Halloween cancelled?: Ontario school discourages costumes to ensure all kids are included
Sloane Public Elementary school in Toronto came under serious heat for an email to parents, saying their annual Halloween festivities would be replaced by a “fall celebration.”
The email, specifically, stated that kids attending school would not be permitted to wear their costumes to class.
“The decision to not have students wear costumes to school on Halloween was made as a staff based on a number of reasons, including ensuring that all children feel included and that learning continues, even on Halloween,” said Sloane Elementary’s Karen Thomas.
The proposed ban on costumes aligns with a trend across Ontario and Canada, with more and more schools considering opting out of Halloween celebrations. Whether it be for religious or cultural reasons, or because some older students’ tendency to wear costumes that were too spooky for younger students, many schools switch out Halloween celebrations for more the more neutral Orange and Black days.
As reported by CityNews, parents of children who attended the school were upset with the school’s choice to make a decision without consulting parents.
With parents’ complaints coming in droves, the school decided to walk back their decision, sending out a new email.
“While many students come to school with costumes, there are a number of students that don’t celebrate Halloween or may not wear a costume for a variety of reasons,” reads the announcement. “It was with that in mind that we had considered the idea of not encouraging students to wear costumes this year. After hearing from students, staff and parents about that possibility, we’ve decided to as we always have and students will be able to wear their costumes at school that day. Thank you for that input.”
Ontario Liberal leadership hopeful Michael Coteau has an idea to curb climate change, and it may not be what immediately comes to mind.
Coteau has announced a proposal that would make public transit free, eliminating fares within a decade in order to get commuters onto more public transportation.
“Climate change is an urgent, existential threat. We need to act in ways that empower Ontarians to reduce their carbon footprint and save their hard-earned money,” Coteau said Monday.
“Our actions must be bold and decisive … I believe, as a principle, that like other public services in Ontario, public transit should be free at the point of access,” he said.
“Within the context of a province-wide initiative to identify and mitigate barriers to use of public transit, we will develop and implement a plan to eliminate transit fares incrementally over the course of a decade.”
Coteau didn’t mince words when discussing the difficulty of his proposal, which would cost billions of dollars.
“This initiative will involve all local, regional and provincial transit entities in all parts of Ontario and entail all modes of public transit,” said Coteau.
“We will undertake cost-benefit analysis to evaluate the effectiveness of fare-free transit at achieving targeted environmental, economic and social objectives and determine the return on the province’s investment in free transit,” he said.
“We will use the findings of this analysis to inform evidence-based decision-making on the role free transit can play in transitioning Ontario to a greater reliance on public transit to meet our transportation needs.”
Coteau will be running for Liberal leader of Ontario come March 2020, in which he’d have to face current the incumbent Progressive Conservatives in the 2022 election.
“The Ford Conservatives are running away from the climate crisis. Under my leadership, the Ontario Liberals will stand with Ontarians and fight to do our part to protect our planet.”
As of now, there are five candidates who will be seeking the position as Ontario’s Liberal leader.
The proposal is backed by some economists and studies, who claim that a city’s productivity would increase substantially with easier access to public transportation.
Recently, Luxembourg, a small and wealthy European nation with a population only 20 percent the size of Toronto, recently made all public transportation free.
The deadline for entering the Liberal contest is 5 pm on Nov. 25. Candidates must also pay a fee of $100,000 to run.
Toronto Police have released camera images of a man who allegedly threw an 87-year-old woman to the ground during a robbery.
According to Police, the 87-year-old was walking on Brunswick Avenue, south of Bloor Street West, around 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 14 when she was attacked by the man and robbed.
The suspect has been described as six-feet-tall with a thin build.
He was last seen wearing a dark toque, a two-toned hooded sweater, dark pants, dark shoes and was carrying a white bag.
Anyone with information is being asked to contact police at 416-808-1400 or to reach out to Crime Stoppers anonymously.
Toronto’s shelters continue to be at peak occupancy, despite new beds, risking lives during winter.
According to the City of Toronto’s daily tracker, the city’s homeless shelters remain at 99 or even 100% capacity for certain demographics.
Space for single men maintained an occupancy rate of 98%, while women hit 99%. Family shelters, excluding motels, reached capacity, with 100% occupancy.
While this data is worrying, a video posted to Twitter, which has since gone viral, shows the problem with clarity.
Simply said, on extreme nights, with such high occupancy rates, those in need could see themselves turned away.
While the occupancy situation remains problematic and potentially excludes many, it also creates a scenario of scarcity where resources given to those who make it in are also reduced.
In October, the City found itself in hot water, when a Toronto street nurse called the city “second class” after releasing undercover footage filmed showing the state of shelters.
The footage reveals rows of cots on the ground, tightly packed and cordoned off by tape, in various drop-in respite centres in the city.
“This is a second-tier, second-class shelter system, and we are a second-class city to allow it to happen,” the nurse said.
While the problem continues, the city will be adding almost 500 new spaces, with 200 beds to be located in North York for refugees.
“Refugees are quite overrepresented in the shelter population, and so that program at Yonge and Finch will be very much tailored to the unique needs of single refugee claimants.”
Refugees have come to represent roughly 36% of the shelter system since 2016, with both the Roxham border crossers and the Syrian population requiring assistance, likely due to high housing costs in urban areas.
Gord Tanner, director of homelessness initiatives and prevention services, made the expansion announcement, while also pointing out that it’s the sixth winter in a row the city has scaled up services.
“Despite continually adding new capacity to the shelter system the occupancy rate remains really unchanged, around 98-99 percent,” he said
A Toronto mobster has been shot and killed outside a restaurant in Etobicoke. The shooting was carried out as a hit and run, panicking many in the surrounding area.
The victim was known for being a veteran and an enforcer in the crime world. During his time in the mob, he had protected some of Canada’s most serious criminals, according to the National Post.
The murdered mobster, whose name was Antonio Fiorda, was attacked in broad daylight in a busy strip mall. Fiorda had a wife and two children and was considered a trusted insider by the notorious Commisso crime family.
The Commisso family has operations in both Southern Italy and Canada. Their operations in Canada, however, are particularly focused in the Toronto-GTA area. They have been labelled as being particularly audacious with their violence.
In 1996, during an operation for the Commisso family, Fiorda was imprisoned by the Toronto police for possessing an AK-47 assault rifle, a pipe bomb, and other explosives in his North York home