Thousands of cooped-up, condo-confined Torontonians took to Trinity Bellwoods Park last Saturday to soak up the sunshine. In normal days, that would be no big deal. However, thanks to our new abnormal due to the Wuhan virus, this was seen as Toronto’s day of infamy.
Said Mayor John Tory: “I saw a crowd scene that was completely out of control relative to what we have been saying people should do.”
And then Tory went out of his way NOT to lead by example by taking off his face mask and violating social-distance regulations for one of his precious photo-ops. (Alas, unlike members of the great unwashed masses, Tory is somehow immune from receiving those $880 tickets from bylaw enforcement. Funny how that works, eh?)
Ontario Premier Doug “800-lb. gorilla” Ford also went ape-shite over the mass-gathering. The Premier said he was “disappointed to say the least” with the Trinity Bellwoods picnickers. (Like Tory, Ford subscribes to the mantra of, “Do as I say, not as I do” when it comes to taking part in mass gatherings or going to cottage country.)
But in reality, the Trinity Bellwoods situation boils down to a simple mathematical equation. Namely, there are tens of thousands of people who live within walking distance of this park. They’ve been cooped up for months in tiny apartments and they understandably want some fresh air and sunshine. Alas, Trinity Bellwoods is not even 35 acres in size, which makes social-distancing impossible when so many people flock to the park at the same time.
Gee, if only Toronto had a bigger downtown park for its cooped-up citizens to go to…
Oh, I almost forgot! Such a park does indeed exist. It’s called the Toronto Islands! There’s more than 800 acres of parkland there.
But wouldn’t you know it? The city has grounded its ferry fleet due to – you guessed it – social distancing regulations.
But there’s absolutely nothing – except for a lack of political will – preventing the city from running its ferries at half capacity. Sure, it will mean longer wait times for landlubbers craving the island experience. But it can be done (except that it isn’t being done because that would require… a little extra work? And it’s pretty hot in Hogtown these days. Wouldn’t want city staff overheating or anything.)
And trust me: you don’t want to swim over to the Toronto Islands, folks – the water quality of the Toronto harbour area is perhaps even deadlier than any airborne virus.
So welcome to hot and humid Hogtown, where there is parkland, parkland everywhere… but no way to get to it thanks to Toronto’s testicular-challenged mayor.