The six-alarm fire at Queen and Bathurst has caused massive disruptions to the Queen and Bathurst streetcar lines all morning, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the TTC’s service disruption web page:
This photo was taken at Stevens Creek Boulevard in Cupertino, California:
Today’s a day off for me and many — but not all — people in Ontario, as it’s the first instance of a new statutory holiday called Family Day. The establishment of this holiday was a promise made by the Provincial Liberal Party for a long weekend in the depths of winter.
One might think that this is the sort of government initiative that would have universal appeal, but that’s not the case. Between confusion among employees as to whether they’d really get the day off, logistical problems as to what to do with the kids, employers complaining about lost revenues and people who dread spending time with their families, the news outlets are reporting tales of woe and the gnashing of teeth:
- The Globe and Mail: To Celebrate Family Day, Start with Low Expectations
- The Barrie Examiner: Beware of What You Ask For
- The Ottawa Citizen: Province’s Brand-new Family Day Rapidly Becoming Too Much Work
- CBC: Ottawa Merchants Blame Ontario for Family Day Store Closures
- Toronto Star: Family Day: The Holiday that isn’t Really a Holiday
As for me, I’m going to kick back, noodle around the house, hang out with the wife and cook her a nice lunch and hit the Rhino later this evening to catch up with the other geeks at Rails Pub Nite. Happy Family Day!
Wendy and I went to Mirabelle Wine Bar (2112 Yonge Street, a couple of blocks south of Eglinton) for Valentine’s Day dinner, and it was excellent. For that night, they cancelled their regular menu and presented a special menu with three appetizers, three main courses and three desserts. We both opted for the prawn cocktail, featuring prawns arranged into heart shapes. They were decent, although more prawns would’ve been nice. We then had a very good medium rare beef tenderloin with seared foie gras and root vegetables au gratin. For dessert, she had chocolate mousse with cherry sauce, while I opted for tiramisu. Yes, it’s cliched, but I love the stuff (I’m hip enough, so my dessert doesn’t have to be).
In case you’re curious, here’s Mirabelle’s regular menu. Here’s the menu for red wines and here’s the menu for white wines. They’ve done a nice job with arranging the wine menus by flavour category — whites are arranged in groups named “Fresh and Crisp”, “Juicy and Aromatic”, “Dry and Fruit-Driven” and “Fuller Flavours”, while reds are listed in groups titled “Lively and Fruity”, “Medium Supple”, “Round and Smooth”, “Spicy”, “Fully Firm”, “Bordeaux” and “Burgundy”.
The service was friendly and very attentive, and they made for a very lovely Valentine’s evening. It’s a cozy, comfortable place with very reasonable prices — it’ll work nicely whether you want to get together with friends or go on a first date. We’ll definitely return to try out their regular menu.
ICT Toronto is a City Hall initiative whose goals are, in their own words, to make Toronto a place that “will become, and be acknowledged globally, as one of the 5 most innovative, creative and productive locations in the world for ICT research, education, business, and investment by 2011”. They’ll be lucky if they manage to update their useless website — a single-pager with very little information and unchanged since April 2006 — by 2011.
Their focus thus far has been attracting high-tech multinationals to build branch offices here and make us a place to “nearsource”. As far as the local tech community goes, ICT Toronto sees the local tech and startup community in the same way Grandma sees the TV remote:
(I use the same comic for a slightly different purpose over at this article in Global Nerdy.)
A couple of articles have already appeared in response to Ideas to Steal from Silicon Valley and Seattle:
Chris Ragobeer: An Open Letter to Toronto’s Technology Community
- Things that Toronto already has that will help in turning the city into a high-tech hub.
- Things Toronto needs to establish or acquire in order to turn the city into a high-tech hub.
- Some suggested actions that the local high-tech community can take.
David Crow: Harnessing Hogtown’s Hominids for High-Tech Hijinks and Hubs
David Crow (who recently was voted Toronto’s best tech evangelist at BlogTO, running against some pretty stiff competition including Yours Truly) also responded to my article in a piece with an extremely alliterative title: Harnessing Hogtown’s Hominids for High-Tech Hijinks and Hubs. In the article, he makes these points:
- Where is our “Fairchild” that creates our own “Fairchildren”? “Can you name big successful software companies that have started in Toronto? More importantly, can you name successful companies that have started because the founders were members of another “parent” company? Why has RIM or Nortel not created a strong spinoff culture?”
- One possible source of “Fairchildren” might be people who’ve spent time in Silicon Valley and other hubs, who’ve either returned or migrated to Toronto to start companies here. They bring with them experience and connections and “might be a better hope for new wealth creation in Toronto in the high-tech sector.”
- ICT Toronto is a joke. David’s feeling about City Hall’s attempt to bolster Toronto’s standing as a high-tech hub is similar to mine: “We have a fascination with self-congratulatory bullshit efforts!” Last year’s TechWeek was a non-event that registered on almost nobody’s radar, and I have my doubts about this year’s. Their goals are misguided, and they have no idea of what it means to be local technology company. They seem to be focused on on turning Toronto into a place to do “nearsourcing”, in which case they might as well come up with a marketing campaign like “Toronto: The Bangalore Next Door” and resign us to the fate of being a call center hub.