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Newsstand: January 17, 2014

Live every day like you're Glen Coco. In the news: Doug Ford is angry with Premier Kathleen Wynne for not meeting with his brother, Olivia Chow says she's thinking of entering the mayoral race, lots of recommendations to improve taxi cab operations in the city, Book City is closing its Annex location, and the Don Jail is getting a public park.

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Well, that didn’t take long. Councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) accused Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne of acting childish yesterday, saying she should “grow up” after she declined to meet with his brother Mayor Rob Ford to discuss disaster relief funding for the December ice storm. Premier Wynne—who has been liaising with Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly on all city council matters since Mayor Ford was stripped of his powers last year—was also lambasted by Councillor Ford for sending Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Linda Jeffrey in her place to attend a storm relief meeting of Toronto-area leaders that is scheduled for today. Councillor Ford also found time in his busy schedule of tirades to accuse Deputy Mayor Kelly of crashing that very meeting. Kelly, who had not previously been scheduled to attend, confirmed on Thursday that he would be there along with Mayor Ford. The Mayor appeared to play the peacemaker somewhat yesterday when he said that Deputy Mayor Kelly was welcome at the disaster funding meeting, and that the two had met briefly on Thursday afternoon and were “on the same page.” People getting along at City Hall? Perish the thought.

Those of you hoping that Olivia Chow will step into the 2014 Toronto mayoral race might want to start YouTube-ing old clips from Perfect Strangers to brush up on your “Dance of Joy,” because she says that she is giving the idea some serious consideration. She made the non-committal declaration yesterday while urging the federal government to step up with financial aid to help Toronto’s post-ice storm cleanup. Chow is believed to have campaign organization already in place, and if she does enter the race, previous polls indicate she would be a serious contender—if not the mayoral frontrunner.

An extensive report based on a three-year review of taxi cab operations in Toronto calls for some major changes, which include allowing drivers to charge for rides in advance and demand cleaning fees from people who soil their cabs. Additionally, it recommends that all vehicles eventually be completely wheelchair accessible. The report—which will be discussed at a future meeting of the municipal licensing and standards committee—also proposes a new taxi cab licensing structure that would eventually phase out the two-license system that currently exists within the city, and is aimed at making it easier to get more taxis up and running. The city also suggested the use of fire hydrants downtown as taxi stands, to make it easier to hail a cab in the city.

Book City’s flagship Annex store located on Bloor Street West will be closing in the spring, according to a Tweet the bookstore sent from its account yesterday evening. Owner Frans Donker says that with the lease of the location expiring, it does not make economic sense to keep the location open, given the radical changes the area has undergone since it opened in 1976 that have made it less profitable. It hasn’t been a stellar year for local booksellers in the city. In November, the World’s Biggest Bookstore announced it would be closing next month, and Nicholas Hoare shut down in April of 2013. Thankfully, the three remaining Book City locations will remain open.

What the city taketh, it also giveth. Or something like that. As we lose a pretty great bookstore, we can at least look forward to gaining a new public park on the grounds of the old Don Jail, located at the corner of Broadview Avenue and Gerrard Street East. The park will be located in the forecourt of the heritage site, which is now owned by Bridgepoint Health. A loss for reading, a win for Mother Nature.

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