Toronto the Stumped

Around this time of year, a few years ago, I was wandering around Tommy Thompson park with a few friends hoping to photograph something interesting. From one of the cormorant points I found this detached stump with Toronto's skyline behind. Looking back on this image, I'm reminded about the stark differences between the previous and current mayor.

At the time, Toronto's mayor (David Miller) was fairly clear about his vision of the city. Whether it was good or not isn't the point — the point is that there was a definitive thing he was aiming towards.

A few years later (i.e., now), we have a new mayor (Rob Ford) who is nearly the exact opposite of the previous one. Much has been written about the recent mayoral election attempting to provide some explanation about this significant shift in public opinion.

For me, the most disheartening aspect of the entire election was one which has appeared in many political events recently. There was a definite lack of vision about anything. Of all candidates that the media lavished its attention upon, none — including the elected mayor — were able to articulate a vision, or even a set of goals, for the city. Debate focused on existing items that would be changed (or removed). Mostly, trivial things were discussed. This was nothing new, but seeing the media and public endorse this throughout was unhelpful.

A cynical person might say that reasoned, meaningful debate about real issues isn't possible in a culture based around television. When soundbites and 30-second video clips form the basis for ‘informing’ the public, I'd tend to agree.

Much like the subject of this image, I think there's a growing disconnect between the city and its inhabitants. I don't see a way out (but, I'm still hopeful).