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Newsstand: August 30, 2010

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Illustration by Matt Daley/Torontoist.


Oh joyous, sweltering Monday in August! Here’s what happened this weekend: panhandlers with credit cards, Darcy Sheppard remembered, and a friendly reminder that—surprise!—it’s hot out.

What happens when you give a Toronto panhandler a credit card? Toronto Star reporter Jim Rankin did just that, using five credit cards loaded with either fifty dollars or seventy-five dollars. When people asked him for money, he handed them a card and told them to go buy whatever they needed, so long as they returned the card when they were finished. The story carefully details exactly how the money was spent by each participating individual. Many did exactly as directed, taking the card, spending the money, and returning it as promised, while others took it and disappeared. An unexpected number flat-out declined the offer. The results are surprising and revealing of the negative stereotypes we inadvertently apply to those who make their living asking others for money.
For those of you who spent the weekend in the sanctuary of your comfortably air-conditioned home, Health Canada has some news for you: it’s frickin’ hot out. Those not blessed with a home cooling system may have found the official announcement on Sunday by Toronto’s medical officer of health that it was thirty-one degrees out a little less than surprising. Likely the final breath of summer, the thirty-degree-plus temperatures are expected to endure until Wednesday.
It’s been one year since Toronto bike courier Darcy Allan Sheppard was killed in a bicycle versus car confrontation with former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant. On Sunday afternoon, Sheppard’s adoptive father and some fifty couriers and cyclists rode the strip of Bloor Street near Avenue Road where the incident occurred. Though those in attendance insisted the purpose of the ride was to promote cyclist safety, many also expressed anger and disappointment at the Crown prosecutor’s decision in May to drop all charges against Bryant. A white ghost bike was placed at the site of the altercation in memoriam.
Toronto’s police union isn’t saying which mayoral candidate they’re endorsing, but they’re reserving the right to do so, despite official government policy that prohibits officers from publicly engaging in politics. Union leader Mike McCormack is adamant that the association does have the right to endorse a candidate, despite what the policy states. He says he’s waiting for the candidates to make clear their policies on law, order, and officer safety before giving anyone the controversial support of the organization he represents.
Attention amateur reporters: your cameraphone journalism might actually serve a purpose. Toronto police have turned to Minority Report–style high-tech facial recognition software to search the bazillion photos taken during the G20 protests, in the hopes of identifying those responsible for burning four police cruisers and smashing store windows. Police say that 80% of the twenty-eight thousand photos in their possession came from civilian observers.

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