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Morning Brew: City fears disaster on the Gardiner, Ikea monkey's owner wants her macaque back, ditching the Beer Store, keeping exotic animals, and Eglinton's future

Posted by Chris Bateman / December 12, 2012

toronto yonge streetA troubling report revealed by Global News says there's a high risk a heavy truck could "punch through" the thinning deck of the Gardiner Expressway if the roadway continues to deteriorate. The report also reveals that city crews are actively engaged in preventing more chunks falling on to the road below. The surface is only 185 mm thick in places compared to 225 mm on other elevated sections of road.

The former owner of Darwin the Ikea monkey says she's worried the little macaque will miss her now he's been relocated to a sanctuary in Sunderland. In an interview with CP24, Yasmin Nakhuda said she and Darwin bonded during a trial ownership period and would even travel with her to work. She hasn't ruled out fighting to get the monkey back. "There are no books out there to teach you how to raise a monkey," she said. "I'm what's best for him." Should Darwin stay put?

Since Rob Ford's on vacation our desire for scandals leads us to London, where councillors are set to consider a motion that calls on mayor Joe Fontana to step down while a criminal case against him is pending. The charges stem from allegations Fontana used federal funds during his time as a cabinet MP to cover the cost of his son's wedding reception, something he denies.

We discussed the Beer Store monopoly in the summer but now PC leader Tim Hudak has privatized booze back in the spotlight Star columnist Martin Regg Cohn is also talking ditching the utilitarian misery boxes in favour of, shock horror, suds in convenience stores.

The plight of Darwin the monkey has reignited debate about Toronto and Canada's exotic animal laws. Devised at various times, the mix of regulations allows certain animals in some areas and not others. Should Toronto relax its exotic animal laws provided the owners are checked?

New ideas for Eglinton Avenue in preparation for the arrival of rapid transit are thinking big. Bike lanes, development proposals, and concepts for new public spaces could all be on the cards in the coming years for the previously transit-neglected stretch.


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

Photo: "XTC" by Dominic Bugatto from the blogTO Flickr pool.



phosho / December 12, 2012 at 08:07 am
The Beer Store = owned by foreign multinationals and conceived and operated under prohibition-era policies. Keep up the great work, Ontario.
no primates / December 12, 2012 at 08:48 am
Monkeys should not be kept as pets for a myriad of reasons, most of them animal welfare related. BlogTo do some homework on CBC article you posted, which isn't asking about legalising some exotics but rather talks about a stricter nation wide ban. It is ridiculous to think we would laxen laws so that completely inexperienced people like Ms. Nakhuda can own these animals.
Me / December 12, 2012 at 09:02 am
"Utilitarian misery boxes". hahaha. Wow, you over entitled Lefties will blow ANYTHING out of all proportion.
McRib / December 12, 2012 at 09:06 am
no Toronto shouldn't relax its exotic animal laws, if anything the rest of the province/country should make the laws stricter.
Ford4ever replying to a comment from Me / December 12, 2012 at 09:09 am
I don't how that could possibly be construed as a Con or Lefty comment.

Question fer ya. Are you in favour of government-mandated monopoly, or free enterprise?
Rob K / December 12, 2012 at 09:09 am
I don't understand why the province couldn't absorb the Beer Store into the LCBO? It could still remain the seperate brand it is and continue their recycling program, but it would be far more beneficial to own and operate the Beer Store and collect revenue than only allowing beer in convenience stores - which I'm not against - and rely on just collecting taxes from it.
DL / December 12, 2012 at 09:11 am
Um, the London vote was yesterday. Fontana survived, 8-5 I believe.
iSkyscraper / December 12, 2012 at 09:13 am
It should be pointed out that the incredible Hudson River Park in Manhattan, a beautiful waterfront park and bike path that runs along a very nicely landscaped West Street, only happened because the West Side Highway slowly deteriorated to the point where one day it became unsafe to use and the city's hand was forced. New York showed no greater vision or leadership than Toronto, they just lucked into having their expressway tear itself down ( Twenty five years later, they had a beautiful waterfront and a roadway designed to carry most, though not all, of the traffic in a more urban-friendly manner.

Same thing with San Francisco and Seattle after earthquakes knocked out their "Gardiner". So, in a way, this deterioration of the Gardiner could be the best thing to happen since it makes removal an engineering decision rather than a political one. One more winter of heavy salt should do the trick... bring on the snow.

Robert replying to a comment from Me / December 12, 2012 at 09:17 am
You righties will make any issue right or left, no discussion needed, just hyperbole
Me / December 12, 2012 at 09:26 am
Not right or left. Personally I don't care. Just entertained by the Left's incessant whining and complaining about the simplest things. It's why the Left gets picked on so much, they're an easy target. I do find however if plastic bags and where we buy our beer are the biggest "issues" our society can come up with than we really are scraping the bottom of the barrel looking for something to whine about and truly do have no real problems any more.
DL / December 12, 2012 at 09:26 am
And seriously, do something with Eglinton. Make it pretty. But, FIRST, figure out something to do with ALL THE CARS!!! Seriously, are they just all going to disappear once there are trains and bike lanes rolling up and down? Eglinton is going to turn into a nightmare, and by extension so will Lawrence.
Aaron / December 12, 2012 at 09:33 am
More reasons to tear down the Gardiner. We need to spend Toronto tax dollars on transit for Torontonians, not highways for Mississaugans.
Me replying to a comment from Ford4ever / December 12, 2012 at 09:34 am
You're right. I'm just so used to BlogTO's articles being Left biased and usually whining. truth is you are right in that these days it seems the internet has empowered EVERYONE to whine and bitch constantly about anything and everything. As for the beer sales, I'm sure whichever way it goes people will find something to complain about. personally, I wouldn't mind it at a corner store etc as in the U.S. but it's just not a major issue I spend all my time worrying about nor particularly caring, let alone being a political point.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from Me / December 12, 2012 at 09:41 am
Did ya miss the part where the issue regarding the Beer Store was brought up (again) by know...LEADER OF THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY? And that this subject has been brought up regularly over the last few decades by provincial leadership of both political stripes? Sometimes, just sometimes, a 'whine and bitch" actually has no politcal leaning one way or the other.
Me / December 12, 2012 at 09:45 am
Good point. I wasn't paying attention to nor knew which one he was partywise as I pay no attention to politicians in general, more just that the comments here as some were quite comical when it was brought up. maybe he figured it's the only thing that WILL get the Righties stirred up! lol.
Jack replying to a comment from Me / December 12, 2012 at 09:49 am
that is why the burbs vote right leaning now, because of the constant whining by the downtown lefties. I will vote for anyone that does not cater to the lefty downtown lefties.
Picard102 / December 12, 2012 at 09:50 am
The Fontana vote was last night, he won.
Alex / December 12, 2012 at 10:04 am
Just sell Beer in convenience stores then, it will be much more convenient for consumers and open up more competition. I don't get why we love monopolies so much here. I don't see why it is such a big deal either, just get rid of the law banning it from sale in anything but the Beer Store.

That monkey lady needs some help, and broadcasting her mental problems to the world is not the way to get it. I'd say she needs to have a real child, but she is clearly not fit to raise one.
Robert replying to a comment from Jack / December 12, 2012 at 10:17 am
You do realize the suburbs also vote left, and downtown vote right. It is not 100 in any direction. Not sure why you people on the right keep professing that.
Sounds a bit whiny to me, blaming all your woes on a strawman.
Rick / December 12, 2012 at 10:20 am
It's funny how similar the Star Beer Store article is to the blogTO article from earlier this year. Of course that blogTO article was similar to one written before that, which was similar to one before that...

It's almost like no one is listening...
1 replying to a comment from Me / December 12, 2012 at 10:23 am
If you have no idea who the current provincial party leaders are, you should probably refrain from attempting any sort of political comment at all.
Me replying to a comment from 1 / December 12, 2012 at 10:28 am
I can still mock people who think where to buy beer is an "issue".
Ford4ever replying to a comment from Me / December 12, 2012 at 10:42 am
"I can still mock people who think where to buy beer is an 'issue'."

If it's not a worthwhile issue, then it shouldn't be difficult to dismantle the strange monopoly and move on, right?

Good luck to whoever tries. They will have to march on a road paved with the bones of those who tried before.

Liberty Villain / December 12, 2012 at 10:53 am
It never ceases to amaze how the commenters on blogTO always manage to make the discussion about someone's opinion, rather than the article in question. Stay on topic people!

As for the monkey lady, she shouldn't get any flack for caring for an animal. If the story was instead about a dog, there would be massive public outcry. However, she broke the law, plain and simple. So should she get the monkey back? No.
Mark replying to a comment from Aaron / December 12, 2012 at 11:34 am
I use the Gardiner daily. I live and work in Toronto. It's not just the suburbs who use the Gardiner. How about they start by finding where the 17 million that was allocated for Gardiner maintenance but has gone missing went. That money could get a lot of repair work started.
CanoeDave / December 12, 2012 at 12:10 pm
The Gardiner deck that needs replacement is not the structure. It is like a rotten floor plank while the structural joists below are still sound. The Jacques Cartier bridge in Montreal built in 1930 had its entire deck replaced in 2001-2002. Similarly the decks on several DVP bridges have been replaced in the last decade. It is costly and disruptive work but not a reason to tear down the "structure." Because the deck concrete is much thinner that the structural columns and beams it is subject to freeze thaw cycles that fracture the stone in the concrete and turn it to mush if left too long. I'm beginning to wonder why the two guys that were in charge of the Gardiner quit in the past year. Did they know that the FOI requests were going to expose their incompetence?
Aydin replying to a comment from Me / December 12, 2012 at 01:28 pm
You're right. No minor issues should ever be dealt with until we first solve poverty, war and disease. Every single person in a position of power should avoid getting ANYTHING else done until those three things are solved. Is that what you're saying?
Colin / December 12, 2012 at 01:31 pm
Lady, there are no books out there to teach you how to raise a monkey because YOU SHOULDN'T BE RAISING A DAMN MONKEY!!! Sorry, carry on everyone...
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from CanoeDave / December 12, 2012 at 01:34 pm
CanoeDave, you are completely and totally wrong. There are too many non-engineers making engineering claims; the reality is that a steel bridge is one thing, and a concrete viaduct is another. Maintaining such a structure without total rebuilding is nearly impossible after 55 years, which is why you see so few concrete stadia, concrete elevated expressways or even concrete bridges of that era still standing.

I know you are a huge Ford fan and want to turn this into a waste and witchhunt and somehow, just somehow, find a way to blame Miller, leftists, cyclists, unions etc. but this is not about any politician. This is about concrete and rebar and rust and vibration and gravity. For engineering as well as architectural, economic development and urban planning reasons the Gardiner has to come down.
G / December 12, 2012 at 01:40 pm
Want to teach Yasmin Nakhuda a lesson? Give her the monkey back so she can see what happens when cute baby animals grow up. Have you seen the size of an adult macaque? That thing will rip her face off!
Caesar / December 12, 2012 at 01:59 pm
This whole monkey thing: did nobody watch Rise of The Planet of The Apes last year?? If we send Darwin to an animal shelter it'll only rally all the other monkeys and takeover the world.
Adam replying to a comment from Caesar / December 12, 2012 at 04:05 pm
But by the end, weren't you kind of rooting for him? Y'know, throwing off the faux-shearling shackles of his life and standing up for everything that's right and natural and good in the world, like the low, low prices at Ikea?
Alex replying to a comment from Caesar / December 12, 2012 at 04:53 pm
I never saw that movie, but I assumed it ended with the monkeys losing horribly. Monkey vs gun - gun wins. That or winter will just kill them off. Winter will always solve all of our monkey revolution problems, unless global warming speeds up. Perhaps all of our lifestyle habits that have caused global warming were really caused by corporations secretly run by monkeys.
Dan / December 12, 2012 at 04:56 pm
Good grief this woman seriously needs her head examined. I randomly googled this monkey and stumbled upon 'petwatch' which classifies Rhesus Macaques as 'worst choice pet' - "captive animals are aggressive and can seriously injure their owners,children and other family pets".

G is right. In a year this woman will be tired of changing his diapers every day when he's not as cute anymore and by then any chance of re-introducing him with his native species will be gone because this nutcase wanted a real live doll to dress-up and take to work every day, or leave in her car so he can get out an give some kid hepatitis.
Jay / December 13, 2012 at 06:20 am
iSkyscraper calls people out for not being structural engineers saying their opinion is wrong. I thought you were a transportation expert?? Well, one would think the way you dismiss anyone's opinion on transportation in other posts. But now I see you're a structural engineer. I guess we can just dismiss all you opinions on social programs the way you do to others on other posts. Or is it rhat youre an expert on garbage and recycling. You put yourself forward as the self appointed expert in those discussions. Biggest self consumed wind-bag on BlogTO
j-rock replying to a comment from Me / December 13, 2012 at 02:08 pm
How is that in any way a partisan comment? I'm asking seriously. I would almost guarantee that there is equal support across all party lines for seeing the Beer Store monopoly dismantled.
j-rock replying to a comment from Ford4ever / December 13, 2012 at 02:09 pm
Sorry, I saw this comment too late. And unless your screen name is ironic, this would be an example of that across-the-spectrum support that I was talking about.
downtown lefty elite replying to a comment from Jack / December 13, 2012 at 02:16 pm
You should have tried to squeeze one more "lefty" into your post.

Were you trying for: "lefty downtown ELITES"? It's pretty sad when you can't even regurgitate your silly talking points and slurs correctly.
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