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Morning Brew: Cllr. Raymond Cho goes provincial, Ikea monkey owner plans protest, Metrolinx eyes heritage building, fixing Wheel-Trans, and elephants pack trunks

There could be another by-election on the horizon in Toronto. Tim Hudak's PCs have named veteran city councillor Raymond Cho as their candidate for the Scarborough-Rouge River riding, meaning the long-time Ford critic will have to take a leave of absence to run. Cho said "Ontarians' democracy has been hijacked" and pledged support for new subways under Hudak. If he's elected, Cho's Ward 42 seat will be up for grabs.

The owner of Ikea monkey says she's planning to picket Toronto Animal Services this afternoon in protest at an adjournment in her upcoming appeal hearing. Yasmin Nakhuda is concerned she won't be able to get her hands back on Darwin, her pet rhesus macaque that escaped in an Ikea car park just over a week ago. Is this going to far?

Metrolinx has eyes for the former Mt. Dennis Kodak building as the western terminus of the Eglinton-Crosstown LRT. The abandoned historic building could also become office space for the provincial transit agency, according to Inside Toronto. A consultant for the company thinks it will be possible to tunnel under the white, four-storey structure without resorting to demolition.

The TTC's Wheel-Trans service could be in for an overhaul. Toronto's auditor general says the cost of running the door-to-door service for people with mobility difficulties needs to be reduced. One idea is to offer users a free ride on regular transit to try and reduce the 2.7 million trips made using the service each year. The average cost of a Wheel-Trans trip is $31. Should Wheel-Trans be reigned in?

Ooh, dĂŠjĂ vu. Toronto Zoo's trio of African elephants will be PAWS bound in spring, ending a lengthy tug of war between city councillors and zoo staff who preferred the animals be sent to an under-construction facility in Florida. Surely this is a done deal now?

The Barnes Dances, an infinitely better name for the faintly-gory "pedestrian scramble," is an invention generally credited to Henry Barnes, an American that popularized the all-way crossings in several US cities. The Atlantic Cities has a history of the crossings that appear in Toronto at Yonge and Dundas and Bay and Bloor.

Hey, budding photos. Here's a video explaining how to put together a neat spinning video for the CN Tower or other tall buildings. By taking photographs at several strategic points around the perimeter of a tower and stitching them together you can make a cool twirling effect.


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

Photo: "Assortment" by Dominic Bugatto from the blogTO Flickr pool.

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