News / Canada

Metro Cities Roundup: Amazon snubs, plastic bag bans, and jogging away winter blues

Inspiring urbanism and the biggest news in cities from across our Metro markets for the week of Jan. 13-19.

Todd Savard, course director of the River Valley Revenge winter run, out on the trails. In Edmonton. In January. What's your excuse?

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Todd Savard, course director of the River Valley Revenge winter run, out on the trails. In Edmonton. In January. What's your excuse?

It is very much winter across most of the country, but that doesn't stop these hearty Albertans from jogging through Edmonton's River Valley. Run on, you crazy diamonds.

On to the roundup:

TOP NEWS

Amazon has handed out its first round of roses, leaving 10 of the 11 Canadian cities that courted the tech giant off the shortlist. Toronto was the only Canadian city to make the cut, prompting sadness and spin from the likes of Calgary and Halifax.

And though Calgary missed out on Amazon, the city did get a house call from the International Olympic Committee this week to discuss how the city could put together a winning bid for the 2026 Winter Games.

INSPIRING URBANISM

A pair of Halifax cafe owners is making their shop a social enterprise by selling tokens at a subsidized rate that can be used for coffee and a bagel or a full meal. The idea is customers can pass out the tokens to panhandlers or anyone else who might be food insecure or need a break.

From the city that brought you the accidental beach: Edmontonians took advantage of street's closed for LRT construction to set up a street hockey rink.

Edmonton is also home to a new courier service. The Champ City Courier Collective offers to deliver take out (or whatever you want) at a flat rate, and operate the company as a collective. It's an attempt to ward off the precarious employment for food delivery workers.

HOT TOPICS

The death of a five-year-old girl outside a Toronto school had the city talking about pedestrian safety and its seemingly struggling Vision Zero program, especially as New York City declared its version of the public awareness campaign has helped lead to the lowest rate of traffic deaths since 1910.

Bring back Tillicum the Sea Otter. That's the message from a former (and future) Vancouver city council candidate longing for the days when city mascots were a certified Thing. (Toronto's CN Tower recently introduced a new mascot after decades of going without.)

Meantime young Vancouverites pondering a run at municipal office are wondering if they can even afford to, leaving worries that their voices won't be heard in city hall.

Halifax city council is looking into the possibility of banning plastic bags. Montreal started a ban on Jan. 1 and Victoria, B.C. is planning a similar one. This week Metro Cities looked at how cities around the world have enacted, and enforced, bag bans.

Dr. Mark Tyndall, head of the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, says an opioid vending machine in Vancouver would be an important tool in the fight to prevent overdose deaths.

A Calgary councillor is calling for fines for snow shovelling scofflaws.

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