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Morning Brew: Examining the budget surplus, TTC loses doughnut receipts, a Royal couple is coming, mourning lost bike posts, and a 10-minute Ford "subways" remix

Rob Ford might be patting himself on the back for yesterday's higher-than-expected budget surplus but, as it turns out, the numbers aren't quite what they seem. According to Matt Elliott's blog, Ford for Toronto, most of the cash came from land transfer tax revenue - something Ford has campaigned against and promised to kill. The surplus numbers are also actually slightly lower than those turned in by previous mayor David Miller and his budget head, Councillor Shelley Carroll. Seems like average is the new achievement round these parts.

TTC auditors shone a light yesterday on several practices in place at the Commission that led to construction delays, budget overruns and even the loss of receipts for $10,000 worth of doughnuts. Apparently senior staff failed to submit paperwork for the treats - handed out to reward good safety records - in 2010. "We deal with contracts for hundreds of millions of dollars, and some folks may laugh at us for chasing down a box of Timbits. But this is what drives the public crazy" said Glenn De Baeremaeker, speaking to the National Post.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will visit Toronto during their Canadian tour next month as part of Victoria Day celebrations, the federal government has announced. They might not be as lithe and media-friendly as the royal couple du jour but as stuffy, medieval British relics go, they'll do just fine. Will you be taking time to see the royals when they arrive in Hogtown?

There isn't much to like about Toronto's info pillars, especially if you're a cyclist. Not only do the cumbersome monstrosities block sight lines and look dreadful, they're also responsible for the removal of several ring and post bike locks. In memoriam, a Mexico City-based art collective, the same group behind Kensington's Wile E. Ford mural, has painted "ghost locks" beside the metal stumps left sticking out of sidewalk at College and Euclid. (via @keyholesessions and Torontoist)

Underpass Park aside, most of the space under the Gardiner Expressway that would otherwise be prime real estate (were it not for the thundering traffic) is wasted. The Grid's Senior Editor and political columnist Edward Keenan went down to Lake Shore Boulevard to unveil his own plan for the lengthy strip of bare land - a walkable market.

So it was always bound to happen - someone has stitched together all of Rob Ford's subway mentions from the now infamous March transit debate into one epic 10-minute rant. OK, so it's looped, but can this joke ever get old? Skip to the end for that other word.


Photo: "Khalsa Day 4" by alisdair jones in the BlogTO Flickr pool.

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