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Newsstand: January 24, 2014

Here’s a fun fact: I’ve honestly never heard a song by Justin Bieber before. I’m much more of a One Direction kind of girl. In the news: the GO Transit fleet gets spiffed up, Toronto Port Authority asks for cash to help deal with airport traffic, a historic school gets demolished, and a parking officer gets caught parking illegally—THE HORROR!

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Imagine yourself floating to work every morning on a fancy green cloud made of sunshine and happiness. Okay, that might not be what GO Transit is promising commuters, but it has announced plans to redesign coach and bus interiors to create a more comfortable and relaxing environment. The GO Transit fleet will be refurbished with softer lighting and new felt carpeting, as well as new ergonomically designed seats. Colour schemes will also be getting a revamp with the current bold blue interiors set to change to a more muted, mossy green—the new corporate colour of GO Transit. There seems to be no rush with the makeovers, as Bombardier only refurbishes two rail coaches per month currently, with no signs of that increasing any time soon. At that rate, it will take 18 years before the entire fleet gets fancied up.

The Toronto Port Authority, which owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, has passed a hat over to the federal and provincial governments, hoping they’ll fill it with $100 million in funding to help address traffic and road conditions around the airport. It is a move intended to address one of the major concerns raised by a possible airport expansion, but Councillor Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) says it wouldn’t come close to being enough to make a dent in the congestion issues around the island airport.

Time to put on your best Nancy Drew hat and try to see if this one adds up. Following the demolition by a developer of a possible heritage site near Dufferin Street and Eglinton Avenue West, the City is admitting that bylaws were ignored, and key processes skipped. City bylaws state that a demolition permit cannot be granted for a site under consideration for a heritage designation until being voted on by a community council. In this case, though, both consultation and vote were completely bypassed as City building officials approved the permit request, and the building—the site of an old schoolhouse constructed in 1863—was torn down within days. The City has issued a letter of apology for what it calls a procedural oversight. Although it has not been fully explained why or how such a mistake occurred, if Carolyn Keene were writing this story, some might be inclined to title it The Curious Case of the Demolition Permit Mysteriously Expedited to Avoid Red Tape.

Finally—because nothing starts a Friday off quite like a giant face palm—let’s talk about a parking officer who had the intestinal fortitude to park illegally while nipping out for a quick lunch on the very same day that newer, tougher parking rules came into effect in Toronto.

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