From jail, Conrad Black discusses our fair city of Toronto. Read the article here, it’s very interesting. He talks about Toronto’s sheer lack of drama – no bloody wars, no hosts of genocide, no tea parties (real or bastardized). Of course this is mostly a fantastic thing, but some would argue it makes Toronto seem forgettable, normal, bland. Even as a modern city, it’s still up against some unforgettable players.
So Connie writes an article about Toronto’s mayoral race… ! Who knew that the Toronto mayoral race was such a big deal. This is as dramatic and scandalous as small-scale politics can be. Local media covers the mayoral race multiple times each day. They’ve been doing it for at least a few months and will continue until the end of the year (!!). National elections get 2 months of coverage. I get it though – this person is in charge of a multi-billion dollar organization. A CEO’s pipe dream. The intensity from such a local entity. Only one debate has been staged, yet polls have been going for months. We know nothing about these candidates, but somehow people have made up their minds months before the election.
I still am a Toronto outsider. This city is funny. One quickly realizes that the cosmopolitan stoplight has only been switched on this city for a small period of time. Truly the understudy of Montreal in the 70s, eventually booming from manufacturing, and here we are. Still in an imperfect state of city adolescence. Numbing GTA sprawl, mediocre transit, the worst commute time in the world, impossibly expensive housing, and few memorable public spaces. 5 million people in a sea of grids and elegies to concrete.
But. Amazing neighbourhoods, real diversity, life-altering food, some of the world’s best rock band exports, enlightening cultural events, and a growing sense that citizens can truly build a better city. Yes bike lanes, yes Transit City, yes MaRS. The one complaint I have about all of these great things is that most people don’t even think about these cultural amenities, let alone take advantage of them. They take none of the good, and are forced to take all of the bad. The lines, the rudeness, the congestion. People are so driven to elbow through the masses just to get home that they’ve exhausted themselves, without the reserves to dust off and sharpen the elbows again to actually enjoy what the city has to offer. That’s not just Toronto, I’m guessing that’s almost all big cities.
Anyway. I have no idea who I’m voting for, and I’m very happy about that.