The Guardian UK is doing a series of stories this week on Canada. One of them, by Stephen Marche, reveals the secret of his hometown’s transformation into the 21st century’s great post-industrial power house. It’s positive and a fun read. For the TORONTO story go to https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/jul/04/new-toronto-most-fascinatingly-boring-city-guardian-canada-week
Some excerpts below . . .
WHY TORONTO IS FASCINATING – “Toronto’s dullness is what makes it exciting – a tricky point to grasp. The worship of safety and security applies across all fields and industries. . . . The “steady hand” is the Toronto ideal, and Toronto’s steadiness is why people flock here – and all the people flocking here are making it exciting. That’s why Toronto is the most fascinating totally boring city in the world.”
TORONTO IS A SAFE CITY – “It is, by far the safest city in North America – an extraordinarily law-abiding place by any measure. It also produced Rob Ford, the world’s most famous crack-smoking mayor.”
TORONTO vs CHICAGO – “What Chicago was to the 20th century, Toronto will be to the 21st. Chicago is grit, top-quality butchers, glorious modernist buildings and government blight; Toronto is clean jobs and artisanal ice-creameries, identical condos, excellent public schools and free healthcare for all. Chicago is a decaying factory where Americans used to make stuff. Toronto is a new bank where the tellers can speak two dozen languages.”
TORONTO vs MONTREAL – “Montreal decided to become a French-Canadian city. Toronto decided to become a global city.”
TORONTO’S CITY COUNCIL – “It must be the best-run city in the world run by idiots.The council is a pack of hicks and rubes, a visionless amalgam of small-c conservatives and vaguely union-hall lefties, all of them living resolutely in the past. Both sides want to stop what’s happening in the city.
“The lefties want to slow gentrification, and the conservatives think we’ve all been taxed enough.”
THE CURRENT MAYOR ISN’T AN IDIOT – “The current mayor, John Tory, is not an idiot, although he is hardly a figure of the “new Toronto”. He represents, more than any other conceivable human being, the antique white anglo-saxon protestant (Wasp) elite of Toronto, his father being one of the most important lawyers in the city’s history. The old Wasps had their virtues, it has to be said – it wasn’t all inedible cucumber sandwiches and not crying at funerals.”
TORONTO DESIRES DIFFERENCE – ”A 2012 study by the chair of Canadian studies at Berkeley, found that ‘compared to the citizens of other developed immigrant-receiving countries, Canadians are by far the most open to and optimistic about immigration.’ Toronto may be the last city in the world that unabashedly desires difference.”
“There are already plenty of Muslim families in Toronto and they are as boring as any other Canadians.”
TORONTO & THE LESLIE STREET SPIT – “In Toronto, for a hundred years, the authorities let the construction companies just dump their landfill into Lake Ontario, until it turned into a pile of rubble so large that it attracted deer and coyotes and warblers in migration. So, reluctantly, they turned it into a rather gorgeous little park, the Leslie Street Spit.”
TORONTO’S FUTURE – “How much longer can Toronto endure its terminal lightness? How much longer can a city so interesting insist on being so boring? This is a real question.”
Thanks to Stephen Marche for such an enjoyable read, and to The Guardian UK for publishing it.\