downtown Toronto noise

It could soon get a lot noisier at night in Toronto

New restrictions on maintenance work in Toronto's downtown core have people who live in the area concerned about how the heck they're going to sleep at night.

Mayor John Tory announced at a press conference on Wednesday that utility companies are now banned from conducting any planned work on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., pretty much anywhere south of Dundas Street between Bathurst and Jarvis Streets.

Work can still be done in parking lanes between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and in "off-peak directions" as determined by city staff.

It's all a part of Tory's greater plan to "get Toronto moving" — in this case by stopping hydro, cable and telephone trucks from clogging up traffic during peak business hours. 

The policy comes as welcome news to some downtown drivers and business owners, but others aren't thrilled about what this could mean for downtown living.

If utility companies and their subcontractors can't perform any non-emergency work during the day, they'll have to perform it at night or on weekends.

Spadina-Fort York MP Adam Vaughan calls this "unfair and wrong."

"Families downtown deserve to sleep too," he wrote on Twitter Wednesday. "We put up with nightclubs, road closures, late night garbage collection and more already.... It ignores the reality and tests the goodwill of downtown neighbourhoods."

Councillor Joe Cressy was similarly incensed.

"I am dumbfounded by this," he wrote in response to the mayor's announcement. "240,000 people live downtown and it is expected to double to nearly 500,000 people in the next 25 years."

"To think that the mayor can unilaterally announce that those residents will be subjected to overnight construction is totally & completely unacceptable."

Not everyone is opposed to the policy, though.

"I think every Torontonian has been frustrated by the fact that at all hours of the day they can suddenly come upon a utility truck doing work which in many, many cases is not emergency work," said Tory during his speech yesterday.

His spokesperson, Don Peat, told the Canadian Press that the city's noise bylaw will remain in place either way.

According to a tweet from Cressy this morning, Tory has been in touch with some of the concerned councillors about this issue since yesterday.

The mayor says he will "work with downtown councillors and residents to ensure this doesn't lead to non-essential overnight work."

Lead photo by

Ryan Bolton


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