Friday, February 03, 2006

Mississauga on the Edge of the Future; Toronto the Past

Mississauga City Centre
Mississauga City Centre,
originally uploaded
by Points North.
White-haired, wrinkled, tiny Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion outfires big fair-haired, youthful Toronto Mayor David Miller, making her city sound more exciting, more liveable, more happening than Toronto.

Our city council takes 6 years to decide on Union Station -- SIX YEARS to approve a project awarded during Mayor Mel Lastman's term and then it does something Lastman vigorously refused to do -- commit millions the city does not have on top of the land -- because they -- our dickhead councillors -- weren't paying attention when reviewing the project for the upteenth time, just like they didn't pay attention to their salary increase, as Howard Moscoe knew they wouldn't when he slipped it in. Meanwhile McCallion is busy creating a buzz around her city such that developers are holding an international design competition for a condo project near these buildings in the photo -- can you imagine a condo developer in Toronto holding a design competition?! Can you imagine a Toronto Mayor again energizing us with a vision of our city being enacted? It seems we Torontonians live in a bleaker present than Mississaugans.

And then you get on a bus and bounce from Toronto into Mississauga and go from a bustling place filled with people and lights onto grey ribbons bounded by swaying fences of weathered boards and cookie cutter houses with their red brick backs firmly turned to the passing cars. The sidewalks are empty.

At times, colourful strips of grocery stores and parking lots pop up where young mothers and old women get on the passing orange and white bus. From the approaching bus, one can see these car-less people huddled into their coats far from each other as they wait. The bus stops, the doors open, the lights glare brighter, and they scurry on. Occasionally a person gets off near a small street or at a lighted intersection. But traffic lights are only for cars, and humans have to press a special button to make the walk sign light up so that they can cross and disappear quickly into a building or down a street to safer ground where the people are.

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