Indy Mayhem at Mel’s Front Door

By Tooker Gomberg, Toronto, Canada.

Since Mayor Mel Lastman invited the Indy to our neighbourhood, we brought the Indy to Mel’s home. (originally published in Now Magazine)

If you can fight fire with fire, why not fight noise with noise? After a year of grumbling about the noise and pollution from the Molson Indy, this past weekend we decided to act.Since Mayor Mel Lastman invited the Indy to our neighbourhood, we would bring the Indy to Mel’s home.

We arrive armed with a recording of last year’s race burned into a CD, a 12-volt battery for power, an amplifier, speakers and a microphone. Here on Wideford Place in the sedate reaches of upscale North York, where the scream of Indy cars by the lakefront is nowhere to be heard, the noise from our machine is enough to sway the two towering pines screening the mayor’s manse.

“No person shall make, cause or permit noise which disturbs or may disturb the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of the inhabitants of the city.” That’s what the noise bylaw says. A nice sentiment, isn’t it?

Some of Mel’s neighbours don’t appreciate the disturbance. A growly one opens his door, shakes his fist and shouts at us to “Shut up!” Others are more understanding. A few take the leaflet we’re handing out.

Then, suddenly, a glistening black Cadillac rounds the corner and speeds up the driveway just as one of our crew is preparing to drop a note in Mel’s mailbox.

Could it be the mayor? No. A grey-haired man emerges yammering on a cellphone. He’s clearly not happy. It doesn’t take long for the cops to show up.

We figure we’ll be shut down. But they do something even worse. They sit in their idling car — as if noise pollution weren’t enough — and watch.

At one point, our noise machine shuts down. We figure it’s a dead battery and ask the cops for a boost. No dice. We tighten a wire and are soon back in business, louder than ever. We continue blasting Mel’s house.

Then, the mayor’s wife, Marilyn, emerges from the house dressed in a formal black dress. Off to the Indy gala, perhaps?

She hops in her chauffeured car and speeds into the distance before we can hand her a leaflet inviting people to log onto our site,

Soon the cops leave, too. We figure we’ve made our point.

The guy unloading a set of golf clubs from his car isn’t impressed, though. “You shouldn’t pick on Mel,” he says. “He’s done so much for the city.”

Well, instead of boosting noisy car races, the mayor should start thinking of ways to make Toronto a healthier and more livable city. How about a car-free festival?