A Canada Day parade in Toronto?

People call me all the time and tell me that they want parades with Shriners. Shriners, Shriners, Shriners. It's all about Shriners. They don't want those damn Rotarians clogging up the street.

So according to the Star, Mayors Ford said on their radio show yesterday that they’d like to have a Canada Day parade in Toronto. I think that’s a great idea. In fact, it’s such a great idea that not only has someone else already thought of it, but they’ve been running the parade every year for more than fifty years. And sure enough, the East York Canada Day parade will be winding its way through the streets once again on Sunday. Not only does the event already exist, but Ford should know about it: he was there two years ago, despite his claim to have spent every Canada Day since 1867 at the cottage.

But just for laughs, I’d love to see a parade organized by Ford’s office. I imagine that the procession would be made up of developers, high school football players, and police in riot gear. All floats would be subway cars. Organization would consist of slapping up a crappy website and putting up a sign at Deco Labels inviting everyone to the celebration. The parade would be held in a park because streets are for cars. Giorgio Mammoliti would take video of all attendees to ensure that no one is misbehaving and/or naked. Of course, the parade wouldn’t cost taxpayers a penny because private sector partners are lining up around the block to pay for it. Ford couldn’t tell us who, but trust him, there are dozens of sponsors all frothing at the mouth to spend the money. After hearing that community groups were planning to show up and celebrate, Ford would take to Facebook and his radio show to beg Ford Nation to show up and drown out all the pinko fascist commies. And, of course, Ford himself would miss the entire spectacle: he’d be at the cottage.

Future mayoral material

The Star has been running a series of articles about the sights and history along the 501 streetcar route.  Today’s installment is an online quiz that asks readers to identify intersections along the route based on clues about nearby buildings or infrastructure. I scored seven out of ten (once again, my relative lack of detailed knowledge of the west end does me in), which makes me a Torontophile on the Star‘s grading scale, just one grade below master Google cheat. But the best thing about the scale is the wonderful snark reserved for those who get just one or two answers correct:

Future Mayor, slightly better than Vancouverite

I guess that having actually ridden the 501 means that I’m just not mayoral material. I’d agree with that sentiment judging by the current administration at City Hall, but I sincerely hope that we’ll have learned our lesson by the next election.

When is it acceptable to delay someone's commute?

I always marvel at how it’s okay for non-car commuters to suffer “minimal impact” to their travel times, but if a car commuter suffers the same “minimal impact,” everyone screams like it’s the end of the world.

I believe that the language people use says a lot about their beliefs and intentions, so I find it interesting that someone like Rob Ford, in the two quotes linked above, basically sits on opposite sides of the congestion fence at the same time. In defending TTC cuts (or as he calls them, “service level modifications”), he co-opts the reasoning of cycling advocates who defend bike lanes, saying that a few extra seconds of waiting isn’t a big deal. But in his case, he’s applying it to transit riders instead of drivers. It’s a perfect example of windshield perspective: delaying my commute by a few seconds is a travesty; but it’s okay if it happens to those other people. All those buses and bikes just get in my way anyway.

My guess is that Ford will always rail against congestion while simultaneously taking actions that will only make it worse, all in the vain pursuit of saving a few seconds and/or dollars. The only question is how long this council will let him get away with it.

If I knew then what I know now…

…I would have taken a picture of Rob Ford campaigning at the East York Canada Day Parade last year, where he was glad-handing the crowd instead of kicking back at the family cottage where he says he’s spent Canada Day for the last 30 years.

Granted, he could have gone up to the cottage after the parade, but his claim that July 1 is some sort of inviolable family cottage getaway is pretty tenuous.