Morning Brew: Businessman pays to keep skating rinks open, Rob Ford's lawyer files request to overturn audit of election campaign finances, city staff recommend the permanent closure of Gould Street to vehicular traffic, and Leafs win again

How's this for a holiday gift? Local businessman David Rothberg has paid to keep the Dufferin Grove, Wallace Emerson and Campbell skating rinks open for three days of public skating (Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Year's Day) when they would noramlly be closed. And, if that wasn't enough, cups of hot chocolate and bowls of hot soup will also be available. It helps that the rinks are the work of Jutta Mason, a big believer in building community in the winter.

Yesterday, lawyers for Rob Ford filed a motion requesting that an Ontario court nullify a full forensic review of the mayor's election campaign finances and instead, hold a new hearing that would allow new evidence. According to the 13-page pleading, Ford's election organization officials hadn't quite finished with the campaign books last May when the investigation was ordered. Apparently, they filed additional financial statements this fall. How convenient.

City staff is recommending that Gould Street, which runs through Ryerson University near Yonge and Dundas, be closed off permanently from traffic pending approval from the Toronto and East York Community Council in the new year. The street has been tested as a pedestrian thoroughfare since September 2010 and features seating areas, potted plants, and space that's been used for farmers' markets and student festivities.

Should all Toronto stores be open on Christmas Day and the other eight statutory holidays too? You can help Toronto councillors decide that age-old debate online. This issue, of course, is nothing new. Retailers out of the designated "tourist zones" (i.e. Eaton Centre, Yorkville) have been advocating the change for years. So what do you think? Do you want to see our stores open all year-round?


Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Photo by syncros in the blogTO Flickr pool

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