Illustration by Clayton Hanmer/Torontoist.
Last week, we reached a milestone—over 30,000 followers on Twitter—and we’re celebrating with a list of 27 Torontonians whose tweets make our day.
Twitter (and Toronto, for that matter) can feel like being back in high school so, accordingly, we’re playing yearbook crew and have imagined where people would sit in the cafeteria. Many, like fashion columnist Sarah Nicole Prickett, could easily sit at more than one table, and, inevitably some will be dissatisfied with their company (Goldsbie and Sue-Ann, stop throwing your pudding at each other!). Toronto has a love/hate relationship with lists—especially dealing with Twitter—so, to be clear, this isn’t a best-of, nor is this exhaustive, and if you’re not on here don’t fret, you’re still pretty.
#DebateClub: @IvorTossell // @XoxSNP // @TheKeenanWire
Photo of Sarah Nicole Prickett at NYFW 2010 courtesy of http://citizencouture.com/
On Twitter, there are plenty of people willing to get into spats, but there are only a handful—including Ivor Tossell, Sarah Nicole Prickett, and Edward Keenan—who give us fiery, articulate stances with a delivery as strong as the message. With a series of smart and timely op-ed pieces in the Standard, in addition to his work for the Globe, Tossell is becoming the voice of reason to turn to after increasingly maddening events in politics—his latest on the “Uncompetence” at City Hall is worth printing and sticking to the fridge. Prickett, a National Post, Fashion, and former Grid and Torontoist contributor, often ventures outside her fashion domain to provide a mix of sharp commentary with acute observations on contemporary urban living. Keenan, a senior editor at the Grid, is obviously in love with Toronto—a common trait amongst those highlighted here—and when he writes about bike lanes or Pride, he reminds us how much we both loved Eye and hope the Grid finds its footing.
“Proving that stupid has no political allegiance, people are planning to protest… KPMG?”
Sarah Nicole Prickett
“‘I’m an actress.’ Of course you are, b/c you’re also the only audience member who felt the need to state their profession before asking a q.”
“You know what would get those Moore Park moms home faster? Removing all those speed bumps and replacing them with five-lane through roads.”
#ClassClowns: @NPSteve // @PatThornton // @CoreyMintz
Steve Murray shows us just how big his comedic muscles are in this still from his mock-campaign video.
If Twitter is the public court of opinion, Steve Murray, Pat Thornton, and Corey Mintz are certainly examples of that court’s finest jesters. Murray, a National Post contributor, distinguished himself from the Twitter masses with his funny, cutting mayoralty bid, skewering the campaign in a way the established media couldn’t. Thornton, a Toronto comic hero with his pulse on the local scene, uses his Twitter account to riff on jokes until they reach Simpsons-esque levels of funny. Corey Mintz, food critic for the Star, would make the perfect dinner party guest: witty, slightly tart, and likely to bring a few hysterical anecdotes… along with a smashing bottle of wine.
“This advice column is for all those people struggling with last names for a baby. And those interested in sci-fi babies.”
“Have you ever had a frosty from Wendys? That’s basically a vagina in a cup. Please no more questions. #BadSexEdTeacher”
“I’m no hero. I’m just a regular guy, like Musashi Miyamoto, Captain America or Giorgio Mammoliti.”
#TrendSetters: @NowLifeStyle // @Geekigirl // @KevinJn
Anita Clarke. Still from a video by Jaime Woo/Suresh Doss.
In Toronto, our fashion trendsetters bring a careful eye to style news without being Mean Girls. Andrew Sardone, an editor at NOW, is behind the publication’s Life and Style Twitter account. He demonstrates his usual sunny charm while providing updates on what’s hot in the city. Anita Clarke, who was honoured with a Holt’s window display for her work as a fashion blogger at I Want I Got, brings passion and, most charmingly, a lack of filter to her Twitter stream—pity the insipid PR person who crosses her. Finally, Kevin Naulls is an associate online editor at Toronto Life, and his stream is a sarcastic, dryly funny look at the going-ons about town.
“Nothing makes me ignore your pitch like some silly make up title that sounds like corporate doublespeak. Delete.”
“I have developed this habit of aggressively listening to emo before going out on Friday nights. Whatever works, I guess.”
“This week I had every pair of pants I own shortened so I no longer have to roll them up. Here’s looking at you #bareankles.”
#CivicChampions: @Meslin // @UnionSt // @ShawnMicallef
Shawn Micallef. Illustration by Jeremy Kai/Torontoist.
Toronto has been called out in the Standard for its passive-aggressive nature, but among its citizens are also many getting things done—consider them civically passionate-aggressive—like activists Dave Meslin and Justin Stayshyn and writer Shawn Micallef. Longtime community organizer Meslin has been centre stage the past few weeks while the debate over bike-lane removals raged on, and his stream has efficiently curated the growing political action within the cycling community. Stayshyn is a shit-disturber in the best sense of the phrase, whether he’s hounding Glen Murray about GSAs, Mayor Ford for shirking Pride duties, or the police over kettling during the G20 weekend. Finally, for a considered appreciation of cities big and small, rural and urban, Spacing and Yonge Street editor Micallef has few peers, and we’re delighted to go along on his journeys, wherever his adventures take him.
“Still a chance to take me to #FringeTO, @TOMayorFord. Did I mention I was carded during #PrideTO? #flutter (carded in a darkroom but still).”
“It is not obscene to go to the beach twice in a row. It is what Europeans do. Unproductive, debt-ridden Europeans. To the beach!”
“Debating if I should change my twitter bio: ‘…building a new transpartisan approach to politics.’ Do I still believe in that? Not sure…”
#TDotPress: @Goldsbie // @DreaHouston // @SueAnnLevy // @ACoyne
Photo of Andrea Houston by Francis Yap.
The instant nature of Twitter has always attracted a large share of media people, but the topsy-turvy nature of Toronto politics has inflamed their voices, many digging deeper, becoming more personal, and showing more character. National Post (and former Torontoist) contributor Jonathan Goldsbie is something of a City Hall mongoose, calling out people for their serpentine behaviour with a limitless arsenal of municipal political knowledge. On the other hand, tireless Ford loyalist and Toronto Sun columnist Sue-Ann Levy, with her seemingly effortless schoolyard name-calling (bicyclists are “helmet-heads”), comes off as a scrappy politico Betty Rizzo, and the Pink—just don’t call her pinko—Lady’s exchanges with Goldsbie (whom she has affectionately called “Johnny Jew”) are legendary and incredibly entertaining. Xtra reporter Andrea Houston not only reports tirelessly on the fight for GSAs in the Catholic School Board but is also a gleeful thorn in the sides of Pride-defunding councillors. Lastly, Andrew Coyne, Maclean’s sharp-tongued national editor, loves a good Twitter fight—especially over parliamentary issues—and it’s not unusual to see a stream of responses as he gets riled up.
“Now Magazine’s news coverage is worth paying attention to again. @BenSpurr is their best new reporter in years.”
“Getting ready to hit the road on a big bike ride. I’ll be taking up an entire lanes where there’s no bike lane. Take that Ford! #BikeTO”
“My laff for the day: Helmet heads accused of Twittering too much in my column 2day Twitter repeatedly in response!!!”
“Y’know, if we just prohibited cars with < 2 passengers within city limits & made everyone ride scooters, the world would be a better place."
#HotNerds: @MathewI // @NavAlang // @The1Console
Mathew Ingram. Photo by J. Adam Huggins and Aaron Rodericks, courtesy of TEDxTO.
Oh, how the geeks have inherited the Earth and pwned Twitter with ease. Mathew Ingram, as a venerable tech reporter formerly at the Globe and now with GigaOm and co-founder of web conference mesh, is always on top of what’s causing chatter in the Silicon circles. Navneet Alang aims loftier as a technological philosopher and poet, wielding weighty, academic references without ever being dull. Finally, as digital games continue to grow in cultural value, Superbrothers representative Craig D. Adams, part of the team behind the award-winning iOS title Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, is a shining example of thoughtful consideration of the medium.
“Search string for my blog today: ‘Is hipsterism a defense against despair?”
“Adrian Holovaty of Everyblock says Twitter is silly, and some day we will realize that we all got played somehow.”
Craig D. Adams
“PREDICTIONS: The Wii-U will underperform at launch. Bookstores will seem quaint. Sharks will go extinct. “Jaws” will be re-booted in 3-D.”
#AVClub: @HeyWriterBoy // @WCDixon // @SilentVolume
Photo of Will Dixon from his Twitpic page.
If Toronto were to have an AV Club (besides, you know, that AV Club), then Denis McGrath, Will Dixon, and Chris Edwards might just be the ones leading the troops. McGrath, a writer whose credits include The Border and XIII, is acerbic in his observations on Canadian film and television productions. Dixon, a self-described industry hyphenate, is an expert on Canadian television and can be found discussing the happenings on our networks and CRTC rulings. Finally, writer Chris Edwards proclaims that he’s “good at Twitter,” and we can’t disagree with that—his wry observations are charming, although he’s as likely to tweet about fast food as he is about film.
“Gibble-de-blast! Now the characterizaton gears got sucked into the mechano-plottatron! It’s spitting out nothing but Michael Bay scripts!”
“Is it possible to have Pottergasms? If not I’m not sure what to call what my kids are having as we head out door to see the final movie.”
“I’m glad to know WINNIE THE POOH is animated in traditional fashion. 2-D Pooh is the shit.”
#SuperStudentCouncil: @IAmDavidMiller // @TOMayorFord // @KristynWongTam // @denzilMW // @JoshMatlow
Photo of Kristyn Wong-Tam by Jaime Woo.
When former Toronto mayor David Miller first got on Twitter, his adoption of the service created a mini-swell of media attention. Now, every aspiring politico and their assistant has a Twitter account. Miller’s stream still serves as a reminder of his commitment to and ambassadorship of the city. Meanwhile, the official account for our current mayor functions like one of those carnival mirrors, which is fitting when you consider the Ford Funhouse the city has become since his election. Sure, the mayor won’t even attend a Pride flag-raising and was the sole vote against AIDS funding, but there’s his dutiful digital self wishing us all a happy Pride. This Rob Ford says “please” and “thanks,” and likely won’t be calling cyclists a “pain in the ass” to motorists. Of the many councillors now on Twitter (and most of them are), three of the most prolific are Kristyn Wong-Tam, Josh Matlow, and Denzil Minnan-Wong. Their feeds are a good primer on the range of views heard at city council every meeting.
“At the official opening of the 2011 #fringeTO. What are you going to see?”
“Enjoy this great summer day #Toronto. So much going on – play safe. Special thanks to the over 10,000 followers on Twitter! #FB”
“@DenzilMW Your ‘daddy knows best’ urban planning approach is from the 1950s. Consultation is core to modern city building. #biketo #ward27”
“@kristynwongtam “Consultation” in this case, a delay tactic. Everyone knew the issues.”
“I have no idea if the compliance audit accusations have merit or not. But I’d be less skeptical if the accusers weren’t so clearly partisan”