Toronto News

Morning Brew: Christmas comes early for Rob Ford, Toronto seniors get sexy for good cause, Pearson Airport gets festive, and the Flames douse the Leafs

Looks like Christmas came early this year for Mayor Rob Ford as he scored a trio of triumphs this week at his first working council meeting. Councillors voted 39-6 in favour of killing the auto tax on Jan. 1, 2011. They voted 40-5 in favour of slashing their own office budgets by about 40 per cent, to $30,000 from $50,445, and they even opted to ask Queen's Park to make the Toronto Transit Commission an essential service, an item that was supposed to be a nail-biter. Instead, the mayor won 28-17. "It's a great day for the taxpayers of Toronto," Mr. Ford said after eliminating the vehicle fee. "We just put $64-million back in their pockets. They can do what they want. They can go out and spend it, create jobs and stimulate the economy or they can save it." Forget the budget shortfall, in the words of Tiny Tim: "God bless us! Every one!"

Who says seniors aren't sexy? A new 2011 calendar featuring 85- to 95-year-old residents of Toronto's Claremont retirement home has a little fun with the age-old notion that seniors just want to settle in for a snooze or a game of shuffle board when the sun goes down. Instead, each month of the After Dark calendar features photos of late-in-life pursuits such as skinny dipping and preparing for a glamorous night on the town. Money raised by the calendar goes to Free The Children. Previous calendars, including The Joy of Living and the Swimsuit Issue, have raised enough money so far to build two schools in Africa. The calendar can be purchased for $12 at Claremont or here.

Even if you're trying to escape from the Christmas cheer this year, Pearson Airport is adding some sugar and spice to your traveling experience. Mrs. Claus and an elf will be reading stories to youngsters, carolers will wander the terminals to entertain passengers and there will be services in the Terminal 1 chapel for those flying Christmas weekend. Winter scenes will be projected onto the ceiling at Terminal 1 and guest service representatives will be decked in red and white scarves, handing out candy canes. Greater Toronto Airports Authority spokesperson, Trish Kale, says, "This is part of our new strategic direction as a company to be more customer-centric." Last year 30.4 million travelers passed through Pearson.

What easily could be mistaken for a foolhardy episode of "Bosom Buddies" turns out to be a strange-but-true crime story in Waterloo. Police say three men dressed as women to rob a jewelry store Wednesday. Waterloo Regional Police have released video of the suspects robbing the store wearing dresses and head scarves.


Photo by Subjective Art in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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