Santa Claus Toronto

Morning Brew: Rob Ford's year, Christmas in jail, Ontario choir has most watched YouTube video, and pigeons under attack in Moss Park

He started as a dark horse candidate, only to win the race and then some. The National Post takes a look at Rob Ford's year and what's to come in 2011. Some of the highlights (and lowlights) include: Councillor Adam Vaughan stating in March that Ford's candidacy was not "serious;" it was Ford's catchy slogans, like "gravy train" and "the party's over" that ultimately gave his campaign an edge; pinkos; killing Transit City, and the recent rumoured split between him and his chief of staff, Nick Kouvalis. If 2010 is any indication of what the future holds for this administration, it's this: nothing is certain except that Ford will keep doing things his way.

Finally, an answer to the age-old question:"Does Christmas feel different in jail than other days?" The answer: Yes and no, according to Anthony Valaitis, superintendent of the Toronto West Detention Centre. What's different: "Some of the guys do reflect on the fact that they're not home for Christmas, and generally it's quieter, more reflective," he says. The part that stays the same: "They're in jail." But what inmates in Toronto's four jails can expect is a festive meal with all the trimmings, including turkey, pudding and pie. Though they are allowed visitors, gifts are not, with the exception of a Salvation Army tradition of distributing treats called "Sunshine Bags," which I think is a cruel term of irony.

Well, it is the season of miracles and the tenants of 200 Wellesley Street certainly deserved this one: Toronto Community Housing says it will extend its settlement package deadline for the highrise residents. Many are seeking compensation for their losses and for stress, but they claim the housing authority has been reluctant to negotiate. Legal-aid lawyers who had been helping some of the residents said they were withdrawing their services in protest over the inflexibility of the deadline and their tactic seems to have worked, but it's not all smooth sailing as the TCH's website states: "The original Jan. 21, 2011, deadline has been eliminated. No new date has been set. Toronto Community Housing will give tenants four weeks' notice of the new deadline."

Don't worry, folks. The number one viewed YouTube video isn't a Justin Bieber video or even the Bed Intruder song, it's something a little more surprising and gracious: "Hallelujah" by the so-called "flash mob" choir that performed at a food court in Welland, Ontario has taken the honour. The 80 member Chorus Niagara showed up at the Seaway Mall in November and spontaneously serenaded surprised shoppers with a rendition of the Christmas carol "Hallelujah." Now, seven weeks after the video was uploaded, it's has more than 25.7 million views--a YouTube record.


Have a safe and happy holiday!

Photo by Allan Parke in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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