National Post says TO must get serious about its subway

In an editorial March 9, the National Post said an expected announcement by Ontario’s Liberal government of a $1.5-billion extension of the Toronto Transit Commission’s Spadina subway line to York University would represent a small step forward – but that is all. When completed, it will add only a handful of stops and a few kilometres to the city’s system. And unless the province’s capital commitment is matched by operating funds, it would aggravate the TTC’s existing shortfall. What is needed is something much more ambitious than the province’s gesture: a comprehensive capital plan that will also link the Sheppard line from Don Mills station to Scarborough Centre station, push the Yonge line north to Richmond Hill and link the Spadina and Yonge lines in the city’s north end. If this sounds impossibly utopian, consider that Madrid, between 1999 and 2003, built a 41 km underground circular line with 28 stations connecting the major suburban towns south of that city. If the Spaniards can do it, why can’t we?

News that the Spadina subway line could be extended to York University has drawn cheers from transit users and local politicians, reported CBC News in an online story March 9. “Oh for the love of God. Please, please, please, please, please,” said one enthusiastic transit user, Paulina Bale, when told of the news. She said she couldn’t wait for the expansion to be built after having to stand in inclement weather to catch the bus to York University. “If you go inside you might miss the bus but, if you stay outside and actually wait for it, you freeze.”

In broadcast coverage of the subway story:

  • Bud Purves, president of York University Development Corporation, spoke on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” March 8, about the Spadina subway extension.
  • Global News reported March 8 that the TTC says there is not enough traffic to justify a $1.5 billion subway extension to York University but also reported that York students want it very much.

Students react to new tuition policy

The Toronto Sun  March 9 interviewed and photographed Shamini Selvaratnam, vice-president of the York University Federation of Students, who said student tuition has gone up 150 per cent over the past 10 years and the Liberal government should have found a way to maintain its two-year freeze.

Fine Arts alumna directs play that probes flu pandemic

The gallows humour in Kevin Kerr’s Unity (1918) is an acquired taste, reported The Windsor Star March 9. Ever since the play’s first production in Vancouver in 2001, audiences have had mixed reactions to the humour in the play which focuses on the struggle of a small Saskatchewan community to deal with the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. But York alumna Sonia Norris (MFA ’03), who has directed University Players’ production of Unity (1918), opening tonight at Essex Hall Theatre, thinks people are missing the point if they don’t give the play a fighting chance. “The gallows humour is the basic problem with the play,” she said. “Most of the time people don’t see the humour and have treated it as a heartbreaking, serious story with a dirge-like pace. It has ruined many productions,” said Norris. “In my (theatre) community in Vancouver, I saw so many fall victim to AIDS and have to face the same dilemma this play poses.”

Columnist-blogger remembers days at Glendon

Perhaps Quebecers don’t come to Ontario because of what happens when they get here, wrote York alumna Miranda Emmerson (BA ’04 Glendon) in the London Free Press March 9. In high school, she said, I worked at a local truck stop. For a while, a group of Quebecois passed through several times a week. One night, they came into the restaurant looking upset – they had just been told to speak English because they were in Canada. Right, because Canada isn’t a bilingual country. A couple of years later, while attending Glendon College, York University’s bilingual campus, a friend from Quebec said: “Tu n’es pas Ontarienne.” I was too cool to be Ontarian, she said. It’s people like the one who told the truckers to speak in English who create negative perceptions of all Londoners. If we are going to open up the road to the Forest City, we must open our minds.

On air

  • Trina McQueen, a member of the CBC Board of Directors and visiting CTV Chair in Broadcast Management at the Schulich School of Business and the Joint Graduate Program in Communication and Culture at York University, spoke on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” March 8 about how some women are looking for equality in the services industry.
  • Kathryn McPherson, Chair of York’s School of Women’s Studies, spoke about the current state of the women’s movement on CBC Radio’s “Ontario Today” program March 8.
  • Alicia Perruzza, a first-year student in York’s Faculty of Arts, and Clare O’Connor, a fourth-year student in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, were interviewed about the provincial government’s announcement of tuition fee changes on the A Channel’s CKVR TV (Barrie).
  • Wrestling celebrity Trish Stratus, a former kinesiology student in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, was interviewed on CFTO-TV March 8 about her role as host of induction ceremonies for Canada’s Walk of Fame.