lake ontario record water temperatures

Morning Brew: pay-per-use toilet malfunctions, record high Great Lakes' temperatures, public sector wage freeze proposed, Yonge & Gould building fate remains unknown, Netflix coming to Canada, Byrone Sonne bail hearing

Toronto's first public pay-per-use toilet went out of service briefly yesterday, and a reporter from the Toronto Sun just happened to stumbled upon it in out-of-service state. Met by a locked door and perpetual coin return, a little bit of investigative reporting revealed that a malfunctioning seat was responsible for the automatic shutdown and service call. Since this first unit (costing $400,000) opened on May 19th, the Harbourfront toilet has seen 3500 paid uses (amounting to $175 total intake), although the statistics are somewhat skewed low because some families go in and use the facilities together. Eww.

The Great Lakes are poised to see record-breaking water temperatures this summer. Lake Superior is usually 6째C in mid-July but is reading at a much higher 13째C. Lake Ontario is 2-3째C warmer than usual. Climate experts suggest that the mild winter is mostly responsible, and how the delicate ecosystem will respond to these types of changes remains unknown.

Ontario has a $21-billion deficit and finance minister Dwight Duncan has his sights set on freezing the wages of about 1 million public sector workers as a cost-cutting measure. Freezing salaries of teachers, nurses, and bureaucrats whose contracts are soon up for renewal could save the province $750 million (i.e. we could shave 3.57% off that massive deficit), but the proposal is certain to be met with vehement resistance from the unions representing the workers -- as it probably should be.

Remember the building at Yonge & Gould that had an exterior wall collapse way back in April? The former Empress Hotel is still behind hoarding and its future is still very much unknown. After consultation with engineers, the Mumbai-based owners decided to demolish the building but the City wants it preserved and have had it designated a Heritage site. The owners now have until August 7th to apply for demolition under the Heritage Act.

Netflix, the popular US-based on-demand online film and television service, has announced plans to enter the Canadian market in the fall. Unlimited viewing of streaming movies and TV will be available for a low monthly fee. It'll be interesting to see how already (sort of) established competitor Rogers responds, given that it'll be their bandwidth many subscribers will be using.

Byrone Sonne, the man facing explosives and weapons charges related to the G20 summit, is scheduled for his bail hearing today (which has already been delayed and rescheduled more than once). Authorities believe he was conspiring to commit heinous crimes, while those who know him in professional circles claim that he's an expert in security and surveillance and the materials he possessed were benign. Is "testing security to make sure it's effective" a crime? That question may be what this trial ends up focusing on.

Photo: "A Bike Ride Along the Leslie Street Spit" by collette v, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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