It would seem that I picked a fairly volatile time to launch a blog about Toronto’s heritage. I had hoped to be putting more historical interest pieces up here, but right now there are some more important issues to address.
Believed to be on the chopping block are three of the ten city-operated museums, specifically Gibson House, Historic Zion Schoolhouse, and Montgomery’s Inn, along with the Market Gallery, an art gallery at St. Lawrence Market which runs programming of a historical nature. Rumours that the forthcoming Toronto budget will include some museum closures have been floating around for a few weeks, and this past Saturday the idea was brought to the forefront by the Toronto Star, which ran a story about it on their front page.
On Sunday, a press conference was held at Montgomery’s Inn, organized by Toronto City Councillor Joe Mihevc and featuring relevant speakers advocating for the specific sites mentioned above, as well as noted Canadian writer Michael Redhill. This press conference lead to articles in the Toronto media, including coverage in the Globe, the Star, Inside Toronto, and Torontoist.
A new petition has been set up (it seems there has been the need for a lot of Toronto heritage petitions these past few months), asking that these museums not be closed: http://togethertoronto.ca/campaigns/museums/ People are also encouraged to e-mail FriendsofTorontoMuseums@gmail.com for more information.
As with many online petitions, there is a basic template message, but I urge everybody signing it to consider adding their own thoughts and words to the message. The petition is set up to ensure that the message goes to the relevant city councillor of the signer, which is immensely helpful. Regardless of where you think your councillor stands on heritage and potential museum closures, I encourage you to contact them and make yourself heard. The responsibilities of democracy do not end on election day.