Toronto’s Buildings are a disaster waiting to happen?

If the followings are anything to go by, then homes and buildings in Toronto are a disaster waiting to happen …

Toronto’s glass condos are burning thermal holes in the sky

Greenhouse-gas-leaking towers setting us up for climate change fail

According to City’s TransformTO plan, we’ll all be living near accessible fossil-fuel-free transit, tossing our waste into tiny garbage bins and getting 75 per cent of our energy from renewable sources, and all our homes, condos and apartments will be retrofitted to become lean, clean greenhouse-gas–saving machines.

But in a city where half our greenhouse gas emissions now come from leaky buildings, the glass condo boom may be setting us up for failure.

Here is the glaring reality: many glass towers and other hastily built condos are falling apart faster than the old concrete giants – springing leaks, facing high repair bills and prompting lawsuits.

They’re also greenhouse-gas-emitting giant thermal holes. Anyone living in a glass box knows that all those windows have them cranking the thermostat in the winter  to keep warm and blasting the AC in summer to keep from getting heat stroke.

Falling glass hits woman on Bay St – The Star

Read more at Now Toronto

Next, on Fire Risks and the London Inferno, the question asked was,

Can A Similar Fire Happen In Toronto?

While the City officials informed catastrophe like London Inferno will not happen because here in Toronto, we have stringent “Building Code”, “Building Standard”, or “Building Materials” …We asked,

What if the “Building Code” is not followed?

Answer: Complete Silence So far.

The next thing we know is …

Every Single Building Tested After Grenfell Tower Has Failed Cladding Safety Checks

Every single high-rise building tested – 120 in total – since the Grenfell Tower disaster has failed a fire safety check on its cladding, Theresa May has confirmed.

100% Failed Safety Test!

The prime minister told the House of Commons that 120 buildings in 37 different local authorities across the UK have now been tested, with a 100% failure rate, as the government struggles to deal with the aftermath of this month’s devastating fire at the building in west London.

May said she understood that the material that was failing the tests was not compliant with building regulations. As a result of the 100% failure rate, she said local authorities “should not wait for test results” and should instead “get on with the job of fire safety tests” on all at-risk buildings.

At least Brits are honest about it and take immediate action to rectify the situation.

Teresa May is admirable.

In Toronto?

Action has been demanded repeatedly to eliminate on this fire hazards (reported eon ago)so as not to continue to pose any further life risks to the general public.
There have been no action so far, not unlike the London Inferno – Tenants’ repeated warnings to landlord fell on ‘deaf ears‘.
On a related note, we understand the City endorsed condo constructed out of wood …

Wood buildings reaching higher

Liberty Village, just west of Toronto’s core … is to build a midrise out of wood framing!

We knew wood rots, we knew wood burns, what we don’t know is what is going to happen couple of decade down to road – when these wooden buildings are ready to be gutted?

How do you move hundreds or thousands of families around? Who is going to pay for … etc. etc. etc.

Anyway, all we know there is no ancient building/ruins left bahind that is made of wood.  So, is the “wooden idea” a temporary measure to solve housing shortage?

How much is the wooden condo selling for? Betcha it is going to sell for the same price (as the concrete ones).

If so, why even use wood in the first place?

Apparently, it’s Donald Trump. We better tell President Trump this is a fake new, lest we invite the wrath of God?

Canadian real estate is doomed with Cover-Up, Censorship and Clampdown on Free Speech

Today, we heard someone has been charged by Toronto Police for exposing City’s scandals (details to follow …).

We will save Civil Liberty for the next topic.

The first question we have in mind is how will this impact real estate in Canada?

If you are one of the deep-pockets, will you park your money in a place where corruption is rampant?

Guess the answer is pretty straight forward – NO.

We know rich people like those from China moved their wealth abroad is because they don’t trust their corrupt regime. Similarly for deep-pockets from elsewhere, particularly those from the third world do it for the same reason  – they don’t trust their own corrupted backyard. Where law is toilet-roll scripts, so to speak.

In another word, your guarantee is as good as your political connections. Once that is gone (and it will be gone in a matter of time), whatever you own will be subjected to whim-ridden rule of men ie. the new power-that-be.

Why? Because in Corruptland, “Rule of Law is only for fun, whim-ridden Rule of Men is the reality“.

The fact that if speech is policed, information of public interest is censored, matters affecting the public is covered up, it will simply mean corruption in Canada is as real as the sun will rise from east.

Dear Deep-Pockets,

Will you park your money in a highly corrupted place and still sleep soundly at night?

Unless they have a reason to do so eg. they’re a part of the corrupted family, they have nowhere else to park their money, it’s only a temporary measure, etc. Guess no sane mind will say yes.

In another word, we are digging our own graveyard by disregarding law, cover-up wrongdoings, and censoring information of public interest.

This is not the constitutional foundation of Canada … If there is no corrective measures, Canada will go to the dogs.

No wonder we got this message from the Conservatives (we used to think they must be kidding, that things like this can only happen in Voodooland, not in a developed nation),

“Dear Canadians,

They police speech. They are shutting down events. They attack professors and guest speakers.

All across North America, free speech is under attack.

And sadly, it is under attack at the one place it should be most celebrated: universities.

Far from bastions of free speech and new ideas, universities are now often where free speech goes to die, as events are regularly shut down by perpetually offended protesters.

This is wrong.

During my campaign I spoke about the need for Canadian universities to foster free-flowing dialogue and debate.

Once elected, I will withhold federal grants from universities that won’t respect a diversity of viewpoints.

We believe universities should be a place for education – a place where young adults can learn to think for themselves by being presented with alternative opinions and ideas.

We don’t believe it should be a place that allows healthy debate to be shut down because it’s a topic someone, somewhere might disagree with.

Free speech matters and should be allowed everywhere – including on university campuses!

Sincerely,

Andrew Scheer
Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada”

________________

This can’t be the kind impression our Liberals government wanted – that the Liberals are no longer “liberal” but some kind of “Totalitarian Monster”?.

If so, God save Canadians … the country has gone to dogs.

Related: –

Why London Inferno will happen in Toronto – Part 3

Is Toronto Fire ready and capable of handling a massive fire like the London Inferno?

Secret report reveals fire response problems

Toronto firefighters have no access to critical building information, a secret consultant’s report says.

Unlike most fire services, Toronto firefighters speeding to a call have no access to critical building information like the location of water, firefighting equipment or hazardous materials, a secret consultant’s report says.

Grenfell Tower On Fire

The Star, which exposed tardy response time to some blazes last year, obtained the $150,000 report under municipal freedom of information legislation. Key portions are blacked out – 53 of 157 pages and numerous other pages are censored… What kind of Free of Information is this?

Here’s what the Star has learned from uncensored areas of the report.

  • Toronto Fire is taking too long to answer calls, process the information and dispatch firefighters. Details on how slow they are have been blacked out in the report.
  • Unlike most fire services, Toronto firefighters enroute to a fire call have no access to critical building information like the location of water firefighting equipment or hazardous materials
  • The fire service has outdated equipment for dispatching firefighters, which slows response time.
  • Fire Service management lacks a “quality assurance system” to track problems within its own system.

The incident prompted local police to warn citizens to “be careful about what you post on social media so as not to victimize an innocent person.”

Toronto Fire Chief Bill Stewart originally told the Star of the existence of the consultant’s report, but then said the Toronto Fire Services Quality Assurance Review “may have privacy implications” and it could only be accessed by making a request to the city of Toronto. The Star did that, waited a month for a response, then paid $22 to the city for a 127 page report that was heavily censored.

The consultant’s review was completed in December 2009 but never made public.

The censored report is tantalizing where it should be transparent. For example, on page 10 the consultant describes his analysis of one year of fire response data from 2008. A large paragraph is removed.

What exactly is “occurring” is blacked out. On the next page, nearly half the words are covered.

Pages 98-102 – “Recommendations” – are blacked out.

One area that escaped the censor deals with the lack of information Toronto fire crews have when they head out on a call.

“Instant access to building information is a feature of many contemporary systems and the lack of this in Toronto is a concern,” the report states. The report describes the importance of dispatchers and fire fire crews having electronic access to location of the “standpipe” (pipe outside a building that acts as a hydrant); location of hazardous materials; backup firefighting equipment; gas shut off points; location of the firefighter’s elevator; and building plans.

The City of Toronto, in censoring the report, applied several exemptions. While the people of Toronto cannot read specific problems with their own fire service, the report quotes openly from other reports – one by a consultant and the other by a state agency – on tardy dispatch systems in Vermont and Washington, D.C.

This may be an archived story, it shows there is NO FREEDOM OF INFORMATION after all.

The star in the old days used to practice classy journalism like this article. Today? We rather reserve our comment … See their news to judge for yourself.

Here is another archived story of interest …

Toronto Inferno

The Great Fire Of Toronto In 1904

A little over 100 years ago on a bitterly cold and windy spring night, a fire swept through the downtown destroying a huge swath of the city’s commercial heart.

On the 19th of April, 1904, a large section of downtown Toronto burned for nine hours.

Street map of downtown Toronto showing the buildings that were affected by the fire of 1904.

Map showing the area of Toronto affected by the fire of 1904. Bay Street from the Esplanade to Miranda Street (just south of King Street) was the hardest hit. At the time, this was called the Wholesale District of the city.

Aftermath, Bay street, April 1904.

Image result for The Great Fire of Toronto 1904

Historical photo of Bay street after the 1904 fire in Toronto. There are people on the street. The street is all mud. There are many burned out buildings on both sides of the streets. Brick facing of two to four storey buildings is all that remains.

As a result of the fire, 5000 people were left without a job. In 1904, the population of Toronto was about 200,000 so the loss of employment on this scale had a profound impact on the city.

The original imaged are kept at the City of Toronto Archives, located on Spadina Road., just north of Dupont Street.

More images of the London Inferno

Grenfell Tower Engulfed By Fire

Yet another Toronto Fire story …

Why Ontario’s paramedics don’t want firefighters performing emergency care

The Ontario firefighters association wants the province to allow firefighters to perform some of the duties of paramedics. 

While that sounds perfectly logical to some, many municipalities and paramedics are hopping mad. They call the proposal a brazen attempt to protect incredibly costly firefighter salaries at a time of dwindling fires.

“It doesn’t seem like a good use of taxpayer dollars.” says Corey Nageleisen, member of the CUPE Ambulance Committee of Ontario.

Nageleisen warns that given the long shifts firefighters work—24 hours, in contrast to the 12-hour shift Nageleisen had worked the day before speaking with TVO.org – public safety could actually be put at risk by overly-tired firefighters attempting to administer medical care.

“When crime goes up we pay more for police. When fire risk goes up we spend more on fire service. EMS calls are going up, so we pay more for firefighters? It doesn’t make sense.”

Paramedics argue they are better trained to handle medical emergencies than other first responders, and that it is much more cost effective to send a two-person ambulance than a four-person fire truck to help someone in distress.

Historically, paramedics have not received the same level of funding as fire and police services. For Nageleisen, that makes any proposal to let firefighters do the work of paramedics tantamount to an insult.

At this year’s annual meeting of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, outgoing president Gary McNamara warned that police and fire service payrolls are already straining municipal budgets, and adding paramedic services to the fire payroll would make matters worse.

“Police and firefighters are the most highly-paid employees we have, and they should be. But we can’t pay them increases at the expense of other services that keep our communities safe and healthy,” McNamara said.

Of particular concern is that, if the province allows the hypothetical use of firefighters as paramedics, municipalities could be forced into it by the binding arbitration that governs police and fire labour negotiations.

Read more at TVO.org

__________________

Related: –

Home Depot sued for advertising 3.5 x 3.5 lumber as 4 x 4

Did you know 4″ x 4″ lumber is never 4″ x 4″, but measuring 3.5″ x 3.5″?

Are You Being Cheated When You Buy Lumber at Home Depot?

Menards and Home Depot stand accused of deceiving the lumber-buying public, specifically, buyers of 4″ x 4″ boards, the big brother to the ubiquitous 2″ x 4″.

Class action suits filed last week in federal court charging Home Depot and Menard’s selling lumber that is “falsely advertised and labeled as having product dimensions that were not the actual dimensions of the products sold.”

Plaintiffs in the case against Menard’s were shocked, shocked, we tell you, to discover that a 4×4 purchased at the store actually measured 3.5″ × 3.5″ and not the “advertised” measurement of 4″ × 4″. The plaintiffs — so far just two residents of Illinois — seek damages, restitution and injunctive relief from Menard’s “for selling products that did not conform to the representations it made to customers.”

Menard’s responded to the lawsuit in March and Home Depot responded earlier this month, both pointing out that the lumber sold in their stores meets federal standards for both dimension and advertising.

Wood Dimension Chart

This chart shows the nominal (in name only) and corresponding actual (real) dimensions of common wood sizes.
If you find reading plans confusing, or have trouble identifying the exact dimensions of wood at a lumberyard or home center, read on. Most lumber is sold in “nominal” (in name only) sizes such as 1×3, 2×4 and 4×4. But these sizes are not the actual dimensions of the wood. The chart below shows the actual dimensions of lumber when it is dry (when wet, it will be slightly larger).

In its response, Home Depot schooled the plaintiffs:

Plaintiff’s attempt to turn this accepted lumber naming convention into a class action lawsuit should be rejected. To do otherwise would ignore nearly a century of standardization and disturb an entire industry’s reliance on these lumber names. Home Depot did not breach any warranty or violate any law by using standard industry nomenclature to describe the single piece of lumber Plaintiff purchased.

Home Depot also noted:

That lumber is referred to by its nominal size is not specialized knowledge limited to the lumber industry. Casual handymen, weekend do-it-yourselfers, and anyone who has ever handled, measured, sawed, or nailed a 2×4 knows that it is called a 2×4 though it does not measure precisely 2 inches by 4 inches.

Even if defendants win, it’s a little difficult to see what damage they have suffered. If one planned to replace an existing 4×4, a piece of lumber that actually measured 4 inches by 4 inches would be too big and would require either that all similar pieces be replaced as well or that the do-it-yourselfer buy an expensive planer to bring the one piece of lumber down to 3.5 × 3.5.

Each lawsuit is seeking $5 million (for the entire class, not just the named plaintiffs) plus other penalties, and both Menard’s and Home Depot have requested the court to dismiss the complaints against the stores. That squares with our opinion.

Lumber Sizes and Measurement

Framing lumber is identified by the height and width of the board. The measurements used, however, may make you think you are getting cheated! A 2×4 board is actually only 1 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches.

The way this comes about is that when lumber is cut from the logs, it is considered “rough cut.” The wood is still green and wet. Once the wood dries, it shrinks. Then, after it is dried, the wood is planed to smooth the surface and make the wood a uniform size. Once planed, the wood is considered “finished.”

Thus, the nominal size of the lumber you purchase is different from the actual size. Usually, there is 1/2 inch difference in measurements over 2 inches and 1/4 inch in measurements less than 2 inches.

When the ” (inch) symbol is used is lumber measurements it indicates that you are referring to the actual size. This symbol is omitted when referring to the nominal size.

Opinion

While we agree the “nominal lumber names (dimensions)” are generally known to the trade. We feel this does pose a problem to the public consumers, the DIY-ers.

Years ago, we have personally experienced blunder in measurement thinking a 4 x 4 is 4 inches wide – resulting in shortages, inconvenience, and over budgeting. For example, if you are buying lumbers to build a relatively lenghty fence, and not knowing the actual width of the lumber is actually shorter by 1/2 inch each, you will end up with materials shortage, not to meantion the hassle of last minute change in plan/design.

We think retailers like Home Depot should mark this clearly on the lumber: “Actual measurement: 3.5 x 3.5″”. They are after all dealing mostly with consumers, not just tradeperson per se.

Why London Inferno will happen in Toronto – Part 2

When it comes to fire prevention, media in Canada basically take comments by local experts at face value ie. because we have Building Code in place, catastophe similar to Grenfell Tower a.k.a the London Inferno has no chance to take place.

TRUE or FALSE?

First, let’s take a look at what the media say,

London’s fire symptomatic of larger safety issues globally, experts warn

“One of the reasons is the technology that is now being used in building materials and building fabrics has outstripped the codes and standards in practice… CTV News

London fire: Cladding blamed for inferno’s rapid spread restricted in Canada

All exterior cladding materials for buildings higher than four storeys must be tested for fire resistance and comply with strict standards… Globalnews.ca

 

Lessons of the Grenfell blaze: How can Canada’s thousands of aging towers be kept safe?

“This requires a careful review of building codes, of approved materials,” said Graeme Stewart of ERA Architects, a specialist in the renewal of modern apartment towers… The Globe and Mail

 

Canadian building code designed to guard against fires like London blaze

Shoddy cladding may be the culprit behind London’s Grenfell Tower fire, which left 79 dead or missing. While the U.K. doesn’t mandate fire-retardant material, Canadian regulations prevent the issue—at least in theory… CanadianManufacturing.com

Conclusion so far,

As you can see, the standard answer is “Building Code”, “Building Standard”, or “Building Materials” – repeatedly quoted throughout all the reports.

Is it true that “Building Code” or “Building Materials” alone can guarantee similar fire will not happen?

Probably true to certain extend … (Please bear in mind that “Building code” usually means the “bare minimum standard”, a slight defect here means there will be no more “protection”).

However, the codes are not much of an issue. The real issue is …

What if the “Building Code” is not followed?

Here is classic case where neither “Building Code” nor “Fire Code” is followed: –

No compliance at all?

YES, Totally NOT Compliant with the Fire/Building Codes. In fact, also violates City bylaw and safety related law of all jurisdictions.

Surprised?

Anyway, we will also touch on how such third world phenomenon may scare away foreign money in our next exposé.

Meanwhile, CBC asked …

Do you know the fire code?

How do you expect ordinary folk to know Fire Code or Building Code, when the responsible Fire Prevention personnel also not that well-versed with the Building Code/Fire Code … as in this case: –

Here is a fairer reporting,

‘Major fail:’ Cladding blamed in Grenfell Tower fire wouldn’t pass Canadian safety tests

But in Canada, strict rules on the use of cladding make it unlikely, though not impossible, that a similar tragedy could occur here, industry experts say… CBC.ca

 

At least it is reported as “though not impossible“.

More about Grenfell Tower a.k.a the tragic London Inferno: –

_______________

Related: –

Tracking dirty money, show me the laundered money

Yep, tracking dirty money, and show me the laundered money …

First thing first,

Architecture Porn
Mirrored ceiling makes this bookstore appear infinite in Hangzhou, China

According Global News,

Canada’s doors are ‘wide open’ for criminals to launder money in real estate

Give us your criminal, your corrupt, your anonymous masses.

Canada is sending to the world with its “doors wide open” approach to money laundering in real estate, says a new report by Transparency International (TI), a Berlin-based organization that works to stop corruption around the world.

One of the biggest reasons why it’s easy for illicit money to enter Canadian real estate is that it’s not difficult to hide the identities of people who buy homes in the first place.

Canadian law does not require non-financial professionals doing real estate deals to “identify beneficial owners when conducting due diligence on customers.”

In Canada, you have to do due diligence or submit suspicious or large cash transaction reports if you’re  a real estate agent, a broker, a developer or an accountant.

You don’t have to do that if you’re a LAWYER, a law firm or a notary from Quebec.

“Given their roles in real estate closings, this is a major loophole,” the report said.

According to “Show me the laundered money”, tracking dirty money is proving difficult.

As millions of dollars come into the housing market. Governments are finding it hard to track even legitimate foreign purchasers when making rules to cool the housing market, but when the money is laundered the murkiness is by design.

And one of the biggest impediments in tracking the flow, according to many critics of our current regime, is lawyers. “Lawyers, they’re the biggest problem with money laundering in this country,” Kim Marsh, the former head of the RCMP’s International Organized Crime Investigation Unit.

Similarly in “Tracking dirty money”,

An evaluation by the international Financial Action Task Force in 2016 identified the absence of lawyers and Quebec notaries as a “significant loophole” in Canada’s anti-money-laundering monitoring system.

The problem is further complicated with a 2015 judgment of the Supreme Court. It ended a 14-year-long legal saga between the federal government and Canada’s law societies when it ruled that making lawyers subject to Canada’s money-laundering and terrorist-financing act risked violating solicitor-client privilege.

Meaning?

It simply means efforts to track dirty money is being hampred by our legal system itself. The law needs to change so that the so called “solicitor-client privilege” be made an non-issue when it comes to matters of public interest. As it is now, the law is outdated as clearly demonstrated above – The lawyers themselves are impeding efforts track dirty money.

Canada’s Criminal Code defines a money launderer as anyone who “uses, transfers the possession of, sends or delivers to any person or place, transports, transmits, alters, disposes of or otherwise deals with, in any manner and by any means, any property or any proceeds of any property with intent to conceal or convert that property or those proceeds, knowing or believing that all or a part of that property or of those proceeds was obtained or derived directly or indirectly as a result of a) the commission in Canada of a designated offence or b) an act or omission anywhere that, if it had occurred in Canada, would have constituted a designated offence.”

But lawyers insist only transactions involving physical cash qualify as money laundering.

“Money laundering, to me, is taking illicit cash, putting it through some accounts so you can get clean money in a bank account. It starts with cash,” said Herman Van Ommen, president of the Law Society of British.

However, experts in tracking down money laundering say the days of gym bags full of cash being brought into a bank branch have given way to much more sophisticated techniques. Those seeking to launder money need professionals such as lawyers, says Denis Meunier, former deputy director of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre and a member of Transparency International. “As they move up the ladder . . . they need help. Who is going to help them? Professionals. People who know how to do it.”

To sum it all up in one sentence – Our system is broken.

Recently,

BC law society accused of scapegoating lawyer to ease foreign-money fears

The Law Society of B.C.’s ability to police money laundering and offshore real-estate investment is being questioned after a lawyer was found guilty of professional misconduct for nearly $26 million in suspicious transactions.

Lawyer Paul Jaffe said the disciplinary decision against his client Donald Gurney imposes standards and expectations of conduct for the profession that may be impossible to meet.

The panel criticized Gurney for being evasive and ignoring “a sea of red flags” in four questionable transactions that saw $25,845,489.87 flow through his professional trust account between May and November 2013. He reputedly took a tenth of one per cent as a fee.

Jaffe insisted that his fellow lawyer, a 49-year veteran of the bar, was a victim of the legal regulator’s desire to show it was dealing with fears about foreign investment and money laundering in the overheated real-estate market… Vancouver Sun

BC Law Society panel finds West Van lawyer guilty of flowing $26m through trust account 

Well, perhaps we should look south for an idea how to fix our legal system -Imagine the case is under the U.S. jurisdictions, records indicated Donald Gurney is likely to face imprisonment for “professional negilgence” of such magnitude.


Beautiful great room in Vancouver, Canada. The unique decorative wall adds texture and pattern … Made possible with dirty money?

Reference: –

What is money laundering?

Money laundering is the process used to disguise the source of money or assets derived from criminal activity. Profit-motivated crimes span a variety of illegal activities from drug trafficking and smuggling to fraud, extortion and corruption. The scope of criminal proceeds is significant – estimated at some $590 billion to $1.5 trillion (U.S.) worldwide each year.

Money laundering facilitates corruption and can destabilize the economies of susceptible countries. It also compromises the integrity of legitimate financial systems and institutions, and gives organized crime the funds it needs to conduct further criminal activities. It is a global problem, and the techniques used are numerous and can be very sophisticated. Technological advances in e-commerce, the global diversification of financial markets and new financial product developments provide further opportunities to launder illegal profit and obscure the money trail leading back to the underlying crime.

While the techniques for laundering funds vary considerably and are often highly intricate, there are generally three stages in the process:

  • Placement: involves placing the proceeds of crime in the financial system;
  • Layering: involves converting the proceeds of crime into another form and creating complex layers of financial transactions to disguise the audit trail and the source and ownership of funds (e.g., the buying and selling of stocks, commodities or property); and,
  • Integration: involves placing the laundered proceeds back in the economy under a veil of legitimacy.

FINTRAC’s financial intelligence plays a critical role in helping to combat money laundering. This financial intelligence is used to assist money laundering and terrorist financing investigations in the context of a wider variety of criminal investigations, where the origins of the suspected criminal proceeds are linked to drug trafficking, fraud, tax evasion, corruption, and other criminal offences. With these types of crimes, there are victims, there is often violence, and there is real social harm.