toronto air show

Toronto politician says it's time to end the air show and start new traditions

With the 2021 edition of Toronto's annual Labour Day weekend air show set to kick off tomorrow — after a few very loud days of practice — one city councillor has provided a glimmer of hope to everyone who hates the annual arrival of military jets in our skies.

Spadina-Fort York councillor Joe Cressy, who also chairs the Toronto Board of Health, took to Twitter on Friday afternoon as hundreds of locals exploded with rage.

"It's time to end the air show," wrote Cressy in a tweet published around 2:30 p.m., two-and-a-half hours into an incredibly noisy three-hour-long air show rehearsal. 

"For the sake of the toddlers napping, the pets hiding in the closet, the many newcomers triggered by such events, and so many others simply disturbed by the noise," he continued. "Time to move on and start new traditions."

While many clearly agree with his sentiment, not everyone was impressed by Cressy taking up an issue with this, of all things, concerning noise in his riding.

"Remember that the air show is a once a year, 3 day event that spans 2 hours," replied one Twitter user. "Consider instead that city council haven't stopped street racing, noisy polluting cars, can barely build a subway, couldn't legalize drinking in parks and have worsened the housing crisis."

"I'm not someone who cares much for the air show, but this seems pretty self-serving if you aren't doing anything to crack down on the street racing, excessive vehicle noise, and construction that happens 365 days a year and disturbs many more people," wrote another.

Construction and street racing are indeed two persistent sources of excessive noise in Toronto that city officials have not been able to effectively address. Not yet, anyway.

But air show grievances do go beyond the loud, jarring sounds made by the fighter jets.

Criticisms abound online every year once the planes start roaring overhead, about the optics of celebrating war, the amount of fuel being put into our air amid a literal climate emergency, and how the terrifying sounds and sights of military weapons can impact the lives of vulnerable individuals who've lived through violent conflict.

"It is a contradiction to welcome Afghanis and then have military aircraft fly overhead given what they have experienced," wrote former city councillor Joe Mihevc in response to Cressy's tweet.

"The airshow is incredibly re-traumatizing to the thousands of Torontonians who fled war zones, many bombed by the CF-18s & F-35 that are flying over Toronto this weekend, most recently in Afghanistan and Palestine," wrote World Beyond War Canada similarly.

"What a horrific welcome to the refugees arriving right now."

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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