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At least 16 pedestrians were hit on Toronto streets Thursday evening

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At least 16 pedestrians were hit in a series of collisions on Toronto streets Thursday that sent at least one man in his 80s to a trauma centre with life-threatening injuries.

That collision, which happened in Etobicoke, near Kipling Ave. and Annabelle Dr., was the most serious injury of the night, Toronto police Sgt. Brett Moore said. The victim was struck by a car shortly before 8:40 p.m.

Pedestrians walk in the rain along Front St. in a file photo. At least 16 pedestrians were struck by vehicles in the city Thursday. November is often one of the worst months for traffic collisions in the city, and the evening commute is expected to get darker after clocks go back one hour on Sunday.
Pedestrians walk in the rain along Front St. in a file photo. At least 16 pedestrians were struck by vehicles in the city Thursday. November is often one of the worst months for traffic collisions in the city, and the evening commute is expected to get darker after clocks go back one hour on Sunday.  (Steve Russell / Toronto Star)

Thursday night saw heavy rain and challenging road conditions in the city.

In a separate collision, a passenger died after the taxi she was in struck several other vehicles, including a TTC bus, near Avenue Rd. and Lawrence Ave. shortly after 5 p.m. The victim, a woman believed to be in her 40s, was rushed to hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

An hour later, a 45-year-old woman was struck by a car in the same area and transported to a trauma centre. She suffered an injury to her leg and complained of chest pains, police said.

Twenty minutes later, at 6:30 p.m., paramedics transported a woman in her 30s to a trauma centre in serious condition after she was struck by a car near Danforth Ave. and Main St.

Pedestrian accidents tend to go up this time of year due to a number of factors, Moore said, particularly early darkness and inclement weather, both of which bring poor visibility for drivers and pedestrians.

“Being seen is critical,” Sgt. Moore said. “For drivers, get those headlights on early, and for pedestrians, make sure that you’re seen when crossing the road.”

The evening commute will get even darker next week as clocks go back one hour Sunday night.

Toronto Paramedics Services spokesperson Kim McKinnon said paramedics see more calls for pedestrian accidents this time of year.

November is often one of the worst months for traffic collisions in the city.

From 2007 to 2017, 46 pedestrians and cyclists were killed on Toronto streets in the month of November — the highest total for any month over that period, according to police data.

In rainy weather and darkness, pedestrians shouldn’t assume they have been seen, should make eye contact with the driver and always cross at designated intersections, McKinnon and Moore said.

Drivers should also ensure they are paying full attention to the road and avoid distracting conversations with passengers, fiddling with the radio and looking at their phone, he said.

When weather and road conditions are bad, drivers should also stay well under the speed limit, Moore added.

This is basic advice, Moore said, but police “know a lot of these basic safety tips we’re mentioning do lead to safer roads and safer driving behaviour.”

In a Friday news release, the city said it has launched a road-safety campaign to coincide with the time change. The education campaign, which uses striking stories and images based on fatal collisions, is tied to the city’s Vision Zero plan aimed at eliminating traffic fatalities.

“Especially at this time of year, drivers need to be extra cautious,” said Barbara Gray, general manager of Transportation Services.

Thirty-three pedestrians and five cyclists have been killed on Toronto streets so far this year, according to figures compiled by the Star.

The most recent fatal collision involving a pedestrian happened on Oct. 18, when a 90-year-old man was hit by a BMW driver while crossing Ossington Ave. on a mobility scooter.

The man died in hospital on Monday.

The combined total of 38 cyclist and pedestrian deaths this year is the highest by this date in any year since 2007, the earliest available data.

The Star’s traffic fatality numbers are higher than the official police count. That’s in part because Toronto police figures don’t include deadly collisions that happen on private property, such as in the parking lots of apartment buildings or malls, or on provincial 400-series highways within Toronto.

Bianca Bharti is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @biancabharti

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Anglais

‘Business as usual’ for Dorel Industries after terminating go-private deal

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MONTREAL — Dorel Industries Inc. says it will continue to pursue its business strategy going forward after terminating an agreement to go private after discussions with shareholders.

« Moving ahead. Business as usual, » a spokesman for the company said in an email on Monday.

A group led by Cerberus Capital Management had previously agreed to buy outstanding shares of Dorel for $16 apiece, except for shares owned by the family that controls the company’s multiple-voting shares.

But Dorel chief executive Martin Schwartz said the Montreal-based maker of car seats, strollers, bicycles and home furniture pulled the plug on a deal on the eve of Tuesday’s special meeting after reviewing votes from shareholders.

“Independent shareholders have clearly expressed their confidence in Dorel’s future and the greater potential for Dorel as a public entity, » he said in a news release.

Dorel’s board of directors, with Martin Schwartz, Alan Schwartz, Jeffrey Schwartz and Jeff Segel recused, unanimously approved the deal’s termination upon the recommendation of a special committee.

The transaction required approval by two-thirds of the votes cast, and more than 50 per cent of the votes cast by non-family shareholders.

Schwartz said enhancing shareholder value remains a top priority while it stays focused on growing its brands, which include Schwinn and Mongoose bikes, Safety 1st-brand car seats and DHP Furniture.

Dorel said the move to end the go-private deal was mutual, despite the funds’ increased purchase price offer earlier this year.

It said there is no break fee applicable in this case.

Montreal-based investment firm Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc. and San Diego’s Brandes Investment Partners LP, which together control more than 19 per cent of Dorel’s outstanding class B subordinate shares voiced their opposition to the amended offer, which was increased from the initial Nov. 2 offer of $14.50 per share.

« We believe that several minority shareholders shared our opinion, » said Letko vice-president Stephane Lebrun, during a phone interview.

« We are confident of the long-term potential of the company and we have confidence in the managers in place.”

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Anglais

Pandemic funds helping Montreal businesses build for a better tomorrow

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Many entrepreneurs have had to tap into government loans during the pandemic, at first just to survive, but now some are using the money to better prepare their businesses for the post-COVID future.

One of those businesses is Del Friscos, a popular family restaurant in Dollard-des-Ormeaux that, like many Montreal-area restaurants, has had to adapt from a sit-down establishment to one that takes orders online for takeout or delivery.

“It was hard going from totally in-house seating,” said Del Friscos co-owner Terry Konstas. “We didn’t have an in-house delivery system, which we quickly added. There were so many of our employees that were laid off that wanted to work so we adapted to a delivery system and added platforms like Uber and DoorDash.”

Helping them through the transition were emergency grants and low-interest loans from the federal and provincial governments, some of which are directly administered by PME MTL, a non-profit business-development organization established to assist the island’s small and medium-sized businesses.

Konstas said he had never even heard of PME MTL until a customer told him about them and when he got in touch, he discovered there were many government programs available to help his business get through the downturn and build for the future. “They’ve been very helpful right from day one,” said Konstas.

“We used some of the funds to catch up on our suppliers and our rents, the part that wasn’t covered from the federal side, and we used some of it for our new virtual concepts,” he said, referring to a virtual kitchen model which the restaurant has since adopted.

The virtual kitchen lets them create completely different menu items from the casual American Italian dishes that Del Friscos is known for and market them under different restaurant brand names. Under the Prasinó Soup & Salad banner, they sell healthy Greek options and their Stallone’s Sub Shop brand offers hearty sandwiches, yet the food from both is created in the same Del Friscos kitchen.

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Anglais

Downtown Montreal office, retail vacancies continue to rise

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Some of downtown Montreal’s key economic indicators are heading in the wrong direction.

Office and retail vacancies in the city’s central core continued to climb in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a quarterly report released Thursday by the Urban Development Institute of Quebec and the Montréal Centre-Ville merchants association. The report, whose first edition was published in October, aims to paint a socio-economic picture of the downtown area.

The survey also found office space available for sublet had increased during the fourth quarter, which may foreshadow even more vacancies when leases expire. On the residential front, condo sales fell as new listings soared — a sign that the downtown area may be losing some of its appeal to homeowners.

“It’s impossible not to be preoccupied by the rapid increase in office vacancies,” Jean-Marc Fournier, the former Quebec politician who now heads the UDI, said Thursday in an interview.

Still, with COVID-19 vaccinations set to accelerate in the coming months, “the economic picture is bound to improve,” he said. “People will start returning downtown. It’s much too early to say the office market is going to disappear.”

Public health measures implemented since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago — such as caps on office capacity — have deprived downtown Montreal of more than 500,000 workers and students. A mere 4,163 university and CEGEP students attended in-person classes in the second quarter, the most recent period for which figures are available. Border closures and travel restrictions have also brought tourism to a standstill, hurting hotels and thousands of local businesses.

Seventy per cent of downtown workers carried out their professional activities at home more than three days a week during the fourth quarter, the report said, citing an online survey of 1,000 Montreal-area residents conducted last month.

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