daily: Wednesday, May 29

Demystifying CBD, rebooting Ontario Place, and why Toronto may be a climate-change refuge
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on May 29, 2019
aerial view of Ontario Place



Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following

Ford government looks worldwide for help with Ontario Place reboot

The provincial government announced Tuesday that it will search  the globe for a private-sector partner to transform Ontario Place into “a spectacular destination.”  While leaving the door open to a variety of ideas for the Toronto waterfront landmark, Tourism Minister Michael Tibollo said the province is ruling out the possibility of a casino or condo development.

In an interview on CBC’s Metro Morning, Toronto Mayor John Tory pointed out that the Ford government hasn’t consulted with the city on its redevelopment guidelines for Ontario Place. He added that he’s told the province that the process “won’t go well” if Toronto is shut out of the decision-making.

Another country that wants nothing to do with Canada’s garbage

Malaysia announced this week that it’s sending back nearly 3,000 metric tonnes of non-recyclable plastic waste to countries such as Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., saying it does not want to become a dumping ground for rich nations. Malaysian Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said his country and other nearby developing nations have become garbage targets after China banned the import of plastic waste last year. Malaysia’s move comes as the Philippines is demanding the Canadian government take back dozens of containers of garbage that it alleges were shipped illegally to its shores in 2013 and 2014.

Toronto police have been using facial recognition software since last year

The Toronto Police Service says the facial recognition software it’s used since March 2018 has had a success rate of nearly 50 per cent in helping them match suspects to surveillance camera footage or a witness image from a crime scene. The force bought the software, which compares photos and video stills to its mugshot database, from NEC America for $452,000. The use of facial recognition technology in law enforcement is controversial, however. A study of a facial recognition system found that its error rates increased as the subject’s skin shade grew darker, while earlier this month San Francisco banned use of such technology by city personnel.

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In conversation with Ai Weiwei

After releasing Human Flow, his 2017 documentary on the global refugee crisis, artist and activist Ai Weiwei was left with more than 900 hours of footage — what he calls “the rest.” This leftover film wasn’t just cutting-floor material: it showed, up close, the human face of what happens when violence and conflict forces people to flee their homes, uprooting their families, lives, and futures.

In this season’s second episode of On Docs, podcast host Colin Ellis sits down with Ai to talk about The Rest, the documentary that footage eventually became. It’s Ai’s second examination of a growing crisis that he says implicates everyone across the globe: from refugees themselves, to the policymakers making it difficult for them to cross borders, to viewers just like us.

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This Ontario program is changing the way we support youth mental health

(Mary Baxter)

The London Health Sciences Centre’s First Episode Mood and Anxiety Program is an early intervention service that provides mental health resources for people aged 16 to 25, and it’s the only one of its kind in Canada. Journalist Priya Iyer reports on why organizations such as this are needed more than ever. The program encourages young people with mental health issues to seek help earlier, when the chances of recovery are higher, says its founder, Elizabeth Osuch: “Because of a lack of community resources, and the stigma of mental illness, young people often postpone seeking help until they can no longer function on their own. This is too late for efficient, cost-effective care.”

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The Agenda: How climate change works

In climate-change science, the term “feedback” refers to what can speed up or slow down the pace of change. Four elements are key to understanding feedback: clouds, rain, trees, and ice. Kate Marvel, associate research scientist at Columbia University and at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, speaks with Steve Paikin about how these elements work.

The Agenda: The coolness of Great Lakes cities

The effects of climate change might prompt some people to uproot and move somewhere less vulnerable to rising water levels, wildfires, and drought. But Harvard University professor Jesse Keenan thinks the ideal place to be is in a city near the Great Lakes — and Toronto is high on that list. He joins The Agenda to explain why the Great Lakes may become a climate-change refuge.

Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. — The Agenda: Demystifying CBD

With cannabis now legal in Canada, one molecule in the plant is receiving a substantial amount of attention. Not THC — the part that makes you high — but CBD, a non-psychoactive compound from the flower of the cannabis plant that some proponents claim can cure anything from anxiety to cancer. But is CBD really a wonder drug? Hance Clarke, medical director of the Pain Research Unit at Toronto General Hospital and the University Health Network, gives Steve Paikin the facts.

9 p.m. — Don’t Blink: Robert Frank

Swiss-American photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank is examined in this documentary by his long-time editor, Laura Israel. Now in his 90s, Frank is best known for The Americans, his 1958 look at his adoptive home — a photography book that’s considered one of the most influential of the 20th century.

From the archive

May 2, 2000 — “Honest” Ed Mirvish


“Who else does retail stores, restaurants, and theatres?” At the time of this Dialogue interview, that distinction in Ontario was held by Ed Mirvish. The American-born entrepreneur and philanthropist moved to Toronto as a boy in the 1920s and went on to found the bargain department store Honest Ed’s, Mirvish Village, a theatre production company, a string of downtown restaurants, and many of the city’s best-known theatres. In this interview with Richard Ouzounian, Mirvish discusses his early days in showbusiness, and the iconic status of his Honest Ed’s store, which boasted 23,000 blinking lightbulbs on its façade before being shuttered in 2016 for redevelopment. “It makes Las Vegas look like a cemetery,” he told Ouzounian. Mirvish died in 2007 at 92.