Sitting listening to the whiney droney auditory assault emanating up from the Lakeshore vicinity on this otherwise beautiful Sunday I, like many other sensibly minded Torontonians who don’t see the charm in watching/hearing hepped-up cars race around in circles, wonder what the deal is, why do we bother? What exactly is the cache for the city in hosting such an obtrusive international event? An Indy stop destination. So what?
Now, I don’t want to be a spoilsport, demanding that just because I have no interest in an event than it has no place being held in the city. No parade rainer, I. Something doesn’t catch your fancy, simply ignore it. It’s not like there aren’t a million other things to do in Toronto during the summer.
The thing is, this one is difficult to simply just ignore especially if you’re living in the southwest part of the city. Since Friday, there’s been the noise. The dull background roar of well oiled revolutions. Fine, it’s not like most other days are soundless here. There’s always a dull background noise of something or other. But there’s also the traffic blockade in place that makes negotiating anywhere near the adult Hot Wheels circuit pretty well not worth even attempting. So that on a stunningly nice mid-summer day a sizeable chunk of the waterfront is rendered useless unless you love fast, loud cars.
I am not immune to the economic argument that inevitably follows about the X millions of dollars that are brought into the city with one of these dos. Hotels rooms are filled. Restaurants see more patrons. Absolutely. It is only for a long weekend afterall.
But have studies been done measuring the amount of economic loss that something like the Indy race delivers? The number of people who avoid coming to the city (or remain here at home) specifically because the Indy’s going on? Net loss versus net gain, I guess I’m saying. What are those numbers? Or can such a thing even be measured?
Not that that’s my main beef, if what this thing I’m writing about here can even be considered a beef. Let’s call it a cheap cut of hoarse. (Ha, ha.) I’m just wondering if the city needs the mark of the Indy-stry to feel particularly proud or important or whatever it is these things bestow upon cities that host them. The need for outside validation; the Stuart Smalley affect: Toronto, the Indy car organization has decided that you are good enough, smart enough and, doggone it, people really do like you.
There’s a hint of determined desperation to it, a lack of organicity. Why can’t we just be content to enjoy home grown weekend outings like Salsa on St. Clair? Even the Beaches International Jazz Fest integrates itself almost seamlessly with the neighbourhoods that hold it rather than disrupts and dislodges it like the Indy does. Do we really need to promote even more car idolatry into this city?
And there it is, the root of my dislike of the Toronto Indy. It’s not the noise or the inconvenience but my remorseless hatred of anything to do with cars. It colours every thought I have, every statement I make. Can’t we just stop with all this car business?!
So maybe Toronto doesn’t have an Indy problem at all. I do. It’s a sickness I can’t cure myself of. A terminal disease that I simply refuse to treat. If hating cars is so wrong, I don’t want to be right.
Gentlemen, start your engines. I hate you all passionately but I will simply try to ignore you.
— autohatingly submitted by Urban Sophisticat
I enjoy reading the blog, but I feel compelled to comment here: why the visceral towards four-wheelers? Yes, the planning and environmental arguments are sound, but even the best planned centres still provide for vehicles in some form. Also the innate emotions evoked by driving that I think would make it difficult to see the mass abandonment of the private auto.
Without trying too hard to berate or patronize you with some equality parable, I think it is more helpful to see drivers in an agreeable light that one would want a driver to see pedestrians and cyclists, so the myth that there is a “war” on anybody can be laid to rest, unity and love etc, etc.
We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke have a long and complicated relationship with the automobile, having been conceived in the backseat of one all those many years ago, at a drive-in showing… no need to go into all the gory details and date ourselves with such precision.
Until equality is truly achieved between all modes of transport in the planing department of this city, we will continue to berate those who demand the primacy of the personal vehicle over all else. The taking of a lane or two of traffic every now and then from cars is hardly a gargantuan step towards being equal and does not amount to anything near a War on them. The defenders of automobiles are many. We opponents are few. We have to be loud and relentless.
Guess you’re not a fan of the Airshow either…what with all the noise and traffic disruptions. P’raps you should consider an abode somewhere in the quiet and pastoral settings of northern Ontario instead of a bustling and noisy city. Or earplugs.
Why not jump in the car and drive out of town to get away from all the cars and driving?
We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke would most definitely follow your instructions if we weren’t so afraid of what we might find, naked, drunk and messing about in a hot tub somewhere say, 50 minutes out of town.