Archive for October, 2010

Young People Want Apartments, Not Houses; iPhones, Not Cars

A new study by GWL Realty Advisors (Canada) comes to some interesting conclusions.

Full report download


At a Glance

Economic, demographic and social shifts are increasing the popularity of multi-family living in Canada.

Specifically, the growth of the knowledge economy, which tends to be based in dense urban areas, combined with an increased interest in consuming experiences (rather than focusing on acquiring consumer goods) has contributed to a growth in demand to live in amenity-rich neighbourhoods within a short commute of employment—and in apartment or condo buildings. The following are some of the reasons this shift will continue and even accelerate in the coming decades.

• Apartment and condominium dwelling is now often a desired choice of many urban residents when multi-family living offers a commute and amenity advantage.

• Increased educational attainment of women (who earn almost 60% of all Bachelors’ and Masters’ degrees in the US and Canada) combined with increased female workforce participation has also contributed to rise of both the knowledge economy and of apartment and condominium living.

• Increasingly, families are choosing multi-residential living. With most families having no more than one or two children, a two bedroom apartment home can work well. Moreover, if both parents work, living in a low-maintenance home with a short commute allows for more family time.

• Buying a home (including a condo) in close proximity to employment and amenities is becoming increasingly expensive in comparison to renting. As a result expect more 25–45 year olds to be renters in the coming decades.

Other characteristics of Canada’s rental markets:

• Condominiums are not a threat to purpose-built apartment renting. In fact, they have contributed to making high rise apartment dwelling fashionable. Also, by increasing the density of neighbourhoods, condominiums have contributed to a growth in amenities. Cities where residents have the highest propensities to rent apartments also have the highest percentages of residents owning condominiums.

• Baby boomer and older generation empty nesters are not expected to sell their houses and rent apartments. They believe in ownership having typically owned all their lives. If they wish to downsize and urbanize, they will most frequently buy condos.

• Supply has not kept up with demand for purpose-built apartments in recent decades. Canadian cities with growing, dynamic knowledge- and experience-based economies already have a rental housing shortage. These cities attract newcomers by the tens of thousands annually, who need to rent homes. The high rental rates and low vacancy rates in places like Vancouver and Toronto (and soon Calgary again too) illustrate that demand exceeds supply.

There is a growing dialogue in Canada’s cities about housing issues, particularly the need for more purpose-built rental accommodation. This report offers fresh and forward-looking perspectives on apartment living in Canada, designed to inform stakeholders—including building owners, developers, government, and renters—in their decision making.

Heintzman place Railside photos

What a change over from the past decade  on the Old Cantire site,

Sarah DOUCETTE wins with 9,557 votes

Population: 50,640

….addition from above CityTV tally 20218 votes made this election

Voter turnout in 2006 municipal election: 46 per cent

Monarch Rd today from the Maple Leaf Mills site

This Road which has been abandoned for so long by the city is now visible. (but not useable)

To the left and right of the bottom image sat industrial buildings  about 15 years ago.

To the left was the Dominion Corrugated Company.

To the right was the repair building for the mill. The mill repair building has been gone for over twenty years. In the seventies this roadway was buzzing 24 hours a day.

It was incredibly dirty with the road caked with oil and grain.

Now with the entire mill site undergoing a revitalization, with a possible school and other high street elements, the area is being transformed in a great way.

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Monday morning inside the silos basement

Todays election, more taxes please

well identifiable candidates running eh!

Today –Ward 13’ers will head to the polls and vote for the next Mayor and local councillor . For this blog, the choice is obvious: The person who is to spend the most, to lead our City. I know  that this  is going to shock you some of you. I know you may not agree and you are welcome to comment politely in the comments section.

Of course, the next question  begs –  spend on what? Well,  Road repairs and the and a much needed city restructuring. Importantly in our ward converting old police stations into daycares and community run a  center.  Give the Parks department more money to really built natural environmental parks rather than the small green oasis’s they can built with want little money  they have now.

The list can go on and on in this city, but generally we need “people city” builders of the new council.

Many may now be asking where the money to come from is. Well that is easy too… development taxes should increase as well as “special fees” for private mega projects… and if you think this turns investors and corporations away just look at the success Mississauga and Woodbridge have had with the method.

In addition residential taxes should rise primarily on single households (not condos) and more greatly on houses used as multiple rental units. Of course condos taxes should also be raised in a tired fashion according to value classification.

Why the levels, simply because single houses use more city services than condo owners and just gain more from the block of land and cubic space they use.

Holdup steel comes down off old Carlton Village School

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From Municipal elections in Toronto are upon us next week

. Municipal decisions shape our everyday lives, from the quality of our public services to the health of our environment, yet voting turnout hovers at around 40 per cent. Your involvement during the final few days of the election is critical to shaping the outcome.

Here are five strategic ways you can take action.

Make up your mind

You get to vote for four positions this October: Toronto school board trustee, Catholic school board trustee, mayor, and city councillor. The city’s election website lists all candidates by ward. Check it out by clicking here.

Now you need to decide who to support. Candidate websites are a great place to start. Most candidates post their policy platform and resume — both say a lot about the candidate’s values and priorities.

Another quick way to assess a candidate is to ask them what political party they identify with — municipal candidates do not publicly identify with a party, but they will often answer a direct question.

Third-party candidate rankings and endorsements are a reliable and trusted way to assess candidates. The Campaign for Public Education, the Toronto Environmental Alliance, the Toronto & York Region Labour Council, and the Public Transit Coalition have all issued endorsements or statements about the candidates. These groups conduct the careful background-research we don’t have time to do, like reviewing voting records and interviewing candidates.

If you have time, try meeting the candidates in person. Visit their campaign office, or attend one of the many mayoral and candidates-debates taking place across the city. Ask questions on issues that matter most to you. To find a debate check out the candidates’ websites, or go to the city’s debate-finder map at


About 38 per cent of the Torontonians vote, which is super low. Low turnout rates, however, mean that our efforts to vote and increase voter turnout can have a significant influence on election outcomes.

October 25 is next Monday, so if you do the 9-to-5 thing, vote at one of the six advance-voting-days in October (including Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th) at select polling stations. Polling stations on the advance days are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Polls on October 25 are open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Details on poll locations can be found by clicking here.

Don’t get turned away at the polls, U.S. Election 2000 style. Bring ID with your name, signature, and address. A health card or driver’s license will work. If you can (it’s optional), take your voter information card (it was in the mail early October). For more information on ID rules click here.

Educate and activate your network (It’s bigger than you think)

At the first election training I attended I was asked to bring the names and numbers of 100 people I could ask to give money or volunteer for our campaign. I said I didn’t know 100 people, but the election-trainer persisted and said I could include anybody that comes to mind, from my brother to my hairdresser. Turns out I did know that many people and so do you.

It’s time to reach out to your contact list and ask them to vote, volunteer, educate others, and donate. Mass emails and social media tools like facebook posts are the quickest way to communicate to many, but personal phone calls and face-to-face discussions yield far more “yeses,” and far bigger commitments. Instead of getting a “yes, I’ll forward this email,” you might get a “yes I’ll join you and volunteer on a political campaign.”

Talk it up everywhere, from the doorstep, to the bus stop to the dinner table. Nigel Barriffe, co-chair of the Good Jobs for All Coalition, shared a great experience breaking the rule of no talk of politics at the dinner-table when he wore a “Joe Pantalone” badge to a Shabbat dinner (his first) at his girlfriend’s family’s house last week.

“Before I went I thought, do I really want to wear this button?” Nigel said. “But the badge started great conversations about bicycles versus cars and privatization versus public ownership. I realized it was important they heard my voice, and regardless of who any of us vote for, it was clear that everyone at the table had a deep love for the city and a desire to build a better Toronto.”


The most effective volunteer activity you can do from now until the election is volunteer for a candidate.

Call up the candidate’s office or just walk in off the street. The campaign should have someone available to greet, orientate and support volunteers, like you.

Chances are you’ll be assigned one of four activities: phoning residents, going door-to-door asking residents to vote and support your candidate; dropping off literature at houses, or installing signs on lawns.

At this late stage of the election, volunteers who want to take on big tasks like designing the website or reviewing the campaign’s media strategy are generally frowned upon. This work is usually done by professionals and chances are it’s already been done.

Despite the consistency in tasks, campaigns are generally very exciting, busy places full of committed, interesting people. Labour Council consultant and municipal campaign expert, Jill Marzetti, recommends volunteers work hard to learn about key election issues and the candidates’ priorities so you can be persuasive when talking to residents.

When talking to voters it helps to ask questions in order to gauge what issues matter to them, and then tailor your response so it references their priorities, if possible. If they care about transit then talk about where the candidates stand on expanding the TTC, and so on.


Elected officials need money, and they tend to be more beholden to constituencies that give.

Individual donations have never been more valuable. Compared to other major cities, the maximum amount a candidate can legally spend on their campaign is fairly low, which means your dollar goes proportionately further. Mayoral candidates can raise up to $1.3 million; city and school board trustee candidates can raise up to $20,000 to $60,000 depending on the ward, and Catholic school board candidates can raise about $7,000. In addition, Toronto just banned contributions from unions and corporations to mayoral and city council candidates. So we’re actually the only ones left to give.

To encourage giving, the city has set up a rebate program that returns up to 75% of your donation. The city’s rebate system is similar to that typically found on electronics items; if you don’t send in your paperwork to apply for your rebate by a certain date (in this case January 3, 2011) you don’t get your money back. Don’t forget. Calculate your rebate here.

Donation rules are different for school trustee candidates. School trustees can take donations from unions and corporations, and individual donors are not eligible for the rebate-program.

Jessica Bell is the communications and campaigns manager for the Toronto and York Region Labour Council.

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Humberside High School

Humberside School was sending automated phone calls q yesterday. Apparently, some stranger was caught following some students home recently. The school has called the authorites and the police are doing some
sort of safety awareness campaign at Humberside.

Sent in by blog reader S.

JRA is hosting its meet-the-JRA-candidates night at Axis on Thursday, Oct. 28, 7pm

JRA is hosting its meet-the-JRA-candidates night at Axis on Thursday, Oct. 28, 7pm to 9pm. Come out and get to know the incumbent officers and new candidates. If you are interested in joining the JRA executive team come out and talk about how to get involved.