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Toronto police ID victim in fatal drive-by shooting in Rexdale

The victim of the city’s latest homicide has been identified as Toronto police gave an update on their investigation in the drive-by shooting in Rexdale.Andre Phoenix, 33, of Toronto, was shot and killed Wednesday night as he was heading to a plaza near Martin Grove Rd. and John Garland Blvd.“Although he does not live in immediate neighbourhood, he does have ties to the neighbourhood,” homicide Det. Jeff Tavares told a news conference Friday.Tavares would not specify what the ties were, only that Phoenix was visiting a friend at the time of the shooting.Phoenix and a woman were walking towards the plaza at around 11:30 p.m. when a vehicle approached them, Tavares said. Surveillance video showed that shots were fired at Phoenix after a brief interaction, the detective said.There are two or more suspects, along with the driver of the vehicle.The footage has no audio, Tavares said, so it’s not known if there was a conversation between any of the parties.No motive is known at this time, Tavares said.Police are looking for a light-coloured, four-door sedan.There’s a “great deal” of concern within the community, given the number of shootings that have occurred in the area, Supt. Ron Taverner said, noting that there were three in northwest Toronto on Tuesday.Police stats from last week show that three people were shot and killed this month in 23 Division, which includes the area of the latest homicide. There have been five people shot and killed this year in the division, and 35 shootings overall, according to the stats.“There is a great sense of uncertainty and not being safe, not being allowed to have your children out,” Taverner said. “We’re hearing that a great deal from community members within the past couple of days.”Taverner said this is “unprecedented” in his opinion.“This is very concerning and very frustrating for police as well as the whole community, when we see these individuals who are perpetrating these crimes, who have total disregard for life, for innocent people’s lives,” Taverner said.There is no known connection to any of the other shootings, which makes it more troubling, Taverner said.“That means there’s more people out there with guns and more of these individuals who are so cavalier in the things that they’re doing, targeting people, with disregard for the life of innocent people,” Taverner said.In Taverner’s opinion, this year is different from others, as the number of daylight shootings has increased, with the criminals seemingly unconcerned with being caught.Taverner said the long-term vision is to have officers dedicated to neighbourhoods, staying maybe four years in particular neighbourhood, getting to know the people and show the community that they care.“And we certainly do care,” Taverner said, “but we only have limited resources to do these things, and it’s going to take time to get this program out and running across the city.”Anyone with information is asked to contact Det.-Sgt. Susan Gomes at 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.Clare Rayment is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star's radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @clare_rayment

17th, August 2018, 12:42pm

Families are going to ‘have a good time’ despite labour dispute, Tory says as CNE opens

The 140th Canadian National Exhibition opened Friday morning amid labour controversy as union members representing locked-out stagehands shouted over the premier and mayor’s remarks at the opening ceremonies.The voices of picketing union members could be heard nearby as Mayor John Tory acknowledged the protest ahead of the opening. Even though visitors may have to cross the picket lines, he told the crowd, “Many, many families are going to come down here and have a good time.”“I just thank God we live in a country where people can come and express their views,” he later told reporters, adding he knows the union “would agree with me that we all want to make sure the 140th CNE is very successful.”At one point in the ceremony, a large inflatable rat could be seen rising above the backdrop.About 400 workers, represented by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union, were locked out by the CNE’s board of governors on July 20, after months of bargaining.The board has said it wants to update the workers’ contract to reflect the “highly competitive” marketplace and that it thinks the dispute should be settled at the bargaining table rather than in arbitration like the union has suggested.The union has said the board refuses to bargain in good faith and that its workers will continue to picket through the duration of the CNE if the dispute isn’t resolved.The Ex is known as a showcase for extravagant fast food trends. This year’s Ex features a $100 burger covered in 24-karat gold, “fit for a king.” The burger includes a five-ounce patty with maple bacon, peameal bacon, cheddar, onion rings, jalapenos, lettuce, tomato and chipotle mayo in an edible gold bun.Other offerings include cotton candy-and-ice cream burritos, deep-fried Ferrero Rocher chocolates and another gilded treat: a gold-covered ice cream bar. “Everyone will be taking photos of gold,” Instagrammer Fred Bkayleh told the Star’s Evelyn Kwong.After locking out the stageworkers, Exhibition Place’s board of governors asked the union not to set up picket lines until after the Ex, which runs until Sept. 3.In a statement last month, Local 58 president Justin Antheunis said “that’s not going to happen.”“We are not going to surrender our rights under the law and jeopardize the safety of Torontonians and other visitors to Exhibition Place as a favour to Tory’s friends. Nor will we put visitors at risk. We will not be pushed around.”The CNE, Canada’s largest annual community event, expects to attract 1.6 million people over 18 days.The CNE is encouraging visitors to take public transit to get to the event’s grounds.With files from the Canadian Press, Samantha Beattie, Inori Roy and Evelyn KwongTamar Harris is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @tamarmharris

17th, August 2018, 11:05pm

Picket lines, a $100 gold burger and a rat named ‘Scabby’ greet the opening of the 140th CNE

The 140th Canadian National Exhibition opened Friday morning amid labour controversy as union members representing locked-out stagehands shouted over the premier and mayor’s remarks at the opening ceremonies.The voices of picketing union members could be heard nearby as Mayor John Tory acknowledged the protest ahead of the opening. Even though visitors may have to cross the picket lines, he told the crowd, “Many, many families are going to come down here and have a good time.”“I just thank God we live in a country where people can come and express their views,” he later told reporters, adding he knows the union “would agree with me that we all want to make sure the 140th CNE is very successful.”At one point in the ceremony, a large inflatable rat puppet — named “Scabby” by the protesters — could be seen rising above the backdrop.About 400 workers, represented by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union, were locked out by the CNE’s board of governors on July 20, after months of bargaining.Locked-out picketers stretched along Strachan Ave. Friday, carrying signs and shouting into megaphones. Scabby and another puppet of a grotesque man’s face and hands joined them on the picket line. “I’m feeling angry, I’m feeling scared, I’m feeling frustrated ... because this is where I used to work,” stagehand Pierre Quinn said at the picket line.He said he’s angry about what is being done, “and how it’s being done, and by whom it’s being done.”The board has said it wants to update the workers’ contract to reflect the “highly competitive” marketplace and that it thinks the dispute should be settled at the bargaining table rather than in arbitration like the union has suggested.The union has said the board refuses to bargain in good faith and that its workers will continue to picket through the duration of the CNE if the dispute isn’t resolved.The Ex is known as a showcase for extravagant fast food trends. This year’s Ex features a $100 burger covered in 24-karat gold, “fit for a king.” The burger includes a five-ounce patty with maple bacon, peameal bacon, cheddar, onion rings, jalapenos, lettuce, tomato and chipotle mayo in an edible gold bun.Other offerings include cotton candy-and-ice cream burritos, deep-fried Ferrero Rocher chocolates and another gilded treat: a gold-covered ice cream bar. “Everyone will be taking photos of gold,” Instagrammer Fred Bkayleh told the Star’s Evelyn Kwong.“Selling hamburgers for $100 with gold in them and then locking out workers, I don’t see irony, it’s ridiculous, really,” Quinn said. After locking out the stageworkers, Exhibition Place’s board of governors asked the union not to set up picket lines until after the Ex, which runs until Sept. 3.In a statement last month, Local 58 president Justin Antheunis said “that’s not going to happen.”“We are not going to surrender our rights under the law and jeopardize the safety of Torontonians and other visitors to Exhibition Place as a favour to Tory’s friends. Nor will we put visitors at risk. We will not be pushed around.”The CNE, Canada’s largest annual community event, expects to attract 1.6 million people over 18 days.The CNE is encouraging visitors to take public transit to get to the event’s grounds.Speaking at the opening ceremony, Premier Doug Ford also announced plans to rejuvenate Ontario Place, the nearby site of a former waterfront theme park. “Ontario Place was spectacular,” he said. “We’ll bring it back to life.”With files from the Canadian Press, Samantha Beattie, Inori Roy and Evelyn KwongTamar Harris is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @tamarmharrisRead more: Quebec replacement workers brought in for CNE setup, union saysUnion pickets Exhibition Place after board locks out technical and stage workersHow to be a #foodstagrammer? We went to the Ex to take photos of crazy food

17th, August 2018, 11:05pm
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