A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘ontario

[URBAN NOTE] “Spillover: when the city comes to the country”: Marcus Gee on Shelburne

leave a comment »

Marcus Gee’s extended feature in The Globe and Mail reports on how Shelburne, a farming town far to the northwest of Toronto that I frankly had never heard about before today, is starting to be overtaken by the effects of the Toronto real estate boom. That the return trip to Toronto for commuters is on the order of five hours is apparently not an issue for buyers.

The soaring new office and condominium towers of downtown Toronto have come to stand for the dynamism of Canada’s biggest city. But if you really want to understand the staggering growth of greater Toronto, don’t look up, look out – way, way out. Look at what is happening to tiny Shelburne, fully 100 kilometres from the city centre.

For generations, this was a sleepy farming community where everybody knew everyone. Farmers would drive their cattle down the muddy main street to board trains to Toronto slaughterhouses. Motorists on the road to the ski chalets of Collingwood or the beaches of Lake Huron would pass by with hardly a second thought.

Today, little Shelburne is the second-fastest-growing town in all of Canada.

New census figures show it grew 39 per cent between 2011 and 2016, second only to Blackfalds, Alta., near Red Deer, among municipalities with a population of at least 5,000 and located outside a major metropolitan area.

People from down the road are flocking to Shelburne (its official slogan: “A people place, a change of pace”) to take advantage of the fresh air, open spaces and house prices that are still in the realm of sanity. Some commute all the way to downtown Toronto and back, an odyssey that can take five hours, round trip.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 4, 2017 at 5:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “GO expansion could boost GTA property values”

leave a comment »

The Toronto Star‘s Tess Kalinowski reports on a study that suggests, plausibly enough, that increases in GO Transit rail service to outlying communities in the Greater Toronto Area will boost real estate prices there.

The plan to expand the GO train system to 15-minute, all-day two way service could increase some Toronto area property values up to 12 per cent.

It could also make housing up to 18 per cent more affordable in some areas of the region, according to a study of 773 communities commissioned by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

But maximizing those benefits depends on local municipalities making it attractive for commuters to get to the station, said the president of a data analytics company that studied the impact of GO’s Regional Express Rail (RER) expansion on Toronto region housing prices and affordability.

“While the GO station may be close to people it may not be accessible to them,” said Paul Smetanin, president of the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA).

Areas that stand to gain the most in terms of affordability from RER are those outside the city, places such as Barrie, Guelph, Hamilton and King.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 4, 2017 at 5:15 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “GTA home prices jump 27.7 per cent in a year”

leave a comment »

MacLean’s shares the Canadian Press’ report on the accelerating speed of real estate price increases in Toronto.

The average price of homes sold in the Greater Toronto Area last month soared 27.7 per cent compared with a year ago, the city’s real estate board said Friday.

The number of properties sold rose 5.7 per cent from February 2016, even though last year was a leap year which added an extra day of sales, the Toronto Real Estate Board said.

“The listing supply crunch we are experiencing in the GTA has undoubtedly led to the double-digit home price increases we are now experiencing on a sustained basis, both in the low-rise and high-rise market segments,” Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis, said in a statement.

“Until we see a marked increase in the number of homes available for sale, expect very strong annual rates of price growth to continue.”

The average selling price in the Greater Toronto Area hit $875,983 in February, while in the City of Toronto it was $859,186, an increase of 19.2 per cent. The MLS home price composite benchmark price for all communities measured by TREB was $727,300, up 23.8 per cent.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 4, 2017 at 4:45 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “How to reclaim Toronto’s origins”

leave a comment »

At the Unviersity of Toronto at Mississauga’s newspaper The Medium, Sabiha Shah discusses a recent lecture by Anishinaabe artist Susan Blight talking about ways Toronto can better engage with its living First Nations heritage.

Last Tuesday, Susan Blight delivered Hart House’s annual Hancock Lecture, titled “Land and Life in Tkaronto: New Solidarities Toward a Decolonial Future.” Blight is an Anishinaabe artist, filmmaker, arts educator, and activist from Couchiching First Nation. She is nationally recognized for her work in language revitalization. Blight is also a presidential appointee to the Hart House Board of Stewards, and organizes U of T’s annual Indigenous Education Week.

As the country celebrates its 150th anniversary, Blight sheds light upon Toronto’s 15,000 years of history. She began the lecture by introducing her clan and origins, acknowledging the Indigenous territory that we occupy. The intent of Blight’s lecture was to promote Anishinaabe land, history, knowledge, and particularly, the language—Anishinaabemowin.

In 2013, Blight co-founded The Ogimaa Mikana Project with Anishinaabe writer and educator Hayden King. The project consists of Anishinaabe activists and artists working in Toronto to reclaim the streets and landmarks of Anishinaabe territory with the use of Anishinaabemowin. The main objectives of the project are reclaiming and renaming. This is done by replacing official street, park, and landmark signage with the original Anishinaabe versions. For example, “Spadina” would be changed to the original Ishpadinaa.

“At the centre of the project is the revitalization of the Anishinaabemowin,” noted Blight, “[…] as a pushback against the settler-colonial system in Canada—a system whose objective with regards to Indigenous peoples has not changed.”

Blight acknowledged the dispossession of Indigenous peoples from their land and resources, and how the state’s assimilation policies resulted in devastating effects on Indigenous languages. The Ogimaa Mikana Project aims to remind non-Indigenous people of their place on Indigenous land. It also seeks to reinforce awareness of Indigenous presence in Canada. Moreover, the project hopes to initiate communication with other Anishinaabe in Toronto—a city that can feel alienating to Indigenous peoples with its endless signage that represents the settler-colonial system.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 3, 2017 at 8:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Metrolinx seeks another transit car maker for Toronto project”

leave a comment »

The Globe and Mail‘s Oliver Moore reports on Metrolinx’s announcement that it is searching for a new transit car maker to replace Bombardier.

Metrolinx has opened talks with another transit builder as it pushes for a quick resolution to its legal showdown with Bombardier Inc. over a $770-million light-rail vehicle order for Toronto.

The regional transit agency alleges in a 2,000-page court filing that Bombardier’s delays are putting the $5.4-billion Eglinton Crosstown LRT project at risk. And it argues that the Montreal-based company is trying to drag out the legal process so that Metrolinx won’t have enough time to go to another supplier, even if it wins in court.

At issue are the 182 transit vehicles destined primarily for the Crosstown – which is under construction and scheduled to open in 2021 – and an LRT project planned for Finch Avenue West.

Metrolinx will be on the hook for major fines if the vehicles don’t arrive in time to open the Crosstown as scheduled. The agency, an arm of the provincial government, is also keenly aware that its political masters could change next year and is under pressure to show it can deliver big projects.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 2, 2017 at 9:45 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Now you can take the bus to the Shaw Festival”

leave a comment »

NOW Toronto‘s Shantal Otchere reports on how the Shaw Festival is overseeing a $25 bus shuttle connecting downtown Toronto to Niagara-on-the-Lake.

If you bring them they will come.

At least that is the hope for the minds behind this year’s Shaw Festival. On the heels of this season’s lineup revamp, courtesy of new artistic director, Tim Carroll, the Shaw Festival is introducing a shuttle service for festival attendees between Toronto and Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The service, which costs $25 for a round trip – theatre goers do not have to return same day – launches in April.

“It’s a new alternative for some people who are already coming but it’s also a way to get and attract more folks who can’t or aren’t anymore,” says Tim Jennings, the Shaw fest’s executive director.

The shuttle service had been in the works for quite some time – at least as long as Jennings had taken up post as the Executive Director last year. After sorting out the matter of funding, the fest’s team is excited to roll out the new service for the first time this year in a bid to draw in a more diverse audience and encourage more social interactions between festivalgoers and programmers.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 2, 2017 at 9:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

leave a comment »

  • blogTO shares media exploring how Toronto was marketed internationally in the 1980s. This decade apparently saw less concentration on landmarks and more on cultural activities.
  • The Map Room Blog links to a National Geographic collection of the childhood maps of cartographers.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that the loosening of China’s one-child policy has not resulted in much change.
  • Justin Petrone wonders if Estonians are weird.
  • Steve Munro reports on the many, many problematic things coming out of Metrolinx, including fare-by-distance and the ongoing PRESTO disasters.
  • Supernova Condensate shares a thought-provoking set of statues on global warming, Follow the Leaders.
  • Torontoist’s Kieran Delamont notes the astonishing thoughtlessness of new fashion brand Homeless Toronto.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at a Belarus in a state of political ferment that might–might–be pre-revolutionary, and wonders if disbanding Russia’s ethnic republics could be profoundly destabilizing.