I Hear Tinfoil Works Well...

Okay, the Toronto Star managed to find perhaps the only people in the city outside of Bell Canada and Rogers Cable who could oppose Toronto Hydro’s plan to turn Toronto into a gigantic wi-fi hotspot.

Health agency eyes WiFi

The city’s public health department says it expects to contact Toronto Hydro in the coming days to learn more about its plans to blanket the city under a giant wireless hotspot.

Toronto Hydro’s telecom subsidiary plans to install wireless WiFi transmitters on streetlight posts throughout downtown and beyond over the next three years to provide Torontonians who pay a fee with near-ubiquitous broadband Internet access.

The initiative, while widely applauded, is drawing criticism from some citizens concerned about the potential health effects of a wireless system sending signals into every nook and cranny of the city.

“I do not want my daughter exposed to this unwanted health risk,” Helen Armstrong wrote in a letter to the Star. “Why should we all become guinea pigs?”

By far, the biggest health risk is the choking possibility if one happens to be drinking coffee while reading this article, but to be fair to the Toronto Public Health Department, they’re only asking Toronto Hydro for more information. Not one person in the department have gone out on a limb and claimed that Wi-Fi signals are a health risk, and the Toronto Star cherry-picked a single, somewhat hysterical individual to illustrate the (overblown) fears. One wonders what would happen to Helen Armstrong when she realizes that she is already being bombarded every minute of every day by radio waves. Does she think that CBC Radio One comes into her car stereo or walkman through some invisible, infinitely-long cable?

Know what I suggest? A Faraday Cage. No, really: if you seal yourself inside a cage of fine brass mesh, you will stop all signals coming in. I saw it on Mythbusters. Nobody inside will be able to use their cell phones. Radios would cease to function. Aliens will no longer be privy to your thoughts. The government couldn’t control your minds with signals sent from the planet Scantron. And it looks better than tinfoil.

Just make sure you seal off your windows and your doors.

Moe Pancer’s

By the way, a shout-out to Josh Gould. When I went to the Kenneth Oppel reading in central Etobicoke, my father and I took Josh up on his suggestion and paid a visit to Moe Pancer’s deli on Bathurst Street two blocks north of Wilson.

I’d long been mourning the loss of real deli in Toronto. Montreal and Toronto have long had a delicious rivalry for the best deli, but the big stars like Shopsowitz’s in Toronto and Ben’s and Dunn’s in Montreal had become excessively commercialized. At least Montreal still had Schwartz’s, but I’ve known deli-loving Montreal ex-pats who have been longing for a real deli anywhere. Then Josh said:

if you do venture into Toronto’s “Jewish Quarter,” check out Pancer’s Deli on the west side of Bathurst between Wilson and Sheppard. It’s simply the best.

Jeff Szpirglas agreed:

Whoever mentioned Pancer’s Deli is right on the money. It’s on Bathurst Street a little north of Wilson, and it is Hands Down the best greasy spoon in the city. Go for the tongue sandwich - it’s heaven-sent manna.

So we did! And we did try the tongue on rye with mustard, and it was manna from heaven. Tender, juicy, nicely seasoned. It was a joy to eat. The atmosphere was also precisely the hole-in-the-wall, family-owned type diner that makes the visits memorable. The place was packed by all sorts of people out for a good sandwich. We also noticed that Pancer’s has won awards for its pastrami, and we intend to return to try that out as well. Thanks guys!

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