Twitter fans pitch vision for Toronto succinctly

They are a bunch of Twitter fanatics, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 12. They live their lives in 140 characters. And they’re passionate about the city and how to make it better.

Most of them didn’t know each other, but late last year they started discussing the municipal election on Twitter, using the hashtag #VoteTO. Eventually, they realized they wanted to change the direction of the race.

“In any given election there are issues and ideas and opportunities for a new vision, but oftentimes we’re distracted by politicians and their personalities,” said Jen Hassum, a graduate student in history at York University and one of the organizers.

So a dozen core tweeters came up with a plan to hold a night of ideas Thursday at the Annex Live bar on Brunswick Avenue. They solicited “fantasy mayors”, on Twitter, of course, to pitch their alternative vision for how to make Toronto better, with a time limit of four minutes and 16 seconds to keep everybody focused. And yes, that’s a deliberate play on 416.

They’re already planning the next event, which will be a mayoral debate.

Focus on the positive when your reputation takes a public hit

When all the attention has been focused on the negative, kick-start your reputation’s recovery by gaining attention for something positive, suggests Stephen Friedman, an executive career coach who teaches organizational behaviour at York University’s Schulich School of Business, wrote The Globe and Mail Feb. 12.

He suggests finding a way to push forward an innovative idea in your work, or getting attention in the media for a constructive initiative. “Many leaders take on causes connected to a faux pas in a bold way to show that they have changed.”

Leaving the negative news behind will show you are also leaving the past behind, Friedman says. But keep a sense of proportion, because, in talking about your new self, you will still have to reference the past, he adds. “Once you’ve come clean, I’d suggest saying ‘the management of this issue will remain personal now.’ That’s a nice way of saying, ‘Buzz off about this issue and let me get back to work.’”

Versatile actor Harrelson likes Toronto

Woody Harrelson has an affinity for Toronto, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 12 in a story about the Oscar-nominated actor’s visit here to promote his latest film Defendor, opening Feb. 19. The Star noted his last trip to Toronto was to accept an honorary doctorate from York University for his work on environmental causes.

Peek through St. Mary’s windows for National Heritage Day

The archives committee at St. Mary’s Anglican Church is planning a celebration of National Heritage Day on Sunday, Feb. 21, from 2 to 4pm, wrote the Richmond Hill Liberal Feb. 11.

Members will focus on the history and heritage of the church’s stained glass windows. Titled Gladdening Light: Our Heritage in Stained Glass, the event will feature a presentation by Shirley Ann Brown, humanities professor in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, and director of the Registry of Stained Glass Windows in Canada at York University. Guided tours will be provided and refreshments will be served.

Bobcats forward Hohmann set to become a Lion

After spending four years of junior hockey in the west, the hockey future for Lloydminster Bobcats centre Chad Hohmann lies to the east, wrote Lloydminster, Sask.’s Meridian Booster Feb. 12.

The 20-year-old Salmon Arm, BC native – who spent parts of three seasons in the Western Hockey League with Prince George and Seattle before joining the Bobcats – will suit up next season for the York University Lions, who play in the Ontario University Athletics’ West Division.

“Right now, York is focused on getting back into the top-10 in the nation,” said Hohmann, who has 38 points in 54 games this season. “I kind of wanted to head out east to see a different part of the country, so being able to be in Toronto – which is kind of like the centre of the hockey universe – it’s just a good fit to be with a good program at a top-ranked school.”

After capturing four straight OUA titles from 1984-1988, the Lions are rebuilding under new head coach Jim Wells, who says players like Hohmann are just what the program is looking for.

On air

  • York University senior scholar and cultural adviser to the Canadian Ballet Youth Ensemble Pastor Valle-Garay, a contract faculty member in the Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, was interviewed in a documentary on the historic artistic performances by the ensemble in Havana’s Gran Teatro, on CTS-TV Feb. 4.