What’s new in Toronto, you ask? Well, where to start?? Let’s start by the Mayor resigning hastily last Friday after getting caught up in a sex scandal! It’s almost enough to distract one from the current scandal brewing around the premier’s pay for play stag and doe party he had for his daughter and developers. Unlike the mayor, he has not resigned…yet. Stay tuned.
For year’s John Tory tried to successfully lead in Toronto politics. He finally got his chance the year he won the Mayor’s job. In his first term he was a welcome change from the craziness of Rob Ford. I thought he worked hard during the pandemic in his second term. But recently things were souring on him, from his strong support for the police, to his seeking strong mayor powers, to his treatment of the homeless, to his second salary at Rogers. Tragic or pathetic: take your pick.
(For more on Tory, see this piece by Ed Keenan, one of my favorite Toronto journalists.)
Relatedly, the Globe had a recent piece on Tory’s strong mayor bid. Who knows what will happen with that now. What a mess.
Speaking of messes, Toronto has been having a mess of issues lately. There are issues with the city budget, with a large part of it going to the the police. To add to that, there were additional police expenditures on top of that after a recent wave of violence on the TTC. It was so bad on the TTC lately that someone posted fake ads on the subway shaming the TTC over lack of safety. It doesn’t help that you barely see anyone working at the TTC these days unless you enter the front of a bus or a streetcar. Lack of official presence leads to disturbances and worse, I believe.
As for housing and homes, City of Toronto provided an update on COVID-19 Shelter Transition and Relocation. It has not gone down too well. The city is also trying to provide more affordable housing, but like many cities, is struggling. You know there is a problem when organized crime figures out an angle on housing sales. Arresting those guys IS a good use of the police. A bad use of the city’s resources is trying to get rid of this park art.
Finally, Hazel McCallion, Mississauga’s “Hurricane” has died. Lots of people had good things to say about her. Reading that piece, I’m not sure sure.
Eglinton/Metrolinx: the confusing debacle that is my neighborhood continues. Metrolinx first says it has no idea when they will be done. Then they hint that the Eglinton Crosstown LRT could finally open this summer. But then there is this. So who knows? It’s drives me crazy.
Metrolinx seem determined to get everyone in the city to hate them. Not wanting to limit their maddening decisions to my area in midtown, they infuriated many by ripping out a beautiful bunch of trees downtown. Amazing.
Food, etc.: not everything about Toronto is bad. At least the food scene is getting better. One of my favorite places in Toronto, The Senator, finally reopened. The daughter looks great. Piquette looks good too. Here’s a piece on a hip new vegan place. I am even seeing new Starbucks popping up everywhere after the pandemic mass closures.
So Toronto is not entirely hopeless. Out of towners, come and stay at one of these beautiful boutique hotels. Eat good food. None of it is near Eglinton so you’ll be fine. 🙂 Sigh.
Finally: in my last Toronto update in December, I wrote about how Toronto was transitioning and I was hoping it was in a positive way. Now I am not so sure. Let’s check in again in a few months.