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Extra, Extra: More Shelter Ire in Leaside, Pumpkins Plundered, and a Very Happy Birthday to Pandas

Every weekday’s end, we collect just about everything you ought to care about or ought not to miss.

Photo by Donna Britain from the Torontoist Flickr Pool

Photo by Donna Britain from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

  • A video containing hidden camera footage linked to the now-infamous Leaside homeless shelter hoax has been released, leaving some neighbourhood residents displeased about the way the community’s reaction was portrayed (e.g. within striking distance of heartless NIMBYdom). A spokesperson for Raising the Roof, the charity that organized the stunt, admits that the video was selectively edited to show only negative reactions to the fictitious shelter proposal.

  • The owner of Markham’s Reesor Farm Market is “shocked and saddened” after discovering that his farm’s pumpkin patch was looted during Thanksgiving. Police put a stop to the pumpkin plunder after photos of the crime cropped up on social media.
  • Now, in incredibly serious news: PANDAS! The Toronto Zoo welcomed a pair of baby bamboo chompers early this morning, with mother and babies under constant observation by a team of giant panda experts visiting from China. Toronto Zoo CEO John Tracogna said of the event: “We are so proud to be contributing to the ongoing survival of this endangered species.” Squee and a half.
  • From today’s edition of 12:36: Olivia Chow’s signs are doing a little extra outreach in her closely-watched campaign against Liberal Adam Vaughan. A line added to the top of some of the NDP signs in Spadina-Fort York reminds Chinese passersby that Olivia Chow is the first name on the ballot.( Want more 12:36? Subscribe to it now.)

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From the Beltline to the Bloomingdale Trail: What Can Toronto Learn from Chicago’s Newest Park?

How Toronto can make the most from our own rail line-turned-park.

Photo by PL Tam from the Torontoist Flickr Pool

Photo by PL Tam from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

In June, Chicago’s Bloomingdale Trail joined New York’s High Line as the latest set of train tracks to be transformed into a public park. But, before you turn green with envy at this innovative investment in open space, let’s remember that Toronto has its very own converted railway corridor.

The Beltline Trail may get less love than its American counterparts but, like the Bloomingdale Trail, it started out as a railway line designed to link suburban communities to the downtown. While the Bloomingdale Line was constructed in 1873, Toronto’s Belt Line Railway opened in 1892. As transportation patterns changed in both cities, the train tracks fell out of use. Parts of the Beltline have been popular cycling paths since the 1970s, but in Chicago the conversion of the Bloomingdale Line didn’t start until 2013.

In Toronto, three different trails form a linear park along the route of the former Belt Line Railway. The York Beltline Trail, the Kay Gardner Beltline Trail, and the Ravine Beltline Trail provide nine kilometres of green space and cycling paths stretching from Moore Park Ravine in the east, past Caledonia Road in the west.
Keep reading: From the Beltline to the Bloomingdale Trail: What Can Toronto Learn from Chicago’s Newest Park?