Saturday, November 1, 2014Light Snow 2°C
City

What traffic used to look like in Toronto

Posted by Chris Bateman / November 1, 2014

toronto traffic jamAlmost as long as there have been cars, there have been traffic jams in Toronto. Add road space and, like the ocean into a harbour, cars and vehicles arrive to fill it. It's been called the "fundamental rule" of traffic: greater road capacity leads directly to more cars and longer journeys.

With that thought it mind it should come as no surprise that Toronto's downtown streets have been a congested mess since before the 1930s, when people were driving Buick Series 40s and Plymouth Model 30Us and horse-drawn carts were still a relatively common mode of transportation.

To celebrate tonight's overnight lane closures on the Gardiner and the weekend shutdown of the subway between Eglinton and Bloor, here are some classic photos of Toronto traffic.

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City

10 lost Toronto buildings we wish we could bring back

Posted by Chris Bateman / October 31, 2014

toronto star buildingFor every preserved historic building in Toronto there have been many more lost to short-sighted planning or indifference. The mindset has changed in recent years--high-profile architects like Frank Gehry must bend their designs to incorporate protected structures and beloved neighbourhood edifices (sometimes) get gentrified--but there are still egregious losses and cases of unfortunate neglect (see Walnut Hall, George St. in general).

It's not practical to expect every pretty building erected in the City of Toronto to remain in perpetuity. This city is in a persistent state of flux, constantly making itself over, old giving way to new. In order to build many of the buildings mourned by this list, other, equally valuable landmarks had to make way. There would be no TD Centre, First Canadian Place, or City Hall in an alternate version of Toronto where these properties had survived.

Here are 10 buildings I would include in an impossible fantasy version of Toronto.

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City

10 signs you grew up in Scarborough

Posted by Bianca Venerayan / October 30, 2014

scarboroughAs someone who spent her youth in a suburban Scarborough home, I know I still show the quirks of an east-ender, despite having up and left. You can take the girl out of Scarborough but you can't take Scarborough out of the girl.

Here are 10 signs you grew up in Scarborough.

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City

New site mixes politics with apartment hunting

Posted by Derek Flack / October 29, 2014

nomad to apartmentsToronto's newest residential listings site has added a political dimension to apartment hunting, one that might appeal to those whose ideological allegiances are particularly important to them. Nomad TO, a recently launched site that's waded into the very competitive market of rental listings, hopes that by allowing users to search by mayoral election results, they'll set themselves apart in the crowd.

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City

10 lowlights from the Rob Ford mayoralty

Posted by Chris Bateman / October 29, 2014

Rob FordHas it been four years already? It seems like only yesterday we were outraged that Rob Ford had been photographed reading while driving at highway speeds on the Gardiner (folks, he was "busy," OK.) That was before the Garrison Ball, the crack cocaine scandal, and the conflict of interest trial. It was a simpler time.

Now that Ford is headed out of the mayor's office (but not city hall,) it's worth a look back on some of the most shocking moments of the most surreal mayoralty in the history of Toronto. If one thing's for certain, John Tory won't be anywhere near as entertaining.

Here are some of the most noteworthy lowlights from the Ford years.

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City

5 things Toronto could learn from Zurich

Posted by Chris Bateman / October 29, 2014

zurich skylineThe Swiss people's love of rules, order, and cleanliness is plainly evident in Zurich. It has its benefits: the trains run on time, its public transit functions like a well oiled machine, and the citizens get to have a direct say on important issues. The downsides: neighbours will snitch over minor garbage infractions, and various mundane activities are inexplicably banned on Sundays.

Ideologically speaking, Zurich is the polar opposite of Toronto. The city government is structured so that the position of mayor is largely ceremonial and matters of particularly vital importance trigger plebiscites, giving citizens a direct say in how the city operates, regardless of who is currently in the town hall. Likewise, fastidious urban planning has given Zurich a well-functioning, streetcar orientated transit system that would make a Toronto transit rider green with envy.

Here are five ideas Toronto could study in Zurich.

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