Know of any cool things to do in Toronto? My sister and I are planning a trip and we don't want to miss anything! Thanks!
It is a great city that I love!
Neighbourhoods to explore: Annex, Kensington, Distillery District, Ossington Village, Chinatown
Food (this is really the best part about Toronto): Hibiscus, Mother’s Dumplings, 1-Hour, Black Hoof, Bar Isabel, Vena’s Roti, Guu, Chantecler, 416 Snack Bar, Grand Electric, Japas, Wanda’s Pie in the Sky
Cafes: White Squirrel, Intergalactic Travel Authority, The Common, Saving Gigi
Bars: Bellwoods Brewery, Get Well, 3-Speed, Cold Tea, Bar Neon, Indie Ale House, Pour Boy
Shops: Preloved, Sonic Boom, Rotate This, Courage My Love, Marty Millionaire, Capsule Music, Soundscapes, Paul’s Boutique
Outdoors: High Park (has a zoo!), Don Valley / Brickworks, Toronto Island, Christie Pits, Trinity-Bellwoods
Tourist: CN Tower, catch a Jays game
Other destinations: Allen Gardens, Hugh’s Room, The Drake, MOCCA, AGO, Mercer Union, Power Plant
This is way too much stuff but Google will help you narrow down what suits ya.
Churchill was home secretary when he spoke those words in 1910 but,
while almost every other speech he ever made afterwards has been
venerated and acclaimed, this one has been quietly passed over. This is
hardly surprising because it has provided a gold standard which our
society has failed even to come close to reaching ever since. We still
lock up too many of our fellow human beings and treat them like animals
when we do, even as we wring our hands about rates of re-offending. We
dehumanise some by calling them beasts and monsters and make it virtually impossible for others ever to contribute fully to the common weal.
At the merest hint or glimpse of any common humanity being shown them while inside,
we turn into the National Rifle Association and scream about becoming a
soft-touch society. We rarely consider the long-term damage to the
country and cost to our public services of ensuring that offenders are
even more screwed up and alienated when they emerge from their
confinement than when they commenced it. Nor do we pause to ask why a
grossly disproportionate percentage of the prison population comes from
our most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Yet how could it be otherwise
when a grossly disproportionate number of those whom we permit to send
them to jail come from a life of gilded and unearned privilege and for
whom “disadvantage” is not having a mother who was a maid of honour at
Queen Elizabeth’s coronation?
In Scotland, we think we are that bit more enlightened and inclusive
than our neighbours in England, but we’re not. In 1999, Jim Wallace, the
then Scottish justice minister, chose to spend £13m of European money
earmarked for ending slopping-out in prisons on “other priorities”. The bill to the taxpayer in subsequent compensation claims came to more than 10 times that figure. Last year, the SNP government voted not to permit some prisoners the right to vote in the independence referendum.
This vindictive act went against the grain of liberalism which the SNP
claims to possess, but resulted from a cowardly refusal to face down the
hillbilly tendency in Scottish society.
Earlier this year, the Scottish government had to be dragged screaming to a decision not to go ahead with advanced plans for a large new women’s prison in Inverclyde. It was only the passionate campaigning of the influential Women for Independence
group that forced the government’s hand. This was a milestone moment
for Scotland because the issue of how many women are held in our prisons
defines the character of our nation even more acutely than the general
question of crime and punishment.
Two weeks ago, the Women for Independence group moved to condemn the
number of women in prison and the conditions in which they are held. In a letter to
Scotland’s recently appointed justice secretary, Michael Matheson, they
urged him to “campaign for a commitment from all the parties standing
in the next Scottish Parliament elections to reduce the number of women
in prison in Scotland to a maximum of 100 [from 430] by the year 2020”. I
wouldn’t hold my breath: two previous pledges to reduce the number of
women in prison were quietly spiked.
There is an assortment of morally compelling reasons why we might be required to consider the issue of the imprisonment of women differently from that of male incarceration.
The over-riding one is that the emotional, psychological and physical
consequences that follow from jailing a woman can be far more
distressing and far-reaching than from jailing a man.
These are manifest in the trauma of children separated from their mothers. It is also scarcely believable that some recent sentencing decisions by our judges
have resulted in pregnant women being sent to jail or remanded in
custody. In the last five years, 19 babies have been born to women in
prison. This is behaviour from the dark ages.
That strangulated yelping you hear is the sound of the Jeremy Clarkson
faction (and there’s a bit of him in all of us), protesting that all
crimes deserve to be punished irrespective of the perpetrator’s gender.
But that’s just bullshit. Consider this: only a small percentage of rapes against women are reported in this country,
which means there are an awful lot of women among us, many also dealing
with ongoing social challenges, who are damaged to an extent beyond the
comprehension of men. How many of these poor souls will embark on a
path that eventually leads to prison?
Consider this also: the children of men in jail still have mothers to
care for them, but the children of women in custody often don’t have
anyone. Many will be single parents who have encountered physical and
psychological violence at the hands of the men – a significant factor in
patterns of female offending.
Prison officers have reported that mothers spend most of their time
inside trying to run families and households in a desperate bid to
prevent their children from being taken into care. Often, they will
experience a deep sense of guilt and helplessness at the suffering of
their children. Some of us will insist that they should have
contemplated this before they committed their misdemeanours. But only in
very few cases will that amount of torment and its long-term
consequences fit the crime.
Many of these women are mothers, sisters and daughters for whom
violence, rejection and addiction has led to them taking a wrong turning
in life. Surely there must be a corner of Scotland’s big heart that
would grant them a refuge instead of an ambush?
“They grow up learning the brickwork
Of stone-skin armor and heavy hearts,
And rise like golems from the graves
That early cruelties have dug for them,
And now every other stone flung
At their forged osmium exterior,
Falls away like sand and diamond dust.”