On Sunday, I celebrated my sixtieth birthday by spending a great deal of time at the Film Festival.  You will all have to put up with a series of reviews later in September as is my wont at this time of year.  Yes, there was a party, but on Saturday and the hard core who stayed up late enough got to hear the City Hall clock chime in the day itself.

To my many friends and allies in the transit wars, thanks for helping to make this site a vital part of Toronto’s transit discussions.  It’s not just my opinions that make the site work, but the interplay among the comments left by many readers.

To those who regard my views as hopelessly misguided, you’re welcome to your opinion, but I don’t have to publish it.  Certain newspapers in this town don’t exectly line up with my political views.  I may read them now and then, but I don’t waste my time on letters to the editor, and if I did, they certainly wouldn’t get printed.

Yes, I can be feisty at times and give ground rarely in debate.  Over the decades, I have learned that feisty works with consistent, well thought-out positions.  Being ever so concilliatory in the “please, Sir, will you read my humble submission” manner is a fast way to be ignored.

Underlying all of my activism on transit and other fronts is a strong desire to see a better Toronto.  We have been waiting far too long for far too much.  Toronto basks in a reputation earned when I was young, and we are still nowhere near building a 21st-century Toronto that comes up to the city’s mythology.

Retirement from my “real” job will come next April, but there’s much to do on the transit scene and retirement there is a long way off.

26 thoughts on “Sixty

  1. Steve,

    Happy birthday… you consider yourself an old fart? age is just a number…think of your inner child within…I seriously got to stop reading those fortune cookies.

    Anyways, thanks for the posts throughout the years, I enjoyed reading 99% of them. (no such thing as 100%).

    Save the city, save transit, save Fort York from the WWLRT. Were there 60 candles in your birthday cake?

    Steve: Actually there was only one on the cake, but several more on the table. My wish had nothing at all to do with transit.


  2. Happy birthday and congratulations!!

    A big thank you for all of your time and trouble in helpng to advance the cause of better transit in Toronto.



    All kidding aside Steve, congratulations for reaching your 7th decade in fine form: good health, respect and admiration, even if grudging, from TTC Commissioners, TTC Staff and the greater public transit community that reads and contributes to your ever blossoming blog.

    I have learned a lot about TTC Operations and the history of the organization over the last 11 years. Your recall of the minutiae of TTC events 10, 20, 30 years ago simply astounds me as a BC boy who grew up in Vancouver with BC Hydro trolley buses “my streetcars!”

    I look forward to celebrating your next milestone—40 years of transit advocacy in 2012!

    Best regards for continued influence and results on the transit file,

    p.s. Did you at least get a Senior’s discount on TIFF tickets? 😛

    Steve: I don’t count as a senior at TIFF yet, but I am eligible for Senior’s fares on Via.


  4. Happy Birthday, Steve (from another Steve *rimshot*)

    We can agree that we are both looking for a better Toronto but from different sides of the fence. I trust that you will take into account the wishes of the suburbanites from the 905 area as they have as much input and as big as a stake in all of this, even if they don’t live in the city itself.


  5. Steve, Congratulations on your upcoming retirement. I’ll be elligible the month after. Enjoy the festival!! I only wish I could get into town to see some of the films.

    As for the site, I cannot stress how much enjoyment I feel that there is a forum for debate (and much of it very informed) provided by you, concerning transit in the GTA (yes the GTA because the TTC affects it like no other)!! You and others (like John Henry Cotnam up here in York Region) provide us with these discussion sites that even TTC executives, drivers, and the ATU look over. I thank you.

    Now, with the calling of a federal election, what is the situation with any funding that has been politically promised to the TTC, etc., for subways, Transit City, et al? Thanks Steve.

    Steve: The York/Spadina subway money is in the bag, but the Feds never promised anything for Transit City or MoveOntario. If the Tories win, we will continue to not receive what we never got in the last two years. If the Liberals win, we will hear all sorts of excuses about how helping transit somehow doesn’t contribute to the greening of the country, rather like the way McGuinty is now pleading poor just when it comes time to actually give the cities some money.


  6. Happy Birthday Steve, I know you’ve helped me many a time with transit stuff and ideas, I look forward to many more years of banter between us at meetings and on here, Take care and see you at the next TTC meeting..


  7. Happy Birthday!

    I wonder if they make swanboat cakes…..

    Steve: Actually the cake at my party was made up as a piggy (round body, round snout, squiggly tail), but that’s another story.


  8. Congrats on the birthday; you’ve officially reached middle age!

    Now, no wasting time, we need those fest reviews now, so we can decide what to check out later this week.

    For my part, I recommend “FOOD Inc.” , a documentary on Big Agri, its based on the work of Michael Pollen (The Omnivores Dilemma); and Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation). It was entertaining, informative, had a point of view, but not too preachy.


  9. I think you always offer great ideas about transit and I do not understand why you are not employed by TTC or the Mayor’s Office as a transit planner.


  10. Happy Birthday Steve!

    I don’t know if you believe Mick Jagger when he says 60 is the new 40, but I do know if you were a TTC vehicle, you would be on your 4th rebuild!

    I can pretty well be certain, though, that you are in much better health!

    Steve: And my hourly rates are much more attractive than what the TTC charges for their elderly vehicles.


  11. Well, congratulations! Shifting through all the BS, the PR, the vested interests and the raving ranters must take great stamina. Long may you continue.


  12. 60?

    On Earth, you’re 60! On Mars you’ll be only 32 Martian years old. But on Venus you’ll be over the hill at 97.

    Steve: Ah, but you assume that Venusians live a hard and fast life and burn out young! Who knows what they’re really up to under all those clouds.


  13. Steve: Certain newspapers in this town don’t exectly line up with my political views. I may read them now and then, but I don’t waste my time on letters to the editor, and if I did, they certainly wouldn’t get printed.

    I disagree. I believe my political views are totally different from yours (I suspect you are on the left and I am on the right side of the political spectrum), and yet, I keep coming back to your web site because you provide very articulate arguments to support your views. I don’t find that anything that you say is free. There is always the impression that some deep thoughts have been invested behind your words.

    Input by people such as yourself are useful for the whole of the community (not just the left-leaning individuals), they are not to be dismissed just because of political differences. I encourage you to continue in upkeeping your website, and, of course, to write to those newspapers that you feel will reject your views.

    Steve: I make a point of reading various points of view both to see how “the other half” is thinking these days, and to force me to address my own positions more clearly. That has been one huge benefit to me of moderating the dialogue here — it gives me access to many opinions, and the responsible ones inform and may even alter my own positions.

    I have always found hard-line left/right debates not just dull, but so counterproductive. Often there are good parts to be taken from both sides, if only each would stop treating the other as an opponent to be crushed.


  14. Happy Birthday Steve!

    May you continue your crusade in transit advocacy and that someone up there heeds your wise words and ideas! Your website has brought myself and the others here many days of intellectual transit thoughts and perspectives!


  15. I guess if you’re retiring, the source of our intelligence on just how bad the SRT is in the depths of winter is gone too…

    Just gives you more time to explore the rest of the system I guess!

    Steve: I have one more winter to put up with unreliable service out there, but yes, it will be nice to have time to visit other parts of the system regularly.


  16. Happy belated birthday Steve. Keep up the good work and hopefully the powers that be do listen to your ideas and thoughts.


  17. HBBS – and thanks for the site, and your time in keeping it up and running tho you’re not alone so thank the other folk/s too.

    I also appreciate the depth of detail and analysis that commenters can bring to complement your considerable contributions.


  18. Steve:

    Belated birthday wishes. Due to work related and family related commitments over the past couple of weeks, I haven’t had much time to “cruise” (as opposed to “surf”) the web. Once you retire from the “real” working world, I look forward to your work on behalf of transit in Toronto. I think that in retirement, you will find yourself working harder on your real passion – proper transit planning for Toronto. I hope we see some good things actually implemented (rather than continually talked about).


  19. Steve,

    Happy belated birthday from over here in Malaysia. Thank you for all of your consistent efforts in promoting wise solutions and decisions for public transport.

    I’m happy to say that I have learned a lot from you about how tough it can be to get clear, useful information without much bias. It has given me a lot of skill when picking through the “planning” that we find here.

    I will be a panelist at the National Summit on Urban Public Transport, taking place tomorrow, and I want to say that it is in part thanks to what I have learned here (your web site).

    I only wish I had the computer skills and the financial knowledge…but I will work on that.

    Cheers, Moaz Yusuf Ahmad


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