Cherry St. Toronto Harbour

Morning Brew: Smitherman's campaign manager quits, are drug vending machines on the way?, TTC town hall meeting tomorrow, Toronto gets $79-million loan for pre-approved infrastructure projects, the troubles of the Leafs and Raps

It would appear that there's trouble in Smithermanland. Or, if not trouble, there's at least a crisis that needs to be addressed. Citing a need to spend more time with his family, campaign manager Jeff Bangs tendered his resignation yesterday evening. For his part, Smitherman had this to say about the sudden news that he'd need to find a new manager: "I understand and support Jeff's desire to focus on spending more time with his young family and business. As a new father myself, I fully respect his decision. A new campaign manager will be named shortly. In the meantime, I look forward to continuing to advance a positive vision for a city that can - and will - work again." Maybe this mayoral race will be closely contested after all...

Borrowing a page from HBO's Nurse Jackie, high-tech, prescription drug-dispensing vending machines may replace some drugstores in Ontario. With the lost revenue that drug stores will experience as a result of the recently passed Bill 179, Oakville-based PharmaTrust Inc. believes that their machines can fill the hole that will be left by the inevitable drugstore closures that company's like Shoppers Drug Mart and Rexall are forecasting. Not everyone, of course, is a fan of the new machines. Although equipped with live video technology, there are concerns that the removal of face-to-face interaction will compromise safety.

Are you a TTC hater? Or, put differently, are you constantly disappointed by the Commission's customer service failings? Remember, the first in a series of three town hall meetings is slated for 1 p.m. tomorrow at Downsview Secondary school. John Tory will host the panel, and if Facebook attendance intentions can be trusted, mayoral candidates Sarah Thomson and Giorgio Mammoliti will be among those in the crowd.

The federal government announced that it will give the city of Toronto a $79-million loan for pre-approved infrastructure projects. The low(er) interest rate of the loan, should save the city around $3-million over the next 15 years. And, as councillor Janet Davis puts it,"Our budget is, as you know, a challenge. And every little bit will help."

In Sports:

The Leafs play the last game of their troubled season tonight in Montreal. And so the year-in-reviews have started. James Mirtle points out a number of Brian Burke's errors in this article. While the normally hyper-critical Damien Cox sees some signs of progress despite another futile campaign.

And with three fifths of the Raptors' starting line up suffering injuries (some worse than others), it's major crunch time for a team desperate to make the post season. They host their primary competitor, the Chicago Bulls, on Sunday in a game that will have major play-off repercussions.

Photo: "Ship Passing" by Metrix X, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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