the first sign of spring in the city

So how did I know that spring was on its way today? We’ve still got huge piles of snow, it’s pretty chilly, and there are few birds and no green things. I knew ‘cos Roll Up The Rim To Win started today. And I won a coffee with my first one. Sweet.

Don’t think I need one of these, though.

a landmark day in Ontario

Tim Hortons finally got Interac in Ontario. Western Canadians will no longer be frustrated with their eastern siblings. (well, I’m sure there will be some other bones of contention ….)

Oh, and we technically implement Kyoto today.

Energy Saving Tips for Canadians, #1: a name thing

Canadians are remarkably profligate in their energy use, and I think I know why. It’s not to do with the oft-cited scale of the country, the size of our houses, our cold winters or our hot summers, it’s something simpler than that; it’s what we call our electricity.

Power here is generally known as hydro, and with it comes images of tree-lined rivers with bears happily fishing for salmon. Local electricity companies tend to have that watery thing in their name: Toronto Hydro, Hamilton Hydro, London Hydro (Crieff Hydro is something quite different, though). Some happy green images, eh?

I propose that we stop using the term hydro, and replace it with the snappier smog belching, nuke leaking, only fractionally hydro. It’d certainly make yer average Kathy or Doug drop their double-double (or donut, or dumaurier) when they got their smog belching, nuke leaking, only fractionally hydro bill in. Energy use would plummet, and at no cost to anyone!

the mayor is back in town (or will be)

Mayor McCA is touring in Canada soon!

May 4-Ebar Guelph ON
May 5- The Jane Bond. 004 Princess St, Waterloo ON
May 6- Music Gallery- The Over The Top Festival Toronto ON (advanced tics recommended for this one).
May 7- Casbah. Donut Rock City (Hamilton) ON,
May 8-10- TBA
May 11- The Paramount. Moncton NB
May 12- World Cafe 2412 Agricola St , Halifax NS
May 13- Gus' Pub 2605 Agricola St, Halifax NS
May 13-17- TBA

timwin

Don’t want no car, don’t need no barbecue… But I can always use another coffee from Tim Hortons.

(for those outside Canada, every spring, the Tim Hortons donut chain has a prize promotion. It always provokes a national response little short of hysteria. You can win big things, but winning a coffee is just dandy by me.)

“The clean air choice of Earth Day Canada.”

So, what would you think would be “The clean air choice of Earth Day Canada“? A bicycle, perhaps? Some kind of renewable energy? Some really brilliant Canadian enviro-social development, like a biodegradeable donut?

Nope, a car; the Toyota Prius. Last time I checked, it still used petroleum (with its high environmental and geopolitical toxicity). It still causes gridlock; I see Priuses (Prii? Your moon-pie eye!) inching along the Gardiner from the GO train with all the other wretched junkers. The way I see it, it’s not looking like part of the solution. It’s a bit like having an official assault rifle for the the International Day of Peace.

Toyota also give out $5000 Toyota Earth Day Scholarships. I mean, that’s nice and all, but it’s hardly giving back. If you look at all the scholarship materials, it’s carefully arranged so it looks like the event is called Toyota Earth Day, with the ‘scholarship’ on the next line. Nice cooption. Good greenwash.

ididn’tBook

For a truly soulless evening, take yourself down to the BestBuy at Scarborough Town Centre.

STC is a mega-mall, with the obligatory huge concrete and asphalt deadzone around it. Its current sales slogan is For what defines you, which must mean that its denizens are in a pretty parlous state, existentially speaking. Its only slightly attractive feature is its derelict KrispyKreme store, which opened as a flagship, then frazzled almost as quickly as a KK’s dextrose rush. Abandoned donut shops are Canada’s ruined abbeys; places of worship gone to seed.

BestBuy itself is an outcast from the mall, in an especially ped-unfriendly way. Perhaps the only defined route there is through a monster split-level Wal-Mart, but I didn’t have enough hitpoints to make it through that particular slough.

I’d checked their website, and it said that the store had iBooks in stock, at $50 below retail. Did the store have any on display? No. The Apple section was set behind the customer service desk, which was a scrum of slightly disgruntled shoppers. So I left without seeing one.

I wandered in a bit of a post big-box haze to McCowan RT, a weird little station at the very end of the rails. At least I was rewarded with a beautiful sunset over the 401 at McCowan; all boiling red and purple. That’s about the best you’ll get near STC, and for free, too.

canadian moment

A CN freight rumbles up to Kennedy on the rail spur just south of Eglinton. It stops. Two men get out. They walk up to Tim’s on the corner of Kennedy and Eglinton. They come back with double-doubles and donuts. The engine starts, the crossing lights flash, and off goes the train through the intersection.

lyrical donuts, apologies to Basho

In Old Scarborough,
We have a new donut shop.
A new Scarborough!

Yes, the Coffee Time donut shop just north of us on Eglinton East opened today. I usually rage and fulminate over the opening of yet another fast food store, but this one has a bit of history.

A couple of years back, the building was there, but clearly had never been used. There were new, but dusty work surfaces, and unused chairs stacked up inside. There was a city work permit stuck to the window which would indicate that it had been built in 2000. Here is how it looked last summer:

abandoned coffee time
(please ignore weird pinhole dreamscape)

Late last year, the place started to get vandalized, with a few broken windows. These were quickly repaired, and then work started on the drive-thru. For the last couple of weeks, it has looked finished, and last night the lights were on, and people were inside.

I went in this morning, and was one of their first customers. No-one quite knew where everything was, and the till wasn’t charging tax correctly, but I wish them success. I bought a dozen donuts for the office, and they were good.

Update, 2017: The store lasted a little under a year, then was boarded up. While it occasionally had some nice murals on it, it was never used again. It was finally demolished in early 2017 as part of the Eglinton Crosstown construction.