Toronto Winter

Morning Brew: Pan-Am games to cost more than expected, Court says nope to religious dope, Tories want to bring back "a buck a beer," thumbs up and down for Steeles West Station, and Salad King to reopen February 22

Toronto city council signed off on spending an extra $47-million, almost double the original estimate, to host the Pan Am Games in 2015. About $23-million is to remediate the soil of a former dump site that will be converted into an aquatics centre at the University of Toronto Scarborough campus. Another $21.3-million accounts for inflation, because the original estimate was made in 2008 dollars. The rest is for upgrades or other new facilities. Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday grilled City Manager Joseph Pennachetti, who admitted staff "should have been clearer" with the original estimate.

The TTC says it will make up for the majority of its $11-million budget shortfall through extra riders and extra fares. The commission said on Monday that it needs to cut its 2011 budget and released a list of ways it intends to make up the shortfall. In January the TTC proposed raising fares by about 10-cents per ride. Now it says that if fares stay the same it will mean 487 million rides -- four million more than anticipated -- during 2011 and that should mean an extra $7-million collected through fares.

Nice try, dudes. The Church of the Universe, which uses marijuana as a sacrament, lost its bid Monday to be exempt from Canada's pot laws. It launched the constitutional challenge in defence of two members charged with drug trafficking. The Crown argued that the applicants' religion is a "sham" and a "joke," a parody of religion designed to legitimize illegal behaviour. But if you look at the photo of the two founders, you can totally tell they've found God. Or something.

Has politics really come to this? The provincial Tories say if elected this fall, they would consider lowering the price of cheap beer back to $1 a bottle. If that were the case, the minimum price of beer would go from $25.95 to $24 for a case of 24. So obviously we know who's going to win now.

When we wrote about the new plans for Steeles West Station, reaction on the part of readers was decidedly mixed. Some liked the redesign, others thought it too Flinstones-like, and still others wondered if the TTC could divert funds from its capital to operating budget. The Star does the thumb up/thumbs down thing this morning in asking a variety of sources what they think of the renderings.


Photo by Still the Oldie in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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