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Paralympian’s story inspires Balmy Beach students

By Andrew Hudson • April 29, 2014Beach Metro Community News When Paralympian Jeff Tiessen arrived at Balmy Beach Public School to give a speech for Spirit Day, he found the gym full of kids wearing white and blue – it was also the Blue Jays’ home opener. Never mind that he grew up near Detroit and cheers for the Tigers, Tiessen is a big baseball fan. As a double-arm amputee, people have asked him what he would do if he could get his hands back, just for one day. “I would play baseball, maybe all day,” he said. “And I would feel the stitches on the ball.” Being able to pack a snowball would be nice too, he said, adding that he owes his kids some payback after the super snowy winter this year. Another question Tiessen gets is whether he would get transplants if he could. His answer is yes, so long as he can keep all the good things that have happened because he’s an amputee. After joining amateur and university track teams in his teens and twenties, Tiessen competed in three Paralympic Games: New York, Seoul and Barcelona. He won silver in high jump, plus a bronze and a gold in his best event  – the 400 metre. His 54.89-second run at the 1988 Seoul Games remains the fastest ever for a double-arm amputee. Back when Tiessen was putting in six- and seven-hour training days for Seoul, he was also taking journalism classes at the University of

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Treemobile bears fruit in the Beach

By Andrew Hudson • April 29, 2014Beach Metro Community News He didn’t plant paw paws or goji berries, but Johnny Appleseed would certainly tip his hat to Treemobile, a volunteer group that delivers low-cost fruit trees across Toronto. Working last Saturday outside St. Saviour’s, an Anglican church in the Upper Beach, Treemobile volunteers sorted 40 fruit trees and 355 fruit- or nut-bearing shrubs and vines that Toronto buyers had ordered online. Most of the trees and some rarer shrubs cost about $40, while asparagus crowns were five for a dollar. Delivery fees range from $1 to $10, depending whether buyers want their order dropped off or planted for them.“In Toronto, lots of people don’t own a shovel,” said Treemobile founder Virginie Gysel, laughing. Toronto is built on some of Ontario’s best farmland, said Gysel. Especially when climate change is such a concern, she said the idea is to grow your apples, pears, and plums right here, where they won’t clock any air miles. Homegrown fruit often tastes better, too, she added.“What orchardists want is stuff that’s hard as a rock, that all ripens at the same time, and they’re not really too concerned with taste,” she said.“What we want is delicious fruit with nice texture and scent, and it doesn’t have to ripen all at once.” A landscape architecture graduate who grew up on a tree farm, Gysel started Treemobile four years ago when she was a student at the University of Guelph. At the time, she was writing

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FYI: Intersection Closure

Drivers will find the Queen Street East and Leslie Street intersection closed from May 11 to June 21 for TTC track work related to the Leslie Barns. Streetcars on the 501 route will run along Gerrard Street East between Broadview and Coxwell, while buses will replace the 502 and 503 streetcars, and travel via Dundas Street. Anyone on foot or walking a bicycle can still cross Queen and Leslie during the five-week closure.
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The top 5 Toronto urban myths

Posted by Chris Bateman / April 30, 2014 blogTO   Did you ever hear the one about the guy who fell out a window at TD Centre? Or what about the tale of whale bone under Queen's Quay? Toronto is a hot bed of urban myths, some that are amazingly true, some that contain a tenuous strand of truth, some that are creative but, sadly, utter nonsense (I mean, come on, underground aliens?) Here's a quick run through five (plus one) of the city's best and most absurd tall tales, starting with one story that's been the preserve of drinkers in Toronto's oldest pub for decades. THE BOOZE TUNNEL TO THE WHEAT SHEAF TAVERN If there's a common thread that connects urban legends from across the planet, it's secret tunnels. Apart from the passage that supposedly connects the flatiron building on Wellington Street with the King Edward Hotel, which I dealt with here, the other famous Toronto subterranean passageway was supposedly built by thirsty soldiers between Fort York and the Wheat Sheaf Tavern at King and Bathurst. For it to be true, the soldiers would have to have built a tunnel more than 500 metres long without attracting the attention of their superiors. Engineering challenges aside, soldiers at the fort were given a daily beer ration, so it's difficult to imagine the men finding the motivation for such a massive undertaking in libations alone. That said, a tunnel was discovered at Fort York in Nov. 1904, but not in

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Spring?!

The sun is shining outside and it looks like it should be a warm spring day. I am thinking that I would love to pack a picnic lunch and take my daughter to the beach to play... but then I open the door and am hit with a cold wind. I wonder what the temperature is... turns out...it's 6 degrees. The thought of wearing a hat and a winter coat to the beach is too depressing. We will go when its warmer...hopefully thats soon!!!! Come on spring!!!!!
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Dozen schools to add all-day kindergarten

By Andrew Hudson • April 15, 2014 • Beach Metro Community News   From heads to shoulders, knees and toes, kindergarteners can count on a lot of learning. And in Beach-area schools, teachers will soon be counting many more kindergarten classes, as 12 public and Catholic schools are scheduled to add full-day kindergarten this September. “We’re excited,” says Rita Gallippi, principal at Adam Beck Junior Public School, where construction crews are busy adding two new kindergarten classrooms on the school’s north side, and renovating a third one inside. Next fall, Adam Beck will have three English and two French full-day kindergarten classes. An early parent survey shows Adam Beck will likely partner with a third-party daycare for before- and after-school care as well, which usually runs from about 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. For the children, who will turn four or five by December, Gallippi said the all-day program is a fun, engaging way to get ready for Grade 1. Parents have lots of questions, but generally, Gallippi said they are excited, too. “They know they can go off to work and their children will have a full-day program, plus before- and after-care if they choose it,” she said. The coming school year is the last part of a four-year roll-out of full-day kindergarten across Ontario. Only a handful of Beach schools made the switch to full-day in the first three years, since most of the schools had to build extra classes or retrofit old ones to get ready. Crescent

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Marsupial moves into heart of Beach

By Andrew Hudson • April 15, 2014Beach Metro Community News Why did the opossum cross Wineva Avenue? Rick Wyszynski didn’t ask, but he did snap a photo of the one that slowly crossed his street a few weeks ago. Beach Metro News reader Rick Wyszynski caught a photo of this brave – or oblivious – opossum heading north on Wineva Avenue. PHOTO: Rick Wyszynsk Beach Metro News reader Rick Wyszynski caught a photo of this brave – or oblivious – opossum heading north on Wineva Avenue.PHOTO: Rick Wyszynsk Wyszynski said it was the first opossum he has seen in the Beach after 30 years here. “It didn’t look like the usual raccoon, so I slowed down,” said Wyszynski, who was driving on Wineva at about 9 a.m. “It was moving so slowly, I thought it was hurt at first. But I think it may have just woken up, I don’t know.” In nearby Birch Cliff, three more residents said they have recently had opossums under their porches, according to the Birch Cliff News. Nathalie Karvonen, the executive director of Toronto Wildlife Centre, said it’s hard to pinpoint what year opossums first moved north to Toronto, but sightings go back at least as far as the 1980s. “We’ve been open for 21 years, and from our perspective, without doing a scientific survey, I could say that their numbers have been slowly increasing across Toronto,” she said. Karvonen said Toronto Wildlife Centre receives more than 100 sick or injured opossums each year. “Mother opossums tend to have 10, 12, 14 babies at a time,” she said, noting that they sometimes receive a whole pouch of young

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