petition to save the Argentinean polar bear, Arturo,” Gingrich said. “His current living situation is very sad, and he deserves to be saved.”

Yikes. You know the zoo director is bad news when Newt Gingrich is begging him to show mercy.

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Happy Canada Day: Rob Ford is Out of Rehab!

Rob Ford Canada Day

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has returned to “work” after two months of “intensive treatment” for drug and alcohol abuse.

Rob Ford held a press conference on Monday to apologize for his recent behaviour and kickstart his mayoral campaign – and by press conference I mean he took no questions and much of the media was locked outside.

Ford may not have learned how to control his addiction in rehab, but he certainly picked up a few buzzwords:

“Thanks to my treatment, I can proudly say today that I have begun the process of taking control of my life,” he said in a small, crowded room at City Hall, filled with about two dozen journalists.

“But folks, this is a long, long road to recovery. But no matter what I do I will never be able to change the mistakes I made in the past.”

I am ashamed and humiliated. I have no one to blame but myself. I want to sincerely apologize to not just the people of Toronto but every single person who was hurt by my words or my actions.”

With his two-month stint at a rehab facility in Ontario’s Muskoka region (aka the Ford Family cottage) completed and the heartfelt apology out of the way, Rob Ford is now back on the campaign trail, brushing aside repeated calls to quit the mayoral race.

Seen decked out in Canada Day garb and handing out miniature Canadian flags and magnets at the East York Canada Day parade, Ford shook hands with supporters while enduring some heckling by others.

Perhaps the campaign trail isn’t the most conducive environment for a recovering drug addict or alcoholic… The best thing Torontonians can to help Rob Ford with his health issue is to relieve him of the stress of public office – but given that the latest polls show the mayor’s popularity has actually risen during his two-month stint in rehab and he is now only 7 percentage points behind frontrunner Olivia Chow, it seems Torontonians haven’t had their fill of crack scandals just yet.

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Rob Ford is Already in Trouble at Rehab

Rob Ford Rehab

In his second media interview from rehab, Rob Ford admitted he was getting into trouble for making calls from rehab to journalists.

So naturally, after he got in trouble for talking to the media, he called up the media to tell them about it…

“There’s just a policy you’re not allowed to speak to the media in these programs. I didn’t know about that,” he told the Sun on Wednesday. “They weren’t too happy.”

I got into major shit for talking to you, so I can’t talk to you.”

Except for this one last interview, of course…

In his (final?) rehab interview, Mayor Rob Ford revealed that he is undergoing treatment in a facility that costs as much as six figures.

“It’s worth every dime, every dime,” he told the Toronto Sun. “A hundred grand is cheap. It’s a steal.”

PLEASE tell me it’s not taxpayer funded…

The mayor, who is supposedly undergoing treatment after more allegations of crack use surfaced in recent weeks, still would not reveal the location of the “amazing” rehab facility that reminds him of “football camp”.

Rob Ford posterAfter boarding a private jet bound for Chicago last week, Ford turned back (or was denied entry?) before he officially entered the U.S, leaving Canadians wondering “where in the world is Rob Ford” and “is he really in a rehab facility?” And cue the Rob Ford sightings

After a possible Rob Ford sighting at a Toronto Tim Hortons, his brother, Councilor Doug Ford, insisted that it was him and that the mayor is “nowhere close to the GTA”.

Even Mayor McCrack laughed at the report he was spotted in a Tim Hortons.

“That’s funny,” he said over the phone Wednesday from an undisclosed location which he claims is a rehab centre.

I think I speak for all Torontonians when I say, “Get off the phone and go back to rehab!!”

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Where In The World Is Mayor Rob Ford?

Where in the World is Mayor Rob Ford

You would think someone so big and constantly stumbling around in a drunken stupor while leaving a trail of crack would be easy to spot, but the search is on for Rob Ford after the crack-smoking mayor mysteriously withdrew his request to enter the United States border last Thursday.

After announcing his plans to enter rehab following the release of yet another crack video, Rob Ford decided to switch it up and wreak havoc on a different city. The mayor took a private plane from Toronto Buttonville Municipal Airport and flew to Chicago, the U.S headquarters of the Ford family business. But at the last minute, Ford decided (or was forced?) to turn back before he officially entered the U.S.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed to us that Mayor Ford arrived in Chicago last Thursday and that after discussion with US CBP he withdrew his request to enter the USA and departed,” the Consul General of Canada in Chicago confirmed, noting that the mayor “was not denied entry, per se.”

The current whereabouts of Mayor McCrack are now unknown. His brother, Councillor Doug Ford, refused to give details of his brother’s location, but he did say the mayor is “100 per cent” in a rehab program.

“For the one-millionth time, Rob Ford is in a rehabilitation program,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“He’s feeling good. He bought into the program and he’s getting the support that he needs,” Doug continued.

The mayor’s lawyer, Dennis Morris, reiterated that the mayor checked into a treatment facility but remained silent on its whereabouts.

“The bottom line is he’s in rehab, he’s getting rehab and he’ll be there for a number of weeks – and that’s the answer. It’s not like he’s at a baseball game in Los Angeles or something.”

In other news, crack sales in Toronto have plummeted and the Etobicoke KFC is going out of business.

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Sarah Thomson Out-Cracks Rob Ford With A New Transit Video

Sarah THomson Rob Ford

When you’re running a mayoral race against an overweight alcoholic crackhead who’s currently in rehab, it’s pretty hard to make yourself look like the dumbest candidate. Unless, of course, you’re Sarah Thomson…

Toronto Mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson, who ran for mayor in 2010 and later accused Rob Ford of grabbing her butt at an event, is back in the race for 2014 – but this time she brought her A F game. Trading in a more traditional hairstyle for dreadlocks after the last election, Thomson said she will be “keeping it real” this time around.

Hoping to “keep it real” while at the same time hammer home her $25 billion transit plan dubbed “Tunnel Toronto”, Sarah Thomson has unleashed a new music video so cringeworthy that it makes Rob Ford’s “more than enough to eat at home” comment seem almost charming.

Sung to the music of Pitbull and Kesha’s hit song “Timber,” the new transit video features Thomson singing about her tunnel plan with another singer she identifies as “White Kanye.” The remixed version of the song was rewritten to drive home the point that underground transportation (i.e. subways) is the way to go.

“White Kanye” would rather remain anonymous for the time being – for reasons that will become obvious once you watch the video:

When asked why anyone would ever think this was a good idea to promote subway expansion, Thomson told CP24:

“We were just brainstorming on how we could get the message of the need to go underground out… and reaching a broader demographic and we thought ‘why not a music video.’”

I’ll do whatever it takes to inspire people to invest in transit expansion,” Thomson said.

Unfortunately, “whatever it takes” involves making Toronto’s crack-smoking mayor Rob Ford look like the sane choice.

(Dedicated to Charissa, a card-carrying Conservative)

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Rob Ford’s Latest Crack Video (And More!)

Current Event Cat - Rob Ford Rehab

Mayor Rob Ford, the pride of Toronto’s crack-smoking community, announced last night that he’s taking a leave of absence to check into rehab for a “substance abuse” problem.

Rob Ford said he is “ready to take a break” from his reelection campaign and “go get help” after a new video surfaced of him allegedly smoking crack in his sister’s basement.

Ford previously laughed off the idea of rehab, maintaining that he doesn’t use drugs… anymore. In fact, just a few weeks ago when asked directly if he was continuing to use drugs, Ford said: “You guys ask stupid questions.” But now a new crack-smoking video plus a new drunken audio clip have apparently done the trick and Ford has finally decided to get some help save what’s left of his reelection campaign.

Rob Ford Rehab TripThe latest crack video, which was secretly filmed by a drug dealer in the basement of Ford’s sister’s home this past Saturday around 1am, shows the mayor making a drag of what appears to be crack cocaine from a “long copper-coloured pipe,” exhaling a cloud of smoke and frantically shaking his right hand. Viewed by two reporters for the Globe and Mail, the video stars a man that looks like Alessandro “Sandro” Lisi, the mayor’s former driver who has been charged with drug dealing and extortion, Ford’s sister, Kathy, who has admitted in media interviews to being a drug addict, Mayor Ford, and of course some crack pipes. The dealer claims he’s got three videos of Rob Ford smoking crack and he wants six figures for all of them. Since when did secretly filming videos of Rob Ford become more lucrative than dealing drugs?

While the Globe and Mail was preoccupied watching crack videos, the Toronto Sun was busy obtaining secret audio recordings of Mayor Ford (presumably in one of his drunken stupors) at an Etobicoke bar on Monday night.

On the recording, Ford is overheard saying he would not be able to vote for Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak because he agrees with “all the gays.”

Ford is also heard to say “I’d like to f—– jam her” when asked about mayoral candidate Karen Stintz.

Jam her? I thought he had more than enough to eat at home? Unless by jam her he meant knock her down in the middle of a council meeting like he did with Coun. Pam McConnell – in which case that’s… still pretty awful.

With the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Sun getting all the hot Rob Ford scoops, the Toronto Star was feeling a bit left out. Solution? Add Justin Bieber into the mix! The Star is now reporting that Justin Bieber enraged Rob Ford by “jokingly” asking the mayor “Did you bring any crack to smoke?” when the two met at the night club Muzik on March 15. Rob Ford apparently partied until 5am that night, drank to excess, and at one point went to a private washroom. He emerged 45 minutes later and was incoherent and rambling.

But despite his continued crack addiction, his offensive comments about… everyone, and his drunken fights with teen pop stars, Rob Ford insists he’s going to stay on the ballot for the October mayoral election.  I guess his new re-election campaign will now shift from focusing on the importance of giving second chances to the importance of giving third chances.

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Dr. Seuss Book Deemed “Too Violent” For Toronto Public Library

Hop on Pop Library

STOP. You Must Not Hop on Pop. Or at least according to one library patron who believes that Dr. Seuss’s beloved 1963 children’s book Hop on Pop should be banned from the Toronto Public Library because of the book’s violent themes.

The popular picture book was one of seven books that patrons with too much time on their hands have asked the Toronto Public Library to remove from its collection over the past year.

In Hop on Pop’s case, the patron complained that “it was violent and encouraged children to be violent with their fathers.” The crazed Torontonian library buzzkill not only recommended the book be removed, but also requested the Toronto Public Library apologize to Greater Toronto Area fathers and pay damages resulting from the book’s violent message. Someone must have had a rough hop on pop experience…

Despite the bizarre demand to ban Hop on Pop because it “encourages children to use violence against their fathers,” the Toronto Public Library rejected the request after careful consideration because the story actually advises children against hopping on their fathers.

“The children are actually told not to hop on pop,” reads a recently released report by the library’s Materials Review Committee.

The annual list of patron requests to reconsider material on Toronto library shelves averages about half a dozen. This year, in addition to Hop on Pop, anonymous library users also demanded the following books be banned: the children’s book Lizzy’s Lion the 2012 movie That’s My Boy, starring Adam Sandler, the 1983 romance novel A Kiss, Killing Kennedy by Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, and “Complete Hindi,” an adult language learning kit.

The committee rejected all of the requests.

Maybe next year instead of publishing the names of the “shocking and disturbing” books, they should release the names of the anonymous library patrons requesting their removal…

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