Toronto likes to talk the green talk but when it comes to walking the walk, it drives a Hummer. Latest jaw-dropper: It wants to knock down the Matador, where for 43 years people have danced the night away after the bars close (watch Leonard Cohen sing Closing Time, filmed at the Matador, below the fold), to build a parking lot, to service, wait for this, the YMCA, so people can drive to their workout.
Chris Hume in the Star says: "This is a city that invites you to hop into the family vehicle and drive on downtown for a workout. God forbid anyone should have to take the streetcar, which goes to the front door of the YMCA, or the bus, or that they should be forced to cycle, or, worst of all, walk.
No sir, for us it's the car or nothing.
Some cities, far, far away from Toronto, impose a fee on those who drive in the city. In other cities, parking is viewed as a means to control car use. These cities set parking rates high enough to make people think twice about driving downtown.
Not here in Merry Olde Toronto, where we're only too happy to expropriate and knock down a historic building to oblige the needs of those who must drive, even if it's only 20 of them. Heritage shmeritage.
Send the wrong message? Who cares about that? Sure this would be considered outrageous in many cities, but this is Toronto. In some cities, parking lots are viewed as a lower order of land use than a building. Indeed, some jurisdictions see parking lots as a way of creating a land inventory for future development. Here, where the city is willing to demolish buildings to make way for parking, we do it the other way around.