news, updates, and conversations from Volcano Theatre

Thursday, 11 April 2013

No Casino Toronto

Ross Manson (photo: Itai Erdal)
Volcano Artistic Director Ross Manson has written an open letter to his undecided City Councillor, Cesar Palacio (Ward 17 - Davenport), urging the Councillor not to support a casino in Toronto. If you're passionate about keeping Toronto casino free, make sure you let your councillor know

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From Ross

Dear Councillor Palacio,

I will be unable to attend the community meeting you have kindly organized for tomorrow at the JJ Piccininni Centre, but, since you are my councillor, I would like to make you aware of my personal stand on the issue of a downtown casino.

The issue really clarified for me when I read the following quote from our mayor in the Toronto Star: "You need something to do after your meeting or convention. You want to have a place like a casino to go with your spouse or your business partners. You just don't go to a convention and go back to your hotel room."

He's right. You don't go back to your hotel room. But, as the Artistic Director of an internationally acclaimed theatre company based in Toronto, I find it insulting that the Mayor thinks a casino would be the thing our city might best offer to business people for an evening out. This gives me an insight into the Mayor's pro-Casino stand - one which seems to ignore the great diversity of entertainment, restaurants, bars and cultural options that already exist in Toronto. In fact, the presence of a casino in the heart of our downtown would be a stain on all fo this. Seeking to define our city as a casino destination, rather than a cultural destination, would be a tremendous belittling of our city - one of the truly great cities in North America. We should be comparing ourselves, our services, our dynamism to New York or Montreal, not to Atlantic City or Vegas.

At its core, a casino is about gambling. It is not about giving citizens better lives. It has no place in the centre of a great city. I don't believe the job projections are accurate. I don't believe the spin that our economy benefits from downtown gambling. I do believe the presence of a casino would detract enormously from the reputation of our city.

That's my own opinion, and one I know is shared by many of my neighbours in your ward. Toronto is better than this. We need no downtown casino. We should be aiming much, much higher. This is a city full to bursting with artists, with creative entrepreneurs, with people who have direct connections to other cultures the world over - this is our great strength. We are globally connected and multi-cultural. This has nothing to do with gambling. We should not be carving out a significant part of our downtown for gambling. We are not a city that gains by promoting gambling. We should build on our strengths, not on other people's weaknesses.

I hope you agree.

Sincerely yours,
Ross Manson

Sign the No Casino Toronto petition here.

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