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Sunday Supplement: A 2013 budget breakdown, a closer look at those yellow TTC barriers, and 80's synth on the subway

Posted by Chris Bateman / January 20, 2013

toronto crossing signToronto's budget discussions wrapped up for another year this week, with the city committing to $9.4 billion in spending from now until this time next year. The big headline out of the clamshell on the day the document was dissected by council was the approval of a 2 per cent property tax hike. Below are some handy charts and key figures to help make sense of the number as they relate to you.

Also this week, some high praise for Guillermo del Toro, an explanation of those little yellow fences found on the subway work, and a music video from Spoons to remind us of the TTC of old.

QUICK BUDGET HITStoronto mike del grandeThis week, council passed the city's 2013 operating budget, committing $9.4 billion to running the city over the next 12 months. 40 per cent of this year's cash will come from property taxes, which were raised 2 per cent - $49.65 on the average home - from last year despite a bizarre, half-hearted motion by councillor Giorgio Mammoliti to freeze taxes and generate revenue from a temporary floating casino.

A day after the meeting, the spending plan's architect, councillor Mike Del Grande, announced he was quitting the post of budget chief, seemingly over roughly $5 million in extra spending added by member motions prior to the final vote. Doug Ford, Del Grande's deputy, will temporarily chair the budget committee until a full-time replacement can be found.

Here are some spending numbers from the budget, courtesy of the city:toronto 2013 budget

  • $3.7 billion: Wage bill for 48,594 city staff
  • $1.6 billion: TTC
  • $1 billion: Police services
  • $415.4 million: Bank debt charges
  • $391.8 million: Parks and recreation
  • $175.9 million Emergency medical services
  • 180.6 million: Toronto Public Library
  • $3.1 million: Firefighting cuts prevention
  • $1.16 million: Student nutrition program expansion
toronto 2013 budget

PRAISING TORONTOtoronto pacific rim"I think it's the most livable city. The food is amazing, the cultural life is amazing, the urban life is amazing and what is great is it's a city, a proper city. It's not a big town or a wannabe. I love this city."

Guillermo del Toro, director of Pacific Rim (pictured above), the Toronto-shot monster movie, speaking with Toronto Star movies writer Linda Barnard.


These yellow fences appear behind the electrified third rail at all centre-platform stations on the subway network. In addition to providing a little decoration, the barriers shelter technical crews working at track level while trains pass since this type of station has no safe middle area that can be easily reached.toronto subway barrierBrad Ross from the TTC says the barriers also provide shelter to customers in an emergency. For the record, in the event of a fall, a button to shut down the power to the station can be found at either end of the platform and, if the barriers aren't accessible for any reason, there is also a small crawlspace under the platform.


Finally, thanks to Reddit, here's the video for Romantic Traffic by Canadian new wave synth pop band Spoons. The entire film was shot on the Toronto subway - mostly in Bloor station, though there are shots at Sheppard too - and includes several shots of the system's original red Gloucester trains. We've featured it before, but it's just so good we'll do it again.


Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Photo: City of Toronto, Chris Bateman/blogTO, "Toronto Doubles for Tokyo" by suesthegrl and "Deserted" by Joseph.Morris/blogTO Flickr pool.



Alex / January 20, 2013 at 10:26 am
$76,000 per year per city employee!?!?!?! Are you kidding me!?
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from Alex / January 20, 2013 at 12:00 pm
They have a union, they work long hours helping run the city, and they deserve every penny. So there.
Jon replying to a comment from Simon Tarses / January 20, 2013 at 12:20 pm
I agree they have a union. I agree they help run the city.
I do NOT agree they work long hours. They get over-time pay for every nano-second they work over the standard.
I do NOT agree they deserve every penny. 100k annually for skipping work supervising the TTC, anyone?
wage / January 20, 2013 at 01:32 pm
How skewed is that by high end? What do the bottom 80% make vs top 20%?
me / January 20, 2013 at 03:56 pm
Countdown for Simon to have another internet meltdown and start namecalling...........5....4.....3....2.........
Name / January 20, 2013 at 04:15 pm
Like job I've had, some people earn their pay and others don't. As an employee of the Toronto Public Library, I can tell you that a large majority of the staff work very hard, meanwhile a small majority (that cannot be fired due to union protection) make us all look bad and re-enforce the stereotype about union/city employees.
Name / January 20, 2013 at 04:16 pm
Re previous comment.

Correction: Small minority, not a small majority. Sorry!
me too replying to a comment from me / January 20, 2013 at 06:49 pm
the irony of your comment seems lost on you. lol
gregg / January 20, 2013 at 10:46 pm
The 1980's was Toronto's heyday...a shiny city of the future. Today it's reduced to a crumbling mess...the world's largest refugee camp crippled by toxic liberalism.
Jacob replying to a comment from gregg / January 20, 2013 at 11:51 pm
'80s Toronto. Full of parking lots and white people. Amirite?

I'm guessing you're a suburbanite.
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from me / January 21, 2013 at 03:46 am
I'm not going to be calling anybody names, just stating a fact, me. If you or whoever believes in all of the neocon anti-union bullshit can't see that fact because of said bullshit, that's your problem, not mine. Maybe, instead of getting pissy at city employees, you should be getting a union of your own at your work place and using it to get the raises in salary/wages that you want and need.
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from Jon / January 21, 2013 at 03:48 am
As I said to another poster, get a union of your own, or 'quit yer bellyachin' as Ann Landers used to say.
Polaris replying to a comment from Jacob / January 21, 2013 at 03:54 am
Close-they're a racist dunce who can't stop living in the past due to whatever personal malaise they're suffering now. So they project their bullshit about how Toronto is on others.

Kind of wish that there was a time machine for these kind of people, so that they could go back in time land live there-if only it were real...
Bobbo replying to a comment from gregg / January 21, 2013 at 08:58 am
@Jacob: You must be thinking of the 1960s when it was all old white people in Toronto.

@gregg: The 1980s were a happening time - Yonge St, Queen West & CityTV were the places to be, lots of new buildings were going up where there used to be nothing and nobody had to worry about the mayor crapping on everything. And the multicultural aspect of the city was pretty vibrant.

But it's still all those things, changed yes due to different times so I don't know what kind of apocalyptic scene you're seeing. Downtown is more vibrant than ever, formerly dead areas are coming alive (e.g. Queen W near Ossington, Queen E near Pape) and people are having good times at events, festivals and restaurants etc.

So, yeah the 1980s were a good time, but the city is still booming today.
me replying to a comment from Simon Tarses / January 21, 2013 at 09:15 am
Now you're assuming as I didn't say I agreed or disagreed with you or them. I've just noticed lately you've kind of went a little nuts on the namecalling and you never used to. I always found your comments well written and made their point even if I didn't agree with you. Whether I did or not didn't matter as you always made valid points. I was surprised actually at the sudden change in written personality.
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Jonathan / May 9, 2014 at 01:36 pm
Can we please switch the police budget for the ttc budget?
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