Preserved Stories Blog

Please contact me, in the event you’d like to be on Preserved Stories email list

I send out an email newsletter on a regular basis (sometimes frequently, sometimes not frequently at all), to an email list that I keep track of on Microsoft Word. In the event you would like to be on this email list, please contact me via this website. I like to look after such details in person, rather than depending (at this point, anyway) on an automated list, because I like to spend a good part of my time in the part of everyday life that is not yet automated.

The newsletter I sent out on Oct. 8, 2017 reads:

Good morning

The Preserved Stores newsletter is at:

http://preservedstories.com/category/newsletter/

Some recent posts include:

Re: Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB) Info Session, Oct. 18, 2017 at 7:00 pm. David Godley outlines MAJOR procedural roadblocks with TLAB!

Air Traffic Noise: GTAA will examine 30 recommendations based on practices at similar airports around the world: Sept. 28, 2017 CBC article

Update regarding Dead Man’s Curve at Brown’s Line and Lake Shore Blvd. West. Commentary: An EARLIER warning would work much better

Update regarding application to remove two mature trees at No Frills at Brown’s Line and Lake Shore Blvd. West

Keys to Our Past: Mental Health Film Series now available on YouTube

Local historians preserve Etobicoke’s past for future generations: Oct. 5, 2017 Etobicoke Guardian article

Well-received, well-attended Mental Health Film Series Premiere at Humber College Lakeshore

Oct. 10, 2017 is deadline for comments regarding August 2017 Long Branch Character Guidelines draft

Future of Mr. Christie’s land uncertain as demolition begins (CityNews, Sept. 27, 2017)

Reggio Emilia approach has been of interest to early childhood centres and schools world wide, especially in last thirty years (Alison Wells, University of Manitoba)

Let me know if you do not wish to be on this email list; let me know if you know of anyone who would like to be added to it.

Best,

Jaan

 

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Posted in Committee of Adjustment & Local Appeal Body, Long Branch, Long Branch Urban Design Guidelines, Newsletter, Toronto | 2 Comments

Re: Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB) Info Session, Oct. 18, 2017 at 7:00 pm. David Godley outlines MAJOR procedural roadblocks with TLAB!

A previous post is entitled:

Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB) Info Session will take place at Assembly Hall, 7:00 pm, Oct. 18, 2017

David Godley has commented, regarding the meeting:

“A unique opportunity to hear the Chair of TLAB explain the “New OMB” for Committee of Adjustment appeals.”

He adds that that TLAB process “seems to minimise community input.”

David Godley has shared the following review of the process

*

TLAB Participation for the Community

[Please note that I made some of the longer paragraphs, in David’s original text, into shorter ones for ease in online reading. Also for ease of online reading, I have added headings.]

A submission for ending Early Disclosure for the Public

Since May 3rd 2017 nearly all Committee of Adjustment application appeals will be heard by the Toronto Local Appeals Body. TLAB has been set up by the City to replace the OMB for such matters. The OMB has ignored the planning and legal framework and taken the word of compromised planners for the developer at face value.

TLAB seems to consider every member of the public to be a full service legal business. In order for the general public to ease into participating at a TLAB hearing they must, ideally, be at least partially retired to find enough time to deal with pre-consultation, have a brilliant legal mind, be a tech wizard, have a degree in planning and the tenacity of an Olympic competitor.

Costs can be awarded against you

What is more if you do not check the file regularly and are not organized you can have costs awarded against you! The major bugs, impossible timelines and common mistakes in the operating system add to the chaos.

For example Firefox browser does not work but Google Chrome does, pdf wordplay does not work but acrobat does. You need pdf and signing functions not normally used by the general public many of whom do not have a computer.

The big breakthrough for me was finding out that sending a fax (416- 696 4307) converts automatically to pdf. So I fill forms out by hand – a centuries old method to enable TLAB to be paperless. Long Branch residents write:

  • By the way, in my 14 years as a professor I have never come across such difficult and extensive steps to make a submission. The fact that you will not provide the postal code and require a form to be filled out that cannot be done without specific software is strong evidence to me of abuse of process and of deterring community involvement.

– Mark

  • This process is a huge stress on me because I simply am unfamiliar with how the appeals work, I have a full time job, a family and an ailing mother I take care of. So I spent a few hours today reading through the Public guide and the Rules. Much of it I do not understand- I am not a lawyer- I kept having to flip back and forth to interpret some of the who is who. I am even more confused. (I believe my eyes glazed over around page 30)

– Carolyn

Early Disclosure

My worst fears have come to pass on how TLAB is handling pre consultation called Early Disclosure (see original comments to TLAB attached). I have been involved with Long Branch’s first TLAB hearing, a severance and variances at 9 38th Street. TLAB aimed to streamline the process but instead it has caused mass confusion amongst the public. They have marginalized public input so that those with the highest paid lawyer have the advantage, just like the OMB with actual decisions.

TLAB is the last great hope if getting planning back in an even keel and I have confidence in its hearing officers. They too must be frustrated with the unwieldy process especially as constant errors are made by staff due to confusion.

For example a motion had to be reissued because someone was mentioned as a Participant not a Party.

At least the Chair, Ian Lord and secretary/supervisor Hsing Yi Chao are remarkably helpful, proficient and reply more promptly than any other public agency of which I am aware.

None of the various groups was able to meet the deadlines for 9 38th Street, Long Branch’s first TLAB hearing to be in Nov 13. TLAB arranged the hearing based on room availability so the City could not participate.

44 pages of legal jargon

The 44 pages of legal jargon that are the TLAB Rules are expected to be understood by the public although they actually raise more questions than the answer. I have overall had 100 exchanges of emails. Clarification is needed in all matters because they are so complicated and TLAB and staff have to make up “rules” for exceptions as they go along.

The one good thing that comes out of all this is that plans cannot be changed during the 30 days before the hearing. The well written public guide is about the same length as the TLAB Rules but still incomprehensible to the general public.

The irony is that doubling the work of a normal hearing achieves virtually nothing. It is much easier to look at the 15 Committee of Adjustment postings than the 150 TLAB postings many of which are lengthy.

OMB pre-consultation system works well

All the evidence is basically the same for every severance application and similar for variances. The OMB had the almost perfect pre-consultation system, turn up on the day and sort it. The closer you are in time to a hearing gives greater focus of all concerned. TLAB are reversing the natural process for everyone; the hardest hit is the public.

I have asked for the Rules to be abandoned for the public but apparently this can only come out of a Spring 2018 TLAB public review and changes made by Council. Abandoning the pre-consultation rules immediately, especially for the public should be one of the highest priorities for the City. Otherwise TLAB fall foul of City and Provincial policy on public engagement, an integrity issue.

Also the Ombudsan’s office will be interested.

Complex procedures

It took me 2 weeks to go through the complex procedures and public guide and find a way through the maze. My computer still has not recovered! In praise of TLAB they have offered to come down to Lakeshore and explain the pre- consultation procedures.

When the hearing notices go out, no one in the public realm really knows if they will be available, what the issues are, or whether they want to participate; not until much closer to the hearing date. I advise anybody remotely interested to register as a participant and that has to be done within an exceptionally short time, 3 weeks.

I also note though that you can fill out the forms (Form 4 for registering as a participant and Form 13 to outline evidence and references) any time after the appeal and before a hearing date is set.

After the formal 3 weeks you can have a breather before you have to submit, again on impossibly difficult forms for some people, what you want to say and quote any material on which you will rely.

However it really takes the public about 3 months to read up, research, absorb, analyse , strategize, coordinate and finally have a plan of action. As a participant you can appear at the hearing to give evidence or make written comments.

PDF requirement

You can also write in if you are not a participant but it has to be on pdf. The hearing officer will consider at the hearing whether the letter can be accepted as evidence. All the deviations from the rules will have to be considered making the hearing longer. On the evidence it is impossible for TLAB to think that Early Disclosure speeds up a hearing.

It goes without saying that being present is more effective than writing because you are cross examined. How much more weight ascribed is up to the hearing officers; TLAB has encouraged written submissions, probably because it will make the hearing shorter than if people attend. Naturally the opposition try to undermine your status and evidence at the hearing so the public is always in an unfamiliar and hostile environment.

Comments from Ken Greenberg and other planners

Confrontation to resolve planning issues is roundly criticised by sophisticated planners such as Ken Greenberg. TLAB recognize this by providing mediation services. However in my experience those wanting severances will not back off although it is a useful tool for variances.

Unless TLAB has greater insights into planning, especially urban design and make compromise decisions rather than “yes or no” like the OMB, Toronto will be no further forward, in fact several steps back.

I would be glad to receive any feedback.

Yours truly

David Godley
401 Lake Promenade
Toronto M8W 1C3

30 August 2017

 

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Posted in Commentary, Committee of Adjustment & Local Appeal Body, Language usage, Long Branch, Newsletter, Story management, Toronto | Leave a comment

He once sued his tutors, alleging that they owed him money for everything he had taught them. He won.

The image is from the Politico article featured at the post you are now reading.

The image is from the Politico article featured at the post you are now reading.

An Oct. 7, 2017 Politico article is entitled: “Trump Is the Star of These Bizarre Victorian Novels: And the Internet is losing its mind.”

The one problem with the headline is the expression “losing its mind.”

I refer you, in this context, to the YouTube video entitled:

Keys to our Past – Language & Stigma

Similarly, it is unfair to infants, toddlers, and 12-year-olds to compare Trump to infants, toddlers, and 12-year-olds.

We must take care how we use language.

Or, is it the case that “losing of one’s mind” is an okay figure of speech? I am reminded of the expression “boggle the mind,” popular in the 1960s. Are these terms noy okay to use? I imagine arguments can be advanced, either way.

The back story, at any rate, related to the above-noted video, one of a series in a Mental Health Film Series recently premiered at Humber College in Toronto, is available at a post entitled:

Well-received, well-attended Mental Health Film Series Premiere at Humber College Lakeshore

That said, the Oct. 4, 2017 Politico story is of interest, in particular in its exploration of the meaning of the word “bizarre.”

 

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Posted in Commentary, Language usage, Newsletter, Story management | Leave a comment

Air Traffic Noise: GTAA will examine 30 recommendations based on practices at similar airports around the world: Sept. 28, 2017 CBC article

As we were watching the videos, occasionally the presence of Air Traffic Noise made its presence known. If you look closely, you will see an aircraft in the sky in this image. Jaan Pill photo

During an Oct. 4, 2017 visit to the Humber College Lakeshore campus, to view a Mental Health Film Series Premiere, it was noted occasionally Air Traffic Noise made its presence known. If you look closely, you will see an aircraft in the sky in this image. You can click on the photo to enlarge it. Jaan Pill photo

Click here to access previous posts about Air Traffic Noise >

A Sept. 28, 2017 CBC article is entitled: “GTAA to consider new strategies to cut down on aircraft noise at Pearson: The GTAA will examine 30 recommendations based on practices at similar airports around the world.”

I attended the meeting by the airport where the Helios report, mentioned in the article, was presented. When reading the document, the reference to its status as an “independent” report stopped me in my tracks.

My first thought was: “How can one say that a report, by a key player in the airline industry, is going to be independent of the GTAA’s corporate communications requirements? What are we dealing with here, other than a standard, PR-based ‘shaping of the story?'”

However, the CBC report gives rise to the thought that some justification may exist for the claim that Helios, in practice as much as in rhetoric, is indeed independent of the GTAA.

The CBC article does a great job of covering the contents of the report. The CBC does very impressive work, on so many levels.

The Helios report – which you can access here – warrants a close read.

 

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Posted in Commentary, Long Branch, Mississauga, Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Update regarding Dead Man’s Curve at Brown’s Line and Lake Shore Blvd. West. Commentary: An EARLIER warning would work much better

Image 6: Sharp turn right. Jaan Pill photo

Sharp turn right at Dead Man’s Curve. Jaan Pill photo

Update

A subsequent post is entitled:

Anna writes: The entire Brown’s Line at Lake Shore intersection “needs a redesign”

[End]

 

A previous post is entitled:

Work in progress: Better signage might save lives, at “Dead Man’s Curve” at southbound Brown’s Line

Another post addressing the same theme is entitled:

Natural forms at Six Points Interchange Reconfiguration; setbacks between images at Dead Man’s Curve

Update regarding Dead Man’s Curve

I am pleased to share with you the following update, based upon a Oct. 6, 2017 email from Councillor Mark Grimes’ Office.

As mentioned at a previous post, the Ward 6 Councillor Mark Grimes moved, at the Etobicoke York Community Council, a “Request to Investigate Browns Line southbound between Dover Drive and Lake Shore Boulevard West for Safety Improvements.”

The email notes:

“Staff have recommended a ‘flashing beacon’ on top of the existing checkerboard sign. They have advised that they are currently working with Toronto Hydro and will keep our office posted regarding an installation date.”

As more information is forwarded my way, I will post it at this website.

Commentary

First of all, I feel uncomfortable offering commentary, as a resident who is not a staff person anywhere. As a general rule I keep my thoughts, about City staff recommendations, to myself. In this case, however, lives are literally at stake.

I am pleased to know about the flashing-beacon recommendation. Possibly, the flashing beacon will serve as a warning to a speeding driver. However, it is also possible that a flashing light, at that point in a car’s journey along Dead Man’s Curve, may be a classic instance of “Too Little, Too Late.”

In the event this doesn’t work, and an additional life or lives are lost, I would like to propose, for whatever value such a suggestion may have, that it may be useful for staff to consider the fact that an earlier warning, of what lies up ahead, might be useful.

At a previous post, I have described the current dynamics, of what happens when a driver is approaching the curve.

Visual Dynamics of the Curve

There appears to be a natural tendency, among drivers in general, in countries around the world, to step on the gas when approaching a hill – such as at the overpass roadway above the railway tracks north of Lake Shore Blvd. West.

Approaching the hill, there is a long stretch of a straight roadway.

Straight roadways sometimes give rise to speeding, among some drivers. A Toronto Police Service speed trap is often set up at the corner of Dover Drive and Brown’s Line. Brown’s Line at Dover Drive is also a dangerous location. In recent months, I have observed the aftermath of two collisions at that location.

It’s natural, for some drivers, to pick up speed as they travel along the straight stretch of Brown’s Line as they approach the overpass just past Dover Drive.

At times, when I have travelled along this route, it has occurred to me that, on two occasions, in 2016 and 2017, two drivers would have been travelling along this roadway, unaware that in a matter of seconds, their lives would be over.

Now, as you proceed along the overpass, you do not have visual contact with what’s about to appear once – until you reach the top of the overpass.

The presence of a curve is not telegraphed for you, with a sign. All you see is a 30-kph sign, which is easy to ignore. Who attends closely to a sign that says 30-kph, if there is no other warning sign in place?

You do indeed see a sign – once you are right in the curve.

The sign indicates the roadway swings to the right. The presence of a curve is not announced with a sign, until you are well into the curve. By that time, if you are travelling very fast, it may be too late – to save your life.

What would improve the situation?

A prominent advance warning of a curve – a sign that would clearly and dramatically alert drivers BEFORE they enter the curve – would be most helpful.

A series of chevrons along the curve would also be most helpful.

I have begun to send brief messages, about this topic, to the relevant authorities. Maybe, people working together can save a life.

In the event you have a family member, friend, or acquaintance – or know a stranger – who may find this message of value, please let them know about the Dead Man’s Curve, at the foot of Brown’s Line in Long Branch.

 

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Update regarding application to remove two mature trees at No Frills at Brown’s Line and Lake Shore Blvd. West

Jaan Pill photo

3730 Lakeshore Blvd. West, Oct. 4, 2017. Jaan Pill photo

3730 Lakeshore Blvd. West, Oct. 4, 2017. Jaan Pill photo

3730 Lakeshore Blvd. West, Oct. 4, 2017. Jaan Pill photo

3730 Lakeshore Blvd. West, Oct. 4, 2017. Jaan Pill photo

3730 Lakeshore Blvd. West, Oct. 4, 2017. Jaan Pill photo

This post concerns Re: 3730 Lakeshore Blvd. West [#106750].

A previous post is entitled:

No response from Choice Properties REIT regarding sign erected between two mature trees – No Frills by Brown’s Line

I have been copied on recent email correspondence between a local resident and an Urban Forestry Planner at Urban Forestry, Tree Protection & Plan Review, Etobicoke York District, City of Toronto, where the contact number is 416-394-8918.

The gist of the update is as follows:

Urban Forestry did receive an application in September 2017 for the removal of 2 city-owned trees and one privately owned tree located at this site.

I quote: “The application is currently under review. Approval decision has not been finalized as we are hoping to work with the applicant to avoid removing the trees involved, if possible.”

As well:

“FYI, there was a different application submitted in August 2016 also for the removal of 2 city trees and one private tree. The trees were in poor condition and directly involved in the installation of the new parking area and new walkway connecting to the public sidewalk. The trees have been removed and the walkway and parking have already been completed.”

Commentary

There is much interest in this story – among residents, that is.

The story may turn out to be an apt metaphor for “how things are done” in Long Branch – with reference to urban planning, and with reference to decision making in general. In general terms, with occasional and noteworthy exceptions, the track record regarding urban planning in South Etobicoke to date is not inspiring.

For my own small part, primarily as an expression of my own sense of what makes sense, if the trees are gone, I will make a point of boycotting the business that turns up, once construction is completed, at the building located directly to the east of No Frills.

 

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Posted in Commentary, Long Branch, Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Heads-up regarding next steps for the Preserved Stories website

Over the next several months, I will be cutting back on blog posts related to Long Branch and nearby neighbourhoods.

I mention this now, by way of a heads-up, for regular visitors to this website.

I will be working, with as few distractions as possible, on a book about Long Branch history. It will be a long project, as I have much material to work with, and many things to learn, as I proceed.

In order to work on the book, I will considerably reduce my postings about day-to-day, current happenings in Long Branch and nearby communities.

The focus of my thoughts will be on the packaging of stories, that some people may find of interest – of sufficient interest, that is to say, to purchase a hardcopy version of a book.

The stories are about a Long Branch that has existed in the past.

The stories are about a community, about pockets of communities, and about a social fabric, all of which, to a lesser or greater degree, are disappearing, or have already disappeared.

Much of life is ephemeral – things come and go.

Memories, accumulated in their vastness, at the personal and family level, in any neighbourhood, come and go.

My project, like all such projects, seeks to shape, and package in one or more suitable formats, a selection of those stories, as otherwise they are lost forever.

History of a Disappearance (2017)

Among the many sources, that serve as inspiration for my book project, is History of a Disappearance: The Story of a Forgotten Polish Town (2017) by Filip Springer. That is a wonderful book; I recommend it highly.

In the case of Long Branch, as the ongoing story unfolds, the community remains, as a residential district, but much of the established built form disappears, and the social fabric – which has, indeed, been a key element of what people like to call “the character of the place” – disappears as well.

The story of Long Branch is a great story, that speaks to – that speaks to what?

That’s a nice, open-ended question, which each person, who speaks about Long Branch, past, present, and future, can fill in for herself, or himself. There are many Long Branches, and many versions of the story related to it (or them).

I encourage you to set up your own website, and write a blog offering your own perspective on things

My own way of looking at things is but one among many ways, that a person can choose from, based upon each person’s formative experiences, experiential encounters, and character traits.

I am pleased to refer you, as well, to a previous post:

I encourage you to set up your own website about local history and planning issues in Long Branch

I was interested to read Colleen O’Marra’s comment at the end of the post you are now reading

Please note that, by way of bringing attention to the comments that follow below, I’ve written a separate post, entitled:

Comments from Colleen O’Marra regarding next steps for the Preserved Stories website

 

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Posted in Long Branch, Newsletter, Toronto | 2 Comments

Keys to Our Past: Mental Health Film Series now available on YouTube

KEYS TO OUR PAST2

Click on the image to enlarge it; click again to enlarge it further.

Click here to access the Keys to Our Past videos on YouTube >

Back story

The six videos (wit accompanying transcripts), and the trailer, can be viewed at the above-noted YouTube link.

A previous post, which shares my review of this first-rate, highly informative film series, is entitled:

Huber College Lakeshore, Oct. 4, 2017. Jaan Pill photo

The Keys to Our Past Premiere took place at Humber College Lakeshore on Oct. 4, 2017. Jaan Pill photo

Well-received, well-attended Mental Health Film Series Premiere at Humber College Lakeshore

 

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Local historians preserve Etobicoke’s past for future generations: Oct. 5, 2017 Etobicoke Guardian article

The photo is from the article that is featured at the page you are now reading. Caption reads: Denise Harris, chief historian for the Etobicoke Historical Society, (left) and Jaan Pill, amateur historian and Long Branch resident who runs the Preserved Stories website, sit inside Montgomery's Inn on Tuesday, Sept. 12. - Justin Greaves/Metroland

The photo is from the article that is featured at the page you are now reading. Caption reads: Denise Harris, chief historian for the Etobicoke Historical Society, (left) and Jaan Pill, amateur historian and Long Branch resident who runs the Preserved Stories website, sit inside Montgomery’s Inn on Tuesday, Sept. 12. – Justin Greaves/Metroland

An Oct. 5, 2017 Etobicoke Guardian article is entitled: “Local historians preserve Etobicoke’s past for future generations.”

The article is by Cynthia Reason; the photo is by Justin Greaves of Metroland.

The article is beautifully written. It starts with humour, continues with a relative newcomer to local history, and concludes with an amateur historian who’s been at the game for many years.

In future, I will feature brief interviews I did with Denise Harris and Justin Greaves, on the occasion of the Sept. 12, 2017 photo shoot at Montgomery’s Inn, connected with this well-written, informative article about local history in Etobicoke. The interviews asked each of the subjects how they got started in their respective lines of work. That’s a topic that is always of interest to me, as a writer and observer.

 

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Well-received, well-attended Mental Health Film Series Premiere at Humber College Lakeshore

KEYS TO OUR PAST2

Click on the image to enlarge it; click again to enlarge it further.

I much enjoyed the “Keys to Our Past” Mental Health Film Series Premiere that took place at the “G” Building at Humber College Lakeshore on the evening of Oct. 4, 2017.

I’ve outlined what the series is about at a previous post:

Lakeshore Grounds Interpretive Centre presenting Mental Health Series Film Premiere, Wed., Oct. 4, 2017

Each of the series of films that we saw was between about seven and 11 minutes in length.

Click here to access the Keys to Our Past videos on YouTube >

I much enjoyed the journey from the "L" Building (which I had mistaken for the "G" Building, which appears at this image. Jaan Pill photo

I much enjoyed the journey from the “L” Building to the “G” Building (above). This is a view looking toward the east. Jaan Pill photo

The topics covered were (as the poster on  the right, which you can enlarge by clicking on it, notes):

  • Asylums
  • Moral Treatment
  • Somatic Therapy
  • Drug Therapy
  • NCR (Not Criminally Responsible)
  • Language & Stigma
A display table featured a number of items related to the positioning of mental illness in years gone by. The book in the photo was published in 1908. Jaan Pill photo

A display table featured several items related to the positioning of mental illness in years gone by. The book in the photo was published in 1908. Jaan Pill photo

Four individuals, from different places (York University, Yorkville University, Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, and Lakeshore Grounds Interpretive Centre) took turns introducing each of the short segments, and engaged in a Q & A with the assembled audience.

Said individuals were:

  • Rachel Gerow (student at Yorkville University)
  • Gary Bold (student at York University)
  • Laura Ball (Staff person at Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care)
  • Jennifer Bazar (Curator, Lakeshore Ground Interpretative Centre)

The artist who created the superb and effective chalkboards is Nick West, a staff member at Waypoint.

The display table, at the film event, included an electroshock device, which dates as I understand from the 1960s. The device at the left is a surgical device that was used in years past for brain operations that were part of Somatic Therapy options in years past. Jaan Pill photo

The display table, at the film event, included an electroshock device, which dates as I understand from the 1960s. The device at the left is a surgical instrument that was used for “Somatic Therapy” brain operations in years past. Jaan Pill photo

Each of the above-noted individuals has performed a highly impressive and valuable role, as a key player in the creation of this excellent series of films, which address mental health issues in a manner that is accessible, and in a way that closely commands the attention of the viewer.

First task: Locate the “G” Building at Humber College

The event was held at the “G” Building.

I have a less than perfect sense of direction.

The part of my brain that deals with spatial perception is out of whack, meaning that I often guess about where I’m supposed to be headed, and get lost along the way. In this case, we headed straight for the “L” Building, at the Humber Lakeshore Campus. I was convinced in my mind that the “L” Building was the “G” Building, but a close inspection of the signage enabled the fact to quickly dawn, upon me, that I was mistaken in my guesswork.

Fortunately, we asked a Humber student, who indicated that the “G” building was directly to the east of the “L” building, which meant that an easy walk across an open quadrangle brought us to our intended destination.

Jaan Pill photo

Humber College Lakeshore, Oct. 4, 2017. This is a view looking south toward lake Ontario. Jaan Pill photo

Getting lost, while inconvenient, never bothers me, given that there’s always something new to be learned in the process.

Now, if somebody depends upon me for directions, however, that is another story, of course.

“G” Building a great venue for watching videos

A neat feature of the “G” building is that a new addition has been built on the west side of the building, and that is where the screenings were held. The original building dates from the late 1800s. The building-addition was a great venue for watching the Mental Health Film Series Premiere at Humber College.

Huber College Lakeshore, Oct. 4, 2017. Jaan Pill photo

Humber College Lakeshore, Oct. 4, 2017. This is a view looking north, from just outside the “G” Building. Jaan Pill photo

Great format for sharing information

As well as having a less than perfect sense of direction, I also find it nearly impossible to sit still to watch a film of any length. For that reason, I almost never watch television, and I seldom sit for 90 minutes to watch a movie in a theatre. My favourite way to watch a movie is to set it up as a DVD on my laptop.

I’ll watch 10 minutes at a time, then pause it, go do something else, and then return to watch another 10 minutes.

Fortunately, I’ve been following research indicating that sitting still for more then 10 minutes or so at a time is going to wreck your body, and destroy your once-outstanding good health, so by happenstance, things have worked out well for me, so far as sitting goes.

As we were watching the videos, occasionally the presence of Air Traffic Noise made its presence known. If you look closely, you will see an aircraft in the sky in this image. Jaan Pill photo

As we were watching the videos, occasionally Air Traffic Noise made its presence known. If you look closely, you will see an aircraft in the sky in this image. You can click on the photo to enlarge it. This applies to all the photos. Jaan Pill photo

I mention this because the format for the Mental Health Film Series Premiere was absolutely perfect, for my particular tastes, and as it turned out, for the tastes of other people who attended the screening. I did sit still, but with the short film segments, in each case interspersed with an audience Q & A, the time went quickly and I did not get restless.

Asylums

We began by watching a short clip about asylums – with a particular focus on the role that architecture and setting has on a person’s mood.

Huber College Lakeshore, Oct. 4, 2017. Jaan Pill photo

Humber College Lakeshore, Oct. 4, 2017. Jaan Pill photo

The narration was by John Leclair, who in this project plays the role of Actor, Writer, & Creative. He plays this role really well! In each 10-minute clip, he goes through the same introductory routine. You have to see this series yourself. John Leclair is perfect for this role! Really impressive! Great role play!

Moral Treatment

I’ve lost track of how many videos there were, that were screened. I do know that Moral Treatment was covered as a concept. In times past, Moral Treatment (the concept) was expressed in the decision-making process involved in the choice of the physical setting (often in a natural setting, near water) where asylums were built. It was also expressed on determining the views out of windows, and even the circulation of air in buildings.

What a great way to approach urban design!

Somatic Therapy

The clip about Somatic Therapy highlighted attempts, in years past, to try to make things better for the mind by doing things to the body.

Drug Therapy

Among other things, this clip dealt in a cogent way with psychedelic drugs, as viewed in medicinal and recreational contexts.

The Q & A following this video was wide-ranging and of much interest, as were the Q & As (and commentaries from varied sources) for the other clips.

NCR (Not Criminally Responsible)

The history of how the concept of Not Criminally Responsible originated, and how it evolved in response to public pressures, was covered in another focused, brief video clip, bookended by the same introduction and ending, played with flair and energy by John Leclair, who as I have already said, is superbly suited for the role at hand.

Even the lighting for John Leclair, as he sits in his “studio,” is perfect – a little harsh, a little strong, accentuating every feature of his face.

It’s like “film noir” lighting, but without the harsh contrasts. The entire film set is pretty evenly lit. The lighting works perfectly!

If I recall correctly, this segment dealt with the value of evidence-based policy. This is such an important point – the value of evidence! I am very pleased that evidence was highlighted in this film series.

Language & Stigma

This area was also covered well. We must take care how we use language.

Conclusion

I highly recommend this Mental Health Film Series. If you have an opportunity to view these short films, you will learn a great amount of accurate, balanced information about what mental illness is, and what it isn’t.

Among other things, you will have the opportunity to think about the history of architecture, treatment options for mental illness, and a wide range of other topics that have a relationship to mental well-being and mental health in Canada.

Click here to access the Keys to Our Past videos on YouTube >

 

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