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Waterfront Toronto, an organization formed in the early 2000s by three levels of government, received harsh criticism after word of outrageous spending broke out. What constitutes “outrageous”? Sugar Beach, a public space project and rejected strip club name in Florida (probably), has used $946,000 of taxpayer money to fund development. This tropical oasis in the urban desert of Toronto must be truly breathtaking, right? It must be.


It would have been a great strip club.


What elaborate and incredible work was all that money spent on? Pink umbrellas (another rejected strip club name) and two boulders.

Yes, Waterfront Toronto bought 36 pink umbrellas at over $11,000 a piece, because it’s obviously a key investment in the future of Toronto. Rob Ford leaves for 5 minutes, and the gravy train goes off the rails. Don’t worry though, the umbrellas have LED lights and are specially built to withstand Toronto weather all year round. That’s right, you can go use these beach umbrellas in the middle of winter or gale-force winds, because those are prime time slots for a family beach day.

John Campbell, President and CEO of Waterfront Toronto strongly believes the purchases were a wise investment. “What’s the big picture? Some people just can’t see the forest through the trees.” he remarked. While it’s impossible to understand what that actually means, we might as well try.

Here’s the big picture according to Campbell, based on an interpretation of his cryptic comment. Toronto is, and forever will be, destined to become the pink umbrella capital of Earth. Torontonians must bear this burden for all of mankind. It’s for the greater good. It’s a shame that nobody else can understand this big picture move. They can’t see the forest through the trees, because they should be seeing the forest through the umbrellas.


Does New York have designer rocks? I don’t think so.
World Landscape Architecture


Campbell continued, by saying “It’s all about building a better city. Yes, you can pick a light pole here, an umbrella there, that’s really not the point. The point is we are delivering on our mandate to provide a great community . . . this is about revitalization.” Pink umbrellas are the heart and soul of a great community. “Designer rocks” are hard to come by, too. Not a lot of communities have designer rocks, because they’re not worthy. These designer rocks were chosen by a firm that won some international design competition, and they have coloured stripes.

Toronto City Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong accuses Waterfront Toronto of being “an expensive organization with lots of people with high-priced salaries and they’re anything but transparent.” While Minnan-Wong may have forgotten that his council created Waterfront Toronto at some point or another, he may be right. They’re not transparent. Who would pay $11,000 for a transparent umbrella?

Campbell dismissed the allegations. He’s probably too busy picking out designer bodily fluids to revitalize Sugar Beach. It just fits the name.