Toronto day in the life 7

What I learned, saw, was told, heard in the city
By Kris Scheuer

So much to say because my latest observations of Toronto cover four days. So let’s get started.
Random act of kindness
Who says Torontonians are cold and unfeeling?
On Saturday Sept. 5, I was walking along College near Spadina when a stranger with a bouquet of daisies handed me a sunny yellow one. It was not just me he made smile with this random gesture, I saw he’d given one to a woman on a bike waiting at the corner as well.
Has anything like this happened to you in this city?

Dancing in the street
Who says Torontonians are uptight and can’t let loose?
This past Saturday night, my mom got back from California and called me to meet up. We went to the annual Fiera Street Festival in Little Italy around College and Clinton. On our way back from dinner we stopped to hear one of the live bands performing on the street, which was closed all weekend to cars and transit.
The song that stopped us in our tracks was Hey Baby (I wanna know if you’ll be my girl). We listened to the live music, sang out loud and danced in the street like fools. It was very fun to act silly and not care if people stared. For one of the many recordings of this catchy song, see this You Tube Video with the lyrics.
What is your favourite street festival in Toronto?

Strike related news
On a more serious subject, at work today I covered the Executive Committee at city hall.
The main debate of the day was on the idea of asking the provincial government to declare garbage, daycare, children’s services and EMS essential services in Toronto. This sprung up because city programs were withdrawn during the recent 39-day strike. Emergency Medical Services is considered mainly essential so up to 75 percent of staffing levels were maintained for safety during the labour disruption.
The talk today was on making it 100 percent essential and thus removing paramedics right to strike.
In the end, there were no changes as the whole matter concerning EMS, daycare, trash and children’s services was referred to the mayor’s office, city manager’s office and labour relations committee for further study.

So what do you think? Should EMS be 100 percent an essential service? What about garbage and city-run daycare? Keep in mind some people state contracts often cost the city more when a service is declared essential. This is because provincial arbitrators, often called in to settle labour disputes, typically award higher costs to unions when the right to strike has been taken away.


2 responses to “Toronto day in the life 7

  1. I definitely think EMS should be an essential service and I do not think Toronto’s citizens would mind paying a bit more to ensure that the one time the ever need an ambulance, it will get there no questions asked.

    As far as dancing in the streets, one of my fondest memories was also on College Street after Italy recently won the World Cup. A massive traditional Italian group dance broke out with about a hundred people participating in it, we danced together, most of strangers to each other but unified by the wonderful moment.

    • Vince,
      The EMS essential services debate is an interesting one. It seems like an obvious one for many people. It is nearly there because during a strike they have to maintain 75 percent staffing levels. I am writing a news story on it tomorrow, so I have to reserve my opinion for now. But I heard excellent arguments for it being fully an essential service.

      And in terms of dancing in the streets after Italy won the World Cup, I have seen some of those celebrations personally, in photos and in the news and I love to see that kind of spontaneous joy and bonding among strangers in Toronto.

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