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news

Newsstand: February 13, 2012

If today feels like the kind of Monday that makes you just want to crawl back into bed, that's okay. We'll even write you a note. Consider this it. But first, the news: TTC cuts go into effect; one expert thinks the transit system is a "mess"; love is (set to be) in the air at the zoo; a new attraction at Ontario Place (yeah, that's right); Toronto's Grammy glory; and today's a big day for outside workers.

The much-discussed TTC service cuts will seem more concrete as of this week. Starting today, service will be less frequent on routes that include the 35 Jane, 6 Bay, 105 Dufferin North, 85 Weston, and 965 York Mills buses. In addition, off-peak service on more than 35 routes was reduced as of Sunday. It’s not all bad news, however: service increases are to begin this week on 21 bus and streetcar routes, including the 300 Bloor-Danforth overnight route. Yes, this is all really happening. It wasn’t all just a crazy dream.

Those muttering quietly under their breath about these cuts—or about the current state of the TTC in general—need not feel alone with their less-than-stellar opinion of Toronto’s transit. Eric Miller, director of the University of Toronto Cities Centre and a member of the hastily assembled, City-convened expert panel tasked with examining Mayor Rob Ford’s failed Sheppard subway scheme, declares the City’s transit plans a “mess.” The panel is currently working to create a report with recommendations about transit funding and technology for March 21. Other members include former mayor David Crombie and ex–TTC vice-chair Gordon Chong. The full panel has yet to be introduced, but we can think of at least two people that the mayor would likely not wish to have included, and their initials are DM and AG (but that’s just a guess).

This takes matchmaking to a whole new level. Er Shun and Ji Li, the panda pair that will soon call Toronto (and Calgary) home for the next decade, have been genetically matched as potential lovers and will, ya know, make two become one, and then some. Well, hopefully. The panda mating season is brief, and happens just once a year, at some point between between March and May. When and if they do get the deed done, any offspring will remain the property of China under international conservation laws and, like their parents, will have to be returned to their native country after the loan. However, the zoo’s vets could choose to artificially inseminate the furry mama-to-be, so paternity is not guaranteed, perhaps leading us to the weirdest Maury Povich show ever.

What’s white and blue and wet all over, and costs $750,000? Why, it’s Ontario Place’s brand new Two Flume water slide of course! What’s that you say? Ontario Place has been shut down? Well, yes, that’s true, but this slide got the go-ahead just last summer and fell behind schedule, which means it has never been used—and may never be used. Luckily, the new pool in the south part of the park that was installed for $600,000 did open in time for the 2011 season, so at least that was totally worth it. Right?

The GTA was well represented at last night’s Grammy Awards, but only Toronto-based R&B singer Melanie Fiona went home with the hardware, picking up two awards for her Cee Lo Green collaboration “Fool For You,” while Drake, Deadmau5, Sum 41, and Toronto composer Ryan Shore all left empty-handed.

It’s D-Day for outside City workers, who are set to vote on a tentative contract deal today. The local union president has been recommending that members vote in favour of the deal, although rumour has it that the City’s paramedics are unhappy with the deal, so it’s not a sure thing. Stay tuned!

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