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Council votes in favour of Tory’s motion to regulate Uber with new bylaws

CityNews | posted Thursday, Oct 1st, 2015

Toronto city council has voted in favour of Mayor John Tory’s motion to begin the process of regulating ride-sharing service Uber by creating new bylaws, prompting shouts of “Shame!” from scores of cabbies and their supporters.

“Today we move forward to regulate Uber…It’s what people want and it will provide fairness our drivers deserve,” Tory tweeted. “Toronto will have a fair and modern taxi industry…”

The motion calls for city staff to report back on new regulations this spring. Council also voted in favour of asking Uber to stop operating in Toronto until that framework is submitted.

Uber Toronto GM, Ian Black, said that wouldn’t happen and Uber would continue to operate.

After months of grandstanding by both sides, the fate of Uber was the source of a heated debate Wednesday.

Taxi drivers heckled the head of Uber Toronto as he entered city hall and one Uber driver accused a cabbie of kicking him. Police eventually escorted the Uber driver to safer quarters.

Security officials told CityNews extra police had to be brought in after the scuffle.

In the chambers, Coun. Rob Ford asked Mayor John Tory if he had “ever done business or been associated with anyone from Uber?”

“Not in any way,” a stone-faced Tory replied.

It was the first time council has debated the ride-sharing service. Toronto, like many cities around the world, is struggling to monitor ride-sharing services like Uber, and Wednesday’s decision could have an enormous impact on other Canadian cities.

What else is on the agenda?

The Gardiner rehabilitation will likely be the second item on the agenda, with a public-private partnership up for debate.

The city is considering increasing parking fines to decrease congestion and improve traffic flow. The Public Works and Infrastructure Committee is recommending increasing the “no parking” fine from $40 to $50, and to more than double the fine for stopping on or over a sidewalk or footpath. The fine could go up from $60 to $150. City staff say it could bring in $5.52 million, unless drivers change their habits.

Coun. Mary Fragedakis is pushing for council to ask the Bank of Canada to have Canadian women on their currency. However, last week, Tory told the Toronto Sun he doesn’t want council to discuss items outside their purview, such as federal currency. He’s also opposed to debate about Hydro One, a provincial agency.

Tory’s executive committee is recommending a local settlement program for Syrian refugees, similar to what was implemented after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Tory is also privately supporting a family of refugees.

Click here to see the full meeting agenda.

What is the problem with Uber?

There are concerns the service is skirting local bylaws by using a mobile app to charge riders.

The UberX service connects private citizens, using their own vehicles, with prospective passengers looking for a ride. Other Uber services connect passengers with licensed cab drivers.

UberX, which has regular drivers transporting people in their private cars, doesn’t have commercial licenses and therefore lack the regulation and oversight of traditional taxi companies. Taxi companies have argued that this puts passenger safety in jeopardy while simultaneously driving traditional cabbies out of business.

Blue Jays clinch first AL East title in 22 years

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Oct 1st, 2015

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It wasn’t the storybook scene anyone would have dreamt up: a half-empty road stadium in the first half of a doubleheader on a Wednesday afternoon.

It was a moment 22 years in the making for the Toronto Blue Jays franchise and almost a year in the making for the 2015 team. In front of an intimate crowd at Camden Yards wearing more blue than orange, the Blue Jays routed the Baltimore Orioles 15-2 to clinch the American League East.

The pennant is Toronto’s first since 1993, when it won its second of back-to-back World Series titles. It assures the Blue Jays a spot in the five-game AL Division Series rather than the uncertainty of a one-game wild-card playoff.

“Anything can happen in a one-game series,” injured shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. “You could have the best pitcher in the world starting for you and anything can really happen in those games.”

That’s not a problem anymore. In late July, any kind of post-season appearance would have been welcomed, before general manager Alex Anthopoulos went all-in, trading for Tulowitzki, ace David Price, outfielder Ben Revere and relievers LaTroy Hawkins and Mark Lowe at the deadline.

Those moves worked like a charm, taking a Blue Jays team that was 50-51 and eight games back of first place on the day Tulowitzki entered the lineup on a 42-14 run up the standings, past the New York Yankees and into October.

Winning the division seemed inevitable in recent days as the Yankees struggled and the Blue Jays kept rolling.

The final victory of that accomplishment came Wednesday with young stud Marcus Stroman on the mound in just his fourth start of the season following a torn ACL in spring training. Stroman (4-0) was masterful yet again, striking out eight and allowing just one run on five hits in eight innings.

In typical Blue Jays fashion, the most productive lineup in baseball led the way by tormenting opposing pitching. RBI hits by Russell Martin and Ryan Goins in the second inning and more trouble in the fourth forced Baltimore starter Miguel Gonzalez (9-12) out of the game.

With Anthopoulos watching in the first row above the visiting dugout, the Blue Jays poured it on, scoring four runs in the fifth, including three on an infield dribbler that allowed hitter Darwin Barney to come around to score.

Edwin Encarnacion hit his 37th home run of the season, a two-run shot, in the seventh to get to double digits, and Jose Bautista hit his 40th in the ninth. Justin Smoak added a two-run shot to put an exclamation point on the blowout.

It was the 41st time in 157 games Toronto scored eight or more runs. Bautista’s blast also got the Blue Jays two hitters with 40-plus home runs (MVP front-runner Josh Donaldson has 41) for the third time in franchise history and first time since 2000.

Everyone in the lineup got at least one hit for a total of 18. Goins set a new career high with five.

This monstrous offensive outburst made the clinching game feel like a coronation, in front of Blue Jays fans who chanted “MVP” for Donaldson’s at-bats and serenaded Anthopoulos with a chorus of “Thank you, Alex.” After Hawkins got the final out, players celebrated on the same field on which they watched Baltimore clinch the AL East a year ago.

This division title also came with the guarantee of home-field advantage in the ALDS. The Blue Jays will either play host to the AL West champions — the Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim or Houston Astros — or the wild-card team at Rogers Centre for Game 1 on Oct. 8.

Home-field throughout the playoffs is within reach, too. The Blue Jays’ magic number to earn the top seed in the AL is three — any combination of victories and Kansas City Royals losses.

With the second half of the doubleheader and one more game against the Orioles left, that could come as soon as Thursday afternoon, since the Blue Jays’ game was moved up to 12:05 because of the threat of rain.

Top places to go apple picking in Ontario

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Oct 1st, 2015

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It’s fall and that means apple picking! It’s the perfect weekend activity for the whole family–take a look at our top 10 places below:

Applewood Farm Winery
12416 McCowan Rd., Stouffville, ON

Country Apple Orchard
3105 16th Sideroad West, King City, ON
905-833-3434 or 647-887-7681

Watson Farms
2287 Regional Highway # 2, Bowmanville, ON
905-623-9109, Crop report: 905-623-7252

Brooks Farms
122-141 Ashworth Rd., Mount Albert, ON
905-473-3246

Archibald’s Orchards & Estate Winery
6275 Liberty Street. North, Bowmanville, ON
905-263-2396

Chudleigh’s
9528 Highway 25, Halton Hills, ON
905-878-2725

Dixie Orchards
14309 Dixie Road, Caledon, ON (1 km north of King Street)
905-838-5888

Willis Family Fruit Farm
6063 Fifth Line Milton, ON (entrance on Britannia Rd., 3 km west of Trafalgar Rd.)
905-876-2606

Orchalaw Farms
9726 Heritage Road, Brampton, Ontario
905-456-1879

Organics Family Farm
7550 19th Ave. Markham, Ontario
905-640-5206

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