Friday, November 17, 2006

I HEART TORONTO

Here's a few of the reasons why I love my new city!
(Thanks to www.wikipedia.org and NOW Magazine - NOV 9 - 15, 2006)

*1937 -Casa Loma is opened to the public for the first time as a tourist attraction operated by the Kiwanis Club of Toronto. Today it is regarded as one of Toronto's premier tourist attractions, still profitably operated by the Kiwanis.

*June 1971-Toronto's first Gay Day was a picnic at Hanlan's Point (on Toronto Island) to raise money for an Aug. 28 march in the national's capital, Ottawa. (Aug. 28, 1971, was the second anniversary of the Canadian decriminalization of homosexual acts for consenting individuals 21 years and over. If anyone had tried to march for queer pride before Aug. 28, 1969, they might have ended up in jail.)

*1973- Facing the "conspiracy of silence that has robbed gay people of their history," the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives was started in Toronto. It is now one of the biggest treasuries of its kind anywhere in the world.

*March 1981- A "Gay Freedom Rally", effectively Toronto's first Pride event, is held. Speakers, including author Margaret Atwood and Svend Robinson, denounce the bathhouse raids. (Eight years later, Robinson becomes Canada's first openly gay Member of Parliament.)

*December 1986- Ontario amends its Human Rights Code to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.

*June 1988- The Toronto AIDS Memorial is created. It is the first of its kind.

*June 1989-Toronto City Council finally votes to recognize Lesbian and Gay Pride Day. (However the decision will be later overturned.)

*June 1993- Although for only five months, the nation of Canada has a woman in charge. This is still five months longer than its neighbor to the south!


*May 1995- The law banning homosexuals from opening their homes to unwanted children (via adoption) is struck down as a result of Egan v. Canada. Egan's partner (since 1948) sued the government, seeking spousal pension. The Supreme Court rules that sexual orientation is a prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (comparable to the US Bill of Rights).

*November 1995- The Bata Shoe Museum opens.

*August 1996-Toronto residents in the Annex neighbourhood organize to save cafe Dooney's from a Starbucks takeover.

*October 1996-A one-day public service strike (transit, postal service, schools, etc) and massive demonstration as part of the Days of Action Against Mike Harris (conservative premier of Ontario). Over 100,000 people march up University Avenue to the legislature.

*March 1997-In a referendum vote, Torontarians reject the plan to amalgamate Toronto and surrounding suburbs into a megacity. The party led by Mike Harris, ignore the vote and pass the bill anyway.

*June 1997- Toronto Board of Education hosts the first gay prom at 519 Church Street.

*February-April 2000- Bill C-23 was passed in Canada's House of Commons, extending all-but-marriage rights to same-sex couples. Jerry Falwell calls it the source of the "destruction" of Canada. (One assumes he means metaphorically, not literally as Canada somehow manages to succeed as a country.)

July 2001- Ben Mulroney becomes a co-host of the interactive show "The ChatRoom", positioning him as the face of talktv (later known as MTV Canada). He goes on to become host of everything Canadian (Idol, eTalk, Salvation Army model?).

*July 2001- Canada becomes the first country in the world to sanction and regulate the use of medical marijuana.

*May 2002- Marc Hall takes the Durham Catholic School board to court and wins the right to attend his high school prom with the date of his choosing (who happens to be a boy).

*July 2002-The Ontario Supreme Court declares that any restrictions on same sex marriage are unconstitutional and that the legislatures of both the Province of Ontario and the federal government have up to 24 months to fix the problem. If they do not, the following change in the common law definition would automatically occur: from "the voluntary union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others" to "the voluntary union of two persons to the exclusion of all others".

*March 2003- After months of demonstrations in Toronto and other cities, Prime Minister Jean Chretien decides Canada won't join the "coalition of the willing" in the invasion of Iraq. (Since this time, 655,000 Iraqis have died. Compare this to the death of 2,838 U.S. armed forces with 21,572 combat wounded.)

*February 2005-Toronto commits to reducing greenhouse gases by 20 percent of 1990 levels.

*July 2005- Canada joins Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands to become the fourth country in the world to extend equal rights to same-sex couples.

*June 2006-Pride Week celebrates its 25th anniversary. Newly-appointed Toronto police chief Bill Blair becomes the first chief of police in the city's history to participate in the Pride parade.

*August 2006- We become permanent residents of Canada! Come visit us in our fabulous city!

4 comments:

Jolie said...

Visit! Heck, I want to move there. What great stuff. Maybe the U.S. should stop making fun of Canada and actually learn from their greatness.

Anonymous said...

um whats up with ben mulroney dude? I wouldn't have included him on my list of cool things in Toronto...haha!

oh, and he is the model for the Salvation Army...although I think that has nothing to do with hosting...

good post though!

nat

Anonymous said...

Is this a real country you live in? Where is it? I thought Canada was a tree! The only thing I have ever see or heard about it is a leaf!

Anonymous said...

lets all move to toronto