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Morning Brew: Rob Ford defends robocalls, Ainslie will file a complaint, an update on the future of the Gardiner, and new hope for historic George Street homes

Rob Ford says he doesn't regret deploying robocalls in cllr. Paul Ainslie's ward and says more are coming. Ford appears to have ordered and voiced a recorded message criticizing Ainslie's support for an LRT at the last council meeting. Previously the Scarborough representative had backed a subway. Ford told listeners of his radio show that it was his duty to tell residents how their councillors vote. The messages came shortly after Ainslie quit the mayor's executive committee.

Ainslie says he will complain to the city's integrity commissioner and the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) over the matter. The calls came from the mayor's own city hall phone line - 416-397-FORD - but it's not clear if Ford broke any rules. Does he have a cause for complaint?

Toronto could make real-time data on the condition of roads and bridges available to the public if the public works and infrastructure committee gets behind the idea. The data would be made available online and "easy to access and easy to understand," says cllr. Denzil Minnan-Wong.

Meanwhile, the city will reveal details later this morning of the next phase of the Gardiner Expressway environmental assessment. When complete, the document will provide options for the future of the elevated road from Jarvis to Leslie Street, whether it be tearing the road down, fixing it up, or building an all-new structure. Keeping the Gardiner open is expected to cost $500 million over the next decade.

A row of dilapidated 19th-century George Street homes that have experienced years of neglect, mysterious fires, and mistreatment could find new life as a shelter for at-risk seniors. The Seaton House, a shelter at 339 George Street, is planning to buy and renovate the properties for additional capacity. Cllr. Kristyn Wong-Tam says renovating the homes would set a precedent for future developers.

Finally, Toronto Zoo's trio of pachyderms, long the centre of a debate about re-homing, have left the public eye for the last time. Thanksgiving Monday was the last time the visitors could view elephants Iringa, Toka and Thika before they travel over land to a sanctuary in California. The animals are due to travel before the end of the month.



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

Image: Vik/blogTO Flickr pool.

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