Toronto students learn local connection with World Hunger Day

Alastair Woods, 23, is chairperson-elect with the Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario, and will be graduating from York University with a BA in international development and political science this spring. He is also one of eight community members helping a group of Toronto high school students put poverty into a local context to mark World Hunger Day Tuesday. There are food banks on every Ontario college and university to address the growing problem of student hunger, said Woods in the Toronto Star May 28. One student he met at the York food bank last winter said didn’t have enough money to enrol in a winter course and buy groceries. Read full story.

Can Herschel backpacks go mainstream and keep their cool?
Like Canada Goose jackets and Lululemon yoga pants before them, Herschel backpacks are ubiquitous on university campuses. The young Vancouver-based company is quickly making a name for itself as a fashion brand young adults want to be associated with….But if fickle “cool kids” are your early adopters, you risk losing them as you try to saturate the mass market. Conversely, how do you continue to grow without doing just that?…“You don’t build big cult brands just on the superficial positioning in advertising,” said Schulich School of Business marketing Professor Alan Middleton in The Globe and Mail May 29. Read full story.

Oil spills are rare and getting rarer
Canada’s pipeline industry, in a boast echoed regularly by the Harper government, proclaims a “99.999 per cent safety record”.…However, York University history Professor Sean Kheraj calls the 99.999 per cent claim “flawed and vague”, because it doesn’t capture the frequency of spills and leaks. He points to statistics from Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board that show there was an average of about 1.5 leaks or ruptures a day in 2011 on the province’s 406,974 km of pipelines. “The largest pipeline network in Canada is by no means leak-proof, and oil spills on that system occur very frequently,” said Kheraj in the Vancouver Sun May 28. Read full story.

Murder most mayoral
Novelists haven’t been the only Toronto writers to draw inspiration from mayoral politics. John Greyson, a filmmaker and York University professor, wrote and directed Murder in Passing, a 42-episode whodunit that aired on Toronto Transit Commission subway platforms from January to March. In it, the mayor is one of the suspects in the murder of a bicycle courier, and is described as having defunded “the pinky parade” along with “bike lanes and libraries and arts funding”, reported the Toronto Standard May 28. It’s all fictitious, though. And Greyson reminded Toronto Standard that the story is based in Passing, B.C. Still, he writes from Toronto. And it’s about bikes. And a mayor who hates them. Read full story.

‘Happy birthday, Rob Ford! Please resign,’ sing city hall visitors, with cake in hand
The women, Jennifer Capraru and Christine Brubaker and one other whose name I didn’t get, say they simply are embarrassed by what is going on in Toronto and would like the mayor to step down. “I am not in agreement with the way Mr. Ford is running the city,” said Capraru, a theatre professor at York University, in the National Post May 28. “This is a performance intervention. We are polite.” Read full story.