Newsstand: August 12, 2013
Is anybody else feeling a creeping sense of panic about how quickly the summer is going? In the news: Ford defends his appearance at Taste of the Danforth and is revealed to have paid an odd visit to a local jail; termites are taking a bite out of Toronto homes; Trump Tower is in trouble; and happy robots are hitting downtown.
Mayor Rob Ford did have “a couple of beers” at The Taste of the Danforth on Friday night, but says that there’s been an overreaction to his appearance at the festival, which resulted in several photos and videos—later posted online— that showed the mayor seemingly inebriated. “Did I have a couple of beers? Absolutely I had a couple of beers. But you know what, I had a good time,” Ford said on his Newstalk 1010 radio show yesterday. “I think things are getting blown out of proportion.” The mayor also said that while he did drive to the festival, he had not been drinking at that point, and he did not drive back. A source close to Ford’s office told the Toronto Star on Saturday that the mayor’s appearance at the festival was planned, but the confusion happened when he did not meet at the appointed intersection, where he was to be briefed by aides.
Meanwhile, the Globe and Mail reports that Ford paid an after-hours visit to a west-end jail in March, a move corrections officials deemed unusual enough to prompt an email to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. The email to the ministry stated that the mayor arrived at the jail about three hours after the end of the visiting period on March 25 and requested a tour of the facilities; when that request was denied, he said he wanted to speak with Bruno Bellissimo and his mother. That request was also not granted. The Globe reports that two sources confirmed that Ford’s unannounced visit to the Toronto West Detention Centre was made with the intention of visiting Bellissimo, whose mother described him as a childhood friend of the mayor.
Got termites? For an increasing number of Torontonians, the answer is yes. Researchers at City and Country Pest Control told the Toronto Sun that there’s been an increase in the number of homes that have reported termite problems in the past year and that the bugs cause up to $21 million in damage to homes in the city annually. “It’s getting worse and worse because the product we’re using is designed to push them out of the house, not kill them,” said Toronto termite expert Richard Murphy, a manager at Aetna Pest Control. Now do you feel like you have bugs crawling all over you? You’re welcome.
Things aren’t looking great for Trump Tower either–but because of reluctant investors, not bugs. The Toronto Star reports that investors in more than 200 condo-hotel units in the Toronto Trump International Hotel & Tower have yet to close on their units, leaving developer Talon International on the hook for maintenance fees and taxes.
Adorable robot alert! Artist Matthew Del Degan is bringing his collection of Lovebots, numbering nearly 100, to downtown Toronto with the goal of promoting a little human kindness in the concrete jungle. The concrete cuties are each meant to represent an act of love and kindness–you can learn more and find out the locations at this online map.