The Stuff of 2011: London, Ontario's Bizarrely Intolerant Year

So there was a stupid fucking asshole drunken St. Patrick's Day idiot riot in London, Ontario over the weekend. Cars were overturned and torched, firemen and police attacked by dumbasses throwing bottles and bricks, eleven people arrested, $100,000 caused in damage. The mayor's now talking about bringing in curfews and changing zoning laws in order to break up student housing. All because a few shitheads are too stupid to have a few drinks without fucking everything up.

It's not the first thing that has gone wrong in London recently. A couple of months ago, we took a look back at the shitty year London had in 2011. This post was originally published on December 21 as part of our year-end review:

Toronto has been having more than its fair share of trouble with conservative crazy people this year, but we're not alone. Just two hours down the 401, London had a 2011 that will be remembered as a bizarrely intolerant one for the rapidly growing city of more than 300,000. Despite having a mayor who used to be a Liberal MP, London was the first municipality in Canada to crack down on Occupy protestors. Police moved in during the middle of a night in early November, removing all the tents — thankfully, without violence. That's when our own much more conservative mayor started publicly musing about shutting down Toronto's camp.

More recently, there was the controversy over the naming of London's brand new baseball team, the Rippers. People were understandably a bit upset by the reference to Jack the Ripper, the serial killer who brutally murdered 19th century sex workers in that other, English, London.  Especially since the announcement happened to come during a city-wide campaign to end violence against women. But the owner's dumbest move may have been his response to the outcry (which included condemnation from the mayor himself). He absurdly claimed the nickname and logo — a sinister, Victorian figure clad in black, clutching a bat and ball — had nothing to do with Jack the Ripper at all. Instead, he said, the mascot is supposed to be "Diamond Jack", an ex-hockey player who now "rips" the cover off baseballs. Riiiiiiiiiight. The whole stupid story was enough to get London a mention on the Rush Limbaugh show. The right-wing's most famous radio blowhard sided, of course, with the owner. (“How do we know what Jack the Ripper looked like?" he asked his listeners. "He was never ID’d, right?")

In September, there were two much more vile incidents. One of them came in September, when the owner of a farmer's market told the proprietor of one booth that they either had to fire one of their employees or find somewhere else to operate. The employee, you see, was transgendered. And therefore not welcome. The owner didn't see the problem with his prejudiced demand. As he explained to reporters, "Why would I be discriminating? I'm not discriminating at all... Basically, we run a family farmers market. I have two washrooms, a washroom for men and a washroom for women. My question would be, if they had to go to the washroom which washroom would they go to. If they go to the women's washroom, they're men so the women would get excited. If they go the men's washroom the men would get excited because they're dressed as women so which washroom would they use in my market?" 

And then there was the hockey game, just a couple of weeks later. The Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers were in town playing an exhibition game. And when the Flyers' Wayne Simmonds was skating toward the net during a shootout, a fan threw a banana onto the ice. Because Simmonds is black. Seriously. In 2011.

That was one hell of a shitty year, London. Let's hope you get your act together in 2012.


You'll find the rest of our "Stuff of 2011" posts here. If there's something you enjoyed this year that you'd like to share, write something about it and email it to us at by December 21. We'll post some of our favourites.

London's year of intolerance was chosen by Adam Bunch, the Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at


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