The Rolling Stones’ money making machine had agreed to perform a free show at Toronto’s Downsview Centre in late July to help promote a positive image of the city following the recent SARS (and new Mad Cow) scare. However, those plans have come under fire from such organizations as the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and the Canadian Alliance, who say that the $10 million in public funds required to put on the event could be better used elsewhere. As with most city governments, the Toronto City Council is bickering back and forth about the show – some want to charge admission, some want to use the money for a number of summer shows, rather than one big one, and one council hipster was quoted as saying “the rolling who?” (I might have made that last part up, but you get the picture).
Since the SARS scare, the Toronto tourism industry has been hit harder lately than World Series hero Jon Lackey, even though the World Health Organization has lifted their initial SARS hot zone warning. Elton John and Billy Joel, Hall & Oates, Kelly Clarkson, Lisa Marie Presley, and others have all cancelled concerts recently do to concerns over the the SARS virus (Kelly Clarkson? Lisa Marie? – maybe the fine citizens of Toronto are better off).