It’s a time of Transition in Toronto. Transitions due to municipal and provincial elections. Transitions due to Covid. And transitions in general.
The Premier — who could not somehow find time to attend the Emergency act hearing or even certain sessions of the legislature — has managed to insert himself into city politics once again. (More on that here). I honestly think the guy would prefer to be a strong mayor of Toronto vs premier of Ontario. Anyway, that’s all going to lead to some transition.
Even with new powers the Premier has provided him, it will be a challenge for the current mayor, revenue-wise. He has new home sales dropping to a historic low and home prices overall dropping dramatically. In terms of commercial real estate, we have Toronto workers still avoiding downtown, which is going to have an impact there. Things are tough. Let’s face it: there’s only so much money that can be raised from utilities.
Perhaps the fact that people are spending more time at home is the reason why people living in Toronto are feeling more socially isolated than ever before. I was feeling that way too, but lately I’ve been going out more and I am starting to feel more connected to the city. Can I recommend you find a friend and check out one or more of the 50 restaurants in Toronto with breathtaking interior design? I’ve been to several: it’s uplifting to go to them. Or maybe do something simpler but still great, like hitting up one of the many great dumplings places we have in the city. If you do the latter, head over to your favorite book store and pick up this fun anthology on dumplings by some fine Canadian writers: “What we talk about when we talk about dumplings”.
Or maybe you just want to get out and move. If you can skate, head down to Union Station, which is getting a free outdoor skating rink and it’s big! Winter is coming: choose to enjoy it.
Getting around the city, you’ll notice more and more people on transit. I have. Sadly, we’ve lost one of my favorite tools for that: the Rocketman app. We need more good transit tools. Among other reasons, we are going to be getting more transit, such as the new Ontario line. Good to see the TTC continue to improve. Even old stations like Yonge and Bloor are getting upgrades.
Indigo is also getting upgraded with new coffee shops going in where the old Starbucks used to be. I miss the original cafes that Indigo first had: they served wonderful soup, among other things. But I’m glad there will be places for refreshments in the bookstore chain.
Other things getting improved: the park in my area. On one hand, I think improvements are great. On the other, the constant change / upheaval in my area can get to one (i.e., me). But hey, that’s Toronto. Nothing stays the same, not even the old Canadian Tire on Yonge north of Bloor. I mean look at that development.
Improvements are important though. It’s better for someone like IKEA to build new stores in places like a former Sears location, then for things to just be boarded up. It’s not a bad thing Toronto has the means to change and improve.
Still, it’s good to be reminded of the way things were. This piece on what Mirvish Village looked like in Toronto before it was demolished does that. I miss that area. Likewise, this visual history of Kensington is great. Heck, even this look at the soon to be vanishing pay phones is good.
Lots of change is happening in Toronto, and much of it is good. Here’s to the vibrant city I call home. Cheers!
(Images: all links to blogTO. Top: proposed new development on Canadian Tire. Middle: dumpling resto. Bottom: Mirvish Village.)