Archive for December, 2010

Back in the city…

Posted on December 30th, 2010 2 Comments

…it’s good to be. Holla!

hdr, photography, ttc, subway, station, bloor, toronto, city, life

Compared to the northern trails I’ve been walking, Toronto isn’t so bad. But even so, there’s always that wind. It would whip around up at my folks’ place but here it howls; you round an innocuous corner and wham! Just like a ninja.

sushi shop, sherbourne street, toronto, city, life

I’m in the process of digging through the collected post-holiday mountain of stuff so there won’t be much more to this post. But I sure would love to finish my top 10 posts of 2010 roundup for later today — we’ll see how good my ascension skills are.

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay, Pictures

Merry Christmas from…

Posted on December 25th, 2010 2 Comments

…the great white north. And when I mean north, I mean, like, way the hell north. The north where rocks are extracted from big bouldery hills and where bodies are easy to dispose of.

northern mining town, life

This is not Toronto – a rarity, so don’t get used to it!

It is a sort of sub-alpine town  (if the hills were only bigger), situated somewhere in that vast swath of land called Northern Ontario.

… Continue Reading

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay, Pictures

Staring at the wall

Posted on December 18th, 2010 2 Comments

Getting my pre-holidays sickness out of the way (surprised if I wasn’t snotting up right now, to be honest), and not really into “Four Eyed Monsters” at the moment.

still life, wall, photography, toronto, city, life

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay, Pictures

Let’s get trite!

Posted on December 17th, 2010 2 Comments

Just for the record, I don’t think the Toronto Star is a rag just because it chooses to indulge in some fluffy writing. But when I saw this posted a few days ago I felt a deep need to open it up to some criticism:

illustration, toronto star, graphic, bicycling, winter, ice, snow, toronto, city, life

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Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay, Pictures

Take a guess…

Posted on December 11th, 2010 Be the first to comment

…what crime these three are accused of committing?

Hint: Others rounded up in the police sweep included a priest and a scout leader.

pedophiles, crime, criminals, toronto, city, life

Here’s the answer:–7-gta-men-arrested-in-international-child-porn-probe

And there you have it; stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason.

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay, Pictures

Know snow

Posted on December 10th, 2010 2 Comments

Nothing like a whack of indoor flakes to take your mind of the stuff outside, eh?


Ah, but I kid. This is actually a serious problem for Toronto retailers. Last year we lost 12 people in an avalanche at the lower-level Starbucks…

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay, Videos

Sour Grapes

Posted on December 9th, 2010 2 Comments

Mayor not being taken seriously? Local politicians not getting the respect they deserve? City Hall not classy enough?

city hall, night, christmas decorations, nathan phillips square, toronto, city, life

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Filed under: Patrick Bay, Pictures, Why I'm Right


Posted on December 7th, 2010 2 Comments

It’s the WikiLeaks of Toronto!

Well, almost. Kinda. Not really. But still neat.

The Open Data (, project recently announced that it was putting raw data sets online so you can check the veracity of City Hall’s statistics for yourself.

From my very quick and cursory looksee, it’s chockfull of the daily drudgery of running the city, so I don’t see it being turned into a movie anytime soon. But who knows what interesting factoids some dedicated analysis might turn up.

I should mention that this data appears to be a direct database dump, meaning it doesn’t come with any nice viewing / searching interface – it’s just raw data. There’s a brief explanation of all the possible formats here:

Some of it is XML-formatted which means you can open it with anything that edits basic text (Microsoft Word, OpenOffice Writer, Windows Notepad, Mac TextEdit, etc.), as well as most modern web browsers (just drag the XML file into an open browser window). Also, you should be able to import XML data into spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice Calc which should make it easier to read.

However, despite looking complex, XML data (especially the Open Data ones), is actually pretty simple to understand in its raw state.


The Open Data site also offers alternate data sets like JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), and CSV (Comma-Separated Values) – it’s the same information that should be in the XML files, just in a denser and less human-friendly format.

I haven’t had much success with ESRI Shapefiles, a common informational map format found on the Open Data (and other sites), but I’m sure you can dig up something to view them if you’re determined.

Besides this, the site offers web services which are essentially the same data that’s available for download, but for web applications through a special URL like “”. Kinda fun for web developers, for building things like blog widgets, but not terribly useful if you’re just browsing.

Currently available for Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay, Pictures

Wisdom of the flock

Posted on December 6th, 2010 Be the first to comment

Funny how you forget the little things year after year.

Like the gusts that tear at your exposed flesh at every opportunity, completely oblivious to what the weather report said. And how at -1° Celsius (30° Fahrenheit), you’re allowed to say that the air is literally freezing.

But there you have it, eh? Winter.

bloor west, roots canada, yorkville, toronto, city, life

… Continue Reading

Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay, Pictures