Fire Yonge and Gould

Morning Brew: Fire at Yonge and Gould, Roncesvalles too narrow?, automated toilet a tourist attraction, TTC bus driver denied council seat in Oshawa, chaos at a New Year's party

A six alarm blaze has consumed the historic building at Yonge and Gould streets (pictured above), which had been sitting abandoned since mid April when its facade collapsed. The fire started just after 4 a.m., and required the attention of 32 firetrucks and 125 firefighters, two of whom fell through the roof of an adjacent building and were rescued by colleagues. The best image of the blaze so far comes from the CBC. It shows an absolute inferno at a time when few firefighters had arrived on scene. Although the fire department says they have the upper hand on the flames, there are street closures all around the area -- most notably on Yonge between Gerrard and Dundas (which is anticipated to last until noon) -- so commuters beware.

The Post checks in with Roncesvalles store owners regarding the construction they've endured over the 16 months or so and finds that many aren't happy with the results of the project. They cite reduced traffic lanes and subsequent congestion as their main gripe, and there's speculation that TTC streetcars will have a difficult time passing parked cars due to the narrowness of the road in certain areas. The reality is, however, that it's still early and signs have not been put up to instruct drivers where they're forbidden to park their vehicles.

As of mid December, Toronto's automated public toilet had been entered 8,200 times, which officials say exceeds expectations. But what's perhaps more surprising is that it's become quite the destination for tourist photos. "Look Mom, this is where I just..." The next three locations to receive automated pay toilets will be announced in the near future.

Mike Nicholson, a TTC bus driver who resides in Oshawa and won a council seat there in the recent municipal election has been told that he can't hold public office and work for the Commission at that same time. He's now calling on Rob Ford or TTC chair Karen Stintz to pass a motion that eliminates such a stipulation. "I don't understand how Mr. Ford can sit back and let this happen to somebody," he said before noting that if his wish were to be granted he'd "be prepared to stand up and say 'you're the greatest mayor in the world.'"


Photo from the City of Toronto Archives.

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