Monthly Archives: January 2011

What you need to know about police officer deaths in Canada


Ryan Russell's funeral yesterday was a solemn occasion rarely experienced by Canadians (Facebook)

Constable Ryan Russell, 35, the Toronto police officer killed by a snow plow at the intersection of Avenue Rd. and Davenport Rd. on January 12, is the 821st officer killed in the line of duty in Canada. In Ontario, he is the 249th officer to be killed.

While 821 police officers may seem like a lot, this number pales in comparison to the number of police officers killed in the US- a staggering 20,400 officers. 8 police officers in the US have already died this year compared to Canada’s 1 so far.

The last time a Toronto police officer was killed was in 2002, when Constable Laura Ellis’ squad car collided with another car. Ellis was the first female Toronto police officer to die in the line of duty.

The Toronto Metropolitan Police Service, the department that both Russell and Ellis were a part of, has suffered the most deaths in all of Ontario’s history. 35 police officers killed since 1918, when Acting Detective Frank A. Williams, 28, was killed by gunfire while investigating a theft.

A Toronto Police car responding to a call. Many officer deaths are caused by car accidents. (Public domain)


The last Canadian police officer to die before Russell was Constable Sébastien Coghlan-Goyette, 25. He was killed in a car accident on November 14, 2010 while responding to an emergency call.

Tragic as deaths of police are, they tend to happen rather infrequently in Canada.


Coachella 2011 lineup announced

The sun setting at Coachella in 2006 (Scott Penner)

Music lovers rejoice- the popular music festival of Indio, Calif. is back and features headliners such as Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire, Kanye West and the Strokes.

The festival held at the Empire Polo Club grounds, now in its 13th year, also features comebacks for several artists. Examples include Ms. Lauryn Hill (the “Ms.” a somewhat new addition to her name) and a reunion from Death From Above 1979, a band that saddened many fans with their breakup several years ago.

Other notable acts include folk-rockers Mumford & Sons, Bright Eyes, Jimmy Eat World, Brandon Flowers of the Killers, electronica act Chromeo and 80’s pop sensation Duran Duran.

Passes go on sale this Friday, and concert-goers can choose to buy a pass for one day (price currently unknown) or a festival pass for $269 USD. Alternately, one can buy a VIP festival pass for $699 USD which allows pass holders access to shaded areas of the grounds (the festival is generally known to be in direct sunlight all of the time).

To see the full lineup, click here.

Video from Coachella 2010

Get used to the snow GTA, it’s not going anywhere


A typical backyard in the GTA. Due to cold temperatures the snow isn't expected to melt any time soon (Michael Thomas)

This winter may seem exceptionally cold not only because of last winter’s warmness, but because it is actually colder than average.

According to the Weather Network, historically at this time of year the GTA has been sitting at a high of 2 C. However, over the next 14 days, temperatures will only peak above 2 C once, and will go as low as -8 C.

Last year, we were more or less spoiled by unseasonably warm weather. Today’s high was -4 C, last year at this time the high was 1 C. As well, Torontonians had little snow to deal with, unlike the current year.

Since temperatures are expected to remain below 0 C, the snow that has already fallen will likely not be melting any time soon.

Track weather trends in Toronto to as far back as 1950

Current weather predictions for Toronto

Secession for Southern Sudan a complex issue

A secession ballot for the Sudanese referendum (Public domain)

While secession for Southern Sudan is a dream come true for its people, problems with poverty and possible violence may mean the creation of an unstable new country.

On Sunday, polls opened for a referendum in which the Sudanese population can vote whether or not Southern Sudan should be allowed to separate from the rest of Sudan. In southern Sudan, many people, such as a preacher singing in the streets, are optimistic that there will be a separation.

However, there are signs that point to difficulties should secession be approved. The Sudanese people on average make 75 cents a day, illiteracy is high and Sudan’s economy has been ruined by years of war.

If secession is approved, some problems will need to be solved by the countries’ respective governments. Oil will need to be arranged to continue to flow north (Southern Sudan curently owns 75% of the country’s oil). As well, regions running along the border will need to be divided between the two countries.

Despite possible repercussions, there is some hope for Southern Sudan’s future in the form of decreasing violence in Sudan for the past six months. [Source: New York Times]