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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered



  1. On a quick view of Official Plan Amendment 320, it looks like it mostly reinforces the already existing protections for existing neighbourhoods baked into the official plan back when it was first created in the early 2000s.

    A key reason for the amendment was enabling intensification and more uses in existing tower neighbourhoods – part of the tower renewal project, a good thing – but it seems the quid pro quo was making it even more difficult to intensify in house-based neighbourhoods.

  2. The answer will be found in diverting a far greater number of new immigrants to other regions of this huge country, the Toronto region cannot continue to absorb so many people without the whole thing falling apart.

  3. Well, this tells it like it is!

    Low and mid-rise can make a very pleasing mix. It’s interesting that a suburban place like Richmond Hill has a pleasing mix of mid-rise and low-rise housing along parts of the west side of Yonge Street, north of Major McKenzie. I think the mid-rise has not lowered property values for the low rise blocks. Not without battles of course from low-rise residents over the years.

  4. This is a bit off topic but it does have to do with rental housing.
    Since I moved to Toronto over 30 years ago, I have heard repeatedly that renters don’t vote.
    Ask most renters if they pay property taxes they will say either that they don’t , or they don’t know.
    Renters are disengaged from the political process because they don’t think they have any skin in the game.
    A simple suggestion is to require that on every rent reciept that the tax portion is on a separate line . That includes the tax applicable to their own suite and the their share of the tax applicable to common areas.
    Once a year , maybe at the end of the City’s fiscal year a total of all the tax paid would be sent to every renter household.
    When renters find out they pay a higher tax rate than home owners in the City they will have the information to become engaged and possibly start up neighbourhood renters associations , to compliment the homeowner associations in parts of Toronto.
    Then and only then will the voices of all Torontonians be heard

  5. I understand the reason people want some protection for existing character of neighbourhoods. The city hasn’t had a good record on that front. But we do need to find housing for regular people. The main streets are all candidates for renewal. Every main street should be open to mid-level housing. The parts of the city where that exists are some of the best places in the city. The lower end of Ossington and a lot of Queen East are starting to feel really good. And even the Queensway is starting to feel like a bit of a place. No one should have a problem with that. The big problem is that new apartments are worth anywhere up to $2000/ft. You can build all the housing in the world but if a small 2 bedroom apartment costs $1,000,000 you haven’t solved anybody’s problems (except Brad Lamb’s). So many of the condos being built are depressing little AirBnB boxes meant to be investment vehicles, not actual homes. So while I applaud the sentiment, I’m not sure how solve the bigger issues. The city can’t build housing for the huge numbers of refugees, people in need of assisted living accomodation, and all the other people who need access to public housing. I’m not sure how we provide a way for the hundreds of thousands who don’t qualify for support to stay in the city. Maybe unlocking the main streets will bring the average cost per foot for apartments down. Maybe mandating minimum sizes and raising the percentage of 2 and 3 bedroom apartments on the these streets will make them more suitable to community building.

  6. Many of these new residents will not be immigrants at all, but just part of the urbanization process that is happening around the world. (Just google “world urbanization”). The mayor suggests a half million over 20 years? Other experts suggest it’s happening at a rate of 50-100,000 a year now.
    M.J. How would you “divert”? We will have to keep absorbing; we humans are in a major transition, and must adapt in many ways — or possibly perish. Those of us who were lucky enough to find our wonderful old neighbourhoods “back when”, have to stop trying to keep it all for ourselves and face the reality of sharing.