cherry blossoms

Morning Brew: Toronto Star forces TTC to release official complaints (and they aren't pretty), Harper doesn't like Homolka, Jays seeing record low attendance, Queen's Quay makeover approved, flights start leaving Pearson, pot smokers to light up

While it's not breaking news, or isn't mostly news to us at all, the Toronto Star has confirmed that TTC riders are fed up with rude and offensive behaviour by TTC staff. The transit commission was forced to release official rider complaints (the Star used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain some 300 written missives), and they don't paint a pretty picture.

Stephen Harper has cited convicted rapist and murderer accomplice Karla Homolka as reason for change to our too-soft criminal justice system. After serving sentences in full and in the fullness of time, convicted criminals earn the ability to apply for a pardon, and 99% of requests for pardon are granted. But how many of these pardons are for lesser crimes? I'm willing to bet that Homolka would find herself in that 1% who don't get the pardon on request. That said, I'm not sure that Harper's attempt to pull on our emotional strings is genuine or a ploy to muster up support. I mean, no one can disagree that Homolka deserves nothing but pain and suffering for the rest of her life, right?

The Toronto Blue Jays are off to a good start to the 2010 season - on the field at least (with a record of 8 wins and 6 losses). But they also just broke a record that has them hanging their heads low to avoid seeing a sea of empty blue seats. Last night, for the second time this week, an all-time low attendance was recorded at Rogers Centre. Torontoist's Christopher Drost has some excellent timelapse video (embedded below) of the near-empty stadium during last Thursday's game.

The proposed makeover of Queen's Quay between Parliament Street and Spadina Avenue (which involves car lane reductions, widening of pedestrian walkways, adding greenery, etc.) has been given final approval by the provincial government. Everyone seems to like the proposal, but some are concerned about being able to secure enough funding to see it through completely.

After five days of being stranded, some passengers are finally able to leave Toronto, bound for Europe. A Toronto-Paris flight got out last night, but flights to London, Munich, and Berlin were still canceled. The disruptive cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption has proven to be problematic for airlines and passengers, who have either been stuck and extending stays or finding really exhausting or expensive out-of-the-way detours or alternatives.

And it's April 20th (aka 4/20) today, which in pot-smoker speak means that at 4:20 p.m. we should all light up in celebration of the good stuff. If all goes as planned there will be a lot of smokers out, and airspace over Yonge-Dundas Square will restricted due to the plume of cloud from the ganja eruption.

Photo: "blooms at sunset" by Murielle L

, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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