Walk on waterfront
I was surprised and disappointed to read Kate Zankowicz's article on the new waterfront watercourse and the recent International Dragon Boat Federation Club Crew World Championships (NOW, August 24-30). Many of the world's top dragon boat club teams competed in this exciting event, and the response from virtually all of them was tremendously positive - they loved Toronto, thought the event was well organized and well staged, and above all, enjoyed competing on the new Western Beaches Watercourse.
The new Western Beaches Watercourse is the best possible legacy for a sporting event like this, not only guaranteeing a strong future for dragon boating in Ontario by helping our athletes train and compete on a sanctioned course, but also helping the province and the city win the right to host future water sport championships.
Your article suggests that the watercourse is an extravagance because it will only be useful once a year. This is far from true. Many organizations, including a number of rowing and canoeing groups, have already expressed interest in using the course for regattas and championships. We too hope that the course will eventually be extended, as originally planned, but regardless, I assure you that it will be used and enjoyed for many years to come, making it an excellent addition to Toronto's diverse and beautiful waterfront.
Chair, Organizing Committee,
2006 Dragon Boat Club Crew World Championships
Boat course pave-over
re the city's new waterfront course. Residents have no reason to worry about the dragon boat breakwater blocking the sunset. With Sylvia Watson around, it will soon be levelled and turned into a parking lot.
Moscoe misses the point
I was quite disappointed to hear Howard Moscoe's response to concerns of those in wheelchairs regarding current TTC fares (NOW, August 24-30).
The petition's point, which seems lost on both Moscoe and the TTC customer service representative quoted, is that people in wheelchairs are paying full fare yet often cannot reach their destinations on the TTC due to lack of accessibility.
Those in wheelchairs aiming to spend a day in certain areas Chinatown, for example can only take the TTC part of the way, because they can't get on streetcars.
So does it seem fair for disabled people to be paying full price?
TTC gives students a pass
your story on disabled riders seeking a financial break from the TTC mentions that the TTC gives discounts to low-income students. It should be clarified that the TTC only provides these to students in elementary schools, high schools and home schools, yet not to university or college students - the ones most likely to suffer lower income due to hefty tuition fees and expenses.
Only recently has the TTC agreed to grant the same privilege to post-secondary students, in the form of monthly Metropasses no discounted weekly passes or tickets. At $88, however, the discounted adult Metropass is still more expensive than the TTC's student pass ($83.75).
Furthermore, passes are given to student councils on credit, and they can be held responsible for unsold passes, so they only buy a limited number of them.
The passes are only sold on campus, and U of T accepts debit but not credit cards and only has one cash location because of security concerns.
Why the TTC refuses to help ensure that every GTA student can afford to use its service is a mystery.
In her story on the exhibit at the Toronto Archives, Sheila Gostick complains that "greed and stupidity continue to build" in Toronto (NOW, August 24-30). She gives as an example a picture of the Imperial Six Theatre, which she notes has been "destroyed."
However, she fails to point out that the Imperial Six was originally the Pantages Theatre, built in 1920 as a vaudeville and motion picture house, and that the "destruction" was in fact a restoration of that Thomas W. Lamb-designed landmark theatre, rechristened the Pantages and later renamed the Canon Theatre. Hardly an example of Toronto as a town "far from fine." Rather, the Pantages/Canon is clearly one of the city's shining jewels.
Peter A. Reich
Space well wasted
I've taken enough university classes to understand Andrea Lau's attempt at witty, pseudo-literary irony, but her article on academic heroism (NOW, August 24-30) was neither funny nor useful. Rather, she exposed how students with the same selfish mindset as hers are a burden to society. There's nothing heroic about getting sloshed, pigging out on crap and making Daddy get into his car at 2 in the morning to pick her up at the transit station. The implication that she should be praised for getting up at 6 am to screw around in class all day is offensive to those of us who get up much earlier and contribute to society. This space would have been better used for a piece on a real hero/ine, preferably someone you don't learn about in a classist, patriarchal institution.
Avoid AIDS, be free
I've often enjoyed Jan Burton's letters, but I must object to the one that complains that "unfortunately, the AIDS lobby detests anything that interferes with sexual freedom or alternative lifestyles" (NOW, August 24-30). It is possible to avoid HIV/AIDS without having to give up our freedom of choice. Freedom is a good thing, right, Jan? Freedom and tolerance: you will defend them against the Muslim theocrats, but not against a disease is that it?
The constant demeaning use of women's bodies in advertising to sell just about any product you can think of has thankfully diminished over the years (notwithstanding the disturbing American Apparel ads that periodically show up on the back of NOW). But I had a sudden flashback today when I saw not one, but two cellphone ads (Vonage on page 7 and Fido on page 36, NOW, August 17-23) featuring cellphones smack dab in the centre of women's cleavage. The Fido ad copy refers to "irresistible curves."
I guess I'm not so used to seeing booty so openly used to sell cells. Hmm, I wonder if those ad execs will ever decide to show fully opened cellphones sticking straight up out of men's crotches?
Dyer straight talk
Gwynne Dyer's anti-Israel dia tribes (NOW, August 17-23) have long been a favourite among hard-line Arabic news outlets. Naturally, this makes him a perfect fit for your magazine. But as if Dyer's detached and ignorant insights weren't enough, you decided to print Glenn Wheeler's article alongside. Wheeler has the audacity to take a pro-gay rally in Israel - a country surrounded by neighbours that routinely execute homosexuals - and spin it into an anti-Israel rant. We get it. You dislike Israel - a lot. But do we really need a section devoted to the cause?
NOW, hear this. Cheer up!
I've been away from toronto for a while, and after flipping through a recent issue (NOW, August 17-23) found myself taken aback by the cynicism and negativity. My first alert was the letters page. Almost every submission was a complaint. Things did not improve when I reached UpFront, where I found another chorus of complaints - and not a solution in sight. By the time I got to page 17 and Speak No Evil, in which the writer sought to criticize the Aldo AIDS awareness commercials that have made such a positive impact on improving our understanding of the disease, I was thoroughly depressed!
Ploughing ahead, I was rewarded with the well-thought-out OCAP article, Get This Group An Agent. Here, at least the writer showed some sensitivity for his subject, a depth of understanding and a willingness to offer a balanced point of view.
Nevertheless, a few pages later the depression returned, this time in the shape of Waterfront Fakes It, where an effusive but uneven review of the recent Queens Quay makeover made me wonder if NOW's writing staff could ever catch a good mood. Oh dear.
I suspect that many of NOW's readers already understand the limitations of our current political establishment. We don't need more cynicism to fuel our collective depression. Here's hoping NOW cheers up soon.
Young and jealous
Letter-writer merrilea shields (NOW, August 17-23) doesn't like Alan Young's columns that often expose the corruption of the legal profession? Does she represent "thousands of" NOW readers, as she claims, or is she mirroring the professional jealousy of the sharks and sharkettes surrounding her? I am sure I speak for even more readers not from the money-grabbing legal community in saying keep Alan Young's columns coming!
White man's burden
Jonathan Cooper says in his let ter criticizing George Elliott Clarke's take on race relations and Caribana (NOW, August 10-16) that "Torontonians bend over backwards to be accepting and inclusive of people of all ethnic backgrounds."
That sentence reminds me of the wording of an ad for suntan lotion I saw last year in one of Toronto's dailies that referred to "we pale and pasty Canadians." If Cooper believes white Torontonians bend over backwards to be inclusive, that would be one explanation why his head seems to be lodged in a very dark place.
Wish upon a star
I loved your article about punk band Fucked Up (NOW, August 3-9). I just wish my son, Concentration Camp, who's a member, would go to university just in case things don't work out. I mean, Mick Jagger is a graduate of the London School of Economics, right?