Reflection photo

Morning Brew: Mayoral debate mostly predictable, TTC pursues open payment system, Niagara tourism beats up on Toronto, Conrad Black a model prisoner, OPP probe, more G20 photos and Yonge St. renewal

Last night's CP24 mayoral debate met with widespread boredom and a little frustration from the many live-tweeting the proceedings. Not only was Ben Mulroney there to annoy everyone, but the only candidate to take a firm stance on the G20 -- one of the topics under discussion -- was, predictably, Rob Ford. Echoing a post-911 George Bush, Ford offered this little gem: "Either you support the police or you don't support the police here.... This is black or white. I support the police." He then took a shot (mostly) at Thomson, saying that she and the other candidates were "sticking up for the protesters." Heaven forbid one would support the right to free assembly!

There were other heated moments, including another Ford jab at Thomson, who he called a "nice lady" but with "zero political experience." This prompted the other candidates to demand an apology from Ford. Ugh. Perhaps it's my own skepticism, but this crop of candidates is anything but inspiring. Maybe one can take solace in David Crombie's theory that the election won't really begin until after Labour Day.

Adam Giambrone has announced that the TTC will pursue a plan to introduce an open payment system that will allow passengers to pay their fare by waving a credit card, debit card or even their cellphone at the turnstile. The technology will be similar to the Paypass and Zoompass, but not everyone's happy. Rocco Rossi promises to scrap it if he's elected mayor, claiming that the Presto Card is the better option because it will allow for subsidies from the province.

Deploying a classic but often inaccurate dichotomy, a series of ads touting the benefits of a visit to the Niagara region depict Toronto as a big, bad and noisy city. Imploring viewers to "shake the city," the ads show scenes of Toronto's graffiti-covered alleyways, a couple discovering their bikes have been stripped of key parts, all while car alarms ring in the background. I suppose all of these things do happen in Toronto (graffiti, stolen bikes, etc), but I've never been so stressed-out by life here that I just had to escape. And certainly not to one of the tackiest towns in North America...

In Brief:

We'll find out shortly (the hearing starts at 8:45 a.m. in Chicago) about the conditions for Conrad Black's bail. Not surprisingly, he's been described as "the complete model prisoner."

John Lornic examines many of the signs that urban renewal is taking place on Yonge St. south of Bloor.

Toronto police will release an additional 21 photos of G20 suspects to go along with their original most wanted list.

The OPP has targeted the recently renovated building at 101 Bloor St. West as part of a government corruption investigation. The probe hinges on "irregular transactions" between government staff and renovation contractors.

Photo: "Piper St. Reflection" by Ian Mutto of the blogTO Flickr pool.


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