Hell is other people (in Toronto)

I’m not sure how or when it happened, but at some point Toronto residents became the unhappiest and least pleasant people on the planet.

What’s behind the transformation? Is it the sudden growth in population through the last two decades that has made the city so miserable, or the proliferation of Tim Horton’s (Toronto was once almost Tim’s free) since the turn of the millennium?

What is it that makes Toronto residents today so very unpleasant? Well, there’s the extreme selfishness — the belief that each citizen in a large city should be able to get around without any impediment, and that your problem is never, ever mine.

There’s the non-stop intolerance, whether it’s of delayed streetcars, Tamil protesters, crowds —in a city, noise, weather (hot, cold, humid, dry), cyclists, car drivers, unionized workers, and most of all, each other.

And, of course, there’s the whining — or, more accurately, bitching and moaning, which better captures the anger underlying the whole thing — that never really stops, just redirects itself. As Christie Blatchford asks in this morning’s Globe, “who feels stressed out on the third day of any strike, you may well ask? Torontonians, that’s who.” The Star headline on TUESDAY claimed that parents were “desperate”. If one day of scrambling makes you “desperate”, what happens on day 10? In the 1970s, there was a lengthy TTC strike and people picked up hitchhikers to help fellow citizens get around. A walk down Queen St. W. last night shows little evidence of that civic spirit, with discarded coffee cups and food wrappers already, three days in, lining the sidewalks. At some point will Toronto residents realize that they are, themselves, the problem? I won’t hold my breath.