Toronto streetcar

Morning Brew: Executive committee meeting runs all night, petition to rename Market Street, Atwood for mayor, can you balance the 2012 Toronto budget?, and the Junction Arts Festival is cancelled for 2011

As I write this, the meeting to discuss the KPMG reports on Toronto's Core Services has just wrapped up — about 23 hours after it started yesterday. Although the spirits of those in attendance remained surprisingly high into the wee hours (I tuned out at around 2:30 a.m.), the all-night session did have its casualties. According to Councillor Mike Layton "almost half of registered deputants (153 of 344) missed their deputations," which he blamed on the bizarre schedule of the meeting. Of those that spoke, only two were reportedly in favour of cutting City services.

Members of Toronto's architectural and heritage communities have launched a petition to rename Market Street to "Oberman Way," in honour of the late Toronto heritage crusader Paul Oberman who died in a plane crash earlier this year. Along with the name change, the petition's creators propose that the street be turned into a pedestrian only plaza and flower market, a project that Oberman pushed for prior to his death. Check out the petition here.

Would you vote for Margaret Atwood as Mayor of Toronto? A recently formed Facebook group proposes just that, and since Wednesday it's racked up 4,400 likes. Online groups like this are notorious for their lack of real political will — it doesn't take much commitment to hit the like button — but it'll be interesting to see how popular the page becomes in the coming days and weeks, especially if the author-extraordinaire starts poking at the Ford brothers again.

Now this is a fun exercise for would-be municipal politicians and city hall watchers (and those who have five minutes to kill). The Star has put together an interactive tool that lets users try to balance the Toronto budget. Although it lacks nuance, the exercise demonstrates well that difficult decisions must be made to reduce the deficit.

Sadly, the Junction Arts Festival has been cancelled this year. "We feel that the community deserves the best festival possible, but the roadblocks have left us with little time to plan the festival that we want to give you," reads a note on the festival website. A variety of reasons have been cited for the hiatus, including tension on the organizing board, member illness, and problems with debt.


Photo by by Iain M Campbell in the blogTO Flickr pool

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