3.24.2007

t.o.

I've been impressed with all the changes planned for Toronto. It seems like every week I read about some new major plan or design. A re-designed Nathan Phillips Square and a bold new transit plan are the most notable. Mayor David Miller's long-range plan to reduce greenhouse emissions also has the potential to radically alter the city landscape.

When we first moved to the area, I was impressed that two major museums were being renovated and expanded, both with designs by famous architects, but that's old news now. And of course this is in addition to the endless construction of condo towers, mirrored by the endless construction of townhouses in the suburbs.

Living in Mississauga, I don't feel as connected to these changes as I would if I lived in Toronto itself, but I like it anyway. Big plans like these avoid that small-time mindset that a city must attract an outside event, like the Olympics or an Expo, to revitalize it - as if there isn't reason enough already to create a great city.

It's the difference between needing outside approval to tell you you're all right, and standing up and saying, I am great. If Toronto is going to get over its well-publicized inferiority complex, these plans are the kind of therapy it needs. Even if the execution falls short, no one gets what they don't reach for.

6 comments:

sister.susie said...

If Toronto is going to get over its well-publicized inferiority complex, these plans are the kind of therapy it needs.

I agree with this, L-girl. You wanna take about a city with an inferiority complex? Let's talk about Winnipeg.

Personally, I do not feel this way. But some Wpgrs get bent out of shape if someone from Toronto makes snarky comments about my city.

Winnipeg was fortunate enough a few years back to have had IMHO a visionary Mayor, Glen Murray. That guy came up with so many ideas to make Winnipeg a community to be proud of. He always tried to make the most of what the city had to offer, and he never tried to make Winnipeg into Toronto-or-Vancouver-on-the-Prairie.

His opponents, of course, often tried to make him look as though he was squandering tax-payers' money. I felt good that my taxes went toward projects that made my city more accessible, more interesting, more liveable.

Glen Murray actually restored my faith in politicians and my city is a better place because he was here.

And, I'm glad to hear about Toronto's upcoming projects. Sounds like a healthy city to me.

James said...

Toronto's really benefited from some far-seeing planning from City Hall -- sometimes. A lot of the plans fall flat or go nowhere, but a few things here and there can really make a difference. For example, Barbara Hall's rezoning of much of downtown as "live/work" launched the loft-condo boom, which is still going on and keeps downtown lively. Let's home some of the plans coming out now live up to their potential. A subway link to York U is long overdue! Once that's in place, they just need to get connected to the airport...

L-girl said...

Winnipeg was fortunate enough a few years back to have had IMHO a visionary Mayor, Glen Murray.

Very cool. He must have been great to have restored your faith. :)

I look forward to visiting Winnipeg one day.

I've been ridiculed for saying that, but I want to see Canada. Why shouldn't I go to Winnipeg?

Once that's in place, they just need to get connected to the airport...

Hey, it only took New York 50 years to do that. What's the rush? ;-)

sister.susie said...

I look forward to visiting Winnipeg one day. I've been ridiculed for saying that, but I want to see Canada. Why shouldn't I go to Winnipeg?

Hence, Wpg's inferiority complex. :-/

I moved here without knowing anything about Wpg at all, and found most of what I want in a city is right here in the middle of the continent. Wpg is not too big or too small; it's diverse and affordable and has a good school system; it has clean air/water and lots of it; it has a fantastic arts community including the world-class Royal Wpg Ballet, the Manitoba Theatre Centre, and excellent Fringe Festival each summer.

I walk everywhere: to work each day, to the library, grocery stores. It even has "a river I can skate away on..." ala Joni Mitchell's song.

Hey, L-girl, let's meet in Wpg when this vision Canadian Museum for Human Rights becomes a reality. See ya then?

L-girl said...

Hey, L-girl, let's meet in Wpg when this vision Canadian Museum for Human Rights becomes a reality. See ya then?

Deal!!

You make Winnipeg sound very appealing. That will be the perfect excuse to get out there.

It took the National Constitution Center to get me back to Philadelphia. (Where is that post... can't find it yet...)

I went to school there and always meant to return as a tourist, but we kept putting it off. A new ballpark and this great museum finally lured me.

I'll have my eyes open for a similar "excuse" to get to Ottawa. I know none is needed, it just helps me focus.

sister.susie said...

A lot of the plans fall flat or go nowhere...

You're so right about that, James, but without any long-range plans at all, the most we can hope for is to keep our infrastructure from falling apart. I want more than that from my hometown.