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Morning Brew: Ford's board list kept from ombudsman, mayor takes a vacation, Ikea monkey gets a new home, slippery roads, and the Horseshoe Tavern turns 65

Posted by Chris Bateman / December 11, 2012

toronto parkdale tracksA list of Rob Ford's preferred candidates for the boards of several of Toronto's public agencies that was emailed to three of the mayor's allies on council was not available to ombudsman Fiona Crean during her investigation into the matter. The list, unearthed by the Toronto Star, was exempt because it was part of correspondence between councillors, which is protected.

Integrity commissioner Janet Leiper oversees conduct between the mayor and councillors but she has been asked to stop issuing reports until Rob Ford's conflict of interest appeal has finished.

You know what they say. When the going gets tough, the tough take some "personal time." Rob Ford was spied heading out for an early Christmas vacation yesterday by a fellow traveller at Pearson airport and the mayor's press secretary George Christopoulos later confirmed Ford had skipped town for an unknown destination, possibly the family condo in Florida.

Darwin, Toronto's best dressed rhesus macaque, was taken yesterday to Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary in Sunderland, 100 kilometres north of the city, where he'll likely remain permanently. The primate's spirited escape attempt at an Ikea store caught the attention of the world's media after he was photographed wearing a shearling coat and a diaper. Best of luck, Darwin.

Yesterday was a rough day on the roads. A total of nine pedestrians, including a baby and an elderly man, were hit in separate incidents as numerous motorists were caught out by slippery, low-light conditions. All the collisions occurred within 43 minutes between 6:41 and 7:24 and all but one required hospital treatment.

The legendary Horseshoe Tavern at Queen and Spadina is turning 65 this week. The venue started out in 1947 as a strictly country-only bar but later shifted its focus to rock and roll, hosting concerts by the Rolling Stones and Bryan Adams.

Home videos of Darwin the Ikea monkey have been posted on the Toronto Star website by his former owner who apparently isn't so concerned about staying anonymous any more. In this one, Darwin brushes his teeth.


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

Photo: "Tracking Progress" by Shakethatchicken from the blogTO Flickr pool.



Rich / December 11, 2012 at 08:36 am
Hume's reply in the Star today, regarding the pedestrians hit yesterday by cars within a 45 mins period, was perfect. Never the driver's fault, always the pedestrian's. *eye roll*
Ron / December 11, 2012 at 08:57 am
Awesome, didn't know the Horseshoe Tavern was turning 65 this week! I'll be there a week from today to see my favourite Kingston band, the Glorious Sons! Can't wait!
Mr Kanyo / December 11, 2012 at 09:13 am
I can't help but feel Darwin was enjoying quite a nice life with his human. Apparently she has another monkey as well. The sanctuary I'm sure is not a horrible place for monkeys, but he's already been raised by humans and it looks like she takes pretty good care if him. He's still in captivity in a sanctuary, now just ripped away from everything he's known.
horrified / December 11, 2012 at 09:23 am
That's disturbing. This woman needs a baby. Monkey's aren't meant to be kept as pets.
the lemur replying to a comment from Rich / December 11, 2012 at 09:36 am
Uh, sometimes it IS the driver's fault. I was crossing on a green signal this morning, well after sunrise, and a driver making a turn nearly ran me down because he didn't think he had to yield to pedestrians already in the crossing (or didn't know, or didn't care). The thing is, he SAW me as he was turning, we made eye contact, but he just assumed I would run out of his way or something.
jen replying to a comment from horrified / December 11, 2012 at 09:38 am
I agree, it's pretty disturbing watching this lady turn an animal into something resembling a human child. In one video he has a soother!!

Plus, has NO ONE seen the movie Outbreak?
Skye replying to a comment from Mr Kanyo / December 11, 2012 at 09:44 am
She left him in a freezing car while she was shopping at Ikea! That's well-cared for? This woman is incredibly selfish.

On top of that, the monkey is going to get bigger. The woman is on the record saying he's "only going to be about four feet tall". She thinks she can keep a four foot tall monkey in the city?!

This was a disaster waiting to happen. Sure, the poor monkey is traumatized, but it's his "owner" that traumatized him. The sanctuary has a hope of rehabilitating him into a proper would have been very difficult to do so once he was fully grown.
Alex replying to a comment from the lemur / December 11, 2012 at 09:51 am
I think he was trying to be sarcastic, hence the eye roll. The article is actually about how cops are blaming the pedestrians and not the drivers or the culture.

I read the first story about it and they only mentioned that one of the people hit was actually crossing legally. We don't know if the others were jay-walking or talking on their phones or something. I remember hearing how a guy got hit by a train because he was talking on his phone and didn't realize he'd walked around the crossing barrier and right in front of a moving train. It'd be interesting to know how often the driver is at fault, the pedestrian, or both in these accidents. I think it would probably be 50/50 blame overall.
Big Fuckin Mega Boat replying to a comment from the lemur / December 11, 2012 at 10:03 am
Reminds me of my daily crossings when I lived at Birchmount and Sheppard. It frightens me to think of how many close calls I had there (all my fault, no doubt).

So many fond memories of the Horseshoe. I remember playing a show there one time and there was absolutely nobody watching us except two coked out hippies who were dancing along to our crappy metal songs the whole set. It was really weird but also kind of funny.
steve replying to a comment from Alex / December 11, 2012 at 10:11 am
I would say the majority of the near misses I have had, and they happen nearly daily are drivers fault. People I speak to come up with the same figures. But the police and the driving public will always find a way to blame the pedestrians. Wear light coloured clothing indeed, city streets are well lit there is no excuse for drivers not to see or yield for a pedestrian.
Policeman / December 11, 2012 at 10:17 am
It is always the pedestrian's fault. Remember pedestrians, if you don't want to get hit by a car, don't wear dark clothing. And a friendly reminder to the women of Toronto, if you don't want to get raped, don't wear sexy clothing.
Go! Ford! Go! / December 11, 2012 at 10:26 am
you heard the police. when you cross the street you are putting your life in your own hands. swimming with sharks essentially. also if you don't want to get raped then don't dress like a slut bro.
Paul / December 11, 2012 at 10:27 am
I've been hit by cars as a pedestrian about twice in this city since I moved here 3 years ago.
Both times was in a cross walk on my turn in daylight. Both times it was a right hand turn for them.

As a cyclist, I have been hit more times than I remember.

In all cases it's the same thing, drivers are only looking out for other cars, because that is the only thing of consequence.

As a driver, and having driven in many countries all over the world, I can say that drivers in this country as some of the most selfish, unattentive asshats behind a wheel. Only place worse is the US.

How is it the Pedestrians fault when it's the driver inside a 2 ton box of metal?
Alex replying to a comment from steve / December 11, 2012 at 10:41 am
Woah, where do you live that you have near misses daily? Sounds dangerous.
I walk all the time and I've never had a near miss and I live in a pretty busy part of town. The closest near-miss experiences I've seen are from walking around union station though, where I see people jaywalk a lot. I know they can't close Front street, but that whole area is basically a pedestrian area around rush hour anyway. They should just set the speed limit to parking lot speeds (20 km/h I think) so it's safe and then make jaywalking legal in that area. Areas where Pedestrians way outnumber cars should be focused more on pedestrian usage, and have speed limits drastically reduced and jaywalking made legal.
John / December 11, 2012 at 11:17 am
I see near misses daily!! Seneca College Newham Campus. Drives are so impatient they try to squeeze through any openings between pedestrians. They dont yield to the pedestrian at all. Im surprised more pedestrians arent hit on a daily basis in this city. Now I wouldnt say it is the drivers fault 100% of the time either. I have ppl jumping infront of traffic in a rush or on a phone and not paying attention to anything around them. It looks to be a combination of factors but I think ppl have forgotten who has the right of way and when. Back to basics!!
Liberty Villain / December 11, 2012 at 11:42 am
I find it funny how pedestrians act as if they don't have to pay attention just because the crosswalk symbol is giving them go. Bottom line, the vehicle always wins regardless of who has right of way. Pay attention drivers AND pedestrians.
CanoeDave / December 11, 2012 at 12:04 pm
I wonder what how Toronto's pedestrian injury stats compare with Montreal. I grew up there and became a well trained jaywalker and have never come close to being hit in 30 years in Toronto because I was trained to watch the cars without regard to signals. In Toronto people watch the signals and not the cars. The converse is that drivers in Montreal are also trained to always be on the look out for jay walkers.
Todd / December 11, 2012 at 12:14 pm
911 is a joke in this town.

Don't want to get raped? Don't go out, stay at home in your sweatsuit and make babies, and don't think of wearing anything revealing when you go to the mailbox or to get groceries for your husband.

Don't want to get hit by a car? Don't have the nerve to get in the way of one and it's your fault for wearing dark clothing.
tripper / December 11, 2012 at 12:28 pm
It's usually the driver's fault, yes. But sometimes it's the pedestrian's fault. No one pays attention to what's going on around them anymore, including pedestrians. I live in the Annex and I can't count the number of times I've seen people crossing the street against a red light (it's just what you do there) and not even looking to see if there's a car coming towards them. Often there is.

Cross at red lights, by all means. I certainly do. But look around to make sure you aren't about to get hit by a car first.
mark / December 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm
It is usually very easy to determine who is at fault in pedestrian vs car accidents. If you are hit in a crosswalk or at an intersection the driver is likely to blame. If you are hit anywhere else the pedestrian bears much of the blame. Yes crosswalks and stop lights are sometimes far away. Still you either use them or take the risk of jaywalking.
mar replying to a comment from Alex / December 11, 2012 at 01:10 pm
I live in a busy part of the city as well and generally feel safe but you go north of bloor/danforth and its a different ballgame believe me. I completely believe Steve. All you have to do is spend a bit of time above the core and you will see it for yourself.
mar replying to a comment from tripper / December 11, 2012 at 01:13 pm
Of course it can be eithers fault. the point is that the police are saying hey pedestrians watch it around cars. hey cars keep doing your thing we got your back. so you agree with most of the people on this thread. the problem is the police aren't presenting it that way.
Ford4ever / December 11, 2012 at 02:04 pm
There's a simple and effective way to avoid getting hit by cars in Toronto: Never assume that a motorist has seen you until you make eye contact. Then don't assume the motorist will stop.

I'm always amazed at how pedestrians and cyclists (and I am both) equate right-of-way with some measure of protection. The worst is pushing the button at crosswalks and immediately walking out without giving cars a legitimate chance to stop.
McRib / December 11, 2012 at 02:17 pm
well, yes obviously it pays to be alert as a pedestrian and to make sure that car sees you before you cross the street. nobody is arguing that.

The problem is that the police are blaming the victims for having the audacity to wear dark clothing in winter and trying to cross the street. It doesnt matter if the pedestrian was in a cross walk, legally entitled to cross the road. The police still blamed them for wearing dark clothing. its a fucking disgrace.

Chris Hume hit the nail on the head with his column.
McRib replying to a comment from Paul / December 11, 2012 at 02:19 pm
if you've only lived here 3 years and been hit twice as a pedestrian and "more times than you can remember" as a cyclist, I'm thinking the problem is you.
Chris / December 11, 2012 at 02:32 pm
Pointing out that dark clothing makes it hard to see someone in low visibility, is not the same thing as "blaming the victim". Its simply common sense. Yesterday, the rain, coupled with the darkness in the morning means low visibility - if you're going to walk around in dark clothing (not exactly uncommon in Toronto at this time of year) you have to be aware of the fact that you won't be that visible to drivers and conduct yourself according.

That's not blaming pedestrians, nor is it absolving drivers of their responsibility to look out for pedestrians and drive cautiously in bad weater. This is simply pointing out that as a practical matter, pedestrians have a greater obligation to be cautious in those situations, because in any collision between a car and a pedestrian, the pedestrian loses, every time. Right of way is irrelevant if you're dead or injured.

Please people - stop trying to turn the police's practical advice into another "slut walk" controversy. Why don't you stop obsessing over "blame" and instead actually pay attention to same practical advice for pedestrians, who generally have more to lose in any accident involving a car.
Me replying to a comment from McRib / December 11, 2012 at 02:41 pm
Yeah, no kidding. Must walk and ride with his eyes closed. or maybe time to stop texting.....
Jill / December 11, 2012 at 03:05 pm
Lately, in the last three months, I've experienced cars honking at me when I'm crossing legally on green lights. I imagine they're Rob Ford's soldiers fighting the war on cars.

tripper replying to a comment from McRib / December 11, 2012 at 04:15 pm
I thought the same thing. I've lived here forever and have never been hit, either as a pedestrian or a cyclist. AND I usually wear dark clothes. Close calls, certainly. But no actual contact.
Ken / December 11, 2012 at 10:25 pm
Heard the monkey mom may have some loose screws. She refers the monkey as her baby. YIKES!
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