7 Things I’ve Learned About History Since Moving to the Land of the Future

April 25, 2014

“Why on earth did you study history?” I was asked last night, and on many days since I arrived in what is perhaps the world’s most future-oriented place. What answer can I give to an engineer or venture capitalist who can’t rotate his perspective enough to look backward, or see the importance of doing so? I usually say that I love to explore the rich context of our modern world, so much of which was influenced by the past. Or that history, like all the humanities, is a mirror that shows us a different version of ourselves.

But such answers will not satisfy many people here, and in wondering why, I realize I’ve learned a few things about history and its uses since learning the way (to San José):

1. America ≠ California and American History Californian History.

I write a lot about nationalism, because it is one of the ways we identify as part of a group, with shared history. I feel very Canadian, and not very Ontarian at all because I don’t see Ontario’s history as disconnected from that of the Canadian historical narrative. So I assumed it would be very “American” here, like places I’ve been on the East Coast and Midwest.

I was wrong.

The United States, though a young country, seems to be very aware of (certain parts of) its history. After all, how many other countries refer so frequently to and preserve so faithfully the intentions of their founding documents? America has an acute sense of its founding myths, and the historical reenactment culture here is an ongoing source of fascination and delight. (Who wants to be that Union solider who gets shot the first moment of battle and lies on the field the rest of the day in period costume? Is there a hierarchy, and does one get promoted each successive year based on seniority until eventually he is General Lee, or is it merit-based and depends on how well you keel over in your fleeting moment of glory? Such pressing questions.)

California Republic

California is not, however, America. It is, as the t-shirts say, “California Republic,” with its “Governator” and strange direct democracy and fiercely independent, contrarian streak. Very few people here identify as “American” so much as “Californian,” and they don’t seem to share the same historical touch points. More common are nods to the Spanish and Mexican roots of the region, through the missions and street names, or a focus on the history of global trade and cosmopolitan capitalism.

2. People have a different definition of “history” in Silicon Valley.

Silicon Valley is a whole other animal altogether (a shark, perhaps?).

In a place where the next iOS release, must-have gadget or earnings report is breathlessly anticipated, “history” becomes something that matters mostly in your browser. “Legacies” and “artifacts” are usually bad things to Valley dwellers, being outmoded or standing in the way of progress. The tech industry does not look kindly on the past – or rather, doesn’t think much of it at all, an indifference which is, as we all know, much more the opposite of love than dislike.

San José then…

Silicon Valley isn’t kind to its physical history either. The historic orchards and cherry trees that once ringed San José have been paved to make way for sprawling, two-story rental accommodations and carefully landscaped corporate lawns. Giant redwoods are regularly felled to allow for a better view of the advertisements on the side of buildings (seen from the freeway, of course). Dome-shaped Space Age cinemas one frequented by Steven Spielberg are in danger of being torn down, likely so newer, bigger malls can rise up in their places.

Even churches, those bastions of beautiful architecture, look like something out of an IKEA catalogue, all light wood and glass – nary a flying buttress in sight. It’s a full-on assault of the past by the present, in the name of the future.

3. Transience produces ambivalence and a lack of investment in the past.

Many people are new here, as the region’s explosive growth in the last 30 years can attest. Others are “just passing through.” So a lot of people feel disconnected from anything greater than their jobs or family/friend networks here, and there is a pervasive sense of rootlessness.

So why bother to invest in their communities? Or care what they used to look like? So goes the logic and thus the “San José Historic District” encompasses a single square block, with fewer than ten historic monuments. These are mainly just buildings that have survived – earthquakes, vacancy and neglect. This website catalogs the “boneyard of unwanted San José monuments” that are slowly crumbling away near the freeway and very shiny corporate HQ of Adobe.

Santa Clara County Courthouse

The courthouse, crumbling in disrepair. San José is falling down, falling down, falling down…

It’s not all that surprising though when you consider that…

4. …it is personal history that fosters pride and connection.

Perhaps I and others feel disconnected from the history here because so much of historical connection depends on identifying with who made the history in the first place. Several recent studies from the British Commonwealth (Britain itself, Canada, and Australia) and the US indicate that museum attendance increases where a greater percentage of the population identifies with the ancestry of the area. That is, if you are of Scottish origin in Toronto, you are more likely to be interested in a museum about Canadian history, which was largely architected by Scots, than if you are a Native Canadian whose world was essentially trampled on by those same Scots. You’re likely still less interested if you are a recent immigrant to Toronto from Bangladesh. Feeling as though a part of you helped to make a place what it is makes it more real and more interesting. Rightly or wrongly, you feel as if you have more of a stake in the future because “your people” had more of a stake in the past.

Even people that grew up here can barely recognize it, so feel as though a part of their past has been taken from them. Wherefore the cherry blossoms and apple orchards that used to dot the landscape of the “Valley of the Heart’s Delight”? One woman told me her family used to live bordering a fruit farm, and moved six times as the farms were paved over by housing divisions, until “we lived backing on to the mountain, and there were no farms left.”

…and San José now.

And yet, I can only feel that history is critical, from my experiences in Toronto where historical consciousness, like love and Christmas, is all around.

Thus:

5. History is often the most beautiful part.

I used to love walking through downtown Toronto because every so often a beautiful Art Deco or neo-Gothic gem would emerge amid the drab tower blocks of the 1960s and 1970s. Variations in architectural style provide interest and colour in an otherwise monotonous world of glassy office towers and utilitarian apartment buildings. Grand plazas, churches and monuments make statements about what is important to a place, and what it values.

What do these people value? It is worth cherishing and celebrating the few beautiful examples of history that exist here.

Like this one!

 

6. Historical traditions provide comfort.

This surprised me. History, of course, is about customs passed down as much as it is about actual events or physical buildings. Traditions ground us and give us some consistency in a world that changes rapidly. This is part of the reason weddings, funerals, and general church-going still exist. We need traditions to mark the big events in life.

We also need traditions to mark out who we are and how we should behave. To take a small but non-trivial example I wrote about recently: our clothing sends out signals about who we are and what we expect from life. There are no standards of dress here, at work or at play. Twenty-five-year-old men dictate the business ambiance, so beards, flip flops and holey t-shirts abound, and you can’t find a restaurant in California fancy enough that you can’t wear jeans.

It is utterly unconventional, which is perhaps just a bit the point. Wearing jeans to a meeting with someone in a suit will instantly destabilize them. It’s the same idea with non-standard working hours, perfected by the tech industry, and turning work into play (both the work itself and the space in which it is done). Even the critical and traditional accent in “José” has all but disappeared, which leads me to wonder if people in future will think this city was pronounced as something that rhymes with “banjos.”

It is groundbreaking to blow up established norms, but also somewhat unsettling. And history is necessary, if only to have something to conscientiously reject.

7. Culture clusters around history.

Life without history would not only be ignorant and untethered, but very boring.

People often view San José and its surrounds as soulless, and it’s easy to see why. One need only look at the cultural draw San Francisco has on the region to appreciate why places with deep roots are attractive. Most of San Francisco’s biggest tourist attractions are historical landmarks. What would the City be without the bridge, cable cars, Alcatraz, Haight-Ashbury, the Ferry Building, or Pier 39? Just a bunch of expensive apartments and hills, really.

History infuses places with meaning, and communities gather to add more layers. So next time someone asks me why on earth I would bother to study history, I think I will tell him that it’s because I care about beauty and culture and connection to the people and places around me — and that if he wants to live in somewhere even half-decent, he should too.

History, paved over

History, paved over

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Santiago: A Surprisingly Familiar City

December 26, 2010

It is perhaps good that I have been remiss in writing much of our travels in South America thus far, because it is only since we arrived in Argentina yesterday that I am able to speak of the differences between it and what we have seen in Chile.

It is almost as if we have traversed three continents in our travels, instead of just two countries. We first wanted to come to South America — to Argentina specifically — because we had heard that it was the “perfect European honeymoon, at half the cost” (or twice the length, as we are doing). Everyone told us that the architecture, the culture, and the people would seem strangely European as well, but with the added advantages of massive steaks and tango dancing. What more could one ask? Nada.

Arriving in Santiago to 33° weather, we certainly felt that we were somewhere very different. Santiago is a lovely city, with colours bursting from the trees and plants that line its almost exclusively one-way streets, beautiful homes and gardens, and kind people who help point lost turistas like us in the right direction. It is very clean and feels safe, despite the high walls and security gates that front every property.

Flora on Cerro Santa Lucía

We stayed in the delightful, modern neighbourhood of Providencia, in a beautiful B&B run by Chileans who had lived for years in New Zealand and Australia, and who were willing to speak to us for hours with pride about their country’s history, politics, food and drink (which is fantastic). Their wines are very cheap at about $5 a bottle and top-notch, especially a new variety of grape we have discovered called Carménère, which was originally from France but has since disappeared there only to flourish in the temperate climate of Chile’s central valley. And the bread. Oh, the bread. It is shaped like a French roll, with the crustiness of a baguette, and is so delicious that it is consumed at every meal, with jams, fruits, cheeses, meats, and butter, or simply on its own. Everybody in Chile eats it, and so the government regulates its contents, legislating added vitamins to ensure that it is healthy.

But it is not Europe, something we only discovered after a day or two when we realized what it was that had been in the back of our minds and could put it into words. In fact, we found, putting aside the weather and all the associated effects of living life outside more, that it was very much like Toronto. It was jarring to be in a place so foreign to us and yet in many ways so familiar. Part of being a tourist and adopting, as many scholars have called it, the “tourist gaze,” is constantly comparing how the things we see are similar to and different from home. As tourists, we adopt a position of ignorance by necessity, simultaneously resenting and hiding behind our feeling of being outsiders. Most tourists want to live “as the locals do,” and spend a few days living a life that is not theirs, but it is always difficult to overcome differences in language or customs and really understand. We of course were no different, and in seeking to understand we could not help but try to find the gaps between our assumptions of the country and the reality.

Most surprising was that we did not find as many gaps as we had thought we would. The people, though they have the darker, almost Mediterranean, colouring of South Americans, dress similarly to Canadians. They were quite modest in their dress, in fact, with most wearing suits and pants despite the heat, instead of sundresses like mine. The contrast immediately upon reaching Mendoza made this even more plain, as all the mendocinos look like fashion models. Santiago, in contrast, is a working city, and a city to live in, much like Toronto. There were no siestas, as we had expected, and we were surprised not to find many restaurants at all open after 10:00, at what we had been told was the time everyone just started to eat. On our last evening, in fact, we had to retreat to a bar that plied us with several varieties of pisco sour, because we couldn’t find another open kitchen. (This was not all bad.)

On our third day in the city, we took a bike tour in the afternoon heat, called “Parks and Politics,” led by a travelling American from Colorado (younger than we are) who had lived in the city but three months. Not exactly what we had expected, but he was knowledgeable enough and, unsurprisingly, spoke English that we could understand. It seems many Chileans don’t speak it at all, so he had managed to secure the job easily.

The tour involved battling rush-hour traffic (at Christmas) through the downtown core, and I will mention that Toronto bikers should come to Santiago if they want to see what a city that has no bike lanes feels like. (Incidentally, the suburbs and neighbourhoods outside of the central area all have dedicated bike paths, but in the city proper we were on our own with only our large bicycles, bells, and evident tourist status to shield us from the simultaneous aggression and creative response to red lights of Santiago’s drivers.) Again, it was much more American than European. The buildings, many of which had been rebuilt after each of the earthquakes in Chile’s history, stood firm but looked modern, with a few exceptions (the national library, some government buildings, universities) which were in a slightly crumbling colonial style.

Our guide explained that the drivers would be kind to us because they would see that we were tourists and would simply be glad that we were there and not in Argentina. I felt that this was likely a more honest statement than we would get from a native, and a telling one too. We did not know what to expect from Chile before we came, and when we told people about our trip, they would mostly only comment on Argentina and all its charms. It seems that Chile has only recently become a destination for those who enjoy world-class travel. In the 20 or so years since it secured its democracy again after years of military dictatorship, it has made great — and oft-unremarked — strides. It has a booming economy, buoyed by copper exports (recall the famous miners) but also fabulous produce and wine and specialty crops like jojoba beans, which are apparantly much used by NASA as well as in skin creams. (I can’t speculate as to why.) And Chile is now a country with an immigrant population, which is presenting a host of new problems and some national reflection that had never occurred before. The influx of Peruvians has apparently sparked a wave of protests that labour is being ‘stolen’ from native Chileans, one that is quite familiar to us in North America and Europe. The city of 7 million, surrounded on all sides by stunning mountain ranges, and already home to 45% of Chile’s population, will have to determine how to grow yet more as it becomes a more attractive place to live.

La Moneda, presidential palace

I suspect in some ways that Chile’s relationship with Argentina mirrors that of Canada and the US: part admiration, part resentment of its history as a greater world power, and a small part humourous derision – of the vast amounts of food (not a problem for us), of its famed Mendozan wineries being owned by Chilean companies, and of its people being poorer generally, thus explaining how Argentina came to be “cheap” compared with Chile (we got the double meaning of the word). Perhaps they are small victories secured to compensate for a history of being looked down upon by visiting Argentinians, or ignored entirely, or perhaps we will discover some of them to have merit.

We shall see.

Note: Please excuse any strange formatting, small fonts, and the lack of pictures. All to be rectified once I find a browser that cooperates with me.


Democracy Rules! 10 Great Reasons to Vote

October 25, 2010

Voting is both a privilege and a duty. If you’re an apathetic type, consider the following 10 less commonly heard (and only slightly sanctimonious) reasons why you should take some time off work to mark an “X” on a ballot today.

1. You’re one of the lucky few in the world who is able to do so.

Accurate numbers on this score are not easy to come by, but this report from the Hoover Institution ranks about 60% of the world’s nations as democratic in the broadest sense, namely that they hold elections. The more stringent classification of a full “liberal democracy” includes electoral competition for power but also:

  • Freedom of belief, expression, organization, and demonstration
  • Protection from political terror and unjustified imprisonment
  • A rule of law under which all citizens are treated equally and due process is secure
  • Political independence and neutrality of the judiciary and of other institutions of “horizontal accountability” that check the abuse of power
  • An open, pluralistic civil society
  • Civilian control over the military

By this measure, the number of global democracies drops to only 37% of nations worldwide. Wikipedia tells us that this is less than 15% of the global population. When you think that (due to age) only about 60-70% of the population in a full democracy can actually vote, that number drops to under 10% of people living in the world today.

2. Voting makes you disproportionately powerful over your fellow citizens.

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Champions of Ignorance and Mediocrity

October 22, 2010

The world is down on merit, it seems. In addition to the post I wrote on the subject, three separate articles this week have argued that the decline of the meritocratic society and rejection of current elites is proof that something has gone very wrong. But it’s not our meritocratic society that’s the problem. It’s the way we feel about it.

Whither Elitism?

Maureen Dowd in the New York Times writes that Sarah Palin and her ilk are “making ignorance chic” by disparaging the cold and cowardly “elites” who went to Ivy League schools and “refudiating” proper English. As Dowd writes, Palin “believes in American exceptionalism, but when it comes to the people running the country, exceptionalism is suspect; leaders should be — as Palin, [Christine] O’Donnell and [Sharron] Angle keep saying — just like you.” Presumably, the “you” in this case is also ignorant, and proudly so.

It’s enough to make any politician shy away from a good education, lest he or she be labelled another spineless member of the establishment. At best they face the charge of wasting their potential and failing to implement good ideas, like Obama’s heath care plan, or just about anything in Miller’s original plan for Toronto. At worst, they are humiliated, losing their seat (or their legacy) to candidates who think homosexuality is caused by brainwashing or who refer to fellow elected officials with racial slurs.

It’s a sad decline for a noble idea, and it might be just the beginning.
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“My, Those Are Spiffy Sunglasses. Did You Fall Down A Mine?”

October 14, 2010

Hope, and capitalism, have won out in Chile.

For the past few days I, like the rest of the world, have been captivated by the ongoing saga in Chile as 33 miners were rescued from almost 700 metres below ground, all emerging with shouts, laughs, and plenty of thanks for God and the scientists who have spent the last two months trying to get them out. Frankly, it’s great to hear some good news from the world media, which recently have been depressing us endlessly with their tales of woe about the recession, the impending political reign of morons, and the demise of their own industry. The great mining rescue has also provided the best branding opportunity this year: Oakley sunglasses have suddenly become the eyewear of choice for the discerning miner.

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G20: What’s the Point?

June 22, 2010

All anyone is hearing or reading about this week is the disruption caused by the impending G20 summit in Toronto: rapidly mounting security costs, Orwellian-sounding “free speech zones” surrounded by large fences, tourist attractions closed, chaos on the roads, and that infamous fake lake. So what’s the point? Why would the government squander the little remaining political capital it has on something that is surely designed to be inconvenient and unpopular for citizens?

According to the City of Toronto, the main benefits of our hosting the event are an increase in tourism and  more global exposure to our cultural, environmental, and financial leadership. But who is doing the touring, and who is being exposed? It cannot be the delegates, many of whom hail from countries with far more economic and political clout than Canada, and who won’t be stepping outside of their securely fenced-in hotel zones to experience the “real” Toronto culture that inhabits our somewhat out-of-the-way neighbourhoods anyway. And it’s hard to know to whom Canada needs “exposing.” Presumably the idea is to attract the confidence and admiration of wealthy and influential figures in other countries by how successfully we handle the onslaught of delegates this week. Such positive press would surely result in Canada having more of a global role, a seat at the proverbial table, the thinking goes.

But, as a professor of mine once pointed out, there is having a seat at the table, and having a seat at the table. There are the seats from which your voice can be heard and you can be seen. And then there is the seat behind the pillar which you are expected every so often to vacate in order to get everyone else coffee.

It seems Canada’s principal economic/military allies – those in the G8, say, or perhaps NATO – consider us to be lightweights. Is it our poor record on environmentalism, as one opinion leader is quoted as saying in the above article? Doubtful. It is more likely the historical holdover that marks Canada as proportionately smaller (in population and GDP) and more likely to follow a course already set by Britain or the United States. It is a chronic underestimation that stems from the main knowledge of Canada abroad consisting of beer, winter, and politeness. Hardly the stuff of global leadership.

On the bright side, it seems that emerging global powers like Brazil, Russia, China and India believe Canada has, and perhaps more importantly, deserves a seat at the global decision-making table, and not just as a serving boy. The Globe and Mail seems to suggest that this is because of our participation in the G20, but the fact that the majority of residents in any country couldn’t name more than two or three members of the G20 would seem to contradict this argument.

The positive global opinion of Canada in these countries is no doubt because of our massive immigrant populations from these countries.  Looking around the city, I see as many (or more) flags in support of the teams in the World Cup that are from developing, non-G20 nations as those who are traditional powerhouses. This immigrant goodwill is a smaller, slower more grassroots swelling of popularity and influence, but the opinions immigrants and their families hold are no doubt more positive and substantial than any based on how well zoned our protesters are for the next six days. Immigrants form significant connections between their new and old homes, and feed exactly the kind of information the government would want to spread about Canada back to their relatives in the old country: about freedom, about security, about stability, and about the opportunities here. These are the reasons people come to Canada and spend money here – not because of our global leadership in risk management.

Like the Vancouver Olympics earlier this year, the G20 is just another PR exercise, fraught with the usual allegations of overspending and political posturing, but unlike the Olympics, the G20 has no warm fuzzy feelings of pride or nationalism. There are no G20 red mittens. And I would challenge anyone to think of a positive correlation they have with a previous G20 host city. The government, for all its good intentions, would do better to spend its earmarked G20 budget on better career counselling, benefits, or English/French language instruction for new Canadians – they’re much more likely to appreciate their efforts and relay the goodwill to their captive audiences around the world.

MARGINALIA:

G20 Red Mittens

Warm fuzzies: G20 Red Mittens


Cities of the Imagination

March 29, 2010

The Wrigley Building, Chicago is
The Union Stockyard, Chicago is
One town that won’t let you down
It’s my kind of town

I love Paris every moment,
every moment of the year.
I love Paris, why, oh why do I love Paris?
Because my love is near.

If I can make it there
I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you, New York

All of these well-known song lyrics have something in common, and no, it’s not just that Frank Sinatra has sung them all. They all sum up the idea of the cities they describe: a hard-working town that “won’t let you down”; a city of love; a place requiring gumption but well worth the effort. They are the lyrical equivalent of the montages that open every episode of the CSI series. They are but a few of the millions of references – words, images, or feelings – that make up the way we imagine cities. And they are powerful enough to dictate how we feel about places we’ve never been, and channel the experiences we expect once we get there.

One of the most thought-provoking books I’ve read recently was uTOpia: Towards a New Toronto. A collection of short essays, it looked at Toronto’s past, present, and future in a way that was intriguing, thoughtful and – perhaps most importantly – hopeful. Covering everything from proposed dedicated bike highways to greenroofs to the necessity of public washrooms (I could take or leave that one), it made me realize the possibilities that exist for this city. (If anyone is interested, it’s sold by Coach House Books, available at major monopolistic Canadian bookstores which shall remain nameless, and many libraries, I’m sure.)

Perhaps my favourite essay was by Bert Archer, entitled “Making a Toronto of the imagination.” (I’d actually recommend that you buy the book for these 10 pages alone, they’re that good.) In it, he discusses why Toronto has no real “global city” status whereas, say, Montreal does (because of its comparative difference from the rest of North America and its low tuition fees making an international alumni diaspora); the kinds of “layers” and networks in which we get to know our cities (the work area and the home area and a few others thrown in); and how cities become vested in our minds. He talks about how authors, directors, or other artists pluck areas – like, say, the Prince Edward Viaduct from In the Skin of a Lion – to use in their works, which then serve as reference points in a constantly reinforcing cycle. We feel more attached to the places and spaces we love because we know other people love them too, and then more people want to sing or write about them, and so on. This is how cities become stories.

The idea of imagined cities is one that has been percolating in my brain since long before I started the posthistorical blog, but a film review by Liam Lacey in the Globe & Mail today pushed it right back to the top of my mind. In it, Lacey reviews Chloe, a new ‘erotic thriller’ by Canadian director Atom Egoyan – but his review is more about Toronto than the film. This is Toronto’s chance to finally stop being the city that has “a distinct iconography that audiences in other cities feel they recognize but can’t quite identify, because they’ve seen it in the movies,” he says. But he notes that this is a glossy, unrealistic Toronto, with none of the “suburbs, strip malls or ethnic neighbourhoods” locals love.

The trouble is, art can’t portray cities as they really are, in all their complexity and contradiction. It sells a simplified version of what people think they are. And it is a self-reinforcing cycle. Chicago is a great example of this, the wild and dangerous “second city” of the United States, where uncouth lawlessness (i.e. wanton murder, licentiousness, and trains!) was, and maybe still is, the order of the day. Live in a safe neighbourhood with no trouble in Hinsdale? Doesn’t matter: audiences want to see the six merry murderesses of the Cook County Jail. Paris? Come prepared to fall in love, or fall in love again. In this light, even the rude waitstaff seem charming. And New York is an example of simplicity from diversity, as it has been portrayed as a kind of microcosm of all the hardship and potential of America. Only within this uniting vision is it allowed its complexities: extreme poverty next to extreme wealth, immigrant families and established American dynasties, joy and sorrow, the past and the future, all side by side.

Toronto doesn’t have a unifying vision yet. In part this is because of the country in which it is located. Nobody quite knows how to characterize Canada either (sitting inside or outside of it). Not quite the US, not quite Britain, Canada doesn’t really have a clear and coherent image that it stands for yet, and even if it did at one point, it’s constantly in flux. In part, I suspect that this is because Canada, and Toronto even more so, is a place people go to, a hope, a destination. It is by definition about many different things, what one great blog post I read recently called “multiculturalism – a legal reality.”

Will Toronto ever have the status of a city of the imagination, shared amongst a global audience? Perhaps it will follow from Canadians’ growing sense of national pride, the idea that yes, we do have something to celebrate, an identity, a pride of place. The first step is surely to achieve some form of unity from diversity. I did a little research into what’s out there in the popular imagination, and stumbled upon the Toronto Unlimited website, which seeks to brand Toronto for purposes of travel and tourism. According to this project, Toronto is, “in short … a city built with and for the limitless imaginations of the people that come here. And it is these people that make Toronto the city of imagination.” Interesting. [Ironic, too, as I just looked this up toward the end of writing my post.]

The font of the brand is also intended to convey this limitlessness, it seems, by being sans serif in the extreme. Yikes. (Look out for it on t-shirts near you. But not on me.)

Now, I think it’s difficult to “brand” a city outright – if anything, a city brand should be iterative, evolving from many years and countless stories that are told about it – but in the age of the commoditization of all things, perhaps this is the way to start the process. What I do like about the project is that the slogan/phrase Toronto Unlimited was created to “celebrate the unlimited potential of the people and the endless opportunities they offer the city” – not a bad message to get behind, considering that it is the people who make the city before the city can make the people, really. Now all we need is a schmaltzy Broadway number, and we’re set.