Morning Brew: Storm leaves thousands of Torontonians without power, Ford might not follow through with getting rid of land transfer tax, Bloor Street makeover is finished, universities want to keep pedestrian walkways, and Jays beat A's

That was one heck of a storm yesterday afternoon that hit the GTA and southwestern Ontario. Buckets of rain and intense winds knocked down trees, as well as knocked out power for 6,000 Toronto residents. Major flooding impacted highway and local traffic (including subways), but the worst hit of all was Goderich Ontario, which endured one of the province's worst tornado in years, killing one person.

IS Rob Ford set to break another campaign promise? First it was service cuts and layoffs, and now it seems he might not eliminate that land transfer tax after all. Last October, he did warn he might not follow through with that promise until 2012, and with the budget shortfall facing the City this year, keeping the tax, which last year brought in $274 million, might be necessary.

If you've walked down Mink Mile recently, you might have heard a strange new sound: the sound of silence. The four years of construction is now over - the granite sidewalk is installed, along with the fancy new lighting and plants and trees - and now businesses are expecting a giant boom for the rest of the year, including a slew of new stores that will open just in time for...Christmas. Yeah. I said it. And it's only four months away.

In more pedestrian news...for the past year, students of Ryerson University and U of T have been enjoying the tables and chairs and planters that have replaced traffic on roads running through both campuses, and with one month remaining on the spaces, the universities don't want to let them go. Calling it the "main artery" for the campus, the pedestrian walkways apparently provide a sense of community for the schools.

And, in breaking news this morning, Federal NDP leader Jack Layton has died at 61. It's a sad day for both Toronto and the rest of the country. For more on Layton's life and career, here are articles from the the Star and the Globe.


Photo by Un-Flickr in the blogTO Flickr pool

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