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The Campaign for Kensington Market
18/12/2002
A local activist has a campaign going to turn Kensington Market (in Toronto) into a car-free zone. He has been threatened: "One guy told me, `Look out, people are going to come with chains to hurt you.'"
"Over the winter, I'd like to go to every shop and business owner, just to talk to them. Business people get scared that banning cars will hurt them." Gus Fisher, long-time president of the Kensington Market Business Association, is known as the real "King of Kensington." He bluntly dismisses Amlani and his brainchild as "stupid." "He's a normal guy, he's nice enough, but I told him, `You're silly. You're crazy.'" Fisher, 80, has been a merchant in the market since 1956 and says Amlani is still a new kid on the block. "He's been in the market a couple of years. He needs to listen to the guys who have been here 30, 40, 50 years. You stop cars coming, that's the end of Kensington Market." Amlani's response: "Cars don't buy things. People buy things."
I might be a bit of a car-free partisan myself, but in this case it clearly makes sense. Anyone who has been to Kensington market knows it is nearly car free anyway. There are so many people walking around that the cars can hardly move, nor is there anywhere to park. I can't imagine any business would be lost if customers had to park outside the area, or in the parking garage on the edge of Kensington. At the very least, this would be a good idea for weekends.
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