A streetcar named York?

Streetcar champion Steve Munro, a public-transit activist given the Jane Jacobs Prize for his contribution to Toronto, says the TTC should build a streetcar line instead of a subway to York University, reported The Globe and Mail April 5. Munro, 56, whose ponytail and grey beard have long been regular fixtures at the Toronto Transit Commission’s monthly meetings, has argued for years that the billions needed to build subways could be better spent on less expensive streetcar lines.

“The big problem we have is we keep pushing rapid-transit systems out into the suburbs, and we can’t afford to do this,” Munro said in an interview. Instead, he argues the TTC should build a much-cheaper light-rail line – a streetcar in its own right-of-way – through York University and into Vaughan. A founding member of the Streetcars for Toronto committee that convinced the TTC not to scrap its streetcar fleet in 1972, Munro has been recognized with the Jane Jacobs Prize, named for the famed urban thinker and meant for “unsung heroes” who “demonstrate the ideas of Jane Jacobs.”

Pageant about more than beauty

Dozens of young women strutted their stuff and met with judges Saturday during the Toronto casting call for the Miss World Canada pageant, reported The Toronto Sun April 3. “This is about more than beauty,” pageant hopeful Jenna-Lee Creelman, 21, said at the Holiday Inn on King Street West. The second-year arts student, who is enrolled in York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, said she chose the Miss World pageant over others because of its emphasis on charity and strength of character. “Some pageants are about more makeup and higher heels,” she said. “But this recognizes our commitments to the community.”

Jesuit priest taught at York

The Rev. Willy J. DeCraemer, 79, of Merion, a retired University of Pennsylvania professor who studied social change in the former Belgian Congo, died of complications of Parkinson’s disease Thursday at Manressa Hall, a Jesuit nursing facility in Merion, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer April 5. Father DeCraemer joined the Penn faculty in 1974. He was an arts professor at York from 1971 to 1974.

On air

  • Pat Lakin-Thomas, a biology professor from York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, listed tips for feeling normal following Daylight Saving Time, on “CTV News” April 4.