Transcript: Ep. 2 - Toronto | Sep 17, 2017

A logo on a black background fades in and reads: "TVO Originals".

The opening sequence appears on screen showing an animated map of North America over an aerial view of a modern city. A white dot reads "Toronto."

Mikael Colville-Andersen walks past skyscrapers. He is in his early fifties, clean-shaven with grayish short hair. He wears a beige shirt and blue trousers.

Mike says CLASSIC NORTH AMERICAN DOWNTOWN:
SHINING TOWERING FOREST
OF STEEL AND GLASS.
STANDING HERE,
TORONTO COULD RESEMBLE
SO MANY OTHER CITIES.
I'VE ONLY EVER SPENT THREE DAYS
OF MY ENTIRE LIFE HERE,
IN CANADA'S LARGEST CITY.
BUT NOW, I'M HERE.
I'M ON THE GROUND.
I'M COMING IN FRESH,
I'M COMING IN CURIOUS.
I'M READY TO SEEK OUT TORONTO'S
UNIQUE URBAN FINGERPRINT.
AND IN ORDER TO DO THAT,
I HAVE TO ESCAPE
THIS ANONYMOUS FACELESS PLACE.

(theme music plays)
Mike stands barefoot as an animated city in the shape of an electronic circuit crawls up his leg and arm. Amazed, he looks at his arm and then shows the palm of his hand to the screen. On his hand and in yellow letters, the title of the show reads "The Life Sized City." He turns his hand to show an animated skyline popping up. The title of the show reads "With Mikael Colville-Andersen."

Over the aerial view of Toronto, a yellow 3D animation shows the urban map of the city.

Mike says FOR A LONG TIME,
CLICHÉS ABOUT TORONTO
WERE LEGION: STRAIGHT,
STUCKUP AND CORPORATE.
BUT TRUST ME.
THINGS HAVE CHANGED
DRAMATICALLY IN
CANADA'S FINANCIAL HUB.
TORONTO HAS TURNED THINGS
AROUND TO BECOME
A MAGNET FOR ALL THINGS
CULTURAL AND ARTISTIC.
A HAVEN FOR FOOD LOVERS,
AND AN ALL-ROUND
STIMULATING PLACE TO BE.
PEOPLE FROM PRETTY MUCH
EVERY CORNER OF THE GLOBE
NOW CALL TORONTO HOME.
WE'RE TALKING 200 ETHNICITIES
IN 140 NEIGHBOURHOODS.
YET, AS TORONTO CONTINUES
ITS STUNNING POPULATION GROWTH,
IT IS PARADOXICALLY BECOMING
MORE AND MORE HUMAN.

Fast clips show crowded streets and people chilling outdoors.

Then, an animated caption appears in the stomach of a cow dummy standing in a shop window. It reads "Kensington Market."

Mike says IT'S KIND OF WEIRD COMING
HERE EARLY IN THE MORNING.
IT'S SO QUIET. THE DAY
HASN'T REALLY BEGUN YET.
THIS IS KENSINGTON MARKET
IN TORONTO, ONE OF THE
MAGNETS FOR PEOPLE IN THE CITY.
LOTS OF COOL SHOPS,
LOTS OF DIFFERENT KIND
OF IMMIGRANTS AND GREAT FOOD,
AND CAFÉS.
WE'RE REALLOCATING
URBAN SPACE HERE,
JUST WALKING UP
THE QUIET STREET.

As Dave Meslin walks in slow motion and turns to face the screen smiling, an animated caption appears next to him. It reads "Dave Meslin. Writer and Community Organizer." He is in his early forties, with a short beard and blond hair. He wears a gray T-shirt and denim shorts.

Mike says DAVE MESLIN IS AN INCREDIBLY
ACTIVE TORONTONIAN
TO SAY THE LEAST.
HE'S AN URBANIST, AN AUTHOR,
A SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR AND
A CREATIVE COMMUNITY ORGANIZER.
HE FOUNDED
TORONTO'S CYCLISTS UNION,
KICKSTARTED THE LOCAL
CAR-FREE DAY AND
CO-FOUNDED SPACING MAGAZINE.
BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY,
THIS IS A GUY
WHO TELLS IT EXACTLY
LIKE IT IS.

Dave says IF YOU THINK ABOUT
PUBLIC SPACES...
THE WORD "PUBLIC," THERE,
SHOULD MEAN SOMETHING.
THIS IS OUR SPACE.
THIS IS OUR CANVAS.
SO THIS IS ACTUALLY TORONTO'S
FIRST AUTHORIZED ROAD MURAL.
IT WAS DESIGNED BY
PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY.
IT'S FRUITS AND VEGETABLES,
WHICH IS REALLY SYMBOLIC
OF THE NEIGHBOURHOOD.
AND THE MOST IMPORTANT THING
IS THAT MOST OF IT
WAS PAINTED BY CHILDREN.
IT'S SUCH A GREAT ACT
OF REMINDING KIDS THAT
THEY OWN A CITY.
THIS CITY IS OUR HOME.
WE CAN RENOVATE IT TOGETHER.
SO AS SOON AS YOU TAKE
THAT PAINT BRUSH
AND DO THE SLIGHTEST MARK
ON THE GROUND,
FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE,
THAT WILL BE THE FIRST TIME
IN THEIR LIVES THAT THEY
PHYSICALLY ALTERED SOMETHING
THAT ISN'T PRIVATELY OWNED.
WE DECORATE OUR HOMES.
WE TAKE CARE OF THINGS
THAT WE KNOW BELONG TO US.
THE TRICK IS TO GET PEOPLE
TO HAVE A SENSE
OF COLLECTIVE OWNERSHIP.
ONCE THEY'RE REMINDED
THAT IT'S THEIRS,
THEY'LL MAKE IT BETTER.
THEY DO STREET CLOSURES HERE
TO PEDESTRIANIZE THE ROAD
SO FREQUENTLY THAT
THEY HAVE A BUILT-IN BARRICADE.

Mike says GET OUT! REALLY?

Dave says SO THIS CAR IS DRIVING
PAST ME RIGHT NOW.
IF THIS WAS THE LAST SUNDAY
OF THE MONTH,
THIS IS A HINGE HERE,
THEY UNLOCK IT HERE.
THIS FOLDS ALL THE WAY OUT
HALFWAY AND THEN ANOTHER PIECE
SWINGS OUT TO THE END.

As he points to a metal structure on the street and walks backwards to show an imaginary barrier, an animated yellow sign reads "road barrier."

Dave continues IT'S NOT A PERMANENT
CAR-FREE ZONE,
BUT THE IDEA OF MAKING
THIS CAR-FREE IS NOW BUILT-IN.

Mike says O.K. I KIND OF SAW A FUNNY
SIGN AT THE OTHER END
OF THE MARKET THAT SAID:
"STREET CLOSURES SOME SUNDAYS,
FROM THIS TIME TO THIS TIME."

Dave says RIGHT.

Mike says I'M GOING: "WHICH SUNDAYS?"
IT'S KIND OF LIKE:
"WE'RE GOING TO DO IT,
BUT WE DON'T REALLY KNOW WHEN."

Dave says RIGHT. EVERYTHING IN TORONTO
HAS TO BE A PILOT.

Mike says YEAH, RIGHT. O.K.

Mike chuckles.

Dave says SO CITY HALL IS SCARED
OF DOING ANYTHING THAT MIGHT
BE TOO FUN OR TOO COOL.
SO IF YOU'RE LIKE: "I HAVE
A GREAT IDEA! LET'S CHANGE
THE CITY!" THEY'RE LIKE:
"I DON'T KNOW." BUT IF YOU SAY:
"IT'S A PILOT, IT'S RISK-FREE!"
THEY'RE LIKE: "O.K. SURE."
SO WE CALL EVERYTHING
A PILOT HERE.
YOU WANT A BIKE LANE?
YOU WANT A STREET CLOSURE?
IT'S A PILOT.

Mike says SO THE ENTIRE CITY IS A PILOT
FOR THE NEXT 40 YEARS.

Dave says YEAH. FOREVER.

Mike says FOREVER!
HOW DO YOU DEFINE
TORONTO'S UNIQUE
URBAN FINGERPRINT?

Now, they walk around the city.

Dave says I THINK THERE ARE TWO SIDES
OF THAT COIN. ONE IS A REAL,
DEEP, CONSERVATIVE RISK
AVERSION, SO WE LET
OTHER CITIES TRY COOL STUFF,
WAIT 10 YEARS AND THEN
DO THE SAME THING HALF-ASSED.

Mike says O.K.

Dave says THERE'S A FEAR OF CHANGE,
A FEAR OF INNOVATION.
THE FLIP SIDE OF THAT IS THAT
PEOPLE ARE REALLY REBELLING
AGAINST THAT, AND PEOPLE ARE
ORGANIZING AND SAYING:
"LET'S LEAD. LET'S BE
INNOVATIVE. WE DON'T
HAVE TO WAIT FOR OTHER
PEOPLE TO DO IT. LET'S DO
MADE-IN-TORONTO PROJECTS."
IT'S ALL ABOUT GRASSROOTS.
IT'S ALL ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE
ARE DOING TOGETHER IN
THEIR NEIGHBOURHOODS.
THESE PEOPLE LOOK AT
THEIR STREET AND IMAGINE
IT BEING DIFFERENT,
IMAGINE IT WITH A BIKE LANE,
IMAGINE IT WITH ART.

Colourful graffiti of human faces decorate the streets.

Mike says DAVE WANTS TO TRANSFORM
TOP-DOWN LEADERSHIP
INTO BOTTOM-UP COLLABORATION
ON EVERY SCALE
IN EVERY NEIGHBOURHOOD.
NOTHING LESS.

Dave says TAGS ARE PROBABLY MORE
ON THE VANDALISM, UGLY SIDE,
BUT THEY REPRESENT SOMETHING
REALLY VALUABLE.
EVERY TIME SOMEONE DOES THIS,

Dave pretends to draw a signature on a post covered with flyers.

Dave continues
THEY'RE SAYING:
"NO, THIS IS MINE."

Mike says YEAH.

Dave says AND WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS,
WHEN YOU LEGALIZE PUBLIC ART
AND ALLOW PEOPLE TO DO IT,
THEY DON'T DO THAT QUICK
SCRAWL. THEY CAN SIT DOWN
FOR TWO HOURS AND CREATE
SOMETHING NICER.

Mike says I'M GOING TO USE TWO COLOURS!

Mike chuckles.

Dave says YEAH, EXACTLY.
IN A HEALTHY SOCIETY,
YOU WOULD NEVER HAVE TO WRITE
YOUR NAME LOOKING OVER
YOUR BACK FOR THE COPS
BECAUSE YOU KNOW THAT
YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS
HAVE ALREADY LEFT YOUR MARK,
IN AN OFFICIAL WAY,
THROUGH A PARTICIPATORY BUDGET.
SO WHEN YOU CREATE
COMMUNITY SPACES FOR PEOPLE
TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES,
YOU GET DIVERSITY,
YOU GET INNOVATION,
YOU GET COMMUNITY,
YOU GET THE CITY.
THIS IS WHAT THE CITY IS.
IT'S ACTUAL HUMAN BEINGS.
IN 1997, WHEN EACH
OF THE FORMER CITIES
WERE ASKED: "DO YOU WANT
TO AMALGAMATE IN ONE
BIG TORONTO OR DO YOU WANT
TO KEEP YOUR CITY?
YOUR LIFE-SIZED CITY?,"
EVERYONE VOTED "NO."

As he points to a map of Toronto on the post, an animation shows the cities making it. They read "North York, York, East York, Scaraborough, Etobicoke, Old Toronto." Then, a red line highlights the outline of the map.

Dave continues EVERYONE VOTED
AGAINST AMALGAMATION.
THEY DIDN'T WANT TO BE PART
OF A MEGA CITY,
BECAUSE PEOPLE WANT A
LIFE-SIZED CITY.
THEY WANT TO KNOW THAT
MY CITY HALL IS NEARBY,
THAT MY MAYOR IS SOMEONE
I CAN ACTUALLY TALK TO.
IT'S A REAL SHAME, I THINK,
THAT AMALGAMATION HAPPENED,
BUT THE ANSWER NOW
ISN'T TO DE-AMALGAMATE
OR JUST TO COMPLAIN ABOUT IT.
IT'S TO FIND NEW WAYS TO CREATE
LOCAL CONNECTIONS TO DEMOCRACY
AND TO ENGAGEMENTS.
AND THEN WE'RE PART OF
SOMETHING CALLED TORONTO,
WHICH IS A LARGER FAMILY
OF LIFE-SIZED CITIES.

Mike says TORONTONIANS HAVE FOUND MANY
CREATIVE WAYS TO RECLAIM
OWNERSHIP OF THEIR CITY.
ONE OF THEM LIES IN
THE TRANSFORMATION OF CLASSIC,
UGLY, HOARDING,
SURROUNDING CONSTRUCTION SITES
INTO WORKS OF ART.
THEY DO IT WITH THE HELP
OF THE PATCH PROJECT.

Carolyn says RIGHT NOW, WE'VE GOT IT
LAID OUT IN A BUNCH
OF DIFFERENT SECTIONS.
THIS CONSTRUCTION SITE
RIGHT HERE IS GOING TO GO
ON THE CURVE,
ON THE ROADSIDE THERE.
IT'S JUST GOING TO BE
REALLY GREAT. IT'S LIKE A 2000
SQUARE-FOOT INSOLATION.

As Carolyn Rowan walks in slow motion and turns to face the screen smiling, an animated caption appears next to her. It reads "Carolyn Rowan. Community Project Manager PATCH Project." She is in her late twenties with short brown hair. She wears a beige sleeveless T-shirt.

Mike and Carolyn sit on the grass in a backyard painting large sections of a mural.

Mike says THE DEVELOPMENT INDUSTRY
IS TRADITIONALLY CONSERVATIVE.
IF YOU LOOK AT IT
WITH THEIR PERSPECTIVE,
IT MIGHT BE A BAD BUSINESS
MODEL AS IT WERE.
BUT WHAT IS IT LIKE,
DEALING WITH THEM?

Carolyn says HONESTLY, THERE'S BEEN
REALLY GREAT UPTAKE.
IN 2015, THE CITY OF TORONTO
JUMPED ON BOARD AND SAW
THIS GREAT POTENTIAL IN DOING
THESE SORT OF PUBLIC ART
INSTALLATIONS IN
THESE UNDERUSED SPACES,
AND THEY ACTUALLY ENFORCED
A BYLAW IN 2015,
THAT NOW REQUIRES THAT ALL NEW
DEVELOPMENTS RESERVE
AT LEAST 50 PERCENT
OF THEIR FENCING AND OF
THEIR CONSTRUCTION HOARDING FOR
THESE COMMUNITY-ENGAGED PUBLIC
ART PROJECTS.
IT ALSO PROVIDES AN OPPORTUNITY
FOR LOCAL EMERGING ARTISTS
TO EXHIBIT IN THE PUBLIC REALM.

A close-up shot shows a building with the graffiti of a strange creature made of city pieces sitting and holding its legs.

Mike says WHAT EFFECT DO YOU THINK
IT HAS ON THE PUBLIC SPACE,
ON THE CITIZENS' PERCEPTION
OF THE PUBLIC SPACE?

Carolyn says I THINK THE EASIEST THING
TO POINT TO IS BEAUTIFICATION.
IT'S JUST NICER TO WALK BY
SOMETHING THAT YOU SAW
BEING PAINTED,
OR THAT'S BY AN ARTIST
THAT'S IN YOUR COMMUNITY,
OR SOMETHING THAT SPEAKS TO YOU
IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE,
RATHER THAN HAVING HARSH WORDS
JUMP OUT AT YOU.

Jeff Blackburn paints a graffiti of a white and blue creature on a light control box.

As Jeff walks in slow motion and turns to face the screen smiling, an animated caption appears next to him. It reads "Jeff Blackburn. Artist." He is in his mid-thirties, with a short beard and short hair. He wears a black cap backwards, a white T-shirt and headsets around his neck.

Mike says HEY ANDRIAN!

Adrian says HEY! HOW'S IT GOING?

Mike says GOOD! I'M MIKAEL.

Adrian says MIKAEL, NICE
TO MEET YOU.

Mike says PLEASURE! YOU'RE THE ARTIST?

Adrian says I AM, YES.

Mike says IN RESIDENCE?

Adrian says YES, IN RESIDENCE, EXACTLY.

As Adrian Hayles walks in slow motion and turns to face the screen smiling, an animated caption appears next to him. It reads "Adrian Hayles. Artist." He is in his thirties, with a goatee and short black hair. He wears glasses, a red cap and a light brown T-shirt.

Mike and Adrian stand next to the piece of a toucan mural on the grass.

Mike says YOU'RE WORKING WITH
THE LOCAL KIDS HERE.

Adrian says YES. THERE ARE
SOME KIDS HERE...

Mike says FROM THIS NEIGHBOURHOOD?

Adrian says FROM THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
THAT HAVE AN INPUT.
IT'S ACTUALLY ONE OF THE KIDS
THAT WE'RE WORKING WITH
WHO SUGGESTED HAVING THIS
BIRD IN HERE. SO, NOW,
WE PUT THAT IN, AS WELL AS...

Mike says SO IT'S LIKE HER IDEA,
"I WANT A TOUCAN
IN MY NEIGHBOURHOOD.,"
AND YOU MADE IT HAPPEN.

Adrian says YEAH, EXACTLY. SO WHEN SHE
LEAVES, SHE CAN SEE A TOUCAN.

Mike says EVEYDAY, SHE'LL
FEEL OWNERSHIP, RIGHT?

Adrian says YEAH, EXACTLY.

Mike says WHAT'S THE BALANCE
BETWEEN YOU, HAVING SOME
IDEAS IN YOUR HEAD OBVIOUSLY
AS AN ARTIST, BUT HOW
MUCH IS LIKE YOUR IDEAS
AND HOW MUCH IS
LIKE LOCAL INVOLVEMENT?

Adrian says WELL, FOR ME, I TRY TO EXPLAIN
TO THEM MY PROCESS, SO THEY KNOW
EXACTLY THE STEPS I GO THROUGH.
SO THEY HAVE A CONSULTATION,
A CONSULTATION OBVIOUSLY
INVOLVING THE YOUTH,
TALKING ABOUT THE COMMUNITY
AND THE THINGS THAT INSPIRE
THEM IN THE COMMUNITY.

Mike says IS IT IMPORTANT THAT YOU HAVE,
YOU KNOW, THAT IT'S NOT JUST
MOTORWAYS WITH TRUCKS ON IT,
I MEAN THAT YOU HAVE
NATURE AND WATER?

Adrian says YEAH, IF YOU THINK
OF THE ENVIRONMENT, IF YOU JUST
TAKE THAT VISUAL SWEEP,
IT'S ALL VERY URBAN, RIGHT?
SO WHEN YOU HAVE A SPLASH
OF COLOURS, THE QUALITY OF LIFE
AUTOMATICALLY CHANGES.
THE CITY TRIES TO PUT IN PARKS
AND WHATNOT, JUST TO HAVE
THAT INFLUENCE OF NATURE
WITHIN OUR URBAN ENVIRONMENT,
SO IT'S A LOT OF THE SAME.

Mike says I LIKE THE FEEL OF THIS KIND
OF NEIGHBOURHOOD. URBAN
PLANNING FROM THE 1960'S OR
WHATEVER.

Adrian says IT'S A BIT DATED.

Mike says BUT I MEAN, YOU LOOK
AT THE BUILDINGS AND YOU THINK:
"MAN, JUST PAINT ALL
OF THE BUILDINGS IN THIS CIRCLE
HERE IN SOME CRAZY COLOURS
LIKE IN EUROPEAN CITIES."
THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.

Adrian says WE HAVE TO PUSH THAT AGENDA
IN A NEAR FUTURE.

Mike says OR START NOW.

Adrian says WE COULD START RIGHT NOW!

Mike chuckles.

Adrian continues HERE WE GO! OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS!

(music plays)

Rachel says IT'S A CITY OF NEIGHBOURHOODS,
WHICH I THINK IS SUPER COOL.
YOU CAN LITERALLY TRAVEL
THE WORLD ON YOUR BICYCLE
OR ON A SINGLE SUBWAY TICKET.
AND IF YOU ARE BORED
IN THIS CITY, I WOULD SAY
YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG.

As Mike and Rachel Lissner drive bicycles along a downtown bike line, an animated caption appears behind them. It reads "Rachel Lissner. Founder of the Young Urbanist League." She is in her mid-thirties with long black hair and fringe. She wears black-rimmed glasses, denim short, a black T-shirt and a red flower on her hair.

Mike says RACHEL'S FAVOURITE SPORT?
TALKING ABOUT TORONTO.
BORN IN WASHINGTON, D.C.,
SHE FELL IN LOVE
WITH HER ADOPTED METROPOLIS
AND NEVER LOOKED BACK.
THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT
THAT SHE CALLS HERSELF A LOCAL.
WAIT! I HAD A CHOCOLATE MILK
AT THAT SHOP THE OTHER DAY.

Rachel says PALMERSTON MARKET?

Mike says I'M SO LOCAL.

Rachel says MY LOCAL! OH HEY!
THAT'S MY FOOD CO-OP.
IT'S WHERE I GO FOOD SHOPPING.

The stop and get into a house.

Rachel says HEY GABE! SMALL WORLD!
HOW'S IT GOING?

Mike says RACHEL LEADS ME TO A PRIVATE
BACKYARD WHERE I LAND A HAND
WITH GRAPE-PICKING VOLUNTEERS,
WORKING WITH A PROJECT CALLED
NOT FAR FROM THE TREE.
THE NAME REALLY SAYS IT ALL.
THEY PICK FRUIT
ALL OVER TORONTO, FRUIT THAT
WOULD OTHERWISE GO TO WASTE.
AND SINCE 2008,
WELL, THEY'VE HARVESTED
OVER 113,000 POUNDS OF FRUIT.

Rachel says SO THE WAY IT WORKS IS THAT
WE SHOW UP, WE HAVE
A VOLUNTEER CREW.
SO WE DO ALL THE HARD WORK,
AND THEN AT THE END,
WE'RE GOING TO LOOK THROUGH
THE FRUIT, SORT IT. WE'RE GOING
TO SPLIT IT THREE WAYS.
SO ONE THIRD IS GOING
TO GO TO THE VOLUNTEERS,
ONE THIRD IS GOING TO GO TO
THE PEOPLE WHOSE PLANTS
THESE ARE, AND THEN ONE THIRD
GOES TO A SOCIAL AGENCY.
AND THEN, IN TURN,
THEY USE LOCAL FOOD
TO PROVIDE MEALS FOR PEOPLE.

Mike says RIGHT.

Rachel says YEAH! SO IT'S REALLY COOL.
IT STARTED, I THINK IT WAS
JUST ONE WOMAN WHO HAD A DREAM.
AND NO PUN INTENDED,
BUT SHE WENT FOR
THE LOWEST HANGING FRUIT.

Mike says I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE.

Rachel continues AND NOW IT'S EXPANDED
TO A CITY-WIDE THING.
SO TO GO FROM A FEW BACKYARDS
WHERE THERE'S SOME FRUIT
TO PICK TO THE ENTIRE DOWNTOWN
AND THEN SOME IS PRETTY COOL.

Mike says YEAH.

Mike helps the volunteers to cut grapes from a tree.

Mike says HOW MANY PLACES DO YOU
PICK FRUIT AT? HOW MANY HOUSES?
HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE SIGNED UP?

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Megan Jaramillo. Program manager Not Far From the Tree." She is in her mid-twenties with long blond hair. She wears a blue T-shirt.

Megan says WE HAVE ABOUT
2,700 PEOPLE REGISTERED
WITH NOT FAR FROM THE TREE.

Mike says THAT'S A LOT.

Megan says YEAH.

Mike says HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE PICKING?

Megan says HOW MANY VOLUNTEERS?
ABOUT 3,000 FRUIT-PICKERS
ARE REGISTERED WITH US.

Mike says ALL RIGHT.
YOU'VE GOT THE BUCKET?

Rachel says GOT THE BUCKET.
YOU WANT TO THROW
THOSE IN HERE?
WELL, NOT THROW. YOU HAVE
TO BE VERY DELICATE BECAUSE
THEY ARE GRAPES.
HAVE YOU EVER MADE
JAMS OR PRESERVES,
OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT?

Mike says WITH MY MOM.

Rachel says YOUR MOM, BACK
IN THE OLD DAYS?

Mike says BACK IN THE DAY.

Rachel chuckles.

Rachel says THESE ARE PERFECT.

Mike says YEAH.

Rachel says YOU PICKED THEM
JUST AT THE RIGHT TIME.

They eat a few grapes.

Mike says IT'S LIKE EATING GRAPE JUICE.
LITERALLY.

Rachel weights bunches of grapes and says IT LOOKS LIKE 8 KILOS.

Mike says YEAH! IT'S WHAT IT LOOKS
LIKE TO ME!

Rachel says YEAH! GOOD JOB!

Mike says APPROVED!

Rachel says SO IT'S 8 KILOS THAT OTHERWISE
WOULD HAVE JUST STAYED
IN SOMEONE'S BACKYARD.

Mike says STICKY FEET.
WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ME NOW?

Rachel says SO, IN MY OTHER FREE TIME WHEN
I'M NOT HANGING OUT IN TREES,
I KEEP MY FEET ON THE GROUND
AND I VOLUNTEER
AT A GARDEN WITH LEAF.

Mike says LEAF IS A NGO THAT PROTECTS
THE URBAN FOREST WITH ALL SORTS
OF PROGRAMS TO RAISE AWARENESS
ABOUT THE CITY CANOPY.
THEY RANGE FROM
"ADOPT A STREET TREE."
TO URBAN GARDENS
NEAR SUBWAY STATIONS.

Rachel says WE'RE BEHIND BATHURST STATION,
SO THIS IS JUST AROUND
THE CORNER FROM MY HOUSE,
EVEN THOUGH IT DOESN'T
REALLY LOOK LIKE IT,
THERE'S ACTUALLY A LOT
OF FOOT TRAFFIC,
FROM APARTMENT BUILDINGS
AND RESTAURANTS AND THE FACT
THAT THIS IS A SUBWAY STATION.

A street post shows an animated caption that reads "36,460 passengers every day."

Rachel continues SO WHEN LEAF WAS LOOKING TO
PLANT GARDENS AROUND THE CITY,
THEY SAW THAT THE TTC,
OUR LOCAL SUBWAY STATION
OR SUBWAY NETWORK, HAD LAND
ATTACHED TO THE STATIONS.
SO THEY ASKED TO PARTNER UP,
AND THAT WAY,
THESE HIGH-TRAFFIC AREAS WOULD
BECOME A LITTLE BIT GREENER.
AND WE COULD ALSO TEACH
PEOPLE ABOUT LOCAL PLANTS
ON THEIR WAY. SO I RECOMMEND
WHEN YOU'RE WATERING
YOUR PLANTS JUST TO PUT
YOUR THUMB OVER IT, SO THAT WAY
YOU CAN SPRAY A LOT OF THEM.

Rachel shows Mike how to use a hose to water a garden.

Mike says OH YEAH! DUDE. AWESOME!

Rachel says YEAH. O.K.
WORKING WITH A PROFESSIONAL.

Mike says WRONG END.

Rachel says TORONTO'S TREE CANOPY
IS ACTUALLY 60 PERCENT PRIVATELY OWNED
AND MAINTAINED. SO BY HAVING
THIS PLOT AND TELLING PEOPLE
ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE
OF POLLINATORS, LOCAL PLANTS
AND HOW TO CARE
FOR GREEN SPACES,
IT ACTUALLY HELPS A LOT.
AND YOU COULD SAY THAT
IT WILL RISE PEOPLE'S KNOWLEDGE
OF TORONTO ITSELF.

Mike says WE TOP THE DAY OFF IN
A PARK CALLED DUFFERIN GROVE.

Rachel says HEY GUYS!

Mike says HI! MIKAEL.

Bailey says BAILEY. HEY!

Mike says HERE, IN THE VIBRANT
HEART OF THE CITY,
TORONTONIANS SOAK UP
IN WHAT REALLY FEELS
LIKE A COUNTRY VIBE:
LAID-BACK, AROUND A CAMPFIRE.

Rachel hands a log to Mike and says HERE YOU GO.

Mike says AND YEAH. BELIEVE IT OR NOT,
IT'S COMPLETELY LEGAL.

Rachel, Mike and a group of people gather around a campfire.

Rachel says ARE YOU READY
FOR YOUR FIRST S'MORE?

Mike says YEAH!
YOU GOT YOUR FINGER IN ALL
OF THESE DIFFERENT PROJECTS.
YOU'RE SUPER POSITIVE
AND OPTIMISTIC ABOUT TORONTO
AND WHAT'S HAPPENING
AND WHERE IT'S GOING.
BUT WHAT DOES TORONTO NEED?
WHAT IS THE INGREDIENT THAT
WILL REALLY PUSH TORONTO INTO
BECOMING A, YOU KNOW, A REAL
PLAYER IN THE URBANIST FIELD?

Rachel says I THINK THAT ONE THING
THAT TORONTO LACKS,
FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE,
IS THAT THERE ISN'T REALLY
A SOLID IDENTITY HERE.
EVEN THOUGH
WE HAVE 3 MILLION PEOPLE,
THERE'S NOT ONE THREAD THAT IS
WOVEN THROUGH ALL OF THOSE
DIFFERENT IDENTITIES.
THERE ARE ALL THOSE GREAT
CITIZEN-RUN GROUPS,
BUT THEY'RE DOING
THEIR OWN THING TO ADJUST
THINGS WITHIN THEIR COMMUNITY.
I THINK PEOPLE SHOULD BE
REALLY PROUD TO BE TORONTONIANS
VERY LOUDLY.
HAVING THAT UNIFICATION,
I THINK, WOULD HELP
BUILD THE CITY THAT WE WANT
TO BE FOR EVERYBODY. TO MAKE
IT MORE OF A UNIVERSAL EFFORT.
THERE'S STILL WORK TO BE DONE.
I STILL FEEL REALLY GOOD THOUGH
THAT PEOPLE LIKE LIVING HERE,
AND THEY WANT TO
CONTRIBUTE TO IT,
TO MAKE IT A BETTER PLACE.

The next day, Mike says ONE OF THE TRENDS WE SEE
IN URBAN TRANSPORT AROUND
THE WORLD IS TRAM LINES BEING
PUT BACK IN AFTER AN ABSENCE
OF MANY, MANY DECADES.
TORONTO IS UNIQUE
IN NORTH AMERICA.
THEY NEVER REALLY GOT RID
OF THEIR TRAM NETWORK.
THIS IS AN EXAMPLE HERE.
BUT YOU CAN SEE THE PROBLEM.
CAR CULTURE HAS FORCED
THIS TRAM TO BE
STUCK IN TRAFFIC.
IT COMPLETELY DEFEATS
THE PURPOSE WITH EFFICIENT
PUBLIC TRANSPORT.
THE GOOD NEWS HOWEVER,
IN THIS CITY, ON THIS STREET,
SPADINA, THE CITY OF TORONTO
HAS PUT IN DEDICATED TRAMWAYS.
THAT'S HOW WE DID IT
FOR ABOUT 100 YEARS.
THAT'S WHAT TORONTO
IS DOING AGAIN,
BUT THEY NEED TO DO IT
ON ALL OF THEIR STREETS.
BESIDES STREETCARS,
WHICH IS WHAT
TORONTONIANS CALL TRAMS,
THE CITY IS ALSO TRYING
TO REDUCE CAR CONGESTION WITH
ITS FIRST NEW SUBWAY PROJECTS
IN MORE THAN A DECADE.
THE 8,6 KILOMETERS
SPADINA SUBWAY EXTENSION,
ALTHOUGH PLAGUED BY DELAYS
AND COST OVERRUNS,
IS SET TO OPEN VERY SOON.
IT'S RIDERSHIP IS EXPECTED
TO REACH 26,3 MILLION
PEOPLE A YEAR.
HERE'S ANOTHER
BOLD PROJECT: THE GARDINER.
SURE, FOR NOW IT LOOKS LIKE
ANY OTHER UNSIGHTLY EXPRESSWAY,
STRAIGHT OUT OF ANOTHER ERA.
THE BEST THING WOULD
OBVIOUSLY BE TO TEAR
THE WHOLE THING DOWN.
BUT THE CITY HAS OTHER PLANS,
AND THEY ARE QUITE SURPRISING.

Fast clips show urban traffic.

Now, Mike and Ken Greenberg chat as they approach a bridge. He is in his late fifties, clean-shaven and balding. He wears sunglasses, black trousers and a blue shirt.

Mike says SO KEN, WHEN THE GARDINER
EXPRESSWAY WAS PLANNED IN 1947,
BUILT THROUGH
THE 1950'S AND 1960'S,
IT SURELY WAS REGARDED
AS AMAZING, VISIONARY, MODERN.
WHAT'S THE PERCEPTION, IN HERE,
IN TORONTO, OF IT NOW?

Ken says IT'S INTERESTING. EVERYBODY
KNOWS IT, BUT THE ATTENTION
HAS REALLY SHIFTED FROM
THE GARDINER AS SOMETHING
TO MOVE CARS, TO THIS
AMAZING 2 KILOMETER-LONG
URBAN ROOF CANOPY, FORMING A
GREAT LIVING ROOM FOR THE CITY.

Mike says YEAH. WOW!

As Ken Greenberg walks in slow motion and turns to face the screen smiling, an animated caption appears next to him. It reads "Ken Greenberg. Urban designer."

Ken says WE HAVE THE SPACE.
FIVE STORIES HIGH,
ALMOST 15 METERS HIGH,
24 METERS WIDE. IT WAS
JUST SITTING HERE AS A VOID.

Mike says WHY DON'T YOU JUST TEAR IT DOWN?

Ken says WE ACTUALLY HAVE
TAKEN DOWN PIECES AND
WE'RE GOING TO TAKE DOWN MORE.
BUT IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE,
WE HAVE WHAT WE'RE CALLING
"THE GIFT OF THE GARDINER,"
WHICH IS THIS AMAZING COLONATED
QUITE BEAUTIFUL SPACE.

Mike says WHAT AM I GOING TO SEE HERE IF
I STARE DOWN THIS DIRECTION
IN A COUPLE OF YEARS?

Ken says THERE WILL BE A SPACE
WHERE PEOPLE WILL BE DOING
A WHOLE VARIETY OF THINGS.

A 3D animation shows yellow circles with images of a cup of coffee, a guitar and an ice skate.

Ken continues THERE WILL BE A CAFÉ,
PLAZAS FOR OUTDOOR ACTIVITY
INCLUDING WATER PLAY,
AND AN 82 METER-LONG BENCH
SO THAT PEOPLE WILL GET A VIEW
OTHERWISE ONLY AVAILABLE TO
PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THE CONDOS.

Mike says IMAGINE A FIVE-STORY
STRUCTURE CONVERTED TO A
HUMAN-FRIENDLY SPACE.
THIS 2 KILOMETER STRETCH
OF THE GARDINER WILL SOON HOUSE
ART EXHIBITS, SHOWS,
PLAYGROUNDS, MARKETS,
AND EVEN A SKATING RINK
DURING THE WINTER. ALL OF THIS
UNDERNEATH THE HIGHWAY.

Ken says SO THIS IS WHERE
WE'LL HAVE THIS BEAUTIFUL
PEDESTRIAN CYCLE BRIDGE.
IT WILL BE SUSPENDED
FROM THE GARDINER.

Mike says USED BY MORE
THAN 300,000 CARS A DAY,
THE GARDINER HAS ALSO BEEN
FOR DECADES A DIVIDE BETWEEN
THE PEOPLE AND THE LAKE.
THE UNDER GARDINER PROJECT AIMS
COMPLETELY RENEWED WATERFRONT.

An animated yellow line travels through an aerial view of the city.

Mike says TRY AND DESCRIBE THE SPACE,
WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE,
20 YEARS AGO.

Ken says THIS WAS ALL INDUSTRIAL.
THERE WAS HEAVY RAIL
COMING DOWN THE STREET.
TRUCKING, WAREHOUSING.

Mike says YEAH. WOW.

Ken says THIS TOTALLY CHANGED.

Mike says ABSOLUTELY.

A group of men relax sitting under pink beach umbrellas.

Mike says TORONTO'S WATERFRONT HAS COME
A LONG WAY SINCE ITS DAYS
AS AN INDUSTRIAL HUB.
THE CITY STARTED THIS MASSIVE
REVITALIZATION PROJECT IN 1999.
AND ALTHOUGH SOME AREAS
LIKE THIS ONE ARE COMPLETED,
THE ENTIRE RENOVATION,
SPREAD OUT ALL OVER THE CITY,
WILL GO ON FOR YEARS.
THIS IS ONE OF THE LARGEST
WATERFRONT RENEWAL
INITIATIVES ON THE PLANET.

As a man rides a bicycle, an animated circle behind him shows a close-up short of the map of Habourfront.

Ken says THIS REALLY REPRESENTS,
IN MY VIEW, THE INEVITABLE
TRANSFORMATION OF THE CITY.
THE QUESTION IS NOT
"SHOULD WE," BUT "HOW."
IT IS THE GREAT DESIGN
CHALLENGE OF THE NEXT 50 YEARS.
WE'RE ENDING UP ON A BEACH
AND WE HAVE SEVERAL
OF THESE ON THE WATERFRONT NOW.
AND PEOPLE LOVE TO COME HERE,
LIKE WHAT WE'RE SEEING NOW
ON A SUMMER EVENING,
WATCH THE SUN GO DOWN,
WATCH THE HARBOUR.
IT'S JUST PART OF THAT SIMPLE
ENJOYMENT OF THE CITY.
IF YOU PROVIDE PLACES LIKE THIS
IN THE FABRIC OF THE CITY,
SUDDENLY, IT BECOMES ADHESIVE.
IT BECOMES SOMETHING THAT
PEOPLE CAN JUST APPROPRIATE
FOR WHATEVER THEY WANT TO DO.

Mike says SUDDENLY, IT HIT ME.
I HAD BEEN WALKING THE STREETS
OF TORONTO FOR SEVERAL DAYS
AND I HAD HARDLY SEEN ANY
PUBLIC BENCHES, OR ANYWHERE
TO SIT FOR THAT MATTER.
APPARENTLY, I WASN'T
THE ONLY ONE WHO SAW
THIS AS A PROBLEM.

Mike, Fabienne Chan and Evrim Delen carry folding chairs.

Fabienne says IT REALLY STARTED OFF AS
A JOKE ON TWITTER.
WE WERE TALKING ABOUT HOW
THERE'S A LACK OF PUBLIC
SITTING IN TORONTO,
HOW SOMEWHERE LIKE THIS
COULD USE A BENCH OR TWO,
OR SOME PUBLIC SEATING.
AND THEN SOON ENOUGH,
WE STARTED TAKING PICTURES
AND HASHTAGGING THEM "HASHTAG SITTO."
AND THEN BEFORE YOU KNOW IT,
WE WERE GATHERING AROUND
FOR DRINKS AND WE THOUGHT:
"WHAT CAN WE DO TO IMPROVE
THE STATE OF PUBLIC SEATING
IN TORONTO?"

As Fabienne and Evrim walk in slow motion and turn to face the screen smiling, an animated caption appears next to them. It reads "Fabienne Chan and Evrim Delen. Hashtag Sitto." Fabienne is in her mid-twenties with long brown hair. She wears jeans, a black T-shirt and a light green shirt over it. Evrim is in his twenties, with a short beard and black hair. He is wearing a plaid shirt over a beige T-shirt.

Mike says THEY CAME UP WITH
A SIMPLE IDEA: CHAIRS.
SIMPLE FOLDING CHAIRS.
PUT THEM IN THE CITY,
AND PEOPLE WILL SIT ON THEM.
BECAUSE A CITY,
AS I LIKE TO POINT OUT
TO EVERYONE WHO WILL LISTEN,
ISN'T JUST ABOUT
GETTING FROM A TO B.

The three of them place the chairs and small wooden tables on the street.

Fabienne says ALREADY.

Evrim says THEY'RE ALREADY DOUBLING UP.

Mike says ARE THEY GOING TO BREAK IT?

Fabienne says ALREADY CROWDED.
LET'S BRING SOME OVER.
YOU GUYS NEED MORE CHAIRS?
JUST FEEL FREE
TO MOVE THEM AROUND.

A woman says THANK YOU!

Evrim says IT SEEMS THEIR GROUP
HAS COME AND GONE.
THAT'S THE BEAUTY OF
THIS AS WELL. PEOPLE WILL COME,
JUST SIT MOMENTARILY AND
THEN LEAVE AGAIN.

Mike says YOU JUST TAKE A LOAD OFF.
IT'S ALL YOU NEED.

Evrim says EXACTLY.

Mike says HOW DO YOU CHOOSE
THE LOCATION? DO YOU HAVE
STANDARD LOCATIONS
THAT YOU ALWAYS USE,
OR YOU FREESTYLE?

Fabienne says A REALLY BIG THEME
OF OUR GROUP IS THAT
WE HAVE AN IDEA,
WE SEE THE POTENTIAL, WE JUST
RUN WITH IT. THERE'S NOTHING...
WE'RE VERY UNSTRUCTURED.
WE DIDN'T KNOW EACH OTHER
BEFORE THIS. WE JUST STARTED
TALKING ON TWITTER:
"HEY, THERE'S POTENTIAL FOR
PUBLIC SEATING AT NATHAN
PHILLIPS SQUARE, AT DAVID
PECAUT SQUARE, HERE, THERE."
RIGHT HERE. WE DON'T EVEN
HAVE A NAME FOR THIS SPOT.
WE JUST SEE THAT THERE'S
POTENTIAL FOR PUBLIC SEATING.
LET'S SET UP.

As she names the squares, an animated map of the city with white dots popping up appears on a bus shelter.

Evrim says WE DID START OFF WITH A MAP
THAT WE ALL SORT OF PUT
TOGETHER PRIVATELY JUST TO
FIGURE OUT GREAT PLACES
WHERE WE CAN HAVE SOME OF
THESE SEATS. SOME OF THE PLACES
PEOPLE WOULD SORT OF
POINT OUT ON TWITTER, WE'D SAY:
"HEY, LET'S DROP IT
INTO THE MAP."
WE ASK PEOPLE TO BE ABLE
TO CONTRIBUTE WITH PLACES
THAT SHOW GOOD EXAMPLES
OF SEATING AND OTHER PLACES
THAT SHOW WHERE THEY COULD
USE SOME MORE SEATING.
AND WE THINK THAT HAVING THIS
LARGE DATA SET OF INFORMATION
WOULD BE GOOD TO THE PEOPLE
AT CITY HALL, AND SAY:
"YOU KNOW WHAT?
PEOPLE ARE SAYING THEY WANT
SEATING HERE. THEY'RE EVEN
SHOWING PICTURES OF IT.
MAYBE YOU SHOULD
CONSIDER BRINGING SOME
SEATING OVER HERE."

Fabienne says IT SEEMS LIKE PEOPLE DON'T
EVEN KNOW THE POTENTIAL OF
PUBLIC SEATING AT THIS POINT.
SO I GUESS OUR PURPOSE IS
TO GET THE CONVERSATION GOING.

Mike says I'M ABOUT TO MEET
SOME URBAN LEGENDS
THAT I SECRETLY ADMIRE MORE
THAN ALMOST ANYBODY ELSE.
HEY MAN!

Martin Tino Reis sits on the stairs of a shop. An animated caption appears next to him. It reads "Martin Tino Reis. Documentarian. Urban Repair Squad." Martin is in his fifties, with a moustache and balding. He wears a blue shirt and dark trousers.

Martin says NICE TO MEET YOU!
Mike says AND YOU, PLEASURE.

Martin says GOOD. MY NAME IS MARTIN,
BUT YOU CAN CALL ME TINO.

Mike says NICE TO MEET YOU.
EXPLAIN TO ME THE URBAN
REPAIR SQUAD.

Martin says ALL RIGHT. THE URBAN
REPAIR SQUAD STARTED OUT
AS AN ANTIDOTE TO THE POISON
THAT IS THE CAR IN TORONTO.
PEOPLE GREW REALLY FRUSTRATED
WITH A BIKE LANE BEING LAUNCHED
IN 2001 AND BY 2004, 2005,
NOT A SINGLE BIKE LANE
HAD BEEN PAINTED.
AND THEY JUST WENT OUT
AND DID IT THEMSELVES. IN 2007,
THEY PAINTED MORE BIKE LANES
IN THE CITY OF TORONTO,
ON NO BUDGET, AND THEY BASICALLY
RELEASED PRESS RELEASES
SAYING THAT WE CAN
DO THIS OURSELVES.
YOU GUYS SAY THAT YOU'RE BROKE.
WE FIX. NO CHARGE.

Mike says YOU TALK ABOUT IT AS ART,
AND INSTALLATIONS.

Martin says YEAH.

They chat as the walk around the city.

Mike says I FIND THAT REALLY INTERESTING.
ARE WE SNEAKING DOWN HERE?

Martin says YEAH.

Mike says ALL RIGHT.

Martin says WE TRY TO KEEP
IT INTERESTING AND KEEP
IT FRESH. SO WE'LL DO THINGS
LIKE A LEGO BIKE LANE,
OR PUT FUNNY CARTOON
SYMBOLS AND
EXCLAMATIONS LIKE "BANG!,"
"WOW!" NEXT TO A GIANT POTHOLE.
AND GIANT MURALS OVER
BIKE LANES LIKE WILE E. COYOTE
THAT GOES INTO A WALL.
ANOTHER ONE WITH, YOU KNOW,
PAINTING FARTING SYMBOLS.
ANOTHER ONE, TWO OTHER ONES
ARE JUST BASICALLY
A SIMPLE WHAT WE CALL
RUSH HOUR BIKE LANE.
WE WOULD PAINT IT DURING
RUSH HOUR BETWEEN THE CARS
AND THEN PUT THE LANE IN.
THAT'S IT. HERE ARE SOME
PEOPLE FROM THE GROUP.

Mike says THEY'RE LIKE COMING OUT OF
THE BUSHES AND THE BACK ALLEY.
IT'S AWESOME, MAN!

Martin says YEAH! I THINK
THEY'RE READY TO GO.

Now, they walk into a house.

Mike says IS THIS THE HEADQUARTERS?

Martin says YEAH.

Mike says WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
YOU HAVE TO EXPLAIN TO ME
WHAT YOU GUYS ARE GOING
TO BE DOING HERE TONIGHT.

A caption appears next to Shamez. It reads "Shamez Amlani. Urban Repair Squad." He is in his mid-forties, with a short beard and side-parted hair. He wears a black shirt over a white T-shirt.

As he tapes a sign, Shamez says WELL, THERE ARE SIGNS UP
ALL OVER THIS NEIGHBOURHOOD,
LIKE THERE ARE IN MANY
RESIDENTIAL STREETS THAT DIRECT
CARS TO A MAXIMUM
OF 40 KILOMETERS AN HOUR.

Mike says ON THESE NARROW STREETS
HERE IN KENSINGTON?

Shamez says WELL, THAT'S JUST IT, YOU SEE.
EVEN ON AN ORDINARY
RESIDENTIAL STREET, OUR CITY
HAS MANDATED THAT 40 KILOMETERS
AN HOUR IS TOO FAST.
BUT KENSINGTON MARKET,
IF YOU'VE BEEN HERE, THE REALITY
IS THAT ALL THESE STONERS EATING
MULTI-CULTI STREET FOOD ARE JUST
WALKING ALL OVER THE PLACE,
RIGHT? IT'S A PLACE WHERE
PEDESTRIANS RULE
AND BLOCK TRAFFIC WITH
THEIR BODIES CONSTANTLY.
SO WE'RE JUST DOING THE CAR
DRIVERS A LITTLE FAVOR
BY DIRECTING THEM TO SLOW DOWN
TO 10 KILOMETERS AN HOUR.
AND MAYBE THAT WAY,
WHEN THEY HIT A LONG-BOARDER
OR SOMETHING, THEY WON'T STAIN
THEIR HOOD WITH BLOOD
OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT.
I THINK WE'RE READY
TO HEAD OUT.

Mike says ALL RIGHT! LEAD THE WAY!

Now, in the street, Shamez wears a red cap and an orange traffic vest.

Shamez says LET'S GO.
IN THE PAST, IT HAS BEEN HECTIC.
WE'LL WAIT FOR THE PERFECT
WEATHER CONDITIONS,
WE'LL GET THE ROAD-QUALITY
PAINT AND WE'LL GO OUT
AT 5:00 IN THE MORNING,
4:00 IN THE MORNING,
THAT SORT OF THING.

Mike says DOES THE CITY OF TORONTO MAKE
A TASK FORCE TO GO OUT
AND CLEAN UP AFTER YOU GUYS?
WERE YOU HAVING
SUCH A MASSIVE IMPACT?
OR WAS THAT AN URBAN LEGEND?

Shamez says NO, THEY DIDN'T
HAVE TO DO THAT.
IN FACT, THEY WENT OUT AND
PUT THE OFFICIAL BIKE LANE IN
AFTER WE PUT THE FAKE ONE.
SO WE NUDGED THEM
INTO DOING THAT.

Mike says YOU DID NUDGE, OR SHOVED.

Shamez says EXACTLY.

Mike says UH OH! I SEE A SIGN.

Shamez says SO YEAH, THIS IS
THE FIRST ONE.

Mike says CITY OF TORONTO WORK HERE!
STEP BACK!

A member of the squad hangs a handmade sign that reads "Maximum 10."

Shamez says THAT'S ABOUT AS FLUSH
AS IT GETS.

Mike says ANYBODY EVER CALLED
THE POLICE ON YOU GUYS?

Jay says WE NEVER STUCK AROUND LONG
ENOUGH TO FIND OUT.

Mike says I MEAN, SHOULD YOU JUST
LEAVE IT HOW LONG IT LASTS,
AND THEN SAY WE DID THIS
FOR TWO WEEKS OR WHATEVER?

Martin says NO, IT'S ALWAYS A QUESTION OF
IF YOU LEAVE IT UP, CHANCES ARE
IT'S GOING TO STAY UP FOR A VERY
LONG TIME, BECAUSE NOBODY'S
GOING TO QUESTION IT.
IT LOOKS PRETTY LEGIT.
AND WE'VE HAD INSTALLATION
STUFF THAT'S BEEN UP FOR
TWO YEARS. WE SAID NOTHING
EXCEPT HAVING A LITTLE PARTY
FOR OURSELVES. IF YOU CHANGE
THE STATUS QUO AND YOU RENDER
THE OLD STATUS OBSOLETE,
NOBODY'S GOING TO COMPLAIN
BECAUSE IT'S SO MUCH
BETTER, RIGHT?

At night, Shamez says SO THIS ONE, WE'RE ON
A MAJOR STREET, SPADINA.
NOW THAT WE'VE DONE OUR
FIRST INSTALL, IT LOOKS GOOD
AND WE'RE HAPPY WITH IT.
WE'RE NOW GOING MORE FOR
THE HEAT SCORES, SO WE'RE GOING
TO BE QUICK AND LOW-KEY
AND OFFICIAL LOOKING.
LET'S SEE HOW IT WORKS.

A man says MAXIMUM 10 BEGINS.

Shamez says I LIKE THAT. WE'RE GOOD.
LET'S MOVE IT ALONG.

People look at the squad changing the signs.

Mike says AND THEY'RE OFF! SUPER QUICK!
I DON'T KNOW,
I'VE NEVER MET HIM BEFORE.

Shamez says HEY! WHAT'S GOING ON?
YOU KNOW, THAT WOMAN'S KIND
OF ON TO US. SHE WAS LIKE:
"IS THIS FOR REAL?"
SHE WAS QUESTIONING
THE LEGITIMACY OF IT
AND SUGGESTED THAT LIKE
A REAL CITY WORKER,
WE SHOULD JUST LIKE HANG OUT
AND DRINK COFFEE
AND SMOKE CIGARETTES.
BUT I THINK WE CAN
CONTINUE NOW, YEAH?
ALL RIGHT. THIS ONE
IS A BIG HOT SPOT. SO, LET'S...

Mike says YEAH! YOU'VE GOT A LOT
OF GOOD LIGHT THERE.

Shamez says MAKE SURE YOU'RE...
OH, THIS ONE'S GREAT
WITH THE LIGHT ABOVE IT.
I'M VERY HAPPY ABOUT THIS ONE.
JOB WELL DONE. YOU HAVE TO
SOMETIMES ASK FORGIVENESS LATER
RATHER THE PERMISSION BEFORE.

Mike says THAT'S YOUR CITY MOTTO, RIGHT?
IT'S AWESOME. COOL.

Shamez chuckles and says BEER O'CLOCK?

A male member of the squad says BEER O'CLOCK.

Shamez says LET'S GO.

Next, Mike flies in a helicopter.

Mike says TORONTO IS SECOND ONLY
TO NEW YORK IN NORTH AMERICA, FOR
THE NUMBER OF HIGH-RISES.
A HIGH-RISE IS DEFINED BY BEING
12 STORIES OR HIGHER. YOU CAN
SEE IT ALL OVER THE LANDSCAPE HERE,
STRETCHING OUT INTO THE
DISTANCE.
THERE ARE CLUSTERS OF HIGH-RISES.
IT’S REALLY A UNIQUE SITUATION FOR
A NORTH AMERICAN CITY.
YOU CAN REALLY SEE THAT THEY’VE
PUT A FOCUS ON CREATING DENSITY,
CREATING NODES OF DENSITY AROUND
THE CITY, NOT JUST BANKING ON THE
ONE BIG DOWNTOWN.
SOMETHING THAT MAKES TORONTO
VERY, VERY UNIQUE IN THE
NORTH AMERICAN CONTEXT.
THIS IS THORNCLIFFE PARK.
DESIGNED IN 1955, IT WAS
THE FIRST PLANNED DEPARTMENT
NEIGHBOURHOOD IN NORTH AMERICA.
TORONTO ENDED UP BUILDING MANY
JUST LIKE THIS ONE.

An aerial view shows two high-rise buildings with their tops shaped like the letter "Y" sitting in a wooded area.

Mike contineus INITIALLY BUILT AS
UPSCALE HOUSING,
IT EVENTUALLY BECAME
THE ONLY AFFORDABLE LANDING PAD
FOR NEWCOMERS TO CANADA.
IT IS NOW ONE OF THE MOST
CULTURALLY DIVERSE
NEIGHBOURHOODS IN THE WORLD.

Mike and Graeme Stewart take a walk. Graeme is in his early thirties, with a red beard and short red hair. He wears glasses, gray trousers and a white shirt.

Graeme says IT HAS THE MOST
CHILDREN UNDER 12 IN ANY
NEIGHBOURHOOD IN THE CITY.

Mike says WOW.

Graeme says SO IT'S LIKE A TOTAL INVERSION,
RIGHT? WHERE DO MOST KIDS LIVE?
IT'S NOT IN A CUL-DE-SAC
NEIGHBOURHOOD. IT'S HERE.
THIS IS YOUTH. THIS IS
THE FUTURE OF THE CITY. THIS
IS THE FUTURE OF THE COUNTRY.

As Graeme Stewart walks in slow motion and turns to face the screen smiling, an animated caption appears next to him. It reads "Graeme Stewart. Architect, Tower Renewal Project."

Graeme continues THERE'S THIS AMAZING KIND
OF GREY ECONOMY THAT
MAKES THESE PLACES WORK,
LIKE WHERE TO GET YOUR HAIR CUT,
WHERE TO GET GREAT FOOD,
GET SOMEONE TO DO YOUR TAXES.

Mike says INSIDE ONE OF THE FLATS.

Graeme says YEAH, THERE ARE ALL THESE
INTERESTING THINGS HAPPENING.
AND IT'S STARTING TO FINALLY
SPILL OVER INTO THE PUBLIC REALM
AND INTO THE PARK.
IS THERE OPPORTUNITY?
ARE THERE SERVICES?
CAN PEOPLE START JOBS?
CAN PEOPLE GET TO WORK?
CAN PEOPLE FEEL LIKE
THEY'RE PART OF A COMMUNITY?

Mike says SO WE'VE BEEN WALKING ALL
AROUND THIS NEIGHBOURHOOD AND
I JUST SAW A CONVENIENCE STORE.
THAT IS LIKE
THE FIRST SHOP I'VE SEEN.
YOU TALKED ABOUT
THE GREY ECONOMY, BUT I MEAN,
WHERE ARE THE SUPERMARKETS?
WHERE ARE THE PLACES
WHERE YOU WOULD BUY STUFF?
I MEAN, THAT'S JUST
A SMALL CONVENIENCE STORE.

Graeme says SO THAT'S TOTALLY IT, YEAH.
THESE NEIGHBOURHOODS WERE BUILT
IN THE 50'S AND 60'S, AND
IN THE 50'S AND 60'S, THE IDEA
WAS EVERYONE DROVE A CAR.
BUT NOW, BECAUSE OF THE FACT
THAT MOST OF THE PEOPLE
WHO LIVE HERE DON'T OWN CARS,
IT'S HUGELY INCONVENIENT,
ESPECIALLY IN WINTER,
TO DO A 20 MINUTE OR HALF HOUR
DRIVE TO THE GROCERY STORE.
AND THE ZONING
FOR THESE NEIGHBOURHOODS
IS ACTUALLY STILL WRITTEN FROM
THE 1950'S THAT SAYS NOT ONLY
IS THERE NOT A GROCERY STORE,
BUT IT'S ILLEGAL TO HAVE ONE.

A public sign reads "Authorized visitor parking only."

Graeme continues HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE LIVE
IN THIS BUILDING,
AND WE HAVE A PARKING LOT.
WE DON'T HAVE ANYTHING ELSE.

Mike plays with a soccer ball and performs a trick while a boy watches him.

Mike looses the ball and says OH! SORRY!

Next, Graeme and Mike stroll around a street market.

Mike says HELLO!

Graeme says ALL THESE NEIGHBOURHOODS HAVE
THE POTENTIAL TO BE LIKE THIS,
BUT THIS NEIGHBOURHOOD,
IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS,
HAS TOTALLY TRANSFORMED.
SEE ALL THESE TOWERS
AND THESE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE,
AND NOW BECAUSE OF ALL
THE STUFF HAPPENING HERE,
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS
ON A FRIDAY NIGHT. AND SO
IT'S INCREDIBLY EXCITING,
AND IT'S BECAUSE OF THE WORK
OF ONE WOMAN WHO ARRIVED
HERE A FEW YEARS AGO,
SORT OF SAID:
"I'M NOT SATISFIED WITH
THE WAY THINGS ARE."
AND THEN KIND OF JUST
MADE THIS HAPPEN. LOOK AT THIS!
THIS LOOKS SO GOOD!

Women slap dough at a food stall.

Graeme says HEY SABINA!

Mike says HEY SABINA! MIKAEL.
SO THIS IS YOUR SHOW.

Sabina Ali is in her mid-thirties. She wears a white blouse and a salmon headscarf.

Sabina says THIS IS OUR VERY FAMOUS PARK
BAZAR MODEL, I CAN SAY. YEAH.

Mike says WOW. I MEAN, IT'S AMAZING.
THE LIFE HERE, THE FAMILIES,
THE KIDS. I'M AMAZED
AT THIS PLACE.

As Sabina walks in slow motion and turns to face the screen smiling, an animated caption appears next to her. It reads "Sabina Ali. Co-founder The Thorcliffe Park Women’s Committee."

People relax at the park while children have fun in the playground.

Mike says BEFORE SABINA ALI TOOK
MATTERS INTO HER OWN HANDS,
THIS PARK WAS SIMPLY
A NO MAN'S LAND,
ABSOLUTELY COVERED IN GARBAGE.
IT WAS AS FAR FROM A PLAYGROUND
AS YOU CAN POSSIBLY GET.

Sabina says I WAS A LITTLE DISAPPOINTED
BECAUSE THE COUNTRY I COME FROM
AND LOOKING AT MY CHILDHOOD...
Mike says WHICH IS WHERE?

Sabina says INDIA.

Mike says INDIA. O.K.

Sabina says AND I HAD A BEAUTIFUL PARK
IN MY CHILDHOOD.
BUT I THOUGHT MY CHILDREN
WERE LACKING THAT OPPORTUNITY.
WE GOT THE RESIDENTS
INVOLVED TO HAVE THEIR SAY
ABOUT WHAT THEY WOULD LIKE
TO SEE IN THE PARK.
A LONG LIST WE HAD.
A LOT OF ITEMS. THE FIRST THING
THAT THE CITY ADDRESSED
WAS THE GARBAGE BINS.
SO WE CELEBRATED
GETTING THE GARBAGE BINS
IN THE PARK BY DOING
THE PARK CLEANUP.

Mike says I DON'T KNOW IF ANYBODY'S
EVER CELEBRATED GETTING
GARBAGE CANS BEFORE.
I THINK YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN
THE FIRST, BUT WHY NOT!

Sabina says AFTER EIGHT YEARS, YOU SEE
THAT WE NOW HAVE A SPLASH PAD,
WE HAVE A WATER FOUNTAIN,
WE HAVE THESE NEW LIGHT BULBS
IN THE PARK.
WE ALSO GOT THE
ELECTRIC OUTLET, SO THAT WE CAN
USE IT FOR THE FOOD VENDORS.

Graeme says YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE
IN A MARKET SQUARE
ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.

Mike says OH, SQUINT YOUR EYES, YEAH.
YOU COULD BE ANYWHERE.
SO THERE MUST BE
PEOPLE FROM A LOT
OF DIFFERENT COUNTRIES HERE.

Sabina says YEAH. AFGHANISTAN, PAKISTAN,
INDIA, SRI LANKA,
NOW EVEN FROM SYRIA.

Mike says FROM SYRIA?

Sabina says A NEW COMMUNITY, ESPECIALLY
THE LITTLE KIDS, COME AND HANG
AROUND IN THE PARK.
WE THOUGHT WE SHOULD HAVE
A PERMANENT TANDOOR OVEN
THAT REPRESENTS THE SOUTH ASIAN
CULTURE AND HERITAGE
OF THIS NEIGHBOURHOOD.

Mike says THERE ARE KIDS EVERYWHERE!
HOW ARE YOU DOING, GUYS?
I UNDERSTOOD THAT THIS IS
THE FIRST AND MAYBE
ONLY TANDOOR OVEN IN A PARK
IN ALL OF NORTH AMERICA.

Sabina says YES. ABSOLUTELY.

Mike says SO THAT'S PRETTY COOL.
DID YOU CELEBRATE THAT?

Sabina says YES! OF COURSE!

Mike says ALL RIGHT!
CAN I LEARN HOW TO MAKE BREAD?

Sabina says SURE!

Mike says ARE YOU GOING TO TEACH ME?
LIKE THIS.

Sabina says AND THEN LIKE THAT.

Mike says I'M ON IT. LIKE THAT?

Sabina says YEAH.

Mike says HAS THIS PARK CHANGED
THE NEIGHBOURHOOD?

Sabina says A LOT. AFTER THE LONG WINTER,
THEY START ASKING ME
WHEN ARE WE GOING TO START
THE MARKET IN THE PARK.
THEN YOU LOOK
AT THE NEIGHBOURHOOD, RIGHT?
IT'S A FOOD DESERT.
IN THE THORNCLIFFE PARK,
YOU DON'T EVEN SEE
A SINGLE CAFETERIA HERE.

Mike says NO, YEAH. WE ONLY SAW
ONE CONVENIENCE STORE
WHEN WE WERE WALKING AROUND.
IS THIS MINE?

A woman places a round handmade device over a table.

The woman says YEAH.

Mike says DOES IT LOOK O.K?

The woman says YEAH.

Mike says O.K. COOL.

The woman says YOU DO IT.

Mike says OH, ME?

The woman hands him a large glove.

The woman says YES.

Sabina says OH WOW!

Sabina and Mike chuckle.

Mike says OH MY GOD. SLAP IT HARD.
I STICK IT AND SLAP IT, RIGHT?

Sabina says YEAH, BE CAREFUL.

Mike uses the device to stick the flatbread inside the oven wall.

Sabina continues NO, YOUR OTHER HAND. WONDERFUL.
AWESOME!
HAVING THE MARKET IN THE PARK,
THIS IS A KEY TO BRING
PEOPLE TOGETHER.

Mike says CANADA GETS A LOT
OF IMMIGRANTS FROM EVERYWHERE.
YOU JUST DON'T SEE THIS KIND
OF ENVIRONMENT REALLY
ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD,
WHERE IT'S JUST ONE BIG
MISH-MASH OF NATIONALITIES.
EACH GROUP, EVERYBODY'S JUST
HANGING IN THE PARK
THAT SABINA BUILT.

Mike tastes a piece of bread and says IT'S LIKE I MADE IT MYSELF.

Next, Mike carries a white folding chair and says OFF TO MEET THE CHIEF PLANNER
FOR THE CITY OF TORONTO,
JENNIFER KEESMAAT AND I
BORROWED SOME CHAIRS FROM
OUR GOOD FRIENDS AT HASHTAG SITTO.
WE'RE GOING TO A BIG
PUBLIC SQUARE. I DON'T KNOW
IF THERE ARE BENCHES,
I DON'T KNOW IF THERE'S
ANYWHERE TO SIT.
SO I THOUGHT IT WAS APPROPRIATE
TO BRING SOME BOTTOM-UP
TO MEET THE TOP-DOWN.

As Jennifer Keesmaat walks with a bicycle in slow motion and turns to face the screen smiling, an animated caption appears next to her. It reads "Jennifer Keesmaat. Toronto Chief Planner." She is in her mid-forties with short blond hair. She wears glasses, a black skirt suit, bright blue blouse and a long necklace.

Mike says SO YOU RIDE YOUR BIKE
EVERY DAY?

Jennifer says ALMOST EVERY DAY, YEAH.

Mike says ALL RIGHT.
HERE'S OUR STUDIO, JENNIFER.

Jennifer says O.K. VOILÀ.

They sit on the white folding chairs in a public space.

Mike says O.K. SO YOU'RE
THE CHIEF PLANNER
FOR THE CITY OF TORONTO.
YOU HAVE TO TELL ME HOW
IN THE WORLD DO YOU "CHIEF-PLAN."
A CITY THE SIZE OF TORONTO.

Jennifer says IT'S CHALLENGING IN PART
BECAUSE WE'RE GROWING SO
QUICKLY. WE ARE THE
FASTEST-GROWING CITY
IN NORTH AMERICA,
WHICH MAKES IT VERY DIFFICULT
TO ACTUALLY PAUSE AND SIT BACK
AND SAY WE DID THAT WELL,
LET'S DO IT A LITTLE
DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME,
BECAUSE WE'RE JUST MOVING FROM
ONE PROJECT TO ANOTHER
AT A VERY, VERY RAPID PACE.
YOU KNOW, PEOPLE HAVE FALLEN
OFF THE SIDEWALKS AS
YOU'VE PROBABLY SEEN BECAUSE
WE'VE ADDED A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT
OF DENSITY INTO THE CORE
OF OUR CITY IN A
REALLY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.
WHEN I BECAME CHIEF PLANNER,
I WAS ACTUALLY LOOKING
AT THE CHALLENGE OF PLANNING
A CITY OF THIS SCALE
AND I WAS FEELING
REALLY OVERWHELMED,
AND I REALIZED THAT SO MANY
OF THE GREAT THINGS HAPPENING
IN THE CITY, THEY DIDN'T START
IN THE HALLS OF POWER,
THEY ACTUALLY STARTED
AT A GRASSROOTS LEVEL.
SO OPENING UP CITY HALL,
IT'S SOMETHING THAT EBBS
AND FLOWS. THERE'S BEEN MOMENTS
I THINK WHEN CITY HALL HAS BEEN
VERY OPEN AND LESS OPEN,
AND OF COURSE
I'M IN THAT TRADITION AND
THAT SCHOOL THAT RECOGNIZES
THE VALUE OF MAKING CITY HALL
AS OPEN AS POSSIBLE
AND WELCOMING THE IDEAS AND
THE COMMUNITY INTO THE PROCESS.

Mike says HOW MUCH OF YOUR WORK
IS PLANNING AND HOW MUCH
OF IT IS FIXING?

Jennifer says I WOULD ACTUALLY SAY,
TO BE HONEST,
THAT A GOOD PORTION OF IT
IS ABOUT TRYING TO FIX.
YOU KNOW, CYCLING WASN'T VIEWED
AS A FORM OF TRANSPORTATION
IN THIS CITY UNTIL VERY,
VERY RECENTLY.
IT WAS ALWAYS REALLY SEEN
AS SOMETHING FOR RADICALS
OR RECREATION,
BUT IT WASN'T VIEWED AS
A CRITICAL PART OF OUR
TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE.
AS WE MAKE THAT SHIFT,
WE NEED TO FIX THE STREETS.
WE NEED TO FIX THEM BECAUSE
THEY'VE BEEN DESIGNED FOR CARS,
AND SO NOW THEY NEED TO BE
DESIGNED FOR PEDESTRIANS.
THEY NEED TO BE DESIGNED
FOR CYCLISTS. THEY NEED
TO BE DESIGNED FOR LINGERING.

Mike says HOW MUCH INSPIRATION
CAN YOU DRAW FROM OTHER CITIES
AROUND THE WORLD
AND MAKE IT YOUR OWN?

Jennifer says WELL, WE ACTUALLY HAVE
SOMETHING VERY UNIQUE
AND VERY SPECIAL HERE.
BUT WE DO FOR SURE, IN TORONTO,
HAVE AN INFERIORITY COMPLEX.
She smiles and continues WE ALWAYS WANT TO KNOW
THAT SOMEONE ELSE
DID IT FIRST, IN TORONTO.

Mike says REALLY?

Jennifer says OH YEAH. SO IF I'M STANDING
IN FRONT OF CITY COUNCIL,
THERE'S NO POINT OF SAYING:
"THIS IS A BOLD IDEA THAT'S
NEVER BEEN TRIED BEFORE!"
INSTEAD, I'LL STAND IN FRONT
OF CITY COUNCIL AND SAY:
"WELL, THIS IS SIMILAR
TO MILLENNIUM PARK IN CHICAGO,"
TALKING ABOUT
OUR RAIL DECK PARK.
DRAWING PARALLELS
TO OTHER PLACES DOES BRING
THE BLOOD PRESSURE DOWN
AROUND THIS TOWN.

Chuckling, Mike says O.K. THAT'S SUPER FASCINATING.

Jennifer says IT'S SUPER FASCINATING.
IT CAN BE INTENSELY FRUSTRATING
BECAUSE IT BECOMES DIFFICULT
TO REALLY BRING NEW IDEAS
TO THE FORE.

Mike says I'M THRILLED THAT THERE ARE
SO MANY PILOT PROJECTS
HERE IN TORONTO,
BUT BACK TO THINKING ABOUT
THE SCALE OF THE CITY,
HOW MANY YEARS BEFORE
TWO PLANNERS LIKE YOU AND ME
WILL LOOK AT NORTH YORK AND GO:
"THAT'S PRETTY AWESOME."

Citizens chill by a large fountain with a huge Toronto colourful sign.

Jennifer says WELL, I'LL ANSWER THAT
BY TELLING YOU A LITTLE STORY
WHICH IS THAT THIS
INCREDIBLE BOOM THAT WE SEE
IN THE DOWNTOWN CORE, THAT
IS RESULTING IN THE LIVELINESS
OF OUR SQUARES AND OUR STREETS,
THAT IS AS A RESULT
OF AN AREA PLAN
THAT WAS CREATED 40 YEARS AGO.
IT TAKES A LONG TIME. YOU DON'T
CHANGE A PLACE OVER NIGHT.
THE REALITY IS THERE'S LITTLE
INCREMENTAL CHANGE
HAPPENING EVERYWHERE.
RIGHT NOW, A LOT OF IT
IS GOING IN THE DOWNTOWN CORE
BECAUSE WE'VE GOT MILLENNIALS
WHO WANT TO LIVE CLOSE
TO WORK AND WANT TO BE ABLE
TO WALK TO WORK.
THAT'S WHAT'S HAPPENING.

Mike says AND BIKE.

Jennifer says AND BIKE. WELL YEAH,
75 PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE THAT LIVE
IN THE DOWNTOWN CORE WALK OR
CYCLE TO GET TO WORK EVERY DAY.
THAT'S GREAT FOR THE CITY.
IT'S GREAT FOR AN OVERALL
OBJECTIVE, WHICH IS REDUCING
OUR ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT.

Mike says 75 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION LIVING
IN THE HEART OF THE CITY AND
THAT'S AWESOME.
BUT LIKE IN MOST
NORTH AMERICAN CITIES,
THERE'S ANOTHER TORONTO.
ONE WHERE IT'S JUST
ABOUT IMPOSSIBLE TO LIVE
WITHOUT A CAR: THE SUBURBS.
WILLOWDALE, MISSISSAUGA,
SCARBOROUGH.
IF YOU DON'T HAVE A CAR,
THESE ARE PLACES THAT
YOU MIGHT NEVER SEE. WITH A
SUBURBAN POPULATION GREATER
THAN ITS URBAN POPULATION,
CAR CULTURE HAS OFTEN DOMINATED
THE CITY'S PLANNING AGENDA.
MORE THAN 450,000 PEOPLE
COMMUTE TO THE CITY CENTRE
EACH AND EVERY DAY,
AND IT TAKES THEM AN AVERAGE
OF 32 MINUTES.
THE LONGEST COMMUTE
OF ANY CANADIAN CITY.

An aerial view shows a stack spaghetti highway.

Mike continues SURESH DOSS KNOWS ALL ABOUT IT.
HE GREW UP IN SCARBOROUGH, AND
ALTHOUGH HE NOW LIVES DOWNTOWN,
THIS FOOD WRITER COMES BACK
SEVERAL TIMES A WEEK
JUST TO EAT.
BECAUSE IT'S WHERE
MANY NEWCOMERS SETTLE,
THANKS TO A LACK
OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING DOWNTOWN,
IT'S ALSO WHERE THE MOST
AUTHENTIC AND DIVERSE
FOOD SCENE IN TORONTO HIDES.

Suresh Doss parks his car and he and Mike get out. Suresh is in his mid-thirties, with a very short beard and black hair. He wears sunglasses and a white shirt with dark elbow patches.

Suresh says SO THIS IS SOME
PERSIAN ICE CREAM FROM
THIS BAKERY BEHIND US HERE.
IT'S A PISTACHIO ICE CREAM
WITH SAFFRON.

Mike says WITH SAFFRON?

Suresh says WITH SAFFRON, YES.
IT'S ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.

Mike says I'M IN. OH WOW!

Suresh says YEAH.

Mike says THAT'S SMOOTH AND NICE.

As Suresh Doss walks in slow motion and turns to face the screen smiling, an animated caption appears next to him. It reads "Suresh Doss. Food Writer."

Mike says THE CLASSIC URBAN DYNAMIC
IS THAT PEOPLE COME
FROM THE SUBURBS
TO THE CITY CENTRE TO WORK,
OR TO ENTERTAIN THEMSELVES,
AND THEN THEY GO BACK
TO THE SUBURBS.
YOU'RE ACTUALLY DOING
THE OPPOSITE, TRYING
TO BRING PEOPLE FROM THE CITY
OUT HERE TO SCARBOROUGH.
IS THERE A GENERAL CONNECT
OR A DISCONNECT
IN THE GREATER TORONTO AREA,
WITH THE DOWNTOWN
AND PLACES LIKE SCARBOROUGH?

Suresh says THERE'S A HUGE DISCONNECT,
BECAUSE IT'S NOT EASY
TO GET TO A PUBLIC TRANSPORT.
AND I THINK MOST PEOPLE
THAT LIVE IN THE CITY,
BECAUSE OF THAT DISCONNECT
WITH TRANSPORTATION,
IF YOU DON'T HAVE A CAR,
YOU'RE NOT COMING OUT HERE
TO EXPLORE AND EAT, RIGHT?
YOU HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED
DOWNTOWN. WHY WOULD YOU
EVER COME UP HERE?
SO MY GOAL IS TO BRIDGE
THAT GAP BY PHYSICALLY
FITTING PEOPLE IN A CAR,
BRINGING THEM UP HERE,
DRIVING THEM HERE,
SO THEY DON'T HAVE TO WORRY
ABOUT GETTING AROUND.
WE CAN HIT MORE PLACES
IN ONE AFTERNOON THAN
THEY COULD OVER A WEEKEND
BY USING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.
SO THIS PLAZA FOR EXAMPLE,
WE CAN DRIVE UP HERE IN UNDER
30 MINUTES FROM DOWNTOWN.

Mike says SO YOU'RE THE ADHESIVE BETWEEN
SCARBOROUGH AND TORONTO. YOU'RE
JUST FORCING THEM TOGETHER
AND FOOD IS THE CONDUIT.

They walk into a local fast food restaurant.

Suresh says THE INTERESTING THING ABOUT
THIS PLACE IS THAT YOU GET
A SPECTRUM OF PEOPLE
THAT COME HERE FOR LUNCH.
PEOPLE DRIVE FROM DOWNTOWN OR
FROM OTHER PARTS OF THE CITY.
CAN YOU DO A MIX PLATE?

A man behind the counter says YES.

Suresh says BEEF AND CHICKEN
AND SOME FALAFEL ON THE SIDE?

Mike says SO WE'RE IN WHAT, FOR ME,
LOOKS LIKE A STANDARD
NORTH AMERICAN STRIP MALL
ALONG A HUGE ARTERY
OUT IN THE SUBURBS,
BUT THIS IS A FOOD DESTINATION.
PEOPLE DRIVE FROM ALL OVER
THE PLACE JUST TO COME HERE,
BECAUSE THIS IS APPARENTLY
THE BEST SHAWARMA
FOR MILES AROUND.

Suresh says LET'S TALK ABOUT THIS
INTERESTING STORY WITH STREETS:
LAWRENCE AVENUE EAST,
BETWEEN A CERTAIN STREET
AND A CERTAIN STREET,
IT'S MIDDLE EAST.
IT'S ALL MIDDLE EASTERN.
THE ISRAELI IS NEXT
TO THE LEBANESE,
NEXT TO THE SYRIAN,
NEXT TO THE JORDANIANS,
GETTING ALONG VERY, VERY WELL.

Mike says THEY'RE GETTING ALONG.

Suresh says OH, YEAH. THERE IS NO SUCH
THING AS LIKE THIS EXCLUSIVITY
OR STANDOFFISHNESS.
YOU GO TO A PLACE LIKE HERE
AND YOU LOOK AROUND,
AND THERE ARE TONS OF PEOPLE
FROM DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS.
YEAH, I MEAN NOW,
THE POPULATION IN SCARBOROUGH
IS JUST OVER HALF A MILLION
AND OVER 50 PERCENT IS INTERNATIONAL.
20 PERCENT OR 30 PERCENT IS SPECIFICALLY
SOUTH EAST ASIA.
IT'S ONE OF THOSE THINGS WHERE
LIKE THERE'S A DOMINO EFFECT.
NEW FAMILIES MOVE IN
AND THEY SETTLE SOMEWHERE
WHERE THEY CAN AFFORD HOUSING.
AND THEN OTHER FAMILIES FOLLOW.
THE FIRST WAVE OF ETHIOPIANS
AND SOMALIS WHO SETTLED HERE
AROUND THE AIRPORT,
AND NOW THERE ARE
SO MANY OF THEM THERE.

A man cuts Doner meat off a spit with a large knife.

Now, they walk into another shop called "Crown Pastries."

Suresh says HEY BUDDY!
HOW'S IT GOING?

Mike says HEY! MIKAEL.
THIS FAMILY OPERATION OPENED
ITS DOORS IN 2015.
THE ALEPPO EXILES,
TWO BROTHERS AND THEIR MOTHER,
MADE SCARBOROUGH THEIR HOME.
MANY OF THEIR DISHES
ARE INSPIRED DIRECTLY
BY THEIR GRANDFATHER'S COOKING
IN THEIR NATIVE SYRIA.

Suresh says THIS IDEA OF THE BEST FOOD BEING
IN SCARBOROUGH IS TOTALLY TRUE,
BECAUSE THIS IS WHERE PEOPLE
LIKE ISMAEL SET UP SHOP.
IT'S THEIR HOME.
IT'S THEIR COMMUNITY,
AND THEY'RE MAKING FOOD
FROM THE HEART.
I MEAN, THERE'S A LOT OF LOVE
THAT GOES IN SOME OF THE STUFF.

Ismael says SO WHAT WE GOT HERE IS WARDE.
WARDE MEANS FLOUR. AND HARISSA.

Mike says O.K.

Suresh says IT'S PRETTY GOOD.

Mike tastes the bun and says I TOLD YOU I'M NOT
A DESSERT GUY,
BUT I THINK I MIGHT BE
AFTER VISITING SCARBOROUGH.

Mike chuckles.

Suresh says YEAH, NICE. O.K. GOOD TO HEAR!

Mike says THIS IS NOT A LIFE-SIZED
PART OF THE CITY.
THIS IS A STRIP MALL
IN A NORTH AMERICAN SUBURB,
NEXT TO AN OCEAN OF ASHFALL.
INSIDE UNLIKELY BUSINESSES
LIKE THESE, FOOD IS
THE COMMON DENOMINATOR
BETWEEN CULTURES.
IT'S THE ADHESIVE THAT BRING
SCARBOROUGH AND PLACES LIKE IT
CLOSER TO DOWNTOWN TORONTO.
I WOULD NEVER HAVE COME
TO SCARBOROUGH IF NOT
FOR THE FOOD. THIS IS
THE EPICENTRE OF THE CANADIAN
MELTING POT RIGHT HERE,
AND IT IS DELICIOUS.
WHEN DAVE MESLIN CALLED
TO SUGGEST THAT WE TEAR DOWN
A FENCE TOGETHER AS AN ACT
OF CITIZENSHIP, I WAS SURPRISED
TO SAY THE LEAST.
BUT DAVE IS AS PERSUASIVE
AS HE IS CHARMING.

Mike waits by a fence.

Mike says MISTER MESLIN!

Dave parks his bicycle and says HEY! GOOD MORNING!

Mike says MORNING!

Dave says THIS IS OUR VICTIM
HERE TODAY.

Mike says RIGHT THERE.
ALL FENCES MUST DIE.

Dave says THEY'RE ALL A LITTLE BIT
DIFFERENT. THIS ONE
LOOKS PRETTY EASY.

Mike says IT'S JUST A LITTLE
GREEN FENCE,
MAN. WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL?

Dave says WELL, FIRST OF ALL,
I GENUINELY THINK THEY'RE UGLY.

Mike says O.K. I'M GOING TO GIVE YOU THAT.

They cut a fence using garden scissors.

Dave says AND I THINK BEAUTY
IS SOMETHING THAT WE SHOULD
VALUE MORE IN OUR CITIES.
BUT I ALSO GENUINELY THINK
THAT THEY'RE EVIL.

Mike says EVIL?

Dave says EVIL IN TERMS OF
WHAT THEY REPRESENT.
WE THINK OF THE FENCES
AS KEEPING SOMETHING OUT.
BUT I THINK IT ALSO
KEEPS SOMETHING IN, RIGHT?
SO PEOPLE WILL BE LIKE:
"I'M GOING TO TAKE CARE
OF MY HOUSE. I'M GOING
TO TAKE CARE OF MY LAWN."
AND THEN BOOM, THIS IS
THE FENCE. EVERYTHING OUTSIDE
OF THAT FENCE,
THAT'S FOR SOMEONE ELSE
TO TAKE CARE OF.
AND THE REAL KEY TO GETTING
PEOPLE MORE ENGAGED AND
PLAYING A PART IN HOW WE SHAPE
OUR CITY IS TO GET THEM TO
TAKE DOWN THAT MENTAL BARRIER
IN THEIR MIND THAT SEPARATE
THE PRIVATE FROM THE PUBLIC.
AND THIS FENCE
IS A PHYSICAL MANIFESTATION
OF THAT BARRIER.

Mike says I'M JUST TALKING TO
MY NEIGHBOUR ACROSS THE
FENCE. WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL?
I MEAN, I CAN SEE YOU.
I CAN SEE YOUR FEET.

Dave says I'VE GOT TO SHOW YOU
SOMETHING. COME HERE.
SEE? SEE HOW FAR
YOU HAVE TO GO?
DIDN'T IT FEEL LIKE:
"WHERE ARE YOU GOING?" IF
THAT FENCE WASN'T THERE, YOU
WOULD HAVE JUST WALKED WITH ME.
IT IS A BARRIER. WHY DO YOU
HAVE TO WALK THAT WAY?
I MEAN, IT IS A FENCE.

Mike says I COULD HAVE LEPT LIKE
A GAZELLE OVER THE FENCE.

Dave says THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN
REALLY COOL.

Mike says I'M NOT INSURED FOR THAT,
AM I?

Mike chuckles.

Dave says I THINK CITIES OF GAZELLES
SHOULD HAVE FENCES. BUT
CITIES OF HUMANS SHOULD NOT.

Mike says HOW MANY FENCES
HAVE YOU DESTROYED?

Dave says I'VE BEEN WORKING ON
THIS PROJECT FOR 15 YEARS.

Mike says 15 YEARS?

Dave says AND I'VE LOST TRACK OF
HOW MANY FENCES WE'VE DONE.
BUT WE'VE DONE THEM
ALL ACROSS THE CITY.
AND WHEN I FIRST PROPOSED IT
TO MY FRIENDS, THEY SAID
THAT'S A REALLY STUPID IDEA.
IF PEOPLE WANTED
THEIR FENCE DOWN,
THEY ALREADY WOULD BE DOWN.
BUT I DID IT ANYWAY.
SO I PUT FLIERS ON FENCES
"FREE FENCE REMOVAL."
IT LISTED ALL THESE
PHILOSOPHICAL IDEAS OF WHY
OPEN NEIGHBOURHOODS LOOK
AND FEEL BETTER THAN
CLOSED NEIGHBOURHOODS.
GIVE US A CALL,
WE'LL TAKE DOWN YOUR FENCE.
AND THE PHONE STARTED RINGING,
AND I'VE BEEN
DOING IT EVER SINCE.

Mike says NOW THE LADY WHO LIVES HERE,
SHE WAS SAYING THAT THEY
JUST BOUGHT THE HOUSE,
THEY'RE RENOVATING THE HOUSE
AND SHE JUST LOOKED AT
THIS FENCE AND SAID:
"WHAT A STUPID FENCE."
AND THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT IT,
AND THEN DAVE SHOWS UP.

Dave says I THINK THERE'S SOMETHING
REALLY FUN ABOUT ALTERING THE
ENVIRONMENT AROUND YOU. THERE'S
SOMETHING REALLY EMPOWERING
ABOUT FEELING LIKE YOUR
NEIGHBOURHOOD ISN'T STATIC.

Mike says O.K. OH! HELLO!

Mike removes a part of the fence.

Dave says OH WELL! OH YEAH.

Mike says COOL.

Dave says NICE.

Mike sings
I'VE GOT THE POWER!

Dave says YOU ALMOST DON'T EVEN
HAVE TO SAY ANYTHING.
IT JUST FEELS SO
MUCH MORE WELCOMING.
IT'S A BETTER SPACE NOW.

Mike says I MEAN, I HAVEN'T
JUST DRUNK THE KOOL-AID.
I MEAN, I CAN SEE IT.
THE BARRIERS ARE GONE.

Dave says YEAH. I THINK IT'S ABOUT
HAVING AN OPTIMISTIC VIEW
OF THE WAY THAT HUMANS
CAN INTERACT.
WHEN YOU SAY "GOOD FENCES
MAKE GOOD NEIGHBOURS,"
IT'S ALMOST BASED ON THIS
PREMISE THAT PEOPLE
CAN'T REALLY GET ALONG.

Mike says YEAH.

Dave says WHAT A TERRIBLE WAY
TO THINK ABOUT CITIES, RIGHT?

Mike says YEAH.

Dave says SO THIS IS TURNING THAT
TOTALLY AROUND AND SAY NO,
THE BEST FENCE IS NO FENCE,
AND LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENS
WHEN WE DO TRY AND INTERACT
WITH THAT NEIGHBOUR.

Mike says THERE ARE 250 KILOMETERS
OF LANEWAYS IN TORONTO.
AND UNFORTUNATELY, MOST OF THEM
ARE JUST WALL-TO-WALL ASHFALLS,
BUT LOOK, THERE'S HOPE.
THIS COMMUNITY NEAR
CHRISTIE PITTS PARK,
WITH THE HELP OF THE
LANEWAY PROJECT, DECIDED
TO RETHINK THEIR URBAN SPACE.

Michelle Senayah is in her mid-thirties with short red hair. She wears pale pink trousers and a black T-shirt with white motif.

Michelle says FOR A LONG, LONG TIME,
THE LANES HAD BEEN
THOUGHT OF OFFICIALLY JUST AS
PURELY SERVICE SPACES.
FOR CAR ACCESS, GARAGE ACCESS,
MAYBE GARBAGE ACCESS.
BUT THEY HAVEN'T BEEN THOUGHT
OF AS COMPLETE SPACES, OR EVEN
AS POTENTIAL COMPLETE SPACES.
SO THAT'S SORT OF THE GAP
THAT WE THINK NEEDS
FILLING IN THE CITY.

As Michelle walks in slow motion and turns to face the screen smiling, an animated caption appears next to xxx. It reads "Michelle Senayah. Co-founder and director The Laneway Project."

Michelle says THE CITY OF TORONTO
HAS THAT REPUTATION.
IT'S VERY CONSERVATIVE.
WE THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE A
BIT OF AN UPHILL BATTLE FOR US,
BUT WE FOUND VERY, VERY
EARLY ON, EVEN AS WE WERE
FORMING AS AN ORGANIZATION,
THAT PEOPLE WITHIN
TRANSPORTATION SERVICES,
WHICH IS THE DEPARTMENT
WITH EXPLICIT JURISDICTION
OVER LANEWAYS...
THEY'RE ON BOARD.
I THINK THAT THE THING IS THAT
IT'S SORT OF THE SWEET SPOT
AT THE MOMENT WITH TORONTO.
OUR POPULATION HAS GROWN
TO THE EXTENT THAT
PEOPLE FROM THE GRASSROOTS
TO THE CITY HALL LEVEL
ARE REALIZING THAT WE ACTUALLY
NEED TO DO MORE,
AND BRANCH OUT AND DO THINGS
A BIT MORE INNOVATIVE
THAN WE HAVE DONE IN THE PAST.

Families decorate a neighborhood street.

Crouching, Mike, a man and a young boy dig dirt from a diamond-shaped floor to plant seeds.

The man says SO IT'S A LITTLE BIT TOUGH
TO DIG IN.

The young boy says WHY IS THIS CLAY?

The man says YEAH. THERE IS A LITTLE BIT
OF TOPSOIL ON TOP
AND A BIT OF CLAY-Y STUFF.

Mike says WE'LL JUST LOOSEN IT YOU SAID.

The man says YEAH, SO JUST LOOSEN IT UP.
SO THE HOPE IS SOME OF
THE WILDFLOWERS ACTUALLY TAKE.
SO IF YOU COME BACK
NEXT SPRING, WE'RE HOPING
FOR A RIVER OF FLOWERS.

Mike says I MEAN, THEY'RE PLANTS. HOW
HIGH ARE THEY GOING TO GROW?

The man says THEY'RE ALL LOW-LYING
GROUNDCOVER.

Mike says O.K.

The man says SOME COULD GROW HIGHER,
BUT OFTEN, THEY'RE GOING
TO BE RUN OVER EVERY DAY
BY BIKES AND CARS.

Mike says BUT HOW MANY, I MEAN,
DO A LOT OF PEOPLE USE
THE LANEWAY WITH CARS HERE?

The man says THEY DO. ALL OF THESE GARAGES
ARE WHERE FOLKS PARK THEIR CARS.

Mike says THEY STILL USE THEM ACTUALLY.

The man says YEAH.

Mike says CAN YOU TELL ME HOW
A PROJECT LIKE THIS HAS CHANGED
THE NEIGHBOURHOOD?
I MEAN, WAS IT LIKE
AN "AWESOME EVERYBODY,
BIG GROUP HUG BEFORE
AND NOW IT'S JUST BETTER,"
OR HAS IT HAD AN EFFECT?

Children hit a star piñata that reads "Super neighbours."

The man says YEAH, SO THE EFFECT RIGHT NOW,
YOU'RE SEEING,
IT'S ALL THE FOLKS
AND THE PEOPLE I DON'T KNOW.
LIKE YOU, I MET YOU TODAY.

A woman says HI!

The man says HI! SO NEIGHBOURS THAT
I HAVEN'T MET, I'VE BEEN
LIVING IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
FOR TEN YEARS AND I KNOW
A LOT OF THE NEIGHBOURS,
BUT NOT ALL THE NEIGHBOURS.
SO IT JUST GIVES US
AN OPPORTUNITY TO COME BACK IN
THE BACK OF OUR HOUSES AND
HAVE A BIT OF A CELEBRATION.

Mike says I'M SITTING HERE TRYING
TO DIGEST THE WILD RIDE
I'VE HAD HERE IN TORONTO.
ALL I'M THINKING IS:
"WHAT IS THIS PLACE?"
WHEN YOU COME FROM A NORDIC
CAPITAL LIKE I DO, YOU KNOW
THAT BY AND LARGE
THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT
IS GOING TO TAKE YOUR BEST
INTEREST INTO CONSIDERATION.
THERE'S NOT A BIG NEED
FOR A BOTTOM-UP INFLUENCE
OF THE POLICY MAKERS.
THINGS ARE DIFFERENT HERE.
YOU HAVE A CITY GOVERNMENT
THAT IS BRAVELY TRYING
TO RESPOND TO ALL
THE MASSIVE URBAN CHALLENGES
THAT THEY FACE.
IT'S LIKE THEY'RE TRYING TO MIX
AND SAMPLE EVERYTHING
INTO A COHERENT TRACK.
BUT WHAT AMAZES ME HERE
IS THE FANTASTIC GALLERY
OF CITIZENS WHO ARE
DICTATING THE MUSIC.
I'VE NEVER SEEN THIS LEVEL
OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.
I DON'T KNOW IF I FOUND OUT
THAT TORONTO WAS SPECIAL,
BUT THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE
ARE WHAT MAKE THIS CITY
INCREDIBLY UNIQUE.
I DON'T KNOW IF TORONTO KNOWS
WHAT IT IS OR WHO IT IS, BUT
THIS IS CERTAINLY A CITY THAT
KNOWS WHERE IT WANTS TO GO.

Against a black screen showing electric pieces of city maps, the end credits roll.

Hosted by, Mikael Colville-Andersen.

Directed by Myriam Berthelet and Nicolas Boucher.

Producer, Nicolas Boucher.

Executive Producers, Jane Jankovic and Natasha Negrea.

Logo: DBC2.

Copyright, 2017.

Watch: Ep. 2 - Toronto