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Morning Brew: Snowplow death trial set to begin, bingo halls want e-bingo, council is against a casino, protesters block CP tracks, and saying goodbye to the penny

Posted by Chris Bateman / February 4, 2013

toronto sunriseThe trial of Richard Kachkar, the man accused of killing Sgt. Ryan Russell with a stolen snowplow, will begin today. It's alleged Kachkar led police on a chase through the streets of Toronto on the stolen vehicle before he hit Russell, an 11-year veteran of the force, near Avenue and Davenport in the winter of 2011. Russell was the first Toronto police officer killed on duty in more than a decade.

Bingo just ain't what it used to be. Toronto is down to just six struggling gaming halls that are being stymied by a serious image problem. E-bingo, a version of the game played on flat-screen computers, could be the way forward if city council backs the idea. The National Post has some great pictures from inside Delta Bingo near Downsview station (and the rest of the story too.)

The great casino debate has powerful activists on both sides of the coin, but perhaps where support matters most is at city hall, where an April vote will likely decide whether or not we allow a company to build a major gaming complex in the downtown core. According to a rough Toronto Star poll, the majority of our 44-member city council is against the idea, despite the benefits touted by gambling companies. Where do you stand?

A group of protesters blocked the CP tracks near Dupont and Dufferin yesterday, citing concerns over a uranium processing plant that's been operating in the neighbourhood for decades. The GE-Hitachi facility on Lansdowne Ave. processes uranium dioxide powder into pellets for use in nuclear reactors. The protestors say the mining of that material is harmful to the environment.

The Flatiron gift shop in the Village is no more, the latest casualty of the neighbourhood's shifting identity. The Toronto Star looks at the changing nature of the LGBT area and others with similarly strong identities in Toronto.

Finally, the humble penny is officially no more as of today. Sure, the little copper coins won't vanish immediately, but retailers will start collecting the coins and rounding cash totals to the nearest 5 cents. The CBC carries the 1-cent coin's obituary today.


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

Image: "Untitled" by francisLM/blogTO Flickr pool.



EricM / February 4, 2013 at 08:11 am
So, the protesters who blocked the tracks yesterday have now changed their argument completely after the initial argument was debunked... and drew a total of twenty people who don't live in the neighbourhood. Sad.
Robert / February 4, 2013 at 08:40 am
Lest get rid of the myth that the rents are to high to attract business on Church Street. The evidence is just not there. None of the shops on the strip are high rent stores they are franchise(individually owned akin to 'mom and pop' with a corporate banner) The Xtra article that this is rehashed from states the owner of Flatiorns pays $3000 a month rent, when Zelda's closed it was rumoured the rent was $35000 for a 2200 square foot space plus a 2000 square foot patio. A recent add in the real estate section of a local paper said the UPS shop was $4500 a month. That indicates rents are $10 to $12 a square very reasonable for Yonge and Bloor. Yorkville goes for $300 a square foot. It's a dumpy strip of retail with too much attitude, too many nimby's and a BIA that seems to be bewildered about what to do.
Laura replying to a comment from EricM / February 4, 2013 at 08:54 am
The whole thing actually upsets me quite a bit. I guess you could say I am an activist. (let the haters come out) I was involved with the prorogation protests years ago, occupy and supported idle no more movement. This thing bothers me though, because it never had a real basis in fact and when that happens it just makes activism look ridiculous. The First Nation involvement was really upsetting because it takes away from the focus of their very real issues and ties them to something that (as someone who is also a B.Sc) was pretty nuts from the start. It just seems so exploitative and this type of activism is the problem and not the solution. Activism is to important to be treated this way.
CheckYourMath replying to a comment from Robert / February 4, 2013 at 09:55 am
Sorry your math is wrong. Price per square foot is calculated annually. You must first multiple the monthly amount by 12 then divide by the square footage to get the price per square foot.

Doing the correct math brings Zelda's rent to $100 per square foot. I have previously priced space in the village and they spaces ran between $75 and $100 per square foot, this is fairly high and difficult for an independent business to afford.
Scott / February 4, 2013 at 10:42 am
Laura -- I'll second your opinion that the Church BIA is bewildered about what to do. And those ridiculously ugly rainbow pillars that cost a FORTUNE are another clear sign that they just don't know what they're doing.
Lyn / February 5, 2013 at 05:31 am
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