Welcome to 2020: No Geography

Originally Published in the Winter 2019 Corktown News
By Aaron Binder, Corktown President

“If you ever change your mind about leaving it all behind, remember, remember, No Geography.”

Who thought one of the best bangers of 2019 would come from The Chemical Brothers? As they reflect on Brexit in their latest banger of an album, in Canada we’re faced with our own geographical challenges at the city, provincial and national levels. We have growing Income Inequality, a Housing Crisis and a shifting Climate.

We also have more hope than ever before.  As we’re faced with great problems that have defined multiple generations, we’re also seeing the uprising of politics and activism from across the political spectrum that are saying ‘let’s do it differently’.

We’re constantly being polarized on issues, most recently it was over a sports broadcaster that hadn’t changed with the times.  Do we really care about these issues or are they simply meant as distractions and a way to keep the little guy passive?

In contrast, we live in a world with decreasing geography and are more connected than ever. If the latest Federal election debates that Corktown hosted are any indication, there is hope. There are people fighting harder than ever to ensure a pathway forward for humanity at the street level locally and across international borders – sometimes from a coffee shop on King St.

What does this mean for Corktown? Better business and a tighter community fabric.  Our team is fighting hard for businesses and residents.  We believe this is one of the best neighbourhoods in Toronto to work, do business and visit. From our fantastic cafes and restaurants to our art studios and our production houses to Underpass Park, our potential has yet to be realized but we’re working hard (as volunteers!) to turn that potential into reality.

In September, Corktown, the Gooderham and Worts Neighbourhood Association and the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association hosted two Federal Debates for Spadina Fort-York and Toronto Centre. A friend of mine remarked after Corktown’s Toronto Centre election debate that: “I’m glad I don’t live in this riding, after seeing the Green, Liberal, Conservative and NDP candidates speak so passionately, I would have no idea who to vote for.” 

I agree with her. In Canada we’re starting to see engagement with people that just a few years ago would have said politics and issues don’t matter. Polarization does affect everyone but it also has a way of eventually engaging even the most apathetic.

We’re in the midst of a global political upheaval as is evidenced by protests in Hong Kong, Lebanon, Chile and even in Canada. In Corktown we are part of the refugees from Syria, we are part of the fight for independence in Hong Kong, we are part of the lost Basic Income Pilot in Ontario. This is No Geography, we’re all part of this together now – people like you and I are truly realizing just how much power we have when we’re not paying attention to all the shiny distractions.

When politicians from across the spectrum start making sense to most voters, you know there’s a big movement taking place.  Whether you’re just reading this little opinion piece or protesting for fair classroom sizes, we are all part of this movement. In our neighbourhood and lives, the best, simplest action we can take is continue welcoming people from across the globe, whether visitor or refugee, to our humble little part of the metropolis Toronto – No Geography.

See you around.