Friday, January 29, 2010

List Of New Dog Parks

Dog park policy gets overhaul

City makes 29 parks off leash

Dog park policy gets overhaul. Willow, runs for a ball thrown by its owners in Withrow Park recently. The city is working on plans to overhaul it's off-leash dog park policies. File Photo/WILLIAM MEIJER
Dogs will run free in 29 more parks and the rules for managing off-leash areas in city parks are getting an overhaul.

That is after Toronto Council voted to approve a set of tweaks to the city's off-leash dogs policy.

The revised people, dogs and parks strategy is intended to streamline the decision-making procedures and take into ways to finance the construction of dog parks, which on average cost about $150,000 per park.

The city's parks department has a more systematic approach, which city staff hope will make the process less political. The policy comes up with rules to limit off-leash areas in parks and parkettes that are two acres or less.

And no longer will an off-leash area require that a local dog owner Association be established to police and manage the area.

Councillors passed the plan without amendment, although Willowdale Councillor John Filion said he was uneasy giving city parks staff what amounted to final say over whether a leash-free park would be established.

"I'd like that in the case of a disagreement between parks staff and the community, the local councillor should have the opportunity to bump up the issue to community council and council," he said.

"This would happen in very few cases but as councillors we should not completely abdicate our responsibilities for getting involved in the outcome."

Others, however, said that when it came down to a dispute between dog owners and other park users, the only thing to do was get out of the middle of it.

"Every single application for or against that I've seen in my ward is a pitched battle, an emotionally engaged battle," said Trinity Spadina Councillor Adam Vaughan. "Totally unresolvable. Even proposing compromises makes you an enemy of both parties. To add another level of debate and evaluation and making it completely political as opposed to policy driven is prolonging the pain and acrimony in those neighbourhoods."

The report also recommends some 29 new leash-free areas in parks across the city.

The sites include the Wychwood Car Barns Park, Sir Winston Churchill Park, Gerrard-Carlaw Parkette, Coronation Park, St. Andrew's Playground, Orphan Green Space at 51 Power St., Baird Park, Sorauren Avenue Park, Little Norway Park, Rosehill Reservoir, William Hancox Parkette, Woodbine Park, Bruce Mackey Park, Merril Bridge Road Park, St. James Park, Riverdale Park East and Huron Street Playground in the old city of Toronto; Kings Mill Park, Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Humber Bay Park West, Beresford Park, in Etobicoke-York; Ledbury Park, Eglinton Park, Ellerslie Park, Sandy Bruce Park, Viewmount Park, Willowdale Park and Pineway Park in North York; and Botany Hill Park in Scarborough.


How do you feel about this?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

Top Ten Animal Movies Of All Time

From Animal Planet, here are their choices. At the bottom, I've added some distinguished ones that I think deserve attention :

10. Dr. Dolittle (1998)

In this family-friendly remake, Eddie Murphy plays a doctor who can talk to animals — and, boy, do they talk back! From rats to racehorses, the good doctor is called upon for more medical advice than he can handle. Featuring an all-star chorus of voice talent (including Chris Rock, John Leguizamo, Norm MacDonald, Albert Brooks, Gary Shandling and Ellen DeGeneres), The New York Times says, "This wild and woolly free-for-all is your prescription for hilarious hijinks and mischievous fun!" We couldn’t agree more.

9. That Darn Cat! (1965)

Cat lovers, this one is for you. This kitschy classic stars a mischievous Siamese whose new collar unwittingly makes her the prime informant in a kidnapping case. Hayley Mills plays the kitty's dedicated owner, and proves to be a charming would-be sleuth who aims to help the FBI agent on the case. Wouldn't you know it, he's allergic to cats. Complete with jealous boyfriends and nosy neighbors, it';s screwball hilarity at its best. Fun like this never goes out of style.

8. Free Willy (1993)

The tagline says it all: "A 12-year-old street kid. A three-ton Orca whale. A friendship you could never imagine. An adventure you'll never forget." And what's not to love? Lessons abound, from family to friendship to gorgeous creatures of the deep — both onscreen and off. The huge international success of this movie inspired a letter writing campaign to free the real Willy (Keiko) from captivity in an amusement park in Mexico City. He was eventually released near Norway. The movie remains a top family feature, and along with its two sequels is now available in a three-DVD box set.

7. Eight Below (2006)

When you’re not mesmerized by the panoramic views of glaciers and northern lights, your heart will be rooting for the dogs who steal the show from the start. That's what puts this movie on our list. Based on a true account of a 1958 Antarctic expedition gone wrong, Eight Below tells the story of a devoted dog-sled guide, Jerry (played by the handsome Paul Walker), who is forced to leave behind his beloved team of eight dogs due to extreme weather conditions. The dogs are left to fend for themselves in the snowy wilderness for nearly six months. From here, it’s about adventure, courage, determination and ultimately a rescue.

Honorable mention in the adventure category: Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)

6. The Jungle Book (1994)

"Born of man, raised by animals, destined for adventure." The movie’s tagline sums it up! In this live-action version of Rudyard Kipling’s classic, a strapping Jason Scott Lee plays Mowgli, a young man raised by wolves after his parents were killed by a tiger. It's packed with vine-swinging adventure with friends Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther. That is, until Mowgli becomes enchanted with an Englishwoman visiting on safari. It’s a fish-out-of-water story when he follows her to the city and "civilization." It turns out that polite society may have more in common with the jungle than anyone ever thought.

Honorable mention for wild animals at their best: Swiss Family Robinson (1960)

5. The Yearling (1946)

It’s old-fashioned. It's charming. And it stars Gregory Peck. Ta da! The oldest movie and the only one on our list based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning book, this is the story of a small family struggling to make a life in Florida just after the Civil War. These are tough times but comfort comes to 11-year-old Jody, an only child who yearns for a pet to love, in the form of an orphaned fawn. The two become inseparable but as the deer grows, a heartbreaking choice becomes inevitable. Like other family-on-the-farm movies of its time, the story ends sadly; however, the pleasure is in the grace, kindness and diligence that the family conducts displays every day. They may not have had running water, but they sure had good manners.

4. Fly Away Home (1996)

Sometimes a "family movie" is actually a good movie, and this is one of those gems. Starring Academy Award Winner® Anna Paquin as a suddenly motherless 13-year-old who is relocated to Canada to live with her bohemian dad (Jeff Daniels), it’s a metaphor for losing your way and trusting someone to help you find it again. For its sweeping vistas of sun-kissed farmland, dappled marshes and sunny skies, you'll like this movie. But the moment Amy's dad teaches her to fly an ultralight in order to guide a flock of orphaned geese south for the winter, you'll fall in love. Best of all, the movie is based on a true story; the movie raised awareness of wetland preservation, plus revenue earned from the film helped fund even more migratory projects.

3. Babe (1995)

It’s a challenge not to like a movie that’s both adorable and poignant at the same time. That's just what this story is -- and why it ranks so high on our list. The star of this show is a young pig named Babe who finds himself alone in an English barnyard. But that's where the fun begins. He’s embraced by Farmer Hoggett and defies the odds — not to mention everyone's expectations — by learning to be an award-winning sheep dog. Performances are wonderful, by man, pig and sheep alike. About 500 live animal actors were used, then blended with stunning animatronics. Thanks to the Jim Henson Creature Factory, the film won an Academy Award® in 1995 for "Best Visual Effects." Described by critics as "a humorous look at the limitations and lunacy of a preordained society," it’s a refreshing message about breaking down barriers and accomplishing anything you want.

Honorable mention: Charlotte's Web (2006)

2. The Black Stallion (1979)

If you saw this movie as a kid, you’ll love it now as much as you did back then. Adapted from the children's book by Walter Farley, this exquisitely filmed family classic tells the story of Alec, a young boy who survives a shipwreck and befriends an Arabian stallion on a deserted island. When they return home, the unlikely duo finds success as a jockey and thunderbolt of a racehorse, coached by a washed-up trainer played by Mickey Rooney, who won an Oscar for "Best Actor in a Supporting Role" as a result. The story is great, but the cinematography steals the show. This film has been called "a visual feast from start to finish." If you don’t love the breathtaking island scenes, your heart will pound when you root for the "Mystery Horse" in the racing sequences.

Honorable mentions: Flicka (2006) for the sheer number of scenes including horses; National Velvet (1944) starring a young Elizabeth Taylor and bonus Mickey Rooney sighting.

1. Old Yeller (1957)

It's not hip but even after 50 years, Old Yeller is still "the best doggone dog in the West." That’s what earns it the top spot in our countdown. It's a simple story of a poor family living on the Texas frontier in the 1860s, but told through a charming 1950s sensibility. The father is away at work. The two boys banter, but mind their mother. And above all, everyone works hard. But the heart of the story is the adorable love affair between Travis, the oldest son, and his beloved yellow dog. The two see each other through thick and thin, until ultimately Travis must make a heart-wrenching decision. It's not a happy ending, but there's something magical about this movie that makes it worth it after all.

My favourites that didn't make the cut : The Bear, My Dog Skip, Finding Nemo, Best In Show. What are your picks?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Top 10 Reasons To Adopt An Older Cat

1. What you see is what you get. When you adopt an adult cat, you know what you are getting. Sure, kittens are cute, but you never know what the future holds. An adorable kitten could grow up to be a really ugly puss. This is a big risk. Go for the sure thing. Take a sweet-faced old Tabby.

2. High mileage cats still run great. Used cats aren’t like used cars. They aren’t at a shelter because they are defective or worn out. They may have simply outlived their former owners or been unable to join them at a hospital, nursing home, or new apartment. Some cats get lost and end up at a shelter. And many are brought to a shelter after a family member develops allergies, or an aversion to the family cat. (In those cases, it is the previous owner that is defective, not the cat.)

3. Adult cats aren’t as “chewsy”. Kittens are like human children: everything goes in their mouths. Whether teething or just exploring bits of the world around them, kittens can be very destructive little bundles of fur. Kittens chew on shoes, the corners of books, ear lobes, carpet tassels, electrical cords, drapery strings, plants, and much, much more. Adult cats typically chew less, if at all. They tend to save their energy for more important activities, like tormenting the neighbour’s Terrier.

4. Kittens stumble in blindly, where adult cats fear to tread. Two well-known clichés about cats are: “curiosity killed the cat” and “cats have nine lives.” And curiosity usually leads to the loss of about eight of a kitten’s lives in its first year. Kittens tend to get into much more trouble resulting in accidents and injuries (see, for example, the reference to “chewing electrical cords” above). Kittens eat things they shouldn’t, fall from high places, unsuccessfully attempt to make friends with the neighbor’s tormented Terrier, and generally worry you half to death.

5. Kittens are lacking when it comes to licking. Few kittens have mastered the fine art of self-grooming. While adult cats may spend up to half their waking hours licking fur, kittens are just too busy enjoying life to clean themselves properly. When you consider that kittens are really just dust-mops with legs, and that they generally display marginal litter box etiquette, you might want to master the somewhat dangerous art of cat-bathing.

6. Einstein knew the truth about cats. The genius scientist Albert Einstein discovered an important relationship between mass and energy. He described it using the mathematical equation E=(MC) 2. This equation means that your Energy level (E) is proportional to the Mass (M) of your Cat ©, twice over. The equation basically shows that if you adopt a cat with more Mass, like an adult cat, your Energy level will be much higher than if you adopt a cat with a low Mass, such as a kitten. This is true because adult cats sleep more, play less, require less supervision, break fewer lamps, and don’t try to bite your toes through the blankets in the middle of the night. With an adult cat, you will sleep better, relax more, make fewer claims on your homeowner’s policy, and enjoy more Energy. There you have it. Are you going to argue with Albert Einstein?

7. Kittens and children don’t mix. Children can be rough on both cats and kittens, even when they mean no real harm. It can’t be helped. It’s just how kids are. When you tell a child that “cats always land on their feet,” the first thing the child will do is drop one from your rooftop to see if it’s true. Adult cats are better equipped to deal with pesky kids. They can generally escape from them, hide, and then contemplate revenge by moonlight.

8. You don’t need to teach an old cat new tricks. Actually, you don’t need to teach a kitten tricks either, because the truth is that neither cats nor kittens allow you to teach them anything anyway. But new parents usually feel the need to try. Inevitably, they end up feeling guilt or failure when the kitten disregards them, jumps on the counters, unrolls the toilet paper, and engages in other acts of feline mayhem. If you adopt an older cat, you avoid all this emotional turmoil. Since you didn’t raise the cat, you don’t have to take responsibility for the cat’s shortcomings. Instead, you can blame the former owner and play the role of victim and saint for tolerating it all.

9. Adult cats don’t “litter” as much. Kittens play, sunbathe, build sandcastles, and even sleep in their litter boxes. And then there’s a game called “poo-hockey,” where a piece of dried waste is removed from the box and batted around the floor until it disappears under a major appliance or piece of furniture. People who adopt older cats happily miss this stage of feline development. Adult cats understand the purpose of a litter box and will usually cooperate with your efforts to keep theirs tidy. But the most important reason to adopt an older cat is:

10. It might be their last chance. Many adult cats end up in shelters due to no fault of their own. Separated from their loved ones, surrounded by other strange cats, confined, confused, and sometimes frightened, many are emotionally devastated by their misfortune. Sadly for adult cats, most people who adopt gravitate toward the adorable, bouncy, big-eyed kittens. Older cats sit by and watch, as one loving family after another passes them over for a cute kitten from this season’s litter.

Kittens will always be popular, and most have no trouble attracting admirers. But for the abandoned, forgotten, and heartbroken adult cats, you just might be their last chance to have the love and warmth of a home where they can live out their years in comfort. Please consider adopting an older cat. When cared for properly, cats can live well into their late teens, and sometimes into their early twenties. Typically, they will remain active and playful throughout most of their lives. Some may need a little extra patience while adjusting to a new home, but once they feel safe and secure again, most will give you years of faithful companionship and unconditional love.

Taken from