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A police officer tapes up the entrance to a parking lot in Mount Royal park Montreal, on April 5, 2020.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

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Re Sidewalk Labs Scraps Smart-city Project (May 8): The withdrawal of Sidewalk Labs from Toronto’s waterfront development presents an opportunity to establish a made-in-Canada system of urban planning in the digital age.

Canadian technology is as capable as any, and its urban planning better than Google could provide. The integration of these fields of expertise would be a powerful combination. If this landmark project is accomplished, then it could have the credentials to export that expertise globally.

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To me, this was no doubt Google’s aim.

A. J. Diamond Toronto

And counting

Re Days That Michael Kovrig And Michael Spavor Have Been Jailed In China: My thanks to The Globe for continuing to print a front-page reminder of how long China has illegally imprisoned Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. The Globe should keep reminding Canadians for as long as it takes to get the two Michaels home.

Ken Davis Markham, Ont.

Journalism matters

Re Making Google And Facebook Pay Won’t Mend The Newspaper Industry’s Ills (May 6): Twitter, that repository for all human pathology, has journalists “live tweeting” news, effectively giving their work away in real time. Who needs a subscription when one can follow a journalist on social media for free?

Perhaps what’s needed is for news organizations to walk away, en masse, from social media, thereby increasing the value of what they produce. Readers would once again find information directly from, say, The Globe’s website or, perish the thought, have a newspaper delivered every morning.

The music industry, for one, has always vigorously defended its property. The news business should be able to do the same.

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David Roy Toronto


I remember back in the days before Facebook and Google, the internet was a technological toddler, linked via an agonizingly slow dial-up modem (yes, I’m a geezer). That’s when the term “content provider” emerged, and much of that content was provided by newspapers. But they made a terrible mistake: They gave their content away. Anyone, anywhere could read The Globe and Mail – for free.

It’s different now. I subscribe to online access for three newspapers in North America, one in Britain plus a number of independent sites. It’s way less than my outrageous cable bill, and it’s fair. But a generation of internet users has grown used to free content and, unless it’s the New York Times (or The Globe), publishers aren’t having enormous success with paywalls.

It may be too late for newspapers – it already is for many – but that’s one wall that should go up and stay up.

Doug Rushton North Vancouver

Power move

Re It’s A ‘She-cession.' Governments Must Put Women First During The Recovery (Report on Business, May 2): It is frustrating to hear that pay-equity legislation in Canada has been indefinitely stalled. How long should women wait? I find this reticence reflected in the lack of women’s representation on boards of publicly traded companies.

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I have found a way to stop myself from screaming in frustration. I am an investor, as many women are. When it’s time to vote for a board of directors, I scan the list of potential candidates. If I see no names of women, I vote against all the candidates. If I see the name of one or more women, I vote for them.

If enough investors did this, maybe companies would get the hint that times have changed.

Janet Henri Chelsea, Que.

Running in circles

Re Reopening: More Patios, Less Parking (Editorial, May 5): For several weeks, I’ve been ducking under yellow caution tape to run on the 400-metre track at a local high school. With six lanes encircling an expansive football field, it’s a much safer place than on streets too close to vehicles, or sidewalks too narrow for comfort.

For myself and a few other scofflaws, it’s easy to maintain distance from one another and there is plenty of room to move. It’s hard to feel bad about this minor breach of rules. We should remove one-size-fits-all closures and assess what resources work best for today’s challenges.

Patricia Phillips Toronto

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Vicious cycle?

Re Jogging Has Never Been So Stress-relieving – And So Fraught (Sports, May 4): As a cyclist, I find it frustrating to come up behind a jogger hogging the bike path, especially when they have earbuds and don’t hear me yelling, much less ringing my little bell. Never mind huffing and puffing – I can’t physically get around them.

This problem has been even worse than in prepandemic times. I admit there is no easy solution, but bikes are frowned upon on sidewalks and cars remain a danger in the street. Bike paths should be for, well, bikes.

Tom Browne Montreal


Re Cycling Puts Us On A Path To Mending Our Fragmented Cities (Opinion, May 2): As a walker sharing urban pathways and city crossings, even careful cyclists can disturb a quiet sojourn – especially in this age of the virus.

My wife and I like to walk most days, and usually pick paths requiring us to walk in the right lane, so cyclists pass on our left. But very few use their mandatory bells to indicate they are coming up on our rear, and we are often frightened as they barrel by.

I would prefer to walk in the left lane, so that we face oncoming traffic and can step aside if cyclists are approaching from the front and rear. Has this policy ever been considered to lessen walker-cyclist conflicts?

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Tim Moore Ottawa

Birdsong

Re This Pandemic Might Turn Us All Into Birders (Opinion, May 2): I’ll bite. This crisis has turned me into a born-again birder.

On Saturday afternoons, sometimes I hear the sound of a black-capped chickadee. It’s a two-note tune that swings open the door to my mind, inviting me into the nearby ravine. There, I usually encounter magpies, robins, woodpeckers. Maybe I’ll see a tiny wren levitating above the leafy floor. I’ve learned to crane my neck and … wait for … her bubbly outpouring of song.

The pandemic has worsened inequalities like unemployment. That’s why this spring, there’s something vitally democratic about birding, a pastime that is both open air and open access. My hunch is that those unshackled from Zoom meetings have better patience for it.

In the ravine I mentioned, the littlest of birds has the most sublime of voices. Maybe there’s a moral in there.

Pat Michael Edmonton

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