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PARKDALE VILLAGER | Thursday, March 6, 2014 |

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opinion

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Work site canvas project a worthy endeavour

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plan being promoted by a Toronto councillor to make the city’s construction sites more artistically appealing has great merit. The WORKSIGHT project aims to turn the plywood boards placed around work sites, known as hoarding, into canvases that can be used to display art, and encourage the creativity of Toronto artists. Along with beautifying the sites, the artwork can help promote the concept of public art and the artists involved. Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam is championing the project, which hopes to see developers and construction companies hire local artists to paint murals on the hoarding. “One of the goals is to create a platform to support emerging artists and bring the idea of the art gallery outside of gallery spaces,” she said. “A lot of people don’t go to galleries, but it’s important to expose them to art.” Along with the councillor, our view social enterprise group the PATCH Project and creative Everyone wins agency Wysp are also involved in the project. with new PATCH is a group of urban planners, architects and profesprogram sional artists who have teamed up to support urban development and manage public art projects in the city. Wysp works with artists to help stretch creative boundaries. With solid backing, the WORKSIGHT project can be a benefit to communities across Toronto. Already, there are examples in the city of murals painted on construction hoarding including at Allan Gardens. Another area where WORKSIGHT has put its plan into action is in the Alexandra Park area of Toronto. There, residents worked together on an art plan for the future hoarding to surround a massive redevelopment plan in the area. They came up with designs specific to the community and its future goals. Expanding such a program across the many different construction jobs in the city will help build a great level of resident involvement and enthusiasm for the future of the neighbourhoods, and will help local artists gain profile. It will also make our community more beautiful. It seems like a winning project to us.

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Ford’s Kimmel appearance little more than public shaming The Ford brothers’ trip to Los Angeles over the Oscar weekend caught a great many of us by surprise, particularly as Mayor Rob Ford left Toronto claiming to be en route to attend the Oscar ceremony and walk the red carpet, on the arm of none other than latenight talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. Turned out the mayor was a little premature. For some reason, according to his brother, there were security issues involving the late addition of Toronto’s chief magistrate to the A-list. No matter: the mayor would attend Kimmel’s after-party. Although it turned out Kimmel didn’t have one of those: just an after-Oscar show where the mayor took part in a little skit and Kevin Spacey (who’s not a politician, but plays one on Netflix) made some unkind Ford jokes. The next night, Mayor Ford seemed giddy when he came out for his guest

david nickle the city spot on Kimmel’s show. Listening to his brother Doug the next day, they had all been honestly hoping to use the time on the popular late-night comedy show to extol the virtues of Toronto. It sure seemed that by then, the only one surprised was Ford, who instead walked into a late-night version of A Christmas Carol, compressed into what seemed like an excruciating halfhour in which many of the mayor’s sins and humiliations were paraded before him. Kimmel called Ford on everything from his sartorial sensibilities (“Why are you dressed like a magician?”) to his apparent love of the vine (“If you’re drinking enough that you try crack in your 40s and you don’t remember it, maybe that’s something that

you might want to think about...”). Ford laughed it all off – and also sweated it off, to the point that Kimmel at one point reached across to dab the mayor’s forehead – and bravely tried to stick to his familiar message. Indeed, I don’t think a single word left Ford’s mouth in Los Angeles that hadn’t been road-tested many times with Toronto media. Give Kimmel this: his late-night comedy modus operandi was much more effective in deconstructing Ford’s patter than we’ve been here, swinging as we do between the hardball confrontational questions of a city hall scrum and the gently commiserative queries of Conrad Black. Kimmel put Ford in front of his sins and failures, and offering redemption only in acceptance. Ford left the studio unmoved. Indeed, the next day Doug Ford was in Toronto telling the media

how well it all went: how Kimmel thought it funny that Ford’s colleagues were annoyed with him for leaving town after stripping him of powers; how it was all scripted, and really no one was surprised at the hard questions; and how Americans thought that in the end, Rob Ford simply seemed to them more “real.” It certainly was that. Ford was faced with buckets of “real” over that half hour of television in Los Angeles. The reality was there was no red carpet walk – no after-Oscar party. Nothing but a trip to Los Angeles during a frigid Toronto weekend. Nothing but an expertly wrought public shaming, and an intervention delivered in earnest, both of which Ford appeared to do his best to ignore. And in that, there were no surprises whatsoever.

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David Nickle is The Villager’s city hall reporter. His column runs every Thursday.

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