toronto waterfront

Morning Brew: Rob Ford says he'll skip Pride, protestors call for the mayor's head, change of plans for Doug Ford, soil tests at uranium plant, and Rube the Rice Man dies

Looks like Rob Ford is going to be absent for this summer's Pride parade. The mayor told Kiss 92.5 FM's Maurie Sherman that if the event falls on the Canada Day long weekend when he normally takes his kids to Muskoka then he'd skip out. It does. Could Ford have shown up after the comments he's reported to have made in the alleged crack video?

The announcement came as hundreds of people gathered in Nathan Phillips Square to demand Ford resign over recent drug allegations. The event was organized through Facebook and some protestors left chalk messages on the concrete. "Enough is enough. This is embarrassing for the city. He should do Toronto a favour and step down," organized Rob Freake told the Star.

Looks like Doug Ford is re-thinking his provincial political ambitions. PC house leader Jim Wilson told reporters Ford "is not our candidate," adding "I don't even know the guy." The mayor's older brother and city councillor told listeners on his Newstalk 1010 radio show if he didn't get a call in the Spring he'll reconsider. The pair also spent time bashing the media.

The provincial government says it's going to test the soil around a controversial GE Hitachi uranium plant on Lansdowne Ave.. The plant has been operating in the neighbourhood for 48 years and has managed to remain low-key, keeping a perfect record in air and soil tests. Concerned local groups have been pushing for the soil tests since the plant became public knowledge last year.

The latest long-range weather forecasts are calling for a relatively mild summer compared to last year's scorcher. Most of Canada is expecting higher than average temperatures, while this part of Ontario is expected to stay "near normal." Boo.

The weekend's Ride for Heart cycle event on the Gardiner and Don Valley Parkway raised over $5.5 million for heart and stroke research, $500,000 more than last year. The annual event closes both highways and opens the space to sponsored bikers. 13,000 people rode between 25 and 75 kilometres.

Some sad news now. Rube Marcus, a 40-year veteran of the St. Lawrence Market and an all-round well-loved character, has died at 92. Known as "Rube the Rice Man," Marcus had operated a stall in the basement of the Front St. centre since 1973. There will be a special gathering at the market on Wednesday for an "unpretentious celebration" of Rube's life.

Finally, downtown hamburger joint The Burger's Priest is taking a trip back to the 1970s and the glory days of fast food in a new commercial. The video pays "homage to the halcyon days of fast food - a throwback to a simpler time in both north american cuisine - and video production." The company opened its fourth location at Queen and Spadina on Saturday. Enjoy.



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

Image: Val K/blogTO Flickr pool.

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