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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

A 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.

IN BRIEF:

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

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


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