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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Tuesday’s Headlines

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Mayoral Race
• Labour Day march was Pantalone’s party, unions say [ Toronto Star ]
• Was Rob Ford underestimated? ‘A big resounding yes’ [ Toronto Star ]
• New blood for city hall [ Toronto Star ]
• Imaginary hot dog seller thinks Ford can’t cut the mustard [ Globe & Mail ]
• This is why I’m voting for Rob Ford [ Globe & Mail ]

Air Show
• Protesters want ‘outdated’ air show grounded [ Toronto Star ]
• Fiorito: It’s time we killed the air show [ Toronto Star ]

• Hamilton: I’m still looking for a smart transit plan [ Toronto Star ]
• When does a 5-kilometre trek take 40 minutes? On the TTC [ Globe & Mail ]
• TTC increases service on busiest routes [ National Post ]

City Living
• Gang life allure: Drugs, fast money, easy sex [ Toronto Star ]
• Above the concrete jungle, green roofs you can eat [ Toronto Star ]
• Patio wars: Why doesn’t Toronto just wanna have fun? [ Globe & Mail ]
• Toronto the cool: Hip, urban youth bring new life to the core [ Globe & Mail ]

Other News
• Dimanno: Interlopers, but no dramatics at Labour Day love-in [ Toronto Star ]
• Massive fire leaves students homeless [ Toronto Star ]
• Pay-as-you-drive meter poised to enter market [ Toronto Star ]
• Lawyers question why Blair admitted G20 policing mistakes [ Globe & Mail ]
• Firefighters investigate College Street blaze [ National Post ]
• Citytv reporter leaves Toronto – accessibility an issue [ Toronto Sun ]
• The long wait in ER [ Toronto Sun ]


  1. I don’t have a link handy, but today’s the first day that the new DVP bus bypass lanes (between the 401 and Lawrence) are operational for GO Transit.

    A couple of editorials from the Star over the weekend:

    Bus lanes make sense

    No alternative to road tolls (notable in that it reverses the Star’s long-held position against road tolls.)

  2. Re: Fiorito: It’s time we killed the air show

    Let us face it, Fiorito is probably just unhappy with the noise (can I make a guess that he lives in one of those lakeshore condos). What a lame excuse to brand it as militarism to gain some moral high ground. Hey, you are talking about a festival in broad daylight, in the center of a mega-city, right next to a busy highway, and you expect it to be quiet? If you really cannot stand the noise, go to cottage country to find your tranquility (except that it may well be spoiled by speed boat joyriders).

    That said, the electrical car race idea isn’t bad at all, we should have that, and keep the air show as well.

  3. Yu: I believe Fiorito actually lives in a house in South Parkdale. Interesting that you jump to the conclusion that he must live in a condo. That probably says more about your own prejudices than anything else.
    I also live in South Parkdale and I can say that the noise from the air show is truly unreasonable. I understand that living in a downtown neighbourhood means putting up with noise, and I’m fine with that. I don’t complain about Caribana or the traffic jams or the streetcars that run all night or the unhinged people who yell obscenities in the street, but fighter planes directly over my house for four days straight are another matter altogether. And I couldn’t escape to cottage country, or anywhere else, because I have work to do and I work from home.
    Fiorito does go overboard with the rhetoric about militarism etc. I don’t have any big objections to the air show as such. If people want to look at planes doing tricks, that’s cool. But why do they have to do it in downtown Toronto, directly above some of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in the country? That just doesn’t make sense.

  4. Re College St. Fire.
    The commercial space will not be rebuilt without addressing the tax situation. Much like the properties left to rot on Spadina@Baldwin.

  5. Rather than reinvent the wheel, as is often the Torontonian way, let’s look at some other peer examples to see how they handle it:

    Chicago – air show held over residential waterfront
    SF – air show held over residential waterfront
    New York – air show held at state park waterfront outside city
    Houston – air show held at land airport outside city
    Melbourne – air show held at land airport outside city

    I would not disagree that most airshows are held at smaller airports in exurban surroundings; however, clearly there are still a number of cities with “downtown” airshows so Toronto is hardly an exception or a broken model. You could move the air show to Brampton or Hamilton airport, perhaps, and charge admission and include features like static aircraft displays (something not present at the CNE)… But as the airshow supports the CNE, and the CNE is vital to the city, it could be argued that the show’s disruptions are worth the benefit gained and if Chicago and SF can handle it, Toronto can too.

  6. Iskyscraper: If Chicago and San Francisco jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?

    I seriously don’t understand your argument. Because something exists in more than one place it must be okay? What kind of argument is that? Just think of all the outrageous things you could justify using that logic!
    Your point about the air show supporting the CNE is a good one. But the loss of the air show might actually be good for the CNE: it might force them to do something new and innovative.

  7. Personally I think it’s awesome that they hold it downtown where pretty much anyone has an opportunity to watch, for free even. Move it out to the suburbs and it becomes something you need a car and a wallet to access.

    Yeah it’s loud, but it’s no worse than a thunderstorm, with a few loud claps and roars and mostly a dull background noise. Definitely worth it.

    (For the record I live in Liberty Village, and I used to live in Parkdale, so I know how loud it is)

  8. I find it to be much more unpleasant than a thunderstorm. It’s weird, I know lots of people who are just as bothered by it as me, but then I see comments like this and hear people on the radio talking like the noise isn’t a big deal. Maybe different people just have different reactions to different kinds of noise, in which case we might just have to agree to disagree. I’d love to see the air show leave downtown, but clearly some downtowners feel differently. I’ll leave the crusading to Fiorito.

  9. James, sorry about the bad guess I made.

    Look, we are trying to make Toronto vibrant, that is why we need a lot of events and spectacles in our public space, and we need a variety of them, and preferably free for all. The air show is unique, it is free and it draws a lot of spectators. So I think it fits perfectly the bill that makes the city vibrant, and as James A said, the downtown location makes it very accessible.

    I understand some people in your neighbourhood find the noise unbearable. But some other people may find Caribana too loud as well. So if they protest and demand cancellation or move Caribana to somewhere nobody gets disturbed, what should we do? If we try to satisfy everybody’s sensitivity to noise, we might as well make the entire Toronto a giant suburb where nothing ever happens.

  10. James, to answer your question, yes, I would.  

    There is much to learn outside the 416.

  11. Re: “City TV Reporter leaves Toronto-accessibility an issue”
    I find that when it comes to accessibility and the TTC, the efforts of the last 15 years has been one of mixed results. For one thing, some might say its great that the bus fleet is close to full accessibility, but to ride one of them during rush hour can be a headache at best. Most of the accessible buses are now Orion 7s, which feature a narrow path at the front where people will crowd around, making entering and exiting the bus less than stellar. Many times these buses will be too crowded to accomodate a disabled passenger, so in many cases it can be a lose lose situation for both parties. I was also riding on a CLRV streetcar earlier today while I watched a number of senior women struggle climbing the stairs with their buggies full of groceries. I have felt sorry in the past to see the CLRVs go since they go back to my early childhood days but now I could care less (although there’s still a few more years to go before the new LRVs arrive).

  12. Yu: Personally I find the air show to be infinitely more grating and categorically different than Caribana, and I know lots of other people who feel similarly. But as I said in my reply to the other James, I’m willing to consider the possibility that this sentiment is not as widespread as I had initially assumed. Short of a binding referendum, we’ll never know who speaks for the majority on this issue. (Also, sorry if I came across as kind of snarky about your condo swipe. It’s kind of a bugbear of mine.)

    Iskyscraper: I’m well aware that there’s much to learn outside the 416 and I wholeheartedly agree that Toronto should be less inward looking. But any given issue needs to be evaluated on its own terms; holding a popularity contest is not sufficient. Saying “other cities are doing X” proves nothing. You can always find examples of other cities that are doing X, whatever X might be. In the 50s and 60s cities all across North America were destroying their downtowns and building grotesque expressways. It was popular, but maybe not such a hot idea.

  13. So the Air Show is supposed to support the CNE, right? How much money does the Air Show bring to the CNE? How much money does the CNE bring to the city? How much of that money goes to services used by city residents, hundreds of thousands of whom put up with the ridiculous noise pollution? I want to know the cost-benefit analysis that makes this worthwhile, because I don’t see it.

    I also don’t get why real estate as valuable as the CNE grounds gets to sit mostly idle through the year so that the vast parking hellhole is there for 905ers a few weeks of the year. Yeah, keep all the heritage buildings and venues that actually get regular use there, but sell off the acres of parking. Oh no! Where will people park? I have an argument about good cities having good transit and poor parking, but if you haven’t bought it yet, you are a true Ontarian.

  14. I’m surprised Marcus Gee’s “I don’t have anything to write so I’ll invent an imaginary friend” article didn’t attract more attention. What a waste of a position in a national newspaper.