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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Nathan Phillips Sq. and a GTA transit authority

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Two items from the Saturday edition of the Toronto Star:

1. Nathan Phillips Square renovations: In the words of city councillor, and vice chair of the city’s budget committee, Joe Mihevc, “We can decide to fix the leaks, and put cement in the cracks and just tread water with what we have. Or we’ll decide to rethink our front yard with a new vision. We can decide to swim.” City council has decided to fund $16 million worth of fixes to the square, and hope to get another $24 million to help re-think the entire plaza of city hall. There is talk that the $24 million could come from private money, which I think would be a mistake. The largest open square in Toronto, our icon to the world, should not be something that you put up for sale. I recognize the City is strapped for cash, but looking for corporate sponsors like councillor Doug Holyday suggested is crass and sends absolutely the wrong message of what Toronto is all about. Read more about the situation by clicking here.

2. The Greater Toronto Transit Authourity? Kevin McGran reports today, “Forgive us, but we’ve been down this road before: committees, panels, boards, authorities, all formed with the good intention of trying to sort out what’s in the best interest in terms of the planning and transportation needs of the Greater Toronto Area. All died. They were toothless, powerless to invoke real, lasting change…. George Puil, first chairman of Vancouver’s innovative Trans Link, shakes his head in wonder. ‘I was brought out to Toronto and spoke to all of your mayors and chairs. What I saw was homes being built on 25-foot lots using farmland and there was no transportation plan whatsoever. The sprawl was incredible. I just gave them holy hell. I was just appalled at what I saw when I went there.'” Read all about it here.