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Downsview Stories 2
More assorted comments on Wednesday's concert:
I have to wonder how this event will affect the next federal election. Newly-crowned NDP leader Jack Layton is set to run in the same Toronto-Danforth riding as Liberal MP Dennis Mills. Mills was not going to be easy to unseat because of his strong record helping local residents, but his new-found fame as the man behind this concert can only make him stronger. How many other Toronto MPs can actually claim any deliverables for this region, never mind something as notable as this?
Speaking of federal deliverables -- or the lack thereof -- what happened to Downsview "Park"? As nearly half a million concert-goers can tell you, Downsview is not a park, it is still essentially an airport. There has been a lot of hype about the Downsview Park design competition. The government certainly wanted everyone to know that this event was going to be at "Parc Downsview Park". But when is something going to happen? Being at the concert and seeing the great scale of the space really is exciting but, given track records, I have to wonder if we are ever going to get our park!
I'm sure good weather helped ensure a big turnout on Wednesday. There were other factors, however, that held back the size. The TTC's scare stories, the bad publicity around the organizers' tight rules and the promise of televisied coverage were key. On the other hand, the way the event grounds were laid out limited the number of people who could comfortably attend. Screens and speakers were not positioned far enough back. Worse, several buildings and fenced-in enclosures created problems for people on the periphery. This is all to say that a larger event could theoretically have worked, but several things would have needed changing. 1.5% of the population of Canada was large enough.
Speaking of the TTC, their scare stories did a good job of encouraging people to walk, cycle, or just be patient. As I wrote yesterday, I got home easily and the Yonge subway was nearly empty by 1. I had a friend who was very close to the stage and got down to Bloor and Christie 65 minutes after the Stones ended. He travelled via Downsview Station, and didn't have to wait too long to get in. He said his train had lots of extra space and blamed inexperienced riders who didn't know to move from doors.
There are some good photos here. The aerial crowd shot doesn't tell the whole story -- many people were well beyond the edge of this picture. (The July 31 Globe and Mail had the best aerial photo I've seen, but I haven't found it online.)
Security was somewhat uneven. I got through without a very thorough search of my bag -- although they did look in it. The guy beside me was being hassled because he had an AM/FM radio and a gate-keeper said, "I'm not letting through any electronics". Meanwhile, my friend at the front got wanded from the waist down without even opening his bag.
At one point I was sitting next to a guy in a wheelchair. He and a few friends had flown in from Nova Scotia that morning. They were going to spend the night somewhere and then fly back first thing the next morning.
Saw a good tattoo on a guy's back: A flag/map of our country with "If found, please return to Canada"
What was with those dryers on stage with Rush? Anybody hear an explanation?
I've had AC/DC and Stones songs in my head every since. They just keep sneaking in, and I'm still dancing.
I had to drive to Kitchener yesterday. The McDonald's along the 401 was thoroughly packed with young concert goers on their way home.