You may have a right to your opinion but you have a responsibility to make it a well-informed opinion. Which doesn’t mean just googling or reading a few articles. It means getting out there in the field – talking to people, getting the facts, checking your sources; & checking your preconceived notions at the door. Okay, if you’re sounding off about the weather you don’t have to become a meteorologist, but if the issue concerns a person or a people then you need to take a walk in their shoes. I don’t care if you find their shoes uncomfortable or not to your taste, that’s the point: for a little while you become someone else & you feel what it’s like to be inside their skin. Until you do that, don’t be surprised if you see me covering my ears & singing Yankee Doodle Dandy at the top of my lungs when you open your mouth to speak.
I submitted the name “Hubbard” for a new TO park then pestered everyone to vote for that name. And it won! Next I wrote an article for NOW magazine about the man for whom the park will be named: William Peyton Hubbard. That article earned me a nomination for a Heritage Toronto Award for Best Short Publication. There was some really worthy competition in that category – of particular note for me were Daniel Rotsztain’s drawings of all the Toronto libraries. Alas, neither I nor Daniel won the award. But, for my part, it was sweet just having won the Name Our Park contest (run by Councillor Paula Fletcher). Also sweet was bringing to light the remarkable history of Toronto’s first African-Canadian politician. Up until now, nothing has been named for the man in our city (save for a Hydro One award) & hardly anyone I talked to in my campaign for votes knew who he was.
William Peyton Hubbard (above) in a portrait by W.A. Sherwood (City of Toronto Art Collections). Below, Hubbard mingles with the paper hoi-poloi on TO’s finest hoarding in a flyer I made for the “Vote for Hubbard” campaign. I handed these flyers out and posted them everywhere in my neighbourhood; I had to – the competition was fierce: Jack Layton Park was the other name in the running. Everyone knows and loves Layton, while few know Hubbard. More will now! And we look forward to Hubbard Park’s Official Opening on October 22, 2016 at 11 am.
In 1957 Frank O’Hara wrote a love poem to the film industry. In it are the words “…and Dolores Del Rio eating orchids for lunch…” O’Hara’s poem is a toast to what he loved, a list of that which made his heart sing. And that’s what this blog is: an expression of all that makes me glad to be alive. Here you’ll find fascinating discoveries, good books, fun togs, hidden gems, old friends, dazzling jewels, urban news, quality cinema, sparkling drinks, secret places, gorgeous times. And there will be orchids for lunch.