Pan Am Path extension officially opens

Urban Arts entertains the crowd.
Urban Arts entertains the crowd.

Another link officially opened today in a major step towards completion of the much anticipated Pan Am Path. This 84km path is being created by linking existing shorter trails and will eventually allow pedestrians and cyclists to move from Brampton to Pickering without encountering motor vehicles. After the ceremony, a Jane’s Walk took pedestrians along the path and a group of cyclists followed later. Bike Share Toronto (formerly Bixi) had bikes for those wishing to try the new link. Dynamic youth support organization UrbanArts provided music and an art activity for the celebration.

Urban Arts art activity.
Urban Arts art activity.

One of the more distasteful aspects of these events is the unseemly scramble for credit. Political representatives from all three levels of government were jockeying for position. Freshly re-elected MPP Laura Albanese announced a $400,000 grant from the Trillium Foundation to be spent on projects covering the length of the trail (strangely the Trillium Foundation site has no trace of this in their list of grants). Councillor Frances Nunziata announced (again) the $48,000 worth of exercise equipment to be installed in Cruickshank Park (well before the Council election in October no doubt). This money was extracted from several developers in exchange for Council concessions. Another guest speaker, Etobicoke Centre Tory MP Ted Opitz prattled on about his support for the path despite the Federal Government contribution of precisely zero to this project. It takes some nerve to remove protection from the Humber River (as the Tories have done) and then bask in the glory of others’ work. Then again, there will be a federal election by October 2015 at the latest. Right leaning mayoral hopeful Karen Stintz was in attendance but mercifully kept a low profile (until the ribbon cutting). Incredibly, our own MP Mike Sullivan told me he was not invited and therefore didn’t get to speak. Organizers from Friends of the Pan Am Path claimed there had been an oversight.

Brent Chamberlain and Frances Nunziata cut the ribbon.
Brent Chamberlain (Friends of the Pan Am Path) and Frances Nunziata (with scissors) cut the ribbon.

13 thoughts on “Pan Am Path extension officially opens”

  1. This was a joint City of Toronto/TRCA project started long before the Pan Am Path was envisioned. Give the credit to them.

  2. Unseemly scramble for credit unsurprising … obviously seemliness and even accuracy are not even expected. It’s a game of appearances and assertion.

  3. Albanese and her pal Nunziata are poison to York South Weston. Always scrambling to screw over opponents. In this case MP Mike Sullivan should have been allowed to speak. When will liberals every stop their petty nonsense and put our community first.

  4. Interesting article. I couple clarifications:
    – It was not organized by Nunziata but the City of Toronto and Friends of the Pan Am Path
    – Protocol office said they invited all the local MPs.
    – MP Ted Opitz responded and came representing the Minister of Sport and also Canadian Heritage. He is the MP on the other side of the river. We discussed him doing the speech wearing hip waders, mid-river but thought people would understand and look to the wider objectives.
    – Mike was thanked a couple times and involved in the ribbon cutting.
    – There many people who pushed to have that small section completed. The park supervisor started on it 20 years ago. TRCA, bike advocates and the province also pushed. The city funded and completed the work.
    – The money from Trillium is co-managed by Manifesto Community Projects and is listed. (Nothing strange or distasteful there.) It is also more focused on operations over two years rather than programming.

  5. The article and photos were by Roy Murray, as indicated: present and giving those of us who didn’t make it an article based on firsthand experience:facts.
    Thanks, Roy!

    1. I attended this event as someone with a keen interest in the trail – WestonWeb having publicized the progress of the extension in the past. I actually rode my bike to the event. Imagine my surprise when after the ceremony, the bike tour took off in the wrong direction away from the extension – anyway, I digress.
      Mike Sullivan as an aside told me that he had not been invited to the event. Immediately after the ribbon cutting I approached a group from Friends of Pan Am Path and asked why Mr Sullivan had not been invited. The response was one of regret and they said it had been an oversight.
      With regard to the $400,000 – I have looked in vain for that amount or indeed any amount awarded to the organization you indicated: Manifesto Community Projects – Manifesto seems to be an organization that, according to their website strives to ‘stay out of boxes’ so I’m sure people would like to know what kind of projects are planned for the trail. Devon, I’ll be pleased to publish a link to the money when you can give me further details. The one thing I did get wrong was that the event was organized from Ms. Nunziata’s office. I found out about the event the day before thanks to Councillor Nunziata’s newsletter in which she said:

      On Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 10:30 am, join me, and the Friends of the Pan Am Path, as we launch a newly completed section of the Pan Am Path, with an art activation by UrbanArts and a ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by a guided bike ride. A walking tour will also be presented by Jane’s Walk.

      The use of the royal ‘we’ gives the impression that Ms. Nunziata had arranged the event in conjunction with Friends of the Path. Apparently it turns out that she had nothing to do with organizing the event. In this case, despite having witnessed petty partisanship between our political representatives on several prior occasions it was I who joined the dots incorrectly and have amended the article to reflect that one error.
      As Mike Mattos points out, the path is the child of a thousand parents – unseemly paternity claims notwithstanding.

  6. In implying “we”, Nunziata is taking credit for something she has nothing to do with.
    Wonder if Nunziata will send out an email indicating her error and apologizing for any confusion it may of coursed…….

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