I felt a flash of disappointment when I read Toronto's election results. I grew up in that part of the country, and I'm very fond of the old Toronto of my childhood. Red Gloucester subway trains, avenues of century homes lined with old hardwoods. The colour and flare of Queen, the Danforth, and Harbourfront. There's a feel and character to that Toronto that I find profoundly nostalgic, and sometimes when I visit, the city flashes her eyes at me in that way again. So it bothers me on a number of levels when the people of Toronto do something so antithetical to its rich history and the personality I know.
Rob Ford isn't old Toronto. He isn't of Kensington or the Beaches. Or the mansions of Wychwood, or the rainbows on Church. He isn't a rainy autumn ferry to a folk festival on the Island. He isn't hidden cafes and dark pubs, theatres and concert halls. He isn't sticky summer nights roaming the city bathed in drink, neon and streetlamps, searching, laughing with friend. You won't find him haunting the stone around the U of T. Ford is alien to all these things.
This man represents the new Toronto I don't recognise. Aside from his ruddy face, he is colourless. He's like the vast suburbs that now extract spirit from of the city core. Bloated, layer upon bloated layer of uniform tissue that now surrounds Toronto and draws the lifeblood from the old core, draining it with the repetitive entropy of mediocrity and outrage. He's part of the new Toronto that so recently pimped out the sacred citizenry to the violence of the visiting state.
The city's gone wobbly in the head, and lost its bearing. Ford is the product of this and for all his lunacy about bikes, taxes, and the like, he's made promises that as Chet points out, are impossible to deliver on successfully if at all. That this new Toronto elected him shows they suffer from the same dementia that produced Ford. Maybe deep down the new mayor realises some of this, but likely not. Either way, he's about to find out what it takes to run a city and the limits of the mayor's office.
So my flash of anger passed. It is plain to the watchers that Ford, despite the views of much of the electorate, hasn't got the wherewhithal to handle the pressures office or understand the needs of a city. It's also bleeding obvious that enough of Toronto has bought into his bloviating populism and doesn't 'get it' either. Scandals and other disaster await him and it won't be easy for anyone, including his worship - but it might be entertaining in places. But this is how the Toronto of this generation is meant to learn.
So I say good luck, because they're all going to need if they want to find the next election without too much harm done, but enough for them to learn who not to re-elect.