3 comments

  1. I have a related rule, which is to have my phone ready when I’m driving and come to a long enough stop. Toronto really is spectacularly shabby and ugly for a city of its pretensions, so if I’m stopped on a high street I sometimes take a photo. The frontier-town overhead hydro infrastructure on major streets is like nothing I’ve seen anywhere else in the developed world. Add to that the general ugliness of the built environment and you get some interesting shots.

  2. Pman > The frontier-town overhead hydro infrastructure on major streets is like nothing I’ve seen anywhere else in the developed world. Add to that the general ugliness of the built environment and you get some interesting shots.

    Try visiting Japan. Notwithstanding the bright lights and relative continuity of form of some famous tourist areas like Ginza, Shinjuku, Shibuya, etc., many urban environments in Japan seems to be random mishmash of stuff, often in the “ugly” to “very ugly” range. Lots of grey and concrete and the overhead wires you mention. The mishmash seems to be the result of very permissive zoning, which allows you to build pretty much anything on your land (up to a certain height). This does mean there are some very creative and beautiful structures here and there, mixed in the crap.

  3. I agree with Pman as I like to photograph our hilariously dilapidated hydro infrastructure. And I would add to the mix our narrow and battered sidewalks, shoddy roads, laughable cycling infrastructure, poorly maintained parks and public spaces, generally terrible signage and awful street furniture (those garbage and recycling bins!). Did I mention the entirety of Dundas Square? And it’s not only heritage hydro poles on prominent downtown streets but the random rusty and/or abandoned poles that are found just about everywhere. The city looks shoddy and cheap no matter how many new buildings go up. It’s almost impossible to string more than a block or two of sustained attractiveness together. And believe me, I’ve tried.

    Colin’s response is typical. Any time you criticize anything in Toronto someone will inevitably chime in with “Well you should go to _________, they have terrible _________ too!” Rather than aspire to being the best Torontonians are always satisfied with being not the worst. This attitude ensures that Toronto will continue to be ugly well into the foreseeable future.

    But then again, if you want to see truly ugly, you should go to _________!

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