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Deadmau5’s “Purrari” is no more
(Image: @GteeEhh/Twitter)

(Image: @GteeEhh/Twitter)

Important Deadmau5 news: in a move that may or may not have been related to a certain cease-and-desist letter he reportedly received from Ferrari USA, the local musician/cat aficionado mentioned on Twitter earlier today that he has removed the vinyl wrap from his Ferrari 458 Spider, restoring it to factory white. It may be easier to sell that way. At least we’ll always have the memories.

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Municipal Election 2014

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David Soknacki makes enemies of downtown store owners by threatening to take their parking away

Anyone who wants to see see a small-business owner panic should try this fun experiment: walk into a shop on any major downtown street and tell the person behind the counter that the two or three on-street parking spaces outside are about to be removed. The notion that a loss of parking will lead to a loss in business is often a sticking point in negotiations for things like new bike lanes. And so mayoral candidate David Soknacki is a very brave man for promising to impose an outright ban on street parking in the downtown core if he’s elected. A very brave man.

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People

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UPDATED: Deadmau5 is planning on selling his “Purrari”

(Image: @GteeEhh/Twitter)

(Image: @GteeEhh/Twitter)

Deadmau5’s Ferrari 458 Spider has become an oddball fixture on Toronto streets, delighting onlookers with a Nyan Cat–themed vinyl wrap that all but screams, “My owner has enough money that ruining this $260,000 car in the most hilarious way possible is no big deal to him.” (In a recent YouTube video, Mr. Mau5 explained that the wrap is semi-permanent and difficult to remove.) Except now it seems that the so-called Purrari’s days as a mobile tourist attraction are drawing to a close. On Twitter over the weekend, Deadmau5 casually mentioned that he’ll soon be trading it in:

The car was his ride during this year’s Gumball 3000, a transcontinental rally that started in Miami and ended in Ibiza (obviously, some of the journey was made by airplane). Now that the event is over, the musician is evidently ready for a change.

Why a guy who reportedly makes six figures for a single night’s performance in Vegas would need to choose between a Ferrari and a McLaren is something known only to him, but we guess his condo probably only came with a couple parking spaces, and maybe his building has a one-ridiculous-luxury-car-per-resident policy? In any case, Deadmau5 is about to find out whether customizing a car with images of rainbow-crapping felines raises its value, or lowers it.

UPDATE: And the Purrari is now on Craigslist. The asking price is $380,000 “or best offer.” The ad says the car “purrs like Nyancat” and that the wrap is removable “if you’re a pussy.”

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This is what Deadmau5’s new car looks like

(Image: @GteeEhh/Twitter)

(Image: @GteeEhh/Twitter)

Toronto-based EDM superstar Deadmau5 has been tweeting photos of this adorable monstrosity for two months [UPDATE: and he has owned the underlying car since at least July], but it’s only in the past few days that smartphone-wielding pedestrians have spotted it tooling around on downtown streets. Behold: “the Purrari.”

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Random Stuff

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A mesmerizing GIF that sums up one all-important way that the TTC trumps cars

Transit versus Cars

Everyone knows that taking public transit helps reduce congestion, but knowing and seeing are two different things. This incredible GIF shows the amount of road space saved when a few dozen people leave their cars at home and ride the TTC instead. The Better Way, indeed. [Peter From Texas via The Atlantic]

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Random Stuff

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PHOTO: A woman drives her car into wet cement on Queen’s Quay

(Image: John Michael McGrath)

Empirical proof that someone is having a worse day than you. [@jm_mcgrath]

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Real Estate

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Developer Brad Lamb calls out the “greedy parking hogs” in The Beach, High Park and the Annex

”Get with it, this is the future.” (Image: Facebook)

Downtown residents, developers and the city have long bickered over the appropriate amount of parking for new condo buildings. Now, as condos move steadily outward, that same debate is flaring up in other parts of the city. Take The Beach, an area known for its anti-development fervour. Residents say a 70-unit project at Queen and Woodbine needs more than the 65 parking spots currently slated because street parking is already scarce. (Yet that ratio is still more generous than many buildings downtown, where developer Brad Lamb says he aims for roughly half as many parking spots as units.) But developers argue putting in more than the bare minimum of parking is bad business: with the popularity of car-shares rising and parking space prices eclipsing $50,000, many spaces go unsold. The always outspoken Lamb offered a solution: “Everybody, including the greedy parking hogs in the Beach and in High Park and in the Annex and all the other places . . . they need to understand. Get with it, this is the future.” Somehow, we doubt condo naysayers in The Beach are going to take his advice. [Toronto Star]

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Politics

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Uber’s new weapon in the taxi-app battles: free cab rides

Of the several car-hailing apps that have launched in Toronto in the past year, Uber, an app that summons limos, town cars and now taxis, is the most visible—which has made it the logical target of opposition. The Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association, a trade group based out of Maryland, recently sent out a press release to Toronto media saying it “considers certain smartphone apps such as Uber to be ‘rogue’ services operating outside of the public’s best interests,” and argues that those apps violate passenger safety, access, non-discrimination and fare standards. (At least one of those allegations has some weight: Toronto’s director of licensing has said that city staff may soon rule that Uber is operating illegally because it hasn’t yet applied for a limousine service licence.) In the face of that negative press, Uber has found an easy way to maintain goodwill with the public: offer them free rides. For the next three days, anyone using an Uber smartphone app can order a taxi and ride for free, to a limit of $20 per ride. There’s no cap on the number of trips, so order away until Wednesday at 11:59 p.m.

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Real Estate

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Google Street View cars return to Toronto roadways

(Image: Craig Baerwaldt)

As promised, Google Street View’s hard-to-miss camera-on-tripod-on-car contraptions are back in the city for some much-needed updates to Google databases. The last time they captured images of city roadways was back in 2009, when the skyline was dotted with significantly fewer condos, Christie Pits Park was (a literal) dump, and the current site of Doug Gilmour’s mansion housed a wee bungalow. The indiscriminate lens of Google’s 360-degree camera captures all, so look sharp, Toronto; despite face-blurring technology, it’s very easy to reveal too much. [Toronto Star]

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Politics

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Uber, the luxury car-hailing app, may be breaking city bylaws

When Uber, a smartphone app that allows users to hail black sedans and SUVs, arrived in Toronto, many locals, used to dysfunctional taxi regulations, wondered how it could be legal. It turns out it may not be. Toronto’s director of licensing Bruce Robertson told OpenFile that city staff are “leaning towards” ruling that the company is operating illegally because it has yet to apply for a limousine service licence. Uber, however, doesn’t see itself as a limo service; Andrew MacDonald, the company’s head man in Toronto, told us it partners with licensed companies and drivers and does not itself own cars or employ drivers. “We are a technology company that helps limousine companies connect with their customers through our app,” he said, comparing the distinction to that between Expedia.ca and Air Canada. Unfortunately for MacDonald, Toronto’s bylaw defines a limousine company as “any person or entity which accepts calls in any manner for booking, arranging or providing limousine transportation.” Tough to wiggle out of that. [OpenFile]

(Images: Commerce Court, Daniel Sahlberg; town car, Alden Jewell)

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Politics

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Toronto has another new car app—and this one summons regular-fare taxis

(Image: screenshot from the iTunes store)

Toronto has yet another new smart phone app to help stranded urbanites find a ride. Tap’n Ride, the brainchild of Rosedale Livery’s current president, Craig McCutcheon, allows users to order either a limo or a regular-fare city taxi from their phone or web browser. (Since apps like Winston and Uber already allow those with significant expendable funds to order up luxury vehicles, we’re betting that Tap’n Ride’s taxi function will get the most play.) The app is free, and unlike Beck Taxi’s iPhone app, it’s peer-to-peer, meaning it eliminates the need for a call centre and dispatch. Users confirm their pick-up address directly with the driver by text and keep tabs on where the car is while they’re waiting (approximately 10 minutes). At the end of the ride, it’s charged to the on-file credit card registered during the initial sign-up. [Tap’n Ride]

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Columns

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Dear Urban Diplomat: One of my fellow condo-dwellers is putting on a peep show

Dear Urban Diplomat

(Image: George Socka)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I live on the 10th floor of a condo tower that overlooks the Gardiner. I drive out past the building on my way to work and have noticed that my neighbour, a rather uninhibited brunette, changes in front of the window, creating a peep show for commuters. It’s only a matter of time before she causes an accident. I should bring it up at the next condo board meeting, right?
—Nude Awakening, New Toronto

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Politics

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Car2Go—a popular Zipcar and Autoshare competitor—is coming to Toronto

(Image: Elvert Barnes)

Car2Go, a well-liked car-sharing service in Europe, the U.S. and Vancouver, wants in on Toronto’s booming short-term rental market. Starting June 30, the Daimler-owned company will debut 250 cars at 200 city-owned lots in the area south of Eglinton and between Jane and Victoria Park. The company differentiates itself from Zipcar and AutoShare by only dealing in fuel-efficient two-seater smart fortwo cars (with rooftop solar panels) and renting them out by the minute, unlike the other local competitors, which charge by the hour. Plus, you don’t have to return the car whence it came: the wee things can parked in any Green P parkade or designated Car2Go parking spot within the home area (which makes it more like a do-it-yourself taxi than a rental service). We’ve heard good things from friends in other cities, though apparently availability can be a problem at peak times like weekend evenings. [Toronto Star]

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Politics

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Torontonians love Zipcar and Autoshare (and IKEA, too)

(Image: jm3)

Toronto’s short-term car rental market is blowing up, to the delight of companies like Zipcar, which is predicting 20 per cent growth in sales through to 2013. Meanwhile, Car2Go is lobbying the city for parking permits for its one-way hourly rental fleet, and even legacy rental companies like Hertz and Enterprise are experimenting with short-term, self-serve hourly rentals. Kevin McLaughlin, president and founder of Toronto-based AutoShare, says condo construction, traffic and the price of gas are all turning Torontonians off of car ownership (we’d add that owning property in the city probably makes it harder to afford a vehicle too). Further proving that young, urban condo dwellers are a big part of the market, the top reasons for short-term car rentals are trips to see Mom and forays to IKEA. [Moneyville]

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Politics

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The city decides to start maintenance after a third chunk falls from the Gardiner

(Image: Christopher Drost)

Now that another concrete nugget has dropped from the Gardiner Expressway—the third in the last month—the city has made fixing the old highway an urgent priority. Road crews were supposed to start “controlled chipping” (bashing the concrete to remove loose bits) next week, but will instead start the process today, and may even get help from an outside crew to speed it along. For those curious about what causes the crumbling, the Toronto Star ran a scary graphic showing the anatomy of a fracture (hint: blame salt-laced water). [Toronto Star]

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