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Morning Brew: Rob Ford decision due Friday morning, Matlow nixes mayor's message, Toronto is walkable, deflating a budget myth, and Gretzky says no to Leafs

The countdown begins. Rob Ford will learn his fate Friday morning at 10:30 when a panel of Superior Court judges release their appeal ruling. If the judges decide to uphold a December ruling by Justice Charles Hackland, Rob Ford will be forced to immediately vacate the office of mayor pending a by-election or appointment from within council. Any predictions?

Also in mayors, official city communications will no longer carry a decidedly Ford Nation boilerplate paragraph. A complaint by councillor Josh Matlow in November prompted the city's communications department to re-think the text that refers to "delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city."

Take that, Montreal. Toronto is the second most walkable city in the country, according to WalkScore, a site that calculates how pedestrian-friendly cities are based on the availability of things like cafes and libraries. Toronto, the company says, was prevented from unseating Vancouver at the top by sprawling parts of Scarborough and Etobicoke but boosted by 'hoods like Church-Wellesley Village and Kensington Market.

Matt Elliott over at Metro has an interesting insight into Rob Ford's favourite budget graph that shows Toronto's gross operating budget flatlining through his three years at the helm of city council. Problem is, the gross operating budget figure isn't really the best way of measuring government spending since it doesn't include absolutely everything. Well worth a read.

The city will look into installing new traffic signals where the Kay Gardner Beltline Park intersects with several streets thanks to a request by councillor Josh Matlow. At present, where there are no bridges, the sinuous park dumps walkers mid-block with no easy way to cross.

Oh, and yeah, it's still cold out there.

A record funded entirely by donated Canadian Tire money by a Toronto musician has finally been released. Corin Raymond and the Sundowners recorded a live, two-disc album called Paper Nickels at the Annex's Tranzac Club this time last year and the group plan to pay the studio bill with the retailer's colourful currency. The band is still $1,100 from its $7,333.75 target.

Finally, Wayne Gretzky says he's not planning to become the next president of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Using a weird double-negative, The Great One told the CBC there is "100% no truth" to the rumor he will take the job recently vacated by Brian Burke. The former Edmonton Oiler has stayed clear of hockey since a stint coaching the Phoenix Coyotes.

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

Photo: "For All Seasons" by Loco_Ono/blogTO Flickr pool.


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