- Torontoist takes on Galen Weston and the $15 minimum wage and poverty in Toronto (and Loblaw's contribution to said).
- At the Toronto Star, Shawn Micallef describes how high property values in Toronto discourage open-air parking lots.
- Noor Javed looks, in Toronto Star, at the question of who authorized the cathedral elevated cow statue in Cathedraltown, in Markham.
- The Star's Fatima Syed shares some old memories of Torontonians of the Centreville carousel, soon to be sold off.
- At The Globe and Mail, Dakshana Bascaramurty takes a look at Jamaican patois, Toronto black English, and the many complex ways in which this language is received.
- Worrying about the relationship of Toronto and nuclear weapons seems very 1980s. What's old is new again, as noted at NOW Toronto.
- Steve Munro points out that talk of a fare freeze on the TTC ignores the underlying economics. Who, and what, will pay for this?
- It's nice that the Little Free Pantry is being supported, as Global News observes, but what does it say about our city that this is a thing?
- Clifton Joseph notes the Toronto Caribbean Festival has never achieved its goals of emancipation. Cue Bakhtin ...
- Global News notes the new Drake music video promoting his OVO Fest store at Yorkdale. I should go.
- Torontoist takes issue with the positive take CBC provided of Blue Jays beer-thrower Ken Pagan, softpeddling racism.
- Councillor Shelley Carroll does a great job deconstructing "Stepgate". (You get what you pay for, to start.)
- House of Lords, a hairdressing shop a half-century old on Yonge below Bloor, is set to close. The Toronto Star's Jaren Kerr reports.
- Mayor John Tory would like to freeze TTC fare increases for 2018. Can his government pull it off? The Toronto Star's Ben Spurr reports.
- Rents in Toronto are near the level of Brooklyn, two thousand per one bedroom, and tenants are desperate.
- This U>long-form CBC article looking at Ken Pagan, the man who became infamous through his beer can toss, has insight.
- I like Christopher Hume's article describing changes of zoning around apartment highrises, to allow shops.
- John Lorinc's suggestion that taxes collected from foreign buyers be put towards social housing is provocative.
- Robert Zunke is the man, sometime construction worker, assembling shrines on the Leslie Street spit.
- Torontoist describes Blockobana, the queer black space at this year's Toronto Caribbean Festival.
I stopped off at the Coffee Time on the northeast corner of Dupont and Lansdowne this afternoon en route to Big on Bloor Festival, picking up a jumbo coffee and a beef samosa before I veered south onto Lansdowne towards Bloordale. I blogged about this restaurant and its (to my mind) unfairly grim reputation. (My Flickr link is here.) This time, as I approached the restaurant from the east, I saw the Food Basics grocery store lying just to the west, I thought about the controversy around this store and its neighbourhood.
This Food Basics is an anchor store for the Fuse Condos development, on the northwest of Dupont and Lansdowne. This new grocery store opening was welcome by some, who saw no reason this store could not co-exist with the FreshCo in the Galleria Mall just a few minutes east at Dupont and Dufferin. To some, this was a betrayal: Fuse Condos had produced a Metro grocery store, a higher-end grocery store with more selection, and some buyers were quite upset. There was even a petition calling for a Metro.
All this was satirized in The Beaverton, and aptly analyzed in the Toronto Star by Edward Keenan. Keenan pointed out that this behaviour was wildly out of place given the decidedly working-class nature of Wallace Emerson. Food Basics, obviously, got installed regardless.
Still: how long will this neighbourhood, this cluster of west-end neighbourhoods, remain what it has been? I wonder.
- blogTO notes apartment complexes will soon be rezoned to allow them to host more businesses.
- Torontoist's Tamara Yelland argues against Matt Gurney's dismissive take that people who can't afford Toronto housing should go.
- Global News reports on the bidding wars for condo rentals in Toronto.
- At CBC, Doug George-Kanentiio argues in favour of renaming Ryerson University, perhaps giving it a First Nations name.
- The Toronto Star's Martin Regg Cohn reflects on his experiences around the world, seeing statues to past regimes taken down.
The Coffee Time restaurant located at 1005 Lansdowne Avenue, on the northeastern corner of Lansdowne and Dupont, has long had a bit of a scary reputation. The restaurant's lone reviewer at Yelp rates it only one star, noting that the crowd hanging out here, in a traditionally poor neighbourhood close to apartment towers once linked to crime including drugs and prositution, is "interesting."
The transformation of the neighbourhood into one populated by tall condos and relatively affordable rentals is ongoing. Will this Coffee Time survive, or will its legacy be reduced to passing mentions in archived discussion threads about a neigbourhood transformed beyond recognition, like here and here? And what will become of the crowd?
- Steve Munro shares photos of the ongoing reconstruction of Dundas and Victoria, on the 505 Dundas streetcar route.
- blogTO notes that the steady increase in rental prices in Toronto came to a halt this month.
- John Lorinc at Spacing starts a series speculating on the safety of Toronto hi-rises for seniors.
- Torontoist reports on the achievements and the controversy of a feminist street art event in Parkdale.
- John Michael McGrath argues at TVO that leaving Toronto for Ontario cities with cheaper housing misses the issue of jobs. For starters.
- Michelle McQuigge looks at how the CNIB is helping make Yonge and St. Clair accessible to the blind.
- In The Globe and Mail, Erik Heinrich looks at how a mid-rise office tower at 1133 Yonge Street is being transformed into condos.
- The Toronto Star reports that the condo/hotel tower at 325 Bay Street no longer bears the name of Trump. Toronto is free!
- The end of the Palace Arms rooming house at King and Strachan, Christian Controneo notes at Torontoist, must be seen as terrible for the people who live there.
- blogTO notes that E. Coli levels on mainland Toronto beaches make them unsafe for swimmers. No lake water this year!
- blogTO notes that Montréal architect Claude Cormier, designer of HTO and Berczy, will next do a cat-themed park.
- What will happen to the legal records of those convicted of marijuana-related charges once legalization comes? The Toronto Star considers.
- NOW Toronto reviews a new exhibit of First Nations-oriented work at the AGO.
- NOW Toronto features an article showing how Toronto startup Wattpad is making celebrity fanfic (among other things) economically lucrative for writers.
- Torontoist considers the idea of laneway suites as a way to deal with the city's housing crisis.
- In an old NOW Toronto article from March, Lisa Ferguson writes about how a neighbourhood land trust hopes to control prices in Parkdale.
- The Globe and Mail's Jill Mahoney and Justin Giovannetti note a recent study suggesting that less than 5% of home sales in the Toronto area are to foreign buyers.
- The Globe and Mail's Carolyn Ireland notes that, in a fluctuating market, homeowners are caught between pressures to buy and to sell.
- NOW Toronto's Sheila Block argues that, among others, the Bank of Canada needs to prepare for a housing crash.
- The Toronto Star's Jennifer Pagliaro notes that Toronto Community Housing has been ordered to close no more units. No word on where the money will come from.
- Steve Munro shares some vintage photos of TTC streetcars from Canada's centennial in 1967.
- Spacing Toronto's Chris Bateman describes how the Toronto Islands became a test-bed for architectural modernism.
- Global News notes the proposal for a hovercraft service across Lake Ontario, connecting Toronto with Niagara.
- The Toronto Star's Emily Mathieu notes that a Kensington Market apartment complex made into a ghost hotel has been temporarily shut down by Airbnb.
- NOW Toronto's Paul Salvatori has a touching photo essay on the Palace Arms, a soon-to-be-gone rooming house at King and Strachan.
- blogTO notes the ridiculous costs associated with Presto installation on TTC vehicles. Why are we using it?
- The Toronto Star's Ben Spurr notes that the Ontario government is subsidizing the Union-Pearson Express to the tune of $C 11 per passenger. (This is an improvement.)
- Steve Munro reports on the causes of and dynamics of noise generation on the 514 Cherry streetcar route.
- CP24 notes that the City of Toronto has lost $C 5 million so far thanks to the flooding on the Toronto Islands, mostly from lost ferry revenue.
- Alex Bozikovic notes in The Globe and Mail that the Toronto waterfront is going to receive more than a billion dollars in funding for flood protection.
- Andrea Houston at Torontoist argues that anger is a perfectly appropriate response to the suffering and death of the homeless of Toronto.
- Daily Xtra notes that, in the 1930s, the shops of Yonge and Dundas supported a queer community. The tours described sound interesting.
- Torontoist's Tricia Wood arguesthat the proposed high speed rail route in southern Ontario is wasteful spending, reflecting a two-tier transit network.
- Steve Munro crunches data on the Queen Street route to find that buses have an advantage over streetcars.
- The Toronto Star's Ben Spurr notes that the TTC is planning to noticeably expand its express bus network.
- NOW Toronto's Lisa Ferguson writes about potential NIMBYism in the opposition to new high-rises in High Park.
- The CBC u>notes the consensus that the new Ontario minimum wage will not hurt the economy, overall, but provide a mild boost.
- The Toronto Star notes that, from 2019, analog television broadcasts will start ramping down.
- The Toronto Star notes that high prices in Ontario's cottage country are causing the market to expand to new areas.
- Gizmodo reports on one study suggesting that Proxima Centauri b does have the potential to support Earth-like climates.
- Gizmodo notes one study speculating on the size of Mars' vanished oceans.
- Quartz reports on how one community in Alaska and one community in Louisiana are facing serious pressures from climate change and from the political reaction to said.
- CBC notes an oil platform leaving Newfoundland for the oceans.
- Torontoist's Tamara Yelland reports on the intensification of the rent strike in Parkdale aimed against Metcap.
- The Toronto Star's Tess Kalinowski notes that the market for detached homes in Toronto is facing unmanageable levels of demand.
- Torontoist's David Stokes makes the case that suburbs should allow homes in residential districts to be converted into businesses.
You’ll never have to spend 20 minutes trying to find your friend in Trinity-Bellwoods Park again.
New York-based cartographer (and former Toronto Star employee) William Davis loves Toronto, and so he knows this is one of the city’s great summer frustrations. It’s because of the geographically complicated, but very popular park, that he and Tom Weatherburn made an interactive map for Torontonians to share their location.
All users need to do is drag and drop a “here” pin on a map of the park. It can be accessed for free at the MapTO website, a personal project with Weatherburn that features quirky and interesting maps on a variety of city subjects.
The Trinity-Bellwoods map is overlaid with easy-to-read icons, including a dog at the dog bowl, a baseball at the baseball diamond, and beer mugs where people like to hang out.
Half of Toronto Community Housing developments will be in “critical” condition in the next five years without additional funding for repairs, according to an internal database provided to the Star.
Already, the data shows more than 30 social-housing properties are in serious disrepair. Of 364 developments — which include houses and groupings of low-rise buildings and towers — 222 developments are ranked in “poor” condition, with dozens edging on critical condition, based on a standard ranking used by the housing corporation.
Those critical sites are homes for more than 3,000 individuals and families.
The data shows a pervasive problem at a time when the city is grappling with how to keep thousands of units open with a $1.73-billion funding gap.
Of the 364 developments, more than 100 were offloaded onto the city by the province more than a decade and a half ago without money needed to cover the repairs. Of the buildings in the critical and poor categories, more than a third were downloaded by the province.
Those affected by the lack of rent controls left young professionals, like reporter Shannon Martin, with no option but to turn to more extreme alternatives, such as couch-surfing.
Young people seeking more reliable housing options are turning to co-op housing—at least, those lucky enough to get a unit.
Toronto renter Donald Robert moved into Cabbagetown’s Diane Frankling Co-operative Homes in September 2016 and speaks highly of his experience.
Robert pays $1,300 for a large two-bedroom unit with access to an underground parking and a small gym, almost $500 cheaper than the average one-bedroom unit in Toronto. Robert explains that, “the best part though has been the community here. Everybody says ‘hi.’”
If you try to imagine your way back into the early 20th century streets and laneways of The Ward — the dense immigrant enclave razed to make way for Toronto’s City Hall — you might pick up the sounds of newsies and peddlers hawking their wares, the clanging of the area’s junk and lumber yards, and shrieking children playing on the Elizabeth Street playground north of Dundas.
Those streets would also reverberate day and night with a jumble of languages — Italian, Yiddish, Chinese. The dialects and accents of these newcomers were considered to be not only “foreign,” but also proof (to the keepers of Toronto’s Anglo-Saxon morality) of the area’s worrisome social and physical failings.
But despite the fact that many mainstream Torontonians saw The Ward as an impoverished blight on the face of the city, the neighbourhood resonated with energy and culture and music — evidence of the resilience of the stigmatized newcomers who settled there in waves from the late 19th century onward.
Photographers recorded fiddle players and organ grinders with their hurdy gurdies, playing as mesmerized children listened. After their shifts ended, one 1914 account noted, labourers whiled away their free times playing mandolins or concertinas as they sang rags and the Neapolitan songs so popular at the time.
“When sleep in crowded rooms seems all but impossible,” journalist Emily Weaver observed in The Globe and Mail in 1910, “the people of ‘The Ward’ are astir till all hours, and the Italians amuse themselves by singing in their rich sweet voices the songs of their far-away homelands or dancing their native dances to the music of a mandolin or guitar in the open roadway beneath the stars.”
As the mother of a 16-month-old boy, Michelle Usprech is looking to leave the Financial District where it’s just “suits and suits and suits,” for a more family friendly vibe, and she’s got her eye on Leslieville.
But one of Toronto’s most family-friendly neighbourhoods may be a victim of its own success as signs from the Toronto District School Board have cropped up, warning parents in Leslieville their children may not be able to attend their local school because of possible overcrowding, school board spokesperson Ryan Bird confirmed.
Those signs warn that “due to residential growth, sufficient accommodation may not be available for all students,” despite the school board making “every effort to accommodate students at local schools.”
[. . .]
It’s a concern for some parents, including Kerry Sharpe, who lives in Leslieville and has a four-month-old daughter named Eisla.
“It’s still early days for me,” she said, but, “it is a concern. Even daycare, that’s hard to get into, so I don’t see it getting any better.”
Toronto Life's Cody Punter shared brief interviews with a view of the people taking part in this month's rent strike in Parkdale.
On May 1, hundreds of people took to the streets of Parkdale to protest rent increases at a handful of apartment towers managed by MetCap, a major landlord in the neighbourhood.
Ontario law normally prevents landlords of pre-1991 buildings from raising rents by more than a low, guideline percentage every 12 months, but MetCap has applied to raise rents higher than the guideline in several of its Parkdale buildings. In response, some tenants are threatening a rent strike, during which they’ll withhold rent payments to MetCap until the company agrees to put a halt to future rent increases and address tenant grievances. We spoke with some MetCap renters in Parkdale to find out how they’re feeling about all this. (MetCap president Brent Merrill didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment.)
Bloomberg's Ken Chipman argues that rent control in Toronto risks shifting real estate development from rental units to condos.
Ontario’s government is set to impose the most sweeping rent controls in a quarter century, linking annual increases to inflation, with a cap of 2.5 percent, on all buildings as it tries to keep costs under control. The measure, meant to protect tenants from price gouging, could end up making it more -- not less -- expensive to rent in North America’s fourth biggest city.
The rules threaten to bring apartment construction to a halt, critics warn. At least one developer said he’s scrapping all rental projects in the pipeline. Others are considering doing the same. This risks worsening the rental-housing shortage and hurting those already priced out of the for-sale housing market, where prices are at a record high even as the troubles at mortgage lender Home Capital Group Inc. threaten to spill into the market.
Lamb Development Corp. had seven apartment buildings in the works in Ontario -- five in downtown Toronto -- before Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the expanded rent control on April 20, part of the province’s 16-point plan to cool scorching home price gains. The proposal calls for a rent cap on all units, not just those built before 1991 as mandated by current law.
“We won’t build these buildings as apartments. We will build condominiums,” said Brad Lamb, Lamb Development’s founder. “If you were to now ask 20 or 30 prominent developers about purpose-built apartments, they will tell you they are no longer viable in Toronto.”