North York’s changing face

Lucia Lo, urban researcher and geography professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, was quoted in the North York Mirror Aug. 1 dealing with the changing face of North York. What used to be a municipality of Europeans, Jews and Anglo-Saxons is now much like the rest of Toronto, with diversity showing its face at every corner store, doctor’s office and community centre. Lo, who uses maps to track settlement immigration patterns in Toronto, said North York’s ethnic makeup can be broken down by neighbourhoods. “With the Italians, they were initially in the downtown area, near Kensington, at the very beginning, say in the ’40s and ’50s. Afterwards, they sort of migrated northwards to (where) Corso Italia is now, in the St. Clair-Oakwood area. Then they moved north to the Keele and Finch area, then further up to Woodbridge, and now my guess is most of them are there.”

In the dumps over garbage

Richard Anderson, geography professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, was quoted in The Globe and Mail Aug. 2 on parallels between garbage woes in Naples, Italy, and Toronto. Naples, like Toronto, seems perplexed about what to do with its trash. Nobody wants it. Toronto similarly has been looking for a garbage solution since at least 1987, when the government of now-defunct Metropolitan Toronto began fretting over what to do when two local dumps filled up. Tens of millions of dollars later, it still has no answer to this most fundamental of urban problems. “You can easily find holes in the ground of sufficient size within convenient distance to take all of Toronto’s waste, but nobody wants it,” said Anderson, adding, “People freak out over garbage issues.”

Grandparents prove grand role models

Rachel Schlesinger, social science professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, was quoted in The Globe and Mail July 31 on the value of grandparents for children. In a study conducted last year in which he interviewed students about the value of their grandparents, Schlesinger found that grandparents were strong sources of emotional support, serving at times as a buffer between parents and their kids.

Hard lessons

Christopher Armstrong, history professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, was quoted in The Globe and Mail Aug. 2 on the Windfall stock scandal that happened 40 years ago. “It was part of the process that nudged the TSE from being a cozy brokers’ club to an institution better devoted to serving the public,” said Armstrong, who has written a two-volume history of Canadian financial markets. Windfall Oil and Mines Ltd. was a junior company controlled by the respected mining promotion couple, George and Viola MacMillan. In the end, the MacMillans were branded as market manipulators, and Windfall had become shorthand for corruption and betrayal, in the same way that Enron and WorldCom are today. “It wasn’t the dawn of a new day or anything, and it doesn’t mean people aren’t going to sell bum mining stock,” Armstrong said, “but it did push regulators and laws in the right direction.”

Membership has its perils

Alan Middleton, Schulich School of Business marketing professor, was quoted in The Calgary Sun Aug. 1 on the pleasures and perils of using loyalty cards. A swipe of your card does more than get you points or save you money on groceries. It’s also feeding your spending habits into a huge database of information, which makes industry watchers such as Middleton nervous. “Do they really need to know lots about you to sell you Tide or a cup of coffee?” asked Middleton. “It’s about getting you to shop regularly, but it’s also about getting you to give them information about yourself for their database so they can get to know you better as a customer.”

Tracking dirty money

Stephen Schneider, a research associate with York University’s Nathanson Centre for the Study of Organized Crime and Corruption, was mentioned in the Toronto Star July 31 about tracking dirty money. Schneider recently completed a report that analyzed 149 major money-laundering and proceeds-of-crime cases between 1993 and 1998.