Mayor John Tory blasted for saying it's 'unusual' for Toronto parents to live without a car
Councillor says data proves mayor's statements are 'wrong and misleading'
Mayor John Tory's quip that it's "unusual" for parents in Toronto to not have a car is drawing criticism online and at city hall.
Tory made the comment during a morning news conference Wednesday where he vowed children would continue to ride the TTC for free for as long as he was mayor. He rode a TTC bus full of young students to the event.
"I met a couple of kids on the bus and we were talking about the fact that their parents don't have a car at all. That's unusual," Tory told reporters.
Tory continued to note things are changing — change driven in part by kids who have grown up riding transit — and that he sees that as a positive thing for Toronto. But the suggestion that this isn't already a reality across the city was met with scorn online.
Many who get by without a car called the mayor's statement "out of touch," "myopic" or worse.
WTF! <a href="https://twitter.com/JohnTory?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JohnTory</a> is so out of touch! I usually like to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I know more people my age (mid-30s) that don't drive than do, and many of my friends who have lived in TO all their lives don't even have a driver's license!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TOpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TOpoli</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/makepoliticiansttc?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#makepoliticiansttc</a> <a href="https://t.co/kHMRvl0B9a">https://t.co/kHMRvl0B9a</a>—@lesleyverse
This is not even a tiny bit unusual. I live in the City because I don't want to own a car. I own a home, several of my neighbours do not own cars. Many parents at my kids' school and daycare do not own cars. This myopic view needs to evolve please. More bikes and carshare pls.—@G_A_Blair
Mayor <a href="https://twitter.com/JohnTory?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JohnTory</a>, you can't build a city for the future when you're inextricably stuck in the past and unwilling to acknowledge reality& trends. It's 2018, not 1950. The facts and data are easily available and your residents are trying to explain things to you. LISTEN!!!!! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TOpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TOpoli</a> <a href="https://t.co/cQ7IBSK4Em">https://t.co/cQ7IBSK4Em</a>—@to_cyclist
At city hall, Coun. Gord Perks said "suggesting that it's unusual for a family in the City of Toronto to not have a car is both wrong and misleading."
He points to 2011 data, which comes from research by the University of Toronto commissioned by the city, that shows 23 per cent of Toronto households don't own a vehicle, while that number is actually 45 per cent in downtown core. Even in the inner suburbs the numbers range from 13 to 27 per cent.
Meanwhile new car sales numbers show a dip in sales in Ontario. In the city, car-sharing companies are increasingly catering to Torontonians, including families, who are opting not to own a vehicle.
Perks warns not considering those people's needs threatens the city's decision-making.
"It leads us to the wrong conversation about how we build our transit system, how we make our streets more bike-friendly and pedestrian safe — how we achieve Vision Zero," he said.