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Morning Brew: New chief planner focuses on transit, more charges for Empress Hotel accused, a sewer crisis, a toilet victory, a weird t-shirt, and music on the GO

Toronto's new chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat says transit, the waterfront, and creating a walkable city will be top priorities in her new position. Keesmaat told the National Post that Rob Ford's firing of TTC chief executive officer Gary Webster "gave her pause," but says she accepted the position because of her love for Toronto. Here's Keesmaat talking about walking at a TEDx event earlier this year.

The man accused of lighting the fire that destroyed the former Empress Hotel at Yonge and Gould last year is facing 29 new charges related to several other arsons in the city. It's alleged Stewart Poirier burnt several dumpsters and lit two fires in homes, including one at the Sackville Street community housing residence he used to live in.

The shit could be about to hit the, err... Don. A gaping crack in a huge mainline sewer under the Don Valley is threatening to send raw sewage pouring into the river. Work to build a bypass tunnel around the damaged section near Coxwell and O'Connor recently hit a snag when groundwater prevented workers sealing the 2.6 metre diameter pipes together.

In a victory for the little guy, cabbies waiting at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport can now use the public washrooms in the mainland terminal instead of two portable outhouses. Airport management reportedly banned the cabbies for repeatedly leaving the public facilities in poor condition, but a media outcry seems to have forced a u-turn on the potty policy.

Feel like swimming across Lake Ontario? You're not alone, reports The Star. More and more people are attempting the roughly 45-50 kilometre crossing to the United States.

If you're in the market for a new summer clothes, consider this "three Ford moon" t-shirt. No guarantees about what wearing this will do for your street cred. (via Reddit)

And finally, here's Roz Green and Jim Seale, two members of Toronto folk band Borders, serenading GO passengers on a late-night, Union Station-bound train recently. If only all commuter trains came with live music.


Photo: "Exposing Toronto Islands - 2" by Subjective Art in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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