For the first time in its history, the report uses an inequity lens and paints a clear picture that quality of life in TORONTO varies drastically depending on neighbourhood, income, race, immigration status, gender, sexual identity, and age.
TORONTO is a thriving global centre, “though the overall story is one of success, more and more we’re becoming a city of islands,” says Sharon Avery, President & CEO, Toronto Foundation. “We now have the definitive case for support for a better and more resilient city.”
Who we are as a city . . .
Population has grown to more than 2.7-million, up 4.5% between 2001 & 2016
Middle class income range is between $24,000 & $42,000
20% of the population lives on low income
For the first time there are more seniors than children
60% of downtowners have access to the arts; in suburban Scarborough 37%
Overall 25% of the city has tree cover; Rosedale-Moore Park 62%; some neighbourhoods 7%
50% of us drive; averaging a 29 minute commute
37% take transit & 30% of those spend more than an hour getting to work
73% of high-income earners report good or excellent health
48% of low-income earners report the same
50% of renters spend +30% of their income on housing; 27% of homeowners do the same
Over one-in-four children are living below the poverty line
Nearly 50% of all newcomer children are living in poverty
15% of public school children taking applied courses don’t graduate
2,258 reported sexual assaults in 2016; 30% increase since 2010
HUY DO, 27, has created a widely distributed movie poster starring himself in the hope it will help him find rental accommodation in TORONTO’s core by June. It’s become a difficult task. The downtown vacancy rate is 1%, its lowest percentage in 16 years.
A one-bedroom apartment in the core now rents for an average of $1,614 a month. A two-bedroom $2,252. Governments are trying to help with rent control, but the numbers aren’t getting much better.
Compared to a national average purchase price of $481,000 across all housing categories from condos to detached houses, TORONTO comes in at $736,783 according TREB (Toronto Real Estate Board)
That word “manhattanizing” is creeping more and more into local political lingo. “As we Manhattanize, we are building a city of inequalities, deepening inequalities,” said Councillor JANET DAVIS. The greatest fear is that TORONTO will become yet another ‘playground for the rich’.
CIBC is planning to move its headquarters to the new financial district’s South Core sometime around 2021.
Its I.M. Pei-designed tower, Commerce Court West, at King and Bay will be repurposed, and joined by a new 64-storey high-rise to the east.
RENDERING ABOVE – looking north from Wellington Street. The present-day CIBC building is on the left & the new tower will be on the right. It will occupy space formerly the site of two low-rise I.M. Pei structures bordering on Wellington Street. They’ll be demolished.
A glass-walled pavilion, designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects will connect the two towers.
The Art Deco Commerce Court North was completed during the Great Depression in 1931. It rises 34 storeys – once the tallest building in the British Empire. Plans are to re-open the Observation Deck, with its 24-foot stone heads on the top.
<PHOTO – Jack Landau/UrbanToronto.ca>
The upper storeys will be illuminated “in keeping with early photographs of the building.” This was TORONTO’s tallest structure when I arrived here in 1961.
<CIBC – solid as a rock>
The New York Times correspondent in Canada – IAN AUSTEN – wrote “regardless of the outcome, the announcement that the city remains a contender, shows how much progress TORONTO and the surrounding region, have made in establishing themselves as a major technology centre.”
TORONTO has two important virtues, in addition to becoming a technology hub. One is Canada’s immigration policy. Mayor JOHN TORY said when he was in New York recently, he found American executives were very interested in Canada’s unlimited visa program for certain skilled workers. Visas are granted at lightning speed, compared with the complicated American system.
TORONTO’s second asset is its publicly funded university and college system. The University of Waterloo has long been recognized as a top technology school; the University of TORONTO is a major centre for research in Artificial Intelligence. The province of Ontario has increased funding for AI programs by $30-million CAD.
TORONTO’s bid proposes several potential sites for HQ2, among them the largely abandoned Docklands <ABOVE> that will include a forthcoming Google-related technology redevelopment. “We don’t know what they’re expecting from us,” said the mayor. “There has been no playbook or playoff schedule supplied to the 20 finalists.”
We’re up against stiff competition for a second AMAZON headquarters (HQ2). On the short list – Columbus, Indianapolis, Chicago, Denver, Nashville, Los Angeles, Dallas, Austin, Boston, New York City, Newark, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Montgomery County, Raleigh, Northern Virginia, Atlanta, Miami and TORONTO.
“Today (January 18/2018) we are announcing the communities that will proceed to the next step in the HQ2 process. Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough – all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity.” – AMAZON
AMAZON expects to invest over $5-billion in construction and grow HQ2 by as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs. It will be fully equal to SEATTLE’S HQ1. As well, tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in investments in the surrounding community would no doubt follow.
In the second and final round, AMAZON representatives will communicate directly with finalist cities. It will be their opportunity to be even more outspoken on why they should be chosen. The winner will be selected before year’s end.
MAYOR JOHN TORY – “We’ve made the playoffs. There’s lots more work to do to win the Amazon HQ2 bid . . . We are excited to have this opportunity to be able to tell TORONTO’s unique story.”
CANADA’s largest city is far less dense than other global metropoli around the world. Which means there’s space for more affordable housing and room to grow, according to Josef Filipowicz (senior policy analyst) & Kenneth P. Green (Senior Director, Fraser Institute).
To accommodate the thousands moving into TORONTO’s core, the city has been building way up, and some neighbourhoods are packed with high rises. But, according to a story in MACLEANS, by comparison, we are not dense.
As a major centre of finance, media and industry, TORONTO’s peers include New York City and Chicago. New York is more than twice as dense as T.O. and Chicago, despite a shrinking population, remains 3.1% more dense than this city.
In the above graph published in MACLEANS – PARIS is #1 with very high population density; TORONTO, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and Mississauga are among the lowest. New York is in between.
MACLEANS’ article – http://www.macleans.ca/opinion/toronto-and-vancouver-have-room-to-grow-up-and-more-affordable/