Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Expropriate this

In a bizarre and seemingly bone-headed move, the City of Toronto has approved a plan to “expropriate” the property belonging to the Matador, a rock-and-country club in downtown Toronto. Granted, the club doesn’t have a high-class reputation — I’ve heard it described as a “booze can” on more than one occasion — but it has a long history, playing host to Johnny Cash, k.d. lang and Neko Case, among others. And it’s housed in a classic, 93-year-old building that was originally built as a dance hall for Canadian soldiers billeted for duty overseas during First World War. (It’s got a great sign, too.)
     But the city wants to tear it down to — get this — build a 20-spot parking lot. This is where the story gets truly absurd. City officials claim the parking spots are needed for the local businesses, especially the nearby YMCA. But a spokesperson for the Y told the Globe and Mail that the gym “doesn't need and has never requested parking from the city. ‘We are on a streetcar line,’” the spokesperson said.
     Expropriation is rarely done. And if it’s done, it's not done to demolish a legendary building to put up a parking lot. Something’s rotten here, and it’s not the state of Denmark. For more information, check out these links:
Save the Matador
Toronto Star article
Globe and Mail article
Spacing article
Salon article on the “environmental disasters” of parking lots

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