He's Done

Elin Nordegren, wife of golfer, Tiger Woods

Correction: Tiger Woods' Wife Kicks His Ass
Whoops! Last night, everyone was pretty sure Tiger Woods' "Operation: Lovetap" accident was followed by his wife smashing his car's back window to save him. Looks now like she was doing it to bludgeon him. Scorned lovers, coming up. FORE! [...]

I'm interested in seeing what happens next. Will Elin stay with him as she's done when he cheated on her before, or is the public humiliation too much this time?

No doubt she and the kids will be taken care of financially for the rest of their life, but her name will always be linked with this mess.

My guess is she'll dye her hair (her most distinct physical attribute) and remarry as she's young, attractive and rich. She'll publish a memoir, do some talk shows as the "scorned ex-wife of Tiger Woods", and put out a golf clothing line for women.

In other words, I'm not inclined to feel sorry for her as I think she'll come out of this smelling like a Swedish rose.

Tiger, on the other hand, will forever be a cad in the public eye. His halo's officially tarnished. Hardcore golf fans will overlook this latest transgression as long as he continues to out-perform his peers, but sponsors may not. If Nike drops his ass, he's done.

Time for Tiger Woods to Speak Out for His Own Good
It's not often that Tiger Woods gets outplayed. But it's happening right now.

In the hours since his early-Friday-morning accident, facts, innuendo and supposition have combined to put a minor one-car bump in a cloistered Florida subdivision onto front pages worldwide. Why? Because this story presses all the necessary buttons: celebrity, sex and violence. And if it's left to grow on its own, it's going to get much worse before it gets any better. [...]

Rachel Uchitel (r), alleged mistress of Tiger Woods

How Tiger Woods Should Handle His Sudden PR Crisis
Tell it first, tell it yourself and tell it all. That is the tried and true formula for handling a messy public relations crisis in the smoothest possible way.

When Tiger Woods let 13 hours lapse after Friday's early-morning accident without issuing an explanation, he ceded control of his story not only to legitimate news outlets, but also to celebrity gossip mongers on the hunt for a tale –- made up or otherwise -– of adultery and mayhem. The story of Tiger's first major off-the-course bogey was in their sights and the race was on to fill in the juicy details. [...]

Elin Nordegren Plans Split from Tiger Woods
The holidays may bring a final showdown in the marriage of Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren, a source close to the golfer's wife tells PEOPLE, saying, "She plans to leave Tiger."

Another source says, "She's made up her mind. There's nothing to think about: he's never going to change," PEOPLE reports in its upcoming issue, on newsstands Friday. [...]

How Did Tiger Woods Meet His Wife, Elin?
Tiger Woods' Alleged Mistresses (slideshow)

Pat Burns Gets to the Bottom of This Tiger Woods Mess
Before he became a Stanley Cup-winning head coach, Pat Burns was a police officer and now that he's living in Florida, he's made some friends in the Florida Highway Patrol. So when Tiger Woods crashed his SUV into a tree in late-November, Burns reached out to his local police buddies to get the inside scoop on what really went down that night.

Burns revealed what he found out during an interview with CKAC Sports radio in Montreal this week. According to the former NHL coach, Woods was knocked in the face with a golf club by his wife, Elin Nordegren, and was left with a deep cut on his cheek and down two front teeth after she confronted him after reading text messages from one of the golfer's numerous mistresses. [...]

Too bad that this is a rehash of a story going around a couple weeks ago. Apparently, Burns is repeating verbatim what was going around. Tiger by the Tale


Here to Stay

Richard Hatch, winner of Survivor (season 1)

Whitney Port, The City

Did an Indian Diplomat Help the Salahis Crash the White House?
The Secret Service is currently investigating how fameballs Michaele and Tareq Salahi crashed Obama's first state dinner, Bravo camera crew in tow. We have a theory: Their polo buddy, Indian ambassador Arun K. Singh, got them in on the DL. [...]

Why aren't these people under arrest already?
And while we're at it, outlaw "reality" shows. They put actors and writers out of work, they encourage monkeyshines like these, and no good has EVER come out of them...And if you enjoy watching pathetic losers bumble through their lives, then why not just set up a live-cam at Walmart? [...]

A live feed at Walmart? Now there's a show!

But seriously, there's always been a niche on TV for people willing to make an ass of themselves for our amusement. Remember "Candid Camera"? How about "The Gong Show" or various pranks played on unsuspecting Man-in-the-Street types for late night talk show guffaws? It doesn't take a genius (like Mark Burnett) to refine and capitalize on the genre. The first and last few episodes of "Survivor" (season 1) were brilliant. Truly groundbreaking in how it illuminated age-old practices of sabotage, subterfuge and power play, all in the name of winning. Granted, most of it was scripted, but it was all plausible, which made it a winning formula and compelling TV.

Also granted, a lot of reality TV is crap. I don't watch any of the stuff you list and would rather stick a fork in my eye than do so. I do, however, acknowledge that there's a strong attraction to it by the viewing public and that it's not going to disappear. It'll continue to get more crude as it pushes boundaries of "acceptable" social behaviour, all in the name of ratings. It's already broken laws and caused deaths (in other countries). But obviously, it's fulfilling a need that scripted TV does not. Think about that. And from the comments above, people who watch and enjoy it are not all mouth breathers. Think about that too.

Personally, I'm waiting for the perfect reality show. One that doesn't bore me to tears, piss me off or disgust me at some point in its 30-60 minute run. Something that shows me the essence of humanity in an attractive format. I'm thinking along the lines of MTV's "The City", but with a greater variety of characters, tighter action and more dramatic storylines. Maybe if a producer married the writers from "The Good Wife" (this week's ep was awesome) with the real life calamities of pretty urban youth, then they'd actually convince someone like you that reality TV is worth your time and attention.

I leave you with a pic of Richard Hatch, winner of the first Survivor. To quote Amazon.com: "Here's where it all began. The first season of Survivor dominated the ratings in the summer of 2000, helped spur the reality-TV craze, and inspired countless water-cooler jokes about getting voted off the island."

Let's face it, reality TV is here to stay. Question is, are you in?

The Real World

The Real History of Reality
The manifest destiny of television technology is real-time viewing of all the places the audience is not. It's the ultimate peek into the neighbor's kitchen window. Or, the bedroom window. The entertainment conglomerates found a way to make televised life a business, so now there is a lot of it. [...]

The Real World moved the format ahead by staging an environment in which "reality" could occur in 1992. That landmark series married the secret cameras and setups of Candid Camera, to the explorative impulse of You Asked For It, to the personal revelations of What's My Line, to the technology of Evening Magazine, to the voyeuristic appeal of An American Family and Cops. The combination of techniques resulted in a format that is more structured and crafted than any that had come before. The premise comes in the architecture and the choice of city; the character creation comes in the casting; the storyline creation comes in the confessional interviewing, the choice of who and what to tape and the editing. The wide range of reality television series that we recognize today followed. They often came by way of the UK or other foreign television markets, where the concepts were born. An import, Big Brother, and a startup, Survivor, would break open the genre of staged reality in 2000. [...]

Big Brother

The Decade Reality Evolved Into a Beautiful Beast
Here's a look at the reality genres that have come to define the decade. While some are better than others, making the whole "reality TV is bad" argument is now impossible, because it is everywhere and available in a million different forms across a broad and beautiful spectrum. We are living in a reality reality, and we're the better for it. [...]

Listicle Without Commentary: The 348 Best Reality Television Shows of the 00s, In Order, by Jon Caramanica

Feel the Hate
Give Due Credit

Location: Toronto


Resto Horror Show

10 Dirty Little Restaurant Secrets
There's a reason most restaurants keep the kitchen doors closed -- and it's not just because it's so hot back there.

It can be tough for restaurateurs to turn a profit and Slashfood has uncovered some of the ultra-dirty deeds even the best restaurants commit in order to pinch pennies.

Read on for 10 true stories about the subtle, sneaky and sometimes downright disgusting ways restaurants cheat to save a buck -- and how you might be paying the price.

10. Using Cabbage in Place of Seaweed
9. Deep-Frying Everything
8. Substituting Top-Shelf Alcohol with Generic Booze
7. Topping Pitchers of Beer with Seltzer Water
6. Refilling Pricey Bottled Waters with Tap
5. Recycling Baskets of Chips
4. Serving Rotten Meat
3. Using Fake Creamer
2. Serving Caffeinated Coffee as Decaf
1. Souping Up Big Ticket Items

Old Shrimp! No problem , worked somewhere that asked me to soak in bleach to take the nasty smell out of it and then serve it , told them I would'nt. Asked for my paycheck and cut my ties before someone died.

My son worked at a Mexican Restaurant,where they used Red Cloth Napkins. One day he opened up a new bundle to roll up his silverware for the dinner crowd. When he opened up the bundle, roaches started to crawl out. This grossed him out and reported it to his supervisor. His supervisor told him to use them anyway. GROSS!!! Needless to say, I now ask for paper napkins anytime I see cloth napkins on the tables.

I have worked in the industry for many years and in most cases I have not seen anything gross or disgusting..but it does happen..grill cooks licking their fingers before touching the meat for doneness, food picked up off the floor and served, TEA urn spouts that are never cleaned and full of mold and other gross stuff..BEWARE ICE TEA DRINKERS. Cheap cuts of meat sold as expensive ones and once I saw a line cook stick his finger up his BUTT and rub it all over the steak to be served to the owner of the establishment...that was the grossest thing I have ever seen.

I worked in restaurants -- mostly 'fine dining' -- and had an interesting range of experiences, mostly depending on the chef. If a kitchen was run by an upstanding, demanding and interested chef, fewer oddities happened to get served. In one instance, I remember doing a $1000/plate fundraiser where we were supposed to be serving pheasant. When the chef presented me with the meat to trim down, I said: "Looks like chicken to me..." Granted they were very nice capons...

Food cost drives some potentially fatal errors in food prep. If you have allergies...watchout. A regular practice in several of the restaurants I worked in was to feed cocktail shrimp trimmings into the lobster salad. If you happen to be someone with a shrimp allergy you may end up with a bit of a surprise.

That is the tip of the iceberg. More unusual errors can slip by when inexperienced personnel are part of the action.

Knowing what I know never deters me from eating out, but I am careful about what I choose. And while I rarely send something back (once in my life) I can clearly define the issues.

I recently quit a famous New York restaurant owned by a famous Boston chef where I was a server because it was absolutely disgusting in their penny pinching ways and just down right unsanitary practices. First of all I had to fight with the cooking staff to maintain some semblance of respect for people paying big money to eat there. I caught one cook dropping an item on the floor, plating it and expecting me to then serve it. When I told him he actually had to remake the dish, he got indignant and defensive. I might as well as tied a target on my back from there on in.

Most of the time the dishwashers who were on another floor didn't seem to care about replenishing the cups, silverware and glassware so we had to wash those items by hand in the back sink with hand soap. And yes, one fryolator for EVERYTHING. there is a constant bug problem that they just didn't take seriously. The night staff would routinely leave food items like foccacia and pastries out or hidden in little hiding places for themselves and forget about them. Result? Infestation. That's just the tip of the iceberg.

When I have leftovers at restaurants, I pour catsup, hot sauce and salt and pepper over everything. My son (who is in the restaurant business) is very fussy about his kitchen. NOTHING is recycled and if a server is found guilty of any of these "tricks" they are immediately let go.

i worked in the resturant buisness for many years..if you want to eat food from a clean kitchen..STAY HOME..never send your food back to the kitchen because it is not cooked properly..cooks and chefs get very annoyed..theres no telling what will happen to that steak..if you don't want to share your salad with the person before you ..BRING YOUR OWN...my best advice is to buy a steak and a head of lettuce and stay home and cook it yourself

Watch the guy who cleans up the tables at the authentic Mexican restaurants. He is taught to not only reuse the chips, but to put the unused salsa back into the pot, also. I asked the manager when I saw this happen. "The spices in the salsa kill the germs so don't worry. Every Mexican restaurant does this." I checked around town, and it was true. Sometimes they have a bucket on the floor in which they dump the used salsa, but it ends up back on the tables. No more salsa for me unless I either make it from home or buy it from a sealed jar.

This was a common bar trick some bartenders and managers would do. It would save the bartenders extra work and the bar manager money on produce. Under the sink where the glasswasher is there is a basket the glasses are dumped in to remove straws, fruit, etc. At some establishment the fruit would be picked out, rinsed under cold water and reused as a garnish. Just be carefull to check for lipstick and chewing gum.

I spent a good portion of my life working in places that had bad roach problems. I found one in my salad once and in chicken wings ...I eat at home most of the time. If I go out and see any filth ...I'm gone. Bojangles in the south ....dirty as hell.!!!

Twice (in different restaurants) I have been witness to reusing food. In one family-owned restaurant, when the tables were cleared, if there were any unused rolls we were told to put them back in the roll bin to be used by the next customer. What if these were dropped on the floor or played with by a child? When the boss wasn't looking we threw them out. At a Shoney's, one waitress dropped a bowl of melon balls on the floor of the prep area. The manager told her to pick them up, wash them off and put them on the buffet or she would lose her job. That's when I quit. Within a year, they went out of business.

OK, that's it. I am never eating out ever again. I did not know about the "well done" steak trick, BUT it has to explain my experience with City Range in Greenville, SC. I ate there only twice (stupid me, I gave them a second chance), and ordered a well done porterhouse steak both times. Both times it tasted rancid. It was awful. The first time when I told the waitress, she brushed me off. Second time it happened I just decided never to eat there again. And I haven't, and I won't. I also tell everyone of my experience there. They may have saved money serving me rancid cuts of meat, but they lost way more money via future customers, because I always tell people of my experience there.

I worked at a restaurant that served rotisserie chicken. The chicken came in cases of multiple whole chickens. When we didn't use the chicken and they would start smelling bad I would tell the owner the chicken was spoiled and that it was smelling really bad. He would have the cook wash the chicken saying it was just the juice the chicken was sitting in that smelled bad. When we would use the chicken the customers would ask if we were cooking it different because it did not taste the same. The owner would tell them he was trying some new spices.

Went into a well know chicken place many years ago, close to closing and when the worker came through the door to the kitchen, I could see a couple fornicating on the counter in the kitchen. When the clerk asked me what I wanted, I told him I would have some of what the other guy was having. I left without buying any chicken.

10 More Dirty Restaurant Tricks
In September, Slashfood wrote about "10 Dirty Little Restaurant Secrets", those ways that restaurants cut corners to save a few dimes. Boy did you readers weigh in. We've culled 10 of the best reader-submitted restaurant tricks from the 468 comments left on the post.

Read on for Slashfood readers' horror stories -- from nibbled-upon entrees to doctored veal cutlets.

10. Reusing Leftovers
9. The Chef's Special Is the Easiest, Cheapest Dish to Prepare
8. The Waitstaff Nibbles on Your Entree Before It's Served to You
7. The Bartender Puts All the Booze in the Straw of Your Watered-Down Drink
6. Fish Bits Substituted for Shrimp
5. Marrying Half-Drunken Bottles of Wine
4. Passing Pork Off as Veal
3. Stale Hot Dogs Reborn as Corn Dogs
2. Combining Quality Ingredients With Subpar Ones
1. Your Regular Coffee Is Actually Decaf

I have owned a local restaurant for 25 years....my staff would be fired if I ever caught them eating off customers plates or as we call it "bus buckets" dining....

Bosses who deny the above comments are usually the most guilty. They get away with it because the American public has become ignorant of food, drink, and service. Put out a large portion at what seems to be a fair price, and a 48 oz. soda, and most Americans think they have eaten well. We can thank the chains and their idea that management means cost cutting. Restauranteurs used to think quality of product was tied to their reputation, and so strived for high performance. But in the last 30 years more great restaurants have disappeared, even in NYC. Chains serving frozen portion controlled food have popped up like weeds.

I can maybe understand the drinks and the straw. BUT!!! if i ever caught someone messing with my food. I would wait for them out side and XXXX them. So go ahead and take the chance, maybe we're watching you also. Never can tell can you? believe me I wouldn't hesitate to XXXX you or your type.

The most disgusting thing I've ever heard of in a restaurant was a few friends of my son, all working for a very large chain pizza restaurant, claiming that when they received a ticket for delivery, for someone in our town they didn't like, they would "punch down the dough" with their penises. Slapping the dough down that way. The manager was always stoned (was actually selling pot to the kids) and was only semi-conscious most the time and supposedly never noticed as she was in the front and they were in the back unsupervised for the most part. I told the kids off, and have never eaten there or ordered from a pizza place again. There is no doubt in my mind they were telling the truth as I overheard part of it and then demanded to know what on earth they were talking about. I also called the home office and reported the activity and the manager. Nothing was done.

NEVER, EVER, Use the condiments! I used to work at a steakhouse (yes, a major chain) where we were only "allowed" 4 clean towels per night--for over 50 tables! At the end of the evening it was someones job to clean all the A-1, ketchup bottles, ect. They had us wipe the lip of the bottle, inside and out with those dirty towels (I preferred to call the towels "botulism swabs"). Yes, we had to wipe INSIDE the lip of the bottle and the caps with those towels...the same towels that had cleaned every table all night long......

Never order or eat any kind of appetizers, like salsa, bread etc. leftovers are all sent back and dumped in big bowls or cans. think of all the germs you are getting from other people, not to mention the cans are NEVER washed, they just keep adding and reusing.

Being a lifetime restaurant worker who has worked at every level of the business, I hate when companies like AOL put these articles on their main page. Sure, there are some bad restaurant owners out there who have done shady things and workers in those restaurants who are guilty. However, there are millions of people who don't deserve to suffer because people read articles like this and believe everything they see on the internet. There are bad apples in every kind of business, restaurants don't deserve to be singled out like this. The very large majority of restaurant are honestly run businesses and are struggling enough in this economy that they don't need this bad publicity.

I work part time in a local IHOP. NEVER EVER are left overs used for anything! All plates are dumped into the trash, no matter what is on them! The cooks and servers are clean and wash their hands 10 times an hour! Our wiping rags are soaked in a bleach water mixture. NONE of these horrid things happen there or I would NOT work there!

I worked at a popular "DONUT" and coffee chain in Naperville, IL - still to this day, I cannot eat donuts or donut holes...And worst of all, the bucket that we used to mop the floor - was also used to fill the frozen orange drinks and the frozen coffee drinks. Once a customer complained that her frozen coffee drink tasted like bleach. She was right! I DID NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS!!! I QUIT IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE COMPANY GOT FLACK FOR IT.
So - there are dozens and dozens of ways that restaurants save bottom on their bottom line!

I've worked at two different Applebee's chains, and I assure you that while we've resorted to a few frozen entrees, Applebee's is the CLEANEST and MOST SANITARY restaurant I've ever worked at. Red Lobster, on the other hand, does not wash their silverware, only soaks it in cold water, then has a special silverware person to wipe it down and roll it.

What is it you think owners do when they discover that the meat or fish was never refrigerated the night before? Or when the food is delivered in a defrosted condition? Do you think they throw it out?
These are the same people who corrupt your daughters, fire on whim, and cheat their purveyors, taxes (many a place has closed for failure to pay state tax) and employees. People who deliberately hire illegal staff so they can underpay them, and screw many other employees. Get another job? Many employees need a job that will allow them to go to school or watch their children. To suggest otherwise is being a heartless bast**d. These owners are notorious for keeping three sets of books, one for taxes, one for possible sale, and one for the truth. AS an industry, it is frought with deceit, corruption, theft, and illegal behavior that would never be permitted in any other business. When was the last time you heard of a restaurant CEO going to prison or being fined for their outrageous behavior? It certainly isn't because they are good guys.


Mad World
Fuck it.
Yo, Guido!


Bits and Pieces

Christopher Owens of Girls__gorilla vs. bear polaroids

Interview by Stuart Berman
WHEN interviewing a new band touring their first album, inquiring journalists often must resort to such corkers as “How’d the band get together?” and “Who are your influences?” and “How long do you plan on living with your parents?”

There’s no such dilemma with San Francisco dream-pop outfit Girls, where you’re free to ask “How did you adjust to life after escaping that religious cult that coerced your mother into prostitution?” and “What kind of drugs did you sell to make ends meet after quitting your personal-assistant job for an eccentric Texan millionaire?” and “Is that guy in your new NSFW video for your first single ‘Lust for Life’ really lip-synching the song using his boyfriend’s erect penis as a microphone?” [...]

Stuart Berman archives

Cat Power during soundcheck__Dallas, TX

Gorilla vs. Bear is a Texas-based music blog. Once called "the New Yorker of hipster blogs," we blog about relevant artists of the day, with no particular genre-specific focus. Newsweek thinks we're "influential."

In 2008, Gorilla vs. Bear was recognized by Rolling Stone as one of the web's "Best Music Blogs" in the publication's annual Best of Rock issue. GvsB was also voted "Blog of the Year" in URB Magazine's annual readers poll, beating out such luminaries as Kanye West and the Huffington Post.

In addition, Gorilla vs. Bear hosts an award-winning weekly 2 hour show on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, and frequently presents live shows in Dallas, Austin, and beyond. We enjoy documenting our favorite artists via various antiquated photographic media, prompting the Village Voice to proclaim, "Gorilla vs Bear may have the Polaroid mugshot game on Kryptonite lock."

Transatlantic Blow by VooDoo & Serano (vid)

Craft Burger

W Burger Bar
THROUGHOUT the past year - gaining serious momentum in the last quarter – we here at MBO have seen our share of self-declared gourmet burger shops pop up in Toronto. Seemingly, on a daily basis yet another burger café is released to the masses, tapping in to this strange, curious little trend. Burger Shoppe, Craft Burger, Bamburger and most recently Burger Bar have more than sufficiently filled what was a year ago believed to be a niche market. Well, here’s the latest one: W Burger Bar. [...]

Rescue Company 3__the Bronx

Stealth by Design
How the city is sneaking great little buildings into unexpected places
(Architect) David Burney’s wave of public buildings is striking for its motley vigor. Each design emerges from a specific constellation of site and response, not from some officially sanctioned style. Instead of imposing uniformity, the DDC (Department of Design and Construction) is demanding imaginativeness. Rather than choosing designers that will do what they’re told, it is asking them what can be done. And so the agency quietly demonstrates that architecture is not just a tool to sell luxury condos, but a democratic art.

Residente of Calle 13

Calle 13 Dominates Latin Grammy Awards
Puerto Rican alt-hip-hop duo Calle 13 swept all of its nominated categories Thursday at the 10th Annual Latin Grammy Awards. The act went five-for-five at the awards, which were held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, and took home trophies for record and album of the year, winning the top prize for its politically charged third offering, "Los De Atrás Vienen Conmigo." [...]

Atrévete-te-te (vid)

Biltmore fedora__$175

Use Your Head
Maybe you’ve noticed that for the first time in decades, men are wearing hats. And maybe you want to get in on it. But will it be a fedora, a trilby, a porkpie, or a bowler? And are you going for that Sinatra vibe or more of a Timberlake thing? You’ve got a lot of options to get your head around...

It's Good to Be George Clooney

Gregory Peck, actor

Sexiest Men of the '50s, '60s, '70s

Photog of the Year
Carlos Acosta


Today's Tip

The RoboKing


At least once per week. I did mine today, after putting it off for *cough* awhile. What can I say? I hate vacuuming. Three quarters of my place is wall-to-wall carpeting (I rent and can't tear it up), and my vac is designed to tackle the square footage of a dorm room; it takes forever to get it done. But I did it today. Why? Well, because I read this. And if you think it's just Toronto, think again. New York, Ohio...I get itchy just thinking about it. I'm trying not to panic, but goddamnit, it's hard. Is it not enough that I have to deal with a convulsing economy, Swine Flu and the onset of winter? What the fuck's next? Do I really want to know?

I've decided that from now on, I'm going to be diligent about my house cleaning, keep an eye on my purse when I go out and perhaps consider sleeping in the tub. This way, if they ever come to get me, I won't go down without a fight.

More info here and here.


Speak Up

["Bad Breath"__Getty.com via Yahoo.com homepage]

SEE the image above? Today it was associated with a Yahoo.com homepage article on bad breath. Talk about inappropriate. In fact, I was so irked by it, I just had to register a complaint. Not because I believe it'll make a difference in how the Yahoo art / graphics department deals with racial profiling (the sceptic in me says it won't), but because if I don't say something, my head will explode. Sometimes, speaking up can be an emotional release, a way to express frustration, even when there's no way in hell it'll lead to positive action. Still, who knows, maybe someone at Yahoo - or Getty for that matter - will see where they've erred, and remove the pic, but I highly doubt it. If certain basic notions about race are so ingrained that a person can approve a picture like that without thinking twice, well then I hardly think a complaint or two is going to change their mind about it. No, I believe my complaint will be dismissed as "taking things too seriously", or illicit the "what's the big deal, it's just a picture" response, but at least I'll feel better having done something about it. It may not matter to them, but it'll matter to me. (As for the photographer, well, he or she is a lost cause.)

I hereby present the Yahoo.com feedback form I filled out. Behold, it's a thing of beauty...

RE: "Five Foods That Fix Bad Breath"

The picture associated with the article is RACIST. The black woman's mouth is covered by a white woman's hand. COME THE FUCK ON. Don't white people get bad breath? I've met MANY who do. Are black people inherently stinky? NO, they are not. It's bad enough that you used a black woman's face to symbolize the bad breath issue, but to have it covered by a white hand? That just takes the cake.

This is the 21st century and somebody at Yahoo needs basic training in race relations.


And THANK YOU for listening.

Some people left comments beneath the article, reminding me once again why I love the Internet:

Quick question: Why does the picture of the person with bad breath have to be black? That is a racist picture.

The image used in this article is inappropriate-- a white hand covering a black face. This is totally unacceptable. Images like this are perceived to be racist and if so, that is the intention of the editorial staff. Who is responsible for this content? Perhaps the Ontario Anti-Racism Secretariat should be made aware of the liberties taking by Rogers Communications?

I agree that the picture seems racist. If you had used Black and Black or White and White it should not offend anyone.

The photo is very racist. I've seen racist images on Yahoo before but nothing like this. The pic they used for this item crossed the line and I sent in feedback to complain. Shame on you Yahoo! You should know better!!

ummm that picture is super racist... a white woman's hand covering a black person's mouth... i'm sure it was not on purpose but that's in very poor taste

Mar, call me old fashioned but I still believe that impressions matter. As a psychologist, I can confidently infer that whoever put the picture up is subconsciously racist (well aren't we all). I suggest impression management on the internet to avoid getting people offended. The people in the display photo should have been the same race. I rest my case.

And then there's this gem from freddy_6909:

SEE THIS IS THE PROBLEM WITH RACISM!: I saw a few comments nagging the picture, I am white and i didnt even freaking notice that it was a black person and white hand. If you black people would just shut the hell up and stop b*tching about racism, we would hardly even see things as racist. Pointing out racism just makes it more noticable, and thus, more public. If something doesnt appear racist to 90% of the population, then it probably isnt very racist, and thus, stop drawing attention to it and just read the damn article.

Of course, I had to respond:

Hey freddy_6909,
Your head's stuck so far up there I'm surprised you managed to read the article.

Bwah! Stay tuned, this might get interesting...or freddy_6909 might get distracted by porn and never come back. Who knows? It's the fucking Internet, for chrissakes.

Ok, take a deep breath...

@ Mar and freddy_6909: What you two are adressing is not so much an issue for those who say that there is racism, but rather an issue for those who say there is not. When people start to believe that there is no such thing as racism, it makes indicators of racism (such as the advertising picture for this article) far less noticeable to conscious thought and therefore critique. In turn, this makes the messages being portrayed, as you both pointed out, a normal part of non-racist life. While I can appreciate that these images do not influence you to hate people of varying hues, there is something else which I think is being missed. Even if the images do not persuade people into thought processes of hatred, what they do in the long run through repeated exposure is persuade people that others who fall into varying group categories demonstrate particular qualities or characteristics; in essence they help people to build stereotypes. While the stereotypes being built in today's common media are certainly not as directly negative as the discourses of hatred and seperation present 100 years ago (which I should mention still exist, though to a lesser extent), they still serve as a basis of discrimination for many. This is very much characteristic of the types of racism many people suffer from today. Part of combating this is actually recognizing and pointing out the messages of racism (be them minor or extreme) which do exist, thereby allowing the public an awareness of the subject and consequently an ability to challenge it.


["Hand Over Mouth"__Getty.com via Yahoo.com]


Whaddyaknow?? Someone did listen and changed the homepage picture.

Ha! I think I believe in Santa Claus now - and just in time for Christmas, too.

Power to the people!!!

The Twelve Most Annoying Facebookers
Facebook, for better or worse, is like being at a big party with all your friends, family, acquaintances and co-workers.

There are lots of fun, interesting people you're happy to talk to when they stroll up. Then there are the other people, the ones who make you cringe when you see them coming. This article is about those people.

Lacoste Air

Lacoste Momentum
Create a one-of-a-kind Momentum music video to send your friends this holiday season.
TEENY JUSTEEN by missdelite
NORMAL NORMAN by missdelite


Condo City 1


100 Davenport Rd. @ Bay St.__Yorkville
50% sold out [TheFlorian.com]

THESE equisite condominiums priced from $700,000 to over $3 million, will offer buyers another option in the Yorkville luxury condo market. This latest Diamante Development Corporation building features just 95 residences, all with unparalled convenience and amenities.

Located at the intersections of Bay St, Davenport Rd, and McAlpine St, The Florian will be easily accessible by car. While it is still a short walk to the action, hustle, and bustle of the shops and restaurants of the Bloor-Yorkville core, this superb condo building will also offer residents a quieter and more serene alternative to the other luxury residences of Yorkville. The building will also have more unobstructed views with many units overlooking the large green spaces surrounding the neighbourhood. [LuxuryTorontoCondominiums.com]

With that tower it looks like they went with the slab apartment look. Except instead of generic brick and cream coloured metals, they simply used glass.

Rendering's not exactly exciting, but let's keep in mind this is a Hariri project, and one selling at very high prices. It will no doubt be well-executed, with good materials, and a huge improvement at that corner.

The architect for The Florian is Toronto-based Hariri Pontarini Architects, with Young + Wright Architects Inc. The same team designed Diamante's One City Hall condominium at 111 Elizabeth St. and co-operated on other projects, including York University's Schulich School of Business (pic).

This location is a weird part of town--a no man's land where the rich move by in their Porsches, BMW's etc or get their hair cut, but for some reason doesn't "feel" like Toronto.

Site was once the location of an Infiniti car dealership__2007

I agree, this stretch of Davenport/Bay is really odd. There seems to be a varied and ample selection of retailers, some galleries, a school, Bay and Bloor just a few blocks south...yet it doesn't feel like a vibrant community.

Aug. 2009

It's the shabby-chic neighbourhood.

Why pay 1000/sq ft here when you can pay a little more and be in the Four seasons, or dare I say it the Regency?

There was an ad for this thing in last night's opera programme.
Presentation centre launches Spring 2007. Prices range from $700,000 to over $3 million.

I think the overall design isn't too impressive, but I have to say the colours and materials they have chosen are beautiful. The purple brick is really nice and almost has a two tone colour to it. And the windows appear like they'll be tinted quite dark, and the combination with the purple brick looks really attractive. I'll reserve all judgments until it's built but I think this could be the sleeper building of the area.
Now they just need to work on their pricing.

The Florian is targeted mainly at empty-nesters. This model suite is by Gluckstein Design.

The Florian (listing)

[National Post - Sep.19/08]
WHAT difference can a brick make?

A lot if you're Bud Purves, and you're in the market for a condominium.

Mr. Purves and his wife, Janet Palmer, were resigned to buying a cookie-cutter unit from a large, "big box" builder until friends recommended Diamante Development's Upper Yorkville project, The Florian.

The luxury condominium, with a construction start this fall, features spacious light-filled suites from 1,500 to over 5,000 square feet in an 83-unit building that curves with the flow of Davenport Rd. where it meets Bay St.

The first thing to catch Mr. Purves's eye when he visited the presentation gallery at 100 Davenport Rd. was the richly coloured brick installed to demonstrate The Florian's exterior finishes and building systems.

"I was quite involved with the building committee of the new Four Seasons Centre in Toronto, and the brick appeared to be the same specification," says Mr. Purves, who heads the development corporation for a large university.

The brick, some three times more expensive than what is customarily used for residential projects, is usually reserved for high-profile commercial and institutional buildings such as Toronto's new ballet and opera house.

Intrigued by this demonstration of quality, Mr. Purves and Ms. Palmer, a business consultant, soon discovered other aspects of The Florian met their requirements. The couple, who own a cottage, downsized two years ago, selling their house and renting while they searched for a centrally located condo or townhouse.

The Florian's site proved ideal, close to shops and restaurants and a short walk from the Rosedale and Bay St. subway stations. At the same time, it allows quick access to the Don Valley Parkway, and the area retains a residential flavour.

Says Mr. Purves: "I am a runner and Janet is a walker, and the access to green parks and running routes is very good, as is the access to a surrounding human-scale neighbourhood where people and families are living."

Mr. Purves and Ms. Palmer were also delighted that they could have their future suite adjusted to suit their needs and preferences.

"Despite the fact that we are buying a smaller, less inexpensive unit, we feel that we are getting all the design help that even the most expensive buyers receive," says Mr. Purves, who likens the personal treatment at Diamante to buying from your local green grocer as opposed to a Wal-Mart.

Diamante co-president Paolo Palamara, trained as an architect, reworked the plans for the 1,700-square-foot two-bedroom residence to meet their needs.

He rejigged the kitchen freeing up space, extended walls and relocated the gas fireplace. More recently, Mr. Palamara was coaxing an extra few inches out of the laundry room for storage of brooms, mops and other cleaning implements.

Mr. Purves and Ms. Palmer couldn't be happier. "We found other units and townhouses we looked at were narrow and deep, and there was a problem with light penetration. With this unit, we get an enormous amount of light, and a huge patio."

They also appreciate the overall plans for the environmentally-friendly building with its high-quality exterior and interior finishes.

"The design is sensitive and of a scale that we were interested in," says Mr. Purves, who soon discovered his development industry contacts knew the project and Diamante's work well. "Many places we saw, they talk about design as a commodity, but here we were looking at design as an art, as the building blocks for a project."

The Building: 83 suites in a 21-storey luxury condominium set in a 4-storey podium.

The Amenities: 24-hour concierge and valet service, rooftop garden, fitness centre and indoor pool, party room with catering kitchen, wine cellar, landscaped grounds. Unobstructed views over Yorkville and Rosedale.

The Designers: Architects Hariri Pontarini, Gluckstein Design Planning, Architects Young + Wright.

The Developer: Diamante Development Corp., an award-winning developer and builder. Projects include One Balmoral, Domus, Phoebe on Queen, 2 Roxborough, One City Hall.

Suites: From 1,500 square feet to 5,000 square feet, now starting at $1 million. (Custom designs still possible for a short time.)

Presentation Gallery: 100 Davenport Rd. Includes a 2,700-square-foot model suite. Contact: (416) 599-7667 or theflorian.com

Construction start: Fall 2008

Tower A: 1263 Bay St. @ Yorkville Ave. & Tower B: 55 Scollard St. @ Bay St.
FOUR SEASONS Hotel Toronto has been the icon of life en vogue in the city for more than 25 years. Now, along with the development of a new luxury hotel in the Yorkville neighbourhood, the internationally renowned collection of Four Seasons Private Residences is being introduced to Toronto. These exquisitely designed condominiums will range in size to over 5,000 sq. ft. and will be accessed from a private courtyard to an opulent lobby with 24 hour Concierge service and private elevator access. Of course, residents will also enjoy Four Seasons services and amenities including sumptuous restaurants and bars, valet parking, in-room dining and access to housekeeping service as well as an extraordinary Spa and Fitness Centre on the seventh floor. This is the Four Seasons lifestyle. This much anticipated development is a mixed-use development consisting of two buildings, a 205 metre (55-storey) hotel-residential tower at the northeast corner of Bay Street and Yorkville Avenue and a 125 metre (30-storey) residential tower on the south side of Scollard Street east of Bay Street. [SothebysRealty.ca]
FOUR SEASONS Hotel & Residences Toronto, located in the exclusive Yorkville District, will become the flagship property of the world's largest luxury hotel chain, Four Seasons Hotels Inc.

Two slender glass towers mark the southwest and northeast corners of the site, housing 253 hotel rooms and 202 Four Seasons-branded residential units. The penthouse unit will be the city's most expensive -- a $16 million unit.

The base of the southwest tower includes a restaurant and bar, with hotel rooms and residential suites above. An eight-storey extension at the north end of the building houses ballroom and conference facilities, a spa, health club and pool. The northeast tower is exclusively residential, with a restaurant at grade that faces onto a new 1,250 m2 landscaped public park.

TOWER A (Hotel + Residences)
Location: 1263 Bay Street, Toronto
Developer: Four Seasons Hotels Inc.
Architect: architectsAlliance
Designation: Condominium, Hotel
Status: Approved
Expected Occupancy: 2011
Height: 195m (640 ft) roof – 209m to spire (689 ft)
Floors: 55 above ground

TOWER B (Residences)
Location: 55 Scollard Street, Toronto
Developer: Four Seasons Hotels Inc. & Menkes Developments Inc.
Architect: architectsAlliance
Designation: Condominium
Status: Approved
Expected Occupancy: 2011
Height: 89m (293 ft)
Floors: 25 above ground

Cost: $500 Million
[Via: Forum.SkyscraperPage.com - May 2008]

Offering 55 storeys of landmark luxury, the West Residence building will feature Private Residences set atop the new Four Seasons Hotel Toronto. This distinctive tower, designed by internationally acclaimed architectsAlliance, will feature a glass curtain wall accented by sculptured perpendicular fins that create strong vertical lines and suggest the glamour cradled within.

Residents will enjoy a pampered lifestyle, with all the luxurious amenities of the Hotel at their doorstep, including 24-hour concierge, doorman and valet parking. In the common areas, renowned design house Yabu Pushelberg has created brilliant spaces, starting with
the Grand Hotel Lobby, which will extend the full width of the building from a formal hotel entrance on Bay Street, to a second entrance off the central courtyard that features a porte cochère for both hotel guests and residents.

Yabu Pushelberg has also designed the other hotel amenity areas, including the chic bar on the main level along Bay Street, the second floor restaurant, the banquet and ballroom facilities and the Four Seasons spa. The spectacular 28,000 square foot spa features a skylit indoor lap pool, whirlpools, an outdoor summer terrace, private treatment rooms and a state-of-the-art fitness club.

Beyond the stunning interiors, Four Seasons Private Residences Toronto will feature exceptional outdoor spaces as well. The centerpiece of the project is a lush central courtyard park designed by award-winning landscape architect Claude Cormier. Fronting onto Yorkville Avenue and accessible from Scollard Street, the park showcases an imaginative landscape plan that embraces Yorkville’s Victorian heritage while complementing the modern architecture of recent new development in the community.

Yorkville Ave. & Bay St.__May 2008

AT 7 a. m. today, an armada of trucks carrying concrete will descend from three directions on Yorkville to begin the Big Pour: the continous filling-in of a deep hole at the corner of Bay Street and Yorkville Avenue, in one of the most ambitious single-day construction projects in Toronto.

After two months of planning, 120 trucks and 180 workers will lay the 10,000-tonne foundation of the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences in Yorkville over 12 hours. The 4,100-cubic-metre area will be filled at a rate of 500 cubic metres per hour.

The finished building will be a 55-storey, 356-suite skyscraper housing condominiums and a hotel.
[National Post - 11/29/08]

Nov. 2008

"Freaky Flickr" shot__April 2009

The site's neighbour: Yorkville Fire Hall__Aug. 2009

Sep. 2009

Nov. 2009

THE West Penthouse plan has been created by Gluckstein Design Planning, Canada’s pre-eminent residential interior design firm. This extraordinary full floor residence encompasses over 9,000 square feet, with direct elevator access, 12’ ceilings, and four private terraces. The focal point of the plan is a stunning floor-to-ceiling glass Galleria. Entry into the Penthouse opens directly onto the expansive Galleria, offering a breathtaking south view of downtown Toronto and Lake Ontario, which is further highlighted by two large south-facing terraces.
This spectacular penthouse design includes a Living Room, Library, Her Study, a Master Suite, two Guest Bedrooms, a Kitchen / Family Room, a formal Dining Room complete with Servery, a Theater, and a Wine Cellar.
The opulent Master Suite features a large Bedroom complete with its own Sitting Room and fireplace, a private terrace, two Walk-in Closets and an Ensuite Bath. A study in luxury, the sumptuous Ensuite Bath features His and Her vanities, showers and water closet enclosures centred on a freestanding tub, opposite an impressive stone fireplace.

Toronto's Most Expensive Condo
A planned condominium building in Yorkville will feature the city's most expensive penthouse --a $16-million unit
The hotel-condo combination is not new, but the eye-popping asking price signals a change in the appetites of Toronto buyers.

"Before, [Torontonians with money] did not value communal living," Mr. Gluckstein said. "Now people with affluence want this type of lifestyle."

The lifestyle of which he speaks will allow residents to travel freely without worrying about property maintenance; to cater dinner parties from the condo's adjoining restaurant; or to go down a hallway to receive a manicure, pedicure or massage at the 28,000-square-foot spa.

"It's a level of service few people in houses can afford," he said.

The penthouse will provide room enough for large family dinners, storage of designer clothes, a live-in housekeeper or nurse and a grand piano, Mr. Gluckstein suggested. Such trappings have traditionally kept the wealthy in their homes, he said.

Stone floors and counters, nickel plumbing fixtures, natural wood and state of the art mechanical systems will be available in each suite, he said, adding that purchasers are free to hire interior designers of their choosing. [...]

Architect Peter Clewes (photo), who designed the recently constructed 18 Yorkville, the condo towers directly east of the new building, said the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences will illuminate the block with an exterior that "celebrates glass."

The deliberately transparent building will have a taut and slick glass "skin," held together by a cladding that cannot easily be seen, he said.

Mr. Clewes, the Montreal-native, who has also been commissioned to overhaul the Bloor Street shopping district, believes those buying into the Toronto real estate market are ready for unapologetic opulence. [...]

Penthouse Offers 'Wow!' for $30M
To a potential buyer, the penthouse at Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences -- touted as "Canada's most expensive penthouse" -- looks quite promising. However, one should never drop $30-million without first researching the property. Melissa Leong asked developer Alan Menkes, president of Menkes Development, and designer Brian Gluckstein about the yet-to-be built Yorkville suite that goes on sale today:
Q. I'm looking to upgrade from my 700-square-foot apartment to your 9,000- square-foot mansion-in-the-sky. Will there be enough space for my collection of sneakers and old newspapers?
Q. Where do I put my housekeeper?
Q. I need a place that will make my freeloading entourage cry, "Sweet merciful God!" as they walk in.

Q. The financial markets are in turmoil. Is this a good time to spend my hard earned millions?
Menkes: In our market here in Toronto, we really haven't experienced the same calamity that has taken place in the U. S. Here we've had more stable and consistent growth over the last five to seven years. We also didn't have the sub-prime mortgage meltdown. Over the last six weeks, we had quite a flurry of activity here. It appears that the super luxury buyer may be more insulated than the rest of the market.

Q. Everything is a competition. If I buy the "West Penthouse," I'd be beating that Hong Kong business man who bought at Yonge and Bloor for $25-million. How do I know someone won't one-up me?
Menkes: There is no other 9,000 square-foot penthouse on the 55th floor and there will never be another Four Seasons hotel in Toronto. It really is an iconic residence.

Q The suite has a wine cellar, a theatre and televisions behind the bathroom mirrors (finally, we don't have to miss The View while brushing our teeth!). Also, the homeowner will enjoy all of the amenities provided by the hotel: room service, valet parking, access to the 28,000 square-foot spa. But I'm hard to please. Is there anything that might be missing?
Gluckstein: Unless someone wants a helipad ? I think this is more than what anyone could ever imagine.

Q. Great. Lastly, I'm a sucker for sales. Are you offering any deals or scratch-and-save coupons for the penthouse?
Menkes: Thirty million is a lot of money to anyone but compared to international markets, Toronto's playing catch up to some extent? This unit would be double the price in other parts of the world.

Q. Fifty per cent off ? Sold! END

Toronto Penthouse Going for $16 Million
Does anyone wonder where all of this is going? Soon it will be $32 million condos. If being a millionaire isn't good enough anymore...how soon before being a billionaire won't be? Of course, it's not something we'll need to worry about, until of course, we're all pushed out and homeless staring at these monstrosities.
In a perfect world, they shouldn't be able to build these because of the money they would need to spend on security to keep the people from tearing them down and demanding affordable, sensible and dare I say, responsible living space. Sorry Sunshine, no one needs a f**kin' $16 million condo.

I would consider myself a raging capitalist so normally I would say, $16 million condo... bring it on! But honestly, I can't imagine anyone that would be in the market for such a place in Toronto when for the same price (well much less, but for arguments sake let's say) you could buy a huge-ass house with a huge-ass backyard. I think that's something Canadians tend to prefer to live in and I can't really imagine any foreigners that would want to live in Toronto THAT badly that they would want to spend so much on a condo... but what do I know? I know at least if I had that kind of cash I would rather buy a house... and just take my helicopter downtown.

People often get fired up about prices for properties in this city, but keep in mind, nothing has been sold yet. The developer sets the asking price, but the market dictates the selling price. There is no such thing as a $16M condo until it sells for $16M.
And, according to my sources, no condo in the area has ever sold for anything even close to 8 figures...

Let's see, 5% of $16 mil, is $800K...if I cancel cable and brown-bag it for a while...I think I can make the down-payment by fall of 2512.

I think the demand is there and I think this offers something different than home living. In the past condos at this price were a hard sell but I've heard some stories lately of people/couples buying up all the condos on a penthouse floor (like The Spire) so that they can create one massive space like the one offered here.

Awesome!! Finally Toronto is starting to act like a real world class city with world class offerings and world class prices. And it will attract world class investors looking for a safe country to invest in. This will make Toronto a hell of a more interesting place!!

I must be from another planet...I think a $16 mil condo is just a ridiculously overblown, pompous display of wealth at a time when people are working 2 or 3 jobs just to live, and that's IF they can find a job.
And yet, people don't seem to mind that they are ultimately going to be pushed out of their own neighborhoods. Interesting.

The true test will be the one of time. What will it be worth in 20 years is what I wonder.

Big deal. Toronto has its first $16 million condo. New York and London have hundreds of condos in this price range. Finally this city has one. At least we're making some progress, slow as it is.

Downtown Toronto is going to have to become a lot more interesting and aesthetically pleasing than it currently is for people to want to spend $16 million on condos.
I mean, Yorkville is nice and has a few streets of cool shopping, but a few streets of shopping is not really enough to warrant spending this kind of cash to live in a neighbourhood.
Plus you have hideously ugly streets, like Yonge south of Bloor, just a few blocks away. I wouldn't want to spend $16 million on a condo and walk a few streets over and see streets littered with discount stores, porn shops and cheap fast food restaurants!!!

I went into the One St. Thomas sales office yesterday just to see what the prices are like and was told by the sales lady that the penthouse suite at One St. Thomas just sold for $16 million.

A little birdie has told Miss Delite that the West Penthouse has been SOLD. For how much, she doesn't know. Apparently, the new owner has something to do with Rona. Looks like someone's profited from the DIY trend BIG TIME.

UPDATE: The West Penthouse was sold for $18 mil.

ON THE outside, the building soars from its limestone-clad base into a tower sheathed in clear and sandblasted glass - a symphony of the transparent and the translucent - and crowned by an illuminated glass top that will serve as a welcoming beacon to Festival Tower residents and visitors alike. But it is inside Festival Tower where its "luxurious livability" becomes apparent. [LuxuryTorontoCondominiums.com]

Dinner and a Movie
A suite in the Festival Tower will leave owners star-struck – and living in the lap of celebrity

IT'S THE Toronto International Film Festival and the city is swarming with celebrities this week – everyone from Alan Alda to Renée Zellweger.

But if you bought a condo at Festival Tower at John and King Sts. – a dramatic 42-storey condominium residence atop the Bell Lightbox, the new permanent home of the Toronto International Film Festival Group – you could be living in the lap of celebrity every day. [...]

Think location, location, location: It's in the heart of the entertainment and eatery district at John and King Sts., near the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Roy Thomson Hall, the Princess of Wales and Royal Alex theatres and right in restaurant row, featuring everything from submarine sandwiches to Susur Lee's latest and the hot new Spice Route upscale Chinese resto.

Accessible from the two-storey lobby is a restaurant presided over by Oliver & Bonacini, partners in six restos including Jump, Canoe and Auberge du Pommier.

"On the ground floor is a 140-seat, all-day market bistro café," that will open at 6:30 a.m. until 1 or 2 a.m., says Michael Bonacini. "It's more of a laid-back atmosphere with takeout, take-home, a quick grab to go. It caters to the condo dwellers in the community heading to work who can get their lattés or have a healthy breakfast to eat en route or pick up a sandwich for lunch. We'll have a unique breakfast menu that you can eat in as well. If you come home late from work and don't feel like cooking, you can pick up a prepared meal to heat in the condo kitchen. There is also a patio of 70 seats with a small bar."

It sounds like Pusateri's is moving downtown.
"On the second floor, there is another restaurant, an artisanal resto with 130 seats that is chef-centric and will feature local, organic, homegrown produce from a small grower," he continues. "On the first floor, you'll be able to go and get a terrific burger with a delicious sauvignon blanc or a braised lamb shank with a cabernet. It will be popular with theatre-goers and people who live in the 'hood. It is casual, informal dining; the finer dining is on the second floor. It is more upscale – not as upscale as Canoe but just above Jump."

They will also provide food service to the condos.

"If you want to have a dinner party or Sunday brunch, you could have the osso bucco delivered to your suite. It's almost like living in a five-star hotel."

They plan to have all this in place by April 2010, he says. Condo occupancy is fall 2010.

The FT has other five-star amenities as well, such as a private 24-hour-a-day concierge. A second lobby on the 10th floor is home to the Resident Services director, who provides services such as dog walking or dry cleaning.
The Tower Club on the 10th and 11th floors has a pool centre, library, spa, sports lounge and fitness centre. The condo also has a fully equipped Tower Cinema, with seating for up to 55 people, which is so state-of-the-art the TIFFG will use it for screenings.

"There is a super deluxe screening room for residents and guests for DVD to film reel," says Simona Annibale, director of marketing for Daniels.

Annibale says that although 80 per cent of the units are sold, a select few have been withheld until Sept. 13. There are still two or three of the dozen penthouses left.

"The release is a two-punch thing," Annibale explains. "They are at the base of the building and close to the action."

Response has been great, she says, and reflects "a real mix of people."

"Young professionals; first-time buyers; move-up and move-down buyers – it's a more sophisticated building."

And some have even bought without parking. They may be planning to avail themselves of the tower's auto-share option. [...]

Bell Lightbox
DESIGNED by the world-renowned architectural firm KPMB, Bell Lightbox is located at newly renamed Reitman Square at the corner of King and John Streets in the heart of the Entertainment District. This unique facility will serve as the home for all of our existing programmes, new initiatives, as well as community and industry events. Structured around the experience and history of cinema, the dominant medium of the twentieth century, Bell Lightbox will provide an essential meeting place and transformative experiences for film professionals, educators and film lovers from around the globe. [...]

Living atop Bell Lightbox, with its accompanying membership perks and privileges, is something special.

Automatic three-year membership to Bell Lightbox; early access and preferred pricing to more than 100 Bell Lightbox events each year, before tickets go on sale to the general public...

There will be a whirlwind of fabulous parties and events...with VIPs of the film world in attendance...you will naturally be on this exclusive guest list.

You will be offered a pre-packaged selection of three Festival films, in three convenient versions to best match your lifestyle...Residents will have the opportunity to purchase the "Festival Experience Pass" Director's Edition, which is not available to the general public.

The Toronto International Film Festival Group will organize and host two exclusive screenings for Festival Tower residents each year, with special guests from the world of film in attendance...

Bell Lightbox will host numerous media events over the course of each calendar year for various programmes, exhibits, visiting directors, actors and critics. TIFFG will provide 10 passes to two major media events annually, which will be made available to residents. The recipients will be treated to an authentic insider's experience: the opportunity to rub elbows with the movers and shakers of the film world.

Festival Tower and Bell Lightbox will be intimately connected by means of closed-circuit television. Each suite will include a dedicated television channel that will carry programming feeds from Bell Lightbox events and press conferences.

Festival Tower Redux!
ONE of the first blog posts I ever wrote back in the spring of 2007 was a sarcastic look at the movie-star names for each unit at Festival Tower.

A little over two years later, I’m astonished to see how much prices have risen for the Nicholson unit!

Don’t worry - my sarcasm hasn’t fleeted in the past two years! I still have some cynical observations to make about the marketing used for this project, but I’d also like to analyze the on-paper return on investment for the last 25 months… [...]

Festival Tower on a Lighter Note
IF YOU ask me, “Do you like this floor plan,” I would say NO.

If you ask me, “Do you think this is worth $471,900,” I would say NO.

But if you asked me if I wish I had bought the Nicholson unit in June of 2007 for $326,900, I would say, “Does the Pope wear a funny hat?”

As for the project itself, I think my sarcastic look at their marketing brochure from yesterday sums up how I really feel.

But that’s just me, and not everybody out there thinks the same way I do.

The reality is, there are tens of thousands of people in the city of Toronto who aspire to that lifestyle.

The 30ish investment banker who orders breakfast up to his room, calls the concierge to have his car pulled up in front of the building, and asks if his pinstripe-suit is ready; there are tons of these people who NEED this lifestyle.

The snobby bitch who would rather go shopping for new sunglasses than walk her own dog; there are hoards of people in this city who have enough money that they don’t need to work, and thus they want to live in a $900 per square foot condo where servants wait on you hand and foot.

And what’s better than being affiliated with the Toronto International Film Festival - Toronto’s new, premiere, snobberie?

Okay, I think my bias is starting to shine through again…

But there ARE people who aspire to this lifestyle, and thus I deem it to be an excellent project. This goes beyond the Yorkville lifestyle, which is really just living in the most over-priced area in the city simply to say you do…

Festival Tower offers more services and amenities than many of the current Yorkville condos. And it’s the only condo in the downtown core where you can call down to the kitchen and ask them to bring up “two grains of salt” for the eggs benedict that they just brought up, undoubtedly served in a top-hat…

Simply put: Festival Tower is truly a one-of-a-kind condominium as far as the downtown core is concerned. However, with Shangri-La and Trump Tower on the way, it won’t be for long. [...]

NOV. 2009
Festival Tower under construction

Bell Lightbox gallery

[Construction pics: SkyscraperCity.com / SkyscraperPage.com / UrbanToronto.ca]

What That Square Footage Will Set You Back
The fixtures are the finest on the market, the view the envy of the block. Now, it's time to seal the deal. Before you do, consult this chart so you know what the going rate is for that new luxury home you're eyeing-- and what your friends paid for theirs up the road. [...]

Brad J. Lamb Realty Inc.
Brad J. Lamb is recognized as one of this country's most influential real estate professionals.

1. Big City Broker (HGTV)
Get an insider's look at the business of urban residential property, and how it shapes a city's landscape, as seen through the eyes of a driven businessman.
a. Dysfunctional Family (Part 1)
I'm not happy being comfortable.
b. Dysfunctional Family (Part 2)
There's a lot of competition to be the top guy on that board.

2. The Street: The Condo Market

Out Like a Lamb
IN THE past decade, cities like Toronto and Vancouver have seen a record number of condos erected. With the market softer than scrambled eggs, super-salesman Brad Lamb needs to convince customers they'd be crazy not to buy now. [...]

To sell apartments from floor plans, you have to offer ridiculous incentives.

Nick K from Canada writes:

Wow - another G & M article allowing BJL to air his bias opinions (would he really say that you should wait 6-24 months for a great deal?)

Point 1 - The UK is also experiencing extremely low interest rates, with many great deals available for existing mortgagees with plenty of equity. What's fueling the decay of the housing market over there is the fact that as international lines of credit back away from the market and domestic banks have their own fires to fight, new buyers with less than 20% equity simply cannot raise debt. Although it may not happen to the same degree over here, interest rates aren't the economic resuscitator that many would puport it to be.

Point 2 - Because Toronto condo prices only went down 10% against North American stocks drops of 30%, this doesn't mean it's a good thing. Equities are far more liquid than real estate, so have a tendency to bottom out earlier. Also, If you just lost 30% of your savings, would you really be in house / condo upgrade mode? As a side note - a quick look on realtor.ca shows only 56 available properties between Bathurst, Jarvis, Queens Quay and College, priced between $200,000 and $250,000 - G&M, poor example.

Point 3 - Bid-Rent Theory - look it up, it's a cornerstone of urban land economics. It's tough to compare $1,500 at Bay and Yorkville versus $500 at King and Strachan.

Point 4 - Buy pre-construction? They may say that discounts could be up to 20%, but that's usually on select, undesirable suites. Unless you have a track record of buying 10-20 at a time I wouldn't expect any favours. Also, in light of potential turbulence ahead, would you really want to fix in prices for the next 18-24 months at the top of the market?

Point 5 - Being an apprentice of the guy who wants to build Canada's tallest building (to be pyramid shaped) in Hamilton isn't anything to brag about. G&M - When will you stop being free PR and start to write challenging real estate articles?

2009 Real Estate Roundtable: Where's Housing Headed?
WHAT A DIFFERENCE a year makes. Last year’s roundtable came at the height of the real estate boom, and our panelists were accordingly optimistic
about the health of housing. Today, the market has plummeted, leaving sellers devastated and buyers with something they haven’t had in a long
time: leverage. We locked the top names in real estate in a room and demanded to know: Is it time to sell, buy — or just cry? [...]

BLAND EQUITY by Bert Archer
[TorontoLife.com - Jul.09]
What sells when no one’s buying? Designing condos for the post-crash market

DURING the boom, the condo market embodied everything that was exciting about being rich and urban. Design was king, LEED was its consort, and investors were eager.

“Irrational exuberance was not only confined to the financiers,” says Witold Rybczynski, a Canadian writer and professor of urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania. “It extended to our taste in architecture and living style, as well.” But after the crash, the downtown condo buyer is comparatively cautious. Immodest fantasies of modern living are passé. Today’s buyers go for the real estate equivalent of practical shoes: affordable, comfortable and homely, and developers are retooling their plans accordingly.

The most successful developers during these dark times have been the big ones, with low-priced product ($380 per square foot) and utterly standard offerings: Tridel and Concord Adex can order everything from kitchens to concrete in bulk, and they stick to their tried-and-true formulas. Their trademark buildings—Hullmark and CityPlace — are glassy versions of the reliable slab towers that went up in the ’60s and ’70s.

“CityPlace is the Walmart of condos,” says Brad Lamb, Toronto’s resident condo guru. “But that’s not a bad thing. The price is good.” At the other end of the spectrum, such developers as Freed, Minto and TAS DesignBuild conceived of condos (Fashion House, Minto King West, Giraffe) that were all about architecture and statement. Their timing, with launches through the summer and fall of 2008, couldn’t have been worse, and without reaching that crucial 70 per cent sold mark, they all stalled, in part or in whole, before breaking ground. Few people were signing up to buy something they couldn’t see.

“You can’t make a living selling new condos anymore,” confirms Lamb, reporting that his recent development projects have been delayed by six months to a year. “Any builder would be lying not to tell you the same thing right now.”

The mindset of a post-bubble buyer vexed the sales team at Empire Communities, a relative newcomer to the high-rise market. They launched Fly at 352 Front Street West last October—days before the Dow’s worst week ever—and when only 25 per cent of the units sold, it was time to reassess. The architects, Graziani and Corazza, made some modifications: the jagged balconies, which looked like shards of glass, were toned down, and suites were divided into smaller and cheaper units. The revamped marketing material looked like a Leon’s clearance flyer, with block type shouting a greatly reduced base price of $159,900. The relaunch, six months later, was packed with eager buyers. Sales reps with clipboards worked until 3 a.m., calling out suite numbers and collecting signatures, and 72 per cent of units sold.

One young first-time buyer about to seal the deal on his 10th-floor corner suite was resolute. “I heard this was a really safe builder,” he said. Architecture? Not a priority; the building looked nice enough to him. The predictable finishes on offer? “They’re fine,” he shrugged. Price per square foot (about $465), location and resale potential—these were top of mind, proving that when cheque books come out during a down­turn, pragmatism trumps aesthetics. END

Curtain Rising on Glass Walls
For residential projects where money is not a significant concern, floor-to-ceiling suite windows appear ready to make concrete outer walls obsolete. [...]

[Dormez Vous__Alexander Moyle]

Home is Where the Art is
MUCH like interesting architecture or interior design, original art such as Fantasm can distinguish a condominium, and even increase the value of a purchaser's investment.

It's something commercial real estate developers have long realized. Now, residential developers are catching on, often spurred by their interest in creating a signature feature in their buildings.

For those residential developers, art is more than an afterthought. It's substantially linked to the project as a whole. As artist and author Douglas Coupland puts it: "It gives it a soul." [...]

[Immigrant Family__Tom Otterness]

Culture Vultures Thrive on Public Art Policy
IF you think the proliferation of public statues in Toronto is because developers are becoming culture vultures, think again.

The Percent for Public Art plan requires developers to spend 1 per cent of the gross cost of any project (residential and commercial) greater than 10,000 square metres on public art. [...]

77 Charles West (model suite)__Yorkville

Doing the Ground Work: Luxury Condo Buyers Play Their Cards Right
THE trade-off, of course, is that buyers who purchase once a site is under construction will likely pay more than the early-birds did, and they don't have the same choice of suites. But that doesn't mean there's no choice at all...
In the end, it's that "seeing is believing" attitude that gives buyers confidence. Not only do they know financing has gone through, they have a visual reminder that a project is a go. [...]

Element lobby__20 Blue Jays Way

Tridel's Element Condominium
THE 24-storey Element condominium building is Tridel's first completed green condo. [...]

Maple Leaf Square is a two-tower condominium, hotel, office and retail complex currently under construction to the west of the Air Canada Centre in downtown Toronto.

Maple Leaf Square - official site

Toronto Construction Rundown (2006)
Here is a list of Proposed/Under Construction/Recently Built projects including some renderings and photos of the major projects.

Fashion Faux Pas?
ON Wednesday night, I received an email from the good folks at Freed Developments concerning their latest endeavour - The Fashion House.

For those of you who don’t know, Freed Developments has been slowly taking over the King West area for the past half-decade, and have driven the prices to insane levels.

Don’t get me wrong - I love a nice $14 rye & ginger as much as the next person, but I don’t really see the purpose of living on King Street in between Spadina and Bathurst. The nightlife is snobby, pretentious, and expensive for no reason.

Why has the area become this way? That’s a question without a simple answer. People go there because other people go there, and before you know it, everybody goes there.

And five years ago, everybody started to live there!

Freed bought up all the land in the area years ago, and continues to do so. They purchased the old Travel Lodge Motel a few months back, and that will be yet another new condominium project down the road.

Prices for condominiums in the area have gone through the roof, and it all started with 66 Portland Street. [...]

IF prices at 66 Portland Street are approaching $650 per square foot, then I could definitely see people paying $700 at Fashion House. This project is going to be luxury personified, if you are a snobby 29-year-old who wants to sunbathe on the rooftop deck in between shopping at Diesel and Prada, and before going out to dinner at Conviction, followed by drinks at Blowfish.

The people at Freed Developments have planned this area out to a “T” and they are single-handidly transforming the face of King West.

And I commend them for their efforts.

They’re genius - pure genius!

They took this wasteland and transformed it into yuppie-central in what could only be described as “genius combined with a stroke of luck.”

What came first - the chicken or the egg? The expensive condos or the yuppie restaurants and bars?

The new Bier Market came along about a year ago, but the clientele was already there. Now there are even more people who want to live in the area, and soon the average cost of a meal will go from $150 to $200 as restaurants and bars see the aggressive demand.

So what do we make of the prices at Fashion House? [...]

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