I thought I’d never see the day that I would be so excited to see December 2 2014. You see, I’m not a huge fan of winter. I love the summer and the warmth of the sun on my face. Snow, cold and short days are not my cup of tea.
But today is not a great day because of of winter. It’s great because today is Day 1 of a new Toronto. John Tory is now officially the Mayor of the city of Toronto.
And that’s a good thing. No. That’s a great thing. His predecessor was nothing short of a huge disappointment. He may have had good intentions. He may have been a great councillor and returned everyone’s calls. But Rob Ford is not mayor material. He is not a leader. Nor a builder. And not someone who cared about creating a city that everyone could be proud to live in. He was, in my opinion, divisive and interested in cutting everything from the budget to public services that we all rely on.
John Tory has an opportunity to not just reverse the mess that Ford left Toronto in but he also has this opportunity to help build a great city. A city whose transportation system is once again the envy of the world. A city with a waterfront that we can all be proud of. A city we can not be ashamed of. A city that the late night comedians once again ignore.
To say that I was glued to this Robyn Doolittle’s book until I was finished reading it would be an understatement. It’s taken me longer to start (and finish) blogging about the book than it took me to actually read it.
Crazy Town us the perfect title for this book. It’s not so much as Toronto being a crazy town as it is a play on the bubble that the Ford family has created for itself over a generation.
Everything that you would expect to be in this book is there. Everything. Including the research process and behind the scenes meetings and conversations between Doolittle and her superiors at the Toronto Star.
What struck me the most about this book were two things that have nothing to do with Ford.
The first is the amount of research and discussions that occur before a word is even typed and subsequently printed. For every piece that Doolittle has written there is literally a team of editors, (sometimes) publishers and even lawyers (especially when reporting on Rob Ford) that need to go over her research and submission. Nothing is left to chance and all sides of the story are discussed and dissected. Reading her book gave me a new found appreciation for the news reporting process that the Toronto Star follows.
The second, and most disturbing, revelation has to do with the seemingly archaic laws in Canada surrounding access to information. Our public institutions (government and public services such as police) gather so much information in the name of the greater public good. However, accessing that information is next to impossible for ordinary citizens such as me. And the media? Well, they have the resources and the knowledge on how to ask and what to ask. Yet even they have the hardest time getting access to information.
As a book, Crazy Town has it all. And by all, I mean everything you could ever want to know about Rob Ford. His parents (enterprising), upbringing (silver spoon), siblings (crazy people usually influenced by drugs it seems), career before politics (nada), his brushes with the law (international and usually involving booze) and his current political life (unbelievable).
This October, Toronto will go to the polls to vote for who they want as their Mayor. I’m not going to tell you who to vote for or not vote for. Unless you ask me. However, I do have one suggestion: READ. THE. BOOK.
Truly one of the most revered human beings of my generation. Honoured countless times by nations around the world including Canada. There are schools in our city that are also named after him. On behalf of everyone, thanks you Madiba. You may be missed but your spirit and message live forever.
Stop! I am not one of those people who blindly “love” our cops. Sometimes they can be found in compromising situations. Many times, their actions run counter to “To Serve and Protect”. I understand all this. However, what they put themselves through on a daily basis is admirable. Sure they get paid pretty good compared to you and I. But they put themselves in harm’s way every single day to make our city that much safer.
And for that simple fact, the TPS make Toronto awesome!
This is my 12th submission in the Toronto Is Awesome series. I would love your comments, thoughts and future suggestions for this series.
These lists are far from complete, so if you find a place in Toronto that offers co-working space let people know about it. And consider adding it in the comments section below.
Coworking venues have given small startups and even independent professionals an opportunity to grow and collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs. And Toronto is home to plenty of coworking spaces, startups, independent professionals and budding entrepreneurs. And that’s another reason Toronto is awesome!
Toronto, being a very large city, also happens to have a cluster of some of the best institutions for higher learning in North America.
George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology – With a popular downtown campus, George Brown offers more that 140 programs in the areas of Business, Building Technologies, Community Services, Culinary Arts, Dance, Design, Early Childhood Development, Engineering Technologies, English as a Second Language, Fashion and Jewellers, General Arts and Science, Health Sciences, Hospitality and Tourism, Nursing, Preparation for College and Work, Teaching English as a Second Language, and Theatre.
Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning – With multiple locations across the city, Humber offers over 100 programs in more than 12 areas of study which include bachelor degrees in Contemporary Music, Creative Advertisement, e-Business, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Nursing, and Paralegal Studies.
Centennial College – Centennial was the first community college in Toronto when it was established in 1966. It now has almost a dozen locations throughout the city focusing on exemplary teaching, innovative programming and extensive partnership building.
Ryerson University – Ryerson offers more than 40 programs from the following faculties: Applied Science, Arts, Business, Communication and Design, and Community Services and Engineering.
York University – With approximately 300 degree/diploma options, York provides programs from the Faculties of Arts, Education, Environmental Studies, Fine Arts, and Science and Engineering along with the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies, Osgoode Law School, and the Schulich School of Business.
University of Toronto – Toronto’s most popular and respected university offers more than 300 undergraduate programs in over 74 fields of inquiry spanning 14 professional faculties and in excess of 250 graduate programs, from over 80 graduate departments, along with post-doctorate Fellowship opportunities.
OCAD University – OCAD offers programs for its students in a unique environment that combines studio-based learning with critical inquiry.
This is my eighth submission in the Toronto Is Awesome series. I would love your comments, thoughts and future suggestions for this series.
This is my sixth article in the Toronto Is Awesome series. I would love your comments, thoughts and future suggestions for this series.
Say what you will about Toronto’s professional sports teams (yes we know they historically “suck” – I am still a die hard Jays fan) there is still one thing that you cannot deny: Toronto is a sports town. And not just professional sports.
No matter the season, we are an active city.
Rain or shine, cyclists can be found navigating the streets of (mostly downtown) Toronto; kids play soccer in the summer and hockey in the winter; swimming and martial arts classes are filled throughout the year and baseball diamonds are busy many weekday summer nights.
This is my fifth article in the Toronto Is Awesome series. I would love your comments, thoughts and future suggestions for this series.
Giving great music a home. This is the motto of Toronto’s newest radio station. Indie 88 is my go to radio music station for home, car and even office.
I love the music and the independent feel of the station’s hosts. Even the commercials sound “indie”. One of my favourite things about the station is that I can also listen to it online via their live stream feed. And if you visit it you will notice the online chat. In the chat, you can find people debating the merits of playing Arcade Fire almost every hour. Most of all you will find the deejay’s (I like to call them hosts) participating in these chats.
A real gem in Toronto. Give them a listen even if you live elsewhere.