My Gay Toronto - Bellini's 8 1/2

Bellini goes to court

by Paul Bellini

In Toronto, parking citations are handed out like Halloween candy.

The latest infraction was the stupidest. I received a $15 ticket for parking on a residential street in Etobicoke for longer than three hours during the day. Worse, the restriction is not posted anywhere. I guess you’re just supposed to ‘intuit’ the law. So even though the cost of the ticket was less than I would spend on a few rounds at Woody’s, I was furious and demanded a court date.

It took eight months for the City to send me a Notice of Trial. “You are charged with the following offence,” it bombastically stated at the top, as though I had been accused of shooting up a mall. So I trotted down to the Ontario Court of Justice at University and Dundas and met with the prosecutor. He asked if I was guilty, and I replied that I had no idea, so he declared it a "warning." Then the judge came in, mumbled something, and I was asked to stand. After stating my name, the prosecutor told the judge that ‘this is one of those ‘no-sign’ offences'” and that he had taken the time “to educate Mr. Bellini on the law." Then I was dismissed, ever smarter.

Residents of the street where the incident occurred told me that many of them had received the same stupid ticket. Apparently, when John Tory swept into power and declared that he would relieve gridlock, one of the things he did was unearth this ridiculous infraction, which had been ‘grandfathered’ in from decades past. I had been parking on this very same street for over 15 years without incident, but all of a sudden it’s a crime to stay parked for over three hours. This means that now, when visiting family on that street, I must move my car either 20 feet forward or backwards every three hours in order to satisfy this Kafka-esque law.

So yes, the prosecutor did educate me. He taught me that the City of Toronto has no problem wasting my time, and apparently also has no idea how to solve gridlock.