When I was told to that Detroit was on the agenda for cities being featured on Season 2 of Rebel Without A Kitchen I wasn't entirely sure how I felt about it. But being in Detroit, eating in Detroit and being a part of Detroit's vibrant up-and-coming street-food and art scene actually paints a very different picture of the city.
For those of you who know me personally, you'll know that I'm in a pretty serious relationship with Detroit. Detroit needs to make a call for actors, writers, artists, comedians, photographers, to work on a sense of community through laughter, joy and creative expression! It's not a solution but it certainly wouldn't hurt. Detroit needs a younger sibling to make sure that they don't get swallowed up in their own sadness.
Detroit's declaration of bankruptcy has shed new light on the problems afflicting the city. Detroit's population has dropped precipitously, from a height of 1.8 million in 1950 to 951,270 in 2000, to around 700,000 by 2013. Empty lots and abandoned buildings are a prominent sight around the city. Unemployment stood at 16 per cent in April 2013, while the state-wide rate was 8.4 per cent.
In mid-June, the federal government committed every Canadian man, woman and child to pay $15.79 to create jobs and build infrastructure in Michigan whose per capita income is nearly the same as Canada's. Weeks later, nobody here seems to have noticed. The foreign aid will cover that state's costs for a multi-billion dollar bridge project linking Michigan and Ontario. But this deal is a little too sweet for Michigan...
What's in a name? Now that the construction of a second bridge between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario is moving forward, the question of what to call it is more pressing. And so, with Canada's 145th birthday around the corner, on July 1, I propose that we call the new crossing the "Canadian Bridge." Not just because they're paying more than their share, but to honour Canada as a great neighbor and friend.