Some of the best from October!
BERNARD WEIL - Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion holds a copy of the executive summary of the City of Mississauga Judicial Inquest and gets some advice from her legal council, Elizabeth McIntyre, while answering reporters question in the Mississauga City Hall council chambers. Earlier, Commissioner Douglas Cunningham released his findings. October 3, 2011.
STEVE RUSSELL - A laneway off of Yonge is transformed into a movie quality rain scape in Curtis Grahauer's "I just Know Something Good is going to happen, 2011" during the 2011 edition of Nuit Blanche where the city core is transformed by the work of hundreds of artists in the sixth installment of the sunset-to-sunrise celebration of contemporary art in Toronto.
RICHARD LAUTENS - Freelance writer Jered Stuffco does chin-ups as he exercises on the subway. He has no time to exercise and a long commute on the TTC to get to work. He gets on the subway car on the Danforth line and does some chin-ups, push-ups, dips and some stretching before he reaches his stop at Kennedy.
RENE JOHNSTON - Jackson Tuson is a kid who is one of three people participating in our Outside of the Box Halloween costume story. Three people were provided with a few basic materials (a box, tape, paint, tinfoil) and were told they could source 3 additional materials to make an inspired and original Halloween costume.
STEVE RUSSELL - Ellen Skinner makes an emotional appeal to witnesses and the murderers of her son near the corner of Adelaide and Victoria Streets where her son, Christopher, was murdered two years ago. The family of Christopher Skinner, father Warren, mother Ellen and sister Taryn meet with media at the corner of Adelaide St. and Victoria St. where Skinner was killed in a hit and run on Oct. 18, 2009. Friends of Christopher and the investigating officers also appealed to the public and the murderers to come forward. Skinner was walking along Adelaide trying to hail a taxi when police believe that his hand came in contact with a dark SUV near Yonge and Adelaide, Skinner continued walking and started to cross Adelaide at Victoria when he was assulted by a pair of people from a dark SUV stopped at the light. Skinner was left in the street and then run over by the the SUV and left dead in the intersection.
MICHELLE SHEPHARD - Business is booming at Mogadishu's fish market as the city slowly struggles back to life following the withdrawal of Al Shabab and the onset of thousands of refugees, who have fled the southern famine and fighting.
JIM RANKIN - A family strolls a back street of the city, devastated by shelling. Libyans awoke to Day One without Col. Moammar Gadhafi and took to the streets to celebrate. In Misratah, families traveled to see the devastation wrought in this city by pro-Gadhafi forces, and by evening, women and children paraded through main streets to celebrate and remember the men who joined anti-Gadhafi fighters and toppled his regime.
TARA WALTON - "Howl-o-ween" High Tea at Toronto's King Edward Hotel kicks off Winter Woofstock Sunday October 30, 2011. Pet owners dressed up their pooches in Halloween costumes Sunday afternoon and paraded them around the runway to kick of the Winter Woofstock event that runs November 19th and 20th at the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place.
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Rick Madonik, Staff Photographer
A look back at the month of August. Generally, a slower month as summer winds down, but this year weather related events and Jack Layton's death - and State Funeral - dominated the news. Here's a look back and both published, and unpublished, photos from The Toronto Star photo department.
JACK LAYTON - 1950-2011
08/25/11 - Olivia Chow, with her hands on her husband's casket, after it is placed in the rotunda of Toronto City Hall. (RICK MADONIK)
Richard Lautens/Staff Photographer
I love Simcoe Day in Toronto. It's an odd thing to say I know as I suspect most people in Toronto don't even know that the civic holiday on August 1 is named after our first Lieutenent-Governor, John Graves Simcoe. I did study history at the University of Toronto for 5 years so I declare my bias off the top.
I love that on Simcoe Day there is no obligation to do anything-no gifts, no dinners, no ceremonies-really just a chance to enjoy summer. That being said, I do like the fact that Toronto hasn't abandoned all of it's history in it's rush to be 'World Class'. We have an interesting and varried history and unfortunately too few people know anything about it.
I took this past Simcoe Day as an opportunity to revisit Fort York for a little history lesson and some pomp and circumstance. Our current L-G David Onley was there to speak and his theme was how Toronto, then called York, was the first jurisdiction in the British Empire to outlaw slavery. This is no small claim to fame and was done by Simcoe himself. There was the usual talk of battles and life in the 17 and 1800's and being around that environment, you could almost smell the gunpowder-actually you could smell the gunpowder as there were lots of firepower displays.
It sure was hot that day and most people cowered in the shade. There were lots of things to photograph of course. I was dry roasted after 4 or 5 hours in the 30+ cloudless day but was rewared with some cool pix.
A couple days into August, but lets have a quick look back at some of our favourites from July.
RICHARD LAUTENS - Firefighter Angelo Gambrelis gets a cool down after exiting the house, still in his bunker suit, from an open valve on the side of a truck.A fire was thought to have started on an outdoor deck of a townhouse at 45 Sudbury st. in the King and Ossington area. The fire was fairly quickly under control but the firefighters had to contend with record high temperatures and were quick to try to cool down when they stripped out of their bunker suits. July 21, 2011
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Rick Madonik, Staff Photographer
Camilo Martinez, 4, looks back over his shoulder as the family heads to the Immigration office. The Martinez family is deported from Canada for Colombia after a failed attempt to seek asylum in Canada.
They came in a sizeable gaggle – the friends of Sebastian Martinez. Either classmates, or schoolmates, they gathered clutching blackberries and iPhones. The girls cried openly, the boys did their best to hold back their true feelings. It was such an emotional scene I found myself wiping tears from my own eyes as I photographed the outpouring of emotion as the Martinez family prepared to enter the secured door behind the Immigration offices at Pearson Airport.
Sebastian’s mom, Claudia Londono, a psychologist in her native Colombia where she worked for the government, fled the country with her husband and young son (Sebastian) after her life was threatened by members of Colombia’s guerrilla uprising – FARC. In her job, Londono was trying to help reintegrate the fighters into society. For her work, FARC threatened her life. It started back in the late 90s and has continued. Just a few months ago, Londono’s life was again threatened in letters via her mother (who lives in Colombia).
The family first fled to the U.S. on tourist visas. They stayed there for several years before coming to Canada to seek asylum. (Apparently, asylum in the U.S. wasn’t viable, so they headed to Canada for safety.) Despite the years here, and their current situation, Canada has denied the family a safe haven. With that, last Friday the family of four boarded an aircraft and returned to Colombia.
The good news is they have family there who will not only meet them at the airport, but also offer some support until they can reestablish themselves, or find another other alternatives.
But this lesson in life - as one parent of a friend of Sebastians told me - is where his teenage daughter is learning “life isn’t fair.” Her friend and younger sibling, are caught up in the geopolitical mess of their homeland (Camilo was born in the U.S., the rest of the family all Colombian citizens).
The denial of asylum to Claudia Londono meant the return of the entire Martinez family. For the friends of Sebastian, it meant an awareness to issues outside of daily life which can, and does, interrupt life. The kids, many weeping openly and being consoled by others, had great difficulty accepting the reality before them. Even once through the secured doors of Immigration, some believed the removal could still be halted. They continued to tweet, and post to Facebook, hoping Immigration Minister Jason Keeney would hear their pleas.
Some of the adults, also, found the decision to deny asylum unfounded. One father, there to support his daughter who is friends with Sebastian, told Claudia, “this isn’t my Canada” as he shook his head in dismay and said his goodbyes.
The Martinez family arrives at the airport for their deportation to Colombia. Juan Martinez (pointing) and wife Claudia Londono (right) are followed by youngest child Camilo, 4. (Sebestian is not seen).
Nicole Bejarano, 3, gives Callan Nickelson, 14, a hug. Nicole is friends with Camilo Martinez, 4, and Callan with Sebastian, 14. The Martinez family is deported from Canada for Colombia after a failed attempt to seek asylum in Canada.
Some the staff's favourites from the month of June.
LUCAS OLENIUK - Thirty-year-old cresseur Jacques Preston rests inside the opening of a post-and-beam supported mine shaft at the infamous Bisie cassiterite deposit in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. Cresseur's mine tunnels, some deep as 100m, in 24-hour shifts. Miners are paid 1,300 Congolese francs, $1.40, for 1Kg of cassiterite.
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Rick Madonik, Staff Photographer
Fort York staffer, Ewan Wardle, fires off a Light Infantry Pattern musket during a demonstartion at historic Fort York.
As a native Torontonian (OK, technically, North Yorker) I find there are few places in the city I haven't been before. That's not to say I've been everywhere, but having grown up here and having worked here for the vast majority of my career, its not a stretch to say I've seen most corners of the city. This past week, I ended up twice at Fort York, a historic Canadian settlement which houses Toronto's oldest building and was the scene of battle in the War of 1812.
Ironically, this week's visits equal the number of times I've visited Fort York in my entire life. I do remember going as a kid (as most Grade VIII students from Toronto School Board do visit) and I vaguely remember shooting an assignment there about 10 years ago. Other than that, in spite of it's location and picture possibilities, I haven't found myself there. Until this past week.
With an open page for pictures from Victoria Day events for the Tuesday paper, the photo department has been visiting a number of places over the weekend for a "wrap up" presentation. Fort York, because it is a holiday, has some special features on - the one I was interested in was musket firing.
Honestly, I thought there would be at least a small group of muskets, but in fact there was only one - handled by Fort York staffer Ewan Wardle. Once an hour, on the half hour, Wardle attracted those visiting the Fort with a single volley. As people congregated he explained his costume (7th Battalion, 60th Regiment) and the 12-15 second process to arm, load and fire the musket.
Although I only needed one picture to fit into the theme for the page, there were a bunch of pictures which I liked but were destined to not find a home in the paper. So, they find their home right here!
Ewan Wardle, speaks to the assembled crowd as he explains the firing of his Light Infantry Pattern musket.
Ewan Wardle, shows the crowd how to prepare his Light Infantry Pattern musket for firing during a demonstartion at historic Fort York.
Fort York staffer, Ewan Wardle, following a demonstration of firing his Light Infantry Pattern musket leads a group of kids in a "charge" of enemy positions.
Four-year-old Felipe Ramirez, 4, of Toronto, hams it up while learning how to "charge" during a demonstartion at historic Fort York.
A group of kids learn how to "charge" enemy positions at historic Fort York.
Staff from Fort York, dressed in period costume, enter historic Fort York. Fort York had a number of events on today, including a dance recital and musket firing, for the holiday. Today is Victoria Day.
A woman, dressed in period costume, walks between buildings at historic Fort York.
Steve Russell - Staff Photographer
UPDATED: Two weeks after the operation Yeabsra and her mother allow us a quick visit.
Newspaper photography sometimes is a series of quick hits through out the day.
But sometimes we are rewarded with a story that is just fascinating to cover.
Leslie Scrivener's story on Yeabsra is one of those stories that we love to cover.
Yeabsra, from Ethiopia is at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto for a surgery that will transform her face.
Everyone involved in this story are amazing!
Yeabsra's bravery; her mother's love; people who volunteer their homes, time and shoulders; the good being done by a small charity Transforming Faces Worldwide; the ingenuity of Dr. Christopher Forrest and the calm reassuring confidence that his team brings to a five-year-old who will spend ten hours in an operating room at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
Here are some of may favourite moments from a couple of visits with Yeabsra and her team.