Morning Brew: Budget Committee votes for more library cuts, Karen Stintz does the Undercover Boss thing, the city's new and old gambling dens, Pages is now a condo sales centre, GO fares are going up, and Craig Scott takes Toronto-Danforth for the NDP

Two swimming pools were saved from the budget axe, but, alas, libraries were not. Yesterday, the city's budget committee insisted the public library cut another $7-million from its budget, which will likely mean reduced hours and the purchase of fewer items. The pools (located in the wards of executive members Jaye Robinson and Paul Ainslie) were saved by that extra tax revenue we wrote about last week. All decisions must be approved by city council next week. Has Margaret Atwood tweeted anything yet?

TTC chair Karen Stintz can now add reality star to her resume, sorta. Stintz spent 10 days as a brunette, nose-ring-wearing transit worker by the name of Ruth Bear for the popular reality TV show Undercover Boss Canada. Stintz worked five shifts in total and even had to clean buses overnight and everything. She was fascinated to learn how many employees take great pride in their work.

Apparently Ernest Hemingway once called Toronto a "famous betting town" and for good reason. The Toronto Standard asks us to take a look at Toronto's gambling dens, both new and old, by comparing the Globe's recent article on the city's present-day illegal dens with the Standard's June 2011 article on Toronto's gambling dens in 1910.

The fate of the building that used to house Pages Books and Magazines on Queen West has finally been revealed thanks to the Grid: it's a condo sales centre! After closing its doors two and a half years ago due to unsustainable rental increases, the space has remained vacant until now. The "presentation gallery" (the sales centre) is for Picasso on Richmond, a 39-storey condo project for 318 Richmond west.

And here's some not so welcome news for GO Transit riders. Metrolinx approved a 30 to 40 cent fare hike (the specific amount depends on how far one travels), which will take effect February 18th. I guess the transit provider thought "everyone's doing it, so why can't we?"


Photo by Jeff Stewart in the blogTO Flickr pool

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