Notorious Cecil Hotel slated for demolition but sign to be saved

WATCH ABOVE: The sign from the Cecil Hotel is set to be removed on Friday morning. Jenna Freeman reports.

CALGARY – The historic Cecil Hotel in downtown Calgary will be demolished instead of being redeveloped.

Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) made the announcement on Wednesday, saying that while they were aware some Calgarians hoped the landmark could be saved, salvaging it just isn’t possible.

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“Following decades of neglect plus the ravages of fire and flood, rehabilitation and restoration simply aren’t feasible options,” said CMLC President & CEO Michael Brown in a news release.

“We will apply for a demolition permit this fall after an abatement program has been completed on the building and all hazardous materials have been properly removed.”

Local historian Harry Sanders said the hotel “filled a need” in the city when it first opened.

“It was a working man’s hotel, and always was,” he said. “It didn’t always have the reputation that it came to be known for in the later years.”

Situated on the corner of 4 Avenue S.E. and 3 Street S.E., the Cecil Hotel is one of only six pre-First World War hotels still standing in Calgary. It was built in 1912.

The CMLC is making efforts to keep elements from the building of historical value, such as the hotel’s large neon sign.

“The hotel is a landmark, but so too is the sign, and perhaps more so,” said Sanders. “As a drive-by landmark, the sign is the visible part.”

The Cecil Hotel sign was removed on Friday morning.

The sign atop the Cecil Hotel is removed on Friday, August 14, 2015.

Global News / Tom Reynolds

“It will be restored to its original colours and condition and then placed into storage until such time as a community use can be identified,” said Brown. A CMLC spokesperson on site said the sign would be used in the East Village redevelopment.

With files from Carlos Prieto

Sandals hopeful about reaching new contracts with teachers before school begins

WATCH ABOVE: Provincial Education Minister Liz Sandals says a lot of bargaining is underway to avert a province-wide September strike. Lama Nicolas reports.

TORONTO – Education Minister Liz Sandals issued a warning to Ontario teachers Wednesday while expressing optimism about reaching new contract agreements before the start of classes Sept. 8.

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The four big teachers’ unions are, or soon will be, in legal strike positions, and that means any job actions they plan if there are no agreements by September would amount to a limited strike, not a work-to-rule campaign, said Sandals.

The unions, which represent 115,000 teachers, have talked about refusing to supervise extracurricular activities or to participate in parent-teachers meetings as possible protest actions if there are no agreements when classes resume.

READ MORE: Two Ontario teachers unions set to hold talks

They’ve been without contracts for a year now, and once they are in legal strike positions they can’t unilaterally decide on work-to-rule campaigns, said Sandals.

“The things that they’re proposing to do in the event that there are no agreements would be a partial withdrawal of services, so it is a form of strike,” she said. “The teachers can’t simply decide that as a work to rule they won’t do EQAO testing, as an example. That’s a strike action.”

However, the minister said all sides are ready to reach new agreements after negotiations resumed Wednesday with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers for the first time in three months. Talks with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation are scheduled to resume next week. The government is also in “informal” talks with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation about a resumption of negotiations.

“I really do get a sense that … everybody’s very focused on making sure that we do get agreements and there won’t be disruption in the fall,” said Sandals.

“I have a sense of a good feeling coming back from the table.”

There was already a lot of bargaining with the teachers’ unions, even if it was “in fits and starts,” and many issues have already been resolved, added Sandals.

“It isn’t like we only have a few days and we have to do everything,” she said on her way into a Liberal cabinet meeting.

Part of the difficulties in this year’s round of negotiations with the teachers is a new two-tiered bargaining process, with talks at both the local and provincial level, which Sandals said is like trying to negotiate a first contract.

READ MORE: Teachers’ unions agreed to resume stalled contract negotiations: Liberals

“There’s never ever been a central agreement with any of these organizations before, so it’s really like we’re negotiating a first central collective agreement with each and every one of the unions,” she said. “The first time you do a collective agreement is always the most difficult because you have to figure out absolutely everything as opposed to just modify a few things from the last time around.”

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association launched a website called teachersmatter杭州丝足 which lists workload, fair hiring as well as wages and benefits as key issues for the union in the talks. It notes teachers had their salaries frozen for two-years and the Liberals are insisting on a net zero increase in new contracts.

“We would all like to avoid a labour disruption, but not at any cost to public education,” said OECTA President Ann Hawkins.

©2015

Politics in print: Why candidates write their memoirs before an election

It’s not enough to be a politician these days – you also have to be a published author.

At least, that’s the conclusion you could draw from some of the titles released over the past year: Common Ground by Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, Who We Are by Green Party leader Elizabeth May, and the just-released Strength of Conviction by NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.

QUIZ: Which politician wrote it?

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    One-on-One with Justin Trudeau

All three of these books trace the personal story of their authors, from childhood to federal politics. Conservative leader Stephen Harper’s 2013 book, A Great Game, is the exception among the political oeuvre: it covers the early history of hockey in Toronto.

But party leaders are busy people and writing a book takes time, so what are they getting out of it?

The writing process

Well to start with, they might not write everything themselves. According to Jennifer Lambert, editorial director of HarperCollins Canada, which published Trudeau’s memoir, “he had a few writers that worked with him, and his political team as well. His wife was very involved. Sophie was very involved, she read a lot of drafts and contributed.”

However, she said, Trudeau was involved in every word on the page, in both the French and English editions. “Justin was constantly revising and adding and rewriting, ensuring that it really was his voice, his choice, his words.”

And, the book went through a normal back-and-forth with the editor too, so that revisions were made.

Branding the leader

Having an autobiography on the shelf serves an important political purpose, said Alex Marland, associate professor of political science at Memorial University of Newfoundland. “It’s a way to get information out that may otherwise get missed.”

It’s all about building a leader’s brand and image control, he said. “In branding you have to have a story. You have to have a narrative. So it allows you to say well, this person is a human being, this person has an interesting story, here’s their background, here’s their values and their beliefs and where they’re coming from, but they’re ultimately a human being and a person.”

Building a brand is especially important for Mulcair, according to John Crean, national managing partner for National Public Relations. “I think for Mr. Mulcair, more than perhaps the other candidates, he’s less well-known to Canadians. And part of their broader strategy I think is going to be to introduce him and create a brand for him that will appeal to a broad swath of Canadians and perhaps be seen to be informing the policy directions and motivations that he might have for Canada.”

And so, candidates write their life stories and try to look like an ordinary, relatable person. “Ordinary is exactly what they’re trying to communicate in some ways. You’re trying to suggest you’re not an elitist,” said Marland.

Harper had different goals for his book, he said. “It still fit the brand narrative about him, in that even though it wasn’t his story, it was about hockey, which connects very much into his image. It’s kind of policy wonkish and intellectual in that respect, which kind of goes along with his image. And then there’s the conservative, traditional aspect and the potential connection to Toronto, which is all things that they want to communicate.”

Harper wanted to expand his brand, said Crean, and did it in the most Canadian way possible: by writing about hockey. “So Mr. Harper, who’s well-known to Canadians, well-established, I think they’re probably trying to broaden his brand a little bit, to demonstrate that he has interests and knowledge and abilities that transcend the political sphere.”

It’s no accident that Mulcair’s book was coming out during the early days of the campaign either, said Marland. “It’s a long campaign, they’ve got to come up with, what do we talk about today? This is a good way to show him sitting there, signing books. It’s going to take a few days of news coverage where they don’t have to make spending promises, they don’t have to make policy commitments. It can be light, it keeps the story out there. It’s kind of smart.”

Who’s reading?

HarperCollins, which published both Trudeau’s and Olivia Chow’s autobiographies, doesn’t release sales figures, said Lambert. “I can say that they’re both Globe and Mail bestsellers,” she said. “I’m very, very pleased with both of their performances.”

“I think there’s a strong market of people who are curious to know what the people are really like behind the very public face,” she said, people like diehard party supporters, people who might be on the fence, and people who buy the books as gifts for friends and family.

Marland disagrees. “The ultimate audience in many ways is journalists. Even though the publisher won’t say that, the end game, the real goal, is to try to influence how the media may report on them.”

Crean also thinks that the audience is the media, as a conduit toward reaching the broader public. “Their hope is that journalists will go through the book as part of their research to try to find snippets into his personality and his life history that in a sense informs why he’s saying the things he’s saying today.”

Maybe not a page-turner

The big question though is, are the books any good?

“I flipped through a few of the books and I find many of them, I have a hard time keeping my attention on the entire book,” said Crean. “I don’t really have a strong opinion on the quality of the books per se other than I’m not one of the many thousands who are buying these books.”

Marland was more definitive: “Usually in my experience, the better books are the ones that come out when they’re done. They write reflections once they’ve left office.”

Although you can never fully trust an autobiography, he said, those written by retired politicians are more revealing and more willing to tackle controversial topics. On Mulcair, he said, “Really what adventures does he have that are so interesting? But if Mulcair was prime minister for ten years, and produced a book after that reflecting on ten years, that would be pretty interesting.”

At least 50 dead after massive explosion rocks Chinese city of Tianjin

Please note: This story is developing and details could change as more information emerges.

Officials and state media outlets say at least 50 people have been killed and over 700 more injured after two blasts, one of which was reported to be the equivalent of 21 tons of TNT, shook the Chinese port city of Tianjin late Wednesday night.

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The explosions, which lit up the sky with a fireball and sent a shockwave across the area, happened just after 11:30 p.m. According to the BBC, the Chinese Seismological Network registered magnitude 2.3 and 2.9 tremors.

Police in Tianjin said an initial blast took place in shipping containers at a warehouse for hazardous materials owned by Rui Hai International Logistics Limited, a “large transit distribution centre” that handles the transport of hazardous and dangerous goods.

Twelve of the dead were from among the more than 1,000 firefighters sent to fight the blaze set, the official Xinhua News agency said. It said over 520 people were being treated in hospitals, 66 of them with serious injuries.

The shockwaves were felt kilometres away, according to local media, knocking out windows in several buildings.

“I thought it was an earthquake, so I rushed downstairs without my shoes on,” Tianjin resident Zhang Siyu, told the Associated Press. “Only once I was outside did I realize it was an explosion. There was the huge fireball in the sky with thick clouds. Everybody could see it.”

Reports on social media sites such as Weibo indicate the doors and windows on homes and buildings kilometres away from the blast site were blown or shaken off, while power to many high-rise buildings in the area was knocked out. Meanwhile, Tianjin Public Security reported the East China Sea Road light rail station was damaged in the explosion.

“At the time of the explosion the ground was shaking fiercely, nearby cars and buildings were shaking, a few buildings’ glass all broke and everyone started to run,” BBC reported an eyewitness identified as Ms. Yang saying. “Now all the residents are gathered in the street.”

“Lu Yun, head of the nearby Taida Hospital, said they have received more than 50 wounded people, and more are coming. The injuries were mainly from broken glass or stones. Some of the injuries are serious,” Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

Videos and still images circulating on social media show a massive fireball filling the night’s sky followed by a shockwave seconds after the initial explosion.

A plume of flames and smoke rose several dozen metres into the air and was reportedly caught on a Japanese weather satellite.

Ruihai Logistics said on its website – before it was shut down – that it was established in 2011 and is an approved company for handling hazardous materials. It said it handles 1 million tons of cargo annually.

Tianjin, with a population of about 15 million, is about 120 kilometres east of Beijing on the Bohai Sea and is one of the country’s major ports. It is one of China’s more modern cities and is connected to the capital by a high speed rail line.

-With files from The Associated Press.

©2015

Ken King’s email to Flames ticket holders spurs Calgary arena rumours

WATCH ABOVE: An email sent to Calgary Flames ticket holders and a 桑拿会所 account have lead to speculation an announcement of a new arena could come next week. Global’s Brendan Parker reports.

CALGARY –Flames season ticket holders are wondering what “transformative project” the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation is going to unveil next week after receiving an email on Wednesday morning.

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“We would like to share a proposal for a project that will make all Calgarians and Albertans proud,” said the email, signed by president and CEO Ken King. “This has the potential to be one of Calgary’s most transformative projects at a vital time in our city’s history. This will be our first public discussion on this project and it is important that you be among the first to know.”

The email, which is fuelling speculation about a new arena in the city, clarifies the Aug. 18 information session will not be an “official launch” but will share “what has been done to date” and the “vision for the future.”

Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s office declined to comment on the project described in the email.

The domain names for the websites calgarynext杭州丝足 and calgarynext杭州桑拿 were registered to a Calgary company in July.

During a March 5 interview on a local radio station, King alluded to such a project, and said, “when you see our project, people are just going to love it, and we’re not going to sneak in here and steal money from the city.”

WATCH: Ken King’s comments fuel arena speculation

The project, dubbed CalgaryNEXT, also started its own 桑拿会所 account on Wednesday.

It generated lots of reaction online from those in the sports community:

Take Our Poll

©2015

Parapan Am promotion offers $5 tickets in final events

TORONTO — Parapan Am Games organizers are hoping to own the bleachers as well as the podium, offering a special promotion to entice more fans to attend.

TO2015 promoters have unveiled a “$5 Friday” campaign, offering fans deeply discounted tickets to both the final athletics and swimming sessions on Friday afternoon.

When asked if the promotion might reflect disappointing ticket sales, a Parapan Am Games spokesperson said it’s strictly part of a larger push to show strong fan support for the Games.

READ MORE: Canada’s Michelle Stilwell and Benoit Huot race to Parapan Am gold

A #SoldOutSaturday 桑拿会所 campaign has Mayor John Tory and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne joining the chorus to encourage full stands.

“The aim of the $5 ticket promotion on Friday and the #SoldOutSaturday campaign is to finish the Games strong and let all Parapan Am athletes know the region is 100 per cent behind them,” TO2015 spokesperson Heather Irwin said in an email.

The #SoldOutSaturday remains a work in progress. The wheelchair basketball finals will play to a full house, but tickets are still available for the goalball and football seven-a-side matches. Irwin says the Parapan Am Games have sold “nearly” 85,000 tickets to date.

Canada currently sits second in the medal standings, behind a dominant Brazil and just ahead of the third-place U.S.

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©2015

Riverhouse Art Gallery a colourful landmark in revitalized Riversdale

Watch above: It sits along the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon with a park as its backyard. Meaghan Craig introduces us to the Riverhouse Gallery, its owner and its history.

SASKATOON – Saskatoon is filled with diverse neighbourhoods but Riversdale takes the cake for character homes. One home in particular that may catch your eye as you walk along Spadina Crescent West is the Riverhouse Art Gallery,  a house that has evolved over the years along with the city blocks around it.

Nestled along the riverbank, the home’s eye popping exterior creates a picture of this home’s colourful past.

“I feel that I don’t own the house that I’m the current care taker. It has a life of its own, it has a spirit of its own,” said homeowner Cecilia Elizabeth.

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In 1995, Elizabeth and her husband bought the home for both its views and ample space for an art studio on the main floor.

“I fell in love with the house, I always wanted a great big old house and so to me it didn’t matter where it was.”

YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD: Pioneer Cemetery sheds light on Saskatoon’s first residents

The vision for this home even before it was built was grand with the soul intention that someone of prominence would call it home.

“The house cost, in 1908, five thousand dollars to build it and that was what was on the land-title.”

While it isn’t designated a heritage property according the Elizabeth, the home’s history runs deep and at times has been known as the “Lawton House” in addition to the “Woman’s House.”

“This house, out of the 10 owners, has been owned by eight women.”

A number of Saskatoon’s rich and famous have lived here as well as some rather infamous people. Elizabeth says according to one landlord, convicted murderer Larry Fisher lived here on the third level in the ’70s.

“All she would say is he was not a good tenant.”

Elizabeth admits the Riversdale neighbourhood has had it’s ups and downs over the years but revitalized it’s come a long way.

“I would have friends that would say I won’t drive through Riversdale unless I lock my doors that’s changed. I have 40 students coming weekly to my classes and they never worry about coming here to do classes.”

Riversdale is in a period of rebirth as new boutiques open, eateries with new builds reshaping one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods. Elizabeth says if she has her way she’ll continue to live and eventually die here.

“It’s my kids inheritance,  I say ‘Be nice to me because this is your inheritance ’cause they’re not to get any money’,” laughed Elizabeth.

©2015

Patrick Kane investigation: EA Sports drops Blackhawks star from NHL 16 cover

VANCOUVER – EA Sports is pulling Patrick Kane from the cover of its “NHL 16” video game after police confirmed last week the Chicago Blackhawks star is the subject of an investigation.

Kane was to be featured on the cover alongside teammate Jonathan Toews.

EA Sports says that “in light of the ongoing investigation involving Patrick Kane, he will no longer be a spokesperson for the launch of EA Sports ‘NHL 16.”‘

The company says Kane will not be on the cover of the game or attend any promotional events.

The new cover will feature an image of Toews alone hoisting the Stanley Cup.

WATCH: Patrick Kane – A look at the Chicago Blackhawks star’s career and allegations

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Hamburg police confirmed the investigation last week, saying it involved an incident that may have happened at Kane’s home outside Buffalo on Aug. 2. Chief Gregory Wickett said police were gathering information and awaiting results of forensic tests.

A person familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press on Monday that it involves something that occurred between the player and a woman in her 20s.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because authorities have not revealed any details of the investigation.

Kane is from Buffalo and was selected first overall by Chicago in the 2007 draft. He has helped the Blackhawks win three Stanley Cup championships in the past six seasons, including one earlier this year.

“NHL 16” is scheduled for release in North America on Sept. 15.

Kane was also on the cover of the game in 2009.

– With files from The Associated Press

©2015

UPDATE: NDP raises concerns about bedbug infestation at Regina seniors complex

REGINA –  The Saskatchewan NDP is asking the province to properly get rid of bedbugs at local seniors housing complexes after one resident spoke out about the issue.

Adele Bryson, 80, lives in an apartment at 2121 Rose Street that she said has been crawling with bed bugs for months.

Bryson hasn’t been bitten herself, but when her family comes to visit they leave with numerous bites. Her granddaughter appears to be their favourite victim.

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“When she stays with me overnight, the next day she’s just full of bites on her arms,” said Bryson.

“There’s thousands in there, thousands! You can’t go in there without seeing one,” said daughter-in-law Karren Jackson. “You just touch the bed and you see them crawl.”

Jackson has collected dozens of the bugs in traps to prove the infestation.

“It’s quite embarrassing. Not very pleasant really,” said Bryson.

By July the situation became so bad the senior felt she needed to leave her home, so she moved in with a friend.

Jim Gusul took Bryson in, but admits he’s worried about the bed bugs transferring to his home from hers.

“I won’t go in there. I don’t want her to go in there either. I don’t want to take the chance of coming back to my place with one or two or five in the cuff of my pants,” he said.

Exterminators are scheduled to treat Adele’s apartment, one on each side, as well as on top and bottom. But Bryson’s family doesn’t think that goes far enough in addressing the bigger problem.

They’ve put traps in other seniors’ units further down the hall and found bed bugs there too.

Bryson’s family is concerned that unless the whole building, including common rooms, is treated for bedbugs that the money will be wasted because the bed bugs could return.

“I just want my mom to be safe and comfortable,” said Bryson’s son, Jim Bryson.

“She’s on a small pension and doesn’t have the ability to take everything she owns to a dry cleaner or to move her own furniture. What about all the seniors in that building that don’t have family that can help? Those seniors will suffer, and the bugs from their suites will come right back into mom’s suite making the cost, the effort and displacement of mom all for nothing.”

The NDP is also calling for the entire building to be treated for pests.

“Families are approaching [us] to describe horrible bedbug infestations in seniors housing, and have a real struggle getting the government to properly treat the problem,” said NDP Housing critic David Forbes. “Do it once, so you’re not constantly coming back and having those expenses.”

But Saskatchewan Housing says that’s not reasonable, or necessary.

“It really isn’t practical to treat that many units at any given time,” said Dianne Baird, the executive director of the housing network.

She added the cost for a single treatment is around $1500 and so far this year, Saskatchewan Housing has spent over $700,000 on bed bugs.

She said officials were only recently made aware of Bryson’s issues.

“When an incident is reported, the housing authority jumps on it very quickly so the bed bugs are contained within a particular suite and do not spread,” said Baird.

Before the extermination happens, the home needs to be prepared, and furniture and clothing moved out.

Bryson’s son Jim Bryson, is worried about how other seniors could do that without the assistance of family or friends: “If I wasn’t here, in the city, to do this for my mom – there’s so many seniors that can’t get this done.”

“It’s not like they’re expecting an 80-year-old to do that. But they do reach out to the family and hope they help their family prepare the unit for treatment,” said Baird.

But Saskatchewan Housing said they would never leave anyone in a lurch. They will help individuals who do not have family to assist in cleaning their suites out.

According to the NDP, the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation has had its maintenance budget cut to $48.3 million in 2014 from a peak of $93.4 million in 2011.

Two charged in Yorkton, Sask. drug bust

YORKTON, Sask. – Two people have been charged after a drug bust in Yorkton, Sask. The bust happened Tuesday at a residence on Victoria Avenue.

Mounties say they seized marijuana, hydromorphone, drug paraphernalia and weapons while executing a search warrant.

Kenneth Peepeetch, 34, has been charged with trafficking cocaine, possession of cannabis marijuana for the purpose of trafficking, possession of hydromorphone, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and assault.

Alisha Peepeetch, 25, is charged with trafficking cocaine, production of cannabis resin, possession of cannabis marijuana and possession of hydromorphone.

READ MORE: Three charged after RCMP seize 100 grams of cocaine in Carlyle

Hydromorphone is a controlled drug under Schedule I of the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act.

Both are scheduled to appear in Yorkton provincial court on Wednesday.

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©2015

Edmonton group pushing for regulation of medicinal marijuana

WATCH ABOVE: Should medical marijuana dispensaries be regulated and allowed in Edmonton? One group took its perspective to city hall Wednesday. Vinesh Pratap reports. 

EDMONTON – A local society is pushing the City of Edmonton and the Alberta government to establish regulations that would allow for the legal sale of medicinal marijuana.

Members of Macros  – the Mobile Access Compassionate Resources Organization Society – held a rally outside city hall Wednesday morning.

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“We’re here to talk to Don Iveson, to tell him that he’s turning his back on people that need this medicine,” said Aaron Bott, Macros president.

“We’ve been here 11 years and we’ve had no chance to have any regulations at all. We’re here to see if Don Iveson, Mayor Don Iveson, can get us regulations.”

READ MORE: Clients upset after police raid Edmonton marijuana dispensary

In July, police raided a marijuana dispensary run by Marcos. Robert Syre, Janice Syre and their son Aaron Bott are now facing numerous charges including possession and trafficking.

The non-profit group sold medicinal marijuana to people who had a prescription.

The couple is taking the matter to court, arguing it was providing a necessary service for people who need medicinal marijuana.

“Any time law enforcement detracts from a person’s ability to access their own medicine, that is a violation of the constitution, and that’s what we’re here today,” said Robert Syre.

“It’s a necessity service. It covers a lot of people that the government does not cover in their program,” added Janice Syre.

READ MORE: Medical marijuana comes to Alberta as Health Canada grants grow licence

It’s illegal to operate a dispensary in Canada.

However, in some communities police have looked the other way. Earlier this year, Vancouver city council voted to regulate dispensaries despite being illegal under federal law. Dispensaries in Vancouver must now pay licensing fees and abide by zoning rules.

The City of Edmonton said there are no plans to take similar measures.

©2015

Police investigating after man, 27, fatally shot near Toronto Marriott Hotel

WATCH ABOVE:  Police are investigating another shooting outside Toronto Marriot hotel. Lama Nicolas reports.

TORONTO – The city’s Homicide Squad is investigating after a man was gunned down early Sunday morning in front of a downtown hotel.

Police said they were called to the Dundas St. W. and Bay St. area around 2:45 a.m. after reports of gunshots. A man found with gunshot wounds was found in front of the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre Hotel at 525 Bay St and was pronounced dead on scene, according to paramedics.

Toronto Police identified the man as 27-year old Kabil Abdulkhadir.

Police say Kabil Abdulkhadir, 27,was killed in the early hours of Sunday morning in downtown Toronto.

(Toronto Police Services)

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Bay St. was closed between Dundas St. W. and Queen St. W. as police continued their investigation, before being re-opened at around 1:30 p.m.

Detective-Sergeant Joyce Schertzer told reporters at a morning press conference the investigation is at “the beginning stages” and called on witnesses to contact police.

“We are appealing to the public,” said Det. Joyce Schertzer. “There were perhaps people out, given the fact that this is part of the entertainment district and it is a hotel. We are asking anyone with information to contact [investigators].”

Police said they are conducting a witness and video canvass throughout the Bay and Dundas area.

Guests staying at the Marriott could leave the Marriott on foot, but not by car. And guests who have exited the hotel are not allowed to re-enter and check-in is suspended until further notice from police.

Several guests were caught off-guard by the police investigation and not being allowed to re-enter the hotel.

Chris Sherry, who was staying at the Marriott, said she stepped outside to have a cigarette and wasn’t allowed back into the hotel, with his daughter still in their room.

“I finished my smoke and turned around to go back in and they wouldn’t let me in the door,” Sherry said. “I was a little concerned, and I said ‘if it’s not safe enough for me could you please go get my daughter.’”

Police have not released a suspect description or the number of shooters involved.

Schertzer urged any witnesses to “take the initiative” and call 52 Division at 416-808-5200 or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477.

This is Toronto’s 32nd homicide of the year and a post-mortem examination has been scheduled for Monday morning.

*With files from Lama Nicolas

©2015

WATCH: Tongue-in-cheek video advocates against leaving dogs in hot cars

WATCH: A PSA reminding people to not leave their dogs in hot cars is making rounds online. WARNING: Offensive language. Courtesy: bchizzle, YouTube.

The creators of a tongue-in-cheek video reminding people to not leave their dogs in hot cars are hoping to spread the important message.

The two-minute video that features local YouTube celebrity Peter Chao shows men clad in balaclavas and black sunglasses, smashing out the window of a car, with a dog trapped inside.

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“We are everywhere. We see everything,” says one man wielding a hammer. “We see your dog in distress and you are not around to open the door, we are going to let the hammers fly.”

“We’d like to remind you that a broken window is nothing compared to an animal’s life,” he adds.

However, the video ends with a disclaimer, saying anyone who sees a dog in distress in a hot car should try to locate the owner or contact their local authorities for assistance.

“Breaking a window can be seen as a last resort in an urgent situation,” it says. “Remember, we are just a YouTube channel, not legal advice.”

One of the people behind the video, Brian Cheung of Vancouver, says it was always meant as a joke.

“We were playing with the concept of disheveled dog owners who would go all out and start smashing car windows,” says Cheung. “We thought that would be terrifying. But then we thought we could maybe sugar coat it and make it entertaining to create the discussion.”

Cheung says he and his friends have personally witnessed a lot of cases of dogs stuck in hot cars and wanted to raise awareness about the problem. But before doing that, they wanted to make sure they get the right message across.

“It is a very strong message, so we did not want to promote the wrong one, which is to go out and smash windows,” he says. “It is just to make people talk about it, that’s all.”

READ MORE: Video shows man lashing out when confronted about dog in hot car

READ MORE: Actress Jennifer Beals confronted after leaving dog in West Vancouver car

Randy Fincham, a media relations officer with Vancouver police, told Global News the video is “an interesting and dramatic approach” to educating the public about the dangers of leaving pets in a hot car.

He says in the event that someone comes across an animal in distress inside a car in the city of Vancouver, they should call 9-1-1 and the VPD will dispatch one of their officers to the scene to assess the need to gain access to the vehicle and determine the associated liability involved in intentionally damaging another person’s property.

For their part, Lorie Chortyk with the BC SPCA says they admire the creativity that went into making the video and getting the message out.

“Anything that draws attention to the issue of dogs in hot cars, we are certainly all for that,” says Chortyk. “We obviously can’t condone people breaking the law and taking matters into their own hands.”

Anyone who sees a distressed animal inside a hot car is asked to call the Animal Cruelty Hotline at 1(855)6BC SPCA (1-855-622-7722) and the BC SPCA will send an officer to investigate.

Since the beginning of this year, the BC SPCA have recorded 1,201 calls about animals trapped in hot cars province-wide.

Bizarre low-speed chase as L.A. police pursue man in motorized glider

TORONTO – Usually, the words “low-speed” and “mid-air” aren’t in the same sentence, especially when it comes to police pursuits.

But that’s exactly what unfolded Monday afternoon in the skies over Castaic, California, as Los Angeles County sheriff deputies in helicopters pursued a man in a motorized hang glider they believed dropped contraband into the yard at Peter J. Pitchess Detention Center.

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“We have several open compounds, so there was concern that somebody might be dropping contraband or there could be some crazy escape attempt. It was really hard to say,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Allen told ABC News-7 in Los Angeles.

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The incident unfolded around 5:30 p.m. Monday afternoon when police spotted the motorized glider in the airspace near the California prison.

Turns out it was all a mistake. The hang glider pilot, identified as 62-year-old Ron Nagin, hadn’t dropped any contraband and said he was merely blown off course by high winds.

So why the pursuit? Turns out there was more than one misunderstanding in the skies of California that afternoon, as Nagin said he didn’t hear police sirens and loudspeaker requests that he land over the sound of his own engine.

Once he did hear them, he said he misunderstood their intentions.

“At first I thought they were just looky-loos, just trying to investigate the sport, but I figured when they cut in front of me twice, I’d better turn around and land,” Nagin said.

By 6:05 p.m., Nagin had landed in a nearby outdoor paintball field and was detained by authorities without incident.

Police later declined to press charges or levy a citation.

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