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Morning Brew: By-election cost reaches $9M, dubious parking tickets, the London Rocket fights back, panda problems, finding diversity, and Captain John hangs on

Posted by Chris Bateman / December 7, 2012

toronto sundialThe cost of a mayoral by-election could be as high as $9 million when the cost of campaign donation rebates are factored in. Apparently donors are eligible for refunds of large portions of campaign cash, something that wasn't factored in to the initial $7 million figure. Should council appoint a mayor to save money?

The Toronto Star has found numerous cases of drivers ticketed for parking in bike lanes (it does happen, apparently) the only trouble is the cars were on top of sharrows - curbside road markings reminding bikers and drivers to share the road - not full blown cycle tracks. Looks like 4,000 drivers could be in line for a refund. What do you think?

A group of students whose plans to run a cheap bus between Toronto and London were thwarted by legal threats from Greyhound Canada are responding with a push back. A lawyer has taken on the case pro bono after the bus company said they were the only ones licensed to provide scheduled transit between the two cities.

Chinese officials planning to send a breeding pair of giant pandas to Toronto Zoo have hit a snag: both the animals are, on closer inspection, both female. Good thing they figured that out before they packed them on a plane.

Over at the Grid, writer David Topping seeks out Toronto's most diverse neighbourhood, and the results might surprise you. The area that's home to the most nationalities is Flemingdon Park. The lest diverse: The Beaches, where 86.8% are native English speakers.

Beaches residents shouldn't worry, though, because they're getting a brand new public toilet. The City of Toronto is taking the wrapping off its new automatic convenience on Lake Shore Boulevard East at Northern Dancer Boulevard, the second of twenty to be installed in the city, later this morning. The toilets cost a quarter and come with a heater and self-cleaning mechanism. So that's something.

"Captain" John Letnik, the restauranteur ordered to close his floating restaurant at the foot of Yonge earlier this year, is still on board living in "squalor" according to the Star. Letnik is gradually stripping out the ship now that the city has ordered the sign removed from the restaurant but still hopes for a new harbour berth. Should the city find a new place for Captain John's?

Bathust Street is closed between Harbord and Bloor due to a garage fire and streetcars are diverting to and from Spadina station. Avoid the area it if you can.

Hey, straphangers. The Yonge-University-Spadina line is going to be closed between Union and St. Andrew stations this weekend for essential work at track-level on the second platform project under Front Street. Trains will be turning back in both directions but the rest of the line remains open. The stretch is scheduled to re-open first thing Monday.

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

Photo: "Sundial Folly" by dtstuff9 from the blogTO Flickr pool.

Discussion

25 Comments

BM / December 7, 2012 at 08:35 am
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How is this BlogTO and you still refer to it as the Beaches? It's the BEACH! Always has been.
Av replying to a comment from BM / December 7, 2012 at 08:56 am
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Its the Beaches, get over it.
Drew / December 7, 2012 at 08:56 am
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The Toronto neighbourhood is "The Beach" the Ontario Provincial Riding is "Beaches East York" … that is where the confusion comes from. Definitely only one LONG beach, not multiple beaches.
Arrow / December 7, 2012 at 08:58 am
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Can we put the "Beaches vs Beach" referendum on the by-election ballot too?
MrCelery / December 7, 2012 at 09:00 am
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In context of the phrase "beaches residents", I think beaches describes the area in which the residents live.

"Beach residents" sounds like they live in sand castles.
Turd Ferguson / December 7, 2012 at 09:23 am
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I prefer to call it "The Bitches". It seems to fit much better.
Antony / December 7, 2012 at 09:31 am
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That Star article is a joke. Some "parking in a no stopping zone" tickets were written up as 'bike lane' by mistake. It's still a no stopping zone. Even says so in the article.

Link bait, 'war on the car' fodder.
maash / December 7, 2012 at 09:34 am
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My parents live in the Beaches and everyone there calls it the Beaches. There!
happyhappyjoyjoy / December 7, 2012 at 09:41 am
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The pathetic attempt - and hilarious failure - to rebrand the Beaches into the Beach continues to amuse me to this day.
alex replying to a comment from BM / December 7, 2012 at 09:42 am
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I think the more important question is, who gives a shit?
Soren / December 7, 2012 at 09:48 am
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Howabout the Deputy Mayor fills the Mayor's position cuz like that's his job.
Chris replying to a comment from alex / December 7, 2012 at 09:55 am
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The only people who do apparently give sh*t are the folks who live there - they make an issue of it everytime someone uses the name the "beaches" to refer to the neighborhood, as if it really matters.

Incidentally, although the area is one continuous stretch of sand, there are in fact several "beaches" named along that stretch of sand (Kew, Woodbine, Balmy, etc.), so calling the neighborhood, the "Beaches" is more technically correct, no matter what the folks there wish to believe. Huzza!
opensource1111 / December 7, 2012 at 10:09 am
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A neighbourhood's name should come to be organically. I lived in the area for many years growing up. Only certain residents there insisted on calling it the Beach (and insisted everyone else call it the Beach, as well). It was pathetic. The vast majority of Toronto residents call the neighbourhodd the Beaches. It has nothing to do with whether this is historically, geographically or officially correct. That is the name that we have given it, through popular use, and that is the name that will stick.

On a related matter, the Beaches neighbourhood is quite insular. Residents don't look kindly upon "outsiders", and particularly not outsiders of colour. The level of protectionism and NIMBYism I've encountered there was beyond anything else I have witnessed in Toronto. The neighbourhood structure itself also lends itself to this, with narrow, congested streets, limited public parking. The proposed low rise condos would have been a good step in opening up this neighbourhood to the wider public, and introducing some much needed diversity.
WhoTheFCares / December 7, 2012 at 10:10 am
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No matter how its sliced, its still a shitty beach and/or beaches.

Sandbanks it is not.
Koko The Monkey / December 7, 2012 at 10:19 am
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The beach vs beaches argument always reminds me of the Seinfeld episode when George wanted to be called T-Bone.

You don't get to pick your own nickname!
Rafa / December 7, 2012 at 10:37 am
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Without implying anything, it would be interesting to layer house prices on top of the diversity study
Dave / December 7, 2012 at 10:43 am
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Remind me if I ever owe half a million dollars in taxes to make sure I live on a boat. I will bring the government to its knees wielding the magical tax-evading powers of Maritime Law!
the lemur / December 7, 2012 at 10:55 am
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The word is 'restaurateur', without an N.
Alex / December 7, 2012 at 11:13 am
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Diversity is an interesting index, but this study simply seems to confirm that the most diverse neighbourhoods are usually the least desirable to live in, and vice versa. So is that a symptom or a cause? Do immigrants live in them because they're cheap to live in, because they're not desirable? Or are they not desirable because they are mostly immigrants living there who don't natively speak English and so create a sort of cultural barrier to anyone else who doesn't speak their native language? I feel like Canada is too politically correct to ever address these questions, but I'd be really interested to find out if there was an answer. Probably it'd be a very complex answer though.
mar / December 7, 2012 at 11:41 am
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Calling the beaches the beach is like calling skydome rogers center. it may be right but it ain't right.
Steven / December 7, 2012 at 12:32 pm
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I agree with everyone who posted here about everything.
Me / December 7, 2012 at 12:45 pm
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Funny how little it takes to get people riled up on the internet. Good laugh.
Jer / December 7, 2012 at 02:09 pm
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I am glad that parking enforcement is going after people parking/stopping in "no stopping" zones but they need to ticket people for the correct thing... Why are they indicated "stop in bike lane" when it isn't actually a bike lane. Some training needs to be done with regards to sharrows.
Nikolas / December 7, 2012 at 03:50 pm
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There was a referendum held in 2006, and 51% of residents came out in favour of "The Beach," rather than "The Beaches." While it did historically used to be 4 different "beaches" (Balmy, Scarbro, Kew, and Woodbine), the referendum essentially unified them. If you look on the street signs, they say "Historic Kew Beach" or "Historic Balmy Beach" etc,

Regardless, I agree: our neighbourhood is very NIMBY. Although I believe it's one of the nicest places in the city, the mono-culture is quite sickening.
Josh / December 8, 2012 at 12:15 pm
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Isn't one of the reasons we have a deputy mayor is that they step in if the mayor is unable to perform their duties - death, impeachment, etc?

I think Ford should be gone, but I don't think there should be an election to change the mandate. People voted for "respect for taxpayers" and "gravy", and in the spirit of democracy, we should be subjected to it for another two years.

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