The big event this week at City Hall: the launch of the rate-supported budget (water, waste, and parking). But there’s also audits galore, electric car charging stations, new appointments to the Zoo and Exhibition Place Boards, and more. Also, spiders make their debut in the weekly Bug Report!
On the agenda
next this week at Toronto City Hall: a long-awaited but underwhelming affordable housing policy, park winterization, the future of CaféTO, SIU investigations, fixing up the Gardiner, and a couple of Committee of Adjustment items. I break it all down for you! Plus, your weekly Bug Report.
So, uh, yeah, this is a thing that’s happening: I’m doing some City Hall previews for Matt Elliott’s newsletter City Hall Watcher. I didn’t get less disenchanted with politics or anything, but I’ve been getting tired of not knowing things, and also this is basically the one gig on the planet I am perfectly qualified for so I kind of had to apply.
Next week, Toronto City Council’s various committees discuss the 2022 shelter plan, Open Data, zoning by-laws, arts grants, Indigenous entrepreneurship, and more. I’ve pored over the agendas to summarize the key items for you. Yep, I’m back. As Lil Nas X might say, “The break is over.”
A nice routine I have fallen into over the past several months is spider-hunting while catching up on the podcast The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps. And so
“Like Rodney Dangerfield, obsessive collectors get no respect. The word ‘trainspotter’, which refers to a railway enthusiast, is, in British English, synonymous with ‘loser’, and there is indeed something slightly tragic about someone who spends all their free time looking for things the rest of us find pointless.”
Aaaanyway, here’s a bunch of spiders and whatnot I’ve found on recent winter excursions. Continue reading Field journal: More spiders in pinecones
A few days ago, suffering from cabin fever, I went down to the Sunnyside boardwalk to flip rocks and see what I could find. Pickings were meagre at first, but I struck pay dirt with a pinecone! Pinecones will now be part of my winter spider-hunting repertoire. Continue reading Field Journal: A Sunnyside pinecone
In early May, jealous of all the UK people posting their Pardosa observations, I headed to Humber Bay Shores Park early one morning to see if our native Ontario wolf spiders were out yet. They were not. However, I did find lots of other arthropods! A couple of second-timers—almost as exciting as first-timers. Continue reading Field Journal: Humber Bay Shores Park
We’re starting to get the odd day of genuine nice spring weather—and people are flocking to the outdoors. Many parks are closed and the Martin Goodman Trail is packed. So those in search of a nice out-of-the-way spot need to get a little creative. Continue reading Field Journal: Socially Distant Spidering
So local politics is picking back up after the winter break. We face a challenging budget and provincially-introduced chaos over the fate of the TTC and Ontario Place. As I’m not covering it, I encourage readers to support local independent media instead.
Matt Elliott has recently launched a newsletter of his own, City Hall Watcher. It’s free until February. Thereafter, subscriptions will be $5/month or $50/year, or free for “journalism school students, other people just getting started covering Toronto City Hall and municipal issue advocates who are not able to afford a subscription.”
I’ve also thrown together a small Twitter list of folks who cover City Hall. (And also a few Queen’s Park reporters, just because.) I may add to it over time.
Okay, now back to hibernation…
Note to readers: I am taking a hiatus from the whole City Hall thing. I’ll soon be cancelling all your recurring Paypal donations and putting the Patreon on hold.
It’s not about money or the work or anything. It’s just an existential despair thing, you know?
Thank you for your support over the years. I could not have done it without you.
If you want the long version, here you go. Continue reading Pivoting to Spiders
Photo from @imfgtoronto.
“The iceberg is gone, global warming has taken care of that,” jokes new City Manager Chris Murray as he begins his speech.
The iceberg, a municipal budget infographic portraying the City of Toronto’s billions of dollars in approved but unfunded capital projects, had become a cult favourite among City Hall wonks—you know, the kind of people who have cult favourite municipal budget infographics. These are the kind of people who go to the IMFG‘s annual City Manager’s Address, which took place at the end of November. (Slides available here.) Continue reading Recap: The 2018 City Manager’s Address