Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Hey, Toronto: Careful what you wish for

According to the "Official Web Site of the City of Toronto," there were 26 TV shows and movies shot in that Canadian city between 2000 and 2004 that represented various Illinois cities, mostly Chicago. Included on that list are John Q, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Mean Girls, and, believe it or not, Chicago.

Canada has long promoted its glistening city of 3 million as being as beautiful and diverse as Chicago, without the crime or union wages. "We may not be Chicago," the marketers have said, "but we play it on TV."

In recent years, though, leaders of Canada's largest city are learning that they can't just pretend. The city "that prides itself as one of the safest in North America" is slowly but surely becoming Chicago, most notably in the category of crime statistics. The homicide total this year stands at 78, including 52 inflicted by a firearm.

"You just don't expect it in a Canadian city,'' Toronto Mayor David Miller said in a Sun-Times story today. Believe it, David Miller. And here's what you can expect as your city moves towards Chicago-style statistics:

As of Tuesday morning, there were 444 homicides in Chicago this year, compared to 443 last year at the same time. In all, there were 448 murders in 2004.

Fewer than 500 murders in a year here is seen as positive: "My feeling is we are still doing an outstanding job,'' said Deputy Police Supt. Charles Williams in another Sun-Times story, comparing this year with last. "It was good strategies at work ... [and] extremely hard work."

While people in Toronto see every murder as "appalling" and "a tragic loss," we here in Chicago can only say: Wait 'til next year. You eventually get numb to the pain.

Image of Toronto borrowed from


Post a Comment

<< Home