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The Urbanist’s Toronto

Shareable bikes, enviable buildings, desirable snacks.


The pedestrians-only Humber Bay arch bridge on the shore of Lake Ontario.  

For a town that 30 Rock called “New York … without all the stuff,” there’s no shortage of, well, stuff in Canada’s most diverse, dynamic city. Having weathered the financial crisis far better than most Western metropolises, Toronto is aggressively building, with some 30,000-plus home starts last year, more than any other city on the continent (and more than double the total in New York). The architectural boom has yielded new downtown museums, opera houses, and hotels like the Ritz, Thompson, and soon-to-open Shangri-La (with two Momofukus) while gentrifying far-flung areas like the Junction with requisite coffee shops, pop-up galleries, and poutine-slinging restaurants. Of course, all that growth has come with acute growing pains, including some god-awful traffic; a dearth of affordable housing in a sea of new condominiums; and a polarizing, conservative mayor who has, to many a Torontonian’s chagrin, scuttled proposed rapid-transit lines, eliminated bike lanes, and refused to attend this summer’s gay-pride parade. Strong-arm mayor, kvetching constituents, public transit–culture wars: yet more proof that Toronto has much in common with New York.


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