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Morning Brew: Ford backs tax hike for new subway, east end fire causes streetcar woes, in praise of the Don River flood bank, tracing the Pan Am Trail, and big heat looms

In something of a reversal from his previous positions, Rob Ford now says he's open to a small tax hike in order to pay for an extension of the Bloor-Danforth line to Scarborough centre. The mayor says a 0.5% property tax increase would cost each home about $5 a year provided the province and TTC chips in as well. Could it work?

"I'm pretty sure we've got a deal going," Ford declared on his weekly radio show regarding the subway. The mayor and his brother called extending the subway east from Kennedy an investment, saying the impetus to get it built came from the people of Scarborough. Will the subway become a key byelection issue?

The 504, 505 and 506 streetcars remain on diversion this morning after Saturday's two-alarm fire at Broadview and Gerrard. The overhead wires at the intersection will need to be completely renovated once the gutted building is demolished. Until then, the King, Dundas, and College cars will be replaced by buses beyond Broadview.

Not many know it, but a giant, $130-million, highly-complex pile of dirt shields much of the east downtown from flooding. Built during work on the Canary District, the West Don Lands housing development, the flood barrier sits beneath Corktown Common guarding against a sudden rise in the Don River's waters - a disaster that could flood as far as Bay Street.

Now that Toronto is (hopefully) getting a multi-purpose trail that will cross the city from the airport to the zoo, the Globe and Mail has traced the route the $1.9-million Pan Am Games legacy project will take. Most of the trails exist and most of the construction will involve connecting the disjointed pieces. It's expected to be done around 2015.

The Centre Island maze could be about to return after its demolition in 2011. This week, city council will discuss replanting the some 5,000 White Highland cedars that once confounded visitors and locals alike. The Star has some history on the maze, which opened in 1967. Should the city help fund the project?

Today is going to be another scorcher. The City of Toronto has issued a heat alert, warning that temperatures could reach 33 C with humidex values making it feel closer to 40 C. The hot weather is expected to linger until the weekend.



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

Image: Neil Ta/blogTO Flickr pool.

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