TORONTO COMMUNITY HOUSING CORP. IS STAGGERING UNDER A DEBT LOAD – WITH NO END IN SIGHT

Dumped on the city by former premier MIKE HARRIS and his Progressive Conservatives a couple of decades ago, Toronto Community Housing Corp. (TCHC) is now in way over its head.

home to 110,000 tenants
number of properties – 2,100
massive repair backlog
broken units closed, communities fractured
bouts of poor management
projected repairs – $1.6-billion over 10 years
value of public assets owned by TCHC – about $9-billion

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FIRST ATTENDANCE RECORDS ON TORONTO’S NEW SUBWAY STATIONS – TWO ARE FOUND WANTING

It’s inevitable I suppose if you build a subway station in a field there won’t be a lot of users. Such is the case with the TTC’s Highway407 station, constructed between two major highways.  Transit blogger STEVE MUNRO believes “it’s only ever going to be an interchange station for buses.”  It’s one of two least-used stations on the entire subway network – with an average 3,400 riders per day.

<PHOTO ABOVE – Highway407 Station>  The second under-performing station is Downsview Park with 2,500 passengers daily. There’s not much development around this federally-owned green space. Top-of-the-line is York University station with 34,100 boardings and disembarkings every day. Finch West follows with 17,700 and Pioneer Village, which also connects with York U., comes in at 17,300.

<PHOTO – rush hour straphangers on Line One heading downtown>  So far, the investment of $3.3-billion for six elaborate stations – two of which are under-performing – one of which is outside TORONTO’s boundaries – seems wasteful – especially when the inner city desperately needs a Downtown Relief Line (DRL).

TORONTO should consider London’s UNDERGROUND, a super subway system, which in large part is above-ground outside the city centre. In London’s suburbs there’s even room for express trains, by-passing several stations on their way into the core. Way to go, LONDON!

And all that tunneling underneath TORONTO’s sparsely populated regions. Why?  Could it have something to do with politics?  I wonder.

ALLAN GARDENS WELCOMES YOU INTO IT’S ANNUAL OUT-OF-THE-COLD CHRISTMAS FLOWER SHOW

What better way to pass some time and warmup than by visiting the Allan Gardens Conservatory, south of Carlton, east of Jarvis. This year over 40 varieties of poinsettias are on display, along with thousands of flowering plants from around the world.

The flowers are grown in the City of TORONTO High Park greenhouse. Admission is free.

CHALLENGING TORONTO’S PLANNING POLICIES – A TRIPLE DUPLEX BY BATAY-CSORBA ARCHITECTS

These days TORONTO is breaking its architectural mold, and this Triple Duplex is one possible example. The design was created in response to a challenge from Globe and Mail architecture critic ALEX BOZIKOVIC, who invited four firms to submit models that challenge the city’s housing policies. The Triple Duplex is one of them.

Batay-Csorba Architects said the TORONTO metropolitan area has 6-million residents, and that number is expected to double by 2041. There’s a need for creative housing solutions, and this low-rise building would contain six units, requiring two adjacent lots. The duplexes would be placed back-to-back – with one in the front, one in the middle and one in the rear.

“When viewed from the street, the building’s sensitive massing is in keeping with the small-scale charm of the neighbourhood and disguises its density with that of the context,” the team said. – renderings by NORM LI

PADMAPPER (AN APT. HUNTING WEBSITE) REPORTS TORONTO IS NOW CANADA’S #1 HIGH RENTAL CITY

The top ten Canadian cities for median MONTHLY rentals of 1-bedroom apartments, December/2018 – #1 TORONTO ($2,260); #2 VANCOUVER ($2,100); #3 BURNABY ($1,570); #4 MONTREAL ($1,450); #5 VICTORIA ($1,390); #6 BARRIE ($1,210); #7 KELOWNA ($1,250); #8 OTTAWA ($1,250); #9 OSHAWA ($1,200); #10 HAMILTON ($1,180).

TORONTO continues to reign as the most expensive city in the country with one-bedroom rents growing 1.8% to $2,260 while two bedrooms increased a slight 0.7% to $2,850. Notably, two bedroom rent is up 15.9% since this time last year.

VANCOUVER remained second with one-bedroom rents decreasing 0.5% to $2,100, while two bedrooms dropped 0.3% to $3,150.

HAMILTON, Ontario moved up two spots with one-bedroom rents jumping 5.4% to $1,180, while two bedrooms saw more modest growth, up 2.1% to $1,450.

To search the rental market in both Canada and the United States on PADMAPPER visithttps://www.padmapper.com/

ON DECEMBER 13TH THE PRINCE EDWARD VIADUCT REACHED ITS 100TH YEAR

“December 13th/2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Prince Edward Viaduct, which spans the Don Valley, connecting Bloor Street East with the Danforth. To those who cross it or drive under it, the viaduct has an air of immutable solidity.” – @tophotolaureate

“During the three-year construction period, the site presented a very different aspect – messy, chaotic and raw.” – @tophotolaureate

The Viaduct opened in 1918 minus the “luminous veil” (which was created to prevent suicides). The bridge, which crosses the Don Valley, carries the Bloor-Danforth subway, four lanes of traffic, and two sidewalks into (what once was) the village of Danforth.

<PRINCE EDWARD VIADUCT, hand-tinted lantern slide by WILLIAM JAMES, 1926; City of TORONTO Archives>

<The Viaduct in 2018, with suicide prevention’s illuminated “Shimmering Veil” on both sides>

A TORONTO TRADITION THAT IS NO MORE – LINING UP FOR CHRISTMAS BARGAINS AT HONEST ED’S

‘Waiting for a Bargain’, outside Honest Ed’s, RAJKA KUPESIC, 1983 – “Circus lights shout Honest Ed over and over, three stories high and two blocks long, a legend built of tiny bulbs that burn all night in buy-buy-binary code.” John Oughton, “Edville”; PAINTING – Toronto Public Library Collection>

Honest Ed’s annual free Christmas Turkey & Fruitcake Giveaway was circled on the calendars of many Torontonians. In the (Globe and Mail) photo above by TIBOR KOLLEY taken on November 24/2002, early birds are lined up waiting for the doors to open.  As the retail landscape changed and the store’s fortunes fell, the family sold the land to a luxury-property developer and Honest Ed’s closed for good in 2016.