Tag Archive: immigration

Toronto race puts neighbourhoods first

October 1, 2009

marathon

A marathon doesn’t just smell like a convention of old sneakers.

The real treat for the nostrils comes from the communities the marathon winds through – and no city is richer for the nose than Toronto, says Alan Brookes, director of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

“Big-city marathons have to be part of the community, part of what defines the city,” Brookes says.

On Sunday, the 20th renewal of the race defines Canada’s largest city by trekking through the scents and sounds of scores of neighbourhoods and ethnic enclaves, in addition to taking over the water’s edge.

“There will be almost 20,000 people involved in this year’s runs – including the 5K and half marathon,” Brookes said in an interview.

The race is gaining in favour – and flavour – and overcoming the city’s reputation as a town that is not friendly to marathons. Drivers sneer at the inconvenience of road blockages. Little by little, Brookes says, Torontonians are being won over and so are runners.

The big draw is the course, which begins and ends at City Hall and basically follows the Lake Ontario shoreline. It has a reputation for being flat and fast. This year, to alleviate the tedium of the asphalt, there will be bands and cultural performances every two kilometres, from Ukrainian and Cossack dancers, to a Chinese Lion dance, to Indian bhangra to Latin American drummers. There are no fewer than 17 stations for first aid and water – and portable toilet facilities.

The big change this fall is that there will no longer be a lonely stretch out and back across the Leslie Spit, Brookes notes. Instead of that “windblown wasteland” part of the run, there will be more running along Toronto’s eastern beach neighbourhoods, and the marathon course will steer the runners through the Cabbagetown, Distillery and St. Lawrence Market districts.

“What defines T.O.? Our ethnic neighbourhoods, being a Waterfront-Great Lakes city, plus events like Caribana, the international film festival, the arts festival Luminato, and this marathon,” Brookes said. “… We’re not there yet, but we’re getting there as an emerging, small, world-class city. There will be a new course through key neighbourhoods, community challenges, and a charity challenge.”

The field will include runners of both the elite and everyman classes. Defending champion Kenneth Mungara will return to Toronto. He edged fellow Kenyan Peter Kiprotich to take the 2008 title in 2 hours 11 minutes 1 second. He then went on to post a personal best time of 2:10:29 at the Prague Marathon in May.

Mulu Seboka of Ethiopia, women’s defending champion, set a women’s course record last fall at 2:29:06. An aggressive front-runner, Seboka finished second in Prague in May in a time of 2:30:39. She’ll be challenged by Lioudmila Kortchaguina, the 38-year-old three-time winner of the Ottawa Marathon who can reliably break the 2:30 barrier.

Winners get $20,000 in victory earnings but the purse is bonus-oriented – Canadian records, for instance, offer $25,000 for the breaking of Jerome Drayton’s 2:10:09 for men or Silvia Reugger’s 2:28:36 for women. An all-comer’s mark as the fastest time on Canadian soil (below 2:09:30 for men or 2:29.06 for women) offers an additional $20,000. There are also course-record prizes and age group prizes.

Maps are a list of road closures are available at the race’s website, torontowaterfrontmarathon.com. The marathon and half-marathon begin at 7:30 a.m. (EDT) at Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square outside City Hall. The five-kilometre race begins at 10:20 a.m. at Exhibition Place. The finish for all the races is at City Hall.

“We’re making a name as the place where runners come to get fast times and their confidence to step up to the big leagues,” Brookes said.

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Afghan interpreters have high hopes for federal relocation plan

September 25, 2009

Afghan interpreters say they are overjoyed to hear Ottawa is fast-tracking immigration for Afghan translators who have worked for the army and other federal agencies. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney made the long-anticipated announcement last week, saying there are Afghans who face “extraordinary personal risk” in support of Canada’s mission in Kandahar. One interpreter who goes by the name Robert says he lives in fear that a knock on the door or a late night phone call will mean he has been found out by the Taliban. He says there are hundreds of Afghan workers who come to Kandahar Airfield each day and many are looking to identify those who are helping NATO. The Afghans will not be considered refugees, but special immigrants who fall through the cracks of current law.

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Kenney announces funding for local Jewish community organizations

September 2, 2009

Jason Kenney, the Conservative citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism minister, held a press conference Friday on behalf of the federal public security ministry to announce more than $220,000 in funding to enhance security for local Jewish community organizations.

“Crime prevention is a priority for our government and we recognize the particular importance of preventing hate-motivated crime,” Kenney said to reporters at Federation CJA headquarters. “The reality today is that Canada isn’t immune from violent acts that targets individuals or groups based on their race, ethnicity, culture, religion or identity.

“According to Statistics Canada, nearly 800 hate crimes were reported across Canada in 2007 alone… Hate-motivated crime often leaves more than just physical damage — it can put an entire community into a state of fear or anxiety.”

The funding is part of the $3 million, three-year Communities At Risk: Security Infrastructure Pilot Program (SIP), which has provided funding to communities that are especially vulnerable or have been attacked by racists and anti-Semites . Over the past few years, Jewish schools like United Talmud Torah in St. Laurent and institutions like the YM-YWHA Jewish Community Centre have been attacked. Other targets here and across the country have included mosques and First Nations institutions.

This year, the federal government is providing funding to Beth Jacob de Rav Hirshprung School in Outremont ($47,000), the girls’ school Beth Rivkah Academy ($9,750), Centre de la Petite Enfance des Écoles Juives populaires et des Écoles Peretz in Côte St. Luc ($14,700), Communauté Sepharade Hekhal-Shalom Synagogue in St. Laurent ($9,550), Congregation Beth Tikvah in Dollard des Ormeaux ($14,618), Hebrew Academy in Côte St. Luc ($25,400), Rabbinat Sépharade du Québec ($12,400), Shaare Zedek Congregation in NDG ($7,285), Solomon Schechter Academy ($11,700) and the YM-YWHA JCC in Snowdon ($70,600).

The government provides part of the funding, while the rest come from the organizations themselves. The funds are for security assessments (25 percent of the total cost), security equipment and hardware, minor construction costs and security training costs.

Adam Atlas, president of Quebec Jewish Congress (formerly Canadian Jewish Congress, Quebec region), praised the funding, saying it made him “especially proud to be a Canadian”.
“We are grateful your government has chosen to invest in the safety and security of all of its citizens. We see this as an expression of a commitment to freedom and liberty.”

article by Joel Goldenberg

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Even Oprah's coming to the Toronto Film Festival

August 31, 2009

Like the 33 before it, the 34th Toronto International Film Festival will boast a lot of sexy celebrity power to complement its serious lineup of films.

The 2009 guest list is topped by Oscar nominees George Clooney, Matt Damon, Ellen Page and Penelope Cruz, terrific talents who also send fans’ hearts a-flutter.

Clooney is coming in for two films. Along with Ewan McGregor, who will join him on the red carpet, Clooney co-stars in Grant Heslov’s comedy thriller The Men Who Stare at Goats. Clooney also has the lead role in Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air, the Canadian’s first film since the Oscar-nominated Juno.

Damon is attending the filmfest as the title star of Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant! Page, drawing on her Nova Scotia roots, stars in Drew Barrymore’s feature directorial debut, Whip It. Page is a small-town Texas girl who finds a way to deal with her misfit personality by joining a roller-derby league. Cruz is coming back to Toronto as the star of flamboyant filmmaker Pedro Almodovar’s latest opus, Broken Embraces.

Fest organizers announced the roster of 500-plus guests yesterday, with the usual caveat that individuals might drop out before the fest starts on Sept. 10. But the celebrity list is part of the festival’s acknowledgement that stars provide the sizzle while the films provide the substance.

The list also includes Viggo Mortensen, Liam Neeson, Keanu Reeves, Oprah Winfrey, Nicolas Cage, Jeff Bridges, singer-actress Mariah Carrey, pop star Neil Diamond and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York.

Neeson will be on hand for the premiere of Atom Egoyan’s Chloe, the film he was shooting in Toronto when Natasha Richardson suffered her fatal accident on a ski slope north of Montreal. Neeson rushed to his partner’s side, arranged for transport to New York, and sat with her while she died of brain injuries.

Winfrey is coming in as the producer of festival entry Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. The cast of the awkwardly titled drama includes Carey in a role that required her to strip away her glamour.

The Duchess will do the fest schmooze as co-producer of The Young Victoria, the English-language debut for Quebec filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallee of C.R.A.Z.Y. reknown. Ferguson’s daughter, the Princess Beatrice, has a small role as a lady-in-waiting.

The complete list of celebrities is pretty wild. While there is just one famous Clive — Clive Owen; and one famous David — David Duchovny; there are two famous Colins — Colin Firth and Colin Farrell; two famous Bills — Bill Nighy and Bill Murray; and five famous Michaels — filmmaker Michael Moore with actors Michael Douglas, Michael Cera, Michael Sheen and Sir Michael Caine.

Other name actors include Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Chris Rock, Mads Mikkelsen, Peter Sarsgaard, Kevin Spacey, Rob Lowe, Willem Dafoe, Aidan Quinn, Bryan Brown, Brian Cox and Woody Harrelson.

Eccentric rapper Snoop Dogg is also on the list, as is Til Schweiger, whose career is juiced because he is on-screen today in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.

Among name actresses, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Connelly, Jennifer Garner, Julianne Moore, Eva Green, Demi Moore, Abbie Cornish, Sissy Spacek, Tilda Swinton, Ally Sheedy, Miranda Richardson, Lisa Kudrow, Isabella Rossellini, Emily Blunt, Emily Mortimer and Kristin Scott Thomas have all said yes to invitations. So did actress-director Drew Barrymore.

Besides Juno co-stars Page and Cera, celebrated Canadians include Don McKellar, Colm Feore, Elias Koteas, Jacob Tierney, Jay Baruchel, Arsinee Khanjian and Gordon Pinsent.

Among well-known directors, the guest list includes Steven Soderbergh, George Romero, Atom Egoyan, Guy Maddin, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Ridley Scott, Tyler Perry, Lee Daniels, Werner Herzog, the idiosyncratic American brothers, Joel and Ethan Coen, and Portuguese legend Manoel de Oliveira, who is 100 years old and still making films.

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Even Oprah's coming to the Toronto Film Festival

August 31, 2009

Like the 33 before it, the 34th Toronto International Film Festival will boast a lot of sexy celebrity power to complement its serious lineup of films.

The 2009 guest list is topped by Oscar nominees George Clooney, Matt Damon, Ellen Page and Penelope Cruz, terrific talents who also send fans’ hearts a-flutter.

Clooney is coming in for two films. Along with Ewan McGregor, who will join him on the red carpet, Clooney co-stars in Grant Heslov’s comedy thriller The Men Who Stare at Goats. Clooney also has the lead role in Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air, the Canadian’s first film since the Oscar-nominated Juno.

Damon is attending the filmfest as the title star of Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant! Page, drawing on her Nova Scotia roots, stars in Drew Barrymore’s feature directorial debut, Whip It. Page is a small-town Texas girl who finds a way to deal with her misfit personality by joining a roller-derby league. Cruz is coming back to Toronto as the star of flamboyant filmmaker Pedro Almodovar’s latest opus, Broken Embraces.

Fest organizers announced the roster of 500-plus guests yesterday, with the usual caveat that individuals might drop out before the fest starts on Sept. 10. But the celebrity list is part of the festival’s acknowledgement that stars provide the sizzle while the films provide the substance.

The list also includes Viggo Mortensen, Liam Neeson, Keanu Reeves, Oprah Winfrey, Nicolas Cage, Jeff Bridges, singer-actress Mariah Carrey, pop star Neil Diamond and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York.

Neeson will be on hand for the premiere of Atom Egoyan’s Chloe, the film he was shooting in Toronto when Natasha Richardson suffered her fatal accident on a ski slope north of Montreal. Neeson rushed to his partner’s side, arranged for transport to New York, and sat with her while she died of brain injuries.

Winfrey is coming in as the producer of festival entry Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. The cast of the awkwardly titled drama includes Carey in a role that required her to strip away her glamour.

The Duchess will do the fest schmooze as co-producer of The Young Victoria, the English-language debut for Quebec filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallee of C.R.A.Z.Y. reknown. Ferguson’s daughter, the Princess Beatrice, has a small role as a lady-in-waiting.

The complete list of celebrities is pretty wild. While there is just one famous Clive — Clive Owen; and one famous David — David Duchovny; there are two famous Colins — Colin Firth and Colin Farrell; two famous Bills — Bill Nighy and Bill Murray; and five famous Michaels — filmmaker Michael Moore with actors Michael Douglas, Michael Cera, Michael Sheen and Sir Michael Caine.

Other name actors include Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Chris Rock, Mads Mikkelsen, Peter Sarsgaard, Kevin Spacey, Rob Lowe, Willem Dafoe, Aidan Quinn, Bryan Brown, Brian Cox and Woody Harrelson.

Eccentric rapper Snoop Dogg is also on the list, as is Til Schweiger, whose career is juiced because he is on-screen today in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.

Among name actresses, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Connelly, Jennifer Garner, Julianne Moore, Eva Green, Demi Moore, Abbie Cornish, Sissy Spacek, Tilda Swinton, Ally Sheedy, Miranda Richardson, Lisa Kudrow, Isabella Rossellini, Emily Blunt, Emily Mortimer and Kristin Scott Thomas have all said yes to invitations. So did actress-director Drew Barrymore.

Besides Juno co-stars Page and Cera, celebrated Canadians include Don McKellar, Colm Feore, Elias Koteas, Jacob Tierney, Jay Baruchel, Arsinee Khanjian and Gordon Pinsent.

Among well-known directors, the guest list includes Steven Soderbergh, George Romero, Atom Egoyan, Guy Maddin, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Ridley Scott, Tyler Perry, Lee Daniels, Werner Herzog, the idiosyncratic American brothers, Joel and Ethan Coen, and Portuguese legend Manoel de Oliveira, who is 100 years old and still making films.

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tifflogo

Even Oprah's coming to the Toronto Film Festival

August 31, 2009

Like the 33 before it, the 34th Toronto International Film Festival will boast a lot of sexy celebrity power to complement its serious lineup of films.

The 2009 guest list is topped by Oscar nominees George Clooney, Matt Damon, Ellen Page and Penelope Cruz, terrific talents who also send fans’ hearts a-flutter.

Clooney is coming in for two films. Along with Ewan McGregor, who will join him on the red carpet, Clooney co-stars in Grant Heslov’s comedy thriller The Men Who Stare at Goats. Clooney also has the lead role in Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air, the Canadian’s first film since the Oscar-nominated Juno.

Damon is attending the filmfest as the title star of Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant! Page, drawing on her Nova Scotia roots, stars in Drew Barrymore’s feature directorial debut, Whip It. Page is a small-town Texas girl who finds a way to deal with her misfit personality by joining a roller-derby league. Cruz is coming back to Toronto as the star of flamboyant filmmaker Pedro Almodovar’s latest opus, Broken Embraces.

Fest organizers announced the roster of 500-plus guests yesterday, with the usual caveat that individuals might drop out before the fest starts on Sept. 10. But the celebrity list is part of the festival’s acknowledgement that stars provide the sizzle while the films provide the substance.

The list also includes Viggo Mortensen, Liam Neeson, Keanu Reeves, Oprah Winfrey, Nicolas Cage, Jeff Bridges, singer-actress Mariah Carrey, pop star Neil Diamond and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York.

Neeson will be on hand for the premiere of Atom Egoyan’s Chloe, the film he was shooting in Toronto when Natasha Richardson suffered her fatal accident on a ski slope north of Montreal. Neeson rushed to his partner’s side, arranged for transport to New York, and sat with her while she died of brain injuries.

Winfrey is coming in as the producer of festival entry Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. The cast of the awkwardly titled drama includes Carey in a role that required her to strip away her glamour.

The Duchess will do the fest schmooze as co-producer of The Young Victoria, the English-language debut for Quebec filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallee of C.R.A.Z.Y. reknown. Ferguson’s daughter, the Princess Beatrice, has a small role as a lady-in-waiting.

The complete list of celebrities is pretty wild. While there is just one famous Clive — Clive Owen; and one famous David — David Duchovny; there are two famous Colins — Colin Firth and Colin Farrell; two famous Bills — Bill Nighy and Bill Murray; and five famous Michaels — filmmaker Michael Moore with actors Michael Douglas, Michael Cera, Michael Sheen and Sir Michael Caine.

Other name actors include Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Chris Rock, Mads Mikkelsen, Peter Sarsgaard, Kevin Spacey, Rob Lowe, Willem Dafoe, Aidan Quinn, Bryan Brown, Brian Cox and Woody Harrelson.

Eccentric rapper Snoop Dogg is also on the list, as is Til Schweiger, whose career is juiced because he is on-screen today in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.

Among name actresses, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Connelly, Jennifer Garner, Julianne Moore, Eva Green, Demi Moore, Abbie Cornish, Sissy Spacek, Tilda Swinton, Ally Sheedy, Miranda Richardson, Lisa Kudrow, Isabella Rossellini, Emily Blunt, Emily Mortimer and Kristin Scott Thomas have all said yes to invitations. So did actress-director Drew Barrymore.

Besides Juno co-stars Page and Cera, celebrated Canadians include Don McKellar, Colm Feore, Elias Koteas, Jacob Tierney, Jay Baruchel, Arsinee Khanjian and Gordon Pinsent.

Among well-known directors, the guest list includes Steven Soderbergh, George Romero, Atom Egoyan, Guy Maddin, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Ridley Scott, Tyler Perry, Lee Daniels, Werner Herzog, the idiosyncratic American brothers, Joel and Ethan Coen, and Portuguese legend Manoel de Oliveira, who is 100 years old and still making films.

Socialize with Abrams & Krochak
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Facebook –  http://www.facebook.comAKCanada
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