Monday, August 25, 2014
City of Toronto won't bend for Jesus parade
And, even though his name has been taken in vain before thanks to road construction, who would have ever thought the son of God’s supporters would be told they can’t revel thanks to street repairs?
Only in Toronto.
It seems, thanks to work around Queen’s Park, the permit for the 15th annual Jesus in the City Parade Sept. 6 has been yanked by the city.
“In view of the circumstances, the Street Events section of Transportation Services cannot approve your request to assemble the parade floats and have parade participants form up along Queen’s Park,” Transportation Services’ Rita Hoy wrote on Friday. “Shawn Dartsch from our traffic section indicates that he cannot approve this request as everything hinges on the construction.”
But organizers have a printed poster circulated, people are coming from out of town and it was supposed to be a celebratory 15th year of the event, which draws about 10,000 people and starts at Queen’s Park, goes along Bloor St. to Yonge, and then back.
Needless to say, the last-minute notice has left the worshippers stunned and others with plane tickets to Toronto with no event to attend.
“We were really upset by this,” said Dr. Charles McVety, of Canada Christian College. “We have been planning for the whole year and just weeks before the event, notice comes to cancel it. It’s shocking.”
To add insult to injury, McVety and Jesus in the City organizer Ayanna Solomon question why the city hasn’t helped with an alternative route.
“It is a sad day in this city when a parade for peace and love, Jesus in the City, is cancelled by city officials,” said McVety. “They would never do this to (the Caribbean Carnival) or the Pride Parade.”
He’s right about that.
Or the Santa Claus Parade, any of the dozens of bike events, marathons or open streets, yoga classes or festivals.
What gives? The city never heard of a detour?
Director of Transportation Services Jacqueline White said, “Unfortunately it was not possible, logistically, to accommodate the sheer number of people that were expected to participate, on the date requested, on Queen’s Park Crescent,” which is being “resurfaced, and there would be ongoing lane closures and construction equipment present.
“The weekend requested also conflicts with orientation activities at the University of Toronto and it is the opening weekend of the Toronto Film Festival, which often has activities on Bloor St.”
She also said an “event of this size requires significant advance planning, and co-ordination with other events, road work, etc. Given all of the other activities already planned for this year, we were unable to find an alternative location or date that would meet their needs” and that “Toronto Police Services and others have been working with the organizers of this parade to try and accommodate them since they submitted their application at the beginning of June of this year.”
McVety said assertions they were late in the planning are outrageous.
“The formal request was submitted Feb. 22, not in June,” said McVety, who backed it up with a document dated Feb. 22. “It’s not like it’s a surprise to the city. It’s our 15th year.”
He also said there is no reason why they can’t work around the construction and have their event, just like TIFF will be able to do or an event for the 100th anniversary of the Princess Patricia’s.
That people take over the streets routinely for protest or otherwise but the city with all its smart and well-paid people can’t find a compromise for Christ is ludicrous and unacceptable.
But to outright cancel the event may be the easier thing for the 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday city workers to do, but it’s just plain bureaucratic laziness when it comes to working with the public, who they are here to serve.
“Christians are being slaughtered around the world and now persecuted at home,” said McVety. “Toronto used to be known as Toronto the Good, now it is Toronto the intolerant of good.”
Will Jesus overcome this challenge? He turned water into wine and organizers are confident he will make sure this parade happens too.
Stay tuned because the Lord works in mysterious ways and Jesus has risen before.
Please share this