Morning Brew: U of T launches $2-billion fundraising campaign, Americans laugh at our ball-less school, Occupy Toronto is a tourist attraction, Mona Fruit Market is no more, Toronto Taxpayers Coalition releases report card, and Leafs lose to Canes

Are university donors ready to loosen their purse strings? The University of Toronto thinks (hopes) so as it unveiled the largest university fundraising campaign in Canadian history last night. Just how much are they aiming for? Oh, just about $2-billion. Since U of T president David Naylor took his post six years ago, the university has already raised $966-million so it's believed that attaining the extra $1-billion over the next few years should be a cinch. With all that cash coming in, there shouldn't be any reason to raise tuition fees then, right?

The controversial "ball ban" at Toronto's Earl Beatty Public School has made waves in the U.S., making the Weekend Update segment on "SNL." Rush Limbaugh even jumped on the bandwagon during his talkshow, saying: "This is how you wimpify kids. This is how you turn 'em into a bunch of wusses. Can you believe this?" Well, that's not really appropriate to say, but I do think it's high time for those kids to get their, uh, balls back.

Here's one reason why the city might want Occupy Toronto to stick around: it's a tourist attraction. Local visitors, as well as international ones, are making the trek to St. James Park to see what the fuss is all about. One tourist, from Holland, who's seen the Occupy movements in New York and Boston, said of Toronto: "It is less conflicted than in other cities. That gives me some hope for the people here, that they won't be evicted."

An Annex staple, The Mona Fruit Market, is no more. The neighbourhood institution, just west of Bloor and Spadina, was known by locals for selling the best fruit in the city despite its limited choices in produce (the $1 deals didn't hurt). Good news: apparently the stand will relocate to another site.

The Toronto Taxpayers Coalition has released its 2011 report card, giving the City of Toronto a C+ for its efforts to handle municipal finances. Perhaps surprisingly, Rob Ford — so called finder of gravy — only made a B. Grades for the 44 city councillors can be found here, but there aren't too many surprises. Denzil Minan-Wong received an A+, while Adam Vaughan and other left-leaning members of council mostly got Fs.


Photo by MSVG in the blogTO Flickr pool

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