By Rosemary Westwood - Sunday, March 10, 2013 - 0 Comments
A group of University of Toronto graduates claims to have built the most energy-efficient…
A group of University of Toronto graduates claims to have built the most energy-efficient light bulb in the world.
At about 200 per cent more efficiency than the current wave of energy-saving LED technology, the Nanolight doesn’t even look like a regular bulb. But Gimmy Chu, one of the inventors, says that’s partly why it works so well.
It’s made by folding up a super-efficient circuit board dotted with LED bulbs. The 10- or 12-watt bulbs (which cost $30 and $45, respectively) pump out the equivalent of 75 or 100 watts, emit less heat than the competitors and, Chu says, pay for themselves over their lifespan—about 20 years at three hours per day. Nanolight’s inventors have raised more than $240,000 for the project via Kickstarter, the crowd-source funding website—more than 12 times their initial goal. The first 7,500 bulbs, made in China, will be shipped to customers around the world by September.
It’s not a bad time to be revolutionizing the LED business; by some estimates, industry revenue could hit $1 billion by 2014.
By Emma Teitel - Friday, March 8, 2013 at 4:32 PM - 0 Comments
Nothing says free speech like pulling the fire alarm. It was a quarter past seven last night when police emptied U of T’s George Ignatieff Theatre. Keynote speaker Dr. Janice Fiamengo, an English professor at the University of Ottawa, rolled her eyes and adjusted her blouse as the crowd poured out of the building and onto the sidewalk to mingle with the small throng of protesters—pretty girls with big placards and little patience. They wanted Dr. Fiamengo to take her message elsewhere. But firemen came and went, and the professor, once a radical feminist, proceeded to do what the University of Toronto Men’s Issues Awareness Society, and the Canadian Association for Equality invited her to do: denounce women’s studies.
The discipline has devolved into an “intellectually incoherent and dishonest” one, she argued, replacing a “callow set of slogans for real thought.” It’s man-hating, anti-Western, and fundamentally illiberal. “It champions a “kind of masculinity that isn’t very masculine at all,” and shuts down freedom of debate, hence the fire alarm.
This message was quite pleasing to the minority in the room—greying baby boomers of the pro-Fiamengo, Men’s rights camp–and exceedingly distressing to the majority—by the looks of it, gender studies majors and people who would, if given the opportunity, personally execute Rob Ford. It looked like a small contingent of CARP wandered, bemused, into a Bon Iver concert.
Appearances aside though, it was a meeting of truly lunatic minds.
Fiamengo opened the lecture with a recording of a song written by a male friend: a satirical folk number about the need for men to rise up and take back their masculinity from gender-bending feminists. “Stand our ground/defend our den/it’s time we learned to be men again.” And then there was this: “You don’t have to sit down to pee.”
From here things got progressively awkward. She referenced the male to female death ratio on the Titanic, and declared that “self sacrifice and heroism are not exclusive to men,” “but they are distinctive to men.” Students scowled behind their wayfarers. She railed against affirmative action, a family court system skewed unjustly to favour mothers over fathers, and the deep vein of anti-Western sentiment running through academic feminism that makes it okay to decry gender inequality in the West, and keep quiet about vaginal mutilation and honour killings in the East.
The women’s studies crowd looked constipated. Fiamengo’s arguments weren’t going down easy, this one—her best—in particular: women’s studies “can’t be about the pursuit of truth” because it has an “ideological base.” Its goal is to push the ideology that women are victims and men are perpetrators. Therefore, any evidence to the contrary, regardless of its veracity, is unwelcome. In other words, ideology censors truth. “If you believe you are righteous,” she said, “you don’t challenge other views.”
But you can try. And many did during the question period. When the professor finished her talk on an inspirational note about being relentlessly inquisitive, students and men’s rights activists filled the aisles to lambast and laud her. One man bemoaned the “feminist dictatorship,” another, the legal system that bankrupted him after a divorce. A stout black man in the corner demanded to know what men’s rights groups were doing to help him, as “a racialized person,” exploring different “gender identities.” When a woman complained that the man who spoke before her got more time at the microphone, another woman stood up and yelled in her defence, something to the effect of “That’s because he’s a man!” A young woman with thick black hair in a yellow coat, irked by Dr. Fiamengo’s “heteronormative” answer to her question about lesbian moms, screamed “That is bullshit!” and stormed out of the lecture hall.
Free speech was alive and well at the University of Toronto last night, but in that moment I’d have welcomed its death with open arms.
It was clear that both the professor’s detractors and supporters were, overwhelmingly, nuts. And Dr. Fiamengo herself, was, standing at that podium, a buoy of relative reason in a sea of everything but. “Any movement can attract hysterical detraction and unsavoury allies,” she would tell me over the phone the next morning. “That is the risk one runs.” She’s right. Take this little Facebook diatribe from an active member of A Voice for Men, one of the men’s rights groups who support her.
There has never been a great female composer. Throughout history there has been plenty of privileged woman, who have had access to pianos, and violins, yet somehow we are expected to believe that men have somehow stopped them for being composers? Woman have the big lovely eyes, big tits, but mean [I think he meant “men”] are far more beautiful, they are more beautiful where it counts. In their wonderful creative souls.
Unfortunately, though, the other side is no more intelligent. They just use bigger words.
Almost every pro-women’s studies person who approached the mic last night, spoke another language, a jargon you might misconstrue as scientific–only the words they used weren’t shortcuts meant to simplify or summarize complex concepts, they were used to make simple concepts sound complex: Hegemonic, racialized, problematic, intersectionality. It was pure obfuscation, 1984 with tattoos and septum piercings. Some of the students couldn’t even string together a single lucid sentence. All they had were these meaningless, monolithic words. I felt like I was on a game show, the exercise being how many times can you say patriarchal, phallocentric hegemony in 45 seconds or less. It was frankly, for a feminist, depressing.
Slogans don’t make scholarship and being self-righteous does not make you right.
Going into the talk last night I wasn’t convinced women’s studies needed overhauling. Now I’m positive that it does. Not because I believe fighting misandry is a legitimate humanitarian cause (LOL) or because Dr. Fiamengo’s speech was particularly insightful, but because her detractors—presumably, women’s studies’ finest—were so profoundly, not.
Happy women’s day, everyone.
By Paul Wells - Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 12:09 PM - 0 Comments
Between them, the University of Toronto and McGill University have 100,000 students, $596 million in total accumulated funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, one Charles Taylor and a perhaps disproportionate amount of the spotlight on higher education in Canada’s two largest provinces. They also have two new presidents: Meric Gertler at UofT and Suzanne Fortier at McGill. Together the two changes are probably more significant than most federal cabinet shuffles.
(This blog post will be lousy with Laurentian Consensus nostalgia; sorry. Perhaps only for today though, the less said about the University of Calgary, the better.)
In hiring close to home, both universities can be taken to be demonstrating either quiet confidence in the maturity of Canadian academe, or a chastened realization that in a time of limited resources, even the biggest schools are wise to stick to their knitting. Both schools instituted global searches and wound up bypassing candidates from afar in favour of local produce. Gertler was Toronto’s dean of Arts and Science. Fortier is president of the National Science and Engineering Research Council — indeed her start as principal of McGill will be delayed so she can cool off from that job for six months before taking a position with a major NSERC grant recipient — but her BSc and PhD were from McGill. Continue…
By Mike Doherty - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 7:00 PM - 0 Comments
Academic cheaters and plagiarists may not prosper, but they are inventive
Back in January, when Chris Spence, director of education of the Toronto District School Board, faced multiple allegations of plagiarism—including in his Ph.D. dissertation—he resigned without offering excuses. And where most would see this as a good thing, some committed cheats might feel he didn’t protest enough.
The tribunal decisions on those accused of academic offences at the University of Toronto are published online, and the excuses they document show an undeniable (if twisted) creativity. For instance, a certain “Mr. B”—names are customarily redacted—who was found in 2008 to have plagiarized a political science essay and forged a medical note to explain its lateness, claimed that, in a hurry to catch a plane, he’d given a friend (“E”) his essay and the note to submit; “E” had altered the note and printed the wrong document because of “some kind of animus toward him.” When “E” denied involvement, Mr. B said it was actually another person with whom he’d “had a fight.” He then claimed dyslexia had caused him to confuse names and dates, and the plagiarized work was, in any case, simply study notes.
Such ingenuity, flying bravely in the face of reason, makes for entertaining reading. Mr. B’s is one of a number of mind-bendingly convoluted cases (involving egregious and/or multiple offences, or accusations that a student denies in the face of evidence) published by the tribunal. The cases in a given year represent a miniscule percentage of the student body—a fact the U of T’s administration is keen to stress; they’re published to provide transparency, to act as a deterrent and to help the students’ lawyers learn precedence. And while vice-provost Jill Matus notes that “proactive education is probably better than showing the tribunal results,” the cases provide instructional descriptions of the lengths to which some students will go to avoid actually studying.
By Emma Teitel - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 6:05 PM - 0 Comments
The “epic sex club adventure”, or, more specifically, The University of Toronto’s Sexual Education Centre’s annual Sexual Awareness Week, was big news in Toronto Tuesday morning. The UTSEC will host a party at the Oasis Aqua Lounge–a sex club in downtown Toronto– on January 21st. Although the group denies that the event is an orgy, everyone else is pretty much convinced that it is.
In the words of one very enthusiastic University of Waterloo student and reddit user: ”UofT is holding an orgy, and you’re invited! You just need your student ID. (It’s for UTSEC’s sexual awareness week…and sex positiveness of course…)”
Sadly, things are not always as they seem.
Aspiring swingers take note: I spoke to one of the event’s organizers this morning and learned more about the “epic sex adventure”: There will be free condoms, free lube, sex swings, bondage, a dungeon—and even finger foods. The only thing there won’t be much of is actual sex. According to Dylan Tower, a UTSEC coordinator, a total of four people consummated their love in the bowels of the Oasis Aqua Lounge at last year’s party (there were 80 guests in attendance). Who were these swingers exactly? Two monogamous couples.
So much for an orgy.
Read the complete interview with Tower, below.
By Julia Belluz - Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 11:49 AM - 0 Comments
This is part one in a series adapted from the 2012 Hancock Lecture, “Who Live and Who Dies, Will Social Media Decide?” recently delivered at the University of Toronto by Julia Belluz. This installment looks at health-care reform in the U.S. and its intersection with social media. Read parts two, three and four.
Arijit Guha is a 31-year-old PhD student at Arizona State University. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and earned his undergraduate degree at an elite liberal arts school in Minnesota. In 2005, while working at an academic journal in the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, he met his wife. A few years later, they decided to follow his thesis advisor out to Arizona State for graduate studies in Urban Ecology and sustainability.
Fast forward to December 2010: Guha and his wife took a trip to India. There, he experienced a bout of intense abdominal pain. But even after he returned to the U.S. the following January, the pain didn’t go away.
By Brian Bethune - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 5:00 AM - 0 Comments
A Toronto professor fires a volley into the culture war
Michael Cobb, 39, an English professor at the University of Toronto, also teaches in the university’s Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies. He’s the author of God Hates Fags: The Rhetorics of Religious Violence and now of Single: Arguments for the Uncoupled, a literary theorist’s take on how popular culture has not caught up to social reality when it comes to singles. Despite the fact that singles now outnumber married people, they don’t really exist as a recognized category, because our prevailing cultural narrative sees them as “real” people in waiting. Single is Cobb’s opening volley in a culture war.
Q: You’ve written quite a polemic over something scarcely noticed by the world. But singles’ cultural invisibility is the starting point of your issue with coupledom.
A: I had a lot of frustration with why singles weren’t being represented. We were always pre- or post-coupled—widows or bachelors or divorcees, unfortunates of some kind. Just a really awful category. When I started the book, I’d been single for 10 years of my life, and quite happily so, and not because I had endless freedom to pursue whatever person or fleeting irresponsible experience [I wanted]. It was more a joy of being by myself and being able to cultivate all sorts of relationships and not have one person completely be the centre and focus of the world.
By Jesse Brown - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 3:12 PM - 0 Comments
You don’t hear much about the cost of post-secondary education dropping, but here’s one area where students should be spending less money than ever: texts. I’d say textbooks, but that’s just it–the costly hardcover textbook’s day is all but done. Ditto the cumbersome photocopied course pack. A slew of cheap and free options are available to a professor assembling a syllabus. There’s Open Access, a growing international movement to forego the price-gouging of the academic publishers and publish peer-reviewed scholarly works as freely available material. There’s the ever-expanding public domain. There are millions of high quality essays and articles freely and legitimately posted online. There are affordable subscription-based databases and collections. There’s Google Scholar to sort through it all. And there are fair dealing exceptions to Copyright, which will be extended to educational uses as soon as this summer.
Add it up, and students should be enjoying some much needed relief when it comes to the cost of study materials. But instead, they’ll likely be paying more than ever. The Association of Universities and Colleges Canada, representing dozens of our top schools, have just signed the most expensive copyright licensing deal ever offered to them by the collection group Access Copyright.
By Nicholas Köhler - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 12:07 PM - 0 Comments
Steering Berkeley through its worst budget crisis, and why elite schools should charge more
Robert Birgeneau, a physicist and former University of Toronto president, has led the University of California at Berkeley as chancellor since 2004. Last week he announced he’s stepping down at the end of the year. Birgeneau, who turned 70 this month, delayed retirement because of the budget crisis—what he calls “the most extreme disinvestment by the state in UC’s history,” brought on by cuts and economic troubles in California. He implemented tough cost-cutting measures, found new sources of money, and dealt with an uptick in activism.
Q: Undergrad fees at the UC system increased 32 per cent two years ago, pushing costs up three times what they were a decade earlier. Last year, tuition rose another eight per cent, then another 9.6 per cent. Meanwhile, reduced services meant wastebaskets around Berkeley overflowed with trash. It sounds like a rotten time to be chancellor. Why didn’t you just retire?
A: I didn’t retire because that would have been cowardly. Berkeley plays a special role in the world of public higher education. We are arguably—certainly in North America—the only university that competes directly and successfully with the very rich privates: Harvard, MIT, Stanford. That’s an important role, to show you can have a public university that’s as strong as those very well-funded privates.
By Luke Simcoe - Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 1:53 PM - 0 Comments
Luke Simcoe is a guest blogger. He will be contributing the occasional post on web culture, the various kooks and cranks who inhabit the Internet, as well as copyright matters.
Between them, the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario possess a sizeable portion of Canada’s brain trust. Yet somehow, the two institutions recently agreed to a copyright deal so dumb that one observer accused them of a “complete capitulation to an important battle over the costs and parameters of access to knowledge in Canadian post-secondary institutions.”
In an under-reported move back in January, U of T and Western signed a new agreement with Access Copyright, the private body responsible for collecting and distributing royalties in Canada. Previously, Access Copyright collected an annual tariff of $3.38 per full-time student. Under the new agreement–retroactive to 2011 and extending until the end of 2013–that fee has ballooned to $27.50. Granted, the new fee eliminates the levy applied to photocopied coursepacks, but those coursepacks are already being phased out as more material becomes legally available online or through commercial databases. Continue…
By John Geddes - Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 3:31 PM - 0 Comments
A few years back I came upon one of those historical footnotes that gets you thinking: after Abraham Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865, as he lay dying in a boarding house across the street from the Ford Theater, one of the small group that watched over him was Dr. Anderson Abbott, Canada’s first black physician.
Reading the Prime Minister’s statement today in recognition of Black History Month, my mind’s eye again created the tableau of Lincoln’s deathbed and the singular Canadian in the room.
Stephen Harper makes reference today to black Canadians who fought in the War of 1812 (thanks, Farandwide); last year, he reminded us of black icons ranging from a rodeo cowboy, to a newspaper owner, to Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins. All worthy of note, I hasten to agree.
But at the risk of hinting at a hierarchy of trailblazers, I can’t help wondering why we don’t hear more often about Abbott. What a story: a Toronto-trained black doctor who served with distinction in the Civil War, was befriended by the president, and returned to Ontario to forge an impressive medical career.
There’s a good biographical note on Abbott here, on the website of the Oxford African American Studies Center, which is headed by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
David Naylor, the current president of University of Toronto and a former dean of medicine at the university, sends a candid email, admitting that Abbott is “under-recognized” at U. of T., where he took some of his medical training, and stood for an examination in the discipline in 1867, two years before being admitted to Ontario’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.
“I heard nothing about Dr. Abbott in medical school in the 1970s,” Naylor writes, “and only encountered snippets about him later while doing thesis work at Oxford in social history of Canadian medicine and health policy. In recent years, Abbott occasionally has been flagged by the Faculty of Medicine as a pioneering figure whom we proudly claim. But frankly, he’s received limited profile, and I’m one of the culprits as a past dean. Furthermore, so far as I can tell, Abbott isn’t mentioned in the 2001 official history of the University.”
By Nancy Macdonald - Friday, May 13, 2011 at 11:15 AM - 0 Comments
Donald Trump gets sued, Rita Chretien is found alive, and Don Cherry is angry about something again
Compassion for bin Laden
Angela Merkel’s remark that she was “glad” Osama bin Laden had been killed sparked a firestorm of controversy in Germany. Hamburg judge Heinz Uthmann even filed a criminal complaint, alleging the German chancellor broke a law barring the “rewarding and approving of crimes”—in this case, bin Laden’s “homicide.” Politicians denounced her, and 64 per cent of Germans agreed: bin Laden’s death was “no reason to rejoice.” In L.A., however, even the Dalai Lama—compassion incarnate—said he had it coming. “If something is serious and it is necessary to take counter-measures, you have to take counter-measures,” said the Tibetan spiritual leader.
Mother’s day miracle
After 49 days alone in a Chevy Astro van on a logging road in remote Nevada, Rita Chretien was found barely conscious, but clinging to life. The 56-year-old Penticton, B.C., native and her husband, Albert, were stranded en route to Las Vegas on March 19; Albert, who left two days later to ﬁnd help, hasn’t been seen since. Rita’s faith, and a bit of trail mix, was all that kept her going until finally she was spotted by hunters on ATVs. “We were praying for a miracle and, boy, did we get one,” her son Raymond told reporters Sunday.
By Philippe Gohier - Friday, May 6, 2011 at 9:36 AM - 43 Comments
Michael Ignatieff talks to the Globe.
“I’m going back into a classroom because the only damn thing I can do that’s any use to anybody is to teach kids what I learned and what mistakes I made … The life that I like the best is teaching. It’s the end of my life as a politician.”
By Philippe Gohier - Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 5:08 PM - 51 Comments
Michael Ignatieff will take up residence at the University of Toronto.
“Political leadership often comes with onerous burdens and Dr. Ignatieff has met his challenges with both fortitude and imagination,” Fraser said. “He will be welcomed into the university community in Toronto by both faculty and students and honoured for his commitment to our national life. In return, we shall have the benefit from his learning and experience.”
By Nicholas Köhler - Monday, March 14, 2011 at 5:16 PM - 7 Comments
You can engage a room of 500 students, know the material cold, and know how to share it
In 1986, to recognize the importance of university teaching, the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and 3M Canada created the 3M National Teaching Fellowships. Since 2006, Maclean’s has proudly been the program’s media sponsor. Here, we announce this year’s 10 winners, as well as profile one of them, English professor Nick Mount.
It is a rare warm day in what has proven to be a punishingly cold Toronto winter. It is a Friday afternoon—a Friday afternoon before a long weekend. In essence, it is the sort of afternoon for which the playing of hooky was invented. So why is Nick Mount standing on a stage before a sea of first-year students—hundreds of them, piled like waves up the sloping floor of a University of Toronto lecture theatre? “I’m actually,” admits Mount, “shocked you’re here.” He spends the next two hours reminding the class of 450 students why they are.
The topic today is the Chris Ware graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth. The course is Literature for Our Time, a primer that encompasses all of Corrigan, Virginia Woolf’s stream-of-consciousness To the Lighthouse, and Toronto novelist Andrew Pyper’s literary noir The Killing Circle. Mount’s close reading of Corrigan, an anti-hero parable of fathers and sons that ends ambiguously with a Superman figure swooping angel-like upon the protagonist and carrying him away, is as careful in its attentions as Mount had been with either Woolf or Vladimir Nabokov’s dense, disturbing Lolita.
By Josh Dehaas, Cameron Ainsworth-Vincze - Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 12:00 PM - 0 Comments
Why did you choose U of T?
“I’m one of those people who always dreamt of living in New York,” says Kellogg, explaining that she enjoys the fact that eastern cities have four seasons, unlike California. “I chose U of T because I wanted to be at a big school in a major city in the East and I couldn’t afford to go to NYU.”
Was it the right choice?
“I knew I’d made the right decision at my first Nuit Blanche,” says the arts editor of U of T’s student newspaper, the Varsity. “Seeing art everywhere and having the city vibrating at 4 a.m. was so exciting.” Kellogg also loves being able to walk to literary, music and art events right after class. “I can walk to Queen Street and go art-gallery hopping or I can go to the Horseshoe and see an amazing band for $8. Plus, all the big bands come here. I really enjoyed the Arcade Fire concert on the island this summer.”
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 10:09 AM - 0 Comments
That mysterious substance guidance counsellors call ‘fit’ is not so mysterious anymore
Deanna Jarvis, the 19-year-old first-year student on our cover, says she knows the University of Guelph is the right place for her. She’s just not sure why. Maybe it’s the gold and red leaves that litter the campus in the fall. She could never live in a concrete jungle, she says. Perhaps it’s that Guelph offers a rare major (adult development, families and wellbeing) that will teach her how to help people. “I just like to listen to friends and help them,” she says. Or maybe it’s that Guelph is a big enough school to keep famous playwrights like Judith Thompson on staff. Jarvis, a parttime actor, is a huge Thompson fan. Whatever the reason, Guelph just seems to fit.
Parents, students, university presidents and even education marketers are trying to nail down exactly what makes a school fit. Traditionally, school size and city size were the shorthand for determining where a particular student should go. Big schools offer more cultural opportunities; tiny schools offer more personal interaction, or so the theory goes. Those rules still apply, but sociologist James Côté, of the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont., has found another predictor for what he calls the “goodness of fit.” His research found students do best when their inner motivations match what the environment has to offer.
By Stephanie Findlay and Nicholas Köhler - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 9:51 AM - 1,913 Comments
Worries that efforts in the U.S. to limit enrollment of Asian students in top universities may migrate to Canada
When Alexandra and her friend Rachel, both graduates of Toronto’s Havergal College, an all-girls private school, were deciding which university to go to, they didn’t even bother considering the University of Toronto. “The only people from our school who went to U of T were Asian,” explains Alexandra, a second-year student who looks like a girl from an Aritzia billboard. “All the white kids,” she says, “go to Queen’s, Western and McGill.”
Alexandra eventually chose the University of Western Ontario. Her younger brother, now a high school senior deciding where he’d like to go, will head “either east, west or to McGill”—unusual academic options, but in keeping with what he wants from his university experience. “East would suit him because it’s chill, out west he could be a ski bum,” says Alexandra, who explains her little brother wants to study hard, but is also looking for a good time—which rules out U of T, a school with an academic reputation that can be a bit of a killjoy.
Or, as Alexandra puts it—she asked that her real name not be used in this article, and broached the topic of race at universities hesitantly—a “reputation of being Asian.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, July 5, 2010 at 9:18 AM - 61 Comments
The Liberal addresses students at Tsinghua University.
In October 1966, as a young student, I helped organize a teach-in on China that attracted several thousand people to the University of Toronto to study the unfolding crisis of the Cultural Revolution.
Many of the experts at the teach-in viewed the events sweeping across China in a positive light, as the needed renewal of a revolution stifled by bureaucracy. As outsiders, we had no idea of the violence and chaos that were to follow. I learned from that experience how difficult it is to understand China from the outside, and how difficult it is to predict China’s future.
By John Geddes - Saturday, June 26, 2010 at 11:50 AM - 0 Comments
Toronto was quiet this morning. The prospect of G20 summit protests, mixed with some confusion over which thoroughfares are actually closed, had folks avoiding the downtown streets. With rain failing so softly there was no need to open an umbrella, I didn’t bother catching a cab outside my hotel on Bloor Street, and strolled south instead along St. George Street through the nearly deserted University of Toronto campus.
U of T shows well even when it’s not bustling. A minivan of Chinese visitors with summit passes around their necks were snapping pictures of University College, a high-Victorian marvel that never fails to impress. But I was more struck by all the new buildings and construction; I paused try to imagine what the Rotman business school’s expansion will look like when it’s completed in a couple of years. Handsome, I imagine, given that it’s another project of Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg, the architects behind the Royal Conservatory of Music’s celebrated new Koerner Hall (not far away on Bloor) and Winnipeg’s innovative Manitoba Hydro Place.
Still drifting south in the general direction of the summit’s media centre, which is on the Canadian National Exhibition grounds, I checked to see if I could find a bite of breakfast somewhere in the fun cluster of restaurants tucked on Baldwin Street. No luck—all closed. (And I was dismayed to see the venerable Yung Sing pastry shop looking shut for good. When did that happen?)
South a couple of blocks further and I took in the exhilarating curvy sweep of the new Frank Gehry-designed front of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Nice the way the celebrated Gehry expansion leaves intact the most satisfying angle of the old AGO—the northeast corner anchored by Henry Moore’s eight-ton Large Two Forms, its bronze worn shiny where kids can’t resist sliding on it, though none where around this morning.
A notch south of the art gallery along McCaul Street and it’s impossible not to smile at the Ontario College of Art and Design’s Sharp Centre for Design. In case you haven’t seen it, or at least a picture, it’s a white-and-black building lifted nine stories in the air on slanted coloured stilts. Smack dab in the centre of the sheltered space beneath the suspended structure, a woman practiced tai chi solo this morning, which somehow tied the whole crazy thing together.
A few minutes later, turning west on Queen Street, I realized the rain was falling just hard enough to wet my shoulders, so I flagged down a cab, and ended my little foot tour remembering why I like this city so well.
By Barbara Amiel - Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 12:20 PM - 122 Comments
A few scholars giving papers on terrorism don’t equal annual weeks of hate-in against Israel and its people
How on earth did I end up this Passover week reaching into the murky world of the many Canadian groups that have formed an anti-Israel coalition? The impetus came via the University of Ottawa’s obscene letter to Ann Coulter, which led me to remember, not unnaturally, the letter written by University of Toronto president David Naylor last May to Maclean’s. His was designed to put me in my place after I had described university presidents such as Naylor as “enablers” of anti-Semitism. The place he actually put me in was the belly of the beast where the elements that make up the common front of Canada’s anti-Israel coalition dwell.
I’ve seen the detritus of Israeli Apartheid Week in previous years on campuses, including Wanted for Murder captions on photos of prominent Israeli and American politicians. I missed the York University decor of barbed wire and photographs of Jewish students with derogatory remarks on them. “I will eat my hat,” I wrote to Naylor, “the day any of [these university presidents] allow an anti-Islamism Week…organized by Jewish students with models of suicide terrorists and photos of Muslim students with negative attachments.” President Naylor sent me a hat, but the reason for which I had offered to eat it was sadly lacking.
“Three years ago,” Naylor wrote, “a Zionist student group at U of T organized just such a series of sessions.” The event he was referring to was “Know Radical Islam Week,” which was a series of lectures on civil rights and human rights under radical Islamism as well as a look at “Terrorism at Our Doorstep” by David Harris, former chief of strategic planning for CSIS, and “Domestic and International Terrorism” by professor Salim Mansur. Hardly a campaign to delegitimize a nation-state.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, March 26, 2010 at 9:41 AM - 100 Comments
9:36am. First things first, a requisite description of the surroundings. The conference centre at the Hyatt Regency doesn’t look anything like a conference centre. It looks like a terribly hip Swedish bar. The light fixtures are these silver blobby things hanging from the ceiling and the walls at either end of the room are emitting red light. The foyer is all white light and includes an actual bar. I believe the Cardigans are playing a set here tomorrow afternoon.
9:57am. Paul Martin has arrived. Let the party renewal commence. Continue…