Article published on 1 May 2013

Toronto Casino Battle Recalls 200 Year War

Councillor Decries Toronto Casino
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Toronto city councillor Mike Layton has caused waves with his opinion piece in The Globe and Mail recently publication, in which he compared plans for a new Toronto casino to the 1812 Battle of York.

"While the battlefield has been silent for two centuries, the site of the Battle of York is the scene of attack once again, leaving the citizens of Toronto to defend the city against a formidable opponent, a US casino giant," wrote Layton.

Well known for his objections to a new casino proposal that could see a mega-resort built at Exhibition Place, Layton noted that while Torontonians rarely celebrate their city's history with the same pomp and splendor as the Americans, Canadians still value their heritage.

Layton Against Casino at Exhibition Place

"The prospect of building a mega casino at Exhibition Place has dominated the media without even a passing mention of its impact on the tremendous historic and symbolic value of this site," he explained.

In The Globe and Mail article, Layton recalled how American forces landed on the shore of the Humber Bay, west of Exhibition Place to fight their way towards Fort York.

The battle that took place saw First Nations warriors fighting alongside British Regulars and local Canadian militia against the American invaders. Layton noted that the Battle of York became a pivotal moment in the history of Toronto and the future of the nation of Canada.

Layton also mentioned the history of the area, including the New Fort and Stanley Barracks, as well as the oldest preserved house in the city, Scadding Cabin.

"The seeds of our great city were planted on the site now targeted by US corporations for a mega casino. All of the previous events, memories, sites as well as the historical and cultural values they symbolize will be overshadowed, surrounded, buried and destroyed by the scale and anonymity of the proposed enormous parking garage, casino, hotel and mall," waxed the Toronto councillor.

Toronto Casino Proposal "Painfully Ironic"

Mike Layton mentioned the birth of the nation at the Battle of York and how it was supposed to forge a lasting peace with "our neighbor to the South".

"How painfully ironic that after 200 years, as we commemorate a critical moment in the history of our nation and our city, an American casino conglomerate schemes to capture our city's most historic land," concluded Layton about the Toronto casino battle.

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