The Freedom of the City — A spacing erratum

The Spring-Summer issue of spacing is out, and with it my latest column on transit matters.  Some gremlins in the editorial office got hold of the piece and mangled the opening a bit.  Here’s what should have been there.

The item begins with a quote from the Paris transit system’s website:

Se déplacer et circuler où l’on veut quand on veut, est un gage de liberté pour le citoyen.

This is rather badly translated in spacing to:

To move itself, circulate where one wants when one wants, is a liberty pledge for the citizen.

That’s the most literal of translations (I didn’t do it), and it should have read, more freely, something like:

To travel, to move about, where one wants, when one wants, is a badge of freedom for the citizen.

The original title of the article was The Freedom of the City, not For the love of Toronto as it appears in the magazine.  You can understand how the title flows directly from the quotation, but of course in French, there is the subtle echo of the importance of “liberté” as an essential part of national history and pride.

The next sentence on that web page is:

Le développement des Transports Publics répond à ce besoin.

The RATP sees its role in fulfilling that goal, of making the citizenry free to move about the Paris region at all times and to all places.  We’re a long way from doing that in Toronto, but haltingly and far too slowly, things are changing.

My apologies to spacing readers who are probably wondering why such a fractured translation appeared in print.  Such are the joys of being edited by others.

The main thread of this issue is “Grey Spaces”, those not quite public, not quite private spaces in our city we all pass through, or might want to visit, but which are not, strictly speaking, “open” for our use.

Buy the magazine (available in better bookstores).  Read all of the articles!  And thanks!