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Morning Brew: Matlow fights hockey ban, Port Lands report delayed, a Brampton alligator, Toronto Islands access issues, and Toronto to get a "Before I Die" wall

Posted by Chris Bateman / May 24, 2012

toronto beach barberIt might be Canada's pastime but hockey and other ball games have been banned on many residential Toronto streets for several years under threat of a $55 fine. Councillor Josh Matlow wants to rescind the harsh bylaw on streets where it is generally safe for kids to play, but other councillors say Matlow is creating a solution where there isn't a problem because the law is so rarely enforced. Should kids just continue to ignore the rules or do we need to figure out a way of making street hockey safer?

We won't know how city staff and Waterfront Toronto plan to boost development and increase parkland at the mouth of the Don River until fall due to delays announced this morning. The setback could be a sign a casino is starting to factor into the plans to revitalize the inner harbor and surrounding area (let's hope not, though).

What has pointy teeth, a long tail, and lives in the burbs. That's right - a backyard alligator! Surprised Elliott Street residents in Brampton found the three-foot, steely-eyed death machine hanging out in a shady backyard Sunday and quickly called animal services - but not before snapping a few pictures. The authorities successfully wrangled the creature and brought it to Indian River Reptile Zoo for a health evaluation.

Should we scrap the Toronto Island ferries in favor of a fixed link for pedestrians and cyclists? Speaking to the CBC, columnist John Lorinc says the frequent delays could put people off enjoying the vibrant, outdoor space. One solution would be to make tunnels at the east and western ends of the Islands to create a loop. What are your thoughts?

Toronto will join Kazakhstan, Montreal and Portugal this summer when a "Before I Die" wall is erected by New Orleans-based creative studio Civic Center. The large chalkboard encourages users to complete the sentence "Before I die..." with their wishes, regrets and other words of wisdom. No word yet on where the art installation will go.

Nick Wallenda - the tightrope walker planning to cross Niagara Falls next month - could be attacked by nesting falcons during his attempt according to wildlife experts. Jeepers.

Today in Toronto Tumblrs: Awful Front Yards, which isn't as awful as some of the other local efforts at humour of late - even if the title over-promises a bit.


"All these kids were hanging out, all gang-banging and everything that was happening at night time, so I went there and sponsored a league."

Doug Ford should probably work on his street slang while he's sponsoring a new basketball league at a Toronto Community Housing complex. Rob Ford, the councillor's brother, is also a fan of sport in the community and coaches football at Don Bosco High School in Etobicoke.


Photo: "Cut & Shave" by Dominic Bugatto in the BlogTO Flickr pool.



pig roast / May 24, 2012 at 09:12 am
Oh yeah, I want the Fords to gang bang me so baaaaad.
iSkyscraper / May 24, 2012 at 09:19 am
Sadly, the Fords actually know way too much about lowlife culture and have a better slang lexicon than more innocent Torontonians. Dougie is perfectly correct in his use of the term (which in American street-youth circles has two possible meanings.) Look it up on Urban Dictionary if you don't believe me.

I wish they were as expert in, say, Dutch urban planning terms or transit modal technologies. Such is not the case.
Nathan Phillip's a Square / May 24, 2012 at 09:31 am
Damn...all those darn pesky citizens trying to go to the Island. The nerve. Tunnels would be fun...we could have David Miller cut the ribbon on the grand opening!
Even better why not just fill in the harbour with all the dross from the condo building sites? Then you would have parking for the visitors so you wouldn't even need the tunnels!
Danny P replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / May 24, 2012 at 09:33 am
"Gang-banging" hasn't really been used in that way since the early 90's. It's much more commonly known the other way now. 20 years later.
duel bango replying to a comment from Nathan Phillip's a Square / May 24, 2012 at 09:39 am
We should build a subway monorail there. Or just roll the ferris wheel over.
Mark / May 24, 2012 at 09:42 am
Ford puts up his own money to try and give kids something to do other than hang out and get in trouble and the best you losers can do is mock his choice of words. Where's the BlogTo basketball league? Where's your contribution to the poor of society, besides mocking their benfactors?

And for God's sake get a better proof reader or an actual editor. What the hell does this mean?
"The authorities successfully wrangled the creature and bought it Indian River Reptile Zoo for a health evaluation" So the authorities bought an entire zoo just to give the alligator a health evaluation. Proud day for all journalism grads everywhere Chris.
Chris Bateman replying to a comment from Mark / May 24, 2012 at 09:50 am
Earth to Mark ... / May 24, 2012 at 09:57 am
Before criticizing someone else's writing or proofreading skills it would be to your benefit to be able to spell the words in your own post properly. Glass houses ...
Arrow / May 24, 2012 at 10:06 am
Rob Ford likes sports. Rob Ford likes suburbs. How is this street hockey thing still a problem?
Al / May 24, 2012 at 10:15 am
Definitely build a fixed link or a retractable footbridge at the Eastern gap. With the new residents moving into the Donlands, it makes perfect sense.
Add a Comment replying to a comment from Al / May 24, 2012 at 10:27 am
Rexdalien / May 24, 2012 at 10:28 am
I think Doug Ford read the 'what has he done for his riding' article you guys posted and decided to throw some money at it. In all fairness its great and while he generally makes me sick this should be commended. This is the kind of vote buying that locked down the riding for Rob for years and makes it so difficult to replace them. But I do support this.
Ford / May 24, 2012 at 10:39 am
I see people here are still jealous of the excellent job the mayor is doing. The next 6 years are going to be great under this mayor!
Tort replying to a comment from Nathan Phillip's a Square / May 24, 2012 at 10:42 am
Hell I think the city should use the fill from condo sites to expand the island size by 1200%. That way a casino district could be built, along with pottery, beer, and red-light districts.
Dough replying to a comment from Ford / May 24, 2012 at 10:46 am
I have crabs and the clap. There's nothing great about that.
Al replying to a comment from Tort / May 24, 2012 at 10:55 am
I think most Torontonians would be morally opposed to a pottery district.
Mike / May 24, 2012 at 11:00 am
If they can guarantee that Nik Wallenda will, in fact, be attacked by falcons whilst crossing the Falls, I will watch.

Ornery falcons = ratings gold
Jacob replying to a comment from Arrow / May 24, 2012 at 11:07 am
Rob Ford loves sports, but anything that gets in the way of his gas guzzler is BAD. No matter what.
Mark replying to a comment from Chris Bateman / May 24, 2012 at 11:11 am
It's still wrong idiot. They bought that zoo huh.
Mark replying to a comment from Chris Bateman / May 24, 2012 at 11:12 am
Is english even your first language? You have re-read and re-edited the post and it is still wrong. No wonder you write for a free website. No one would hire you to write for anything else.
zergrush replying to a comment from Al / May 24, 2012 at 11:16 am
Yes, but what about the hammock district?
Todd Toronto / May 24, 2012 at 11:23 am
The Toronto Islands are our Central Park (sorry High) but it's such a pain in the tuchus to get to, especially this time of year. A retractable footbridge or tunnel in the Eastern Gap would be a perfect idea.

No wonder it hasn't happened.
orangutan replying to a comment from zergrush / May 24, 2012 at 11:31 am
There's one at the Markham Zoo.
Miss Trivial Pursuit / May 24, 2012 at 11:33 am
RE: Stupid tumblr.

1) Paving your front yard with interlocking bricks is not a Toronto phenomenon.
2) It's a European thing.
3) I'm guessing these photos we're all taken on one street in Corso Italia
4) Why haven't you featured my awful front yard in Corso Italia?
JD / May 24, 2012 at 11:50 am
Matlow's proposal feels like the "A la Carte" street food mistakes all over again, although at least this time it wouldn't financially ruin participants. Regulation and permitting is an important function of government, but some things just don't need red tape.

Why build a set of criteria identifying appropriate streets (
JD / May 24, 2012 at 11:53 am
Dangit. Forgot to escape my less than symbols.

Why build a set of criteria identifying appropriate streets (less than 40 km/h & less than 1000 vehicles/hour), and then still make people apply for a permit? Streets that meet those criteria should be treated as public space rather than car sewers anyway.

Why not just update the City's Road Classification System with that as a category, and make it searchable online so residents can easily check their street, and so councillors and City staff can reuse that information for other projects?
Chris Bateman replying to a comment from Mark / May 24, 2012 at 11:56 am
*English. Cap up.

Thanks for the constructive criticism. Maybe one day I'll live the dream and write for a website behind a paywall.
Ratpick / May 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm
The City is never going to sanction street hockey. Never.

Who wants to be held liable the first time a cyclist or motorist comes along and puts a kid in a wheelchair?

The underwriters would never allow it. Expect the status quo to stick.

CanoeDave / May 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm
Let's build a casino in the Port Lands. The polls seem to indicate that a majority would support a casino as long as it is not in their back yard and guess what their are no people living or having back yards in the Port Lands. On top of that it will be decades before anything is done in the Port Lands once the Condo bubble bursts which will be soon. Toronto wants to be an international destination and world class city and having a big casino for the tourists is simply a good idea. I won't go there but the Tourists will. It is time for Toronto to get over its' anal retentive Presbyterian paste and create some jobs that we badly need. But don't touch Ontario Place, it should become a no fee public family park.
Mac / May 25, 2012 at 12:47 pm
What a nice Barbershop at Queen St.E and Woodbine Ave
Alex replying to a comment from CanoeDave / May 25, 2012 at 01:17 pm
"anal retentive Presbyterian paste" That just conjures up so many bad images.

Casino in the Port Lands? Don't they have to clean up the ground first before anything but industrial can go in there? I just don't see any casino company committing that much money. Why can't the casino go up at Woodbine? That's the only place Toronto residents universally want it, and casinos make their money from the problem gamblers who will go there no matter the scenery. We don't need to sell off the little of our public waterfront we have left.
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