Hurray! It's Monday! Let's get #TGIM trending. No? Not feeling it? Fine. We'll just provide you with some of Monday's news and then move on: Mayor Ford's chief of staff quits his post; a busy week ahead for City Council; an unusual place to give birth; a kidnapped international aid worker returns home in one piece; and Carmageddon hits Toronto as the intersection of Queen and Spadina closes for two weeks.
Mayor Rob Ford’s chief of staff has jumped ship and landed smack on the deck of the Pan American Games. Amir Remtulla, who was brought into the Ford administration early last year, is leaving his office July 20 to become vice president of external partnerships for the 2015 Toronto Games. No word yet on who will succeed Remtulla, but there have been rumblings that front runners include Mark Towhey and Andrew Pask, as well as rumours that at least two high-ranking provincial officials have been approached by Team Ford to see if they’d be interested in the gig.
City council has a busy week ahead. Council will meet this week to talk not only about the OneCity transit plan and the property-tax increase, but also about pay hikes for non-union staff, changes to councillor expenses, raising on-street parking rates, a 10-minute parking-ticket grace period, and a call for a bullet ban. Phew. You’d almost feel bad for those poor councillors, heading into what looks like a week packed with items that are sure to turn into marathon meetings, until you remember that they are about to break until October 2. Then it just doesn’t seem that bad.
At 4:30 a.m. Sunday, a baby was born. Probably more than one, in fact, though the one to which we refer just happened to be born on the side of the 400. The mother had been spending the weekend with friends before she ended up going into labour unexpectedly while in a car on the highway, just before the 407. Good thing it happened where it did; who knows what kind of bill the ETR might send after that?
You know what they say about big feet and big wallets, right? They might just save your life. Toronto’s Steven Dennis, the aid worker who’d been kidnapped in Kenya and marched to Somalia, can thank his oversized feet and over-stuffed wallet for his return home with his life intact. Dennis and three other aid workers were rescued after just three days, in part because Dennis’s large footprints were were easy to track. His large wallet also added to his good fortune: earlier in the ordeal Dennis’s leg was spared when he was shot, as it was his thick wallet that took the bullet.
Lastly, a reminder that as of today, and for the next two weeks, the intersection of Queen and Spadina will be closed to allow TTC crews to begin replacing streetcar tracks, switches, and overhead wires. Happy commuting!