Archive for the ‘Toronto’ Category

I was skulking about on the City of Toronto‘s website the other day looking for some information about our house and I came across their scanned image archives that have been made available online.

Queen West, looking East from James St. - Toronto - 1924

Queen West, looking East from James – Toronto – 1924

Now, it’s quite the hassle to view the images – so prepare yourself ahead of time.  Each link must be clicked, each image viewed on its own. It’d be great if these images would be added to Flickr’s The Commons or somehow made more readily available and easy to surf through.

Building the Subway and Streetcar system - Downtown Toronto

Building the TTC – Toronto

However, all that aside, the images (and there are a ton of them) are lovely to explore and I had a few little thrills when I spied some from just down the street that were taken near to the time our house was built. At least you can search by date and keywords.

If you live in Toronto and have an interest in how your neighbourhood looked many years ago, check out the Toronto image archives.

Here are a few I found interesting, all from around the time my house was built (1924).

Slum Lodging House - Toronto - 1924
Slum Lodging House – Toronto – 1924
The Beach - Toronto - 1924
The Beach in Winter, frozen – Toronto – 1924
Ladies at Woodbine Racetrack - Toronto - 1924
Ladies in furs at Woodbine Racetrack – Toronto – 1924
Looking East from the Royal York - Toronto - 1929

Looking East from the Royal York - Toronto - 1929

The Danforth lavatory - Toronto (corner of Broadview/Danforth) - 1924

The Danforth lavatory - Toronto (corner of Broadview/Danforth) - 1924

TTC Bus - Toronto - 1923

TTC Bus - Toronto - 1923

Building the Bloor Viaduct - Toronto - 1916

Building the Bloor viaduct - Toronto - 1916


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Startups + failing economy – VCs = layoffs.

Many friends and acquaintances have already faced the dreaded “we’re sorry but we have to let you go” lately… and today I joined the club.

Yep, still feels weird to say it but I was laid off today. My first layoff.

I am unemployed. Sounds a little tragic, no? Don’t get me wrong, I AM excited about what’s next. I know it will be great.  It’s just a real kick in the gut to realize that the marketing session you thought you were going to is actually your dismissal meeting. This has never happened to me before.

Not to suggest that I was blindsided. It wasn’t so much of a surprise given the market conditions, the industry (software/web) and the type of product we were working on (image search, mobile search apps).

So, what’s next? Some soul searching, some researching and the rest I’m not quite sure about yet. What I do know is that I am very lucky to have the amazing group of friends I have.  It’s been just a few hours since I started letting people know and already my phone has been ringing and my blackberry has been buzzing with leads and tips, along with lots of humorous “keep your chin up” messages. You guys rock. Really.

To Leila and Paul… thank you for bringing me on board and letting me share your vision for the last six months. It’s been such a learning experience and the team, well, you know how to pick’em Leila – what a bunch! From the long nights and hectic scheduling required to launch a product my first week on the job to the fun and stress-free Friday night get togethers, it’s been quite a ride. And the technology is pretty incredible, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on how things go. I’m proud to have been a part of launching the world’s first image search engine out into the world.

And while I know I am in good company (hey Seesmic folks, a shout out to Accordion Guy, to name a few), it still really kinda sucks. As Seesmic‘s Le Meur noted about their recent layoffs: “We cut everything that wasn’t outsourceable, core or absolutely necessary for the company.”  Ouch. But it’s true. Unfortunately for me, community and marketing manager doesn’t fall into core when your product is software, and doubly so when you have products still in beta.

Marketing and community = important, but… Developer = core.

So there you have it.

I recommend to those folks who have also just joined Club Sacked that they head on over to read Joey deVilla‘s post about getting terminated. Believe me, you will feel better afterward, I know I did.  In the software and web industry things are looking pretty grim, as Joey points out, “people who follow the industry are writing articles warning us that it’s not if you’ll get laid off, but when.”

Well, it looks like I just stepped in a big steaming heap of when.

So, buck up, as they say. It’s time to buff up the resume and hit the ground running. I’m looking forward to new adventures.

I’m going places.

Image: Don Solo

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My pal Mark Kuznicki is riding in the 10th Annual Friends For Life Bike Rally July 27-August 1st. He’s biking from Toronto to Montreal (600km)! I am in awe of that number, 600km!

Because he is awesome and this is a great cause I think you should donate.

Yep, go on, do it. Right away, the event is almost here! He is soooo close to his goal of $5000.

Get going and Donate!

Want to know more?

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So gas is expensive in the city. Well, yeah, but it could be worse. Check out Gas Buddy’s “temperature” gauge of prices across Canada. They also have one for the US.  All things considered, we’re lucky here in the GTA.

Gas Buddy also has a whack of other information, from lowest to highest prices in your area to statistics and historical information to gas related news items.

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I’m lucky. Our house has the most beautiful flowers, all planted by the previous owner!

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Ben has a great post about Little Geeks, an organization dedicated to putting internet-connected computers into the homes of disadvantaged kids.

When I heard about what Andy Walker and his team were doing I was happy to ask around to find out if anyone I knew could donate anything to their cause. So far I have two complete systems sitting in my office ready to go, and several other possible donations in the queue. I also asked a friend of mine about furniture donations for the Little Geeks office (she works for Grand & Toy) and inquired with a colleague about office space (he’s in real estate).

Sure, they might not pan out – but at least I asked. I think that’s the biggest thing each of us can do. If we believe in a cause but can’t donate something or provide a service ourselves we can still take action and spread the word to friends, family and coworkers. You never know. The power of networking and passing ideas along is huge and each of us can make a call, or send an email and make an effort.

I’m sure that right now, as you sit there reading this, you can think of at least one person who might be able to donate a computer (or even parts!) or who might know someone else who could. It’s that simple. Are you emailing them right now? Come on, get at it!

From the Little Geeks website:

Little Geeks is a philanthropic organization that collects, refurbishes and re-distributes donated home computers to children in need. These computers are given free of charge, and are coupled with an Internet connection at the child’s home. It is our sincere hope that these gifts will inspire, create, and allow these children a future which they may not previously have dreamed of. The program is currently only available in the Greater Toronto Area. It is our goal to expand this program throughout Canada, the United States, and internationally. The Mission of Little Geeks is to provide free computing technology and education to children and families who cannot afford this resource on their own.

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My friend Alex directed me to a great site that provides you with notification of available positions on government boards, councils and agencies. You can learn more about each organization, the type of work they do, what time commitment is involved, if they offer a per diem and even apply online!

Do you have some time and expertise you want to share? Check out the Public Appointments Secretariat website, you might just find a position that’s right for you!

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