Toronto's 3rd annual Nuit Blanche, a celebration of contemporary art, was held Saturday night, from dusk all the way to dawn. I was out with friends - and hundreds of thousands of other people. There were a few problems: technical glitches, mistakes on official maps that were widely distributed, a couple of exhibits that didn't make it through the night. But the worst problem was overcrowding. There was no way to contain the masses from spilling off the sidewalks into the streets. Drivers adjusted accordingly - because they had no choice. During peak hours, some streets were almost impassable for cars, and minor gridlock occurred as impatient drivers got stuck in intersections. On this night, pedestrians took back the streets; when the lights turned green, people stepped off the curbs and any cars in the intersections were staying there until the lights changed again. On Queen St. between University Ave. and Nathan Phillips Sq., where parade barriers were set up on the edge of the sidewalk to keep pedestrians off the street, people simply walked on the outside of the barriers, taking up part of the curb lane. We were out in force, and nothing was going to stop us.
My point? Simply that hundreds of thousands in this city proved Stephen Harper wrong. We are ordinary Canadians, and we love the arts. We are not the elite. We are not going out to sip champagne and nibble on caviar in some exclusive gallery. We are out to have fun celebrating something that many wish was not contained to a single night each year. We are families, young children, students, the elderly. We are of all ages and races.
If you're going to spend our money on something, spend it on the arts, and not the military!
5 days ago