Posts Tagged ‘holidays’
Over at Torontoist, the presence of mayor Rob Ford at a PFLAG ceremony today–documented by Torontoist’s Desmond Cole that might have once been welcomed as a sign of progress became problematic on account of the ongoing scandal.
(Compare Jonathan Goldsbie’s arguably more sympathetic piece “Standing proud” in NOW Toronto. Not to say that Wong-Tam isn’t entirely right to point out that Ford’s progress is positively glacial, of course.)
Today, as they do every May 17, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) held ceremonies internationally to mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The Toronto ceremony takes place at the flagpole on the rooftop podium at City Hall—today a more frantic place than usual. As the event unfolded PFLAG president Irene Miller spoke about love and acceptance; as she ended a moving address on acceptance of sexual and gender diversity, Miller urged those in attendance, “hug one another, do not leave without a hug today!”
Then she went directly over to Mayor Rob Ford and embraced him.
[. . .]
After reading a proclamation to open the event, an extremely red-faced Ford stood off to the side, literally cornered near the flagpole on the east side of City Hall. Following his brief embrace with Miller, Ford marched back to a second floor entrance to the building, ignoring questions from the phalanx of reporters asking questions about his alleged drug use and discriminatory comments.
[. . .]
In a conversation with us after the event, Councillor Kristyn Wong Tam (Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale) applauded the inclusion of two trans speakers, TK and well-known trans activist Enza Anderson. “It’s not often that trans people are able to share the stage publicly and express their pride,” Wong-Tam said. “They are really brave.”
Wong-Tam also expressed strong feelings about the mayor’s attendance at the ceremony. “I was fairly conflicted when I saw him,” said Wong-Tam. She said that while the queer community is constantly trying to reach out to Ford, he rarely responds. “It’s not good enough for someone to show up once a year and then just expect us to applaud him,” she said. “There’s more to being an ally than reading a proclamation prepared for you by staff.”
After I posted this morning’s photos of a vintage Toronto streetcar, I shared one fo the images the image with a few different Toronto-related groups on Flickr. User zirocket commented that the cars were the TTC’s contribution to the Lion’s Club Beaches Easter Parade, and gave me permission to share the images he took of the streetcars on the parade route on Queen Street East. (The descriptions are zirocket‘s.)
TTC PCC #4549 in front of TTC Peter Witt #2766, seen on Easter Sunday on Queen Street East just west of Woodbine, from the Easter Parade.
TTC Peter Witt #2766, seen on March 31, 2013 on Queen Street East, just a few metres west of the Lion’s Club Beaches Easter Parade.
The theme of contemporary Irish migration to Toronto, in the wake of Ireland’s economic collapse, is something I touched on in a November post at Demography Matters. A weekend Torontoist post, Sarah-Joyce Battersby’s “An Irish Sport Gains Popularity in Toronto”, mentions that the sport of Gaelic football provides a useful framework for contemporary Irish migrants to Toronto.
[W]ith a new wave of Irish immigrants coming to find work in Canada, the sport has taken on a special role.
“The Toronto GAA has taken it on to make our best efforts to take care of people coming over,” spokesperson John Creery told us. “When you come over, the most important thing is to find work and a home. The Irish community in general is good, and they’re realy helpful, but the GAA community in particular is great for that.”
That’s how Creery got settled when he moved to Canada in 2001 from Lugan, a small town in County Armagh. Creery had been playing Gaelic football all his life. Soon after moving to Toronto, he met a team coach. “When he heard my accent he wanted me to come play for him,” said Creery.
Most of Creery’s friends are people he met through the Gaelic football community. And he said people involved in the sport look out for one another, helping new recruits find out about job prospects, apartments, and the Canadian way of life.
The support is helpful not only to the players, but also to their families in Ireland. “This way,” Creery said, “families back home know their loved one is being welcomed and taken care of, and has someone here to look in on them.”
A Toronto Star article even mentions that the St. Patrick’s Day parade was a convenient venue for some Irish looking for employment in Canada.
Damien Lenihan could use some of that mythical luck of the Irish.
The 33 year old Dublin native, who came to Toronto last September, is looking for work — and a future in Canada.
“Every time I ring home, everyone says ‘Don’t come back, things are really bad, you’re not missing anything,’ ” he says. “Everyone seems really depressed.”
On Sunday, he shivered in a light leather jacket and hoodie as Toronto’s 26th St. Patrick’s Day passed on Queen St. W. Lenihan recognized Mayor Rob Ford, and seemed to approve of the floats and bands. But he spent most of the parade asking questions about jobs and life in Canada.
“I don’t think the media portrays just how bad it is (back home),” he laments.
[. . .]
“I know people who have been out of work for four years,” says Lenihan. “They’re struggling to get by. It is scary.”
Still, as cold as it was on Sunday, Lenihan was basking in the warmth of a new group of friends, thanks to a meet-up organized online by the Irish Association of Toronto.
“It’s like they’re strangers in a strange land, and they’re coming in the hundreds and thousands because the economy is so awful there,” explains Leah Morrigan, a proud holder of dual citizenship and the association’s vice-president. “This is good fun because a lot of the Irish don’t have anybody to latch on to. We like to be a bit of a welcoming committee for them.”