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Morning Brew: By-election cost reaches $9M, dubious parking tickets, the London Rocket fights back, panda problems, finding diversity, and Captain John hangs on

The cost of a mayoral by-election could be as high as $9 million when the cost of campaign donation rebates are factored in. Apparently donors are eligible for refunds of large portions of campaign cash, something that wasn't factored in to the initial $7 million figure. Should council appoint a mayor to save money?

The Toronto Star has found numerous cases of drivers ticketed for parking in bike lanes (it does happen, apparently) the only trouble is the cars were on top of sharrows - curbside road markings reminding bikers and drivers to share the road - not full blown cycle tracks. Looks like 4,000 drivers could be in line for a refund. What do you think?

A group of students whose plans to run a cheap bus between Toronto and London were thwarted by legal threats from Greyhound Canada are responding with a push back. A lawyer has taken on the case pro bono after the bus company said they were the only ones licensed to provide scheduled transit between the two cities.

Chinese officials planning to send a breeding pair of giant pandas to Toronto Zoo have hit a snag: both the animals are, on closer inspection, both female. Good thing they figured that out before they packed them on a plane.

Over at the Grid, writer David Topping seeks out Toronto's most diverse neighbourhood, and the results might surprise you. The area that's home to the most nationalities is Flemingdon Park. The lest diverse: The Beaches, where 86.8% are native English speakers.

Beaches residents shouldn't worry, though, because they're getting a brand new public toilet. The City of Toronto is taking the wrapping off its new automatic convenience on Lake Shore Boulevard East at Northern Dancer Boulevard, the second of twenty to be installed in the city, later this morning. The toilets cost a quarter and come with a heater and self-cleaning mechanism. So that's something.

"Captain" John Letnik, the restauranteur ordered to close his floating restaurant at the foot of Yonge earlier this year, is still on board living in "squalor" according to the Star. Letnik is gradually stripping out the ship now that the city has ordered the sign removed from the restaurant but still hopes for a new harbour berth. Should the city find a new place for Captain John's?

Bathust Street is closed between Harbord and Bloor due to a garage fire and streetcars are diverting to and from Spadina station. Avoid the area it if you can.

Hey, straphangers. The Yonge-University-Spadina line is going to be closed between Union and St. Andrew stations this weekend for essential work at track-level on the second platform project under Front Street. Trains will be turning back in both directions but the rest of the line remains open. The stretch is scheduled to re-open first thing Monday.


Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Photo: "Sundial Folly" by dtstuff9 from the blogTO Flickr pool.

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