Toronto News

Morning Brew: Hundreds of Wellesley fire victims to return home, Toronto's shrinking middle class, Ford rallies the troops, Roncesvalles food and film fest, and the Leafs win out west

That Christmas song sums it up best: "there's no place like home for the holidays" for the 144 families who are allowed to move back in 200 Wellesley Ave E. after being evacuated by a massive fire 11 weeks ago. Residents of the 12 bottom floors in the north tower will be allowed to return gradually over the next week; however, residents of the higher units will not be allowed to move back until sometime next year when repairs are completed. The Ontario Fire Marshal's office is still investigating the cause of the fire.

According to a new paper by U of T professor David Hulchanksi, Toronto's shrinking middle class is making the city one of socioeconomic extremes. Toronto, which was a predominantly middle-class metropolis just three decades ago, is increasingly dominated by two opposite populations - one with an average income of $88,400, and another of $26,900. Hulchanski says, "It's only going to become worse." As the paper suggests, if the trend continues, Toronto in 2025 will have a concentration of high-earners along the lakefront and the city's subway lines surrounded by low-income areas - with almost nothing in between.

Mayor Rob Ford sure does love a good a rally. Via email, the "Rob Ford Team" is asking supporters to come to City Hall on Thursday as council deliberates on matters "of great importance to the future of our city." The matters today include abolishing the car registration tax and slashing councillor budgets. "In support of our new Mayor, Rob Ford, you're encouraged to come pack the Council Chambers in support of these important votes," Team Rob Ford appealed. "Be there early to ensure you get a good seat!" Who's bringing the popcorn?

It sounds like the plot of an action movie: a police recruit must choose between his passion for martial arts and becoming a famous fighter or join the police force. But for Toronto officer Sean Pierson, this is his life right now. "I'm being asked do I want to fight or do I want to be a police officer?" Pierson reached the pinnacle of his martial arts career this weekend, when he was called into UFC 124 in Montreal to replace an injured fighter and won. However, he had to hand in his uniform and stay away from work while the force investigates his situation. Police spokesman Tony Vella did not comment directly on Pierson's case but said every police officer who has paid "secondary employment" must first clear it with the force.


Photo by Ian Muttoo in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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