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Weekend Newsstand: June 14, 2014

Hockey is officially over! Congratulations L.A. Kings. Now leave us alone because the World Cup is already on. There's too much overlap between winter and summer sports these days. In the news: voter turnout increased (slightly) for the first time in years, the Hells Angels lost their Toronto clubhouse for good, TDSB chair Chris Bolton has resigned, and the Toronto Airport Express will stop running this fall.

matt newsstand bikelane

The Thursday provincial election was the first time in over 20 years that voter turnout increased in the province. The increase was from 2011′s historic low of 48.2 per cent to a slightly less depressing 52.1 per cent, but the upswing is at least a good sign.

The Toronto chapter of the infamous Hells Angels motorcycle club has officially lost ownership of its Eastern Avenue clubhouse. Police raided the clubhouse in April 2007 in relation to a project against drug trafficking and the Angels essentially lost control of the building then, but have been able to retain ownership until now. Federal lawyers argued to the Ontario Court of Appeal that the building was not in any way a residence and was, in fact, “the quintessential example of real property as offence-related property.” The Angels can still try to take their appeal to the Supreme Court, but if they don’t the province can now sell or develop the property.

Toronto District School Board chair Chris Bolton has resigned just months before his term would have been up. Bolton has been a divisive figure at the TDSB, where he’s been a trustee since 2003. Of late, Bolton had championed a partnership with the Chinese government known as the Confucius Institute, which would teach Mandarin, but also, according to a petition created by concerned parents, trains instructors to self-censor topics that are taboo in China. It’s unclear if the Confucius Institute will go ahead with Bolton gone. Bolton has also attracted negative attention for potentially directing charitable donations away from their intended recipients and toward his own charity.

This fall, the Toronto Airport Express will discontinue service. Ridership has fallen from 400,000 riders annually 10 years ago to only 190,000 last year, a much faster decline than was expected. Factors involved in that fall are the popularity of Billy Bishop Airport, traffic, and the ongoing construction in downtown Toronto, which makes picking up and dropping off passengers at certain hotels impossible and increases commute times. Because Front Street is closed, the Express has been unable to access what had been its busiest stop, the Fairmont Royal York hotel, for over a year. The 28 employees working at the Airport Express will be folded into other operations within the parent company Pacific Western. While the $27-per-ride Express is shutting down service in the fall, the TTC’s Airport Rocket will continue to run from Pearson to Kipling station for $3, and next year the province will open Union Pearson Express, a rail shuttle that will take riders from the airport to Union Station in about 25 minutes.

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