This week, Coca-Cola Canada opened its bright new headquarters at 333 King Street East downtown. The complex sits on top of the TORONTO SUN building, in the heart of a developing eastside neighbourhood.
President JOHN GARINO says, after a long search, the company decided to move from suburbia to the city centre and “become part of a vibrant and up-and-coming downtown area. We wanted to be as near to as much public transportation as we could. The suburbs were not, from a sustainability standpoint, what we wanted to have.”
One ‘maybe’ and one ‘for sure’: city councillor KRISTYN WONG-TAM has managed to get LANTERRA DEVELOPMENTS to consider including public green space in a forthcoming condo development at 11 Wellesley Street West. It’s not a done deal, but “let’s just say the file is not closed. There is still a lot of negotiating to be done.”
The ‘for sure’: Ms. Wong-Tam’s idea for a vast mural project on Church Street, between Charles and Carlton. “This will be one of the largest and most exciting outdoor art projects,” she says.” So far, ten walls from local businesses have been secured, with more to come. 25 artists have begun to visualize and sketch potential murals, which will document the history of Church Street and the Gay Rights Movement. The artists will be paid, and the project will be finished in time for World Pride/2014.
CALGARY’s popular mayor, NAHEED NENSHI, believes that Canadian cities are suffering because of consistent underfunding by the federal and provincial governments. They’re taking tons of cash out of our cities, and putting a pittance back.
He says “the reason the United States has so much public transit is because the federal government started playing a very significant role in this in the 1960′s and ’70′s.
“In Calgary, Vancouver, and especially in the Greater TORONTO Area, it’s unconscionable how much we have underinvested in our transit systems. Investments in public transit are among the very best investments any government can make . . . But I think our provincial and federal governments have often seen transit as being at the bottom of the list.
“Canada remains the only industrialized country that does not have a permanent, predictable role for the federal government in providing transit. . . . The federal government has been very reluctant to set aside dedicated money for this, largely because they just don’t see it as a federal responsibility.”
All three of Canada’s largest cities are on North America’s Most Congested Cities Top 10 List, http://www.forbes.com
1. Los Angeles
3. San Francisco
7. New Orleans
8. San Jose
Thanks to stable prices and a low vacancy rate, TORONTO’s real estate market is booming. But the sale of a multi-million dollar penthouse is a novelty, and still makes big news.
One such apartment (953 square metres, 30 foot ceilings, four bedrooms, reputedly designed by American architect PHILIP JOHNSON) rests 13 storeys above Bloor Street West on top of the old CIL office building. It was put there by businessman NOAH TORNO and his wife ROSE, who thought that living above an office building was a cool idea. They were encouraged by friends who had an apartment above Bergdorf-Goodman in NEW YORK.
The building’s present owner, JON LOVE, estimates there are probably fewer than 100 people in TORONTO who could buy the landmark condo. But foreign buyers – mostly from Russia, the Middle East and South America – are willing and able. Last year, the new Four Seasons penthouse on Bay Street sold for $28 million to a foreign buyer – a Canadian record.
The World’s Richest Cities/2012, according to KNIGHT FRANK. List of inhabitants with at least $30 million in net assets.
1. New York City – 7,580
2. London – 6,015
3. Tokyo – 5,440
4. San Francisco – 4,590
5. Los Angeles – 4,520
6. Hong Kong – 3,205
7. Osaka – 2,970
8. Paris – 2,860
9. Chicago – 2,615
10. Mexico City – 2,585
11. Washington – 2,395
12. Houston – 2,295
13. Beijing – 2,285
14. Mumbai – 2,105
15. Dallas – 2,020
16. Delhi -1,945
17. Sao Paulo -1,880
18. Toronto -1,765
19. Rio de Janeiro -1,740
20. Shanghai -1,415
Fortunately, they won’t be demolished. Six of TORONTO’s most beautiful Victorians will soon be wedded to a new glass tower on Sultan Street. This tiny street sits in the heart of Bloor/Yorkville, an upscale neighbourhood which is undergoing major redevelopment.
TORONTO officials announced Tuesday that this is now the fourth largest municipality in North America. According to a report received by the city’s economic development committee, our town’s growing population has pushed us from the fifth largest in North America to fourth place.
The milestone is based on Statistics Canada’s July 1, 2012, population estimates released in February that peg the city’s population at 2.79 million.
Mexico City is the largest with 8.8 million residents, followed by New York City at 8.2 million people, and Los Angeles with 3.8 million inhabitants.
TORONTO came in slightly ahead of fifth-place CHICAGO, which has a population of 2.7 million.
T.O.’s population has grown steadily for the last 10 years and is increasing at the rate of around 38,000 people annually.
The war for and against a casino in TORONTO is heating up. The big boys – MGM, Wynn, Caesar’s etc. – are either in town now, or they’ve been here several times already. City Hall lobbyists, developers, and the Ontario Lottery Commission are working hard to convince the good burghers that what this town needs – is a casino. The mayor and his brother are all for it – which isn’t a good sign.
Forgotten in the debate so far, are TORONTO’s thousands of university students.
JEFFREY DEREVENSKY, the co-director of the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviours at MONTREAL’s McGill University says: “If you build it, they will come. Casinos are very attractive places for young people because of the allure and the excitement.
“College students in particular think they are smarter than the rest of the population and believe that they have the mental capacity to outsmart the casino.
“Pathological gamblers are thinking about gambling so often and how they’re going to go back to the casino the next time in order to win back their money. They will often neglect their school work, they will often neglect their friends and they will often neglect family members.”
Ryerson University 4th year Business Management student, JUSTIN RABBA told the Ryersonian newspaper: “I like playing online just to get practice because it’s tough to always have to drive an hour to go to Niagara to play. I would say I’d gamble more if a casino was built in TORONTO. It’s so much more convenient. It would take 20 minutes (to get there), opposed to an hour.”
2012 was a hot year in Hollywood North. TORONTO’s film and television industry set a record last year, and business looks just as strong for 2013. Twenty-one productions are underway or are about to begin, including 9 domestic and foreign television series, and two pilots.
Karen Thorne-Stone, president and CEO of Ontario Media Development Corporation: “It’s a record. Again. In terms of the entertainment and creative cluster (which takes in publishing and broadcasting), it’s well over $12 billion a year to the provincial economy, and that’s bigger than agriculture.” - Business, Toronto Star, March 2/2013