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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Morning Brew: Mayor and Premier admit smoking pot, judge leaves police review, Toronto is the 4th best city, Mammoliti's giant flag on hold, and a boring explainer

toronto catRob Ford has become the latest politician to admit smoking pot. Speaking at a luncheon event yesterday, Ford said he has smoked "a lot" of marijuana before being ushered away by his staff. It shouldn't be a huge surprise since Ford was arrested and charged by Miami police in 1999 for possessing a joint.

The admission came the same day Premier Kathleen Wynne said she smoked pot 35 years ago and almost a week after Liberal leader Justin Trudeau confirmed he'd done the same while an MP. Will this hurt Ford or the Wynne?

The retired judge appointed by Toronto police Chief Bill Blair to conduct a review of use-of-force guidelines is stepping aside. Former justice Dennis O'Connor said in a statement that he is withdrawing because he currently works for a law firm that acts for the insurers of the Toronto Police after lawyers for the families of several victims raised concerns.

The Scaborough subway could be in limbo after Ontario Transportation Minister Glen Murray admitted he isn't sure if the federal government will chip in. "When you put a 416 area code in front of a transit project ... the cheques disappear," Murray told CBC News. The extension of the Bloor-Danforth line to Scarborough Centre is reliant on the city finding the additional $1.4 billion the project requires over the LRT option. Will the money appear?

Oh no, not another quality of life ranking. This time, according the Economist Intelligence Unit, which is part of the Economist Group, Toronto is the fourth most livable city in the world behind Vancouver, Vienna, and Melbourne. Calgary came fifth and Montreal didn't make the top ten. Too bad.

Toronto has taken its fair share of elemental batterings this decade. Floods, snow storms, and heat waves all have all strained the city's infrastructure to breaking point. The CBC has a concise round-up of times we've failed to weather the storm in the last decade.

Also in round-ups, in light of more CNE food stands being shut down, here's a barf-o-rific list of times food has attacked at special events, including contaminated sandwiches during the 1984 papal visit and a particularly messy 2012 church event in Prince Edward Island. Oh, the humanity!

It looks like Cllr. Giorgio Mammoliti's plan to bring the world's largest flag and flagpole to Finch Ave. and Highway 400 is on the rocks. The city has been unable to buy the land required for the 125-metre pole at a reasonable rate. Even Mammoliti's model of the pole is gone from outside his office.

PayPal is planning a public test of a new electronic wallet system in Toronto. Jimmy's Coffee on King West will be one of the first companies to accept payments via a new smartphone app and its TouchBistro cash register software. Expect more of this sort of thing in the next few months.

Finally, have you ever wondered how engineers manage to dig out tunnels for new subways and LRT lines? Urban Toronto has an insightful look at the challenges facing crews working on the Eglinton-Crosstown line as they bore a two circular, 11 km holes through midtown Toronto. Who says boring has to be boring?


Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: cinnamn112/blogTO Flickr pool.

by Chris Bateman via blogTO

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