This week, in an effort to have you forget us, world, Toronto elected a mayor who isn't Doug Ford, or his brother Rob Ford, or even the other brother, Randy – the Ford even the Fords don't talk about – and quite frankly, world, that is all you need to know.
As far as you're concerned, our new civic motto is "Toronto: nothing to see here." In fact, why don't you head straight over to the sports section, where I'm sure there are some non-crack and non-insanely-racist things going on involving pucks and balls and whatnot. We in Toronto want to go back to the way we lived before the Ford brothers rampaged across our civic landscape like two mythical creatures.
We want to forget Rob Ford, the Minotaur, the bull-headed mayor seemingly obsessed with cancelling an approved seven-stop LRT line in order to spend many billions of dollars on three subway stops instead. Rob Ford talks about that Scarborough tunnel as though it were an extension of his own personal labyrinth – a place he might find the peace that seems to have eluded him at ground level.
Doug Ford is the sphinx in all this. He speaks in what most charitably could be called "riddles" and are often called "lies." It's nearly impossible to tell what questions he's asking – but the answer is always either a casino or a Ferris wheel, or that the media are lying and there is a bomb in the building.
I used to say of my city, "Toronto – It's a nice place to live, but I wouldn't want to visit there," and many of us are happy here. But when the open-decked tour buses come through, we stare up at the passengers with more curiosity than they seem to have as they stare down. "What are you looking at?" we wonder, and we hope the nice people go away without seeing Casa Loma and thus believing they've missed something.
And that's all we're asking now, world: We want to return to being that relatively nice city, on the most unassuming of the Great Lakes, that city that has the tower that's not quite the tallest tower in the world, that city with the mayor whose name even the locals can't recall.
And what is his name you ask?
Hey, I hear they are cooking orecchiette with capers and zucchini balls over on page 12 of the style section. Go check it out.
There's nothing interesting about our new mayor. It's less that Toronto elected a mayor than that we cast a mayor. He's straight out of central casting and he's not even a movie mayor. Not feature mayor, anyway. Our new mayor's the mayor from an after-school special and, if things go according to plan, he'll be in only two scenes anyway: one in which he's scandalized by something our skateboarding underdog protagonist has done; and one in which he gives our triumphant skateboarding protagonist, who has also learned a valuable lesson about appropriate skateboarding venues and homework, the key to the city. Roll credits. "Mayor" is about two minutes in. Right after "Lunch Lady."
Okay, my editor demands this (something about this being a newspaper): The new mayor's name is John Tory. Yes, it's like we made up a name you'd forget, world. John Tory is halfway to being named John Smith – but that's a name so forgettable, it's almost memorable, so we went with Tory instead – a name as close to John Boring as we could find without drawing attention.
John Tory (think John Concilia-tory and you'll get what the voters were going for) was, among other things, a talk-radio host – that's a person whose job it is to agree with everyone who calls, no matter how contradictory their positions, and Mr. Tory ran on a platform of being affable. Arguably the most controversial thing he has ever done in his less-than-illustrious political career – suggesting, during a provincial run in 2007, that creationism could be taught alongside evolution in the schools – was still a case of taking equanimity too far. Possibly he ventured into the land of idiocy on that one, but not the kind of idiocy that will get a guy on the late-night talk shows, and he quickly backed down anyway.
When asked in a debate focused on race whether he thought white privilege exists, John Tory sanguinely replied it did not – thus proving white privilege exists! He's self-nullifying. He won the debate – for the other side.
John Tory is the invisible mayor – a man who aims to build what he called a "surface subway," which is arguably the transit equivalent of teaching creationism alongside evolution in the schools. No position is too middle-of-the-road for this man.
We've elected Adult Contemporary Mayor, possibly what we need.