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Toronto's scorecard for the 00s: (H)aught or Naught?


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Apr 29, 2007
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London, Ont
As this nameless, misbegotten decade staggers to a merciful close what are peoples' impressions of how Toronto fared throughout it all? Personally, I think Toronto has done rather well, despite numerous setbacks like Sars, Mel Lastman and the Great Recession. Here's my top 5 in each category:


David Miller (for his mayoring--not his hair)
the "Big Seven" superbuild projects: (AGO, 4SC etc...)
improved waterfront/Harbourfront
the endless real estate boom
decreasing crime rate


Mel Lastman
corporate losses (Eaton's, Imperial Oil, Inco, Nortel, ATI...)
Municipal strikes
the Great Recession

Discuss, disagree, add to the list...

(And for the pedants who insist that the decade ends next year, please hold your comments until next year;))


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May 1, 2007
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The Junction, Toronto
Some repetition, some new ones

Some positive developments:

  • We experienced a civic triumph: the opening of an entirely new subway line in 2002, a first in decades.
  • The late Pope John Paul II held his final World Youth Day here in 2002, with the final mass attracting upwards of 900000 people.
  • We opened the huge and very attractive new Terminal One at Pearson in 2004.
  • The decade was marked by significant renovations and expansions at prominent cultural institutions like the AGO and ROM designed by celebrated international architects. Local architects also produced quality work like the Gardiner Museum and National Ballet School.
  • A huge and sustained real estate boom brought many lucrative commissions to local architects, designers, and artists.
Some negative developments:

  • The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks resulted in stricter border security, discouraging some Americans from visiting. The CN Tower gained metal detectors. Men were arrested for conspiring to destroy landmarks in the city.
  • In 2006, the near mythic urban activist Jane Jacobs died in Toronto.
  • Though the Argos won the Grey Cup in 2004, prominent sports teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors, and Blue Jays did not win any championships.
  • Technocrats pushed forward a transit expansion plan with little rapid transit which was not effectively confronted.
  • Several prominent shootings in public places like that of innocent teenager Jane Creba in 2005 on Yonge Street and in a high school (Jordan Manners in 2007) made people more fearful of violent crime despite it statistically falling.


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Jan 6, 2009
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  • A property boom that has reshaped the city. While the results have not always been beautiful, the new projects have mostly been designed to improve the urban fabric (in sharp contrast to the last booms).
  • New and renewed landmarks, Four Seasons Centre, ROM, AGO, etc.
  • TTC ridership growing by 74 million rides per year, almost a 20% increase
  • The election of Miller and a city government that has focused on transit, urban development, and the environment.
  • The City of Toronto Act. It hasn't had much impact yet, but has given the city much more control over its own destiny.

  • The combination of Harris and Lastman meant the only major transit project completed in the 90s was a suburban stubway that didn't meet any of our biggest needs.
  • The decline and increasing poverty of the inner suburbs, areas not well served by transit or social services.
  • The continued sprawl of the outer suburbs, devouring prime farmland and creating ever more unsustainable communities.
  • An economic collapse that spared Toronto its worst, but whose impact on government finances will take many years to resolve
  • The election of Harper's Conservatives. Not only do they espouse values that have little support in Toronto, the government has failed repeated tests of basic honesty and competence.


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Apr 24, 2007
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Downtown Toronto
Good (many which continue into the next decade but have been announced or begun)

* Regent Park revitalization and expansion of affordable (and attractive) housing in Toronto
* Distillery District, East Bayfront & West Don Lands projects move toward fruition
* CAMH Queen Street rebuild begins
* Places of higher eduction expand
* Move Ontario 2020 announced
* CN Tower lights up
* Many outstanding projects built and announced/sold (especially in the cultural and mid-rise residential category including, but not yet mentioned, The National Ballet School & Residences)
* Yonge-Dundas Square
* Telus Tower!
* Maple Leaf Gardens is saved
* Union Station expansion/reno. begins
* MaRS launches (the bad: final phase mothballed)
* Nuite Blanche, Doors Open Toronto and Luminato bring out millions of people each year to celebrate the City and it's culture, mostly out of doors
* Mel Lastman retires & David Miller elected Mayor of Toronto, 2003

All 'round, it was a great decade for the City of Toronto and it's residents.


* Metropolis/Toronto Life Square/10 Dundas East
* Tourism and the live theatre scene plummets
* The Skydome is renamed Rogers Centre
* RoCP 1 & 2 completed
* Uptown, Carlton and Eglinton cinemas close
* Olympic Torch
* The CityPlace master-plan is, to a great extent, a failure this decade
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Apr 24, 2007
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The continued sprawl of the outer suburbs, devouring prime farmland and creating ever more unsustainable communities
On the other hand, this decade also saw things start to change in a meaningful and permanent way. The Oak Ridges Moraine is now protected, the Greenbelt has put limits on where growth can happen, and the Places to Grow Growth Plan is both requiring more intensification and changing the face of greenfield growth. That said, development takes years from concept to completion, so the effects of all this won't be fully felt for a while yet.


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Jan 4, 2009
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David Miller: Finally a mayor who cares about transit, walkable urban environments and the general quality of life in the city. He does have a temper, but I think that it's balanced out by his good qualities.
Waterfront: Went from being derelict to one of the most desirable areas of the city in which to live. Yes, it would be nice if some of that industry was still running to provide employment, but that aspect of globalisation is beyond the ability of a municipal government to deal with.
Sheppard Subway and Transit City: Yes, I know a large number of people don't like either of these, but the so called 'stubway' is actually quite useful in getting residents of those previously inaccessable areas (by transit) around the city. Transit City is another great development. The city simply can't afford new subways, and this is the next best thing, hopefully the added efficiency will encourage people to take transit in a way that buses don't.


Sprawl in the 905: I honestly don't understand why anyone would conciously want to live up there. Big box plazas with acres of parking lot, huge city blocks and endless bland subdivisions make for a completely uninviting experience, unless you drive an SUV everywhere. Yet Mississauga has over 700, 000 residents! Why!

SkyDome renamed Rogers Centre: Nuff Said.