Toronto, Capital of North America?

Discussion in 'Toronto Issues' started by Ladies Mile, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. Ladies Mile

    Ladies Mile Active Member

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    The North American continent appears to be entering a twilight of cities past anything Jane Jacobs could have foreseen. I don't see any reason to think that Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Memphis, New Orleans, Montreal or any of a hundred smaller American and Canadian cities will do anything other than fall further and further into complete decay; centers such as Boston, Portland and San Francisco are barely holding steady numbers; New York and Los Angeles face the challenges of decaying infrastructure and growing social disorder; cities in Mexico are arguably in even worse shape; and most Canadian and American cities with healthy growth are dependent on commodities economies (Houston, Calgary).

    Is Toronto, with diverse economic growth, social stability and riding an even-handed development wave, positioned to become the alpha city for the whole continent? (Before we get the chorus that New York is bigger, let me remind you that Sao Paulo is bigger than New York and no one, not even the Brazilians, would posit that it is more important for that reason alone.)

    Yes, the above is hyperbole to an extent. But it may be less and less so if the global economy goes into another slump.
     
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  2. voxpopulicosmicum

    voxpopulicosmicum Senior Member

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    Rather optimistic about Toronto, I'd say. What jobs are people going to do? On what basis will the progressive citizens be able to assert control over their politicians? What will stop the US's benighted, armed hordes (or their feudal overlords) from ransacking our hinterlands and starving us? Why won't our growing inequality lead to armed camps and authoritarianism?
     
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  3. Lenser

    Lenser Senior Member

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    Yeah. Nothing intrinsically magical about Toronto that will grant it immunity from the same factors ailing other North American cities. All we have to do to screw things up is get complacent and think we're number one.
     
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  4. Ladies Mile

    Ladies Mile Active Member

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    The decay of the cities won't necessarily mean the complete decay of everything--simply that money will be more and more suburbanized and gated. Detroit is about as bad a place can be that is not actually a war zone but there is a lot of money int he suburbs and there are no torch-waving peasants as of yet.

    Toronto may be one of a mere handfuls of healthy urban zones.
     
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  5. Irishmonk

    Irishmonk Senior Member

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    Well, most New Yorkers probably never even think of Toronto unless the Jays or Raptors happen to be playing there. Same probably goes for just about all of the U.S. except maybe upstate N.Y. It's pretty tough to be a capital of a continent that barely recognizes your existence.

    But, that would still be true even if everything was looking rosy for this city. Unfortunately, like it or not, Toronto is stuck in a province and a region that is only just beginning it's long, slow, possibly irrevocable decline. Western Canada is growing much faster the East and is quickly supplanting Toronto as the destination of choice for immigrants - who are the only reason Toronto is growing at all.

    Toronto can hang on to the fact that it is still the financial, media and cultural capital of Canada and will be for the forseeable future. But that's not enough to draw ahead of large, fast growing American cities like Miami, Atlanta or Dallas, let alone New York or L.A. (Oh, yeah, and Chicago - didn't we used to have some sort of inferiority complex with them? Whatever happened to that?)

    Sorry to be gloomy, but I'm just not optimistic about Toronto's potential world beating greatness. I'll be happy if the city can hang on to whatever status it's attained now, because, frankly, this is about as good as it's going to get. Which isn't that bad. No need to pump us full of massive expectations that can't be fulfilled. Let's be thankful we're not Cleveland and leave it at that.
     
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  6. ladyscraper

    ladyscraper man alive

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    Personally, I've been shocked at how fast LA has replaced NYC as the US city that everyone talks about worldwide. I really hate LA so I think it's a shame but that is beside the point. New York's place as the top US city in the average person's mind is gone.

    Maybe Calgary will do that to Toronto in Canada? haha
     
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  7. Memph

    Memph Active Member

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    I guess it's possible some of the sunbelt will slow down (many already have) due to water shortages and energy costs. However, I don't see Toronto ever surpassing Chicago or New York in economy. I could also see cities like Montreal, Philadelphia, Washington and Boston starting to rise up the ranks of North American cities. I don't think Calgary will ever surpass Toronto in terms of importance, although I can see it reducing the gap.
     
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  8. nfitz

    nfitz Superstar

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    New York ... no I don't see that either, short of someone nuking the city. But Chicago? Haven't we been closing in on Chicago economy-wise for a long time? (I ask without digging through any data).
     
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  9. Memph

    Memph Active Member

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    I'm not sure if we're closing in on Chicago, but they're still quite far ahead so at the very least, we won't pass them for a while.

    2008 numbers according to: https://www.ukmediacentre.pwc.com/imagelibrary/downloadMedia.ashx?MediaDetailsID=1562

    Chicago
    GDP: $574 billion
    Population: 9.07 million

    Toronto
    GDP: $253 billion
    Population: 5.29 million
     
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  10. Tewder

    Tewder Senior Member

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    North American cities are dying because we've lost our manufacturing sector, literally gave it away! The west will hold on because of the resources there, and no other reason.
     
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  11. kkgg7

    kkgg7 Banned

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    Nobody says population determines city power. What's important is NYC's economy is almost four times than of Sao Paulo, and similar to the total of next three largest economies (Los Angeles, Chicago and Mexico City) in North America.

    No, NYC's absolute dominance is not going to be undermined any time soon.

    Boston and San Francisco barely held their numbers. It seems Toronto wasn't that impressive according to the latest census either.

    I think Toronto's current goal should be to catch up with cities like Chicago, in terms of economic power (let's not bring up the "quality of life" argument here since it is completely irrelevant). Chicago is still ahead of us by a sizable distance believe it or not.
     
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  12. TrickyRicky

    TrickyRicky Senior Member

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    Let's focus on getting Toronto's unemployment rate down to the 6% mark first shall we? On demographics I think it is inevitable that L.A. will become the largest city in the U.S.

    In Canada I think people mis-interpret "the rise of the west" demographic trend. The rise of the west does not mean the West becoming the centre of Canada. The rise of the west means having a more distributed regional urban network like they do in the United States. New York or L.A. are much less important domestically to the United States as Toronto is to Canada. Perhaps in the future Toronto will be less important domestically as now. I am less interested in this as how is the average standard of living of those people who do live here?

    Also, kkg7 Toronto proper adding 100,000 people in the last census is kind of impressive. It's not easy to add 100,000 people into an existing urban built form. To me it is more impressive that Toronto added 100,000 people into an existing urban built form than the fact that milton grew by 50+%
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
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  13. nfitz

    nfitz Superstar

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    Based on the population figures, the Chicago population is based on a much larger geographical area around the city than Toronto, which includes parts of Indiana and Wisconsin! Not an apples to apples comparison. I'm not sure if the GDP is based on those numbers or not.

    But either way, still looks like we've got a way to go yet. Though the collapse of the US dollar since 2008 would also change the results some.
     
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  14. denfromoakvillemilton

    denfromoakvillemilton Senior Member

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    Toronto needs to become that capital of the great lakes, form close relationships with Milwaukee, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Toledo, Grand Rapids, Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Madison, Lasing etc.

    And yes LA is the number one city people talk about. It is what it is.
     
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  15. denfromoakvillemilton

    denfromoakvillemilton Senior Member

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    This is key and will be a problem for thr first half of this century. China is the power. The US is done when Obama leaves office IMO.
     
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