I don’t go into the city as often as I’d wish; it’s actually a bit of a pain. At least as far as transportation is concerned. I live within “Metro Toronto”, so everyone thinks it’s not too bad, but it takes a solid hour (depending on the time of day) to head into the “core” of the city. Queen’s Park, City Hall, the gay village: they’re in my backyard, so to speak, but it’s a pretty big backyard. So when I do go “down there” toward the lake, it has to be worthwhile. I try to arrange lots of things to do on such an afternoon.
Like Tuesday: an excellent example. I had to be downtown for a meeting of the “Brain Injury Society of Toronto” in the evening. So I headed down a few hours early, and I met one of my friends to discuss some documentaries we’re putting on for “lunch and learns” across the province. We got done and I “wandered” for an hour: remembering my recent reading of Barbara Brown Taylor and An Alter in the World. One of the things she spoke of was the Spiritual Practise of Getting Lost. Sometimes I like to take advantage of Toronto in that sense: it is incredibly easy to get lost here. Much though I rebelled, emotionally, at the thought of “wasting” 90 minutes like this… planned wasting… it turned out to be quite productive.
So I walked south from Queen’s Park and ended up at City Hall a while before my meeting. I sat in the Café for a while and wrote. It was an interesting collection of people this afternoon: I found out that there was an “anti-Ford” rally today just before my meeting. I prefer to think of it as “de-Fording Toronto”, but that’s just semantics. We’re in agreement that much though our current mayor is trying to make life easier (cheaper: more productive) for his (rich) cronies, he’s doing so at the expense of the very lifestyle that had once given our city the name: “Toronto the Good”.
There were two or three people with ACORN T-shirts (a group I’ve not heard much of since they were defunded in the U.S.: I’m glad to hear the larger, global group has escaped connection with any scandal). Another had a button proclaiming “We’re not for sale”. I was given several buttons with some catchy slogans. So, of course, I enjoyed the consciousness of being part of “the crowd”. You know the rumour that people in big cities don’t smile at each other? I totally disproved that. I suppose it has to do with the type of people you hang out with.
The day itself was rainy and grey: normally it gets dark pretty early in the winter, but this was worse than normal. When I went outside, there was a certain beauty to all the office buildings around City Hall gleaming with internal radiance. Once on the square, I wish I’d had my camera, so that I could take pictures of all the activity. There were easily hundreds of protesters speaking up around the area. But I did find a few pictures online, and I’ve included them to try to portray some of the excitement of the evening. I found them on DigitalJournal.com
There was the guillotine, representing how the “cuts” to the city will end up killing more than just some programs: but some people and their livelihood. There was the “Notice of Termination” that many of us would like to give to Rob Ford after what he’s done to our city. Overall there was a lot of activity, and a lot of creativity (which in itself neither Mr. Ford seems to understand). Apparently four people were arrested: but I had to go to my meeting before the protest turned “violent” (National Post).