traffic congestion toronto

Morning Brew: John Tory Not Running for Mayor, Ripley's Aquarium at the Foot of the CN Tower, Commuter Travel Times Doubled, Terra Cotta Warriors coming to ROM, Water Main Breaks Galore

Photo: "Get on the GO" by sjgardiner, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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

In somewhat surprising municipal politics news, John Tory won't be running for mayor of Toronto after all. The decision may or may not be tied to the fact that two of his former political campaign managers are working for his opponents Rossi and Smitherman. Additionally, veteran councillor Case Ootes will quit city council after 21 years on the job, which paves the way for Jane Pitfield's return as councilor for Toronto-Danforth in the fall.

Believe it or not, Ripley Entertainment has big plans to make a big tourism splash by building a giant aquarium at the base of the CN Tower (which, incidentally, is now the second-tallest free-standing structure in the world after the 828m Burj Khalifa launched in Dubai this week). City council will assess the plans next week, and if approved, it could be up and running swimming within three years.

We've been complaining incessantly about how bad traffic congestion has become recently in Toronto, and finally there's some hard evidence to back up these claims. A study on commuter travel times on the GTA's highways has found that in some sections travel times have doubled in just two years. Don't believe it? Try driving at 5pm, westbound on highway 401, from highway 427 to Winston Churchill in Mississauga... without cursing or sighing 50 times. Or taking the 401 or 400 or 404 or 410 into Toronto at 8:30am (see Citynews video below).

The Terra Cotta Warriors of China will be making an appearance at Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum later this year. One of the greatest archeological discoveries of our time, the life-size figures protected the tomb of Chinese emperor Qin Shinhuang Di some 2,200 years ago. Almost equally interesting to see would be how these guys are shipped.

Water main breaks continue to be a burden in and around Toronto. Earlier this week, residents had to evacuate as floods surged into their homes in Silverthorn, and more recently Queen's Quay (as well as Vaughan and Brampton) were hit with similar problems.

And it's expected that five men, who are being sought by police for a sexual assault that took place in a hotel on New Year's Day, will turn themselves in today after their photos appeared in pretty much every newspaper and television news broadcast yesterday. Is it just me, or do they look like they could all be brothers (or clones)?

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