toronto honest ed's

Morning Brew: Funeral for Sammy Yatim today, voting begins in local byelections, Ford wages war on graffiti, shocking homelessness stats, and a Stanley Cup parade

The family of Sammy Yatim will lay him to rest this afternoon as questions continue to surround the circumstances of his death at the hands of Toronto police last Friday. The Globe and Mail reports the officer who fired the fatal shots had called for a tazer moments before shooting. As a constable, James Forcillo was not permitted to carry the electric stun device.

It's byelection day in Etobicoke-Lakeshore, Scarborough-Guildwood, and three other provincial ridings, and several current or former city councillors are hoping to claim a seat at Queen's Park. Coun. Peter Milczyn (Liberal) and Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday (PC) are battling it out in the west end of the city while Adam Giambrone (NDP) is hoping to make a comeback in the east. Predictions?

Watch out, graffiti, there's a new sheriff in town, and he wants you to call 911 if you see anyone wielding a can of spray paint. That's right, in another salvo in his perpetual war on graffiti, Rob Ford has hired a removal company to tackle Toronto's painted menace to the tune of $400,000. As Metro's Matt Elliott points out, the Goodbye Graffiti webpage is truly something to behold. It's got a weird peanut thing, fireworks, and a live "Remove-O-Meter."

Roughly 16% of Toronto's homeless population has served in the Canadian military, according to a survey conducted by the City of Toronto. The figure was included in the city's 2013 Street Needs Assessment that was released on Wednesday. Officially there are 447 homeless people in Toronto, up 24% from 2009, and the average time spent on the streets is 7.5 years. Do these figures surprise you?

Lobbyists for practically every conceivable cause have registered at City Hall in the hopes of swaying a councillor to vote in their favour. The most lobbied topics, according to a detailed new resource on the Toronto Star website, are economic development, planning and signs. Also adult entertainment, apparently.

The days of the scramble crossing at Bay and Bloor could be numbered due to "weak performance," according to the city. At a community meeting last night, the chair of the Pedestrian Projects Unit said the all-way crossing wasn't working as well as Yonge and Dundas and Yonge and Bloor. Right now 5,000 pedestrians and 3,000 vehicles use the crossing per hour, peaking on weekday afternoons. Other crossings are used more consistently by a higher number of walkers. Time to cut the cord?

Finally, the Stanley Cup will be paraded through the streets of Toronto by a Maple Leaf this weekend. Dave Bolland, who scored the winning goal for the Chicago Blackhawks in this summer's Stanley Cup Final, will carry the cup in his last act as a member of his old team. He was traded to Toronto in the weeks after the team's second win in four years.


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

Image: Sally Hunter/blogTO Flickr pool.

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