toronto aura

Morning Brew: Federal cash could fund relief line, Ford gives an awkward speech, lobbying changes abandoned, elephants could fly, and Toronto critters have babies

$14 billion of federal money earmarked for new infrastructure in the latest budget could help pay for the Downtown Relief Line. The Building Canada Fund, which will be topped up over the course of its life, also includes $4 billion for projects of "national significance." Karen Stintz is hoping roughly a third of cash for the new line could come from the feds. Does this give you hope the line could get built soon?

Rob Ford "pounded" out an "awkward and embarrassing" pro-casino speech to a gathering of Orthodox rabbis this week, despite being asked to attend to learn about the Toronto Eruv, a group that helps people on the Jewish Sabbath. Ford was "disheveled," according to coun. Joe Mihevc, and threatened to run against anyone who opposed a casino at the next election. Yikes.

Lobbying at city hall won't be reined in to business hours. The mayor's executive committee voted yesterday to defer advice from the lobbyist registrar indefinitely. Linda Gehrke said lobbying on topics from the Toronto casino to the Pusateri's valet area should take place between 8 to 6 p.m and only at community meetings. Was shelving the suggestions the right call?

A TTC operator has opened subway doors in a tunnel for the second time in a week. The incident during rush hour yesterday morning happened between King and Union stations while the train was stopped at a red light. The Commission is blaming the incident, which led to a 9-minute delay, on a trainee error.

Also in TTC, two fare collectors are facing charges over stolen money. It's alleged Krishna Rajkumar and Paul Vardy took customer's money without depositing it in the fare box.

The ROM has a startling new exhibit - 2,400 dead birds killed by flying into Toronto buildings. The fowl display was organized by Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) and shows crumpled examples of 91 different species. The group says around a million birds die each year after after colliding with buildings in the city.

Bob Barker is hoping Toronto Zoo's aging elephants can be flown to California on a military C-17 aircraft rather than taking the journey by road. The city is in talks with the Department of National Defence to hire a plane, at Barker's expense. Toka, Thika and Iringa will move to the PAWS sanctuary by the end of June. Make sense?

Finally, baby squirrels, owls, raccoons, and possums are being born and hatched all over the city now winter is drawing to a close. Sadly, every spring about 2,000 orphaned animals are taken in by the Toronto Wildlife Centre at Downsview. Things are quiet now, but staff told the Toronto Star "the floodgates will open" soon.

IN BRIEF:

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

Image: "aura rising ii" by ronnie.yip/blogTO Flickr pool.


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