Former GO riders push for better plan

With GO Transit Route 64 permanently out of service, transit users are calling on York Region Transit (YRT) to come up with an alternative to get them to and from York University – and fast, wrote the Aurora Banner April 26 .

Among those pushing YRT to work quickly is King resident and York University physics & astronomy Professor Paul Delaney of the Faculty of Science & Engineering.

It’s difficult to comprehend why GO Transit would cancel its Route 64 York University service, he said, especially when YRT is telling displaced transit users it probably won’t have any new options in place until fall. Given the school’s staff, faculty and student population during the summer months, that’s just not good enough, he added.

“As of today, no replacement service to the loss of this route is being proposed by YRT, or anyone, until at least September,” Delaney said via e-mail. “As a resident of King City, I find this lack of planning by the transit authorities disheartening. At a time when we are being urged to consider greener options, the current discontinuation of service by GO, with no well-defined alternatives from YRT, is very disappointing.”

Alternatives suggested by YRT and others are far from satisfactory, Delaney said. Taking YRT Route 22 and jumping on Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) Route 107 is the most commonly cited option, but transit users know such a trip takes considerably longer, is more expensive, requires one, if not two, bus changes and, therefore, falls well short of the level of service before the GO route cancellation, he said.

Many will also lose out on the transit pass tax credits, he added.

The other obvious problem is the YRT Route 22-TTC Route 107 combo doesn’t run after 6:49pm, Delaney said.

And while Delaney suggested a scaled-back version of GO Transit route 64 may help those affected, it’s not likely to happen. GO Transit isn’t involved in the discussions any longer, GO spokesperson Robin Alam said.

However, that’s not to say YRT isn’t working to come up with some new alternatives, general manager Rick Leary said.

YRT staff is in discussions with York, he said, adding a Web survey will be sent out in the next few weeks to students, staff and faculty in the hope of getting some input to address existing concerns.

“What we want to do is talk to students and faculty and look at (Route) 22 and (Route) 107 and try to find out what’s right for them,” he said. “I want to make sure that nobody gets left behind.”

Aside from YRT Route 22 and TTC Route 107 in King, Newmarket and Aurora residents can also use Viva Blue and Purple to get back and forth to York for the time being, he added.

It wouldn’t be appropriate to talk specifics just yet, Leary said, but the hope is to come up with some sort of replacement for the former GO Transit service by the end of summer. A clearer picture should emerge in the weeks and months to come, he added.

Ontario incentives turn to 3-D work

After losing traditional Hollywood film and TV shoots to rival US states like Louisiana and New Mexico, the Ontario provincial government is looking to lift its local production sector by luring 3-D flicks and 2-D-to-3-D conversion work up north, wrote the Hollywood Reporter April 23.

In the wake of Avatar, the Ontario Media Development Corp. on Friday unveiled a two-year, $1.4-million 3-D Film Innovation Consortium (3-D FLIC) to expand Toronto’s 3-D film expertise.

Nell Tenhaaf, associate dean of research in York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts, and the 3-D FLIC project leader, said little research has been done into how audiences react to misaligned objects in 3-D projection, or the illusion of depth, all of which may produce occasional nausea.

“We want to understand how the brain interacts with 3-D film so we can make the experience as good as it can possibly get,” she said.

Tenhaff added the practical solutions discovered by Ontario academics will be put into locally produced postproduction technologies and 3D film production processes to better attract Hollywood and other foreign producers to the province.

CBC host says firing felt like drowning

When Barbara Budd (BA ’74) was told on Feb. 22 that her contract as the co-host of CBC’s “As It Happens” wasn’t being renewed after 17 successful years on the air, she thought back to 1979, when she was diagnosed with cancer, wrote the Toronto Star April 27.

“I’m not saying the two experiences are the same,” she explains, “but the feelings they provoked in me were.

“Both times, I felt like the person giving me the news was pushing me down under water. I could see their mouth moving and they didn’t look like they were being unkind, but for a few moments there…you’re drowning.”

She first thought of being a journalist and had written a weekly column for the St. Catharines Standard all during high school, but she switched to theatre, studying at York University and working as an apprentice with Canadian Mime Theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

“A mime! Me! Can you believe it?” she bleats. But after graduation from York, she stepped into five “blessed” seasons as a member of the Stratford Festival company.

British Invasion disc set includes overview by Bowman

An outstanding exception to the mediocre flotsam riding the flood of boomer-targeted pop music reissues, this is the first volume in a series of British Invasion box DVD sets, containing four discs featuring both seminal and previously unseen period TV and concert performances by Dusty Springfield, Small Faces, Herman’s Hermits and Gerry & the Pacemakers, plus a bonus audio CD of the same artists. It’s a well-researched and expertly curated package, wrote the Toronto Star April 27.

Each disc is accompanied by a 24-page booklet featuring essays by top pop historians, including, in the case of Herman’s Hermits, a fascinating overview by Grammy-winning musicologist Rob Bowman, a professor in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts.

Officials honour Bain

Basketball officials paying tribute to a coach?

It happened recently in Belleville where basketball officials from around Ontario gathered partly to honour longtime former York University men’s basketball coach Bob Bain, wrote the Belleville Intelligencer April 27.

In more than 35 seasons of coaching university hoops, Bain bent many an ear of a basketball official – during and after games – but the men in stripes were not hesitant to confer their highest honour on Bain as he was inducted into the Ontario Association of Basketball Officials (OABO) Hall of Fame in the builder/coach category.

During induction ceremonies, OABO president Jaime McCaig said Bain was always a straight shooter with referees. “He was easy to deal with,” said McCaig. “You knew where you stood. He recognized it if you did a good job.”

Bain registered more than 700 career victories at York and took his teams to the playoffs 33 times, capturing 11 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East crowns, six OUA titles and making eight appearances at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national (CIS) championships where the Lions won two bronze medals. He is a two-time CIS and nine-time OUA Coach of the Year award winner.

Hamilton Township council rejects majority of rezoning requests

It was a full council chamber and a long night at Hamilton Township Council’s public meeting on its Official Plan (OP), wrote April 27.

Many of those attending the April 20 meeting were asking for their properties to be rezoned from agricultural to marginal agriculture, or to be added to “settlement” designated areas, in order to permit residential development in the future. Most of these were turned down by council, as recommended by its consultant.

Only one person spoke opposing the increase in severance granting to three from one. Professor Shawn Kerwin, a township resident who teaches in York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts, said she felt this flew in the face of the provincial growth plan to preserve rural areas like the Northumberland Hills. She said she believed this increase would lead to strip development.

She called it a “problematic change” the township’s OP was contemplating and would lead to “creeping development” along rural roads.

Malton students receive scholarships

The Malton Black Development Association handed out scholarships to five students to help them with their postsecondary education, wrote The Mississauga News April 26.

The non-profit group held its 32nd annual scholarship and awards dinner/dance gala on April 10 at the Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel & Conference Centre. Among the winners were York students Jameil King and Shanyne McGhie.

Athletes rule at York

Mississaugans Tyrone Halstead and Heather Hamilton have been named Athletes of the Year for the York University Lions, wrote The Mississauga News April 26.

Halstead, a third-year criminology student, won two medals at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) track & field championships – a gold in the men’s 4-by-200-metre relay and a silver in the 60 metres. He was named all-Canadian in both events.

His time of 6.65 seconds in the 60 metres tied a York record.

Halstead, who runs for the Mississauga Track & Field Club, also won two gold medals at the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championships in the same two events, setting a new meet record in the relay, to receive OUA all-star honours.

On air

  • Patrick Monahan, York vice-president academic & provost and an expert on the Constitution, spoke about an impending ruling by the speaker of the House of Commons, on CBC Radio’s “The Current” April 26.