Our Canadian Cities 2171 Views Ivor Tossell

Does Toronto need a casino?





Try as it might to rid itself of the habit, Toronto the Good hangs in there. Presently, the city is up to its clerical collar in a debate over whether or not to admit a provincial casino on its valuable central lands. This might seem like a no-brainer to outsiders. Downtown casinos have sprung up in cities across the country without major incident, but it’s still fraught stuff in Toronto: Remember, this is the city that required not one, but two referenda to even allow streetcars to run on Sundays. (The motion passed by a whisker on the second try in 1897; after all, you can use the streetcar to get to church.) An enormous consultation has been launched. Across the four corners of the megacity, a cavalcade of city staff, politicians, developers and consultants have trouped from gymnasium to hall to foyer, setting up placards full of financial estimates, health-board reports and planning bafflegab. (Here is a map. Now here is a map with colours and arrows!) Senior city staff stood around, fielding questions. Passers-by were directed to round tables to participate in “facilitated discussions” and fill out surveys. Consultants who specialize in consultation were brought in. After a fiasco at the first session, when anti-casino councillors got upset at the lack of a public-speaking component and staged a rebel counter-consultation in another room, an open mic was added. You can also go and do the whole thing online, until the end of this week. If there exists a stray opinion on casinos anywhere within city limits, the city manager’s office wants it captured, fumigated and pinned to a corkboard. Read more.


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