By Veronica Maddocks | Photography by Daniel Neuhaus
There were 45 homicides in Toronto last year. It’s a grim group: a 28-year-old man was gunned down at a family barbecue; a 21-year-old mother of a two-year-old was strangled by her estranged husband; a 35-year-old police officer died when he was struck by a stolen snowplow. But, to criminologists at least, 45 is good news. That’s 16 fewer victims than 2010, and a precipitous fall from the all-time high of 89 in 1991. Overall crime rates have dropped by almost half since 1992, despite the fact that the city keeps growing by an average of 34,000 people a year.
Vaughan doesn’t want any multi-syllabic, tongue-twisting street names plaguing its citizens. As developers name streets themselves or auction off naming rights for charity, names like Desideriu Drive and Urierik Street are cropping up, and the city is worried spelling or pronunciation errors could pose a problem in an emergency. Under the new guidelines, naming rights can only be gifted on one street per subdivision and new names must be easily pronounced, use conventional spellings and not exceed 10 letters (we see lots of Smith Roads and Oak Avenues in the future). [Toronto Star]
Hundreds of marchers—in outfits ranging from jeans and tees to bondage gear to not much of anything—cheered, chanted and marched from Nathan Phillips Square to Queen’s Park on Friday evening for the second annual SlutWalk. Started last year after a local cop made some ignorant and misogynistic comments to students at York University in January 2011 (specifically, that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”), the march against victim-blaming and slut-shaming has gone global, with SlutWalks taking place in 200 cities around the world, including New Delhi,London,Rio de Janeiro,Berlin and across the U.S. In other words, the organizers turned an embarrassing moment for Toronto into a global movement in support of sexual assault victims.
Josh Matlow has backed away from trying to lift Toronto’s street hockey ban, mostly because he has gotten tons of flak from fellow councillorsandthemedia. Most complained that the proposed regulations were overly complicated (would-be Gretzkys could only get an exemption if they had 80 per cent neighbourhood support and their street met a whole bunch of speed and traffic requirements), could start feuds between neighbours and could leave the city liable if kids got injured in car accidents. Calling it an “awful 24 hours,” Matlow said his plan wasn’t as convoluted as everyone said, but added “if there isn’t support for adopting staff’s suggested compromise, then we should let it be.” Sounds like a plan. [Toronto Star]
Toronto may soon allow street hockey in some areas, as long as residents have the stamina for what sounds like a painstaking bureaucratic process. Last May, Josh Matlow and Mary-Margaret McMahon proposed that the city create a procedure to exempt some residential streets from the bylaw (since the games are happening anyway); after mulling it for a year, city staff will present their ideas to the public works committee next month. If the staff proposal is adopted, residents hoping to lift the ban on their street would need formal support of 80 per cent of the neighbouring households, and the street would have to have a speed limit of 40km/h or less and fewer than 1,000 vehicles passing by a day, plus each gap between vehicles would have to average a minute or more and the sightlines would have to allow oncoming vehicles to stop in time (whew!). Seeing as the current ban isn’t regularly enforced, it sounds like it might be easier to just keep the bylaw in the books and let residents flout it at will. [Toronto Star]