Old Toronto

Morning Brew: Inside the Don Jail, "no sauntering" is just one of the TTC's forgotten by-laws, Wheels-Trans service in jeopardy, the Jays win, and Toronto janitor hits the jackpot

Ever wanted to know what it's like behind bars at one of Canada's most notorious jails? The Globe and Mail takes us inside the Don Jail, which was once considered North America's largest prison, before it closes to make way for a new penitentiary. Among some of the creepy facts: Judges have said that a day in the Don was worth at least two in most other prison settings; a harrowing discovery of 15 skeletons buried in an exercise yard a few years ago; and a rancid odor that staff call their "morning scent."

I sure wish this by-law was more regulated. TTC riders, who should know by now that they're not supposed to put their feet up on seats or urinate in public, probably don't know that "lingering, sauntering, or remaining in or on TTC property without due cause" is also forbidden too. That forgotten rule is spelled out in By-Law 1, a code of conduct for transit users that was created in the 1950s and updated in 2009. The by-law's other unique restrictions forbid bringing in sleighs and tobbogans during peak hours and using a disguise to obscure your appearance.

And if weird by-laws weren't enough to contend with, the TTC officials are facing some tough decisions about their Wheel-Trans service for the disabled. Budget constraints are limiting the service's resources. Though Wheel-Trans customers ride on the same tickets and tokens as those on the mainstream system, it depends on city subsidies for 95 per cent of its $91 million annual operating revenue.The TTC is considering who will get the service and how it can be delivered.

The possibility of marijuana being legalized in Ontario looks doubtful if Ottawa has anything to say about it. The Public Prosecution Office of Canada announced Tuesday that it's appealing the Ontario court ruling that declared the federal medical marijuana program unconstitutional in the case involving Matthew Mernagh. Mernagh is still optimistic that the previous ruling will stand.


Photo by sevres-babylone in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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