Last week, mayor-elect, John Tory, gave his “State of the City Address,” and outlined seven key challenges that the city has to face head-on, notably: transit, gridlock, housing, infrastructure, basement flooding, poverty, and fiscal sustainability.
And then in a related interview, he commented on the 2015 Pan-Am Games, and told Torontonians to “get behind the games.”
In a bizarre, unintended, ironic kind of way, I can’t help but notice that almost all seven of his “challenges” have become more challenging, because of the Pan Am Games!
Oh, and in case you haven’t seen the promotional video, take a look below…
I have to say – I really admire this video.
It’s well fast-paced, well-produced, and makes a really, really boring event look interesting.
There are a few fallacies in the video, however.
I mean, how could Cuba take on Canada in baseball on Bay Street, when TTC streetcars are busy taking up two full lanes of traffic: one driving, and one picking up pedestrians?
And how come when the horses were jumping over parked cars, they didn’t accidentally bump into “Parking Cops” writing tickets on the morning of the 16th when cars are supposed to move to the other side of residential streets?
I also noticed that when the gymnast was doing her rhythmic routine on the rooftop of a building, there was no billboard from Pattison or CBS advertising one of the “Big Five” banks and how they can save you money you didn’t know you had.
As for the folks in the water, it looked like they were residents of Toronto Island trying to escape the tax-man…
What about those soccer players running through the woods? What woods? Aren’t any of the remaining green spaces in Toronto scheduled to be removed so the land can be sold to condominium developers?
I guess we could do this all day…
But I find some irony in John Tory’s “Seven Challenges,” given that some of them line up nicely with the Pan-Am Games.
Why don’t the athletes take transit, instead of being shuttled to and from their events, in special designated lanes that make it harder for tax-paying Torontonians to get to and from work and home?
See above. I’ve mentioned this before on this very blog: I absolutely REFUSE to keep out of those “designated lanes” for athletes, when I live here, I pay taxes here, and I never asked for these games. I can’t wait to fight my ticket in court.
Where are the athletes staying, again? Right – in the special Village in the West Don Lands, built for this very purpose with a ton of government money.
Tory says the city has a $3.6 Billion backlog of repairs, and just as I mentioned above, I have to wonder how much money was spent on the “Games” when it could have been repurposed elsewhere.
5. Basement Flooding
Just wait until that first errant discus, hammer, or shot-put comes through your basement window, and you will curse the Pan Am Games!
This isn’t applicable, and unlike #5, I can’t make a joke about it…
7. Fiscal Sustainability
Toronto is at a major crossroads, and while we have a new mayor, and a new set of possibilities, the same challenges, problems, and obstacles remain.
In the midst of all of this, we’re holding a goddam spectacle that nobody wants, and while the old adage, “you can make numbers say anything you want” will apply, and somebody, somewhere, will tell us how much of a positive economic impact these games will have, I refuse to believe it.
These Pan Am Games will shut the city down for two weeks, as residents try to cope with the mayhem, and businesses are affected by the gridlock. I’m sure somewhere, a long distance runner will purchase a smoothie from a local vendor, but I still don’t think the economic impact will be positive.
I only wish that when these games were awarded to Toronto in 2009, Toronto’s City Council could have truly “got behind the games,” as John Tory is asking us to do now, and started construction on subways, LRT’s, or even homeless people with rickshaw’s strapped to their backs, a la Cosmo Kramer’s idea in Seinfeld.
But alas, the Games were awarded, 3-4 people in Toronto jumped for joy, and life went on. A “village” was planned in the swamp just west of the Don River, and that’s about all that’s transpired.
I know I’ve belly-ached about this before, but last week’s press about the event just rubbed me the wrong way.
John Tory is a politician, so he can’t exactly come out and diss the silly event that he inherited from a previous regime. But his suggestion that we “get behind the games” is as hollow as the baton carried by the 4 x 100 metre relay runners.
What else is he supposed to say?