It was a Thursday, a slow news day in Canada perhaps, when a horse captured the attention of the country and pitted East against West.
Yes, Marty the horse was an unlikely hero last week, when he, his rider and entourage clip-clopped up to the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto and were unceremoniously told the Fairmont was not horse friendly.
The horse’s denied access was immediately compared to the National Energy Plan. Suddenly, the age old west versus east battle was playing out in 140-character Twitter blasts from Newfoundland to the Queen Charlotte Islands.
For his part, Marty seemed to enjoy the festivities. As a horse owner, I noted he was an older guy, and most likely had never had this much attention in his entire 15 years of life. But he took it all in stride, the perfect celebrity. Chewing on the snacks given to him, posing for pictures and entering places that looked nothing like a barn. Yes, for Marty, it was his 15 minutes of glorious equine fame.
Reporters, who perhaps would have been better used reporting on byelections or conflicts in the Middle East provided a play by play of the events on York St. They had officially been downgraded from their respective beats, and were on horse watch. It was no doubt the big break they’d all been waiting for.
It went a little something like this, I imagine:
9:00 a.m.: Marty has been unloaded from his trailer.
9:15 a.m.: Marty is being groomed, enjoying an ear scratch.
9:17 a.m.: Marty has sneezed on his handler.
9:30 a.m.: Marty is now wearing a saddle.
9:40 a.m.: Marty has tossed his head, en route to Royal York
9:41 a.m. Marty tows the party along York St.
9:45 a.m.: Marty and his party are told to scram.
9:50 a.m. Marty and his fellow Stampeders fans chant “Let us in!”
9:53 a.m.: Marty swishes his tail. Stomps a hoof.
10:00 a.m.: Marty is eating a carrot. Still not allowed in.
10:05 a.m.: Marty protests by dropping horse apples on the steps of the Royal York. Duly noted by Fairmont staff.
10:15 a.m.: Marty has been invited into the BMO Bank. He did not make a deposit.
10:45 a.m.: Hillary Clinton leaves Gaza destined to broker deal between Royal York and Marty.
10:59 a.m.: Marty trudges back to the Royal York to wait it out.
11:00 a.m.: Twitter users accuse Royal York of being a Marty party pooper.
12:50 p.m.: Royal York begins rewriting health and safety code to allow mammals of the equine variety to stay at the hotel.
1:59 p.m.: Royal York staff prop open the door to their hotel
2:00 p.m.: Marty is allowed in!
2:15 p.m.: Marty signs the guestbook at the Royal York with his hoof.
2:20 p.m.: Executive chef of Royal York presents Marty with bucket of carrots and apples.
2:25 p.m.: The Calgary Stampeders have officially made their hoof mark on the city of Toronto.
2:30 p.m.: Royal York staff scrub the granite floors of horse poo and the Stampeders are no closer to winning the Grey Cup.
2:55 p.m.: Marty is spotted sipping a beer with his rider at a local pub. All in a days’ work.