Rethinking the Toronto Air Show

6 Sep

If you live in Toronto or the GTA, and were home this past weekend, you likely noticed the Air Show. Or maybe your city has an Air Show as well? Read on.

airshow

Photograph:JasonGillman

The Air Show is an end-of-summer CNE-closing tradition in Toronto.
Does anyone know why?
I don’t, and I’ve lived in Toronto for 20 years.

Luckily it wasn’t as loud as I remember, so the piercing screams of the jets that come out of nowhere and hijack your senses for a few moments were minimal. So there have been some changes, it would seem. But still.

My mother grew up in Austria during WWII. When the planes thundered over our heads on a practice run on Thursday, she was a little freaked out. She has neighbours that recently arrived from Syria, and the 11 year old said it reminded him of home – but that he wasn’t scared. I was shocked and saddened by that.

This isn’t the first time I have thought about this, and every year it irks me more: We live in a city with many immigrants from war-torn countries (past and present). And yet we continue to have an Air Show – complete with fighter jets – as a festive end-of-summer spectacle of aeronautics. Hmmm…

What’s the impact on our fellow citizens who have experienced war first hand of seeing and hearing these aircraft overhead in their new home? Of having the Air Show be something festive? What does that say about our commitment to inclusion?

If the intention is to bring people together to celebrate the end of summer with some spectacle of delight, surely we can come up with something more peaceful and festive.

See more.

Copyright 2016 Annemarie Shrouder
Speaker, Facilitator, and Consultant on issues of Diversity & Inclusion
www.annemarieshrouder.com

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