Nobody knows where the hell downtown Toronto is. - Mel Lastman
On April 11, 1997, the Ontario Tories ram through their megacity bill after a nine-day NDP-led filibuster, and despite a no vote in a referendum across the six municipalities. NOW, the only paper opposing the plan, contributes thousands of column inches to the massive outpouring of refusal. Our city columnist, John Sewell, leader of Citizens for Local Democracy, which packs various downtown churches with a thousand incensed city-dwellers every Monday night, parses every step of the anti-Tory struggle in NOW's pages.
The Gardens is a national monument. After the Parliament building, it's the most recognized building in Canada. - Phillip Carter, who designed the Lillian H. Smith Library, on the proposed closing of Maple Leaf Gardens.
This is going to be my life. - Martin Kruze, an outspoken victim of the Maple Leaf Gardens pedophile scandal, about campaigning against child abuse (Kruze killed himself by jumping off the Bloor Viaduct two days after his abuser was sentenced to less than two years in prison)
What we're finding is that there are two kinds of panhandlers: the ones who are out there legitimately and the ones who are out there using it as a business opportunity. - police spokesperson Louise Gray on the panhandling crackdown
We're not trying to be different. We are different. - Erykah Badu on her and the Roots clicking
I'm not going to go be all politically correct so that your mom and dad buy my records. - Choclair
Marijuana causes no physical or psychological harm for the vast majority of users. - Patrick Sheppard, provincial court judge, ruling that denying Terry Parker pot med was an infringement of his Charter rights
I haven't seen anybody in North York that's homeless. - Mel Lastman during mayoralty campaign
Conscious rap music is next up to be heard. After all of this death and murder, a brighter day is up next. - KRS-One
None of us will ever forget the YMCA change room aroma now pervading the chamber. - from MPP Peter Kormos's diary of the eight-day NDP filibuster over the megacity vote. Members had to sleep in the legislature to keep the House tied up. Bill passes anyway
I try to sleep with my head under the toilet to keep warm, but the little difference in temperature isn't worth the occasional splatter of urine on the face. - Robert Thompson, pseudonym of a prisoner at the overcrowded Don Jail
They said to us, could we please control the kind of music we play. But we said no. - Craig Wellington, Caribana Cultural Committee, complaining that police, worried about violence, asked the org to censor its sounds
I want mainstream money just like the next man, but I don't want mainstream compromises. - Conscious hiphop MC Common
Every night I look out over a crowd that looks like a fucking Victoria's Secret catalogue. - Skid Row's Sebastian Bach
"Once again the authorities target park sex, which is to gay men what folk dancing is to other minority groups." - about cruising in High Park
"Who are Jamiroquai? Onstage, we see white people. White people who dress as they have seen black people dress, sing as they have heard black people sing. They could be Stevie Wonder. But it's 20 years too late, and so they're just some British guys onstage in funny hats." - from a live review
"Pavarotti's voice is way past its prime, and he chose to sing junk." - from a review of the Three Tenors at SkyDome
"Imagine Jennifer Jason Leigh as a down-filled pillow." - about a pre-skinny Renée Zellweger
"Great cabaret singers aren't born. They're created over time, sculpted and shaped by their experiences - the sadder the better." - about Marianne Faithfull
"Interviewing Yoko Ono is like playing chess. Ono has been burned too many times not to be thinking three moves ahead." - about Ono in a story about her AGO show
"Saying that Sarah Polley is mature for her age  is like saying Wayne Gretzky's kinda handy with a hockey stick." - about Polley in a review of The Sweet Hereafter.
"It's tempting to pity Morrissey - that is, if the singer didn't already feel so sorry for himself." - on a Morrissey concert in which a security guard hauled the singer, who was crowd surfing, offstage and unceremoniously tossed him into an alley because he didn't recognize him
top 10 albums
Radiohead OK Computer
Ben Harper The Will To Live
Buena Vista Social Club
Blue Rodeo Tremolo
Ron Sexsmith Other Songs
Townes Van Zandt Last Rights
Neko Case and Her Boyfriends The Virginian
Beth Orton She Cries Your Name
Belle & Sebastian If You're Feeling Sinister
Kid Koala Scratchcratchratchatch
top 10 movies
The Ice Storm
Waiting For Guffman
The Sweet Hereafter
Wag The Dog
Good Will Hunting
In this year
Matthew Behrens (many times NOW's best activist) is arrested during a pray-in, violating bail conditions stemming from a previous arrest in which he and other members of Witness for Social Justice and Compassion planted a garden at Queen's Park to protest the Tories.
Mel Lastman changes his mind and stops fighting the megacity.
Citizens for Local Democracy, the anti-megacity group led by NOW columnist John Sewell, attracts 15,000 supporters to a rally.
Just Say No: NOW editorial urges readers to defeat the megacity in the referendums.
Megacity referendum vote rejects the megacity plan.
The Tories ignore the results and meet to pass Megacity Bill 103. John Sewell is escorted out by Queen's Park security guards.
Federal election: despite NOW's prediction that Grits will be punished because they didn't opposed the megacity, Olivia Chow loses to Tony Ianno, Jack Layton loses to Dennis Mills.
Toronto board of education hosts the first gay prom at 519 Church.
The city closes a house in Kensington Market occupied by street kids and counterculture bands. It's considered unsafe, and the owner wants to tear it down and build a high-rise
Sarah McLachlan kicks off the first Lilith Fair.
RIP: Diana, Princess of Wales.
Start of a two-week teachers' strike - the biggest in North American history - sparked by the Tories' Bill 160, which doesn't let teachers bargain over prep time or class size, among other things.
Megacity mayoral election results: Mel beats Barbara Hall 387, 175 to 346,105.
121 countries sign a landmine treaty in Ottawa. The U.S., China and Russia do not sign.
Hong Kong kills all its chickens to stop a deadly influenza strain.