2010 Villain: Dislove of Toronto
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2010 Villain: Dislove of Toronto

Illustration by Matthew Daley/Torontoist.

Torontoist is ending the year by naming our Heroes and Villains—Toronto’s very best and very worst people, places, and things over the past twelve months. From December 13–17: the Villains! From December 20–24, the Heroes! And, from December 27–30, you can vote for Toronto’s Superhero and Supervillain of the year.

“Hate” is maybe too strong a word; “dislove,” we feel, is closer. Urban Dictionary defines dislove as:

  1. To have a deep negative feeling, attraction-through-aversion to smbd.
  2. To stop loving either a person, animal or anything you may love. To stop feeling love affection.

And indeed, we think too many people have stopped feeling love affection for Toronto. Certainly there is little in evidence within government. This year we saw the feds throw an unwanted, destructive, and hugely expensive party for some important out-of-towners, though we were never invited and didn’t particularly care to host. At the same time, they cut the relatively meagre funding for a well-established, safe, and profitable party that actually let everyone in the door. (Sorta.) We saw Queen’s Park undercut its own promise to back Transit City, making nice with Rob Ford at the potential expense of signed contracts, a regional transit plan, and years of delicate negotiations.
And, finally, we saw a municipal election campaign that was so negative, so disloving of Toronto, that many times we were left to wonder: is Toronto really that bad? We don’t recall feeling like this is such a problem-ridden hellhole, but maybe we missed something?
It seemed that no one was talking about all the things that make the city great, nor was anyone looking hopefully towards its future. It was all “road rage” this, and “gravy train” that. As we pointed out when we wrote our endorsement for the mayoral race: “Ford appears to reject most of what makes Toronto, Toronto.”
Why all the dislove? Perhaps one of the reasons is that we as Canadians, and especially as Torontoians, tend to be a little self-effacing, a bit self-deprecating. When our city is attacked from without, we are the first to agree—and perhaps suggest a few other things wrong with it that only an insider might notice. It’s time for us, too, to show our city some love and respect.
Let’s hope that in the coming year our new leader demonstrates why he loved our city so much that he wanted to be its mayor, and that the rest of the country starts showing its favourite punching bag some much overdue love, too.