Posts Tagged ‘toronto’

By Matthew Casey

One thing that is really burning me is that the G20 summit is long over and there are still protests taking place that are demanding an inquest into police actions during the event.  In my opinion the police acted appropriately, in fact I thought they showed too much restraint during the riots that took place on Saturday June 26.  I watched several videos of G20 protests that took place in Pittsburgh and noticed that police took swift action on the crowds when objects were hurled at the officers or at the slightest hint that violence was about to erupt.  This was definitely not what happened in Toronto when the city witnessed some of the worst violence in its history.

On June 26 the police were nowhere to be seen when a number of police cruisers were set ablaze.  The police were also very hard to find while members of the “Black Bloc” ran rampant through the streets smashing the windows of poor helpless shop owners stores on Yonge Street and Queen Street.    The next day police seemed to be a little more aggressive and I might say with good reason.  Yes we may have a right to protest in Canada but the carnage from the day before basically ruined that right for everyone.   It was evident that these anarchists (a.k.a. criminals) were embedding themselves within these “peaceful” protests and could cause anarchy again on the Sunday.  So I am glad that police took action and nipped all of these protests in the bud. After all, what does destroying a mom and pop shop prove? Nothing except for the fact that you are a criminal and deserve to be arrested.

As for all of the people that were held for just “being in the wrong place at the wrong time”, I have no sympathy for them.  They knew that police presence was going to be heavy in the downtown core and that after the riots on Saturday that police were not going to take any chances with anyone.  If these people did not want to get involved in the unpleasant situation of being held for hours in the rain then they should have heeded the warnings to STAY OUT OF THE DOWNTOWN if you didn’t have to be there!  They should have done what I and many other people with common sense did–watch the action from a news network.  Most of the people who were innocently being held were indeed probably not protesters, but they were curious on lookers who just wanted to take pictures of what was going on.  I say to them that if members of accredited media organizations like CTV were being arrested and held what made them think that being a “Joe Smoe” would mean that the police wouldn’t approach them?  If police were taking in recognizable public figures like Lisa Laflamme then I would have thought that they wouldn’t hesitate to take me in as well.

I’m not saying that the police did everything perfectly as I am no legal expert.  But I feel that given the circumstances that surrounded the events I think they did very well and should have definitely done more during the riots to stem the damage that was done to people’s livelihoods. However all of this is now in the history books and hindsight is 20/20 as they say.  Maybe we can all learn from these events and be a little wiser if the G20 should ever come this way again–I sincerely hope it never does again!

By Matthew Casey

Apparent by the number of people who evacuated buildings during June 23rd's 5.0 earthquake in Ontario, many people did not know what to do in this situation.

Since the earthquake that occurred in Eastern Canada has many people still talking, it may be a good idea to go over the proper safety procedures to follow in an earthquake.  What was quite evident in talking to most office workers who were downtown or in any high-rise that experienced the shaking is that nobody knew what to do.

Prof. Paul Kovacs of the University of Western Ontario says in an interview with CBC that what most people did by evacuating office buildings during the event was one of the worst things to do.   Debris that is most likely to injure or kill people would come from the exterior of the building.  During an earthquake many pieces of debris will fall from the exterior of a building, however, most of the high rises in major cities are built to withstand the force of a strong earthquake making the safest place to be inside of them.  If you are going to leave the building then the next best thing to do would be to get as far away from the structure as possible, this is something that many office workers did not do in yesterday’s quake.

If you are wondering what steps to take in an earthquake to stay safe you can check out this link at which details everything from what to expect from a minor and major quake to how to prepare your home for one.

Listed here are the steps to take to remain safe if you find yourself in an earthquake.

If indoors:

• Stay inside.

• Drop under heavy furniture such as a table, desk, bed

or any solid furniture.

• Cover your head and torso to prevent being hit by falling


• Hold onto the object that you are under so that you remain


• If you can’t get under something strong, or if you are in a

hallway, flatten yourself or crouch against an interior wall.

• If you are in a shopping mall, go into the nearest store.

Stay away from windows, and shelves with heavy objects.

• If you are at school, get under a desk or table and hold on.

Face away from windows.

• If you are in a wheelchair, lock the wheels and protect the

back of your head and neck.

If you are outdoors:

• Stay outside.

• Go to an open area away from buildings.

• If you are in a crowded public place, take cover where you

won’t be trampled.

If you are in a vehicle:

• Pull over to a safe place where you are not blocking the

road. Keep roads clear for rescue and emergency vehicles.

• Avoid bridges, overpasses, underpasses, buildings or

anything that could collapse.

• Stop the car and stay inside.

• Listen to your car radio for instructions from emergency


• Do not attempt to get out of your car if downed power

lines are across it. Wait to be rescued.

• Place a HELP sign in your window if you need assistance.

• If you are on a bus, stay in your seat until the bus stops. Take

cover in a protected place. If you can’t take cover, sit in a

crouched position and protect your head from falling debris.

To reiterate, the Eastern half of the country is not prone to major violent quakes and people should not panic about another major event occurring. However, it doesn’t hurt to know what to do in the event that a more significant event was to occur.

By Matthew Casey

A magnitude 5.0 quake centered out of Western Quebec was felt as far away as Windsor, Ontario.

It was a much unexpected event today that had many people talking around the dinner table across eastern Canada.  A magnitude 5.0 earthquake occurred in Quebec just 50 kilometres north of the city of Ottawa and was felt as far away as Windsor in southern Ontario. Damage from this event was minor with the most significant damage being a collapsed bridge from a causeway in Bowman, Quebec.   Although it may be an occurrence that is not common around this part of the country, it is still a startling reminder that Central Canada is indeed on a fault zone and can be subjected to seismic activity.

When most think of a major earthquake prone area in North America the place that most likely comes to mind is the West coast.  But the quake that occurred today has drawn attention to the not often talked about fault lines that exist in Eastern and Central Canada.   The quake that occurred on June 23 was centered in the Western Quebec Seismic zone which is an area that encompasses a vast amount of land from the Ottawa Valley from Montreal to Temiscaming, Quebec, as well as the Laurentians and Eastern Ontario.

While this area seems not to be prone to frequent seismic events, there have been some notable quakes in the past.  Records from Natural Resources Canada indicate that between the years 1980 and 2000 sixteen earthquakes in this seismic zone have reached or exceeded 4.0 on the Richter scale.  The area has also seen more significant quakes in the past that include a 5.8 magnitude quake in 1732 that rocked the city of Montreal and caused significant damage.  Another more severe event occurred in 1935 when a magnitude 6.2 earthquake shook the area of Temiscaming, Quebec, a sparsely populated area about 194 kilometres east of Sudbury, Ontario.   This quake was followed by another significant one nine years later in 1944 which took place between Cornwall, Ontario and Massena, NY.  The magnitude 5.6 quake caused significant damage estimated at two million dollars at the time.

What the quake of June 23, 2010 brings to light is how unprepared the eastern portion of Canada may be to deal with such an event.  As history shows there have been stronger quakes than this one and had a stronger one occurred the area may not have been entirely prepared to deal with any damage that would be caused by a more severe event.   Today’s event showed that many were caught by surprise because this sort of thing is not something that is thought to happen in this part of the country.

Dr. Arsalan Mohajer, a professor of geology at the University of Toronto said in an interview with the Globe and Mail that there are faults that run across Ontario and Quebec that could be potentially disastrous for this area if it is not prepared for a more violent quake.  Dr. Mohajer says that there is a threatening fault that runs along the St. Lawrence River valley that could affect many areas around Montreal, Cornwall and Quebec City.  He also mentions that there is another similar fault that is located in the Niagara-Pickering area of Ontario that is in his words  “inconveniently close to Toronto and safety-related nuclear facilities east of the city.

According Dr. Mohajer the western half of Canada is prepared to deal with a major quake by investing in stricter building codes and teaching children what to do in an earthquake.  However, he says that eastern half of the country doesn’t expect events like this and is therefore not prepared to deal with them in the same way.

But as history shows, the amount of major activity in this seismic area is fairly low.  Dr. Mohajer explained that the area is a “weak zone” that tends to see low to moderate activity.  Most quakes that occur in other areas are the result of two plate boundaries pushing together.  However the event that occurred today was what is known as an “intraplate quake” which occurs within the plate as a result of pressure building up from constant pushing at the boundaries.

If nothing else, the earthquake of June 23 should be an eye opener that no one should forget that this area is not immune to these types of natural disasters.  Hopefully this will cause communities in Eastern and Central Canada to review their preparedness plans to ensure that they have proper plans in place to deal with a more significant event should one occur in the future.


Natural Resources Canada
The Globe and Mail

Earthquake Hits GTA

Posted: June 23, 2010 by Matthew Casey in Commentaries
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So today I was in the shower getting ready for work when I felt a weird sensation.  A slight tremor seemed to make me  almost lose my balance and I began to think that something was wrong with me.  After my shower I went out to the living room and turned on the television and began watching CP 24.  To my surprise they were covering a breaking news story about a 5.5 magnitude earthquake that just hit the GTA.

This is the first time I have ever felt an earthquake in my life and I have to say it was an unsettling feeling! Hopefully that is all we will feel in terms of this quake.   Everyday seems to be so unpredictable, never know what you’re going to experience!

By Matthew Casey

Sometimes I just need to vent to make myself feel better.  One thing that really gets me is how ridiculously stupid the drivers in Toronto can be.  I know we all have stupid moments behind the wheel but some of the stuff that I see people do in this city just defies explanation.

For instance just look at the driving schools here.  I was behind a student driver a couple of weeks ago and he was going through a large intersection.  I was shocked when I noticed the instructor motion for the student to change lanes in the middle of the intersection.  Where I’m from it was a rule that you don’t change lanes in an intersection! So this got me thinking that if a driving school teaches these people to drive like this, than it is no surprise why this city is so full of horrible drivers and high insurance rates!

So here is a list of some things that people do in Toronto that have cemented in my mind that this is the city of the worst drivers.  It can’t be a coincidence that Canada’s Worst Driver is filmed here.

The Top 15 Signs that Toronto Drivers Are the Craziest:

  1. Backing up on a major freeway because they missed their exit.
  2. When I’m stupid enough to be going 120 km/h in a 100 km/h zone and they are still flying past me like I’m a Sunday Driver.
  3. Honking at me when I won’t make a right hand turn on a red light with a sign that says “NO RIGHT ON RED”.
  4. Honking at me when I won’t make a left turn on a red light after the four cars ahead of me have already rushed through it.
  5. Honking at me when I won’t proceed through an intersection when the light has been red for only a couple seconds.
  6. Trying to squeeze around me to make a right turn at a red light when there is only one lane and a sidewalk beside me that leaves barely enough room for a shopping cart to move beside me, but they think that their Ford Windstar will fit.
  7. They slam on their brakes for no apparent reason.
  8. They tailgate me so close that one could not fit a credit card between my rear bumper and their front bumper.
  9. When they don’t know what lane to be in they drive down the middle of two.  Clearly, that is the SAFEST choice.
  10. Trying to pass me on the right on an on-ramp to a freeway that is only one lane.
  11. Honking at me because I can’t go any faster than the vehicle in front of me, but yet they seem to think that they could in my position.
  12. Thinking that they own the lane and refuse to let me merge into it.  I’m sorry, I didn’t realize it was the AWSD 923 express lane only.
  13. Honking at me because I didn’t floor the gas pedal as soon as the light turned green.
  14. Jumping in front of me when I am leaving a safe distance between me and the vehicle in front of me.
  15. Apparently signal lights are merely for decoration, hardly anyone uses them so they just cut in front of me.

That’s my rant.  I feel better now. I’m not saying that I am a better driver than anyone but I just tend to use common sense on the road.  Really, what do people think? A car is a heavy piece of equipment and when it hits something it isn’t going to just gently bounce off of it like it was a bubble.  So we should all do our part and scrutinize the way we drive to make Toronto roads safer!

Slow down, use common sense, avoid distractions and be considerate to everyone else just trying to get from point A to point B like you!

So in recent months the TTC has found themselves in proverbial hot water over service and funding issues. Here are a few new service initiatives that they will soon implement to improve service and save money.  These are real and have been leaked exclusively to Hot Off The Press!

  1. In an effort to stretch fuel economy and to improve schedule timing, buses will no longer come to complete stops at their destinations.  Passengers will be expected to hit the ground running.
  2. There will be an extra cost ladies only VIP seating section with Adam Giambrone on the Red Rocket.
  3. TTC staff will now play instruments for money in the subway stations.
  4. The monotone female voice that announces stops on the routes will now be replaced by Adam Giambrone talking in a seductive manner to call out stops.
  5. The TTC will now provide rooms that are out of the public view for staff members to sleep in to avoid those annoying  “gotcha” photos.
  6. To save electricity, escalators will only work in subway stations on the last day of every month.
  7. Lighting in designated waiting areas will be turned off at 4pm to further save electricity costs.
  8. Nose plugs will be handed out free of charge at subway stations with strong smelling dirty washrooms that can be smelled more than 20 feet away.
  9. The TTC will now add a  15% tax to panhandler’s  profits in the subway stations.
  10. Extra Seating will now be provided on the roofs of subway cars to allow for more passengers to be carried at once.
  11. Subway train doors will only stay open for 10 seconds at stops.  Passengers are now expected to rush the doors.

These will all be implemented in the coming months to help Toronto have the best transit system in Canada!

What Kind of City is This?!

Posted: February 18, 2010 by Matthew Casey in Commentaries
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So I just have to say that I have discovered that Torontonians are not anything like Maritimers.  Yesterday while at a very busy subway station in Toronto I managed to somehow fall up a flight of stairs during rush hour.  Yes, you are probably asking yourself, how did he fall up the stairs?  Well I am not to sure of that myself, it all happened really fast, but my best guess would be I skipped a step on the way up.

Anyways, I wasn’t seriously injured, although my dignity was given quite  a bruising.  But what disturbed me the most other than the fact of how dirty the stairs in a TTC subway station are is that not one person even asked me if I was okay or needed help!  People were literally jumping over me, and walking around me giving me dirty looks.   Had something like this happened in the Maritimes people would be crawling over each other to make sure the person was okay! Trust me I know this as I have witnessed these things in New Brunswick a time or two.

Toronto is a beautiful city but the people here are just in too much of a rush to bother to help their fellow neighbour.  I just hope that I never seriously injure myself.  I think if I had of been injured I would be laying on the steps of that subway station right now.   The other thing I hope is that I don’t come across my spill on Youtube! I could only imagine the TTC staff in a security office laughing uncontrollably at some guy falling up a set of stairs on a security camera whilst replaying my wipe out over and over again.  Somehow that security camera footage of people in embarrassing situations always leaks to sites like Failblog and Youtube.

All this said, it gave me a good laugh too, I know I looked ridiculous.  I mean really there is no way to fall gracefully is there?

—Matthew Casey