Toronto Beach

Morning Brew: the underpopulated Southdown Institute for troubled clergy, a Toronto coffee conspiracy, McParland on Miller, councillor travel spending, good news from the TTC

The Star has a lengthy feature on the Southdown Institute this morning. Located in Aurora, this is a facility for troubled clergy, including those who have sexually abused minors. But despite the Church continuing to appear in headlines across North America for such instances of abuse, the Southdown Institute is half empty. Numerous reasons for this are cited, some of which were a surprise to me. On the more obvious side, the decreasing number of priests and a lack of diocese funds are tabled. But, more interestingly, the theory is put forward that sex abuse scandals have reduced so dramatically that they're mostly a thing of the past.

Is there a coffee conspiracy in Toronto? Well, yes -- but it might not be what you think. Seven cafes across the city -- including Mercury Espresso Bar, Blondie's, Lit Espresso Bar, Manic Coffee, Crema, Dark Horse, and Sam James Espresso Bar -- have banded together to form the Toronto Coffee Conspiracy or TCC for short. The collective's goal is to promote independent cafes that "focus on quality, freshness, and a desire to help the industry really move forward," says Matthew Taylor, initial founder of the group and co-owner of Mercury. So far the TCC has offered a "dis-loyalty" card that encourages customers to sample the coffee at all the participating establishments, and there are plans to continue to such cross-promotions.

For those who can't wait to see the end of David Miller's mayoral term, the Post's Kelly McParland has a scathing editorial outlining his failures in the realm of transit. Citing the troubled St. Clair streetcar corridor as the only initiative that Miller launched and completed, McParland argues that the mayor's only transit achievement has been to increase gridlock on our roads. Ouch.

After giving Adam Giambrone the gears for his travel expenses yesterday, it appears the Sun has decided to be fair and reveal some of his fellow councillors' spending. The majority on the list -- which includes Maria Augimeri, Shelley Carroll, Paula Fletcher, Giorgio Mammoliti, Joe Pantalone and Bill Saundercock -- broke the $10,000 mark with Pam McConnell's $14,961 at the top of the list.

And because I forgot to mention it yesterday, I'll note that there was some good news from the TTC leading into the weekend. St. Clair, Main, Broadview, Dundas West and Bathurst stations should all have next-vehicle-arrival screens for streetcars up and running. And also in action are fare-vending machines at nine stations, which allow riders to use their credit or debit card to buy passes.

Photo: "Urban Beach" by Jason PJ, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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