If there is one thing at which Toronto the Good really excels, it’s using unnecessary laws to resist change: so it should be greeted as a sign of (slow) progress that City staff has recommended to the Municipal Licensing and Standards Committee that Toronto’s food trucks now be permitted to sell their tacos, deli sandwiches, and poutine from one of 58 appropriately zoned parking lots within the city.
The recommendation comes from a staff review of Toronto’s street food options, which are widely seen as lagging behind those of more adventurous North American cities. Toronto’s A La Carte food cart project was a spectacular failure, but restaurants and residents still resist more relaxed laws intended to accommodate the vendors.
When we fact-checked Rob Ford’s speech at the Economic Club, we promised that we would fact-check at least one major policy speech from each major mayoral candidate. Fair is fair, after all. So we looked forward to Karen Stintz’s speech to the Toronto Board of Trade last week; it was, we hoped, going to be the equivalent of Ford’s speech (right down to the audience).
Map of Toronto, 1834, drawn by Alpheus Todd, who was 13 years old when he sketched the city’s layout. Toronto Public Library.
Flipping through the pages of the March 6, 1834, edition of the Advocate newspaper gives you few hints a momentous occasion would occur that day. The first two pages feature details of debates in Lower Canada over improving colonial governance—not until the fourth column of page three, after pieces on political reform gatherings and odes to leather tanners, do you encounter a story about the provincial legislation [PDF] that created the City of Toronto on that day 180 years ago.
If all goes well for Bill 166 at Queen’s Park on Thursday, Torontonians could be a step closer to eliminating the need for strategic voting when it comes to voting for mayor and city councillors. The private member’s bill from Liberal MPP Mitzie Hunter (Scarborough–Guildwood) proposes an amendment to the City of Toronto Act that would allow the municipality to adopt a ranked ballot voting system to elect members of council. If passed, the bill—which is at the second reading stage—would go to committee for further review.