TORONTO SHORT STORIES – MAY 15-22/2017

<BASS ISLAND property in Muskoka, listed at $10,800,000>

TORONTO’s real estate frenzy has spread to cottage country as city dwellers cash out and head north. The value of waterfront property in Muskoka, Haliburton and Orillia surged 51.4% year over year in April. The median price of $485,000 was up 30.4% from April/2016. Last week in Haliburton/Muskoka on three big lakes, there were 51 properties listed with an average price of $3-million.

“Privacy is still the key factor when it comes to price. Up here, the definition of privacy is when you can stand on your front deck naked and nobody can see you. You need 200 feet of waterfront to do that.” – Hugh Nichols, Re/Max North Country agent

Google has its eye on TORONTO’s under-developed waterfront and believes digital city-building might ‘fix’ it.

The premise – building from the ground up with new technologies brings with it potential environmental sustainability, health benefits, and even affordable housing. Google’s vision entails high-speed internet access and free wifi across the hub, self-driving cars, ride-sharing, and sensors throughout. As Canada’s largest urban area with a booming multicultural centre and a 12-acre industrial waterfront along Lake Ontario, TORONTO is in the running.

To create a city of the future from the ground up necessitates demolishing the city of the past – which puts both Montreal and Vancouver at some disadvantage.

TORONTO’s Little Portugal and Trinity-Bellwoods Park area have just been ranked #1 for music production in Canada. In a news release The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) says “”This diverse and culturally-rich neighbourhood in TORONTO’s south-western quadrant is a hub of creative musical talent, live music venues, and businesses using music to their advantage.”

<PHOTO – Canterbury Music Company, 322 Dufferin Street>

TORONTO scores a 68% home ownership rate in the ‘developed’ world. We’re behind only OSLO (69%) and CALGARY (74%). A report from the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis shows that half of TORONTO-area residents are overhoused, with 2.2-million empty bedrooms.

The city is about 350,000 bedrooms short of housing the 20% of residents who are shelter-poor.

A newborn lamb, one of three, at TORONTO’s inner-city Riverdale Farm. The Farm is located on Sumach Street, north of Carlton. You can reach it easily on the #506 eastbound streetcar. Get off at Sumach and walk north to Riverdale Park.

TORONTO again proves its key importance by landing the federal government’s infrastructure bank. The city’s Financial District will give members easy access to investors whose cash the feds need to make their bank work.

$35-billion in federal funds will be used to entice private investment in public transit, highways and electrical grids that generate revenues through user fees or tolls. Approximately $15-billion of that will be cash, with the remaining $20-billion in repayable loans or equity stakes that shouldn’t affect the government’s bottom line.

Londoner ROSE POWER sent her best wishes to TORONTO this week in a letter published by Metro News.  “I would recommend anyone wanting to enjoy great food, sights and friendly people in a safe city, really ought to give TORONTO a try!  They won’t be disappointed.  I also think TORONTO should be held up as an awesome model of multiculturalism working at its finest.”

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