Walmart says mint-scented bags repel raccoons

Walmart Canada today announced a minted scented which is said to be irritating to rodents of all kinds. The company says that Great Value Mint-X bags are proven effective at repelling such creates because an all natural, mint scented fragrance that is added to the plastic during the manufacturing process. In a study conducted by the University of Maryland, School of Medicine Comparative Medicine Program in 2011, two bags were placed in a test area over a seven day period, one Mint-X bag and one standard untreated bag, both filled with standardized food. In this test, the Mint-X bag proved 100% repellence of raccoons, while the non-Mint-X bags were penetrated 67% of the time. Who knew?

Joe Fresh made some clothes at Bangladesh site

Joe Fresh, the Canadian clothing brand, has announced that some of its lines come from the Bangladesh garment building that collapsed yesterday (Wednesday) killing more than 200 people. Officials said deep cracks had appeared in the walls of the building earlier in the week. An order was issued to evacuate the factory but reports say that manufacturers ignored the direction and that the workforce of more than 2,000 continued to be on the job. The disaster in the Dhaka suburb of Savar is the worst ever for Bangladesh’s booming and powerful garment industry, surpassing a fire less than five months earlier that killed 112 people. Both factories made clothes for North American retailers. 

Terror charges not from ‘holy book’ says accused

National Post on the unusual approach of defendant Chiheb Esseghaier who told the judge today that the charges against him don’t matter because the Criminal Code is not the holy book. National Post.

Comparing Lawrence Park CI with Leaside HS

A very interesting report by Global News has compared Toronto high schools for the percentage of students who employ a paid tutor with the ability of their parents to pay. It won’t come as a big surprise that well-off neighborhoods, like those around South Bayview, have higher percentages of students with tutors. The information was obtained from the Toronto District School Board through access to information laws. But does the use of tutors help students equally, even when there is money to hire good ones? Department of Education figures which rank the excellence of high schools show Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute with an overall score of 8.4 out of 10 in 2012. Leaside High School had a ranking of 8.3, essentially a tie. But hey, the TDSB figures on tutoring show that 24 percent of Lawrence park students had a tutor, while only 16 percent of LHS kids got outside help. Fun with figures! The TDSB rankings for all high schools are here.  

Man harassed girl, 10, near Overlea and Don Mills

Toronto Police Service is on the lookout for a man who was making a nuisance of himself by insisting on walking home with a ten-year-old girl near Don Mills Road and Overlea Boulevard last week. The girl was crossing the soccer field of Gateway Public School alone around 4:15 p.m. when a man approached and pulled on her shirt sleeve. He was persistent that he should walk her home. The girl ran towards the school and the man left the area. He is  described as dark in complexion, 30 to 40 years old, 5’ 8” tall with a medium build. He had short black hair, a moustache, and was wearing a dark blue zip-up hoodie, white T-shirt, light blue track pants and black shoes. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 416-808-5400 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.

Woman must remove niqab to confront assailants

Muslim dress known as the niqab

An Ontario court has ordered a  Muslim woman to remove her niqab when she testifies at the preliminary hearing for two men she says sexually assaulted her. The woman cannot be named. Ontario Court Justice Norris Weisman concluded: “Permitting her to wear her niqab while testifying in court does … create a serious risk to trial fairness.” He added,  “Her credibility is very much in issue and unfortunately, no accommodation of the parties conflicting Charter rights is possible.”

Gypsy Moth spraying this May in Moore Park

There will be aerial spraying of trees in Moore Park and nearby areas this spring to combat the recurring problem of Gypsy Moth infestations. It is the first year since 2008 that arbourlogists have detected a sufficient presence of moth egg masses to require spraying. The Moore Park Residents Association says the spray is likely to occur between May 15 and June 2 and be scheduled between 5 am and 7:30 am in order to minimize disruption. The Urban Forestry Branch will notify affected residents over the next few weeks by delivery of notices, signage, website information and media releases. The last outbreak of Gypsy Moth in Toronto in 2007 and 2008 was successfully suppressed through a combination of the build-up of natural enemies, integrated pest management measures and aerial and ground treatments of Bacillus thuringiensis ssp. kurstaki (Btk), a naturally-occurring bacterium having insecticidal properties. The same spray will be used in 2013. Since that time levels of Gypsy Moth have been very low. But this year there has been detection of the pest in Moore Park and ten other areas of Toronto, particularly near the intersection of Princess Margaret Boulevard and Kipling Avenue. This present level of infestation was not expected and is contrary to past population cycles throughout the Gypsy Moth’s present range. Gypsy Moth outbreaks typically come in a 7-10 year cycle and last for 2-3 years. It is likely that this level of infestation points to the beginning of another outbreak in these areas — with City of Toronto website information. 

Leaside Archival Exhibit opens at Library

The Layers of Leaside Archival Exhibit opened Tuesday at the Leaside Library at 165 McRae Drive. The exhibit is a thoroughly entertaining display of old photographs and memorabilia.  The pictures are organized in a way that helps a visitor make sense of the numerous stages in the history of the community. It’s well worth a visit. Pictures we liked showed the long-gone octagonal house (top) built by William Lea in 1850 near the present site of Leaside Arena. The octagonal home, known as Leaside, burned in 1913. Someone was present on that day and captured this image as the house billowed smoke. Also (below) in the Leaside Exhibit is a picture of the 1902 John Edmund Lea home at 33 Heather Road. At lower right is the renovated Edmund Lea home where it can be seen the home has been extended to the south. It also got a third dormer and that elegant decorative window beside the porch. Tara Hatherly — East York Mirror 

LCBO “pocket emporium” opens this Friday

The LCBO’s new “pocket emporium” will open at 1524 Bayview and Millwood on Friday.  For those who haven’t been up to the corner for a while, the smallish store is snuggled in the old Blockbuster Video location. It’s a great addition to our sweet South Bayview experience. Hope it stays awhile.

Laureen Harper a savvy “political wife”

Savvy wife

A story in the National Post about how to bring up kids in the political spotlight offers an insight into the wise mind of Laureen Harper. When the reporter asked her to give advice to Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire on this subject Mrs Harper adroitly sidestepped the invitation. Instead, she suggested that it would be presumptuous to say the least for her to give advice to a dynamic young couple like Justin and Sophie.  But she was not finished. For her next gambit Mrs Harper laid on the humility with a trowel. You have to admire her political savvy when she said she could probably take lessons from Trudeau and Gregoire. Finally, each will have to judge for himself  if this seems even close to the truth but for her ultimate bob-and-weave, the prime minister’s spouse said that people recognize Sophie Gregoire when she walks down the street but that they would never even notice Laureen Harper. This is what you call a clever political wife.

Holt Renfrew bargains still a long drive away

South Bayview and all of Toronto are apparently going to be a long time waiting for the bargain concept from Holt Renfrew. The brand, called hr2, has just opened in the Montreal suburb of Brossard. A second store will open in May in the Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre far from the original HR stores. All of which is fine for those who enjoy the action at Winners and Marshals. These long-time outlets in (and near) the Laird Drive SmartCentre are busy all the time. Reports from Montreal say the hr2 offerings do not duplicate inventory at regular HR stores on Bloor Street and in Yorkdale. HR does say that there will eventually be ten hr2 outlets across Canada but so far nothing more than that.  The  Brossard storefront is said to feature weekend casual looks, including a denim section with brands like Seven and Hudson Jeans, and a display of bright and tropical summer dresses. Prices boast marked reductions, like a pair of AG Premier Skinny-Straight mid-waisted jeans selling for $179 instead of $290, a turquoise Hawaiian dress by Alice + Olivia is $248 instead of $440, and a frilly navy number by Pink Tartan is $279 instead of $695. For more conservative shoppers, there’s a designated area for Giorgio Armani Collezioni suits.

Accused plotters are “religiously strict men”

“Religiously strict men” allegedly plotted the bombing of a VIA train. One is from Tunisia, the other from the United Arab Emirates. Neither is a Canadian citizen. See posts below.  Joseph Brean and Adrian Humphries