Blood on Bloor

Everything about the recent cyclist death on Bloor is upsetting and horrific. Take first the location: Bloor St. outside Sephora, between Bay and Queen’s Park Circle, a pair of blocks everyone has walked along at some point and that were, at quarter to ten on a summer night, far from empty.

Take the absolute insanity of the car’s progression along Bloor, going at high speed the wrong way on the wrong side of the street and then onto the sidewalk to bang into whatever might detach the cyclist from the car’s side, all in front of horrified witnesses.

That is enough to make it one of the grisliest and most public deaths in the city in recent years. But then comes the fact that the driver, charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, is the former attorney general of the province, responsible for, among other things, stricter legislation on street racing.

I’ve met Michael Bryant more than once. Smart, personable, perhaps somewhat arrogant, but with the drive and accomplishments to make that easier to swallow. I was warned he could be hard to work for — “a difficult boss” — but don’t imagine that description was meant to indicate anything more than impatience and the occasional outburst of bad temper.

I spent a couple of beer-soaked hours defending Bryant and his abilities to two less enamoured ex-Queen’s Park staffers a few months back. And I wrote this on Twitter when he was named CEO of Invest Toronto: “Bryant to Invest Toronto is good news for the city.”

This is upsetting and sad in every way. It’s sad for Darcy Allen Sheppard’s fiancee, children, friends and family. It’s sad for Michael Bryant’s wife and young children, whose lives are changed forever. It’s sad for the city of Toronto, which could have used the energy and drive that Bryant brought to his other portfolios. And it’s just sad in general, because no matter what the circumstances, and we’ll no doubt hear a lot more about them in the near future, no one should die the way that Darcy Allen Sheppard did.