toronto queen west mural

Morning Brew: Rob Ford wants fewer checks, admits he needs to smarten up, casino has huge towers, meet the TTC voices, a Queen West mural, and a bag ban video

Rob Ford says he wants to abolish the city's ombudsman and other watchdog offices to save money at city hall. This comes conveniently the same day integrity commissioner Janet Leiper and ombudsman Fiona Crean delivered reports critical of his on-air conduct and involvement in the civic appointments process. Speaking from the Don Bosco football field, the mayor questioned the need for multiple, independent groups overseeing conduct at city hall.

In related news, that missing list of preferred appointees for city boards, dubbed "hearsay" by Doug Ford, surfaced yesterday. Then, suddenly, a public admission of failure from the mayor. I'm assuming you agree with Ford's self criticism?

Twin condo towers sketched into a casino proposal for the Metro Toronto Convention Centre could be the country's tallest buildings if only we'd just let the developers go ahead and build them. Oxford Properties Group, the company behind the proposal, also promises a large city park over the rail tracks near the CN Tower and free candy for everyone! OK, I made up that last part.

If you've ever wondered about the voices behind the TTC's automated station announcements, The Star has an answer. Susan Bigioni (subway) and Cheryl BomĂŠ (streetcar), both TTC employees, recorded the original audio files for the GPS-controlled navigation system and apparently love performing their greatest hits.

Today's lead image shows the latest in a series of murals conceived by Toronto artist Jesse Harris. High up on a wall near the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health this week, the piece is designed to provide a positive message for visitors to the centre as well as a comment on West Queen West's recent growth. How about it?

Ever wondered what kind of a living purgatory Toronto would become under a stifiling plastic bag ban? "Reverse the Bag Ban," a group clearly against the idea, unleashes the horror in a recent video.

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