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Morning Brew: Rob Ford's top aide leaves for PanAm Games, Queen and Spadina closed, condo trouble, Toronto Zoo goes ape, and Jays beat White Sox

Rob Ford is on the hunt for a new chief-of-staff after Amir Remtulla announced he is leaving the role for a position with the PanAm Games. There is apparently no friction between the pair but Doug Ford told the Globe and Mail he understands the Remtulla's position, which he held for 18 months, was stressful at times. Remtulla is credited with helping guide the budget, outsourcing of garbage collection, and labour negotiations through city council earlier this year.

Get ready for trouble. The intersection at Queen and Spadina will be closed to all traffic for two weeks starting today. Work crews are replacing the streetcar tracks, pedestrian islands and overhead power cables in preparation for the new vehicles arriving in 2014. The Queen streetcar is on diversion and there is already a replacement bus service in operation on Spadina. Good luck out there.

Turns out creating a thriving neighbourhood is something of a double-edged sword. Mid-rise condos planned for Ossington Avenue and the Beaches are causing plenty of consternation among locals who say the arrival of larger buildings will disrupt the fabric of the predominantly low-rise areas. Both buildings would require a change in zoning laws.

Toronto Zoo's attendance is up a whopping 46% from last year on the back of new white lion and baby polar bear displays. Can we lose those irritating (and annoyingly catchy) "cute fight" ads now?

Anyone who uses a bike as their primary mode of transportation knows the paranoid feeling walking away from the locking post that someone's going to steal your ride. New high-security bike stations popping up across the city hope to alleviate bike worries with CCTV and keycard-only access for a fee. Would you use a service like this?



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Photo: "Urban Jungle" by [dscphoto] in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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