"Build a world-class city"
"Make Toronto a world class city"
Ever since Rob Ford became Mayor we've been hearing a lot about what it's going to take to make Toronto "world class": better and more efficient TTC(Ford Style), better garbage collection(Private), less strikes, no car tax, and less libraries.
Am I the only one who feels lost when people start pontificating about our world class city goal? I've been operating under the assumption that Toronto, despite our best efforts, is already a world class city. Am I missing something?
Toronto is small in comparison to some of the world's largest cities, but it's still the largest in Canada and that automatically gives it a boost. But it isn't just size that matters here, walking around the city in the summertime can be painful at times when you have to navigate around tourists cemented to the sidewalks taking photos or scouring their maps. If you can go a week without meeting someone who has moved to Toronto from elsewhere in the country, or the world, you might be living in a hole.
A world class city hosts events that invigorate the locals and attract people from all over the place. I'd say Toronto scores on this front as well. In both Winter and Summer you can usually find some sort of cultural, art, food, fitness, or environmental festival or event happening. This week alone you could go to a Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival,a Mussels and Wine Festival, exhibits at several Museums and Galleries, see an NHL or NBA game, A SuperCross Championship, attend a Black History Month event, get tickets to Musical Theatre, or go to the world Premiere of a new film. These are just a few of the listings at Toronto Tourism, and they don't even begin to describe the hundreds of shows, launches, and parties that are happening every single day in this city.
In June Toronto attracts what could be the highest number of tourists all year. Hotels are packed, restaurant and bar sales skyrocket, and the city gets sexy. Pride Week in Toronto is one of the biggest money weeks, and people from all over the world attend. It's been estimated that Pride events in 2011 attracted almost a million people. People also attend from all over Ontario-- people from every small town, from every medium sized town, even from other cities in Canada. Some people who are politicians in this city might not realize that Pride Week is one indicator that we have a world class city, probably because they've never been to a Pride event and are homophobes. *cough, Rob Ford, cough*
World class cities have Universities and Colleges, independent Education Centres, and a lot of different venues for exploring ideas and learning. Toronto has an unlimited amount of top notch educational shit. If I wanted to I could go learn how to pickle beets or make Ukrainian Easter Eggs tonite. I could learn how to do any imaginable thing that could possibly pop into my head, from fetishes to knitting. In September I could have gone to a Fetish Ball, tomorrow I could go to the nude beach, and the day after that I could go to any number of Churches in the city.
Toronto has about a billion Farmer's Markets and food related organizations. From Wychwood Barns to the St. Lawrence Market you can almost always(if you have the money and the time) have a chat with someone who actually grew or produced what you're buying. There is also food related activism happening in a lot of Toronto's under served neighborhoods. Most of us can find our specific cultural comfort food in different neighborhoods whether we be Greek, Ethiopian, Polish, Mexican, Portuguese, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino , or Indian. Toronto has some seriously great food and drink. There is an amazing locally produced scene, an appreciation for craft brews, some amazing fromageries, butchers, and a love for eating copious amounts of food in our myriad of beautiful parks.
We live in a world class city. It's undeniable. LRTS vs. Subways is not going to change the fact. Having efficient public transit will make our lives better of course, but it's not going to have a huge impact on what Toronto has to offer, which is everything.
I complain about this city a lot. Pretty much every single day I say "I hate Toronto, Toronto is the worst, Toronto sucks" but that's just because I live here. We all inevitably start to get annoyed with a place that we've lived too long in, but in all honestly Toronto is a wonderful city.
After a series of tantrums, name calling, and walking out on council our Mayor lost his biggest dream: Subways. If Mayor Ford really believed that subways were the right avenue for this city because he really believed we need it to be world class, maybe he should have spent his time in office gathering research and having studies done to prove WHY, instead of just threatening to hold his breath until he got what he wanted.
The one thing that is currently making Toronto sub par is our Mayor, who seems to know absolutely nothing about the city he claims to want to save, doesn't do the work necessary to accomplish the goals that he campaigned on, and consistently embarrasses us in the national media.