TV, radio repair makes a comeback in Toronto

TV, radio repair makes a comeback in Toronto

A slew of modern-day flat-screen TVs stickered with repair tags form a narrow pathway through American Electronics Service, a television and radio repair shop on Dundas St. W. “Despite our disposable culture, I’m busier than I’ve ever been,” says John Fadel, whose business, first opened by his father in the 1950s, has been a Junction fixture since 1973. In an era when keeping up with new technologies can seem daunting, television and audio repair shops,…

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Remembering Toronto’s history, with the help of the web

Remembering Toronto’s history, with the help of the web

The building at the west-end intersection of Dupont, Dundas and Annette streets was the site of an 1837 stagecoach robbery led by Toronto’s first mayor, William Lyon Mackenzie. Now, it’s a 24-hour Coffee Time. Times have changed in Toronto. Neil Ross, president of the West Toronto Junction Historical Society, counts the pre-Confederation tale among his favourite footnotes of Toronto lore. “Here’s the leader of the Upper Canada Rebellion, one day after marching armed men down…

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City of Toronto Archives: Where past meets the future

City of Toronto Archives: Where past meets the future

At Toronto city archives, a digitized database makes history accessible. A framed, black-and-white drawing of a TTC streetcar turning south onto Broadview Avenue from Gerrard Street hangs behind the desk of new city archivist Carol Radford-Grant. “I used to go by that corner on the streetcar to get to work,” she says, explaining why she selected it from the city’s vast art collection. A more iconic choice could have been made — a still from…

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360 Screenings are bigger than surround sound

360 Screenings are bigger than surround sound

Mainstream movie-going is pretty straightforward: you pick a film, find out when and where it’s playing, then head out to the cinema. But for those who want to escape that monotony, how about a secret film held in an undisclosed location, not revealed until 24 hours before the event? That sense of excitement and discovery is what heritage-minded film programmers Ned Loach and Robert Gontier aim to achieve when they inaugurate 360 Screenings next Friday…

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Fixt Point puts neighbourhoods in the spotlight

Fixt Point puts neighbourhoods in the spotlight

Like a line out of a Stompin’ Tom Connors song, Fixt Point Theatre’s Lisa Marie DiLiberto was saddened by the outright homogenization of the cities she saw while travelling through Canada. “Everywhere I went, I saw the same big-box stores on the other side of town, forcing many of the smaller independent stores to close,” said the Toronto-based playwright. The Tale of a Town: Queen West, inaugurating the launch of Theatre Passe Muraille’s fall season,…

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Disgraceland art show offers a parade of Presleys

Disgraceland art show offers a parade of Presleys

A warning to those who revere the late Elvis Presley as a haloed patron saint of rock – a new art exhibit is showing the king of rock ’n’ roll at his most ghoulish and zombified. Using plaster Elvis busts from Honest Ed’s – a Toronto staple sold at the iconic department store for nearly thirty years – 10 local artists who dabble in the macabre are celebrating Presley’s place in the afterlife with the…

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Q&A: Luis Ceriz, owner, Suspect Video

Q&A: Luis Ceriz, owner, Suspect Video

Suspect Video & Culture opened 20 years ago this month, catering to Toronto’s cult film community in the pre-Internet, pre-DVD era. What kind of changes have you seen? The biggest shift is the amount of graphic detail in movies that you never would’ve gotten away with in the 1990s and certainly not in the 1980s. I remember having to import uncut copies of Dario Argento’s Suspiria from the U.S. because it was just impossible to…

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Historian’s app puts old Toronto photos at your fingertips

Historian’s app puts old Toronto photos at your fingertips

ZeitagTO app aims to pull local history out of government archives and into the hands of those who are curious to see the Toronto that was. Looking west at the intersection of Queen and Bay, you see the grand Shea’s Hippodrome theatre. Various storefronts line the street. A newsboy waves the morning edition. But remove your iPad from sight and the cold truth of modern-day reality returns. Those buildings no longer exist, demolished during the…

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Project documents Toronto’s evolution in Kodachrome

Project documents Toronto’s evolution in Kodachrome

The format is gone, but one enthusiast is preserving its warm take on Toronto one image at a time. Don Draper said it best: “Nostalgia – it’s delicate, but potent.” Presenting a slide projector to a room full of Eastman Kodak executives, the advertising visionary from AMC’s television series Mad Men clicked through dozens of family photos, generating an emotional response from those in the room. A trip down memory lane is no less powerful…

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The man who let The Littlest Hobo run off-leash

The man who let The Littlest Hobo run off-leash

In the mid-1970s, after the federal government enacted new tax-shelter laws, movie production in the city was on the rise. But there was a problem. In 1979, the City of Toronto still had no permitting system in place to handle the influx of film crews. After several run-ins between producers and public works officials, then-mayor John Sewell appointed Naish McHugh, a seasoned industrial manager with a long-standing reputation as a mediator, to be the city’s…

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