After the councillor calls Parkdale a "pedophile district," Parkdale-loving Torontonians take to social media to defend the neighbourhood.
The Brothers Ford have set the bar for political discourse in this city impossibly low, but yesterday Giorgio Mammoliti tried his best to tunnel under it. In a press release, Councillor Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West) argued that the City should not host all-ages EDM parties at Exhibition Place, because the grounds are adjacent to Parkdale—which he described as a “pedophile district,” claiming it “is home to one of the largest concentrations of registered sex offenders, including pedophiles, living in the City of Toronto.”
The press release further claimed that hosting EDM events within the Princes’ Gate would encourage “the continued abuse of our children … at the hands of current and past pedophiles.” It even implied that Councillor Gord Perks (Ward 14, Parkdale-High Park) was somehow on the side of the sex offenders: “Who are you really representing?”
This isn’t the first time a council member has tried to score a political win by aping Helen Lovejoy while making unfounded accusations (or at least insinuations) of sexual deviance: Rob Ford has used this tactic, and so has Doug. But we’re fairly certain it’s the first time an entire neighbourhood has been insulted in this way.
Not long after Mammoliti, that beacon of probity, issued his press release, Perks responded with a statement of his own. Exhibiting an implausible level of restraint, he wrote on his website,
You may have heard the awful slur one of my colleagues has made against our wonderful neighbourhood. I want to say how saddened I am that Parkdale has been attacked this way.
As we all know Parkdale is the kind of community everyone in Toronto admires. We are economically, socially, and culturally diverse. We accept and welcome and love each other. If the rest of Toronto were more like Parkdale, Toronto would be an even better place to live.
Many of my colleagues have already contacted me to see how they can help stand up for our great neighbourhood. You may be hearing from some of them in the media. Rest assured this attack comes from one irresponsible voice.
Perks went on to encourage Torontonians to tweet the reasons they love Parkdale, using the hashtag #ParkdaleLove. Here are some of our favourites so far:
— Matthew Blackett (@MatthewBlackett) June 16, 2014
When I was in labour I walked around the streets of Parkdale to help the contractions and neighbourhood people cheered me on! #ParkdaleLove
— Zuzu (@zuzuhaha) June 16, 2014
Proud to call Parkdale home. Hands down the most vibrant, welcoming community in TO. A tweet can't capture my bragging rights! #parkdalelove
— Lindsey Van De Keere (@raccooneur) June 16, 2014
It's common to run into someone who is on your iTunes. Great artistic community. #parkdalelove
— brittany giles (@brittsays) June 16, 2014
Whatever you need, be it roti, a library, fresh rye, cheap sunglasses, good coffee, great patio, it's probs only 14 min away. #ParkdaleLove
— V M (@v_m_phil) June 16, 2014
If Cllr Mammoliti was 1% as great as the people of Parkdale, he would show a lot more respect. #parkdalelove
— Olivia Chow (@oliviachow) June 16, 2014
— John Lorinc (@JohnLorinc) June 16, 2014
— Erin Hatfield (@erinchatfield) June 16, 2014
#ParkdaleLove 1: Parkdale has always been a welcoming hub for immigrants seeking refuge and artists seeking inspiration.
— Gelek Badhey (@GelekB) June 17, 2014
#parkdalelove my street corner: a mansion, a halfway house, a young homeowner couple and us 20-something renters. Thankful for diversity.
— rachel steinberg (@pygmyslowloris) June 17, 2014
Riding the streetcar through Parkdale and oddly enough the children all appear fine. Thriving! Not in danger. Shocking. #parkdalelove
— Emma (@emma_willer) June 17, 2014