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Morning Brew: Star, Gawker say they've seen video of Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine, the Toronto casino is "dead," LCBO strike averted, and a road sign bonanza

It's going to be an interesting day. News broke early yesterday evening that New York-based news and gossip site Gawker had seen a video allegedly showing Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. The Toronto Star has also seen the recording in question and is corroborating many of the details. Rob Ford's office has yet to respond. Watch this space, folks.

The video is reportedly for sale to the highest bidder. A crowdfunding campaign has been launched in an attempt to acquire the tape at the centre of the scandal. The organizers say the money - currently just $141 - will be donated to CAMH if the purchase is unsuccessful. Does Toronto need to see the tape or is its alleged contents damaging enough?

Elsewhere, Rob Ford has declared Toronto's proposed casino "dead" after a flurry of activity yesterday that saw the head of OLG dismissed and the province admit it's only willing to give Toronto half the amount it expects for hosting a major gaming facility. Ford said he's scrapping an important council debate on the issue. Is this the end for downtown gambling?

Drinkers delight: the LCBO strike has been averted. Union workers have reached a tentative deal with management, cancelling a planned walkout for this long weekend. The agreement still needs to be ratified but at least everyone got a decent stockpile of wine out of this, right?

The latest transportation announcement from the province isn't a subway. The first new project since the city talked transit funding is going to be a provincially-financed extension of Highway 427 north to Major Mackenzie Dr. The 2.2 km stretch is expected to open before 2020 and cost around $500 million.

Toronto's planned sale of disused road signs is garnering an intense amount of interest. The city department responsible for storing the road markers says it has received 2,000 to 3,000 calls since the blogTO story (and later Star story) last week. The stockpile contains about 950 retired road signs.

Finally, here's a picture of coun. Giorgio Mammoliti posing with a panda to soothe you. Mammoliti has been working for years to bring the animals to Toronto and visited China in 2009. He called yesterday's unveiling "a wonderful moment for all of us."

IN BRIEF:

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

Image: Randy McDonald/blogTO Flickr pool.


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