Public space, public amenities and the public good, or corporate colonization? | #onpoli


So I’m driving along the lakeshore this morning and my daughter, who’s loved going to the waterpark and the waterslides and such, notices the signs and landmarks leading to Ontario Place. Which is going to be, if not closed, then transformed into an innovative provincial landmark. In any event, the Ontario Place grounds, Cinesphere, waterpark, rides, attractions and restaurants are out of business this summer for “revitalization.”

Which is a drag, but, well, you know — shit happens.

But keep going and it’s pretty much impossible to miss the signs for the Honda Indy. And later this summer, we’ll probably be hosting the air show

Not going to talk at length about noise or extravagance or inconvenience, because this isn’t about pissy downtown elitists wanting their peace and quiet or anything, and, well, tourist dollars.

No, for the moment I just want to compare and contrast. If I understand this right, then spending public resources on the public good is a bad thing, so in the name of fighting the deficit and tightening our belts and living within our means, as the austerity prophets like to browbeat us, we’re closing public amenities like Ontario Place. Private events with corporate sponsors up the wazoo, on the other hand, are a good thing — despite whatever noise and inconvenience they may imply, and despite their obvious encroachment upon public space.

(Hey, it brings in money. What are you, some kind of effete downtown socialist?)

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