Why has Toronto become the city where the fun dies? – News 24 | News in France and abroad

When in doubt, differ. This seems to be Toronto’s official approach to anything half-fun. Last week city councilors came together to do what they do best: talk about their love of big, bold ideas, but not in this particular context and not at this particular time and not before further consultation is carried out and – let’s face it – probably not until we are all long dead.

For example, at city council meetings last week, Toronto’s elected officials voted to delay approval of so-called “pedal pubs,” a popular attraction in some European and North American cities. A cross between a bar table and a multi-passenger bicycle, the idea is that a sober driver (employed by the pedal pub supplier in question) steers the contraption at the front while the other passengers pedal, drinks in hand.

At least that’s how it works in other less prudish cities. In Ontario, provincial law would prevent passengers from drinking while peddling. But this being in Toronto, even a dry version of a fat bike was deemed too wild for the city council.

As a result, City Council last week voted to delay approval of pedal pubs until at least mid-June, after the city’s transport experts were able to produce a report on the matter.

Granted, June is right around the corner, but if history is our guide, pedal pubs won’t be approved next month. Instead, I predict, the City Council will commission another report on the subject, this one perhaps on the public health impacts of multi-passenger bicycles, which will be followed by a series of community consultations on the impact on public health of noise pollution produced by touring bicycles, followed by a report on said consultations and… you get the idea. It’s the city council’s way of looking for new ideas in oblivion.

If you don’t believe me, let’s move on to drinking in public parks, another perfectly legal pastime in cities around the world but still illegal in ours.

Defenders of the status quo will say that this illegality works well because the bylaw prohibiting drinking in parks is barely enforced in Toronto (last year the city issued just two tickets for the offense) . But even if people are rarely verbalized, why, like Coun. Josh Matlow (Ward 12 Toronto—St. Paul’s) recently argued they should feel like offenders for sharing a few beers at their local park — something council members presumably do in their own backyards whenever time permits.

Also, even if park drinkers aren’t fined, why should they be harassed, even with a warning to put their bottles away? As Mayor John Tory himself concedes, it’s a rule no one follows – a fact that irritates him as a lawyer and a leader.

And yet, the city council refuses to remove it.

Last spring, Matlow tried to introduce a pilot project that would allow alcoholic beverages to be consumed at 15% or less in Toronto’s public parks and beaches with public restrooms: good news for Torontonians in apartments who miss of outdoor space.

But Matlow’s motion to introduce the pilot was overruled by members of the economic and community development committee who referred it to city staff for — what else? – further study.

It was about a year ago. Today, the postponement continues.

Last week, Matlow was visibly frustrated when his pilot once again failed to win council support. What is? A Tory-proposed compromise to order staff to “report back” in 2023 on how the city might go about legalizing drinking in parks. In other words: further study on a study.

In the mayor’s defense, Matlow didn’t have the necessary council support for his motion to pass, and Tory probably thought it was better to block the issue than let it expire on the spot (the mayor clearly indicated that he takes no issue with Torontonians drinking responsibly in city parks).

But it’s infuriating that in a hugely progressive city like Toronto, broader support doesn’t exist in council for this kind of policy today, regardless of the mayor’s opinion.

It’s a pilot project for God’s sake. People are already drinking in parks. Just make it legal and be done with it. (And if you live in a mansion overlooking Lake Ontario, maybe it’s time to accept that noise is a reasonable compromise for living on a public beach.)

Toronto is often referred to as the city of “no”. In reality, it’s a city of dithering until the good ideas die.

ActiveTO is a great example. The hugely popular pandemic program that closed parts of major roads to cyclists has been allowed to die, perhaps because (unlike CafeTO) it doesn’t generate revenue.

But every city councilor who claims to care about safe streets and climate change shouldn’t stop until they’re revived.

Say what you want about suburban councilors, but at least they’re not trying to hide their puritanical leanings by pretending to be progressive ideals. “I don’t support opening the gate to start drinking in parks,” the adviser said. Stephen Holyday (Ward 3 Etobicoke Centre) told City Council last week.

The man is a haughty, proud square, a trait that is oddly refreshing for a city council whose leftists tend to bemoan various injustices only to drag their feet when given the chance to straighten them out.

Last week, an opportunity presented itself and they failed. But be patient. A report is forthcoming.

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Why has Toronto become the city where the fun dies? – News 24 | News in France and abroad

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