Photo courtesy of the Toronto Region Board of Trade.
Promising to run City Hall like a business is the oldest, most oft-repeated pledge in municipal politics—evergreen in no small part because it never happens and therefore always (in theory) should. And so the legendary gravy train trundles on, an indispensable prop in the infantile puppet show.
If voters really do want City Hall run like a business, David Soknacki will be the next mayor of Toronto. But because Soknacki is actually serious about the challenge of governing, approaching it with an open, non-ideological attitude and the keen analytical skills of a successful executive, he will be lucky to end up with much more than the five per cent share of the vote current polls grant him.
Our two bellicose and bloviating blowhards, Rob Ford and Conrad Black, broadcast brilliant bombast for bemused boomers. Or something like that.
Monday night on Vision TV, Rob Ford is interviewed by the one man who might be more deluded than he is. Billed as a “Conversation with Conrad,” on The Zoomer (That’s boomers with zip, for you non-zooming types) the one-on-one is a rare, lengthy interview granted by the mayor of Toronto. Whether anything of substance comes of it remains to be seen—Vision teased a bit that Rob would be willing to do a drug test—but we’ll follow along with a live blog anyway, just in case. Keep reading: Liveblog: Conrad Black Interviews Rob Ford
WHAT: Every time Mayor Rob Ford is photographed with alleged criminals or neo-Nazis, his handlers point out that he takes pictures with all sorts of people, most of whom he doesn’t know that well—and of course there’s some truth to that, though it’s not a satisfying explanation. This time, though, Ford appears to have posed for a picture with at least two Hells Angels, one of whom is clearly wearing a pendant in the shape of the club’s insignia. (And as we know, Hells Angels don’t let just anyone wear their insignia.) The photo seems to have been taken at Sunday’s Buffalo Bills game at Rogers Centre. It was posted to the Hells Angels Toronto website at some point afterward.
Spotted features interesting things our readers discover in their journeys across Toronto. If you spot something interesting, send a photo and pertinent details to email@example.com.
A Highland calf. Photo from the Friends of High Park Zoo Facebook page.
There have been animals at High Park since 1893, when a group of deer was invited to take up residence there. Those deer set a trend, because the High Park Zoo now features a whole lot of creatures—including bison, llamas, wallabies, and capybaras (the noble giant guinea pigs of the animal kingdom)—who are visited by an estimated 500,000 people each year. In 2012, though, the future of the zoo and its many inhabitants was thrown into doubt when the City, looking to reduce its bottom line, cut funding for the attraction.
The zoo was able to remain open because the non-profit group Friends of High Park Zoo dedicated itself to raising the nearly $230,000 needed to keep it up and running. The Friends have received financial support from big-name donors (like the Honey Family Foundation and Moses Znaimer) and from generous zoo-lovers who donate through Friends of High Park Zoo, the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation, and automated donation stations set up in the park itself.
But Friends board member and city councillor Sarah Doucette (Ward 13, Parkdale–High Park) was hoping the group wouldn’t be forced to fund the park again this year. “Volunteers have worked so hard, and they’ve done a brilliant job,” she says. “Can you really ask them to do it indefinitely?”
It seems the City intends to do just that: the $228,000 needed to cover the annual cost of three full-time animal attendants, maintenance, and animal upkeep doesn’t appear in next year’s draft budget.
Now that Rob Ford has been forced to admit what he can no longer deny, the biggest lie in Toronto comes from the friendly folk at Porter Airlines. “Sale Ends Tomorrow!” my email proclaims at regular intervals. But it never does. The end of one seat sale at Porter is inevitably the beginning of another. The sale never ends.
Could there still be any air-travelling Torontonians who rush to Porter’s wickets today out of fear prices might rise tomorrow? As the boy who cried wolf discovered, returns on such claims diminish rapidly. Somebody should tell the marketers.
Porter could get a lot more attention if it declared “Airline Ends Tomorrow”—and that would be closer to the truth. Despite the company’s considerable success at revitalizing a previously moribund island airport, raising passenger volumes from basically nothing to more than two million a year, the evidence of crisis is increasingly clear. Keep reading: Desperately Seeking Jets
One is a convicted criminal, one faces a growing range of allegations. One is known for using very big words, one for using barely any at all. Watch along with us as they congratulate themselves on their leadership and honesty!