by: Derek Flack
Doug Ford's recent remarks regarding Toronto Public Libraries have already become notorious. Speaking on Newstalk 1010 about a week ago, the Ward 2 Councillor claimed that "We have more libraries per person than any other city in the world. I've got more libraries in my area than I have Tim Hortons." A few days later, Our Public Library, a website created to campaign against the privatization of TPL branches, thankfully set the record straight.
"When the Urban Affairs branch closes, Toronto will have 3.9 libraries per 100,000 people, which is what Vancouver has. Halifax has 4.3 libraries per 100,000 people, more than Toronto. In the U.S., the entire state of Vermont, which has only one-quarter of the population of Toronto, has 30 libraries per 100,000 people, which is 7.5 times the library density of Toronto," read a post by Maureen O'Reilly dated yesterday.
"In Etobicoke (Mr. Ford's area), there are 13 library branches there, and 39 Tim Horton's shops, not to mention all the other donut shops," she continues. "In fact, on a per capita basis, the people in Etobicoke have fewer libraries than Toronto as a whole." As was the case when Rob Ford spoke on the John Oakley show last week regarding the City's labour costs, it would seem his older brother has a propensity to exaggerate when it suits him.
But how much of an exaggeration was it? Well, as it turns out, a pretty big one. In Ford's Etobicoke North ward, there are at least double the number of Tim Hortons than there are TPL branches (Rexdale, Humberwood and Northern Elms). And what about the city as a whole? Well, according to a somewhat recent list of Tim Hortons franchises with 416 area codes, the ratio of this particular donut shop to libraries comes in at almost three to one (just over 100 libraries compared to roughly 270 retail outlets, including those located at gas stations and other stores).
So, despite my limited skills, I made a map for Doug. Now he can directly compare the number of Tim Hortons franchises to public libraries in the whole city. Because, you know, the numbers O'Reilly cites above can be too big and abstract to get a handle on. And what better way to communicate this information than with a picture?
Use the map above to compare the number of Tim Hortons locations in Toronto to that of the TPL. A note about the data: the list of Tim Hortons locations is derived from GPS data that's at least a year old, so there might be minor inaccuracies. The map is used to highlight the overall trend more than as a guide to donut shops.