The TTC is the keeper of a one-of-a-kind typographic treasure: the font used on the walls and old signs of most subway stations. Created from scratch in the 1950s with the launch of the subway system by a now-forgotten designer, the distinctive, unnamed, all-caps typeface features, among other things, near-perfectly circular forms on the O, Q, C and G; sharp points on the A, M, N, W and V; and a cute, almost cartoon-like R with an oversized round and a stubby little leg. This typeface has been the object of some amount of public attention recently, alongside the generalized TTC appreciation that’s sprung up in the Spacing magazine-led activist community. Not that the transit commission has done anything to preserve this heritage or to encourage enthusiasts.

“The TTC had a unique typographic legacy and, by accident or design, destroyed it,” writes Joe Clark in “Inscribed in the living tile: Type in the Toronto subway,” a 50-page research paper he presented earlier this month to the Association Typographique International conference in Brighton, UK, the source of the above font history. The Toronto blogger, accessibility consultant and typographic expert has recently been leading a campaign to address problems with TTC signage, as I reported here on July 12 (“Signs of dysfunction,” City – full disclosure: my reporting on the campaign is cited in several places in Clark’s report). “Inscribed in the living tile,” now available on his website at www.joeclark.org/atypi-ttc, comes complete with photographs and pages of references to make his case comprehensively: the TTC’s slapdash approach to signage has disregarded history, accessibility, functionality and consistency.

Various approaches to way-finding have usually been implemented piecemeal with no formal testing, and when testing has been carried out, it has been disregarded (in the case of a way-finding system tested at St. George station in the early ’90s, Clark reports that the discarded tests cost almost $400,000). Along the way, Clark outlines the previously untold history of the TTC font and other great bits of subway miscellany.

For the TTC, the report should be an alarm to wake them from their signage sleepwalking. But for the general Torontonian, it is worth a read for its well-documented historical accounts of the TTC’s growth and expansion, its blow-by-blow recaps of bureaucratic bungles past and present and, not least, for Clark’s entertainingly deadpan prose (“The Sheppard arrow probably functions adequately. The Paul Arthur arrow might have been used instead had the TTC not forgotten it existed”) as he documents in excruciating detail the way-finding mess of today’s TTC.

Originally published in Eye Weekly, September 20, 2007.

One activist points out that when it comes to wayfinding, the TTC is lost

If you visit St. George subway station, you can see — on half of each of the north/south and east/west platforms — a 15-year-old experimental signage system developed for the TTC by British-born Canadian graphic designer Paul Arthur.

Arthur’s system had a different typeface than is used elsewhere in the TTC; used numbers, names and colours to identify lines (and contains redundancies that may appear frivolous to those without disabilities – having both the words “green line” and a graphic of a green line would be helpful to the colour blind or illiterate, however); and various other pictographs, arrow styles and such that don’t occur elsewhere. There’s even a dragon logo representing St. George station.

That signage system was subjected to testing by Generations Research Inc. in 1994, and proved to be more effective than the other systems in place in the TTC with every group of riders. At that point, having spent an estimated $400,000 on the prototype and testing, the transit commission declined to extend Arthur’s signage to the rest of the system (citing budgetary concerns) and simply left the half-implemented, completely unique signage in place where it was at St. George.

Today the test signage is at the centre – in various ways – of a campaign and website called TTC Signs run by Toronto typography expert, accessibility consultant and transit enthusiast Joe Clark.

On his website (www.joeclark.org/ttc), Clark makes a two-pronged plea to the TTC. First, he wants to save (at least for archival purposes) the experimental signage from St. George, which had been scheduled for removal later this summer, and vintage TTC signs from other stations such as Pape, Eglinton and Victoria Park that are also scheduled for overhaul.

“Under no circumstances should these old signs be taken down and simply destroyed,” Clark says. “The trick is to stop the TTC staff from barrelling ahead and destroying irreplaceable physical artifacts for no reason.”

Second, and perhaps more importantly if (less urgently), Clark aims to point out that the TTC’s signage is a wayfinding mess, and is demanding that the TTC begin testing across the system to define a standard that will be most functional for subway riders. (Addressing possible conflict-of-interest questions, Clark is eager to point out that he has proposed the TTC hire him to catalogue the signs it has in one third of the system and produce a report. The commission has thus far disregarded his proposal.)

As a recent stroll through Yonge/Bloor and Bathurst stations with Clark highlights, many of the problems with the existing system are not hard to find: there are handwritten signs ( “this door out of service,” “elevator not working”) in various degrees of illegibility, affixed by collectors looking to make up for oversights; ragged laser-printed paper signs indicating route diversions and service stoppages remain posted for months after the events they advise of are over; the permanent signs are a hodgepodge of fonts and type styles, riddled with confusing grammatical errors, often obscured from view by pillars, other signs or frames. (For a detailed account of that tour, see http://www.eyeweekly.com/daily.)

This is not about aesthetics, Clark points out. “It’s not centrally about selecting a font you like. It may not even be about selecting one font… a rational system might have many fonts. It might have at least two, you never know. Because it’s not about, ‘I really don’t like Helvetica.’ No, no, no – it has nothing to do with that. It’s all about rational choices based on performance, which an intelligent person can assess upfront, then you make prototypes, then you test the hell out of them. And it’s all about function, right?”

Indeed, wayfinding signs are not decorations, as you’d realize in an emergency if you needed the sign directing you to the exit, or if you had poor vision and needed to figure out which train goes eastbound. Right now, signage is a responsibility of the marketing department. “That means that the sign you need to get out of Donlands station when it’s on fire is equivalent to the station domination [advertising] campaign for Bud Light,” Clark says.

Of course, the TTC admits the signage needs work. To address the situation – at least on the permanent signage front – the TTC is gradually implementing a new standard, by extending the signage system in use on the Sheppard line to the rest of the system as stations are cleaned up and overhauled.

Clark says this is a significant problem, pointing out that the font in use on the Sheppard line, a “fake Helvetica” called Swiss 721, is not ideal for signage, as it blurs into illegibility under illumination (meaning the station name “Bessarion” looks like “Bessarlon” if it’s backlit, for example). The attempt on Sheppard to colour-code the subway and bus lines is not explained, meaning the colours look purely like decoration. There are other specific complaints, but as Clark points out, the key complaint is that the system was never tested, and so there’s no evidence that it works well for most people.

There is, however, some evidence that it does not work well. Though I was unable, in a series of missed phone calls, to interview Bob Brent, who was head of marketing when the Sheppard signs were approved, he says in a voice mail that, “I think Joe has an honourable cause,” pointing out that he approved the signs five years ago and now finds himself getting lost trying to navigate using them. This system, which confounds even the former TTC executive who oversaw its development, is now the TTC standard. Gary Webster, current general manager of the TTC, has publicly expressed confidence in the Sheppard standard.

TTC chair Adam Giambrone, responding to questions by email, referrs to a May 2007 report that responded to Clark’s concerns, reading, “The current TTC wayfinding signage standards were developed with consideration of what was successful in other systems (including the Paul Arthur test), and with regard to government regulated accessibility requirements and Ontario Building Code compliance.”

TTC staff confirmed that “Sheppard signage was not formally tested with the general public but special interest groups such as the CNIB, ACAT and a senior’s group were involved in an advisory capacity.”

Giambrone elaborates: “I think it’s fair to say that wayfinding signage is very important to the TTC, and not a ‘frill’ at all. They can keep testing every implementation of its standards, but I suspect that too much continual tweaking would compromise consistency, which in turn compromises the overall effectivess of the signage across the system. That said, I would be happy to support a review of the signage… if it is in fact determined to be somehow lacking. Other signage issues aside, I have not been advised that the current standard itself is a problem, except, of course, by Joe Clark.”

Giambrone points out that, despite their continuing prevalence, handwritten signs are forbidden, and he has commissioned a report on removing handwritten signs, to be delivered by the end of the year, and that report is to include examples of wayfinding signage from other transit systems.

On the preservation front, Clark’s campaign seems to have had a more immediate effect. “Direction has… been given to TTC staff to keep the St. George signage in place until it is scheduled for renovation under the TTC’s station modernization program. St. George is not yet in the schedule for this program, so there is no apparent or immediate threat to the signage,” Giambrone writes. “As an archaeologist, I have a personal interest in ensuring the preservation of historical artifacts. I’m eager to have the TTC re-establish a position for an archivist (which once existed) to work with the City archives to ensure that TTC items are properly preserved and catalogued. It makes sense to continue to use the City’s archives as the repository, but we could do a much better job of ensuring that TTC-specific articles are properly stored and identified.”

Originally published July 12, 2007 in Eye Weekly.

The poetry of the city

What we need are more poets and fewer businessmen involved in deciding how we are governed. Fewer businessmen and lawyers and economists and planners – who see the city as a series of cost-benefit analyses and balance sheets, as so many lines on a map representing problems to be managed – and more painters and philosophers and sculptors.

There’s an inherent danger in putting poets in charge of getting things done, I realize. But what’s almost always missing from the urban debate is an ability to see the city as a relationship we citizens are involved in with each other, both a physical and psychological place in which our hopes and dreams are played out, and where we work and grow prosperous, yes, but also where we screw and hurt and risk ourselves, where we experiment with ideas and identity and fall in and out of love with each other every day. To see the city as an essential part of the drama of life, as a player in the romances and comedies and epics and tragedies of its millions of citizen protagonists. To see the city through the eyes of an artist is to recognize that beauty and truth and soul are not qualities that can be conjured by planning. Rather they come from the citizenry, from the frictions – productive and destructive – caused by rubbing up against one another in the urban public sphere.

“Isn’t the city a poem in progress?” Toronto Poet Laureate Pier Giorgio Di Cicco asks in the introduction to his new book Municipal Mind: Manifestos for the Creative City, launched this week by Mansfield Press. “Aren’t the citizens the authors of the poem they will have to read to their children?”

Yes. The Poet — as my colleague Shawn Micallef simply calls Di Cicco — gets it. The author of 17 volumes of poetry, a Catholic priest and university professor who has lived in Arezzo, Montreal, Baltimore and Toronto, understands the poetry of the city.

This strange little volume — his prose is like a philosophical tract, long on logic and aphorism and shunning case studies — is more mediation than manual, laying out the principles that underlie the creative city. He believes that often the greatest thing a city can do is get out of the way of its citizenry; has insights into the trickiness of urban planning and design; and lays out the many and various ways that corporate imperatives and a culture of technological convenience have eroded the civic arena.

But perhaps his greatest and best-taken themes are that the great and metropolitan city exists to create intimacy — “The purpose of city living is to perfect and rediscover the city as a forum of unexpected intimacies” — and that the city exists not primarily in buildings and squares and traffic patterns and budgets and bylaws but in the hearts of its citizens. “Indeed: the soul of a city is antecedent to the construction of a city. The dream of civic communion precedes the construction of it. The civic dream stems from the desire for a city to be made happy by a common meditation on the good, enacted by literary grace, in a forum where the transaction of mutual delight results in prosperity.”

Yes. We may need fewer books on city planning, as Di Cicco writes in his introduction. But we’ll take more poets, please.

Originally published in Eye Weekly on June 28, 2007. 

The mother of all year-in-review lists
The “I”s that appear after film, music and book titles below were rendered as stars in print.

January
Liberal ads are crazy. In our cities. In Canada. We did not make this up. | Jane Creba memorial on Yonge Street. | Broken Social Scene album tops our cross-Canada music critics poll. | Sarah Slean voted best musician. | MP Sarmite Bulte raises funds, copyright questions. | Lou Rawls RIP. | The Strokes put out an album with one good song. | Angels of Light/Akron Family . | Stephen Harper wins minority. | Paul Martin resigns. | Olivia Chow goes to Ottawa. | Ignatieff elected to Parliament | Steve Banks RIP. | Neko Case plays the Rivoli. | Metric open for the Stones in NYC. | Wilson Pickett RIP. | Grandaddy split. | International year of deserts. | Live With Culture. | Canada wins the World Juniors. | Ariel Sharon goes down to a stroke. | Kobe Bryant: 81 points over Raptors. | William Shatner sells kidney stone for $25,000. | Manchuca . | Hamas wins in Palestine. | James Frey is a liar. | Oprah says she’s cool with that. | Oprah decides she’s not so cool with it. | Oprah reams out James Frey on her show. | Grandma’s Boy H. | Commercial jingle of the year: Jim Guthrie’s “Hands in My Pocket.” | 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth. | CN Tower turns 30. | Irving Layton RIP. | Planet Hollywood closes. | Anthony Hamilton Ain’t Nobody Worrying . | Sidney Crosby, rookie hype machine. | Free City of Leslieville website launched. | High-Parkdalians still say “Riverdale East.” | Bon Jovi’s jet gets slippery when wet in Hamilton. | Ruby slippers stolen from Bata Museum. | Nett werk defends 15-year-old file sharer vs RIAA. | Cyclists vs motorists street fight in Kensington. | Anagram After Dark . | Raptors GM Rob Babcock fired. | Loudly protesting heterosexual Tom Cruise sues South Park. | Under the Mink . | TV reality shows turn into dance parties. | Underworld: Evolution H. | Newcomer Q’Orianka Kilcher turns heads in Terrence Malick’s The New World. | Icky, lame Karla movie does not help Laura Prepon’s career… | …neither does the final season of That ’70s Show. | Clearlake Amber . | Match Point: Woody Allen’s first non-lousy film since Sweet & Lowdown. | Hostel takes xenophobia abroad and impales it on sharp objects. | Michael Haneke’s Caché () tops critics’ lists early. | 40 Shades of Blue . | Jason Anderson: Sleeping Dogs Lie Sundance’s “most heartfelt film about bestiality.” | Shelley Winters RIP. | The Ghost is Dancing . | Chris Penn RIP. | Pete Doherty arrested twice in one day. | Lori Cullen, Calling for Rain . | Pete Doherty pleads guilty to drug possession. | Broken Social Scene do two nights at Kool Haus. | Cat Power, Greatest . | Canada: No. 1 in illegal downloading! | Katrina Onstad skewers Toronto media types in How Happy to Be. | Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins, Rabbit Fur Coat . | Maggie MacDonald’s indie opera Rat King rocks. | Robert Pollard, From a Compound Eye . | Prison Break breaks out. | American Jerry Zucker buys The Bay. | Bombay Black . | Stephen Harper shows Jean Charest some love. | Stephen Harper shows Dalton McGuinty the back of his hand. | Coretta Scott King RIP | The Sword, The Age of Winter . | Canadian kicker Mike Vanderjagt misses field goal, starts looking for work. | Yacht Rock loses the smooth. | Crazy about Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.”

February
Chinese Year of the Dog. | Elected Liberal David Emerson joins Conservative cabinet. | Unelected senator Michael Fortier, too. | Paul Ainslie promises not to run for council. | Pittsburgh Steelers win Superbowl. | U2 clean up at Grammys, Kanye fumes. | Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow . | Blogger Robot Johnny unveils cool TTC anagram map. | TTC threatens to sue Robot Johnny. | The Sadies go live at Lee’s. | When a Stranger Calls H. | Turino Olympics. | Everyone starts saying “Turino” instead of “Turin.” | Cindy Klassen: Olympic medals aplenty. | Women’s hockey, too! | And men’s curling! | Men’s hockey, not so much. | Worse: we lost to Switzerland. | Belle and Sebastian, The Life Pursuit . | Run the Road Vol. 2 . | Remember the Arctic Monkeys? | Bush: “this great state of baseball.” | iTunes sells billionth song. | Betty Friedan RIP. | Neil Young: Heart of Gold . | Bad Bands Revolution. | Dick Cheney shoots friend in face. | Our Town . | Danish cartoons of Mohammed spark outrage, attacks. | Western Standard reprints cartoons, sparks letters to the editor. | Toronto Police apologize to two protesters mistreated in 2001. | Danko Jones, Sleep is the Enemy . | Queen Street Man! | Modest Marr? | J Dilla RIP. | Wavelength 300. | Alice in Chains reform, Layne Staley still dead. | Price of smokes jumps $1.25. | The Real McCoy . | Dave Meslin launches Who Runs This Town. | And City Idol. | Transition to Mez-less TPSC not painless. | Old Joy premieres at the Rotterdam film fest. | Sokurov’s The Sun. | Götterdämmerung . | Tommy Lee gets cozy with transsexual-about-town Nina Arsenault… | …until he’s alerted to the transsexual part. | TTC announces second annual Fare-hike Day! | Royal Sarcophagus Society launches Wanderlust. | Don Knotts RIP. | Ryan Bigge on Leah McLaren: “provocative pool toy.” | Five-year-old McLaren column on Bigge: “constipated prose.” | Through the Fire . | TV on the Radio sign to Interscope. | Cat Power cancels tour. | Spirit of the Beehive . | Frank Gehry at the AGO. | Chris Murphy plays tribute to self at The Boat. | St. Clair ROW approved. | Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story . | Province proposes energy centre for port lands. | 40th anniversary of Bloor-Danforth subway. | Take the Tooker. | Guardian Angels are back. | Madea’s Family Reunion H. | The Pink Panther returns, inevitably. | Dennis Weaver RIP. | Poet Lynn Crosbie waxes woman scorned Liar. | Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, House Arrest . | Malajube, Trompe L’oeil . | Robin Williams and Lewis Black make surprise appearance at the Rivoli… | …and Spirits… | …and Oasis… | …Robin Williams apparently off the wagon. | Psychic Ills, Dins . | Darren McGavin RIP. | Vancouverite J.B. MacKinnon wins the Charles Taylor Prize. | Femme Generation, Brothers and Sisters, Alone We Explode . | Mardi Gras returns to New Orleans. | Ontario minimum wage raised to $7.75. | Dear Wendy . | Sheryl Crow fights breast cancer. | John Martin RIP. | Matias, Sleepy . | Test Icicles release debut album. | Test Icicles break up. | Spymate H. | Billy Cowsill RIP. | Terrestrial Tones, Dead Drunk . | Great Big Sea in great big bus crash. | Split Enz reunite. | Doogal H. | Metric do two nights at Kool Haus. | Deal or No Deal? | Seriously, make up your mind ’cause Howie Mandel is driving us nuts. | Police horse dies, city mourns. | Aceyalone & RJD2, Magnificent City . | Still crazy about Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.”

March
Dave Chappelle’s Block Party . | John Manley passes on Liberal leadership race. | Frank McKenna passes on Liberal leadership race. | Brian Tobin passes on Liberal leadership race. | Ashley MacIsaac says he’ll run if no one else will. | Martha Hall Findlay says she’ll run. | Bob Rae reborn a Liberal, runs for leader. | Ken Dryden says he’ll give it a go, too. | And Gerard Kennedy. | And Stéphane Dion. | And Scott Brison. | And Carolyn Bennett. | And Hedy Fry. | And Maurizio Bevilacqua. | And Joe Volpe. | And, of course, Michael Ignatieff. | Ashley MacIsaac quietly slinks away. | Omagh . | Slobodan Milosevic dies. | Bush and Fox wear matching linens in Mexico, Harper wears a fishing vest. | BikeShare hits financial trouble. | Aquamarine H. | The Social cancels CMW. | Ali Farka Toure RIP. | Ultraviolet H. | Believe the hyphy! | New Scott Walker album! | Nikki Sudden RIP. | Barmitzvah Brothers, The Century of Invention . | Miracle on grass: Canada beats US at baseball. | Bush: “If the Iranians were to have a nuclear weapon they could proliferate.” | Morrissey loves seals, hates Canada. | Paul McCartney goes to war with Newfoundland. From PEI. | The Ride Theory, In This City . | Buck Owens RIP. | Margaret Atwood signs books by remote control. | Rhinoceros Eyes . | Stephen Lewis visits Ryerson. | Holy Fuck and Fembots’ gear stolen from Lee’s. | Ted the Canadian Tire guy is retired, neighbours rejoice. | Gravitas . | Dov Charney: sexual evolutionary or sexist pig? | Maybe both? | Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood . | Ryerson hot dog legend Ernie retires. | ROM acquires 2,000 dead birds. | Arnaud Maggs wins GG for visual art. | The Rochdale Project . | Police release video of Boxing Day shootings. | MTV Canada goes to air, sans music. | Mississauga unveils shapely tower. | Past Perfect . | Peter Tabuns wins provincial by-election in Toronto-Danforth. | Jon Stewart hosts the Oscars. | Capote and Brokeback Mountain split gay vote, pseudo anti-racist Crash wins Oscar. | Ubiquitous Brokeback punchlines retired. | Ang Lee, best director. | Philip Seymour Hoffman, best actor. | Reese Witherspoon, best actress. | Three 6 Mafia bum-rush the show. | Donald Fagen, Morph the Cat . | Harper’s editor Lewis Lapham retires. | New proposed postering bylaw. | Bernard “Boom Boom” Geoffrion RIP. | Barzin, My Life in Rooms . | Greater Toronto Transit Authority. | York U subway extension approved. | Three Times . | Ben Johnson: “I Cheetah all the time.” | The Last Trapper H. | Wrigley’s says, “Win With Pat Quinn.” Quinn loses. | Goldfrapp, Supernature . | “Street furniture.” | Mike Evin, I’ll Bring the Stereo . | Camille Paglia throws down at Harbourfront. | Chekhov Longs… in the Ravine . | Amy Bowles stars in Tony Romano’s sexless porno Last Act. | Shary Boyle’s “Lace Figures” grace Power Plant. | Kafka and Son . | Awesome!…I Fuckin’ Shot That. | Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label goes Universal. | These Girls H. | Emily Schultz’s Joyland is a joy. | Tim Hortons opens in Afghanistan. | Courtney Love sells Nirvana catalogue. | Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Show Your Bones . | New Replacements songs! | The Game sues KOCH. | Pete Doherty pleads guilty, attacks reporter. | Sparks, Hello Young Lovers . | Scott Stapp vs Kid Rock sex tape. | Yanni: a wife beater? | Jack White debuts Raconteurs. | Canadian Pacific Scandal . | Denmark is the new Seattle. | Yacht Rock regains the smooth. | Clean Irene and Dirty Maxine . | Not so crazy about Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.”

April
Secret swing shut down. | The transferable Metropass. | Six Figures . | Bush: “I am the decider.” | Leafs fail to make playoffs. | Brian Eno and David Byrne, My Life in Bush of Ghosts . | T.I. is what you know (King ). | Mission of Burma obliterates. | David Morales opens Sonic. | Rob Ford goes ka-ray-zee drunk at Leafs game. | Gene Pitney RIP. | Kelly Stoltz, Below the Branches . | Smashing Pumpkins reform. | Meat Puppets reform. | D12’s Proof shot dead. | Rammer, Cancer . | Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes reproduce. It’s a Suri! We think. | Natalie Portman comes to T.O. – Stillepost has the scoop. | Michigan grumpy about garbage. | Eight Bandido bikers slain. | Centro-Matic, Fort Recovery . | John Lorinc’s The New City. | Miss Universe Natalie Glebova: “very proud to be Ryersonian.” | David Miller in Vanity Fair. | Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s, The Dust Treatment . | 150 new hybrid buses! | Orfeo . | Harper bans media from covering return of military dead, cites families of soldiers… | …soldiers’ families disagree. | Brick . | Sheppard becomes a sinkhole. | Tim Hortons Yonge and Bloor’s washroom explodes. | Ken Babstock! | Bloodrayne H. | Sharon Stone gets naked again (Basic Instinct 2 H): audience been there, done that. | Snoop busted for stage fight. | Take the Lead H. | Pete Doherty gets sentenced. | Pete Doherty gets busted three hours later. | Kardinal boycotts Junos. | Tokyo Police Club, A Lesson in Crime . | Snoop Dogg released from jail. | Ghostface, Fishscale . | Broken Social Scene vs Canadian Idol. | Zach Werner vs Broken Social Scene. | Strokes banned by MTV. | Morrissey, Ringleader of the Tormentors . | Neil Young vs George Bush. | Michael Jackson sells off publishing rights. | Sailboats Are White sign to Poptones. | Kanye plays Masonic Temple. | James Hunter, People Gonna Talk . | Remarried Eminem files for re-divorce. | Jack White’s Coke jingle. | The Sentinel H. | Kool Keith returns as Dr. Octagon. | U of T prof Hubert van Tol killed in bike accident. | Escape from Happiness . | Danforth Music Hall seat sale. | City tests new “superboxes.” | Jane Jacobs RIP. | Wozzeck . | Union Station deal undealt. | “The Beach” beats “The Beaches.” | Paul Greengrass’ United 93 does justice to “Let’s Roll” fable. | Very expensive, very long Lord of the Ring opens. | Spank Rock, Yoyoyoyoyo . | Puppet master Ronnie Burkett’s 10 Days on Earth opens (). | Whole New Thing . | Jello Biafra at Convocation Hall. | The Sketchersons 100th show. | L’enfant . | Poet a.rawlings publishes Wide Slumber for Lepidopterists. | American Dreamz H. | Welcome back ’80s. | Soledad Brothers, The Hardest Walk . | John Kenneth Galbraith RIP. | The Rocket released with English subtitles. | Come and See . | Raptors lose 10 in a row. | Grizzly Bear, Horn of Plenty/The Remixes . | | Brian Mulroney: greenest PM. | Jana Hunter, Blank Unstaring Heirs of Doom . | Comedy Central censors South Park’s Mohammed… | …but Jesus shitting on the US flag is OK. | E-40, My Ghetto Report Card . | American Buffalo . | Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” driving us crazy.

May
TTC wildcat strike. | Darkon . | YouTube is the new Napster. | Circa scheduled to open May long weekend; it doesn’t. | Geddy Lee appears in BSS video. | RV H. | Lily Allen makes us “Smile.” | We miss Grant McLennan. | Sunn0))) at the Music Gallery. | Akeelah and the Bee H. | Amy Millan goes solo. | Desmond Dekker RIP. | W-Y-R-D-V-I-S-I-O-N-S across the sky. | The Devil and Daniel Johnston . | Red Hot Chili Peppers release another shite album (Stadium Arcadium H). | Welcome, Type! | Bush: “One such goal is a democracy in Germany.” | Hard Candy . | Toronto Life says Ben Mulroney makes $400,000, hard work and talent surrender. | Inn on the Park demo-ed. | The Limb Salesman H. | Canadian dollar soars. | City council goes to four-year terms. | Jane Pitfield: ban panhandling. | The Proposition . | Fetching Cody H. | Leonard Cohen closes Bay Street. | Don Cash, On the Bus . | Four shootings and one stabbing in one weekend. | Census! | Baby born outside supermarket. | Toronto the Good. | Bruce Springsteen, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions . | Cops raid Jamestown. | Canada’s Wonderland sold. | Everything for the Cure! | Pretty Girls Make Graves, élan Vital . | Greg Sorbara vindicated. | Nomo, New Tones . | Yacht Rock runs with the devil. | American Idol audience pick grey-haired dude over hot chick – weird. | No smoking indoors, anywhere. For real this time. | Will and Grace finale. | Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci RIP. | Oliver Shroer, Camino . | James Blunt banned from British radio. | Beanie Sigel shot. | The Case of the Grinning Cat . | Republic of Safety, Vacation EP . | Detective Kalita, The Michael Parks . | I Am Robot and Proud, The Electricity in Your House… . | The Game busted for brass knuckles. | Pete Doherty dropped by label. | Kano, Home Sweet Home . | Tommy Hilfiger vs Axl Rose. | Brownsound leaves Sum 41. | Keith Richards gets brain surgery. | Revolting Cocks, Cocked and Loaded . | Axl arrested for biting. | First Stylus DJ awards. | Doors Open in Toronto. | Sparta H. | When Do We Eat? H. | Harper muzzles his caucus. | Harper goes to war with the Press Gallery. | Fiscal imbalancing act. | Festival Cinema chain goes dark. | Tool, 10,000 Days . | Nike-branded park in Malvern. | Susur Lee on Iron Chef: it’s a tie. | Dose is dead. | BoyGroove . | Bohemian Embassy. | Bohemian Embarrassment. | Pearl Jam, Pearl Jam . | Humanitas Festival. | Pedestrian Sundays. | The BikeShare slasher. | The Da Vinci Code = religious controversy by numbers = H. | Robert Fung resigns. | Santa Cruz takes over Captain John’s. | CONTACT turns 10. | Martha Burns seduces a minor in Mathilde. | The Parkas, The Life of Crime/The Scars to Prove It . | k.d. lang, Reintarnation . | The Stills, Without Feathers . | Matt Costa, Songs We Sing . | Susanna Hood thrills with She’s Gone Away at the Theatre Centre. | Darren O’Donnell puts scissors in the hands of children. | Daniel MacIvor and Sherrie Johnson dissolve da da kamera. | Lady Vengeance . | Tibet: A Buddhist Trilogy . | Peagreen Theatre pleases art lovers with Medici Slot Machine: The Life and Times of Joseph Cornell (). | Kathy Acker collection proves she might be dead, but she’s still punk. | See No Evil H. | Ricky Williams signs with Argos. | Ron Sexsmith, Time Being . | Sunset Rubdown, Shut Up I Am Dreaming . | The Leather Uppers, Bright Lights . | A Beautiful View . | Canadian Steve Nash NBA MVP (again). | Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” still driving us crazy.

June
Feminist Porn Awards glitter at the Gladstone. | Rick Ducharme resigns as TTC general manager. | TTC chair Howard Moscoe survives ouster attempt. | Final Fantasy, He Poos Clouds . | City of Toronto Act enacted. | Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul . | 17 Torontonians arrested for planning terror attacks here… | …including possibly blowing up the CN Tower… | …and beheading the prime minister. | The Omen H. | Miami Heat win NBA finals. | Warren Buffet gives away his money. | Creeping Nobodies, Sound of Joy . | Eight arrested in Boxing Day shooting case. | Monster garbage cans get scrapped. | West8 wins waterfront design contest. | Nadja, Bodycage . | 6/6/06: International Day of Slayer! | Circa scheduled to open for Pride; it doesn’t. | Radiohead do two nights at the Hummingbird. | A Prairie Home Companion . | Television return to Toronto. | Raptors pick European Andrea Bargnani first overall. | Billy Preston RIP. | Sonic Youth put out good album, still old (Rather Ripped ). | Zizek . | Broken Mascis Scene. | Paris Hilton does MMVAs; keeps clothes on. | Kardinal Offishal rides a fire truck… | … and wins big at MMVAs. | Billy Talent II. | Aruba . | Paul McCartney turns 64, wife answers longstanding musical question. | BSS do Letterman. | Nelly Furtado is promiscuous, apparently. | Britney Spears allows infant son to steer her car. | The Drowsy Chaperone: five Tonys. | World Cup starts, sleep stops. | Kenneth Thompson RIP. | Uwe Boll to critics: let’s throw down. | Pink Mountaintops, Axis of Evol . | Carolina Hurricanes take Stanley Cup. | Air India memorial groundbreaking. | Eight shootings, one weekend. | Renovated Palais Royale reopens. | Survey says: 5,000 homeless. | Homeless say: survey is stupid. | Edie Brickell returns! | The Killers vs Fall Out Boy. | SARsical . | Pilate > Pilot Speed. | Billy Bragg vs MySpace. | Yacht Rock stabs them with their steely knives and dark sarcastic lyrics… | Yacht Rock RIP. | Nacho Libre . | Eye Weekly critic regrets Nacho Libre rave almost immediately. | Cancelled pilot Nobody’s Watching leaks to YouTube, catches on. | Alanis and Ryan split. | The Lost City H. | Keane . | The Lake House H. | Culture Club reform without Boy George. | Arctic Monkeys ditch bassist. | Danny Michel, Valhalla . | White Stripes vs Jim Diamond. | Panic! at the Disco fire! their bassist! | Korn singer has blood disease. | John Sewell is running in Ward 21. | Phoenix, It’s Never Been Like That . | TTC shows Bombardier sole-source lovin’. | The Lord of the Rings dies in infancy. | Scott Walker, The Drift . | Conservatives plan to raise age of consent. | Margaret Somerville opposes gay marriage, gets Ryerson degree. | The Bellrays, Have a Little Faith . | 35 years without Spadina Expressway. | Reader’s Digest: we’re the third most polite city. Thanks. | The Hylozoists, La Fin du Monde . | Street racing outlawed. | Four Seasons Opera House. | Gord Perks meets Al Gore for some Inconvenient Truthin’ | Aaron Spelling RIP. | MOCCA goes goth for the summer with Darkness Ascends. | Pigeon Condos. | The Importance of Being Earnest . | Bird Flu Over the Cuckoo’s Nest . | Tyler Clark Burke goes 3-D with Shimera at Katharine Mulherin Gallery. | Cooking Fire Theatre Festival. | Dora Mavor Awards dish it out for Lord of the Rings. | Birdland Theatre’s The Last Days of Judas Iscariot snags eight out of nine nominations. | d.bi.young wins for blood.claat. | The Wet Spots release Hello Kinky. | Click H. | Kamau Brathwaite’s Born to Slow Horses wins International Griffin Poetry Prize. | Sylvia Legris’ Nerve Squall wins Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize. | Joe Thorton NHL MVP. | Figurines, Skeleton . | Leafs fire coach Pat Quinn. | Leafs fire goalie Eddie Belfour. | Steve Yzerman retires. | New look for the Raptors. | Jose Gonzalez, Veneer . | The Real Thing . | Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” – enough already?

July
GST cut by 1 per cent. | Parents get cheques instead of childcare. | The Chairs . | Israel and Lebanon go to war. | Stephen Harper says massive Israeli bombing is “measured.” | Ignatieff “not losing sleep” over civilian deaths. | Except by “not losing sleep,” he means that it was a war crime by Israel. | Or maybe by Hezbollah. | Bush: “The irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it’s over.” | Spiderman Returns . | New Polish prime minister and president are identical twins. | Jamaica to Toronto at Harbourfront. | Thom Yorke goes solo, still depressed. | Kings and Queens . | Sam Roberts shaves. | Steve Nash shaves head. | Dog Day Afternoon. | Johnny Cash: back from the grave (American V ). | Camera Obscura, Let’s Get Out of This Country . | The Bagel closes… | …and so does The Session. | Born Ruffians sign to Warp. | George Bush calls PM “my friend Steve.” | A Scanner Darkly . | Syd Barrett RIP. | Cadence Weapon kills at Hillside. | Steam Whistle bottle shortage. | Flash & Crash lives up to its name. | Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle, The Miracle Mile     | Beats, Breaks & Culture. | David Cronenberg brings Warhol to AGO. | Italia!!!!!! Sleep finally resumes. | India Aire, Testimony Vol. 1     | Bell Globemedia buys CHUMCity. | Matthew Nguyen stays. | Ed Mirvish turns 92. | Sufjan Stevens, The Avalanche . | Liza Fromer leaves BT. | Council gives itself a 9 per cent raise. | Wireless Toronto expands. | Assholes get all racist on Oscar Peterson. | Strombo hosts The One. | Turns out title refers to the size of the audience. | The Fringe festival | Stealing Venus      | Zombies      | Desperate Housepets      | Moon Sea Crossing      | Humans Anonymous      | Swiss Family Guy Robinson      | Antoine Feval      | Katie Crown plays a mean goat. | Mel Gibson: drunk and Jew-baiting. | Avril Lavigne gets married. | American Floyd Landis wins Tour de France, fails doping test. | Disturbed vs Hezbollah. | Woman in the Dunes . | New New York Dolls. | George Michael has sex in parks. | blink-182 – Tom DeLonge = +44. | Savage Garden guy is gay. | Pete Doherty ponders implants. | Supernova vs Rockstar Supernova. | Jarvis: “Cunts are Still Running the World.” | The Knife, Silent Shout . | Polaris nominees announced. | Dallas Austin busted in Dubai. | Rob Szabo, Like a Metaphor . | Pride: Fearless. | Some guy pisses on war memorial. | Docks loses liquor licence. | Docks gets liquor licence back pending appeal. | Rhymefest, Blue Collar . | Red Buttons RIP. | Jack Warden RIP. | Lady in the Water runs aground. | Miami Vice remake drops the Jan Hammer, sadly. | N’Sync’s Lance Bass: I’m gay. | Comedy of Errors . | The Scream Literary Festival endures torrential storm. | Karen Tam transforms YYZ Gallery into a “Shangri-La Café.” | Tapes ‘n’ Tapes, The Loon . | Yvonne Ng premieres Scarlet’s Room. | Steven Price’s Anatomy of Keys sees the poetry in Harry Houdini. | Jess Dobkin invites you to drink mother’s milk at “Lactation Station.” | Vovoid, Katorz . | The inaugural Living Ritual: World Indigenous Dance Festival. | Monty Python’s Spamalot () hits the Canon, complete with killer bunnies. | Lesbian Rangers patrol Ann Tindal Park. | Paul Isaacs likes Menopause Out Loud! () | The Pajama Men . | Zinedine Zidane uses his head, ends career. | Fidel Castro hands power to his brother, rumours of his demise exaggerated. | Ready or Not 2 . | Clerks II H. | Miss Lou RIP. | The polar ice caps are melting. Fast. | Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” Still.

August
Pluto demoted from planet status. | Elizabeth May takes over Green Party. | Familia . | Bush: “I also read three Shakespeares… I’ve got an eck-a-lectic reading list.” | Bummer in the Summer. | Bonnie “Prince” Billy plays Rotate This. | Mistress of Spices H. | The Deadly Snakes break up. | So do Death From Above 1979. | Criminal Records opens. | Bruce Cockburn, Life Short Call Now . | ALL CAPS! at Dufferin Grove Park. | New OutKast album: “hey no.” | Ant Bully H. | Hannah Sung leaves Much. | Extermination Night. | Brothers of the Head . | Arthur Lee RIP. | Paris Hilton releases album; keeps clothes on. | Banksy improves 500 Paris Hilton CDs with new cover art and Danger Mouse remixes. | Scritti Politti, White Bread, Black Bear . | BSS rule Lollapalooza. | Sleater-Kinney play last show. | Vetiver, To Find Me Gone . | Maurizio Bevilacqua withdraws from Liberal race, supports Rae. | Christina Aguilera, Back to Basics . | School trustees give selves 420 per cent raise. | DJ Cyber Rap, Funeral . | Who is DJ Cyber Rap? | U of T, UBC and McMaster boycott Maclean’s. | Robert Ariganello RIP. | AIDS sculpture. | We have had it with motherfucking Snakes on a motherfucking Plane. | West Nile case in T.O. | The Descent . | Number of MySpace user accounts hits 100 million… | …you have 143 friends. | Kiefer wins Emmy. | Jurassic 5 + Dave Matthews = yikes. | Foxy Brown takes the stand. | Black Gold . | The Mountain Goats, Get Lonely . | Lil’ Kim sued. | American Hardcore! | Boy George on sanitation duty. | Elvis still dead. | The Sadies, In Concert Vol. One . | Peaches’ panties for sale. | St. Clair snarled in construction. | Chad VanGaalen, Skelliconnection . | AIDS 2006 Conference in Toronto. | Stephen Harper stays away. | Stephen Lewis is the star. | The Marble Index, Watch Your Candles Watch Your Knives . | Alley Jaunt. | Crappy TTC merch store opens at Union Station. | Quay to the City. | Glenn Ford RIP. | Feuermusik, Goodbye, Lucille . | Canadian Owen Hargreaves dons Beckham’s No. 7 shirt for England. | JonBenet Ramsay case solved? | No, wait. You can go back to not caring. | Scott B, Home Movies . | Lonelygirl15 just wanted a movie deal. | Conversations With Other Women . | fFIDA reborn as TIDF, which is harder to pronounce. | Hannah Moscovitch’s The Russian Play is a hit at SummerWorks. | The Chairs . | John Waters gives us nightmares about Michael Jackson and Charles Manson as babies. | AfriCanadian Playwrights Festival names names. | Propeller Gallery turns 10. | Bombay Calling . | Paul Butler throws a Collage Party at MOCCA. | Rick Miller remounts MacHomer. | Soulpepper slays us with King Lear. | Cheap Trick, Rockford . | William Shatner appears at Fan Expo Canada, promises “fireball of entertainment.” | Ali Farka Toure, Savane . | Half Nelson . | Shadowboxer H. | Razorlight H. | Viacom fires Tom Cruise. | Ralph Klein retires. | Ralph Klein: “They were right about us not having a plan.” | Blood Meridian, Kick Up the Dust . | Damian Rogers retires from Pontiac Quarterly. | Liz Clayton takes over Pontiac Quarterly. | The Fan H. | Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” Yeah. Still.

September
CopyCamp. | Canadian Lukas Rossi wins Rock Star: Supernova. | Andre Agassi retires. | Cost of tearing down Gardiner: $800 million. | No one wants to tear down the Gardiner. | The Golden Door H. | Jays finish second, miss playoffs. | Screech sex video. | Bush: Iraq is “a comma.” | I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone . | Sexual congress: Mark Foley texting underage intern. | Kabul Express H. | Pope Benedict’s comments on Islam spark outrage, attacks. | Dawson college shooting kills one, wounds 19 in Montreal. | Megadeth blamed for Montreal murders. | Offside . | Spinach kills. | A Stone’s Throw . | Circa scheduled to open for film fest; it doesn’t. | Final Fantasy wins Polaris. | French Kicks, Two Thousand . | Five dead in Amish school shootings. | UKULA opens shop. | The Field Register, Tire and Caster . | 1,000 join Newmindspace for Capture the Flag in financial district. | V Fest loses Massive Attack, screws The Flaming Lips. | X Avant Festival. | Swollen Members, Black Magic.  | TV on the Radio light up Letterman. | Emily Haines’ solo stand at Gladstone. | Fergie solo just as annoying as Black Eyed Peas. | Rheostatics announce breakup. | blood.claat: one womban story . | Everyone’s Hero H. | Hedy Fry withdraws from Liberal race, supports Rae. | Carolyn Bennet withdraws from Liberal race, supports Rae. | Sloan, Never Hear the End of It . | TV on the Radio, Return to Cookie Mountain . | No more Mr. Dressup. | Downtown Toronto is a Wi-Fi hotspot. | Rosie O’Donnell elbows Star Jones off The View… | Goes on to mock Kelly Ripa for political incorrectness… | And the Chinese for talking funny talk. | Katie Couric takes over CBS Evening News anchor chair, ratings slip due to possible lack of gravitas and/or Brillo hair. | King Lear . | Canadian Idol picks an actual talented person, Eva Avila, who hopes to go on to be discovered one day. | Battlestar Gallactica mirrors Iraq. | Sean Penn smokes, Jim Watson fumes, Sutton Place pays. | Lupe Fiasco, Food and Liquor . | Nuit Blanche. | Frances Nunziata has 0 friends. | Tie Domi retires. | Tie and Belinda. | Der Ring Des Nibelungen . | Opossums invade. | Tom Green broadcasts surgery. Again. | The Walrus hemorrhages staff. Again. | Cops shooting (pictures) at Jane and Finch. | The Wicker Man H. | About The Wicker Man: can we rate the year’s funniest movie only one star? Yes. | Chappelle’s Show “lost” episodes. | The ubiquitous Rachel Ray. | Tom Morello arrested. | Bob Dylan, Modern Times . | Scissor Sisters vs Trans World Entertainment. | K-Fed: the album. | Mint Records turns 15. | Cat Power admits suicide attempt. | Albert Hammond Jr. strokes solo. | Henri Fabergé & the Adorables all day at Palais Royale. | Britney and K-Fed spawn. | Paris Hilton DUI bust, keeps clothes on. | Arctic Monkeys win Mercury Prize. | Beyoncé plays Best Buy. | Porter Air launches at the island. | Pope: Canada going to hell. | Ziggy Marley, Love is My Religion H. | LCBO will take back empties, sort of. | Toronto buys a landfill. | Lobbyist registry fails. | Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip portrays SNL, sort of. | 30 Rock portrays SNL, sort of. | World Trade Center puts Hollywood glint on 9/11. | Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby does not suck at all. | Steve Irwin RIP. | The Supers, Re: arrange . | Borat makes benefit glorious film festival of Toronto. | Survivor plays the race card, then unplays it after two episodes. | Perez Hilton’s bawdy blog. | Jandek comes out of hiding for Toronto gig. | The COC mounts Wagner’s Ring Cycle in its new home. | Vazaleen posterboy Michael Comeau gets his own show at Magic Pony. | Performance collective urbanvessell stages Slip in the Harrison Baths. | Condo BOOM! explodes at the Theatre Centre. | The Dog Problem H. | Theatre Smash presents its first production, Tiny Dynamite. | da da kamera present Here Lies Henry for the last time. | Jeremy Deller’s retrospective. | Joe Volpe accepts donations from children, dead people. | Ugly Betty is pretty good. | John Stamos joins ER, somehow doesn’t suck. | Whitney Houston dumps Bobby Brown. | Eye Weekly intern Eliza Northwood: “Vag flashing is apparently the new nip slip.” Britney takes notes. | Canadian Parliament apologizes to Maher Arar. | CBC chairman Guy Fournier makes poop jokes on the air. | CBC chairman Guy Fournier discusses bestiality. | CBC chairman Guy Fournier resigns. | Coup d’état in Thailand. | UK PM Tony Blair says he’ll resign within one year. | Oriana Fallaci RIP. | Grafstein and Goldfarb get behind Pitfield. | Liberal fixer Stephen LeDrew announces he’s running for mayor. | Miller and Pitfield say no to road tolls. | TA&LSOW&MA. | SMART-1 successfully crashes on the moon. | Princess Kiko gives birth to the future Japanese Emperor. | Hugo Chavez smells sulfur at UN General Assembly. | Shinzo Abe becomes PM of Japan. | Tatana Kucharova crowned Miss World. | Overpass collapses in Montreal. | Banksy floats inflatable Guantanamo detainee doll in Disneyland. | EMPz 4 Life . | JT brings sexy back. | Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” surrenders.

October
North Korea goes nuclear. | Google buys YouTube. | Keeping Mum H. | St. Louis Cardinals win World Series. | Bush: “One has a stronger hand when there’s more people playing your same cards.” | Regent Park rebuilding starts. | The Journals of Knud Rasmussen . | Controller.Controller break up. | Joanna Newsom mesmerizes Mod Club. | Roky Erickson revival at Pop Montreal. | Manufactured Landscapes . | k-os, Atlantis: Hymns for Disco . | k-os plays the race card. | Danko Jones vs k-os | Bob Barker to retire. | Beck surprises The Drake. | New Tragically Hip single sounds like Arcade Fire. | Viletones reunite! | CBGB shuts down. | Yo Le Tengo, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass . | Jeff Tweedy slugs fan. | BC woman gives birth to conjoined twins. | African Guitar Summit, African Guitar Summit II . | Nathan Phillips Square redesign contest. | Turns out writer Craig Davidson is the noodle-armed fancy boy. | Centre for Leisure and Culture No. 1. | Jet, Shine On H. | Bon Cop, Bad Cop tops Porky’s. | Gino Empry RIP. | Rush Limbaugh vs Michael J. Fox. | Angela Desveaux, Wandering Eyes . | Zombie walk! | Enron CEO sentenced. | Jim Cuddy, The Light that Guides You Home . | Greg Keelor goes solo, too. | Take your drink in the washroom! | Memphis, A Little Place in the Wilderness . | Eye Weekly turns 15. | Toronto Life turns 40. | Segways banned. | New subway name, same as old streetcar name: “Toronto rocket.” | Jim “Blackberry” Basillie to buy Pittsburgh Penguins. | Lister Sinclair RIP. | Baby With the Bathwater . | The Queen’s () Helen Mirren becomes first in line for an Oscar | The Last King of Scotland turns out to be Idi Amin. | The Departed . | Marie Antoinette: let them eat cake and listen to trendy old post-punk records. | Death of a President gauges George Bush’s approval rating – fictionally, of course. | Trailer Park Boys bust box office records. | Knit-a-long. | Wait for – wait for it – it. | Grey’s Anatomy, which sucks bag, becomes so popular people start watching ER again. | Grey’s Anatomy star T.R. Knight: I’m gay. | Shortbus . | Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home raises the graphic memoir bar. | Fashion meets art in MOCCA’s “Unholy Alliance.” | “Tit Tales” at the Gladstone. | IFOA features Kiran Desai and Ralph Steadman. | Employee of the Month H. | Chekhov’s Heartaches () returns to Factory. | Canadian Festival of Spoken Word hits Toronto for the first time. | People dance naked in Sasha Ivanichko’s Heaven. | The Royal Sarcophagus Society does their Halloween thing with Dia de los Muertos. | Scissor Sisters, Ta-Dah . | Jenn Goodwin and Nova Bhattacharya dance Out of Bounds. | RE:Search publishes Pranks! 2. | Hotel Canzine rides again – the Grilled Cheese Sandwich Room an obvious hit. | About an Hour improv comedy weekly debuts. | Pittsburgh Penguins, team of the future: Crosby, Malkin, Staal. | George Lucas loses Colbert’s green screen challenge. | Hiro from Heroes. | Akron/Family, Meek Warrior . | Kiran Desai wins Man-Booker prize. | Canadian Justin Morneau is American League MVP. | Madonna picks up a kid during a trip to Africa. Outrage ensues. | Aboriginal land dispute in Caledonia explodes. | Peter MacKay calls Belinda Stronach a dog. | Sunday shopping comes to Nova Scotia. | Ward 25’s Tony Dickins and the “No Free Lunch” bags. | Miller endorses Gord Perks. | Man of the Year H. | Pitfield unveils 14-point crime platform. | Pitfield’s blog plagiarizes Spacing, Globe and Mail. | Mayoral wannabe David Vallance says Toronto should become its own province. | Pitfield flip-flops on St. Clair ROW. | Mutual Appreciation . | Weird Al comeback. | George Michael lights up. | Kurt Cobain: still dead, still rich. | Corb Lund sweeps CMAs. | Heather Mills vs Paul McCartney. | Blind Melon reunion?! Shanon Hoon still dead. | Fabulous shot and arrested. | Stooges record new album with Steve Albini. | Justin Hawkins sees the light, leaves Darkness. | The Killers turn into Springsteen | Proposed Expo theme: Sharing the Planet. | Councillor Bill Saundercook advertises on yard waste bags. | Pitfield promises huge subway expansion, critics see huge bills. | SunTV mayoral debate gets rowdy. | Star poll reveals not one person voting for LeDrew with two weeks to go. | Councillor Michael Thompson calls black Miller supporters “paid props.” | Lindsay Buckingham, Under the Skin . | LeDrew calls Pitfield “Calamity Jane.” | Wellesley Institute releases Blueprint to End Homelessness. | Bowling for Lawn Signs. | Peter Styrsky compassion club drug bust. | Homeless mayoral candidate Kevin Clarke goes nuts, disrupts debate. | Cocaine Kate and Pete Doherty engaged. | Raptors dominate pre-season, going 7-1. | John Kerry botches punchline, kills presidential hopes. | Los Lobos, The Town and the City . | Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle crashes plane into NY apartment. | Wal-Mart nailed for working its staff through breaks and off clock. | Ex Models Featuring Kid Millions, Chrome Panthers . | Esquire: Scarlett Johanssen Sexiest Woman Alive . Duh. | Liberal leadership “Super Weekend” features cool online results ticker. | Also features big Ignatieff lead, Rae, Kennedy, Dion following.

November
Robert Altman RIP. | The Black Keys, Magic Potion . | Income trust reversal: markets freak out. | Deliver Us From Evil . | Quebec Nation recognized. | Scrappy kid Shaun Bruce runs for mayor. | Nellie McKay, Pretty Little Head . | Into the Great Silence . | Chavez, Better Days Will Haunt You . | Black Eyed Dogs H. | Saw III H. | Bush: “The only way we can win is to leave before the job is done.” | PJ Harvey, The Peel Sessions . | Britney Spears sheds husband, underwear. | The Babysitter . | US Democrats win control of congress. | Toronto One-Minute film festival. | The Hold Steady, Boys and Girls in America . | My Chemical Romance, The Black Parade . | Ken Aldcroft’s Convergence Ensemble . | Kanye West bum-rushes the MTV Europe Awards. | Dolly Parton, The Acoustic Selection: 1999-2002 . | New Who album doesn’t suck (Endless Wire ). | Milton Friedman RIP. | Dollarama get cease-and-desisted. | Propagandhi win SOCAN Echo prize. | Pavement, Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels Edition . | Fucked Up banned in the USA. | The Game calls out Dre. | Tom Waits, Orphans . | Gerald Levert RIP. | Tenacious D pick their destiny. | Stranger Than Fiction . | A Good Year (H) a bad film. | Clipse are so trill. | Dears do three nights at Lee’s. | The Oxford Collapse, Remember the Night Parties . | Beatles for sale, again. | Michael Richards drops n-bomb on own career. | Belinda goes brunette. | Pernice Brothers, Live a Little . | Harper pulls out of Kyoto. | Eye Weekly/Spacing mayoral debate draws 500. | Expo bid collapses. | Jon Rae and the River, Knows What You Need . | Record number of council candidates. | OJ: If I Did It. | Rupert Murdoch: “Oh no you di’int.” | Sandro Perri Plays Polmo Polpo . | Federal report vindicates TPA. | Countdown traffic lights. | Snoop Dogg busted. | The Fountain . | Volver . | Wannabe councillor Himy Syed opens campaign headquarters in Metro Porn Theatre. | Au-Dela De La Haine . | Old Joy . | The Magic Flute . | Ritter, Dene, Voss . | No K-Fed/Britney sex tape (thank god). | The Game is not a cop. | Joanna Newsom, Ys . | Pete Doherty arrested again. | Ghostface: More Fish, please. | Bill Cosby vs hip-hop. | Woolly Leaves, Quiet Waters . | Flaming Lips Alley! | Broken Social Scene go on hiatus (we think). | Solomon Burke, Nashville . | Jim “Blackberry” Balsillie backs out of Penguins deal. | Indie film icon Adrienne Shelley murdered. | Guy Clark, Workbench Songs . | George Jones and Merle Haggard, Kickin’ Out the Footlights… Again . | Jack Palance RIP. | Borat . | Blond new Bond Daniel Craig puts 007 in touch with his sociopathic side. | Career Suicide, Attempted Suicide . | Fast Food Nation: “There’s shit in the meat.” | Neil Patrick “Doogie Howser” Harris = gay. | Homophobic preacher Ted Haggard forced out of the closet, job in sex and drugs scandal. | Deftones, Saturday Night Wrists . | Courtney Love publishes her diary, world survives. | Daniel Brooks’ Insomnia returns. | National Ballet of Canada’s Greta Hodgkinson sparkles in Sleeping Beauty. | Flashlight, Brown Blue . | Doctor-cum-author Vincent Lam wins the Giller. | Jazzy Jeff, Hip Hop Forever III . | Governor General’s Awards for Peter Behrens and Daniel MacIvor. | Rich people buy art at the Toronto International Art Fair. | Subtle, For Hero, For Fool . | “18:Beckett.” | The Tim Sims Encouragement Fund’s 10th Annual Cream of Comedy Competition gives $4,000 to Rebecca Addelman. | Henrik Schwarz, DJ Kicks . | Fringe fave Antoine Feval lands at Diesel. | J.G. Ballard writes a book about a nightmarish, consumer-obsessed society. | Nina Simone, Remixed and Reimagined . | Drumheller, Wives . | Dancer Meagan O’Shea’s Something Blue deconstructs wedding dresses. | Seussical the Musical is a condensed hit. | Ansel Adams and Alfred Eisenstadt class up the AGO. | Obama-rama. | Keith Jarrett, The Carnegie Concert . | LeDrew proposes plaque to commemorate Miller’s failed Expo bid. | David Miller visits 44 wards in 44 hours. | Molly Johnson, Messin’ Around . | The David S. Ware Quartet, BalladWare . | John Zorn, Astronome . | Noel Ellis, Light in the Attic . | International Sad Hits, Volume One: Altaic Language Group . | “Don’t Vote For Giambrone” Jeep spotted around town. | Selda . | Police protection for Ward 8 voting. | The Gothic Archies, The Tragic Treasury: Songs from a Series of Unfortunate Events . | uTOpia 2: The State of the Arts. | David Geffen sells Pollock No. 5 for $140 million. | Marie Antoinette . | LAPD on YouTube handing out beat-downs. | The Sadies, Tales of the Rat Fink . | South African parliament OKs same-sex marriage. | Al Jazeera: all English all the time. | Jeff Tweedy, Sunken Treasure: Live In the Pacific Northwest . | Tony Blair: “Iraq is pretty much a disaster.” | Nintendo unleashes Wii. | LOUDquietLOUD: A Film about the Pixies . | Pope tours Turkey, sparks outrage. | Bell covers half the city’s ad space in wrapping paper… | …turns out the big surprise is those friggin’ beavers again. | “Calamity” Jane Pitfield fizzles. | Stephen LeDrew gets LeSlaughtered. | Mayor David Miller re-elected. | City Councillor Gord Perks! | City Councillor Adam Vaughan! | Sewell sinks, Mihevc stays. | Paul Ainslie lies, wins. | “Landslide” Case Ootes wins by 20 votes. | Hazel McCallion wins 11th term. | Donald Rumsfeld resigns.

December
Ken Dryden’s mic turned off. | Stéphane Dion’s too. | Stéphane Dion wins Liberal leadership. | Ignatieff loses. | Howard Moscoe replaced by Adam Giambrone as TTC chairman. | US VP Dick Cheney: Iraq going “remarkably well.” | New US defence secretary Robert Gates: “We’re losing.” | Bipartisan report on Iraq: “We’re losing.” | Alexisonfire sell out six Toronto shows. | Circa still not open. | Eminem re-ups. | New Gwen Stefani yo-de-lay-he blows. | Nas says hip-hop is dead. | Kyp Harness, Fugitives     | GNR vs Eagles of Death Metal. | Doc Pickles leaves Wavelength. | Simply Saucer reunites! | Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj  | Tiger Bar opens. | Word of the year: truthiness. | Runner-up: wikiality. | Same-sex marriage will not be reopened. | Time magazine’s cop-out: “You” are man of the year. | Nicole Richie DUI, career DOA. | Holocaust deniers gather in Iran. | Sassafraz burns. | RIP Ben’s in Montreal. | Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Love Their Country . | The Holiday H. | Monkey Warfare . | Eragon H. | Mahogany, Connectivity . | Royal Cinema back from the dead. | New “teeny toonie” tokens. | Peter Boyle RIP. | Unaccompanied Minors H. | Twisted Sister, A Twisted Christmas or . | Dance artist Malgorzata Nowacka warns us in Keep Sharp Objects Out of My Way. | Ghetto Arc Presents Serious Times . | Darren O’Donnell takes his Q&A project to Pakistan. | Dave Eggers What Is the What: good, that’s what. | Factotum . | Myriam Bedard charged for abducting her own daughter. | Blue Jays sign Vernon Wells for $126 million. | RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli resigns. | Children’s Aid spend lots on executive aid. | Amy Winehouse, Back to Black     | Ed Stelmach new premier of Alberta. | Financial scandal at Hydro One. | Et Qatra Khoon: A Drop of Blood . | Rocky Balboa, 60, fights again. | Robert Pickton pleads not guilty. | Hugo Chavez wins Venezuelan election. | NASA to build base on the moon. | Tomma Abts wins Turner prize. | France 24. | No conspiracy to kill Princess Di. Move on. | Muhammad Yunus wins Nobel Peace Prize. | The Organ disbands. | Tickle Me Elmo is back. | The Atlantic names Abraham Lincoln the most influential American of all time. | Canadians cheer as Alexander Graham Bell ranks 24th. | Dick in a box. | The Coup and Mr. Lif in bus crash. | Pete Doherty: still not in jail. | Trey Anastasio busted, dude. | Ahmet Ertegun RIP. | New Arcade Fire song by phone. | Joseph Barbera, RIP. | Stephen Colbert vs The Decemberists. | Stephen Colbert vs The Decemberists vs Peter Frampton vs Henry Kissinger! | And long live the Godfather of Soul, Mr. James Brown. | Yes, there is more to this week’s paper than this list. | Eye Weekly year-in-film roundup, page 14. | Or if you want to see something new, check the On Screen section (page 19) or our Showtimes on page 16. | You like DVDs? Page 20. | And we’ve got some TV on the same page. | Eye Weekly critics choose their favourite albums, page 21. | And their least favourite, page 22. | And our favourite songs, page 23. | Want to see a concert? Page 25. | This week’s Totally Wired is about lists but is not a list itself, page 27. | Music’s winners and losers in Street Spirit, page 28. | Part 2 of Denise Benson’s look at the club scene, page 29. | And her Best Bets for this New Year’s weekend, page 31. | The Arts section looks back at the year in theatre, page 32. | Theatre and Comedy listings, page 33. | It’s a look back at the year in dance, page 33. | Gallery listings and Eye Candy, page 34. | General classifieds, page 35. | You like Fun? Sign Me Up, m@b, Eyedentical Twins and Crossword, page 37. | Need some company? Adult classifieds, page 38. | And Love Bites with Sasha, page 46. | And oh yeah, happy new year. |

Originally published in Eye Weekly on December 28, 2006. 

In choosing Stéphane Dion, the Liberals chose enviro policy over the naked pursuit of power. Is nothing sacred?

MONTREAL – On Friday, Dec. 1, fewer than 24 hours before he will become the 11th leader in Liberal Party History, Stéphane Dion is onstage looking confused. The music from the speaker system has swelled and, on large screens on either side of stage, we can see that his lips are moving, but his voice is not audible to the crowd. Less than an hour ago, the same thing happened to Ken Dryden, who also ran over the allotted time for his speech and had the mic cut on him. Two full pages of Dion’s prepared speech – in which he planned to touch on national unity, childcare, multiculturalism and his own leadership skills – will go undelivered.

As it is, I have written in my notebook: “Problems: very poor English pronunciation. Doesn’t look like a prime minister. Campaigning for environment minister?”

Dion cocks his head and wanders slowly away from the podium, arranging his lips into an awkward smile. The throng of supporters waving flags and carrying Dion placards raises a cheer, trying to put a happy face on a disappointing performance.

Outside the Palais des Congrès, a Dionista shares a theory over a smoke: “It’s a conspiracy. Iggy’s behind this. It’s bullshit.”

What a difference a day makes.

Here’s the shorthand profile before voting begins: Michael Ignatieff’s supporters seem like the type who will give you a wedgie; Bob Rae’s might give you a lecture; Gerrard Kennedy’s might pass you a beer; Stéphane Dion’s seem likely to pass you a joint. You can see the natural synergy between the young and rowdy backers of Dion and Kennedy.

Everyone here is talking strategy and, going into the convention, there are four candidates that supporters will variously tell you are going to win:

Ignatieff needs to show big on the first ballot, achieving a shock-and-awe effect.

Rae needs Kennedy to stay in third place ahead of Dion long enough that Dion is eliminated. Kennedy, not surprisingly, also needs Kennedy to stay ahead of Dion on the first few ballots, and then hope that his presumed alliance with Dion can hold strong.

Dion needs to move out ahead of Kennedy to become the “anybody-but” candidate, then draw all or most of Kennedy’s support, then ride that momentum into the top job. (This is exactly what will happen.)

Ken Dryden still thinks he can win too. Dryden’s victory strategy involves having Guy Lafleur and Jean Bélliveau playing in front of him. Unfortunately, that strategy applies to a different sport. Dryden is the only one in the building who thinks he can win.

Predictably, throughout the convention, I heard criticism of each leading candidate from supporters of his rivals: Ignatieff supported the war in Iraq, he’s playing roulette with Quebec separatists, he hasn’t been in Canada in 30 years; Rae is an interloper in the party, his heart still belongs to the NDP, he can’t manage the country’s finances; Kennedy is too inexperienced, doesn’t understand the big issues of the country, needs to spend more time on the bench learning the game. Not once, however, did I hear anyone knock Dion on his policy or experience.

The rap on Dion was simply that he’s unelectable: “We can kiss all of our Quebec seats goodbye” on the one hand and “he’ll never be able to win a seat west of Manitoba” on the other. Everyone, it seems, thought Dion was a great thinker, a great policy guy, a loyal Liberal, a policy asset to the party. But no one seemed to believe he could lead the party to victory. To some extent, this is true even of his own supporters. “He has the best chance to beat Harper” is the whispered pitch of both Rae and Ignatieff supporters. Dion’s people never talk about electability. They talk about saving the planet.

This is not a small consideration when you are discussing any political party, never mind the Liberals. As influential Liberal blogger Bart Ramson (of http://www.calgarygrit.blogspot.com) has observed, “victory is every Liberal’s favourite policy.” The unshakable pursuit of power for its own sake has defined the Liberal party. At every turn for 40 years or more, the Liberal party has been willing to throw aside all other considerations to climb on whatever horse it thinks can win. This was never more evident than at the leadership convention of 2003 when the party shivved three-time winner Jean Chrétien and elevated Paul Martin to the leader’s chair on nothing but the belief that he could win 200 seats. That orgy of naked, arrogant ambition ended poorly. But in speeches and on the convention floor, winning is still an overwhelming theme. As one Ignatieff supporter sums it up, “We’re here for one reason: to beat the pants off Harper.”

By the pantsing-Harper measuring stick, Dion is the longest of shots, as decreed by the power brokers of the Liberal party. All of the influential big shots and backroom boys of both the Chrétien and Martin years have lined up behind either Rae or Ignatieff. No matter how inspiring and fun Kennedy and Dion seem, there’s a heavy perception in the air – extending as far as conspiracy theories about microphone control – that maybe the Old Boys will engineer a way to make sure their guys take it in the end. Moments before the third ballot results are announced, a rumour runs through the crowd that Iggy is throwing 300 votes to Rae in order to engineer Dion’s defeat.

But then something interesting happens: the delegates on the floor, the several thousand loyal Liberal organizers and riding-association pillars from across the country – especially the true believers who followed Kennedy into the convention – decide to support the policy guy who no one thinks can win. They don his green buttons and t-shirts and scarves, symbolically embracing his call that environmentalism should join social programs and fiscal prudence as a pillar of the Liberal party, and in so doing shrug off the traditional widest pillar, that of pursuing power at all costs.

Dion seems a little stunned on Saturday evening when he approaches the microphone to make his acceptance speech. He bites his lip and cocks his head and, in awkward English, asks if getting to speak without having the microphone shut off is one of the perks of leadership.

On the convention floor, the Ignatieff people are crying and trying hard to hide their bitterness and disappointment. But among the Kennedy and Dion and even among the Rae supporters, there is a giddy kind of electricity, a triumphalism tempered with a sense of disbelief. Onstage is a man who ran for the leadership with no power brokers in his corner, no money, poor English speaking skills, a bad reputation among Quebec nationalists and no reputation in English Canada. He campaigned on the premise that the environment trumps all other concerns, and he spread that message by grassroots network building, travelling from town to town talking to small groups, and having his supporters reach out for earnest discussions with others. His record as an effective minister, a loyal Liberal and a principled man of ideas overcame his virtual charisma vacuum.

It’s already been reported in the press that Stephen Harper’s Conservatives ought to be wary of underestimating Dion. But there’s another message from the convention, one that ought to perhaps worry the NDP as well: the other party of the left has developed a conscience. This being the Liberal party, the power guys will almost certainly find a way to screw it up. But for today, as Dion calls for “a just Canada, a prosperous Canada, a sustainable Canada” while dangerous-looking fireworks go off inside the hall and the green-and-red mass of delegates jump and scream and shout, it is hard to shake off the giddiness. For those already calling the next election in Stephen Harper’s favour, consider this: the Liberals decided to elect the guy who should win rather than the guys who seemed able to win. If that can happen, nothing in Canadian politics is certain anymore.

Originally published in Eye Weekly December 7, 2006. 

After a (mostly) uninspiring snooze of a mayoral election campaign, political watchers were reduced to betting on the equivalent of over-unders and personal stats: could David Miller win a majority in every single ward in the city? Would voter turnout reach above 30 per cent? Could Stephen LeDrew manage to come in third place after a humiliating, thrown-together insult of a campaign? (The answers: no, yes, just barely.)

You’ve got to take your surprises where you find them: who are Michael Alexander, Jaime Castillo, Douglas Campbell, Hazel Jackson and Lee Romano? How did they manage to place fourth to eighth place in the balloting, ahead of press fringe favourites Shaun Bruce (the precocious school kid), Kevin Clarke (the homeless perennial), Mitch Gold (the Aboriginal loudmouth) and Rod Muir (the environmental gadfly)?

High drama, all right. There was little of that drama accompanying David Miller’s Nov. 13 acceptance speech at the Steam Whistle brewery, a contrast to the scene three years ago when, foisting a broom above his head, Miller invited the city’s hopes to climb on his shoulders and ride along as he took the city back from the greedheads and hustlers who’d been selling us out for the short money for a generation.

Last Monday, former Miller maniacs chastened by experience had to settle for a cautious optimism that we’re moving slowly in the right direction, trusting Miller’s word that the foundation had been laid for inspiring feats to come.

Job one on that agenda: get “a 1 cent share of the existing sales tax” from either the federal or provincial governments. Such an arrangement would be great news for the city. As Miller says, it would provide real city-building freedom to grow. As Miller says, it would be fair. It’s also a long shot.

Despite the “1 cent” rhetoric, Miller’s asking for much more than a penny. He wants roughly 16 per cent of the GST collected in Toronto or 12.5 per cent of the PST. The senior levels of government won’t part with that cash easily, and it remains to be seen how persuasive the ballot-box power Miller threatened to exercise will be. Toronto’s voting muscle certainly hasn’t impressed provincial and federal Conservatives before, who’ve managed to get along just fine by royally screwing Hogtown and kissing off our 22 parliamentary seats.

The other end of Miller’s big speech – making Toronto an environmental leader – actually reached the heartstrings a bit. The Churchillian echoes (“The impact of humanity on the environment is the issue of our time – perhaps the issue for all time”) and determination that cities need to lead in the biggest crisis in the world were overdue and welcome.

With 57 per cent of the vote, he’s got a solid mandate. With the election or re-election of some key allies, he’s got the support. With the executive privileges in the new City of Toronto act, he’s got the power. It’s Miller time, for real this time. Let’s see what he does with it.

The Good
There were partisan cheers around the Eye Weekly office as Gord Perks won a council seat in Parkdale-High Park. Until this election campaign started, Perks was our Enviro columnist, and his victory snaps a string of five consecutive electoral defeats for various Eye Weekly columnists over the years.

In addition to feeling chuffed to have one of our own in the corridors of power, we’re also excited because he was absolutely the best man for the job. Gord Perks knows more about what needs to be done in this city – on the environment and on most other issues – than nearly anyone else who’s ever set foot inside City Hall. What’s more, he knows how to get things done. As an activist without a council seat he lobbied votes and managed to get more of his own bylaws and initiatives passed than the majority of councillors. His presence will help give some teeth to Miller’s environmental promises.

I’m also excited by the victory of Adam Vaughan in Trinity-Spadina. The longtime Citytv reporter (and very occasional Eye Weekly contributor) is a strong independent voice and one of the smartest critics of Miller. That he beat the Layton-Chow machine to win his ward (an outcome I actually bet against) is a tribute to how effective I expect him to be.

And that Joe Mihevc trounced former Eye Weekly columnist John Sewell and right winger John Adams is also good news – his convincing victory and that of Howard Moscoe show that all the anti-TTC, anti–St. Clair ROW cranks who draw so much attention are the ones out of step with public opinion.

The bad

Rob Ford, Doug Holyday, Mark Grimes, Michael Thompson and Mike Del Grande re-elected by landslides…. Case Ootes, the enemy of bike lanes, pulls out a 20-vote squeaker in Toronto-Danforth…. Cesar Palacio beats inspiring Alejandra Bravo in Davenport…. Paul Ainslie, who defrauded council with a bald-faced lie to earn an appointment during the last term (he promised not to run for council), wins in Scarborough East.

The future?
Twenty-four-year-old Desmond Cole ran a hell of a campaign in Trinity-Spadina. Someone who cares about the future of Toronto ought to give this guy a job at City Hall.

 Originally published in Eye Weekly on November 16, 2006.

Due to a series of miscommunications and scheduling conflicts, Eye Weekly was not able to speak to Jane Pitfield prior to last week’s cover story profiling the leading mayoral candidates. In an effort to ensure she had a chance to answer the questions dogging her campaign, we caught up with her at Revival after our Nov. 6 Political Party event.

EYE WEEKLY: Your plans for the city are fairly bold — building subways, putting more police on the streets — but also seem unrealistically expensive. How are you going to pay for all of it?

JANE PITFIELD: We’ll just pay half of it, and the other half will be the province. And I do think that too, that if I can find it in the budget — [Miller and his team] are wasting money. You just have to trust that I really understand the budget — it’s my great interest and my specialty. You know in nine years, we’ve never questioned the base budget. The time has come to have an audit. Because all that we’ve done is accepted the fact that it can’t be changed. So that is first of all what we need to do: we’ve got to have a good look at that.

So I think first of all you can’t make an assumption that this is going to be increased spending. There’s a lot in the budget that I don’t agree with — we’re providing more than a municipality should. We should get back to what property taxes are supposed to fund and stick to that.

Tomorrow [Nov. 7], when I release my numbers, I’m going to do my best to show what would be an increase, but it’s not as much as people have been rumouring.

EYE WEEKLY: The other big question would be management skills. I want to point to a few things, and they may seem small, but the mistaken vote on the Green Lane landfill, the change of mind on the St. Clair right-of-way, the plagiarized posts on your blog from Spacing magazine and The Globe and Mail

JANE PITFIELD: The plagiarized — that business, with the blog? I have a volunteer on my campaign who has been working and helping me with my web page. What had happened, he had assured me that it was linked. When Matt Blackett [of Spacing magazine] let us know, I then found out that for two days it hadn’t been. My solution, when I realized, I phoned Matthew, apologized, and said that so this never happens again, the only thing that will go on my blog are my platform statements.

EYE WEEKLY: But I guess people raise these things as evidence that you might not have the management skills to run the city. What is your answer to people who ask if mishaps along the campaign like this are a sign of poor management skills?

JANE PITFIELD: I think my comment is simply this: these have been very small trivial things. There have been much bigger mistakes made that have cost the city a lot of money, by David Miller. The fact that you even focus on this? I believe that this is the only thing you can use as criticism. I accept your criticism, but I think again it’s very important in leadership to have the flexibility to change your mind. Sometimes it’s better to change your mind than not.

Originally published in Eye Weekly on November 9, 2006.