lllustration by Clayton Hanmer/Torontoist.
Councillor Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) has a lot on his mind right now, what with much of his ward preparing to hunker down for an invasion by hordes of G20 dignitaries and those cops toting some of the embarrassment of riches laid out for the summit. But the councillor should be thanking the Harper government for insisting that the conference, with its holy mess of security operations, be set in the heart of downtown. All those security checkpoints being built, plus the lack of baseball, the closure of U of T, VIA Rail skipping Metro Toronto altogether, and the cancellation of Mamma Mia will all do wonders to counteract the “Manhattanizing” gentrification that has Vaughan so worried. In the meantime, he can relax in our two-million-dollar temporary fake lake.
Also. Concerned officials shut down seven downtown subway stations at 5 p.m. yesterday after a suspicious package was spotted in St. Andrew Station. The package, a briefcase, proved suspiciously empty—and isn’t it even weirder to carry around an empty briefcase than one stuffed with terrorism? The stations remained closed for two hours. The lesson here is that, if you pick the right time, leaving a cardboard box with nothing in it on the sidewalk can be as effective as phoning in a bomb threat.
Riders fuming about yesterday’s rush-hour subway disruption can try to take comfort in the fact that the TTC has hired a New York consultant to “develop a business case” for paying for rides using a credit card instead of cash or fare media. Better still, this as-yet-undeveloped case won’t have pesky advantages such as already existing, not requiring a new credit card, or being unified with the universal-except-in-Toronto Presto Card being rolled out across the region at this very moment. Oh, hey, and downtown subways will close about two hours early between St. George and Union stations until June 11. But East–West service through St. George will continue normally, so this is a victory, if you really think about it.
Oh, hey, we knew we weren’t done with “suspicious packages” yet. Toronto researchers have discovered that one in twelve study participants claim to have had sex while sleeping. So-called “Sexomnia” (and why wouldn’t you call it that?) has come up as a high-profile defence in rape cases, and legal experts are concerned it could lead to the return of intoxication as a legal defence against rape accusations.
Meanwhile, Washington D.C. has voted to have Toronto buried in its own filth (didn’t we do that last summer?) In fact, Congress voted to ban trash exports from Canada, putting a potential stopper in Toronto’s garbage shipments to Michigan, the silk road of solid waste. The Canadian government and the White House opposed the ban, which the entire Michigan congressional delegation supported. If the ban takes effect, Canada may retaliate by not taking any more shit from the U.S.—currently, we accept hazardous waste from thirty-two states.
Remember when this year’s honoured dyke and the grand marshal of the Pride parade both refused the honours to protest anti-anti-Apartheid censorship by the current Pride committee? Well, now twenty-two past honourees have joined them in renouncing their awards and titles. These include Salah Bachir, the founder of the Pride Awards. The ban on the phrase “Israeli Apartheid” targets the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, and came about after city officials threatened to revoke Pride funding if QuAIA were allowed to participate. Mayoral candidates George Smitherman and Rob Ford (councillor, Ward 2, Etobicoke North) supported the ban.