first day winter

Morning Brew: Winter Solstice, TTC Signaling Problems, Film Lounge Raided, Megabus Crashes, DriveTest Strike Over

Photo: "First Ice" by M_Ruth, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

What's happening in the GTA (and sometimes beyond):

Happy winter solstice (aka the first day of winter)! It only gets better from here, as the days begin to get longer rather than shorter.

TTC subway service between Bloor and King on the Yonge-University line is down and shuttle buses are running (as of 7:57am) due to switching problems. It's Monday morning commuter headaches again. Is it just me, or does our subway system suffer from signaling and switching problems far too often? Maybe the Toronto Sun should do a piece on this phenomenon, rather than running yet another (holy shit, enough already!) piece on subway suicides. UPDATE: Signal problems have been solved, and it's all-clear on the Yonge line (8:44am).

Film Lounge, a club on Dundas near Spadina with a history of problems, was raided by police last night and 15 people were charged with drug possession and trafficking offenses (of coke, k, and jib - oh my!). The venue was allegedly running as an after-hours venue, and has been operating with undercover police watching for months. When the cops barged in and announced the raid, apparently most patrons tossed their narcotics onto the floor, making it a virtual labyrinth of GHB vials.

Pearson Airport is almost back to normal (i.e. on-time) flight service, after a massive Nor'easter storm threw off departure schedules from a whack of north-eastern U.S. airports this weekend. At least we escaped being pummeled by snow, right?

For the second time this month, a discount bus liner (Megabus) en route between New York City and Toronto crashed near Buffalo. In both cases, weather and road conditions may have been factors, but in this recent incident, it appears that a sleepy driver was to blame.

The unionized workers' strike at DriveTest Ontario is finally over, and most driver examination centres across the province will be re-opening in the New Year. With workers having been off the job since August, there's a corresponding massive backlog and a need to hire 100 new staffers as a result.

Because Ontario red wine is generally quite cloying and unsatisfying (and grapes highly susceptible to poor expression due to variations in our growing conditions), vino-scientists at Chateau des Charmes are actively experimenting with cross-breeding of varietals to produce hybrids that are more suited to our cold growing climate. I'm of the opinion that rather than trying to re-invent the wheel (with limited success), Ontario winemakers should be putting more emphasis on perfecting production of cold climate varietals that we already do well (i.e. whites, late harvests, and ice wine).

And between last-minute shopping and sips of rum- and nutmeg-spiked eggnog, here's what blogTO was up to this weekend:

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