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Producer David Mirvish on city driving (Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)
Producer David Mirvish on city driving (Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)

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Producer David Mirvish on city driving Add to ...

David Mirvish, head of Mirvish Productions, is currently producing the Canadian premiere of War Horse at Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre.

How long have you been driving?

I have been driving since I was 18, so that is 49 years.

What do you drive?

A Toyota Camry hybrid. I love it because I don’t fill it with gas more than once or twice a month. It has always got me to where I am trying to go.

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How would you classify yourself as a driver?

Most of the time, I try to obey the speed limit. I feel I am generally a very placid person.

Are you a good driver?

I think I am, but sometimes my children think I make errors and, if they’re sitting in the back seat, they try to help me. I find that maybe I should listen to them.

You say you’re a good driver. What makes for a bad driver?

Someone who keeps bumping into cars. It’s nice if the car in front will signal when they are changing lanes, using all the tools that the car provides. But, some day, the car is going to drive for us, so we don’t bump into anything.

Have your driving habits changed with age?

I think I’m past my aggressive stage and I’m now mellow.

Have you hit the “absent-minded geezer” stage: driving annoyingly slowly in the fast lane with a left-turn signal blinking endlessly?

The new middle age is 67, so when I cross 100 … I’m going to slow down.

How would you classify Toronto traffic?

It’s wonderful!

Many would disagree with you.

I love the traffic here. If you don’t want traffic, you drive in the country.

If there is traffic, it means there are people around and, if there are a lot of people, it means you are in a city and, if you are in a city, it means there are lots of ideas flying – people to go to the theatre, people to do things, people eating in restaurants and, therefore, there are nice theatres and nice restaurants and great museums. You don’t get that if you don’t have people.

If you’re driving to one of those nice restaurants or theatres and you find yourself gridlocked, cut off, honked at and being made late, are you still enamoured of traffic and people?

If we get slowed down, that’s part of the price of living in a city. Plan ahead.

What driving sins are you guilty of?

Maybe I linger too long at a stop sign.

That’s it? If I’m behind you on the road, are you never going to do anything boneheaded or thoughtless or annoying?

Never. I’m a delight to be behind.

Are you never going to lean on the horn if I do something aggravating?

That may be one of my biggest faults. I don’t know where to find the horn. And maybe some day I’ll need it. But, so far, I’ve managed 49 years. I don’t think I’ve ever blown the horn.

How about blowing your top? Have you ever succumbed to road rage?

Oh, no. If someone cuts me off, I say, “What a delight. That person must have somewhere to go to.” No, no, I don’t get excited. Not when I’m in a car. It’s too important to be in control.

It’s now illegal in Ontario, but do you still drive and talk on a cellphone?

It was a part of life. Like when they discovered cigarettes are bad for you, you just don’t smoke. Same with talking on the phone [while driving]

But some people still smoke and some still drive and yak on their cellphone.

You have to be hands-free, otherwise you are not a driver, you are a talker. I try to avoid people like that.

What does a yellow light mean?

It means … Okay, we hit my fault! It means you might make it through the intersection, but if you haven’t entered it yet, maybe you should consider stopping.

What about toll roads? Some cities have them. Are they something you would support?

I sometimes use the 407 coming back from the airport or from out of town because I know there is less traffic and I will get to my destination quicker.

But doesn’t that go against your confessed love of traffic and people and humanity?

Sometimes you can get a certain amount of humanity and you have enough. You don’t always need the full dose.

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