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Newsstand: July 2, 2014

Welcome to your Canada Day hangover! Coffee, Advil and headlines, stat! In the news: A mixed bag of cheers and heckles for Rob Ford on Canada Day, neighbourhood polluters cause 120 deaths every year according to a new public health report, and the mysterious—but also kind of awesome—Toronto woman behind the $2-million donation to the Toronto Zoo.

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Mayor Rob Ford was the main attraction at a Canada Day parade in East York yesterday; his appearance was met with a melange of cheers and heckles from the crowd. Photos, handshakes, and Ford Nation mini-flags were the order of the day, as Ford mingled with the public for the first time since making his return to City Hall on Monday. His spokesperson has confirmed that he intends to participate in an executive committee meeting today, which will be one of his first official meetings since his two-month stint in rehab. With Jimmy Kimmel welcoming Ford back into his late night shtick, it looks like we’re back to normal—which isn’t saying much.

A new report by Toronto Public Health claims that neighbourhood polluters cause 120 deaths every year. The ChemTRAC study, a first in Canada, measures the impact of polluters that are considered local and low-emitting—such as auto repair shops and and laundromats. The report found that 120 premature deaths and 200 hospitalizations can be linked to this type of air pollution in Toronto. It is worth noting that these deaths and illnesses are heart and lung disease-related only, according to a Toronto Public Health spokesperson, since deaths related to carcinogenic toxins could not be directly linked to pollution, and thus were not included in counts. Overall, the study says 745 facilities made, processed, or used approximately 71,000 tonnes of pollutants in 2012, almost 10 per cent of which were released directly into the local environment. It looks like a hazmat suit might not be such a silly investment after all.

You may remember a few months ago, the Toronto Zoo received a $2-million donation—the largest donation in its history—from the estate of a mysterious benefactor. Well, it’s a mystery no longer: the Toronto Star has a profile on the life and times of Mary Millard, the Toronto woman who left her $6-million estate to charity after passing away in May at 88. Millard was born Mary Richardson, the daughter of an Ontario Supreme Court justice and the great-granddaughter of Joseph Jeffrey, one of the founders of London Life Insurance Company. She led what can only be described as a colourful life. A Hogg’s Hollow resident, family members say that she was kicked out of Havergal College but eventually graduated from the University of Toronto and briefly taught at Victoria Park Collegiate Institute, which wasn’t really her thing. Through her mother, Margaret Reid Richardson, and the family of her husband Don Millard, Mary was associated with the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation—the party eventually succeeded by the New Democrats—and proudly considered herself a feminist. Quite awesomely, she also helped found the Toronto chapter of the Jane Austen Society of North America, and hosted the annual Donwell Day picnic at her home for several years. Millard seems to have chosen to bequeath her fortune to organizations that support her varied interests and passions in life, including giving $1.5 million to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association educational trust, and $1.8 million to the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario.

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