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“Unfortunately for mayor Darling, what many Torontonians love even more than short commute times and fresh air is not knowing our neighbours.”

Dear Mayor Darling,

Emma Teitel is everything that needs to be used to justify the old name for Toronto, “Hogtown.”

She is also wrong. Toronto is a city that loves to know its neighbours.

I grew up in Minto, New Brunswick until the age of seven when my father moved us to Chipman. Then, when I was seventeen my father moved us to Ontario.

People told me then, “Ontario is cold.” I replied, “I will warm it up.”

The most common thing I heard from my teachers in New Brunswick was, “If you want to be successful move to Ontario.”

Well, the first thing my Ontario teachers told me was, “If you want to be successful move to The United States.”

I said to myself, “A country or a part of a country that tells its young people to leave it to find success is like a person serious about killing themselves.” This is because a person not serious about killing itself cuts across the wrist while a person serious about killing themselves cuts down the arm. The young are the fresh blood. Canada, as a nation, has been committing suicide since its inception.

I decided I would succeed in this country and on my terms.

The thing I most liked about growing up in small town New Brunswick was that folks said hello on the streets (including strangers).

When I arrived in Toronto in the mid 1960s I brought nothing with me but friendliness.

Emma Teitel is old school Toronto. She is everything which is rightly passing into oblivion.

I have lived in various parts of this city. The first thing I do is make friends with my neighbours.

TORONTO LIFE once described me as one of the most loved and loathed people in this city.
I know the caliber of the people who loathe me. They all come from where Emma Teitel comes from.
They are cold people with cold hearts.
There has been no greater authority on cities than the author of THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES, Jane Jacobs.
Jane was my friend from her arrival in Toronto in 1968 up to her passing. When I see her children on the street they always say, “Our mother loved you.”
I reply, “I love your mother.”
Jane was friendly with her neighbours as well.
But then, of course, great spirits are always friendly. It’s the small spirits that are not.  Emma Teitel is a small spirit. St. John is well off without her. Toronto will be well off without her as well. That moment can’t come fast enough for my money.
The second thing my Ontario teachers told me when my father brought us here was that the standard of education in New Brunswick was lower than that in Ontario and I should not be ashamed when I failed.
I passed with honours.
Us Maritimers come from tougher stock than do many in Ontario.
I learned early to stand up for myself. The Toronto Star’s Ed Keenan told me last summer, “Reg, you are the only person in this city who stands up.”
People learn best by example. I am setting the example.
There is a word used to describe folk like Emma. It’s not a nice word. That word is snob.
Toronto has been doing its best for years to kill this Hartt.
All the city has done is to simply make this Hartt stronger.
Someone asked me what do they grow in the hard ground in New Brunswick?
I replied, “Men.”
–Yours, Reg Hartt (416-603-6643).

“There doesn’t seem to be much creativity at the top. It seems to me that Toronto has a split personality, a civic schizophrenia. On one level there is the spirit of individuals and small groups who do things…what you might call the vernacular spirit. This is all very informal, ingenious, quite romantic and full of fun, a great deal of fun. It seems to me that the official spirit of Toronto is stamp out fun. It’s pompous, impressed with mediocrity if its very, very big and expensive,”–Jane Jacobs–hXw8       .

“But Saint John isn’t yet a Portland or an Austin. What it is, however, according to its mayor, is exceedingly friendly. “I met folks here last Friday from Egypt and they could not believe that they could come to this city and on their very first visit meet the mayor,” Darling said. “It’s a very connective community. If 30 days after you’ve moved here you’re not ingrained and part of this community you’re not trying very hard.”

“Alas, this is where Darling loses me — or rather scares me — as there is nothing I would like to do less than “try hard” or “try” at all to become ingrained in a community. No matter how many angry emails I get from Torontonians who insist they are the paragon of friendliness, I know I’m not alone in this feeling. Big city people visiting small towns and cities may relish their warmth and bemoan the coldness of home. But after an exhausting foray into the world of saying hello to everyone on the street, we’re happy to return to the urban fold and curl up in our cocoons of anonymity.

“Unfortunately for mayor Darling, what many Torontonians love even more than short commute times and fresh air is not knowing our neighbours.”

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