Mayor John Tory of Toronto today announced that an extremely prominent square in the centre of his city would be named after the Indigenous protester, Nathan Phillips, who was recently surrounded by young men wearing MAGA hats at Washington’s Lincoln Memorial. The high school group then proceeded to aggressively enjoy Mr. Phillips’ traditional drumming; not at all jeering and making fun of his attempts to dial down a tense situation.
The city’s move is unlikely to sit well with the Trump administration, which has – unusually for them – decided in this case to side with the white people.
“Here we are in Nathan Phillips Square,” the mayor said, speaking from the large public space directly in front of Toronto’s City Hall, before going off on a tangent about affordable housing, a vote against police floats in next year’s Pride Parade, and the importance of shovelling your sidewalk.
While Mr. Tory never did return to the subject of the square’s christening, seeming to feel that a simple acknowledgement of the name was sufficient, the event was quickly noticed by American news outlets.
“Canada Names Half Of Capital City After Native American Activist Who Never Actually Deployed,” shouted one Fox News headline, alerting the masses to Canada’s general ignorance of the hurt that has been caused to the respectful young men, as well as the Fox News Network’s almost willful lack of basic Canadian geographical knowledge.
“Moose-Huggers Disrespect Our Youth, Rename CN Tower “Black Muslim Minaret,” whispered Breitbart, with classic understatement, clearly not wanting to rush to judgement.
And finally, from The Daily Caller: “Blame Canada.”
But while the right-wing reaction to their northern neighbour’s attempt to honour Mr. Phillips is clearly outsized, what can’t be denied is how quickly Canadians appear to be taking to the change.
“Nathan Phillips Square is my favourite part of our city,” said one Toronto youngster, just four years old, but already surprisingly up on today’s breaking news. “I like skating here, and getting hot chocolate,” she added, before laying it on a little thick.
“And in the summer we come to Nathan Phillips Square to get hot dogs, and ice cream, and throw change in the water fountain.” Other children from the young lady’s class all nodded in agreement.
Visiting American reporters expressed shock at how quickly the youth of Canada had adopted the new name, and said it reminded them of a viral brain-washing of minors that they had witnessed somewhere else recently, but couldn’t quite place where.
“But beyond all that,” said one correspondent from the NY Times, looking around the dense downtown core at the numerous city placards depicting the new name, “How the hell did you get all of these signs made so quickly?”