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Morning Brew: Big snow and high winds slam Toronto, Rob Ford looks at an owl, workplace fraud costs half a million, carbon copies keep going, and scaring pigeons

Posted by Chris Bateman / February 8, 2013

toronto lake iceSnowpocalypse, snowmageddon, whatever we're calling it is here. The white stuff is causing plenty of disruption this morning and there have already been numerous school closures. The bulk of the wild weather is expected during this morning's commute and Environment Canada is calling for up to 30 cms of snow and driving winds. Stay safe!

Cold weather is fun and games for a lot of people but for Toronto's homeless its a life or death battle that all too often ends in tragedy. The Grid has an important graphic illustrating all 700 homeless deaths on city streets since 1985, weather related or not.

Elsewhere, Rob Ford got up close and personal with a great horned owl at the Sportsmen's Show yesterday. The mayor also took part in a simulated fishing experience and fired pellet rounds in a shooting range during his tour of the event. The owl, who is accustomed to humans, briefly flapped its wings in Ford's face when startled by a flashbulb, resulting in yet another bad photo face and the beginnings of a new meme, "Fordcock." (h/t: @goldsbie and @RandyRisling)

Workplace fraud cost Toronto taxpayers more than $500,000 in 2012. According to a report from the auditor general, 774 complaints translated into 25 punishments for everything from fraudulent health care claims to to accessing porn on a city computer. The report will be presented to the audit committee next week. Here's a list of highlights.

Business is booming for Form Mate, the last carbon paper supplier in Canada. The sheets of inked paper, once used to duplicate documents in offices all over the world, gave their name to the "CC" (carbon copy) field in today's email applications. The Star found out how the North York company is able to keep itself afloat in the electronic world.

The Grid has traced weird sounds from a photobooth at Bathurst station to the TTC's latest attempt to stop pigeons boarding its subway trains. A box above the machine made by company Bird-B-Gone emits a sound the feathery critters, and some commuters, just can't stand. It's thought the in-station bakery is what entices the birds inside.


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

Image: "Inhabiting Winter - 6" by Subjective Art/blogTO Flickr pool.



K / February 8, 2013 at 08:23 am
It is a beautiful morning! "Snowmaggedon" is pretty darn funny though, I feel terrible for those caught in traffic- but I don't feel sorry for those who can afford winter gear but don't wear it. As for those who are homeless, to anyone that is reading this- but them a hot beverage or find some old winter gear for them to wear- place your judgements aside and just be nice.

As for the strange sounds from subway stations- it's nothing new. Commuters should just deal, it's everywhere in the city. It is either that or they get shot... and in some places they do shoot the pigeons.

But that aside.... c'maaaan you know you want to make a snow angel!!!
Lindsay / February 8, 2013 at 12:55 pm
Seriously? You're calling this mini snowstorm 'snowmageddon"?? This is nothing compared to what most areas of the country call a snowstorm. Snowmageddon would describe "White Juan" that hit the Maritimes in February of 2004 where some ares saw upwards of 100cm in snowfall, for example. ( Though this is probably the first weather event I would call a snowstorm since moving to Toronto 3 years ago, it's still pretty minor.
steve replying to a comment from Lindsay / February 8, 2013 at 01:09 pm
Why is there a need to compare the weather that happens here to weather that happens there. By comparison to the weather that we experience here in Toronto it is pretty major. Whats happens elsewhere bares no relevance to the weather that happens here.
Lindsay / February 8, 2013 at 01:18 pm
Wow, apparently expressing an opinion about how people are over-reacting to the severity of the storm isn't allowed and ends up being deleted. Sorry if I offended you--cause BlogTO NEVER offends anyone with their posts.
Big Fuckin Mega Boat / February 8, 2013 at 01:23 pm
Ok guys, I've done extensive internet research over the past 3 minutes or so, and there does not appear to be much in the way of guidelines as to what constitutes a "Snowmageddon". Could we all agree that it's a "shitty day" outside and end all the bloodshed?
Quebec / February 8, 2013 at 01:25 pm
I ask everyone out there to say a prayer for poor Toronto, which is currently being ravaged by an average Canadian snowfall. If this doesn't let up soon they won't be able to get to their organic groceries and I fear there will be wide spread cannibalism, even among the vegans.
Aaron / February 8, 2013 at 01:29 pm
Lindsay / February 8, 2013 at 01:37 pm
I apologize for the comment about my post getting deleted. It wasn't showing up on my end for awhile and I assumed (incorrectly obviously) that It had been deleted. So please accept my sincere apologies for accusing BlogTO for deleting my post.

As for comparing this storm to others, it's pretty hard not to when I've lived in several places across the country and everytime there's a snowfall here, there seems to be a huge overreaction to it. Yeah, the weather is a little crappy, but it doesn't warrant calling it snowpocalypse or storm of the century (as I've seen it called elsewhere). People in other parts of Canada make fun of the how badly Toronto overreacts to a little bit of typical Canadian weather, and I don't blame them. I love Toronto in a lot of ways (hence why I now call it home), but this is one of those things that I find completely laughable. We are lucky that we have such a mild and low snowfall season here in Toronto, but seriously, buck up! This storm is kind of a non-event.
Al replying to a comment from Lindsay / February 8, 2013 at 01:47 pm
"Snowpocalypse" was sarcastic. The only one overreacting on here is you.
Lindsay replying to a comment from Al / February 8, 2013 at 02:12 pm
BlogTO might be using it in a sarcastic way, however the rest of the city is not.
Robert replying to a comment from Lindsay / February 8, 2013 at 02:36 pm
Lindsay Toronto does not get an average Canadian winter, we get low winter precipitation relatively mild temps and erratic freeze and thaw cycles.. When it swings far one way or the other it becomes significant in Toronto. By your take on things if it snows in Houston no one should make comment on it because it has snowed elsewhere id the world.
Other Cities: Montreal