I find it very disturbing that the Deputy Mayor of Toronto could be not only so out of touch with the realities of the city he supposedly serves, but have a stubborn ignorance of the communities in Toronto that make this city so unique and liveable.
I was born in the mid 1980s to a middle class family and raised near Dufferin subway station, a block away from Bloor, and right across the street from Dufferin Grove Park. Family ties brought my parents to this neighbourhood; it had been where my great grandmother and grandmother had been raised. My parents, conversely, were brought up in Scarborough, and from their own experiences were eager to have my sister and I raised in an urban environment.
My parents, little sister and I were located minutes away from Gladstone Public Library, seven or eight different elementary and high schools (including Catholic options), corner stores, fruit stands, coffee shops, restaurants, the West End YMCA and the Dufferin Mall. This is without even beginning to count the number of services and programs that were made available to us through Dufferin Grove Park, including an ice rink in the winter, playground with wading pool in the summer, monthly, weekly or nightly free professional shows put on by Paperclay Theater and Dusk Dances (to mention a few), weekly farmers markets, community potlucks, the pizza oven which we were able to make our own pizzas with the help of Toronto Parks and Rec staff, public gardens, street fairs…
I could literally go on for hours about the happy memories I made in that park as a child with all of my friends. My street and the surrounding streets were a community, and as a child I never felt threatened within it. As an adult returning to my parents house, I notice that there are not fewer but more children then ever, who always seem to be running and playing down the sidewalks and in the park. Not much has changed.
My whole young adult life was spent in inner city schools with other children born and raised in the inner city, even on the dreaded Yonge street. We were all normal kids, living in quiet downtown neighbourhoods.
The comments you made were ignorant, and in that, either comedic or offensive. My parents, and the parents of my friends around me, ranging in employment from lawyers, to cashiers, to teacher, were not making poor decisions when they decided to raise their families downtown. If my own upbringing can be any indication, they were doing me the greatest service and I can never thank them enough.
thank you for your time,