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Morning Brew: Residents speak on Toronto casino, Mel Lastman talks Ford, Empress Hotel accused confesses, an extra 32 minutes, and demolishing the Nielson house

Local residents and private interest groups had a chance to speak on the proposed Toronto casino at City Hall last night. The majority spoke out against the project, citing social problems and the general gaudiness of gambling facilities, but reps from Canadian Gaming Association and Ontario Lottery Gaming Corporation were also in attendance. For some reason, I can't shake the idea that casino lobbyists look like Rich Uncle Pennybags from the Monopoly board game.

Former mayor Mel Lastman says Rob Ford's troubles make the furniture store owner "look like a genius." Speaking at a store opening in Brampton, Lastman told the Toronto Sun that Ford "can't be that stubborn and run a city." High praise indeed.

The man accused of setting the fire that destroyed the former Empress Hotel at Yonge and Gould last year has admitted being responsible for destroying the 125-year-old building. Police are continuing to investigate the crime, possibly to determine whether someone paid Stewart Poirier to destroy the building.

Transit campaigners want to know how drivers would spend an extra 32 minutes a day, the amount of time the already long Toronto commute is expected to grow without new transit lines. It's an interesting way of re-framing the benefits of new subway and light rail for road users but do you think it will work?

Another week, another ranking. According to The Star, Toronto came third behind New York and London in a list of the top 27 cities to live and work. Does that sound right to you? Last year Toronto came second but was dragged south by a poor airport-downtown connection.

An 103-year-old mansion near Casa Loma looks to be in dire straits after Toronto and East York Community Council voted to approve its demolition. The old Nielson mansion at 72 Wells Hill Avenue, once owned by a member of the famous ice cream family, is set to be replaced by a new home.

In other demolition news, residents gathered at a school near Yonge and Eglinton last night to weigh in on the possible sale and demolition of Postal Station "K", a building located on the historic former site of Montgomery's Tavern, a key location in the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837.

Finally, if you've got time this morning, here's a short 1953 documentary from the National Film Board about the residents of Oak Street in Toronto, home to "verminous walls, unhealthy rooms ... juvenile delinquency, drunkenness and broken marriages," getting access to a new housing development, Regent Park.

MOUSE FOOD:

Photo: "R0020616" by Trevor_Hughes in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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