Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"It is more fitting for a man to laugh at life than to lament over it."

So, I guess Toronto isn't as cold and heartless as everyone thought.
No, Toronto has feelings and they can be hurt just like any other cities feelings can be hurt.
Wait a second...can a cities feelings be hurt? That doesn't seem right...

The Niagara Parks commission recently launched an ad campaign that was ever so slightly disparaging to Toronto and the Torontonian way of life.

How dare anyone insult Toronto with it's diverse neighbourhoods, cultural festivals, delicious restaurants, burning police cards, stunning smog-filled vistas and insane traffic jams.

Oh...wait...some of those weren't good, were they?

Now before you jump down my throat I want to make something VERY clear...I LOVE Toronto. My best friend lives just off the Danforth and I have another close friend lives who lives off Queen West. Toronto is amazing. There is great shopping, fabulous concerts, inspiring theatre, great restaurants, stunning museums and delightful neighbourhoods. However, I think it is quite narrow minded and humourless of Torontonians to be so offended by an ad campaign which pokes fun at some of the less glamours aspects of city life.

An article by John Semley of the Torontoist claims that the campaign "prove(s) that Niagara can’t sell itself without digging on some cartoonish idea of Toronto. " Really? You can't just look at yourself and see a tiny bit of truth in these advertisements? Sure, not ever alleyway in Toronto is filled graffiti and vandalism but not every street you take in Niagara leads to a winery...only, like, 75% of them do.

Semley also states that "there’s more to Niagara than sipping wine amidst a bunch of trees, riding rented mountain bikes through largely unexciting trails, and trying to snap a family photo in front of the Falls while being hassled by a human being in an anthropomorphized Hershey’s Kiss costume", pretending as if Tourism Toronto does not do the exact same thing in their advertising campaigns by capitalizing on recognizable attractions such as the CN Tower, the Rogers Center and the Toronto Harbourfront. Of course the NIAGARA PARKS COMMISSION is focusing on specific, iconic locations....THOSE ARE THE LOCATIONS THAT THEY REPRESENT!

However, having said that, I do not appreciate being painted with the same brush as Niagara Falls. I work in stunning winery in Niagara on the Lake which is committed to premium wine making, responsible stewardship of the land and innovative design-not comparable with Clifton Hill. Much of our clientele (be it tours, licensees, corporate events or wine sales) originate in Toronto so why would it benefit us to "hurt the feelings" of those that are fans of our wines?

However, it's not all bad news, Marcus Gee of the Globe and Mail wrote "it would be nice if we could grow out of all that adolescent angst. Confident cities don’t throw a fit when some regional tourism group dares to imply they are less than perfect. Confident cities know in their bones that the strains of city life are more than outweighed by the rich variety of experience that big cities offer. As one Web commentator put it, “get over yourself,” Toronto."

Well said, sir.

I just think that the Torontonians offended by this campaign need to sit back and relax.
Maybe they're stressed by all the crime and graffiti...come to Niagara and have a glass of wine.
It's on us.

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