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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

SPACING VOTES WEEKLY: Bike lanes, immigration, Twitter

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Spacing Votes — our dedicated 2010 election blog — will feature regular posts form our contributors that examine campaign promises and platforms that focus on Toronto’s urban landscape. Here’s our round-up of posts from the last seven days.

In an exclusive interview with Spacing, George Smitherman sat down to discuss cycling. (Ford’s team has declined to interview at present time on transit in general, until they announce their transportation platform). In the interview, Smitherman notes that cycling is rightfully a hot topic on the campaign trail as Toronto continues to be “more challenging to get around.” Smitherman didn’t note any concrete plans for cyclists, but implied that transportation (and by virtue, bike lanes) needs to be thought about deeply before action is taken. For Smitherman, it’s a “pursuit of quality over quantity.”

It’s been a busy week for Rob Ford. His name has littered headlines and even trended for the majority of yesterday on Twitter. Last weekend, before the now-notorious comment on immigration in Toronto, a Ford video went viral. Captured in 2007 in city hall, Ford opined on bike lanes in the city. His take: “What I compare bike lanes to is swimming with the sharks. Sooner or later you’re going to get bitten.” He then went on to say that Toronto’s streets aren’t for bikes, they’re for motor vehicles. And in the case of a cyclist casualty, Ford remarked: “It’s their own faults at the end of the day.”

After the recent CP24 debate, Ford stoked the coals once again on his take on immigration. The Etobicoke councilor said that we can’t take care of Toronto’s citizens now, and, as such, it will be a challenge “bringing in more.” The contentious claim took fire from the audience, some saying, “shame” and Joe Pantalone asking for Ford to recant. After the comment hit the media circle, Ford’s name started to trend on Twitter – where it stayed all day yesterday. The trending continued this morning after the pot smoking charge Ford received in Florida was rehashed. And so continues the hard issues behind the mayoral race.

photo by Rannie Turingan



  1. “Toronto’s streets aren’t for bikes, they’re for motor vehicles.” It really irritates me to hear such a comment coming from Rob Ford. The first bicycle was introduced in Europe in 1817. Karl Benz made his first automobile in 1885, with production vehicles coming out in 1888. The city of Toronto was created around 1837, between the bicycle and the automobile. Which makes Toronto a bicycle city first, before the automobile ever came on the scene. Do some reading or attend some lectures before commenting.

  2. Rob Ford? Read? Educate himself?

  3. Well said, W.K. If you look at where Rob Ford lives, it’s a cul-de-sac without sidewalks. So I guess he should be totally consistent and say Toronto’s road system isn’t for pedestrians either. And I suppose he has a problem with cops being on bikes too. And on horses.