What could be worse at Christmas then to ban the Salvation Army brass band at Union Station, where it has played each and every year for the past 50 years? One might well wonder how a location like Union Station, paid for with our tax dollars, could so brazenly take away something most of us have grown to look forward to?
Would anyone be surprised to learn that a small group of vocal, scheming merchants have taken control of the station, convincing city management to ban instruments in the concourse? I’m not sure if this is simply greed from merchants worried the coins going to the Salvation Army won’t get into their till, or utter stupidity on the part of management who have forgotten the station belongs to the public and not the merchants we allow to be there!
I wonder what goes through the minds of all those musicians who have volunteered, who have spent hours practicing and rehearsing so that they can bring music to the ears of frazzled travellers passing through this busy transit hub in hope that they might donate to a very worthy cause? Are they too picturing the merchants at Union rolling their hands together thinking they will get more coins in their tills. I for one will boycott those merchants until they decide to allow instruments back into Union Station and I encourage the city staff enabling this small band of merchants to grow some balls and stand up to them. Remember that having a store location in Union station is a special opportunity that the public has given them. Their action to ban instruments from Union Station has demonstrated that these merchants have grown too powerful and are trying to influence control over a public space. The city bureaucrat who allowed this to happen should be shown the door quickly.
I want to thank those musicians who volunteer their time to bring that music to our ears. They bring a smile to many a soul… and for that deserve our support. I am glad the TTC allows the busker to play at the Bloor station; I smile at the guitarist who plays at the corner of College and Yonge everyday. It is these small things that make Toronto a wonderful place to live.
Next time you go through Union station think twice about making a purchase, and remember how these merchants banned the salvation army from bringing their music to your ears.