Dalano Banton reflects on how Rexdale upbringing shaped his career as he joins Toronto Raptors

After making Toronto Raptors history by becoming the first Canadian to be selected by the team as part of a NBA draft, Dalano Banton is reflecting on how his upbringing in Rexdale has shaped himself and his career as he prepares to join the squad.

“I feel like just having the image of Canada or Toronto or wherever, has this only this one side of it where everyone is super nice, but not understanding that there real neighbourhoods where you have to come out and put on like a tough face or you have to come out every day and pursue stuff or portray the way you’re not just to show that you’re not weak,” Banton told reporters on Sunday during his first news conference since joining the team.

“I had to come outside every day and show that I’m a strong man and be a young man at a very early age and make some real decisions for yourself, so I feel like a lot of people don’t understand that coming from Canada a lot of people just think it’s Canada you know like it’s very nice over there and everyone’s so nice, but it’s not always like that.

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“I feel like growing up in Rexdale gives you that extra push, that extra grit, just knowing that I had a different upbringing. I went through a lot of things, it was a lot of trials and a lot of tribulations coming out of there.”

Banton, the six-foot-nine and 204-pound guard who was selected 46th in the draft on Thursday, grew up near the intersection of Kipling Avenue and Mount Olive Drive and beamed with pride while discussing his neighbourhood.

“Growing up in Rexdale, just the kids being able to see me. I go to the gyms that they went to all these years and I know a lot of people. Everybody knows it’s like a tight-knit family growing up where I’m from,” he said.

“It’s not about where you are, it’s where you plan to be … plan to live bigger.

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“Coming where I come from, it gives a lot of people hope. I feel like a lot of people think they can make it now.”

Banton credited his earlier development in basketball and athletics to the Rexdale Community Hub (noting it was literally across the street from where he grew up) and the North Kipling Community Centre, saying he often did runs and drills at both facilities. The community has a few of the City of Toronto’s 31 designated priority neighbourhood improvement areas.

“They get you into gym, they make sure you do your schoolwork … I just took advantage of those community centres, keeping myself from outside of the neighbourhood,” he said.

“I feel like it was the blessing for me having those community centres to keep me in the gym.”

During his sophomore season with the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the last season, he averaged 9.6 points, 3.9 assists and 5.9 rebounds over 27 games. He was previously at Western Kentucky.

However, during his time with the Huskers, Banton said he wanted to find a way to pay homage to his Rexdale roots. A former rider of the TTC’s 45 Kipling bus, which went right past his neighbourhood, he picked 45 for his jersey.

“When I was trying to think of a number that means something to me, I was kind of getting tired of just wearing numbers. I feel like you can always make meaning of something, so I felt like once that clicked to me it stuck,” he recalled.

“Everyone who knows me knows I’m a guy who takes where I’m from with me, with pride.”

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In addition to the pride for his home community, Banton discussed his admiration and appreciation for the Raptors noting he’s long been a fan since the Chris Bosh era.

“It was my favourite team. It was the only team that I ever kept up within the NBA constantly … I used to come to the games and just knowing that I can be a part of that now, people can come watch me play like how we used to come watch everyone else, it’s great,” he said.

“It was a dream come true just knowing that all the hard work you put in, everyone in the draft wanting to hear their name called and just being blessed with that opportunity — and it being to the Raptors — I feel like just both of my dreams coming true at once.

“It’s kind of surreal to me still, but I’m just grateful for the opportunity. I’m thankful for it and I thank everyone multiple times a day.”

However, Banton acknowledged getting to where he is hasn’t been easy. He said for basketball players at the high school level looking to get exposure is harder in Canada, noting select schools have stronger recognition in terms of the sports community versus the United States where there is a more universal audience.

“You can be as good as you want sometimes, but it’s just not enough. It’s not on the kids, it’s just the level of exposure,” he said, noting social media is starting to change the prospects for aspiring athletes.

“I feel like you have to bet on yourself and believe in yourself because if you don’t, no one is going to do it for you. I learned that at an early age.”

Meanwhile, as Banton prepares for playing in the summer league, he said he is looking forward to the evolution of his skills in the coming years and hoped he’ll be able to thrive under the Raptors’ staff.

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“I might not make an instant impact today, but I feel like for years to come and just trusting in the work and trusting in the development of the Raptors, and knowing their track record of how good they are getting guys better and getting guys contracts … I know the sky is the limit for me,” he said.

However, for now, he said he’s looking forward to reconnecting with those who have shown their support for him.

“I’ve just been soaking up the time with my family … everybody is just so happy for me, so I want to see everyone who is happy for me,” he said, adding he’s thinking of ways he can give back to the Mount Olive neighbourhood and the Rexdale community.

“It’s going to be great.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Sask. Globe BMX racers pedaling around the tracks once again

Globe BMX recently returned to the track in the Lakeview area in Saskatoon as part of their Saskatchewan Cup series.

Events one and two were held recently held in the Bridge City, events three and four will be in Regina on August 7 and 8 and the Sask. Cup BMX Grands will be in Warman on August 21.

They are separate from Saskatchewan BMX provincial championships.

It’s a total point set up where kids race against others in their age groups. The one with the most accumulated points through all races will be crowned champion.

The series is a way to get BMX riders involved and participating after no racing in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over 80 turned out for the event in Saskatoon.

“We didn’t have any big events last year. We are absolutely ecstatic to get everybody out racing again,” said Globe BMX president Kyle Schmitt.

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Schmitt said the sport is making a return to the province and is a great source of family entertainment for a weekend.

“BMX is making a resurgence in the province. It’s an Olympic sport. I’ve been racing my whole life. My three boys ride. It’s cheap, a family event, get out and enjoy it.”

Schmitt adds they are currently fundraising $300,000 for phase 1 of the new race track which is on schedule to start next spring. Their goal is $600,000.

“That’s really going to bring a staple to Saskatoon. We really want to do it for the community to bring BMX to the residents of Saskatoon,” said Schmitt. “We want to help grow the sport and bring coaches in and get more people involved.”

For more information visit the Globe BMX website.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

APAS Food Day Canada puts agriculture industry in the spotlight

WATCH: July 31st marks the annual celebration for Canadians of Food Day. The day is a way to recognize the hard work and importance of giving appreciation to the ag sector locally, within Saskatchewan and across Canada.

July 31 marked Food Day across Saskatchewan — a way to show appreciation for farmers and the hard and often overlooked work they do.

People were asked to support farmers, ranchers, fishers, researchers and chefs by purchasing local goods grown and produced in Canada.

Agriculture Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) president Todd Lewis said with the challenges farmers and ranchers are facing this year because of extensive drought, this year is important to showcase the work that gets put into making some of the best high-quality foods.

“We are a world leader in food production,” said Lewis. “I think Food Day in Canada is going to show just how important farmers are to this province.”

Products such as lentils, meat, dairy fruits and vegetables along with being a world leader in mustard exports are all things farmers in Saskatchewan produce at a high-quality rate.

Mossbank, Sask. area farmer Cherilyn Jolly-Nagel says farming is a driving force in Saskatchewan’s economy.

“It certainly has put Canada on the map around the world. We are known for our high-quality food,” said Jolly-Nagel. “It contributes substantially to our GDP.”

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Lanigan, Sask. area farmer Clinton Monchuk said the extreme heat for much of the province and its farmers and agriculture sector producers is a challenge farmers have to adapt and go with on the fly.

“It’s making it more difficult to go further down the line in some of those products that we use,” said Monchuk. “That’s where we really need to realize and give thanks to the bountiful land that we have here in Saskatchewan.”

Monchuk says crops come thanks to the heavens, when there is no rain there is no crop and when there is less crop it’s harder to feed the millions of people across Canada.

He adds many farmers are taking their crop out now, which is up to a month before the usual harvest takes place. They have had to take what they have in their fields which in many cases there is a lack of quantity from the drought conditions.

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Lewis says it all starts in the ground, through summer and culminating with a harvest.

“It’s so important to know where the food comes from and how it gets there,” Lewis said. “Any time we can promote the agriculture sector in our urban centres, it’s important.”

Lewis said any moisture that we receive will be too late in many cases to help crops across the province.

 

 

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Yet another coyote attack in Vancouver's Stanley Park

Biologist Colleen Cassady St. Clair shares insight on what might be causing the increase in aggressive coyote activity in Stanley Park

The BC Conservation Officer Service says it has been deployed to yet another coyote attack in Vancouver’s Stanley Park.

The latest incident happened around 10 p.m. Saturday on a walkway near the Nine O’clock Gun on the park’s east side.

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The victim, who was attacked from behind, was left with scratches to her upper back and shoulders, conservation officers said.

The service said it is focusing its efforts on specific areas of the park to minimize the chance it catches the wrong coyote, and that any animal it catches that isn’t the target will be released.

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Saturday’s attack is the latest in more than 35 such incidents since last December, including a recent attack on a toddler.

Officials believe people have been feeding the coyotes, which has emboldened them and removed their fear of humans.

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Vancouver’s iconic Stanley Park closing overnight due to extreme fire risk

Conservation officers have put down several animals in the spring and summer, and at one point closed a part of the park.

The service says it is working with the city and wildlife groups on a long-term plan.

Stanley Park is currently closed between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. due to extreme fire risk.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Okanagan residents breathing worst air in Canada, may not see relief until mid-week

With wildfires continuing to burn across the province health experts are sounding the alarm about wildfire smoke pollution -- especially in the southern interior. As Andrea Macpherson reports, deteriorating air quality is impacting residents -- and the crews working around the clock to save homes and critical infrastructure.

Okanagan residents, breathing in some of the worst air in the country, may not get a reprieve from the wildfire smoke until mid-week, according to Environment Canada.

Jonathan Bau, senior meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said minimal precipitation forecast for Sunday will not be enough to wash away the smoke hovering across the valley, currently posing dangerous health risks.

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“It’s going to be quite minimal, unfortunately,” he said of the weekend rain.

“The smoke will be sticking around for, at least, the next 48 hours. We are getting a little bit of rain with thunderstorms, but, not enough to really scour out the smoke,” Bau told Global News.

Hobson Beach in Kelowna, B.C., on Saturday, July 31, 2021.

Hobson Beach in Kelowna, B.C., on Saturday, July 31, 2021.

Courtesy: Ed Burke/Submitted

But, there is some optimism in the forecast, with a potential change in weather come Tuesday afternoon.

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“That’s when we’re expecting a stronger southwest flow and hopefully that will help push the smoke east, or at least, mix it out, so the air quality can finally improve,” Bau said.

The Okanagan remains under a special air quality statement as the region’s air quality health index rating (AQHI) was at the province’s maximum, or worst, level — 10-plus.

The province’s AQHI rating system has four levels: low health risk (1-3), moderate health risk (4-6), high health risk (7-10) and very high (10-plus).

“It is the worst in Canada,” Bau said.

Okanagan Lake beach in Penticton, B.C., on Sunday, August 1, 2021.

Okanagan Lake beach in Penticton, B.C., on Sunday, August 1, 2021.

Shelby Thom/Global News

“I was looking at all the other stations we have across the country and the next worst one would be just west of Edmonton in the Drayton Valley area. They are reporting an AQHI of 7. They have some smoke from B.C. and part of it locally.”

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The cities of Kelowna and Vernon have gone 49 days without a significant rainfall event, Bau said, the last dating back to June 13 and 14. Penticton recorded 5.5 millimeters of rain on July 8.

Much of the lower two-thirds of the province are under a smoky skies bulletin, with heavy smoke stretching from Prince George and Fort. St. John in the north to Osoyoos in the south.

People with pre-existing health conditions, respiratory infections such as COVID-19, older adults, pregnant women and infants, children, and sensitive individuals are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure, the bulletin said.

For tips to reduce exposure, visit the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy’s website.

Motorists on some B.C. highways are being warned of reduced visibility due to extreme smoke. Visit DriveBC’s website before your next road trip.

There were 60 evacuation orders covering just over 3,000 properties at the latest count from Emergency Management B.C., while residents of nearly 19,000 other properties had been told to be ready to leave on short notice.

Meanwhile, the Vancouver Coastal Health authority says it’s keeping a close watch as smoke from wildfires in B.C.’s Interior as well as Washington state is forecast to reach the south coast and Metro Vancouver over the weekend.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

COVID-19 restrictions lifted; closing times for bars and restaurants extended

Quebec is lifting further COVID-19 restrictions, including extending closing times for bars and restaurants, and increasing capacities for gatherings.

The health ministry announced the latest relaxed COVID-19 measures for the beginning of August on July 26.

Quebecers are now allowed to drink alcohol in bars and restaurants until 1 a.m., gaining an additional hour from the previous restrictions set at midnight.

Indoor venues and stadiums can now seat 7,500 people, with a maximum of 500 per section, and outdoor festivals can have up to 15,000 with pre-assigned seats.

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Indoor and outdoor public gatherings, including houses of worship, amateur sporting events and ceremony halls can have up to 500 people.

Quebec is, however, maintaining mandatory masks and social distancing in enclosed public spaces and transit.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Aug. 1, 2021.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Man dead following hospitalization after Scarborough assault

A 46-year-old man has died after he was hospitalized following an assault in mid-July in Scarborough, Toronto police say.

Emergency services were called to Bluffer’s Park, located at 1 Brimley Road, on July 19 at around 8 a.m. for reports of an assault.

Police said a group of people were in the area of a boat launch when two men began to fight. Investigators said a man went to hospital with a head injury as a result of the altercation.

Police told Global News Steven Mitchell died in hospital on July 30.

Thirty-seven-year-old Toronto resident Nate Hill was initially arrested the day after the fight and charged with aggravated assaulted, investigators said.

On Saturday, police said his charges were upgraded to manslaughter.

He was scheduled to appear in a Toronto court on Saturday.

The investigation is ongoing and police asked anyone who may have been in the area between 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on July 19 to contact investigators.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Man tragically dies in St. Lawrence River while trying to rescue a woman

A man in his forties tragically died during the night from Saturday to Sunday when he jumped into the water to rescue a woman who had accidentally fallen into the St. Lawrence River, in Lévis, on the South Shore of Quebec.

The victim’s spouse, who was the third person in the group, contacted the emergency services at around 3:30 a.m., reported the Police Department of the City of Lévis (SPVL) to inform them of what had happened at the Anse-Benson, in the Saint-Romuald sector, and that the man was nowhere to be found.

The woman who initially fell into the water came out of the water on her own. She was hypothermic, according to the patrol officers who arrived on the scene, and was transported to Hôtel-Dieu in Lévis. His life would not be in danger.

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The man was found “inert, floating in the water” a few minutes later by the Coast Guard who had been requested for assistance, said Jean-Sébastien Levan, a spokesperson for the SPVL.

“The three were intoxicated,” Constable Levan said. “The level of intoxication, we don’t have it.”

All three are from outside the region. The couple of which the victim was a part comes from Saint-Jérôme, in the Laurentians, and the woman who initially fell into the water is from Sherbrooke, in the Eastern Townships.

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The police do not know if the man died by drowning or by hitting the rocks. “It depends on the height of the tide,” said Mr. Levan. “At low tide, it’s about ten feet high. On the other hand, there are rocks below.”

The police are trying to clarify what the group was doing at the scene shortly before the tragedy. A coroner will conduct an inquest to clarify the circumstances of the man’s death.

Anse-Benson Park is open to the public day and night. Vehicles are usually parked there in front of a cement border that overlooks the river in order to walk or admire the view.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Summer Outlook: Expect more heat, dryer conditions throughout says meteorologist

People in Saskatoon and surrounding areas can expect more hot and dry conditions as we continue through the heart of summer.

After an incredibly hot and dry June and July, August is looking to follow a similar path.

“Looks like we are not going to see a dry pattern set up for prolonged periods without precipitation in central Saskatchewan and in the Saskatoon area,” meteorologist Peter Quinlan said.

According to the Environment Canada website, so far this summer the Saskatoon area has seen below-average rainfall in summer, 41.7 mm of rain in June and 17.7 mm of moisture in July. The hottest temperature thus far was on July 2 when Saskatoon hit 40 C.

The majority of rain has been from scattered thunderstorms — the main source of moisture for many areas across the province this summer.

Environment Canada has issued another heat warning for the Saskatoon area for the next couple of days.

Environment Canada added there is a chance of rain in the extended forecast.

 

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Florida's COVID-19 hospitalizations surpass 10,200 setting pandemic record

WATCH: Dr. Fauci says unvaccinated responsible for latest COVID-19 outbreak

A day after it recorded the most new daily cases since the start of the pandemic, Florida on Sunday broke a previous record for current hospitalizations, as the number of patients in hospitals because of COVID-19 once again broke through the 1,000-person threshold.

The Sunshine State had 10,207 people hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to data reported to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

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The previous record was from more than a year ago, July 23, 2020, more than a half-year before vaccinations started becoming widespread, when Florida had 10,170 hospitalizations, according to the Florida Hospital Association.

Florida is now leading the nation in per capita hospitalizations for COVID-19, as hospitals around the state report having to put emergency room visitors in beds in hallways and others document a noticeable drop in the age of patients.

In the past week, Florida has averaged 1,525 adult hospitalizations a day, and 35 daily pediatric hospitalizations. Both are the highest per capita rate in the nation, according to Jason Salemi, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida.

The hospitalizations and increasing cases have come as the new, more transmittable delta variant has spread throughout Florida, and residents have returned to pre-pandemic activities.

“The recent rise is both striking and not-at-all surprising,” Salemi said in an email late Saturday.

Federal health data released Saturday showed that Florida reported 21,683 new cases of COVID-19, the state’s highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic. The latest numbers were recorded on Friday and released on Saturday on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. The figures show how quickly the number of cases is rising in the Sunshine State: only a day earlier, Florida reported 17,093 new daily cases.

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has resisted mandatory mask mandates and vaccine requirements, and along with the state Legislature, has limited local officials’ ability to impose restrictions meant to stop the spread of COVID-19. DeSantis on Friday barred school districts from requiring students to wear masks when classes resume next month.

Hospitals overwhelmed

Throughout Florida, from Jacksonville to Miami to Tampa, hospitals have become overwhelmed.

Barry Burton, the Pinellas County administrator, told the Tampa Bay Times that some local hospitals are already having to divert ambulances to different locations because of capacity concerns.

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There has been a startling rise in the number of children with the virus at hospitals in Miami, many of them requiring intensive care.

Memorial Health’s Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood had seven patients with COVID-19. At Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, there were 17 patients with COVID-19 on Friday, including six in the ICU and one who needed a ventilator, Dr. Marcos Mestre, vice president and chief medical officer, told the Miami Herald.

About half of the patients were under 12, Mestre said, and the rest were older and eligible for the vaccine. But none of the patients with COVID-19 at Nicklaus Children’s on Friday were vaccinated. Most children who get COVID-19 do not need hospitalization, Mestre said.

At the UF Health North hospital emergency room in Jacksonville, COVID-19 patients once again were being put in beds in hallways due to a surge in visits.

For many hospital workers, up until a month ago, it looked like there was light at the end of the tunnel, as people got vaccinated and hospitalizations decreased. But then the summer surge, powered by the new delta variant, hit Florida in July.

“That light did turn out to be a train in this case,” Marsha Tittle, a nursing manager at UF Health North, told The Florida Times Union. “We’re taking more patients than we normally would take. … My staff is wonderful. You walk out there, they’re going to have smiles on their faces and they’re doing a great job. But there’s a sense of defeat, like they’re just defeated.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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