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Morning Brew: Ontario teacher walkout looms, casino meeting favors "no," sending messages to space, ferries could get ad wraps, and Leafs want better with Nonis

High school teachers planning to strike over controversial Bill 115 tomorrow could be fined more than a thousand dollars each, according to the Toronto Star. If the strike goes ahead, more than 400,000 students will be forced to stay home from school, an outcome Premier Dalton McGuinty is hoping to avoid by going to the Ontario Labour Relations Board today. The union believes the action is allowed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Judging from the crowd at City Hall last night, the public isn't willing to gamble on casinos. The first of five public consultation sessions on the subject ended with momentum firmly in the "no" camp. A splinter group broke from the official event shortly after the start to discuss ways of keeping a major gambling facility out of the downtown core.

Speaking of consultations, Metrolinx is gearing up for its own series of public meetings on how best to fund the next phase of Big Move transit projects for the province. There's currently a shortfall of several billion dollars that needs to be plugged. The first meeting is in Oakville on Jan. 15 at the Halton Regional Headquarters between 6-8pm.

Commander Chris Hadfield has been snapping pictures of the Earth from his position aboard the International Space Station, including a few of a snowy GTA and Lake Ontario region. Now, there's a plan to signal the astronaut next time he passes by. CBC Metro Morning's Matt Galloway floated the idea of a mass wave, possibly using lights, yesterday.

Toronto's ferry fleet could be wrapped in gigantic advertising banners to help raise much-needed operating funds. Back in 1999, Heritage Toronto killed plans to cover the Sam McBride in bright green Kool-Aid wrap for a summer after several councillors raised concerns the move could hurt the city's image. More than a decade later, is this a good way to raise revenue?

Finally, the Toronto Maple Leafs are hoping for a fresh start under new GM Dave Nonis. The team's owners fired Brian Burke as president and general manager yesterday afternoon but decided to keep coach Randy Carlyle. Surely Stanley Cup number 14 is just a few slapshots away...


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

Photo: "365 - 322" by yedman from the blogTO Flickr pool.

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