Monday, January 13, 2014

Bring on Toronto's Armageddon of sin

TORONTO - The gates of hell are opening for social conservatives in Toronto.

There’s talk of bordellos in every nook and cannabis in every cranny of the city.

Sex, drugs ... and we already got rock ‘n’ roll.

The NIMBYs will go nuts. They might even go BANANAs. (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone.)

Will they demand the province declare Toronto a moral disaster zone?

Not that there is anything wrong with NIMBYs. In my hairy youth, I was a soldier in People Or Planes, the NIMBY army that blocked the Pickering airport in the 1970s.

That was before comedian George Carlin made NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) part of our lingo.

Back then, we weren’t NIMBYs, we were hippy freaks.

Now, the barbarians are really bangin’ on the door.

City Hall is rewriting zoning bylaws for medical marijuana crops — while polls show growing approval for full legalization or decriminalization, including among Conservative voters.

Our mayor is an acclaimed aficionado of the leaf, among other substances, and Prime Minister Harper has even hinted at simple tickets for pot possession.

On the sex front, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti met Monday with strip club owners who want to expand into the bordello business.

If the Supreme Court’s move last month to strike down Canada’s prostitution law as unsafe for women holds up — if the Harper government doesn’t wriggle out of it — the GTA’s 26 club owners propose a one-year pilot project.

They’ll add brothels to their sin joints, with separate rooms and entrances, and we’ll see if the world ends.

Also, Dennis Hof, who runs Nevada’s notorious Bunny Ranch, told me he’ll scout locations in Toronto if laws change for good.

So hippity hop, NIMBYs, you’d better get ready.

On the other hand, I’m in the YIMBY camp on this. Yes, In My Back Yard. My adopted neighbourhood east of Dundas Square is perfect for the looming Armageddon of sin.

For eons it had no name, but now some smoothie at City Hall has dubbed it the Garden District, presumably because of Allan Gardens and the locals’ copious consumption of certain herbs.

We already boast two strip joints — Filmores and Zanzibar — with others nearby. There’s our friendly neighbourhood sex club, Oasis Aqualounge, with its outdoor pool and bondage room, and a slew of adult toy shops along Yonge.

Not to mention the hookah cafe at my corner, the streetwalkers of Jarvis St., the splashy Gay Village on our northern border, and more colourful cats and kooks than you can shake a stick at.

Speaking of which, we have even more well-fed rats than Rosedale. Sometimes they walk me home along back alleys.

We are the groin of the city and proud of it, though, frankly, sometimes I miss the serenity of dear old Scarborough.

So we’re perfect for Toronto’s version of De Wallen, Amsterdam’s biggest tourism draw, or Hamburg’s Reeperbahn, where the young Beatles played.

Let it be, let it be.

Meanwhile, the old taboos are falling. Gay marriage, soft drugs, prostitution.

I hope we stop short of cannibalism and wearing Habs tuques.

We libertarians are all for firing governments as moral dictators and for dropping curbs on personal freedoms — as long as no one gets hurt. We favour Pride parades, ethnic diversity, free speech, all those nice things — so long as taxpayers aren’t forced to pay the tab. (We’re to the right of Attila the Hun on tax-and-spend.)

My dear social conservatives, moral thaw is inevitable. Change that once evolved over centuries, now happens in a blink.

Not long ago, Denver was home to ruthless and reactionary Blake Carrington, fictional head of the Dynasty clan.

This month, Denver opened America’s first recreational pot shops. Washington State is next. Can we be far behind?

When my dad finally got an experimental licence to grow 10 acres of hemp near Tillsonburg in the 1990s, it was the first legal cannabis patch in North America since the Second World War. Now hemp pipes $100 million into the Canadian economy and is growing like a weed. There’s hemp beer, hemp soap, hemp paper, hemp pants...

Which reminds me, the Garden District has at least one hemp shop.

Bring it on. YIMBY, baby!
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