Friday, September 13, 2013
Toronto's peculiar summer of 2013
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of incredulity and we will forever remember it as the silly season of 2013.
OK, OK, maybe not.
Still, it has been a low, mean summer of peculiarly Toronto distractions, book-ended by two quite bizarre court cases and a stream of abusive tweets.
Plus a flood, the great cronut burger disaster and Hulk Hogan. Never forget Hulk Hogan.
Mayor Rob Ford was in the mix. As you’d expect. Nothing much seems to happen in this town without his mayoral eminence being mentioned somewhere, no matter how tangentially.
The best diversion came out of an Oshawa courtroom. It defined the season. All because a well-dressed monkey (as opposed to a riff raff monkey) named Darwin was found wandering in a North York car park, clad only in a rather fetching shearling coat and a nappy.
That was last December. Ever since the case has been afoot with various claims being made to secure the rights to owning the furry little blighter.
His monkey mamma said the chimp was hers. The court decided otherwise. Now we know Darwin’s future lies somewhere other than in the arms of his once and (almost) future owner, Jasmin Nakhuda.
Judge Mary Vallee ruled Friday that he was really a wild animal after all.
That’s easy for her to say. Who is going to explain that to Darwin and ask him to turn in his jacket and nappy?
No such problems for Mayor Rob Ford, a man who attracts trouble like a fiddler attracts a square dance.
As the Ikea monkey business was being decided, the Crown acted on Ford’s request and binned a charge of assault against a woman accused of throwing a drink at the mayoral visage.
The incident allegedly occurred as Ford greeted people at Toronto’s Taste of Little Italy Festival on June 15 and the defendant was Shannon Everett, a self-described multimedia editor and yoga instructor.
After being spared time in court, Everett damned our civic leader with the faintest of praise, saying: “I have never and would never throw a drink in anyone’s face — even Mayor Ford.”
I’m glad we cleared that up.
The public’s prurient fascination was salved in the curious case of the Durham Regional Police officer accused of sending a stream of crude and abusive tweets directed at public officials, including Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin.
He was finally outed as one Det. Jeff Caplan, of Durham Regional Police Service’s major fraud unit. Using the nom de plume “Joe Mayo” he had advised Marin not to stick his “big French nose” where it didn’t belong along with a host of other racy suggestions.
Finally we had the spectre of Hulk Hogan arm wrestling Rob Ford, an event deemed so significant that the mayor included it in his own highlight reel of summertime achievements. The film is now showing at City Hall but is too late for TIFF. Maybe next year.
Now the fun has ended, the last cronut burger has been consumed and we get back to some sort of Toronto normal.
Every day Rob Ford’s critics will wake to mourn him as soon as they establish he is alive and well.
They’ll mourn his popularity. They’ll mourn his ability to defy criticism. Mostly they’ll mourn the fact that close to 50% of Toronto’s residents consistently back him and support the job he does.
Maybe the mayor’s assumed betters, those sneering cultural Marxists, just mourn the fact that as much as half the city just doesn’t care for their criticism.
As for Mayor Ford himself, his challenge will be making good on his commitment to cut the land transfer tax. Fulfilling the campaign promise to scrap it altogether would be preferable but sometimes even small, tender mercies suffice.
Especially after a summer like that.
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