It's the first weekend of spring! Why not go birdwatching, flower picking, or hiking. Let us know how it turns out. Meanwhile, the news: Mayor Rob Ford's pro-casino speech last week was just a warm-up, expect more to come; a bit slow on the uptake, but the mayor has responded with his ideas about how to spend the federally funded infrastructure money; the City of Vaughan makes the list of potential casino sites; another movie theatre closes; and a reminder about the University subway line.
In case you thought that the mayor’s choice to give a pro-casino speech at a religious event was rather unseemly, we’re happy to tell you that Councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) has provided a bit of perspective. You see, the orthodox Jews present at the gathering support the mayor’s vision as they are “business people.” Yes, apparently Toronto’s entire Jewish community is made up of business-minded people who are therefore, clearly, in support of a casino. But fear not, secular community, it’s not just the orthodox that will have a chance to hear Mayor Rob Ford’s (ahem) “rousing pro-casino speech.” According to Brother Doug, the mayor will be going from ward to ward to keep “hammering” councillors who do not support his casino plan. Ah, essentialism and bullying, these are a few of the Fords’ favourite things.
Speaking of Mayor Ford’s pet projects, it seems that he just can’t let go of his subway dreams. Though quickly shut down by Metrolinx, the mayor on Friday once again pushed to make the completion of the Sheppard subway a priority, ahead of the Downtown Relief Line championed by TTC chair Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence). This re-ignition of the Toronto transit war comes on the heels of the federal budget announcement that earmarked $14 billion in infrastructure spending for cities over the next decade. Stintz was quick to respond after the announcement, speaking to the media just after about her plan. She also responded to the mayor’s ideas in a rapid fashion, publishing a blog post on her site entitled “The Experts’ Opinions on Transit Priorities for Toronto,” which counters the mayor’s vision. This war may be over before it even heats up.
The City of Vaughan, our neighbour to the north, may be looking like a bit of a utopia to Mayor Ford right about now. Not only will there be a shiny new subway line in the region’s future, but also, possibly, a casino. Vaughan has been added to the list of potential sites for a GTA casino, though apparently nobody thought to alert Vaughan’s mayor. Well, if he needs a level-headed, informed opinion to help him weigh the pros and cons we can offer…
Empire Theatres’ Empress Walk 10, a North York theatre just a stone’s throw from Cineplex Odeon’s Sheppard Cinemas, has shut its doors. The theatre, which was located just across the road from Mel Lastman Square, closed Thursday night. While a number of independent theaters have shuttered in Toronto in recent years, it may be noteworthy that Empire, which is Canada’s second-largest cinema chain, now has zero theatres in the city.
Just one last reminder that there will be no subway service between St. George and Union stations this weekend, though shuttle buses will be running frequently.