Toronto declares war on waterfront anglers
Outrageous. That’s the consensus within Toronto’s angling community over the city’s new fishing ban along two kilometres of Lake Ontario waterfront. Yup, that’s right: this past Friday, Toronto erected some 20 “No Fishing” signs from Sherbourne Street west to Marilyn Bell Park, effectively removing access to countless popular shoreline fishing spots.
Let me add a few more choice words: Shortsighted. Harmful. Pathetic. Appalling. Sad.
Imagine, a city—a Canadian city!—banning a healthy outdoor pursuit, denying access to such an incredible resource as Lake Ontario. And this when so many people have been working diligently to encourage city youth to get out from behind their computer screens and get outdoors instead.
And what makes this all the more galling is it comes at a time when the Toronto Port Authority had taken the initiative, on behalf of local anglers, to make sense of the current patchwork of fishing rules and regulations among key waterfront stakeholders, including the city, Harbourfront Centre, Ontario Place, Waterfront Toronto and the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Not only that, there’s currently a motion languishing at city council’s executive committee—the “Gone Fishing” motion—designed to encourage these same lakeshore stakeholders to allow sportfishing. And what does the city’s parks and recreation department do in the meantime? Put up the “No Fishing” signs.
To me, this either means Mayor Rob Ford’s Toronto has totally gone off the rails, with no semblance at all of coordinated policy making, or the city has simply decided that angling has no place in its roster of leisurely pastimes.
Whatever the case, I would encourage everyone to learn more about this issue and sign these online petitions calling on the city to reverse this myopic decision:
And to learn more about the issue, here are some recent mainstream media reports:
Also, the Fishing Fury website has been doing a great job covering this. Click here.
Finally—and rather ironically—the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority is hosting an “Urban Angling” information event at Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel on Thursday (June 12). Among the topics of discussion? The new “Fishes of Toronto” book. I suspect, however, that the new “No Fishing” signs will dominate the evening’s proceedings. Click here for details on the evening.