Martin C. Winer

This is what happens when Martin gets tired of sending mass emails.

When the question on LinkedIn this was the response by a few of our citizens. Good News Toronto would love to hear from more of you. Write to us at or comment online at

My ancestry predates confederation, and we’ve always had someone living in Toronto since then. I’ve lived in Toronto all of my life. I’ve watched Toronto grow from a few hundred thousand people to the more than 2.5 million that inhabit her boarders today. Finch was a dirt road when I grew up as a kid, and the subway only reached as far north as Eglinton.

That was then, and today we have many of the same small-city characteristics. Toronto is really the true City of Communities. I am very proud of most of the developments that Toronto has achieved, especially the way the people have pulled together to live in a relativity peaceful existence. All communities are made from what their people give and not that of which is taken from them. Toronto gives to its citizenry much, much more than she takes away.

It was Mel Lastman’s initiative to have one major street in Toronto shut down every weekend, somewhere in Toronto, during the summer for a festival. Unfortunately, this goal was never achieved. I’d still like to see that sort of event schedule become a priority.

Tom Napier

I was born here. I love this city. It has changed so much over the years. It still beautiful and it’s still home. It has become a global city, recognized around the world. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Anny Fyreagle

I came to Toronto from the Niagara Area after working for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra for some years, and have worked in the arts in Toronto since 2002. I love the many street festivals that we have, but why must so many of them be in the same neighbourhoods? When I was Executive Director of the Toronto Philharmonia in North York, I wondered out loud why North York was not a part of Nuit Blanche and other festivals. There are orchestras, choirs, ethnic arts groups, and a number of arts education facilities (like the Yamaha School of Music) up there in North York. I’m a downtowner myself, but still, it seems shortsighted to not develop cultural activities in all areas of the city.

–Linda Rogers

I just led an intimate group on a Jane’s Walk of the Willowdale “core” on May 8th. I have to say that the walk participants represent Toronto: connected, inclusive, communicative, inquisitive. This city is alive and organic! The street-life and sidewalk life are extraordinary – it makes the BUZZ!
-Doug Vallery

A Canadian penny is pictured in March 2012 . Canada's last penny was struck Friday at The Royal Canadian Mint's manufacturing facility and will become a museum piece as the one-cent coins are withdrawn from circulation. (AFP Photo/Michel Viatteau)

The mainstream media has given rather cursory coverage of the last penny to be minted by the Royal Canadian Mint.  It turns out that the cost of the metal and production had the penny costing 1.6 cents to produce.  It seems that an obvious question is being missed.  Why isn’t the cost of a penny 1 cent.  Why would the cost of producing a penny rise above one cent?

There was a time when coins were made of metal and the value of the metal in the coins corresponded to the denomination of coin.  Ie, there was a point when a dollar silver coin was made out of a dollar’s worth of silver.  In fact, the decline of the Roman Empire was marked by a degredation of the actual amount of silver.  From another post of mine on the matter:

It is in the silver or precious metal content of roman coinage with which we can track the decline of the Roman Empire.  The backbone coin of the Roman economy was the Denarius which started out with a silver weight of approximately 4.5 grams.  Have you ever noticed the ridges on the edge of a quarter?  These same ridges were present on the Denarius and there intention is to make any shaving of the coin obvious.  This made it harder for individuals to debase the currency but the government was free to mint coins with less and less silver content.  By the year 274 CE under Aurelian’s reign the coins had almost no silver content at all.


As the penny is gradually phased out, prices will have to be rounded to the nearest 5 cent increment.  This has me thinking eerily of the Weimar republic and the rapid hyperinflation that marked the end of the regime.  Printers worked overnight to mark and remark the bills at higher values to keep up with hyperinflation:

Hyperinflation | Photo 06 by PIM of SPAIN

Here is an example of an over stamped Weimar Republic bill.  This is an example of a ‘fiat currency’.  A fiat currency is one backed only by the national bank without being pegged to a known commodity such as silver or gold.  (Canada and the United States also use fiat currencies)

Before 1913, bills in the United States were marked: “redeemable in gold”.

1913 $US 50 Gold Certificate






payable to the bearer on demand

That meant that the bill was backed by a real tenable metal (gold).  After 1913 with the creation of the Federal Reserve Act bills were only thereafter marked as “legal tender”.  This allowed the Federal Bank to issue bills arbitrarily and thus create the ‘inflation tax’.  Government projects could now be funded by invented money which the populace paid for in inflation without a noticeable formal tax.  Canada, indeed all modern nations followed suit and use printed currency not pegged to the gold standard.

I feel that we need to further discuss the loss of the penny in the historical context of hyperinflation.  If we address the loss of the penny with the necessary concern, it may soon turn out that we all won’t have two coins to rub together.

June  2, 2012

Volunteering is a passion for Diana and Keidi Pushi, and after years of working on separate projects, the Toronto mother and daughter have joined forces in Golden Future Albania, an organization aiming to teach life skills to underprivileged high school kids in their native country.

By the time mother-daughter team Diana and Keidi Pushi arrived at their latest volunteer project — teaching life skills to high school students in an underprivileged community in Albania — they had already left a mark on the community through various Toronto volunteer organizations.

A senior finance professional working in public service, Diana has actively volunteered on projects ranging from founding a grassroots movement trying to inject more innovation into the Toronto Public Service to a program mentoring recent immigrants.

“Volunteering is about making things better, and I believe that we can make things better all the time by going the extra mile,” said Diana, who, despite a full professional schedule, is always involved in volunteer projects and often serves as an unofficial life coach to younger volunteers.

Her 21-year-old daughter Keidi, a Ryerson University Nutrition student, started volunteering at a young age with Big Brothers and Sisters of Canada, and is now involved in Cultivate Toronto, a program aiming to connect Torontonians with locally grown fresh food.

At first, like a lot of her friends, Keidi said she volunteered to build her resume and improve career prospects, but it quickly became evident the benefits she liked most were of a different nature.

Keidi with local farmerKeidi with local farmer

“Volunteering changes you. Your life becomes enriched. You meet a lot of different people, and you connect on different levels,” Keidi said, on the phone from South Africa where she is working with high school students in an impoverished community as part of a sister project to Golden Future Albania.

Golden Future Albania is special for the Albanian-born mother and daughter who moved to Toronto in 1999, when Keidi was just eight. Now past the difficult early years of the immigration experience and strongly footed in Canada professionally and culturally, they, and others like them, are working to bring back to their country of origin the best Canada has to offer — real life experiences that expose high school students to the skills needed for success in the future.

The 40-member GFA team is mostly, but not exclusively, made up of young Canadians of Albanian descent; Diana said her work with the organization serves just as much to help Canadian university-aged volunteers and recent graduates as much as it does the ultimate goal of improving the lives of Albanian high school students.

“In this economic climate, many recent graduates are full of knowledge and ideas but have nowhere to apply them,” Diana said, adding she has been teaching the volunteers high-quality project management skills through their work at GFA, creating much needed hands-on experience. “I have lots of faith in the young generation. They will change the world for the better.”

That type of hope is very evident in Keidi, and the mother-daughter relationship is very strong. Though GFA is the first time they are volunteering together, they say they always support each other morally on other endeavors.

“We share inspiring stories almost daily,” Diana said. “We recharge each other that way.”

Vera Held, who chairs the pilot project for Golden Future Albania, said having a mother and daughter working together as part of the GFA team has been inspiring for everyone involved.

“Volunteerism is a value first learned in the home, and Diana has done a stellar job,” she said. “Keidi and all our other Y generation teammates will learn first-hand through our project what it means to build community.”

It’s a message that hasn’t been lost on Keidi. Her advice for her peers is simple: “Get involved. Help as much as you can. Open yourself to new people and what they can teach you.”


  • Encourage family members to join you in volunteering, since volunteerism is first learned at home.
  • For immigrants, transmitting Canadian knowledge to your country of origin is itself a form of remittance.
Vera Held and Andi Balla on AlbanianTVVera Held and Andi Balla on AlbanianTV


“You are not your thoughts.”  This is the mantra of many new age movements – by ‘new age’ I mean all ranges of new belief systems running the the gamut of ‘flakes’ to scientifically grounded theories of consciousness. 

Many people have found tremendous relief through understanding this statement and this statement is at the heart of the successful ‘Mindfulness’ program hitting the self help market by storm.

Buddhism upon which Mindfulness draws most of its innards states that:

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage.

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.”

It follows that there must be an ability to choose which types of thoughts we think, or at least influence them.  That must mean that there is more to us than just our thoughts.

Eckhart Tolle experienced a sudden and profound realization offering him relief from a former life of depression.  At the very depths of his depression, it was almost as if he sunk so low that he emerged in heaven.  He recounts:

I couldn’t live with myself any longer. And in this a question arose without an answer: who is the ‘I’ that cannot live with the self? What is the self? I felt drawn into a void! I didn’t know at the time that what really happened was the mind-made self, with its heaviness, its problems, that lives between the unsatisfying past and the fearful future, collapsed. It dissolved. The next morning I woke up and everything was so peaceful. The peace was there because there was no self. Just a sense of presence or “beingness,” just observing and watching.

Many new age practitioners call this process the ‘ego death’.  Eckhart spent the next few years in a state of anonymous bliss after which he went on to become one of the most influential spiritual teachers to in the modern era.  What follows is an interview with Tolle which reveals the central tenets of his philosophies: (Listen for discussions of self talk and how it can harm you.)

February 27 

On Saturday, February 4th, eighteen Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital employees, along with family and friends, spent the day volunteering for Habitat for Humanity Toronto, and raised $3,500 for the non-profit housing initiative.


Barb Fishbein-Germon, a Social Worker at Holland Bloorview in Toronto was instrumental in organizing this event. “Through the work we do at Holland Bloorview we are very aware of the needs of families for accessible, affordable housing,” she says. “We are always looking for solutions for our families, and within the last two to three years we have developed strong relationships with social housing organizations, including Habitat for Humanity. One of our goals is to raise awareness of the needs of our client community when it comes to affordable housing.”

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital is Canada’s largest children’s rehabilitation hospital. They pioneer treatments, technologies, therapies, and real-world programs that give children with disabilities the tools to participate fully in life. Holland Bloorview serves about 7,000 children each year, with about 600 inpatient admissions and 58,000 outpatient visits.

Barb, who has been at Holland Bloorview for over 26 years working with children with disabilities and their families is ultimate professional who puts 100% of commitment and effort into her job and then another 100% of her heart

Every family who applies for housing through Habitat for Humanity must complete 500 “sweat equity” volunteer work hours. On the day of the build, staff volunteers from Holland Bloorview contributed 125 hours of sweat equity (hands-on building!), which will help a family with two special-needs children move into an accessible, affordable home.

Established in 1988, Habitat for Humanity Toronto is a non-profit, non-denominational home builder. They mobilize the community and volunteers to build simple, decent, affordable homes with families living in need, and are currently building an average of 50 homes per year in Toronto. Habitat for Humanity has housed over 2 million people internationally, and has served over 225 families in Toronto alone.

Volunteers spent the eight-hour day working on insulation, drywall, and other fire-protection projects at a six-plex unit near Victoria Park and Danforth.

“With a little direction, and an abundance of team spirit, we measured, cut, shaved, lifted, and drilled drywall. By the end of the day, I was really starting to get the feel for drilling the screws into the drywall, because of all the practice I had removing them and aiming again! At the end of the day we had a chance to sign the back of the drywall, my son Jack Malone and I wrote a message that said ‘We built this home with love,’” says Molly Malone, a psychology associate with the child development program at Holland Bloorview. “It was a cold day, but it left us with a warm feeling.”

Eva Karpati, Publisher/Editor of Good News Toronto, joined the team and was so inspired that she has created a GNT team build on March 10th.

Action Item

  • To organize a group, you can contact Kara Witter at Habitat for Humanity Toronto.


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