Toronto Sunset

Morning Brew: Plane lands on the 407, Miller defends priority neighbourhoods, Thomson imitator in Ward 32, police cleared in shooting of mentally ill man, TTC unveils new subway cars

A small airplane made an emergency landing on Highway 407 late last night, whilst somehow causing no injuries or traffic accidents. The 407 was closed from Warden to Woodbine last night as the plane, which is registered to a Toronto resident, was towed to Buttonville airport. Few details are available on what problems the pilot encountered; a telephone call to the plane's registered address was picked up by the pilot's wife, who said her husband, who she says is a "meticulous and detailed person" and has been a pilot for more than 10 years, told her that his engine had stopped and forced him to land. So, er, what's the toll like for planes?

Mayor Miller thinks Rob Ford's suggestion that the city's "priority neighbourhoods" program is a waste of money and should be scrapped would be a tragic mistake. Ford made the comments during the mayoral debate on Thursday, saying that "I coach football in a priority neighbourhood and I haven't seen the benefits." The program has cost the city $13 million since it was implemented after the last election, with $25 million more coming from partnerships. Critics point out that the program's success is hard to measure. "My reaction [to Ford] is that I would love to have a day to take him out and show him some really tangible evidence of what is happening in the 13 priority neighbourhoods," said CEO of United Way Toronto Susan McIsaac. Other advocacy and community groups have also expressed concern at Ford's comments. The other mayoral candidates have said they would continue to support the program, though just Pantalone and Rossi are true believers; Smitherman says he has concerns about limiting support to certain areas of Toronto. What do you think, reader? Noticed any change as a result of the program?

Martin Gladstone, a candidate running for city councillor in Beaches-East York, has dropped out of the race to support opponent Mary-Margaret McMahon in an effort to ensure the defeat of incumbent councillor Sandra Bussin. The Beaches councillor has become a controversial figure, due to her inflammatory and, uh, semi-anonymous call to a radio show about last summer's garbage strike during which she insulted the show's host, and, more recently, for her public defense of the Boardwalk Pub's infamous 20-year contract. Gladstone's move, reminiscent of Sarah Thomson's bow-out earlier this month, came as a surprise to McMahon, though she said she's "thrilled" that he's decided to support her candidacy. In a statement, Gladstone said he hopes his supporters will share his goal of unseating Bussin and bringing "the real change we all desire" to Ward 32.

Toronto police have been cleared of misconduct by a coroner's jury in the shooting of Byron Debassige, a mentally ill man, in 2008. Debassige was shot in Oriole Park after he had stolen some lemons. Police, responding to an armed robbery call, said he moved came toward them with a knife. Debassige suffered from schizophrenia, was on probation, and was drunk at the time. The jury, as is usual in cases like these, made some recommendations to ensure this type of incident is not repeated, including that alternatives be found to have the mentally ill in jails, and having more psychiatric teams on the streets, but it did not recommend more training for police, as other juries have in the past.

Mayor Miller and the TTC are set to unveil the Rocket's new subway cars on Thursday, close behind the TTC's official launch of its Google Maps integration on Tuesday. Riders will have an opportunity to view the new design in a couple of weeks and, in the meantime, you might see them roll by as they're tested in the tunnels. The cars feature "flashing route maps" and accommodate 10 per cent more riders and will be in service on the Yonge line by the end of year. The new cars were supposed to be ready earlier in the year but were delayed by problems with the doors. Gotta get that chime just right!

Photo by[dscphoto] in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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