Toronto News

Morning Brew: Ford promises to freeze property taxes, the Urban Sound Ecology Project, Ombudsman's report on the G20 coming soon, HNIC's days numbered?

Somewhat lost among all the Transit City talk yesterday is the fact that Rob Ford promised that he will freeze Torontonians' property taxes in 2011. The surprise commitment, which was more of an aside, is curious since during the campaign when George Smitherman had promised a freeze, Ford dubbed it "impossible." The new mayor didn't explain further where he would find the cash to hold taxes either. So I wasn't being "silly" when I thought Ford reminded me a lot of Mel Lastman...

Have you ever gone on a walk in the city and then longed to remember the sounds you heard? Perhaps with ice cream bells ringing and children laughing, or at night out with murmurs of conversation, the screech of tires and a couple drunkenly screaming at each other? You're not alone. Greg J. Smith, a web designer, and his partner Max Ritts, a Vancouver-based geographer, have created the Urban Sound Ecology Project, an online archive of non-narrated walks recorded on the streets of Toronto and Vancouver. They wanted to create a historic record of their cities' soundscapes. The website is part database, part public diary, and users can listen, learn and contribute their own recorded walks if they want to. One highlight: the intersection of Bay and Grenville streets on June 25 of this year when Smith recorded the steady thud of riot police banging their shields as they marched down the street during G20 protests. But has it been tampered with?

Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin announced he is finishing his probe into the controversial law the province amended before the G20 summit--an unpublicized change the public was led to believe gave police extra powers to enforce security around the summit's perimeter in downtown Toronto. Marin sent out a tweet early Wednesday morning announcing that he will release his report next Tuesday. "Announced 1rst on Twitter: our #G20 investigation report to be released Dec 7 @1pm. More deets to follow..." You've gotta trust a man who's got Twitter-speak down to a science 'deets' and all.

"Hockey Night in Canada" will die if Rogers Communications seizes control of the Toronto Maple Leaf empire, industry analysts say. The deal would create a shift in the way hockey rights are acquired in Canada, igniting a bidding war, with the CBC left off the table because it "doesn't have the money to compete," says Steve Billinger, CBC's former general manager of digital programming and business development. However before you HNIC fans get your shorts in a knot, another news report in the Globe says that no deal is imminent and talks with the media giant have stalled. Personally, I could care less either way as HNIC hasn't been the same to me ever since they changed the song.

In Brief:

Photo by sniderscion in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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