Russ Ford's Blog

What Hot Docs Taught Me About My City

I don't usually write about the arts but yesterday I spent the day at the Hot Docs festival seeing three shorts and three feature film four  of which moved me to write.

Would We Ever Elect a "Crazy"?- The Stigma of Mental Health

I would guess that few of you remember Thomas Eagleton. He is one of those people who did achieve 15 minutes of fame but in his case it was literally not much more.

In 1972 Eagleton was named by American presidential candidate George McGovern as he Vice-presidential running mate. Almost immediately however, it was revealed that Eagleton had been hospitalized for depression.

Let's Get Serious About Transit Funding

This  week   the mayor said Toronto's transit problems can be solved using money the city gets from the proposed downtown casino.  We also got a report from the Parks and Recreation Department which indicates they see great potential in refurbishing the city's parks through private fund raising.  Welcome to the new age of municipal financing.

Why Mimico is Important to All of Toronto

This week the City released the secondary plan for the area in south-west Toronto known as Mimico.  This lake front community is currently dominated by a number of low rise, affordable rental housing units.  Directly to the east stands Toronto's  waterfront condo wall and if some have their way a similar future awaits Mimico.

Where the Sun Don't Shine Anymore

If you go to the Ministry of Corrections website you will learn much about their new jail which we will now colloquially refer to as the "New Mimico Jail."  That is not the official name but that is what everyone calls it.

On the website there is mention of the partnerships this jail has with the social service agencies in the local community.  Last week I attended a meeting of community agencies.  Much of the meeting was spent asking each other if anyone knew anything about what was going on at the jail.

The Lakeshore Spring and the seeding of local democracy

Some might describe John Sewell as a champion of lost causes. A more apt description might be a champion of difficult or unpopular causes,  but never lost ones.  That's because he rarely loses no matter how strong the  current is flowing in the opposite direction.

John first burst on to the political scene by successfully leading a fight by low income tenants not to have the City of Toronto expropriate their homes so a developer  could remake their community without them being part of it.