International Day of Pink in Toronto

Written for the Toronto Observer.


The International Day of Pink is celebrated on the second Wednesday of April every year in Canada.

The celebration originated from two teens from Nova Scotia, David Shepherd and Travis Price, who wanted to support someone they had seen being bullied at their high school.The boys got everyone in their school to support the bullied student by having the rest of the school wear pink shirts.

International Day of Pink has evolved into an initiative to stop bullying, discrimination, homophobia and transphobia.

Several celebrities endorsed International Day of Pink including comedian Rick Mercer, former general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs Brian Burke and Ontario’s Premier Kathleen Wynne. Wynne is the first woman premier of Ontario as well as the first openly-gay politician in Canada.

Wynne was in Toronto to celebrate International Day of Pink at Agincourt Collegiate Institute.

“It is part of who I am and it is important for me to be clear that I have a responsibility because of who I am . . . to make our society safer and more inclusive,” Wynne said.


Toronto is home to the world’s largest and longest running LGBTQ theatre, Buddies in Bad Time and was the birth place of the original Pride Week Parade in 1981.

There were many others who celebrated International Day of Pink last week including the Toronto police, Young People’s Theatre, Cinnabon Canada and several schools throughout the city.


CBC conducted a survey on bullying in the LBGTQ community in 2008, and here are some the findings:

  • More than 66 per cent of Canadian high school students who identify themselves as homosexual, bisexual or transgendered said they felt unsafe at school.
  • 25 per cent of LGBTQ respondents reported physical threats because of their sexual orientation, while over 50 per cent said they’d been verbally harassed.
  • 41 per cent of LGBTQ participants reported sexual harassment, compared to 19 per cent of straight students.
  • Almost half of LGBTQ participants reported having had mean rumours spread about them at school.

Tory takes on Toronto’s traffic

Written for the Toronto Observer.

John Tory plans to create Big Data Innovation Team to find solutions to traffic congestion in Toronto.

Last week Tory announced his plan to use travel data to better understand people’s travel habits to combat congestion in the city. Tory’s announcement comes after Dutch navigation company Tom Tom released it’s annual traffic index which revealed that Toronto has the second highest rate of congestion in the country.

Using the travel data, Tory wants to understand “how, where and when people travel” to improve travel by all means of transportation. The city’s Transportation Services department created “Big Data Innovation Team” and will spend months developing strategies to “improve travel by all modes.” The team will work with McMaster University and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) improve to analyze past travel patterns and improve streetcar service.

Tom Tom’s survey revealed that traffic congestion in Toronto has been steadily on the rise and is likely to get worse. The report showed that congestion in Toronto increased from 27 per cent in 2013 to 32 per cent in 2014. Toronto has the second highest traffic-congestion percentage in Canada after Vancouver, which has an overall level of 35 per cent.

A survey by the Angus Reid Institute revealed that the strains of traffic are particularly hard on millennials living in Toronto. The survey revealed that 55 per cent of Toronto-based millennials spent an hour or more travelling to school or work. In addition to these abysmal stats, 48 per cent of millennials say they are unsatisfied with their commute time but cannot afford to live any closer. Tom Tom’s survey also revealed that traffic congestion causes 84 hours in delays for the average TTC rider, five hours more than the national average. According to the survey, there is the a 23 minute delay per day for a 30 minute commute.

Toronto Observer asked commuters about their experiences with traffic:

“It’s annoying not knowing when the delays are. How can anyone plan for that?” Radihka bemoaned.

“It takes over an hour just to get into the city, it’s disgusting,” Sam said.

“It sucks,” said Owen.

“Travelling in a city that heavily relies on public transit, becomes really inconvenient,” Samantha said.

“Being a person who is not so great with time management, delays often make me late to things,” Aashna said.

“End result of 30 years of failed urban planning,” said Winston.