Weekend Newsstand: August 28, 2010




Weekend Newsstand: August 28, 2010

Illustration by Matt Daley/Torontoist.

Happy weekend, folks! Your morning news in short form: Rob Ford gets vague, pipe bombs at Porter, and crazy stacked ice rinks on the waterfront (it just makes sense).

A new Toronto Star-Angus Reid poll conducted mid-week reveals what many of us have already observed—Rob Ford is popular among older male suburbanites, and George Smitherman is the go-to choice for downtown dwellers. The poll of 501 Torontonians gives Ford the lead with 42% of the decided vote while Smitherman trails with 36% and Joe Pantalone comes in a distant third with 11%. Some 28% have yet to select a candidate. The survey also observed what is described as a “fault line,” between suburban voters who overwhelmingly support Ford and urbanites who would hand Smitherman the election by 14% if it happened today. Beware early prognosticating by numbers, though: back in August 2003, David Miller trailed his three main opponents with only 12% of the vote—by November he was mayor.
And it seems lately that there is no blunder large enough to dent Rob Ford’s current lead in the polls, including this latest gaffe by his campaign team. Apparently, a resident of the Beaches emailed a question about bike lanes to Ford, and received a form letter that included the following phrase: “Insert vague response on policy.” Honestly, it’s like they’re not even trying anymore.
Some four hundred cyclists got an expensive reminder to kit out their rides with a bell and a light, and to get off the goddamned sidewalk. Police executed a seventy-two-hour cyclist and pedestrian ticketing blitz this past Monday to Wednesday, with offences ranging from missing horns and lights to coasting through lights and stop signs. Police say the blitzes are performed in an effort to curb the two thousand–plus cycling accidents that occur every year in Toronto.
Sorry, patio-loving Torontonians south of Bloor—your day in the sunshine is over. A new harmonized zoning bylaw passed Wednesday night, and it replaces a set of forty-three bylaws previously in place for the six former cities that became Toronto twelve years ago. The bylaw introduces numerous rather ho-hum new zoning rules—group homes must be 250 metres apart; industrial propane storage facilities must be 500 metres away from residential areas—but there’s one new rule that is sure to irk happy summer drinkers: restaurants cannot open new rear patios south of Bloor Street.
City Council has approved a multi-story $88 million hockey layer cake to be built on Toronto’s waterfront. The Port Lands ice pad will contain four ice rinks stacked on top of one another, complete with Zambonis and lots of pretty glass. The city has secured $34 million in federal funding and plans to borrow $21 million to $25 million, but that still leaves $27 million worth of needed funding that rink supporters have yet to procure. City Council also recently approved $10 million for the erection of a 125-metre flagstaff in North York. We get it, City Council, you’re really into hockey and maple leaves—now can we stop hemorrhaging money?
A man is in custody after mentioning the words “pipe bomb” aboard a Porter flight yesterday. The plane was still on the tarmac when a flight attendant overheard a forty-year-old passenger mention the forbidden phrase. Police were called and the man was arrested, but no charges have been laid. If nothing else, pipe bomb guy learned what the rest of us figured out twenty years ago: regaling your in-flight neighbour with tales of your homemade explosives is a bad, bad idea.