Some good things that will almost definitely happen in Toronto in 2017
Last year was a grim one: lots of cool celebrities died, the Jays raised and dashed the city’s hopes of another World Series win, TTC subway cars became sweltering saunas as their air conditioners failed—and then, to top it all off, the U.S. spiralled into partisan madness that now threatens to engulf the entire planet. What can you do? On this, the start of the second full week of 2017, we give you a few things to look forward to now that 2016 is done.
The Spadina subway extension
York University students rejoice! The Toronto-York Spadina subway extension is finally set to open this year, adding six stops to the north end of the Spadina subway line. Not a student? No problem: the extension will also hit Highway 407, Vaughan Metropolitan Centre and even Black Creek Pioneer Village. (The irony of hurtling through an underground tube to get to an old-timey tourist attraction is lost on nobody.)
Last year’s number-one overall draft pick is set to make hockey season a little more interesting. He’s on track to score 46 goals (a number matched by only six other rookies in NHL history) and he’s apparently a generous dude. Nobody expects the Leafs to win the cup this year, but the team seems to be on the right track, finally.
New pot regulations
The federal government is expected to put forward its marijuana legislation in the spring. It’s unclear what the new world of legal weed will end up looking like, but, from what we know of the government’s inclinations, it could mean access in the form of a sort of weed LCBO, or Queen’s Park could figure out a way of licensing existing dispensaries. Regardless, the end result should be better availability for THC enthusiasts.
Presto, the GTA’s next-gen transit fare system, should finally finish its rollout by the end of this year, meaning it will be usable on every streetcar, subway and bus in the city. No more losing tokens you thought were dimes, or worrying about picking up a transfer. (Hopefully the technical glitches will be solved before they phase out tokens altogether.)
The Meghan Markle tabloid circus continues
Prince Harry is dating American actor Meghan Markle, which normally wouldn’t have anything to do with Toronto, except for the fact that Markle films her hit show Suits here, and it has been renewed for another season. Harry will be in town, regardless, for his Invictus Games, which run in late September. Toronto will be a nexus of celebrity gossip as long as this relationship is still a thing. For a certain kind of tabloid addict, it could turn out to be the best show in town.
Canada turns 150 this year. To celebrate, Parks Canada is offering free entry to all of Canada’s national parks, and there will be events across the country, throughout the year. Here in Toronto, the main thing to look forward to is Canada Day. There’s going to be a four-day fete at Nathan Phillips Square, with performances by Canadian talent. (Drake fans: don’t get your hopes up.)
Airbnb—one of those things people love in other cities, but not so much in their own—currently operates virtually unfettered in Toronto, leading to countless stories of trashed homes, annoyed neighbours, and spiking rents. All that may change after the city’s licensing bureaucrats make their recommendations for new Airbnb regulations later in the year.