Letter to the Editor: What’s Real? LRT vs. Subway

My name is Howard Moscoe and I live in the area south of Finch Avenue,
west of Keele Street. I have lived in the same house for the past 53 years.
As a past chair of the TTC for nine years and a former elected official (32
years) I am appalled that one of the candidates in this municipal election
has attempted to make SUBWAY vs. LRT an issue. It is a phoney debate.
THERE IS NO DEBATE.

The Finch Light Rail Line (LRT) was approved by the TTC and Toronto
Council in 2008 and has been in the planning stage for the past ten years.
When we constructed the Spadina subway extension we built an LRT
station right under the Finch West subway station. The Finch Rapid
Transit Line was designed to bring rapid transit to the North West
quadrant of Toronto. Construction is about to begin. The line is designed to travel west along
Finch Avenue to Humber College and from there to the Woodbine Racetrack Lands.

FACTS:

  • To date, $400 million has been spent planning and constructing the Finch LRT. To cancel
    the line in favour of a subway would see most of that money, your tax money, wasted.
  • Scrapping the LRT in favour of a subway would set the project back ten years. Add to
    that another 10 to 15 years for construction. Most of us would not see a Finch subway
    in our lifetimes.
  • A $multi- billion development has been approved for the Woodbine Racetrack lands.
    That development is conditional on the construction of the FINCH LRT. Scrapping the
    LRT along Finch Avenue would kill that development and the thousands of jobs that go
    with it. Premier Ford who is a strong supporter of the Woodbine development would
    never kill the Finch LRT.
  • Passengers are being shoehorned onto Finch buses. Road congestion is strangling our
    roads. We need the Finch West Rapid Transit Line NOW.ANY POLITICIAN THAT TELLS YOU THAT HE WILL BRING A SUBWAY LINE TO FINCH AVENUE
    IS PROPOSING TO SET BACK TRANSIT RELIEF BY 25 YEARS.HE KNOWS HE IS DECEIVING YOU TO GET YOUR VOTE AND SIMPLY DOES NOT DESERVE IT.“THAT’S WHAT’S REAL”

California Sandwiches: A delicious gem in Downsview

Tucked away in an industrial mall at the north-west corner of Sheppard Ave. W. and Chesswood Drive is California Sandwiches where they make the best hot Italian veal sandwiches on this side of mama’s kitchen.

It’s a family business that reaches back into the history of Toronto and the heart of little Italy.  In 1969 Christina and Giuseppe Papa opened a small grocery store at 244 Claremont Avenue between College St. and Dundas St. -a block away from where I grew up on Clinton Street. It was a typical mid-block grocery store that served the local neighbourhood.

Their timing couldn’t have been worse.   The area’s first supermarket, the Power Store, had just opened on Bloor Street and as more people bought cars and refrigerators their shopping patterns changed.  The local mid-block grocery was dead.  With seven kids to feed they had to do something to survive.   The answer came out of Signora Papa’s kitchen.  It was hot juicy Italian veal sandwich with a ‘to die for’ Sunday sauce that nobody could resist.

They began making the sandwiches at the rear of the store.  In the early days, Gina Severino, one of the five daughters (who now operates a California Sandwich shop in Woodbridge) remembers her brother hustling orders for sandwiches in pool rooms and at construction sites which she helped delivered on her bicycle.

As the fame of the sandwiches spread, deliveries expanded with orders from as far away as the downtown area.  California Sandwiches became a favorite of many Bay Street law firms. Toronto Council often ordered them when the meetings extended through the dinner break.

In 1993, two of the sisters, Mary and Yolanda open a second California Sandwich shop here in Downsview which has been dishing out sandwiches: veal, chicken, steak, smothered in mama’s sauce, onions cheese and mushrooms, since that time.

Before she died, their mother made them promise that the business would never be franchised.  There are now 12 California Sandwich shops each one owned by a different member of the family.  Everyone has their own unique décor but what they all have in common is the family recipe and a devotion to quality.

So how is a California sandwich different from any other sandwich?  Everything is made to order, fresh and from scratch.   It doesn’t sit there waiting for you like a burger in a fast food chain:  Each sandwich is made to your specs.  You can order your sandwiches hot (spicy), medium, or sweet with a side of olives, rush it to your table and wash it down with a bottle of pop or an ice cold beer. Enjoy!

The Economics of Flushing your Toilet

Water is free. It falls from the sky. So why is the water bill so high? When you think about it, we have a pretty amazing system. You flush your toilet, it flows down to Lake Ontario where it is cleaned at a disposal plant before it is dumped into the lake. They then suck it up from the lake, purify it, pump it up to your home where you open your tap and drink it. The price of the water is determined by how much it costs to clean it, deliver it and take the waste away.

The Toronto water system, through most of its history, operated at a loss. Downtown homes didn’t even have water meters. You paid a flat rate for water based on the number of taps in your home. In 2005 the city made a conscious policy decision to restructure the water payment system so that the cost of water would rise until it reached the point where it actually covered the costs of cleaning, delivering it and removing all waste. Right now in the Keele St. and Finch Ave. neighbourhoods the sewer system is being rebuilt. It’s the water rate that is paying for this upgrade.

The 2005 decision included a policy of annual increases in the water rates. Between 2005 and 2016 the price of water rose from $1.35 per cubic meter to $3.45 per cubic meter, an increase of 255%. The expectation was that as the price rose and water became more expensive people would start to take measures to conserve it. Apart from wanting to cover the real cost of supplying water, the city’s secondary objective was to get you to use less water. Toronto council has increased the price of water by an average of 9% a year each year since 2005. If they had done that with your property taxes or TTC fares there would be a revolution to rival the Boston Tea Party.

The standard toilet most people have in their homes uses seven gallons (US liquid gallons) or (26.5 litres) of water to flush. In 2005 it cost you three and a half cents to flush that toilet. Today that cost has grown to nine cents a flush. If the average household size is three people and each flushes the toilet three times a day, the actual cost of water to flush the toilet in your house is $296 a year; up from $115.00 in 2005.

Modern low flow toilets use a fraction of the water. The new standard six litre toilets use four times less water than the toilet most people sit on. The water bill for flushing this toilet is $ 69. That’s a savings of $227 a year. If you buy one of the new three litre ultra-low flow models your savings increases to $261 a year.

The cost of a new low flow toilet ranges from $112 to $568 with the average around $270. If you can install it yourself, all the better. If not, allow around $200 for installation charges.

That means that your new toilet will pay for itself in about two years.
Get off the pot, go to your local hardware store, pick out a low flow toilet and stop flushing your money down the drain!