yonge dundas square toronto

Morning Brew: Pride parade bans group from participating, charges laid in staged collision on the 400, gridlock expected throughout the summer, Bay Station closed for long weekend, all night booze service proposed for Nuit Blanche

Toronto's Pride parade has banned the controversial group known as Queers Against Israeli Apartheid. The Board of Directors voted on the matter yesterday, but won't comment publicly on the decision until a press conference is held Tuesday. The group has been the subject of criticism in the past, notably from former councillor Kyle Rae, who was one of the first informed of the ban. Mayoral candidate Giorgio Mammoliti has also put forward a motion to pull Pride's Toronto-based funding if the organizers don't uphold the City's anti-discrimination policies. With the announcement earlier this month that Pride would not be receiving federal funding, it's likely that pressure of this nature played a role in the decision. A Queers Against Israeli Apartheid member indicated that the group would contest the decision, adding that "We're very sensitive to issues around anti-Semitism and in no way do we believe that talking about Israel's state policy is anti-Semitic."

Talk about self-serving behaviour, what looked to be your standard car accident on the 400 has turned out to be part of an alleged fraud plot. Calling such incidents "much more extensive than anyone will realize" Kirk Quinn, an investigator with the Insurance Board of Canada, claims that the suspicion arose when evidence at the scene didn't coincide with the version of events reported by those involved. What's worse, the "accident" completely shut down traffic on the 400 (a frustrating situation similar to the one likely unfolding as I write).

On the topic of nasty traffic, beyond the expected long weekend congestion, the City is warning that traffic is going to be nasty throughout the summer. The culprit? Unlike the minor repairs and maintenance undertaken last weekend, more significant renovations to the Gardiner Expressway will be stretch through the summer. For an extensive look at what this will mean, this Globe article has got you covered.

Those travelling on the Bloor-Danforth line over the weekend will want to take note of the closure of Bay Station. All east and westbound trains will end at Museum, forcing passengers to cross the platform and board trains that will take a detour around the closure. As much as that might seem to be a pain in the ass, the bonus is that trains heading east from Museum will use Lower Bay Station, a popular destination for urban explorers and film crews.

A proposal before the city's Economic Development Committee would see all-night drinking hours instituted during this year's Nuit Blanche. An accompanying report, which claims that the Alcohol and Gaming Commission has no problem with the proposal, states that "this all-night dining component is integral to the overall animation of Nuit Blanche and has been met with tremendous success in other international cities hosting Nuit Blanche." Amen.

Other items of interest:

Some of our mayoral candidates have council attendance records that rival those of my undergraduate days.

A 12-year-old was caught riding his bike around Ajax with a loaded handgun.

Speculation regarding Chris Bosh's future continues, though it seems no one really knows what's going on.

And if you're stuck in the city wondering what to do over the long weekend, here are some recommendations.

Photo "happy crowds and marching bands" by tapesonthefloor, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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