News / Canada

Metro Cities Roundup: Vancouver apologizes for racism, super pests thriving, and Ottawa's new arena

Inspiring urbanism and the biggest news in cities from across our Metro markets for the week of Nov. 1-7.

Ponder Street in Vancouver's Chinatown. City council is applying to make the neighbourhood a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Jennifer Gauthier / For Metro

Ponder Street in Vancouver's Chinatown. City council is applying to make the neighbourhood a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kids looking to make their mark on the nation's capital now have their chance. Ottawa's OC Transpo is inviting children 16 and under to submit names for the city's 34 new LRT vehicles. Though Trainy McTrainface, an early favourite, violates the character limit, a pitch has been made for uniquely O-Train name: Ohy McOface. Ok.

On to the roundup:

TOP NEWS

Vancouver will apologize for racist bylaws and and actions that discriminated against against Chinese immigrants until the mid 20th century, like lobbying to increase the head tax and banning Chinese residents from voting in municipal elections up until 1947. Along with the apology, city council also approved a plan to apply to designate Chinatown as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Toronto is a step closer to establishing an Indigenous Affairs Office after a committee endorsed a staff report recommending the move. The plan, which would see four staffers and a consultant brought in to run the operation, needs to pass executive committee and city council. The goal is to target issues like youth needs, placemaking and acceptance, and poverty and homelessness with a lens of specific issues faced by the city's Indigenous communities.

As Ontario announced the 14 cities that will host the first provincially-run marijuana dispensaries, cafes and travel companies hoping to cash in on weed tourism are uneasy about how the legislation is shaping up.

Women smoke during a April 20, 2016 rally to celebrate National Marijuana Day on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada.

Getty

Women smoke during a April 20, 2016 rally to celebrate National Marijuana Day on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada.

INSPIRING URBANISM

A Calgary woman has penned a children's book to teach kids about homelessness. The book, titled I May Not Have a Home, But I Have Rights, is based on the Homeless Charter of Rights, developed two years ago by local advocates.

Calgary Transit ran fresh, local produce mini-markets at four LRT stations across the city this fall as part of a larger to plan to tackle food insecurity. Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra told Metro's Helen Pike the model of using city-owned property for multiple uses should spread, saying "I think we want every city-owned facility to become as mixed-use and community 'hubby' as we can get it."

A little Ikea is going a long way for a Halifax woman sick of seeing flyers piling up at her community mailbox. Ulyana Sparks sprang for a plastic bin and some flowers to spruce up the joint and signal to her neighbours that the junk mail belonged in the trash, not on the ground. Rather than taking the issue to the city or Canada Post, she told Metro: “After a while, you’re just like ‘You know what, this is easier to do myself’ instead of just complain."

A Winnipeg library branch is collecting seeds from the community for safe-keeping over the winter. “We already loan out books, why not seeds,” branch head Carole Reeve told Metro. Seems pretty straight forward.

HOT TOPICS

Vancouver is looking to help for so-called legacy businesses who can’t afford spikes in commercial rent. The B.C. city is inspired by San Francisco where such a program was established in 2015. Toronto retailers have seen similar woes as development booms downtown, with some relief coming in the form of decreased property taxes.

The long-awaited streetscape makeover of Argyle and Grafton streets in downtown Halifax was unveiled this weekend. The new design bans street parking and adds year-round patios. The design did away with sidewalks in favour of a pedestrian-zone and a so-called shared zone, where cars may travel – but yield to other modes of transit.

A rendering that shows how Argyle and Grafton streets will be used once they're complete.

Contributed/HRM

A rendering that shows how Argyle and Grafton streets will be used once they're complete.

The Winnipeg Arts Council is asking the city to increase funding for public art projects. The council says the cash flow has stagnated at the same level since the program was created 14 years ago.

It’s a good time to be a renter in Edmonton, as overbuilding drives down rental rates, reports Metro's Omar Mosleh. New and unsold units are outpacing demand after the boom economy went bust, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s fourth quarter housing market assessment.

Ottawa is taking a stand against financing a new stadium that could serve as home ice for the Senators.

And a new study review from the University of Toronto, just published in the journal Science, shows that 134 species, including birds, insects, plants and more, around the world appear to have had their evolution knocked off-kilter by human action, including building cities, reports Metro Toronto's Brian Fitzpatrick.

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