Preserved Stories Blog

Rechargeable batteries for audio recorders save you money big time

Left to right: Zoom H5 and Zoom H1 digital recorders. Jaan Pill photo

Left to right: Zoom H5 and Zoom H1 digital recorders. Jaan Pill photo

For many years, I’ve been using Zoom H1 and Zoom H5 audio recorders as part of my work in preparing material for the Preserved Stories website and other projects.

Initially, I was spending plenty of money, which adds up over the years, buying AA batteries to keep the Zoom recorders going.

Finally, I decided to buy an MH-C801D battery charger. I bought it at the same place where I buy other sound recording equipment namely Trew Audio in Toronto.

Powerex MH-C801D eight cell battery charger. Jaan Pill photo

Powerex MH-C801D eight cell battery charger. Jaan Pill photo

Every 10 charges, I do what’s called a Conditioning Mode Charge, which the staff at Trew Audio emphasized is important if you want your batteries to last as long as possible. The little bit of work, in keeping track of charges, is well worth the time and effort that is required. It’s so much better to be using rechargeable batteries!



Share this:

Posted in Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Mimico Residents Association – Annual General Meeting, Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 8:00 to 9:30 pm

Please click here for details >

Mimico Residents Association

Annual General Meeting

Date: Thursday March 30, 2017

Time: 8:00-9:30 pm

Location: Mimico Centennial Library, Auditorium (lower level)

Etobicoke-Lakeshore MPP Peter Milczyn will be attending to speak on OMB reform – please plan to attend!

New and returning MRA Members welcome and can join/renew membership at the meeting

Comment: The value of a strong social media presence

A key prerequisite and requirement for a successful residents association or neighbourhood association is a strong social media presence. The Mimico Residents Association has a great social media presence, thanks to the work of Mimico resident Mary Bella of Maestra Web Design among others.

Over the years, Mary Bella has done first-rate work on behalf of my Preserved Stories website, as has Bruce Walden of Walden Design. I can tell you from my own experience over the years that it makes a huge difference, when a blogger can count on first-rate technical help!

Mary Bella and Bruce Waden have also done great work for another first-rate resource that I am familiar with, namely the site for Rockwood Consulting.


Share this:

Posted in Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Family Skate with MPP Peter Milczyn – Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 2:00 to 4:00 pm

Family Skate with MPP Milczyn

Date: Wednesday, March 15th

Time: 2:00–4:00 pm

Location: Mastercard Centre, 400 Kipling Ave

Residents and stakeholders are invited to bring your skates and join Peter Milczyn for an afternoon of fun, skating on the Toronto Maple Leafs’ practice ice pad. Helmets are required – hot chocolate and light refreshments will be served


Share this:

Posted in Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Reconstructing Karl Polanyi : Excavation and Critique (2016): Blurb and review

I have a strong interest in the work of Karl Polanyi. What he says makes sense to me.

A blurb for Reconstructing Karl Polanyi : Excavation and Critique (2016) reads:

Karl Polanyi was one of the most influential political economists of the twentieth century and is widely regarded as the most gifted of social democratic theorists. In Reconstructing Karl Polanyi, Gareth Dale, one of the foremost scholars of Polanyi, provides a sweeping survey of his contributions to the social sciences.Polanyi’s intellectual and political outlook can best be summarised through paradoxical formulations such as ‘liberal socialist’ and ‘cosmopolitan patriot’. In exploring these paradoxes, Dale draws upon a wide array of primary sources to reconstruct Polanyi’s views on a range of topics that have been neglected in the critical literature, including the history of antiquity, the evolution and dynamics of Stalin’s Russia, McCarthyism and his critical dialogue with Marxism.Dale also analyses Polanyi’s relevance to current issues, notably the ‘clash’ between democracy and capitalism, and the nature and trajectory of European unification. This is an essential and original study for anyone interested in the formation and application of social democracy.

Review of Reconstructing Karl Polanyi : Excavation and Critique (2016)

A London School of Economics and Political Science article is entitled: “Book Review: Reconstructing Karl Polanyi: Excavation and Critique by Gareth Dale.”

The introduction to the LSE review reads:

In Reconstructing Karl Polanyi: Excavation and Critique, Gareth Dale contributes a further volume to his decade-long research into the life and thought of the influential political economist. Here, he provides an account of Polanyi’s specific contributions to the social sciences, reconstructs some of his more complex or elusive concepts and reflects on the relevance of his theories to present-day issues including the European Union. While he would recommend Dale’s previous works to those less familiar with Polanyi due to the book’s density, Chris Moreh praises this as a magisterial addition to Dale’s project that ensures that Polanyi’s thought is more alive than ever.



Share this:

Posted in Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Empathy is great provided that we use it wisely

In a page at my website dealing with mindfulness meditation, I’ve discussed the uses and abuses of compassion.

I’ve also discussed a range of viewpoints regarding empathy.

A July 12, 2012 Wired article is entitled: “Compassion over empathy could help prevent emotional burnout.”

A June 3, 2013 Harvard University Press article is entitled: Is Empathy Bad?

A Sept. 10, 2014 Boston review article is entitled: “Against Empathy.”

A Jan. 4, 2017 CBC The Current article is entitled: “Against Empathy: Yale psychology professor says too much emotion leads to bad moral decisions.”

A Feb. 14, 2017 Science of Us article is entitled: “Rich People Literally See the World Differently.”

A March 1, 2017 Scientific American article is entitled: “Too Much Emotional Intelligence Is a Bad Thing: Profound empathy may come at a price.”

A March 17, 2017 Atlantic article is entitled: “The University of Michigan’s Plan to Increase Diversity: The administration has launched a multiyear racial and socioeconomic diversity plan, but a lot of students aren’t pleased.”

Who benefits from empathy and the denigration of it?

An underlying subtext concerns the question of who benefits – and what worldview and mindset benefits – from the denigration of empathy? A related question concerns evidence-based practice, as it relates to the topic of empathy. To what extent are we dealing with facts, when we talk about empathy, and to what extent are we dealing with framing?

Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin (2015)

I much enjoy the following overview (p. 280; I’ve broken the original, longer paragraph into shorter ones) from Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin (2015) regarding “the worst approach to empathy”:

Beyond his time in the KGB, Vladimir Putin has no firsthand experience of Western society. To assume that he does, and that he should think like us or even understand how we think, is an example of what U.S. scholar Zachary Shore – in his 2014 book, A Sense of the Enemy: The High-Stakes History of Reading Your Rival’s Mind – describes as “simulation theory.”

We ask ourselves what we would do in another per­son’s position, but this is “unfortunately, the worst approach to empathy because it assumes that others will think and act as we do, and too often they don’t.” [62] As we have pointed out in earlier chapters, Putin’s under­standing – in the Russian context – of how the free market works or should work is very different from a U.S. or European perspective.

It was informed by his experience growing up in the Soviet Union and working in St. Petersburg as deputy mayor, as well as by his studies in the KGB and life in Dresden when the East German economy was in shambles.

Putin’s conception of democratic politics, or at least what he views as democratic politics, was filtered by his experience in the German Demo­cratic Republic, and then in the rough-and-tumble of post-Soviet Russian politics in St. Petersburg and later in Moscow.



Share this:

Posted in Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

3rd Annual March Break Free Family Skate, March 15, 2017 from 2 to 4pm at MasterCard Centre



Please find attached a flyer [see above] with regard to my 3rd Annual March Break Free Family Skate, which will take place on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 from 2 – 4 pm at the MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence, 400 Kipling Avenue. Residents and stakeholders are invited to bring your skates and join me for an afternoon of fun, skating on the Toronto Maple Leafs’ practice ice pad. Helmets are required – hot chocolate and light refreshments will be served. I hope to see you there!


Peter Milczyn, MPP


Share this:

Posted in Newsletter | Leave a comment

Conserving Long Branch – March 2017 Update from David Godley (Part 1)

The following text is from David Godley [I have added some notes in square brackets]


1) Status of applications

Severance Applications for 9 February Committee of Adjustment

75 41st Street, (2) 2 storey buildings, one existing and one proposed from density 0.35 to 0.63. Two storeys is a better fit for the street than 3 storeys but the density and mass of the new one is too great. Approved

11 Garden Place, (2) 2 storey long buildings from 0.35 density to 0.70. Two storeys is a better fit for the street than 3 storeys although the density is too high and the mass too great. Deferred

Severance Applications and Variances for 9 March Committee of Adjustment

81 26th St. Returning from Community Meeting (1) 3 storey house 0.35 density to 1.18 (See part 2 of Update)

55 Long Branch Avenue. Large rear addition from 0.35 to 0.71. Streetscape conserved but impacts on adjacent houses due to double the density.

22 33rd. Returning to COA without Community Meeting (2) 3 storey houses density 0.35 to 0.69 (See Part 2 of Update)

9 38th Street. A revised application from February 2016. 2 storey traditional and ultra modern on 25 feet frontage lots from 0.35at 0.56 density in a solid area of wide lots.(See Part 2 of Update)

Severance Applications and Variances for 6 April Committee of Adjustment

99 27th Street (2) 3 storey detached 0.35 to 1.18 – a non-fit proposal at over 3 times density where the character is rapidly becoming that of Brampton North.

People in this area have now faced 6 OMB hearings with 2 outstanding.

32 36th Street, (1) 3 storey buildings, soldier houses 0.35 to 0.91 density. Far too high a density. If 30 32nd is approved a new area of character destruction will be started.

20 Daisy (1) 2 storey house 0.35 to 0.53

23 35th addition to heritage building 2 storeys with good design facing Park but affecting abutting properties

Variance application without a Committee of Adjustment Date

39 27th Street (no information posted)

56 31st Street (no information posted)

If you wish to look at all the material online go “City of Toronto” “Development Applications” “Committee of Adjustment” “Ward 6” “Search” and follow the cues.

OMB Hearings

80 Twenty Third Street, January 4 2017. Awaiting Decision

2 Ash Avenue, January 23 2017. Applicant, City and Residents settled.

68 Daisy Avenue, 73 4 storey townhouse units, February 24 2017. Prehearing Conference for 1 day held

2 Shamrock Avenue, March 8 2017

82 Twenty Seventh Street, March 21 2017

9 Meaford , April 11 2017

5 31st, 28 March 2017

5 Ramsgate, 16 May 2017

20 Elton, 28 March 2017

24 33rd, 1 May 2017 No planner on board (See Part 2 of Update)

40 37th, 18 April 2017

14 Villa, Awaiting Date

34 27th, 15 May 2017

160 30th, 28 June 2017

2) Help is at hand

Those seeking help for preparation of presentations to the COA or OMB can review material at

Preserved Stories

Long Branch with so much experience of COA and OMB appearances has more knowledge perhaps than any other neighbourhood.

We have a history of helping each other.

Christine is the current champion of the support system. Feel free to contact her at

3) The Context of Current Planning: The Plunder of Long Branch

Five years ago the severance of 364 Lake Promenade was refused by the OMB. That is the last decision on severances the OMB made that had a semblance of logic. Even other applications refused (which were few and far between) did not seem to comprehend the issues fully.

Since then we have had 100 approvals for soldier houses (3 storey roughly double density) by either the COA or the OMB. None of these fit the low density ambiance of Long Branch and destroy the tree canopy. No soldier house should ever have been allowed because they break every rule in the planning book.

What is more the destruction of character has been accelerating and the OMB, COA and even Planning Department are making increasingly bizarre judgments.

Why has the system gone so wrong? It stems from the OMB who are exceedingly biased for development and have given no weight to pubic input. Yet the planning appeal system was designed to protect the public interest. In Toronto according to the Official Plan those residents in Long Branch should be shaping their neighbourhood. Although they have given their all to ensure the planning and legal framework is observed, they are the ones who have been punished.

The Planning Department who have always been courteous and responsive have initiated the Community meetings which have moderated damage and the Urban Design Guidelines which so far have had no effect.

Urban Design, the third dimension in planning, is the missing ingredient in all the processing despite being strongly emphasised in the Official Plan, (another feather in the hat for the Planning Department.)

However it seems that the Urban Design section has no input into comments on applications. Urban Design is certainly not fully understood by the Community Planning Division. Information and analysis on urban design are always missing and no rationale is offered. The 9 Meaford comment was the a mistake based on lack of knowledge on how to evaluate urban design in accordance with City policy and how to achieve harmonious fit.

The COA and OMB are clueless when it comes to urban design which is usually 100% of the issues. Only land use seems to be comprehended and since soldier houses are detached this is not in debate.

Essentially we are subject to planning decisions being made akin to plumbers carrying out dentistry. No wonder Long Branch is beginning to look like a row of poorly fitting teeth.

Long Branch has been sold down the river. While the Planning Department are helping on the worst excesses only our Councillor and The Toronto Star are fully behind us. The Mayor does not care.

It is hard to believe that in a first world country with the sophistication of Toronto that we have to put up with so much ignorance and ineptitude of public servants. It would be fascinating to watch as an outsider. But those who are grievously affected are wounded animals.

David Godley March 2 2017

[Some additional topics]

4) DeGasperis ruling on ‘Minor”

5) Representation to Nominating committee [I will address this as a separate post]

6) Toronto Local Area Board [I will address this as a separate post]

7) Environmental Defence. Focus on the OMB [I will check on this item]

8) Integrity Commission

Dear Mr. Godley,

The Integrity Commissioner asked me to respond to your email of February 10, 2017. Your email was addressed to a number of people and dealt with issues that are not within the scope of work of the Commissioner. The Commissioner therefore asked me to provide you with some information about the role of this Office.

The Integrity Commissioner can receive complaints that a member of an Adjudicative Board has contravened the Code of Conduct for Members of Adjudicative Boards. The complaint process follows the Complaint Protocol. These documents are the best guides of what is required for a complaint, how an investigation proceeds, and (if the Commissioner finds a contravention of the Code), the kinds of penalties the Commissioner can recommend to the Adjudicative Board. The Commissioner can only deal with conduct that is described in the Articles of the Code of Conduct.

Please keep in mind that the Integrity Commissioner can only act in response to a formal or informal complaint. Complaints about members of Adjudicative Boards must be filed in accordance with the Complaint Protocol. You can find general information about the process to file a complaint on our website,

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best regards,

Adam D’Amico
Intake and Office Assistant
Office of the Integrity Commissioner
375 University Avenue, Suite 202
Toronto, ON M5G 2J5

Main: (416) 392-3826
Fax: (416) 696-3615


Twitter: @TO_Integrity

9) Mediation Pilot


News Release from Councillor Grimes

February 2, 2017

Pilot mediation program launched to resolve disputes on minor variance and consent applications in Toronto

The City of Toronto is launching a city-wide Mediation Pilot Program today to assist in resolving disputes for minor variance and consent applications being considered by the Committee of Adjustment.

This free program strives to assist disputing parties in reaching a voluntary, mutually-acceptable solution for some or all of the issues in dispute. The program is intended to help foster a collaborative process with neighbours as well as to reduce costs, provide access to neutral professional expertise and increase the likelihood of a settlement.

“Toronto is investing in providing smart and efficient City services that respond to Torontonians’ needs,” said Mayor John Tory. “The hope is that through the Mediation Pilot Program, residents can resolve disputes quicker and at reduced costs – and reduce the number of appeals.”

“The planning process can be overwhelming. Residents concerned about minor variances or consents may not have the experience or financial resources to challenge lawyers and planners hired by applicants,” said Councillor David Shiner (Ward 24 Willowdale), Chair of the Planning and Growth Management Committee. “I am hoping that mediation will provide an opportunity for neighbours to get professional assistance and avoid expensive appeals.”

The mediation sessions will be conducted by a neutral third-party mediator and a neutral, experienced professional planner with knowledge of the City’s Official Plan and zoning bylaws, including applicable minor variance and consent legislation. The Committee of Adjustment renders the final decision and is not bound by the mediated agreement.

The program will roll out across the city and will be available through the Committee of Adjustment starting with North York on February 9, followed by Toronto and East York on February 15, Scarborough on February 16, and Etobicoke and York on February 23.

More information about the Mediation Pilot Program is available at

10) OMB Submission [I will post this separately]  Further items to follow.


Share this:

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

DeGasperis case, related to the finding of the Divisional Court, July 2005, is part of the OMB’s parallel universe

The DeGasperis Case, related to a July 2005 finding of the Divisional Court, concerns what I, as a Toronto resident, have come to view as a unique, remarkable parallel universe, or as an astounding alternate reality.

The alternate reality that I refer to – in which Up is Down, In is Out, and Minor is Major – concerns what takes place at the City of Toronto Committee of Adjustment and the Ontario Municipal Board.


A question that arise for me is:

Does the fabled The DeGasperis case have any relevance, with regard to how decisions are now made at the Committee of Adjustment and OMB? Or is it simply ignored when COA and OMB decisions are made?

These are most interesting questions.

If anybody knows the answers, please contact me via this website or by email at:

Analysis of the DeGasperis case

David Godley of Long Branch has emailed to me his reflections regarding the DeGasperis case.

His overview has prompted me to do an online search regarding this case.

An online Fall 2005 Aird & Berlin LLP Municipal and Planning Law article, entitled Minor Variances Clarified – The Role of “Need” and “Hardship,” provides a great overview of the case at hand.

The text of the latter article (as is my standard practice, I have broken longer paragraphs into shorter ones, for ease of online reading) reads:

The recent debate about the Ontario Divisional Court’s judgment in Vincent v. DeGasperis has taken on some of the qualities of an urban myth: at no time was it ever argued, whether before the Committee of Adjustment, the Ontario Municipal Board (“OMB”), or the Courts, that the four tests under subsection 45(1) of the Planning Act should be interpreted in a way that added a fifth test of “need” or a sixth test of “hardship.”

Unfortunately, the OMB’s decision seized upon that description, which was then subsequently repeated by those in support of the applicant homeowners’ position, and those who had not read the facta!

[Yes, we are dealing with facta! May we always deal with facta!]

Not surprisingly, therefore, the decision of the Ontario Divisional Court
(July 8, 2005), Court File No. Toronto 775/03 and 777/03, Matlow, Jarvis, Molloy JJ. (Ont. Div. Ct,), speaks only to the proper interpretation of each of the four tests of the Planning Act, gives guidance to the proper interpretation of subsection 45(1) of the Planning Act in its totality and provides comment as what constitutes acceptable evidence in a decision of the proper appreciation of the tests.


The homeowners, Mr. and Mrs. DeGasperis, Jr., brought an application to the City of Toronto Committee of Adjustment for a number of minor variances to allow the construction of a new two-storey dwelling on a lot in the prestigious Hoggs Hollow area of Toronto.

The structure abutted and overlooked the third tee of the Rosedale Golf Course, and its rear yard was separated from its neighbour’s (Vincent) side yard by a minor tributary of the Humber River.

The size and design of the house was such that variances were sought to allow increased building height from the permitted 8 m maximum for a flat roof to 10.6 m; increased building length from the permitted 16.8 m to 26.9 m; and to allow two balconies in excess of the permitted 3.8 m2 – one at 110 m2.

In addition, the house included below-grade parking and a terrace and swimming pool complex on the roof of a basement measuring approximately 790 m2 (8,500 sq. ft.!!), which avoided the necessity for variances due to amendments to finished grade elevations.

The Committee of Adjustment refused the application on the grounds that it did not meet the tests of the Planning Act, and the homeowners appealed to the OMB. The OMB granted the variances, with some modifications, in a decision dated December 5, 2003 (2 M.P.L.R. (4th) 124).

It was agreed by all parties at the OMB hearing that there was no “hardship” or “need” for the variances, other than the homeowners’ preference for that particular size and style of building. In other words, it was common ground that there was no technical or physical reason for not complying with the zoning by-law.

The homeowners argued that it was not necessary to establish why the standards of the zoning by-law could not be met, simply because there was no evidence of impact: if there was no impact, it was argued, the intent of the Official Plan and zoning by-law could, therefore, be said to be met, and the development would have to be judged appropriate and desirable.

The OMB, in reviewing each of the four tests, came to the conclusion that the tests were satisfied and that no impact had been established.

Leave to Appeal Granted

The neighbour and the Rosedale Golf Club sought and obtained leave to appeal to the Ontario Divisional Court (47 O.M.B.R. 11) on the basis that the OMB erred in law by subsuming three of the four tests under subsection 45(1) of the Planning Act to the sole question of impact, thereby failing to properly address three of the four tests[:]

that the Board erred in law in rejecting previous decisions of the OMB that a minor variance is a “special privilege” and that applicants for minor variances must be able to demonstrate why they cannot adhere to the zoning by-law;

that the OMB manifestly misapprehended and misconstrued the evidence;

and that the OMB erred by relying upon an illegal and unenforceable condition in its conclusion that no impact would result.

In the decision on the application for leave, Cunningham A.C.J. made it clear that the issue of “impact” is relevant to the “minor in nature” test, but underscored that each of the remaining three tests must also be carefully considered and satisfied.

In this regard, Cunningham A.C.J. found there was no sufficient analysis of the second, third and fourth tests by the OMB and that, “accordingly, by apparently subsuming three of the four statutory tests to the single test of ‘impact’ the Board may have erred in law.”

With respect to the second issue, Justice Cunningham noted that there appears to be ample authority in support of the proposition that a minor variance is a “special privilege” and that a review of OMB decisions would demonstrate that to comply with the four tests, an applicant had to be able to demonstrate something more than personal preference as a justification for a variance.

Noting that “it does not appear that any justification was given for the intrusive nature of the proposed rear balcony or indeed for the substantial building mass,” Justice Cunningham found that the OMB may have erred in law in failing to require such evidence, and that this matter required clarification by the Divisional Court.

With respect to the third and fourth issues, that is technical errors in the understanding of the evidence, and reliance upon an irrelevant or unenforceable condition, Cunningham A.C.J. found that those, too, merited the attention of the Divisional Court.

Divisional Court Decision

The full panel of the Divisional Court, with Justice Matlow as president, allowed the appeal, holding that the standard of review on appeals from decisions of the Ontario Municipal Board involving applications for minor variance was “reasonableness.”

Even under this deferential standard, however, the Divisional Court determined that the OMB’s decision erred in law on a number of heads, stating that “the Board’s Reasons cannot withstand the somewhat probing examination involved in the reasonableness test. The errors of the Board are so serious and extensive that they fail to meet the standard of reasonableness.”

To give context to its analysis, the Divisional Court made it clear that each of the four tests must be interpreted in accordance with the “adequately clear and unambiguous language of Section 45,” and that the Committee of Adjustment, or the OMB in the event of an appeal, was to “set out whatever may be reasonably necessary to demonstrate that it did so.”

The Divisional Court then went on to note that the definition of “minor” is something that is “lesser or comparatively small in size or importance” such that a variance could be more than minor either because it is too large, or too important. The Divisional Court noted:

“The likely impact of a variance is often considered to be the only factor which determines whether or not it qualifies as minor but, in my view, such an approach incorrectly overlooks the first factor, size. Impact is an important factor, but it is not the only factor. A variance can, in certain circumstances, be patently too large to qualify as minor even if it likely will have no impact whatsoever on anyone or anything. [emphasis added]”

Next, the Divisional Court indicated that each variance was to be considered as to whether or not it, either alone or together with the other variances sought, was desirable for an appropriate use of the property, not from a private perspective, but rather from a planning and public interest point of view.

The Divisional Court noted that in order to satisfy the third and fourth tests of whether the variance would maintain the general intent and purpose of the zoning by-law and Official Plan, the Committee of Adjustment, or the OMB on appeal, “was required to engage in an analysis of the [zoning by-law and Official Plan] to determine its general intent and purpose,” and to set out what it found in that analysis, and how the variance sought would maintain that general intent and purpose.

The Divisional Court agreed with the OMB that a minor variance “is not a ‘special privilege’ that requires the applicant to justify the relief sought on the basis of need or hardship” going on to say, however, that the use of the permissive word “may” in subsection 45(1) confers upon the Committee of Adjustment or the OMB, on appeal,

“a residual discretion as to whether or not to grant [variances] even when the four tests are satisfied. In exercising its discretion, a Committee is entitled to take into account anything that reasonably bears on whether or not an application should be granted and, in my view, need and hardship are factors that, in appropriate cases, can properly be taken into account. However, even when these factors are taken into account and an application for a minor variance is granted, that does not transform the granting of the minor variance into a special privilege. [emphasis added]”

[What the “emphasis added” refers to is unclear; nothing in the online version of the text is emphasized, in the passage that in quoted at this point in the article.]

With these words, the Divisional Court properly captured what the appellants had argued: not that “need” and “hardship” are mandatory and/or additional tests, but rather that they could, in certain circumstances, be proper considerations as to why a variance to the zoning by-law is in the public, not private, interest.

Finally, the Divisional Court agreed that throughout the OMB’s reasons, the focus of the decision was on the impact of the variance sought, with little or no regard for anything else. It was noted that throughout the OMB’s reasons, there were references to the evidence of witnesses whose evidence the OMB accepted, but those references do not state what the evidence was or why it was preferred over other evidence.


The decision in Vincent v. DeGasperis is important in that it so clearly restates what had been the historic interpretation of the four tests of the Planning Act, and reminds us all that each of the four tests must be addressed; merely establishing that there is no impact does not satisfy the intention of the legislation.

For the first time, however, the Divisional Court also spelled out the fact that variance relief is discretionary, and that decision-makers considering variances also have an obligation to consider the public interest, and whether, as a whole, the variances do not result in something which is either too big or is otherwise “too important.”

Finally, the Divisional Court helpfully underscored that the decision-maker must spell out how it arrived at its decision so that the basis for the decision can be understood and challenged, if necessary (traditionally, Committees of Adjustment have simply only indicated whether or not each of the four tests were satisfied).

Little has changed in law, but the guidance of the decision should serve to sharpen the focus of those who present the evidence, and those who consider it.

N. Jane Pepino, C.M., Q.C., LL.D.


N. Jane Pepino, C.M., Q.C., LL.D. Source: Aird & Berlin LLP website

N. Jane Pepino, C.M., Q.C., LL.D. is, from 1982, the founder of A&B’s Municipal & Land Use Planning Group. Jane has been practising exclusively in the municipal and land use planning area since her call to the bar in 1973. She acts for all the varied interests involved in and affected by the land use planning process at all levels, from the Committee of Adjustment, through OMB hearings and the Ontario Courts.

Jane was counsel for the successful applicant/appellant in Vincent v. DeGasperis on both the leave to appeal application and the appeal at the Ontario Divisional Court. Jane will be before the Ontario Municipal Board for a four-day re-hearing of this matter on October 7, 2005 as the OMB has scheduled a reconsideration of the application pursuant to section 43 of the Ontario Municipal Board Act.

[End of text from Aird & Berlin LLP website]


Share this:

Posted in Committee of Adjustment & OMB, Long Branch, Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

No Vacancy: Scarborough art exhibition takes look at Kingston Road motel strip: March 10, 2017 CBC article

The image is from the CBC article highlighted at the post you're now reading. Caption: An exhibition that opens on Friday night [March 10, 2017] explores the history of Scarborough's Kingston Road motel strip. This image depicts three views of a motel at 4532 Kingston Road in 1954. (Scarborough Historical Society)

The image is from the CBC article highlighted at the post you’re now reading. Caption: An exhibition that opens on Friday night [March 10, 2017] explores the history of Scarborough’s Kingston Road motel strip. This image depicts three views of a motel at 4532 Kingston Road in 1954. (Scarborough Historical Society)

A March 10, 2017 CBC article is entitled: “No Vacancy: Scarborough art exhibition takes look at Kingston Road motel strip: The exhibition features interviews with people who had personal experiences on the strip.”

I look forward to attending this event, which I first learned about through listening to a CBC Metro Morning interview on March 10, 2017.

Additional articles about the Kingston Road motels exhibit

A March 11, 2017 Toronto Star article is entitled: “Once Canada’s gateway to Toronto, Kingston Rd. and its motel strip are changing: The road has always provided a home for those seeking shelter.”

A March 6, 2017 Inside Toronto article is entitled: “‘No Vacancy’ looks at Scarborough’s motel strip through photos and art: Exhibit is hosted by the Bluffs Gallery from March 10 to 31.”

Ubiquity of 1950s car and motel culture

This exhibit about a motel strip in Toronto brings to mind the ubiquity of 1950s car and motel culture, both in Montreal and elsewhere in North America. I lived in Montreal starting in the 1950s during my childhood and adolescence. I recall travelling toward Toronto from Montreal from time to time with my family around the early 1960s.

Entrance to the Small Arms Building is located east of Dixie Road and Lakeshore Road East in Mississauga. Click on the photo for a closer view of the vintage No. 2 Highway sign located at the entrance. Jaan Pill photo

In those days, the No. 2 Highway was the roadway for such travel, before the 401 was built. Kingston Road in Scarborough was part of the No. 2 Highway means of travel in the 1950s. It’s fascinating to come across stories (as I do from time to time, talking with people that I come across including in South Etobicoke) about the changes that have occurred, along the old No. 2 Highway, once the 401 was built.

A few summers ago, while travelling from Quebec to Toronto along the 401, I decided to get off the 401 for a while, as I was getting bored. I travelled along the No. 2 Highway heading west toward Cornwall. On  that occasion, I came across a park devoted to the Battle of Crysler’s Farm, which I learned (through subsequent reading) was a key battle with regard to the attempt by the United States to conquer Canada during the War of 1812. Among the posts where I’ve discussed what I have learned is one entitled:

John Boyd committed his infantry before his artillery could properly support them: Battle of Crysler’s Farm, Nov. 11, 1813

The entrance to the Small Arms Building (see photo above for an establishing shot of the entrance) features a weather-worn No. 2 Highway sign. Jaan Pill photo. Click on the photo too enlarge it; click again to enlarge it further.

The other important battle that enabled what is now Canada to maintain its territorial integrity during the War of 1812 was one that occurred closer to Montreal:

Battle of Chateauguay (1813) was one of two great battles that saved Canada

The No. 2 Highway also travelled by the Small Arms Building in Mississauga, a location that I have written about extensively at the Preserved Stories website.

Click here for posts about the Small Arms Building >


Share this:

Posted in Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

A retrospective look by Bert Eccles (MCHS 1968) at what was going on outside the walls of Morison School during the seven years he was there

Sunset on Mount Royal. Source: Tourisme Montréal Twitter account @Montreal #Sunset on Mount Royal @guillaumeboily #MTLmoments

Sunset on Mount Royal. Source: Tourisme Montréal Twitter account @Montreal
#Sunset on Mount Royal @guillaumeboily #MTLmoments

I am very pleased that at a previous post about Morison School in Montreal, which I attended in the 1950s, we now have forty comments.

I am pleased about the forty comments because I see such tremendous value in the sharing of a wide range of viewpoints and reminiscences at the Preserved Stories website.

In a sense, the presence of the large number of comments underlines that the ownership of the post in question is widely shared; it’s not merely a venue for me to share my own, individual view of things; instead it’s a venue in which other people also have the opportunity to take ownership of the space.

Most recent comments from Bert Eccles

In the most recent comment, Bert Eccles (MCHS 1968) writes (and I am posting it at the current blog post, by way of bringing attention to it):

Elementary school is a major part of a child’s world, but it’s not his complete world. I thought it might be interesting to retrospectively look at what was going on outside the walls of Morison during the seven years I was there. Thus, what follows is a completely subjective and personal view of what I remember of the outside world as seen from my limited perspective between ages five and twelve. I hope that others feel inspired to share their own personal memories on these and other themes.

I’ve listed some examples of key areas that I remember for each year and I’ve used each grade, academic calendar year, and teacher as headings. I think there were two class teachers for my grade each year that I was at Morison; I’ve named my teacher in each instance. I don’t know the names of the teachers of the other classes (although I think the “other” Grade 7 teacher was Mr. Bursey).

Grade 1, 1957-1958, Mrs. Cook. News/Politics: John Diefenbaker was beginning what would be a six-year run as Prime Minister. Sports: The Canadiens won the Stanley Cup for the third consecutive year. Floyd Patterson was the Heavyweight Champion. Soundtrack: Perry Como: “Catch a Falling Star”. TV: “Have Gun Will Travel”.

Grade 2, 1958-1959, Mrs. Shakespeare. Sports: The Canadiens won their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup. Ingemar Johansson of Sweden knocked out Floyd Patterson to win the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship. Soundtrack: Johnny Horton: “Battle of New Orleans”. TV: “Perry Mason”.

Grade 3, 1959-1960, Miss McVicar. Sports: The Canadiens won their fifth consecutive Cup. Rocket Richard retired. Floyd Patterson became the first boxer ever to regain the Heavyweight Championship. Soundtrack: Bobby Darin: “Mack the Knife”, Perry Como: “Delaware”, Johnny Horton: “Sink the Bismarck”. TV: “Tightrope”, “Wanted Dead or Alive”, “The Twilight Zone”.

Grade 4, 1960-1961, Mrs. Heazel. News/Politics: The Nixon-Kennedy debate led to Kennedy being elected President. The Bay of Pigs invasion. Sports: Chicago (with Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Glenn Hall, and Pierre Pilote) won the Stanley Cup. Soundtrack: Johnny Horton: “North to Alaska”, Joe Jones: “You Talk Too Much”. TV: Checkmate”.

Grade 5, 1961-1962, Mrs. Wax. News/Politics: the Diefendollar, the Thalidomide tragedy and scandal, the death of Marilyn Monroe. Sports: Toronto won the Stanley Cup. Soundtrack: Jimmy Dean: “Big Bad John”, Dion: “Runaround Sue”, Chubby Checker: “The Twist”. TV: “The Dick Van Dyke Show”.

Grade 6, 1962-1963, Mrs. Burt. News/Politics: Lester Pearson was elected Prime Minister. Sports: Toronto won its second consecutive Stanley Cup. Sonny Liston, at that time the most feared fighter in the world, demolished Floyd Patterson and won the Heavyweight Championship. Soundtrack: Bobby “Boris” Pickett: “The Monster Mash”, The Four Seasons: “Sherry” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, Big Bob and the Dollars: “Gordie Howe”. TV: “Car 54 Where Are You”.

Grade 7, 1963-1964, Mrs. Burt (she moved from Grade 6 to Grade 7, just as we did). News/Politics: Assassination of JFK. Sports: Young Yvan Cournoyer was brought up to the Canadiens for five games and scored four goals. Toronto won its third consecutive Stanley Cup. Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston to win the Heavyweight Championship and then changed his name to Muhammad Ali. Soundtrack: The Beatles: “Roll Over Beethoven”, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, “She Loves You”, and many, many more, as Beatlemania exploded in North America. TV: Burke’s Law.

Obviously, a lot of other things happened in those seven years, but the ones above were the most memorable for me. What are your memories?


Atlantic Life Timeline

I thought about Bert’s timeline (above) after I subsequently wrote a post entitled:

You enter your birthday, and The Atlantic Life Timeline shares a brief tour of the history that’s happened all around you

1963 editorial in American Historical Review about history

Click here to access a 1963 American Historical Review about history >

I’ve shared this link by way of (1) reminding myself of some outlooks that were prevalent in 1963 when I graduated from Malcolm Campbell High School and (2) by way of reminding myself of how I became interested in stories about the past.

I became interested specifically in local history only after I had retired from teaching, and made a practice of taking my dog for a walk around the perimeter of a local construction site.

I ended up documenting the building site over a couple of years and in the process became involved in the work of a local historical society, when one of its members stopped to talk with me as I was taking pictures at the construction  site.

My contacts with the local historical society led me to become interested in a local Small Arms Building in Mississauga. I live in Toronto close to the Mississauga border, and I think in the past I had walked by the building in question, without knowing anything about the history associated with it.

The documentation project at a local construction site also led indirectly to my involvement with a successful neighbourhood effort to save a public school, close to where we live, which would otherwise have been sold to a developer. The school-related project led me to development of extensive and productive contacts with people who had done extensive archival research about local history.

The story of the Small Arms Building in Mississauga, and the history of the historical site where the school in Toronto, that was about to be sold to a developer, is located, gave rise to a project, which now has gone on for more than five years, where I’ve been interviewing people about local history, and have been reading widely about world military history and the history of the British empire.

I mention this by way of saying that, in high school and in university, I pretty well would not have cared less about history. In contrast, just because of things that I originally began to learn, just from the fact I was walking around my neighbourhood with my dog, I have developed a keen interest in learning the many great stories that are out there, that deal with the past.

That is the context, that explains my own keen interest, these days, in learning as much as I can about elementary schools such as Cartierville School and Morison School in Montreal, which I attended as a child in the 1950s. I am really pleased that, as things have worked out, five years ago I set up the website, that you are now visiting. The website has enabled me, in a small way, to ensure that a small number of the local stories from the past, that are of interest to other people as well as to myself, are persevered, and celebrated, or commemorated, as the case may be.

This is very much a community effort. I am pleased I can help out with this effort, in my own small way.


Share this:

Posted in MCHS 2015 Stories, Newsletter, Toronto | 5 Comments