With my new job downtown, I frequently have meetings in nearby parts of the city: I consider to some degree that almost any part of the downtown core is walkable (our Toronto version of Chicago’s “Loop”: the bottom of the Yonge-University line where the subway circles around downtown and then heads out again to the ‘burbs). So it was that on Wednesday I chose to walk back from a meeting at the Toronto Board of Trade instead of taking the two subway stops from St. Andrew to St. Patrick (and thus using $3.00 of the provinces taxes: I know it’s small, but it’s part of my own drive for “fiscal responsibility”; according to Google is takes two more minutes to walk than to take the train, and that depending on the time of day).
My walk takes me through Nathan Philips Square, the large plaza outside our city hall where politicians gather and people entertain. It was here we’ve had our “Brain Injury Awareness Month” events the last few years (Bowles: G-Corner, 2013): that is, until recently when the charge for renting the space was raised. Non-profit organizations now have to pay as much as corporations to use the space: one of the revenue-generation ideas of the Ford Administration to redistribute the cost of running the city more equally, if less equitably. It means that the costs of city services have been moved away from those who can afford them, and on to those who can’t, like charitable organizations. Or, as in this case, it means the complete failure to raise any revenue because we can’t afford the increased cost. So we’re moving to another site.
But on this particular day, I ran into a spontaneous demonstration of chalk and words asking (or demanding) that Rob Ford step down as mayor. It was great to see people expressing themselves; the variety of reasons as expressed by the people were wide and thought-provoking. For the full set of pictures, visit my Flickr Site. I have not seen anything like this since a similar spontaneous outpouring of emotion after the death of Jack Layton (Bowles, G-Corner: 2011). I found it strangely ironic that the last time I saw the Square written on like this was an outpouring of love and sympathy, whereas this was more one of frustration and disgust. Then again, that pretty much portrays my perceived difference between the two men. Jack Layton was one who truly loved this city and the people who comprised it, working for us all; Rob Ford is one who “loves” this city only as far as what he can get out of it, working for his friends, supporters and “taxpayers”.