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Morning Brew: High Park house explosion, Espresso Institute of North America, John Tory not running for mayor, Pride decision causing major rift, toddler forced cocaine, largest lottery jackpot in Canadian history

A house in High Park, that's been unoccupied for some time and appearing to be under renovation, exploded early this morning, sending debris onto the street and prompting a 3-alarm response from firefighters. Fortunately, nearby houses were spared. The cause is under investigation.

There's a new school opening in the city, but curriculum is not going to have the standard reading, writing, and arithmetic. The "Espresso Institute of North America" is a school of coffee that will open in Little Portugal. The brainchild of Ezra Braves, owner of Ezra's Pound, will teach burgeoning baristas the finer skills of roasting, brewing and serving coffee, machine maintenance, and more.

Rampant speculation (and for some who are dismayed by the lack of choice in the current candidate list, hope) has been put to bed. After moderating a mayoral candidates debate last night, John Tory set the record straight and quashed rumours once and for all by declaring definitively that he has no intentions of jumping into the 2010 mayoral race.

Disagreement regarding Pride Toronto's decision to ban the "Queers Against Israeli Apartheid" from marching under that name in this summer's parade is reaching new heights. In response to the controversial decision, which has been regarded by many as exclusionary and censoring, this year's parade grand marshal has resigned and more than 20 recipients of Pride Toronto awards have returned them. It's a deepening rift in a strong community, and at this rate, it will have a significant impact on the festival.

I suppose the most glaring question is "how would anyone do this?" A publication ban on a case involving despicable child abuse has been lifted, and the identity of the mother revealed. Tamara Broomfield has been found guilty of: administering a noxious substance, aggravated assault by endangering life, and assault causing bodily harm... after it was discovered that she was giving her toddler cocaine and physically abusing him. The child, now 7 years old, is plagued by all kinds of medical and mental problems as a result.

And Canadians across the country are taping clovers together in hopes that they might win a piece of the largest ever lottery jackpot in Canadian history. This Friday's Lotto Max draw totals $70 million and has even those who see lotteries as a tax on the stupid buying a ticket.

Photo: "City of Shadows" by syncros, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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