Is Toronto a second-rate city?
If you talk to someone of a certain age who lived in the city years ago, Toronto was a much desired city to live in as well. Now, to them, not so much. People respected each other and neighbours knew each other.
Toronto was a cleaner and nicer place to live in. I think the city has gone off track but is still generally a good place to live, play, and work in.
People took pride in the city, how could you argue against being full of pride, Toronto was once seen as “New York run by the Swiss” in that we had the big city feel with the rational, efficient, governance needed to run a metropolis. While people took pride in their surroundings, they were also accountable for their actions.
Fast forward years later and Toronto is no longer “New York run by the Swiss” but rather “New York overrun by the unions”. No one is accountable for their actions anymore. How many times have you heard “It’s not my job” or “Someone was supposed to…”?
This new me-first attitude is, unfortunately, generally reserved for Generation Y but has been commonplace in City Hall and of those who left the city long ago.
Speaking of City Hall, there was once a time where politicians at all levels would act without necessarily thinking of a legacy. Politicians did more for the city in less time and with less money than those who currently work at City Hall.
The current crop of politicians have become “career politicians”. To these men and women, the wards they represent, and perhaps cared about at one point, have morphed over time into their own personal fiefdoms where they wield a lot of control and power.
Larger issues that affect the city are trumped by smaller, more local, issues that may affect how the city operates. Bike lanes are a great example. People want a city-wide bike network, just not on their street or on any major routes. City Hall fights a misguided “war on the car” but it’s still much easier to go across the city by car than by transit.
Which brings me to us, the citizens of Toronto, and the GTA, where we need to realize we are all in this together. This 416 vs. 905 divide is fictitious and petty. As a region we need to realize we need each other and that there are more serious issues we need to tackle than preconceived notions and feelings based on area codes.
If you feel Toronto is second-rate it is because we accept second-rate service. We accept all-day rush-hour traffic and dirty streets, buses, and subways. We accept mediocre politicians and officials and their attempts to divide the GTA along urban and suburban lines.
We accept this because we feel there’s no alternative, but there is an alternative. We need to start leading by example and demanding the best from our city, its leaders and residents.
It should no longer be acceptable to trash the City of Toronto with negligent and ignorant comments, nor should it be acceptable to jump to conclusions about the 905 and how people live their lives there. Petty and snarky remarks are part of the past.
Mutual respect and constructive dialogue should be in. We cannot allow Toronto and the GTA to be disrespected anymore. It’s time we demanded change.
I want a city that is vibrant and globally attractive. Toronto can be this kind of city. I want to be part of a city and a region that leads and doesn’t follow.
Our best days are ahead of us Toronto and not behind us. We just need to be shown what Toronto can be and how we fit into this vision.