They keep rolling in (h/t Chris Hardwicke). And they continue to reinforce the depth of the class divide.
Posts Tagged ‘Toronto’
In keeping with the spirit of this holiday weekend, here’s a fun list of how Canada’s metros stack up on our Trick-or-Treater Index. While of course all the metros are likely to have great neighborhoods for trick-or-treating, the original index we did for the United States generated so much interest that my MPI colleagues and I decided to do a similar one for Canada.
It’s based on five key criteria, all similar to the ones we used for the U.S. index.
Here’s the long version of my column published in today’s The Globe and Mail.
Canadians often point to the angry red versus blue divide that is such a hallmark of American politics, with higher-income, more economically advanced places voting Democratic and less-affluent, more working class locales trending Republican, as a problem that Canada has risen above. But this same kind of cleavage has become increasingly apparent in Canada – glaringly so in Toronto’s upcoming mayoral election.
The most recent Nanos poll shows Rob Ford leading in Etobicoke, North York, and Scarborough, while George Smitherman leads in old Toronto. The conventional wisdom is that this is a product of amalgamation and the rise of the mega-city, which brought two distinct constituencies into one political jurisdiction in 1998. But it runs far deeper than that. (more…)
A massive congratulatory shout out and thank you is due to Devon Ostrom and the Beautiful City Alliance on behalf of the city of Toronto. With little but an imperative to act, a willingness to collaborate, and the long-suffering of an ascetic, this determined group of young people were able to establish some cultural sustainability within the city by successfully petitioning council for a new tax on billboards, with a percentage of the monies generated going to a fund for city beautification through local arts. The billboard tax passed a day or so ago, at $10.4 million in revenue annually along with the new bylaw! But don’t take it from me.
This massive step forward means that thousands of arts projects will eventually be funded and that many of the problems associated with excessive and illegal billboard signage are finally being addressed… It needed to be done this way to get it through Council at the amount necessary to compensate Torontonians properly for use of public space — and not have a bunch of Councillor’s personal projects and agendas eat away at the allotment. To be short, it was the best way to get a clean vote.
While some councilors with their eyes on the corporate dollar are non-plussed right now, I can’t imagine that this is really so bad for them. Canadian cities have a very limited set of tax-tools that they can use to generate income and a disproportionate amount of it comes from property tax. Moving in the direction of diversification in this way should be welcome, even if it feels pyrrhic from their perspective. Especially with all of the public buy-in. Not to mention the overwhelming media support. If you have some time, definitely read up on this initiative. It was a very, very long and tough battle that tested organization, commitment, and resolve but this alliance of artists and supporters got it done.
I had actually been asked to depute on behalf of the alliance before the Toronto city council, but because things were constantly getting pushed back it wasn’t possible. While I won’t break out the full deputation here, I’ll riff on what I wrote briefly to reflect upon the victory.
So Mississauga, where my parents eventually moved to, is west of Toronto. This means to come into the city there were two ways to do it. Either by car taking the Gardiner Expressway, or by public transit – the bus-to-subway mission. Both ways gave you very different entries into the city and I loved them both.
When you’re flying down the Gardiner, just as you hit the curve by Ontario Place, there’s this straightaway where the city just opens up, and it’s pretty breathtaking. One of the things that can be seen is an impressive stretch of billboards on the left. I always liked reading the advice that would come across the Inglis billboard or seeing the new 3-D ones that the airlines would sometimes mount. I had no idea how or when they changed them, and that was cool to me. But then coming in by the subway there were other things to see, particularly the wall in between Keele and Dundas West stations. It was and still is one of the most famed graffiti spots in the city and a place where I saw some of the most iconic images of my young life. That space between those two stations was endearing me to the city every time I’d pass it by. The idea that there were people out there making the city more beautiful of their own volition made it seem more alive and vibrant to me.
This initiative is a way to bring those two experiences of very different art into a mutually supportive relationship, and there’s something about that that’s really cool.
Now, toasting to success, let’s take a look around this beautiful city with the homie Drake:
This headline over at Bloomberg today – “Wall Street Cedes to Toronto’s Bay Street” – sure caught my attention. Here’s the gist.
Henry Michaels spent 25 years as an investment banker with New York-based firms such as Merrill Lynch & Co., Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Citigroup Inc. When the financial crisis deepened this year, he abandoned the struggling U.S. companies for a job at Royal Bank of Canada. “In this crisis, strength and stability matter,” said Michaels, 48, who resigned as co-head of Citigroup’s banks and diversified financials group in May to join RBC Capital Markets in New York. “RBC is in growth mode, and it’s nice to be playing offense.”
Canadian banks, bolstered by their reputation as the world’s soundest, are adding investment bankers even after rivals slashed almost 316,000 jobs worldwide since the collapse of the U.S. subprime market in 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Lenders including RBC, BMO Capital Markets and CIBC World Markets have hired more than 700 investment bankers, analysts and traders in the U.S. and Canada this year, including from rivals such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup.
“The profile of the Canadian banks on the global scale has been heightened exponentially over the course of the last year,” said Rose Baker, a managing partner in Toronto with executive recruitment firm Heidrick & Struggles International Inc. “They look more powerful and are able to attract talent that was historically not available to them.”
Canadian lenders, based in Toronto’s financial district known as Bay Street, have remained profitable amid the crisis because of tighter restrictions on lending and higher capital requirements. As a result, Canada’s biggest banks posted about $20.4 billion in writedowns and credit losses since 2007, a fraction of the $1.62 trillion taken by global financial- services firms in the period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The World Economic Forum last month named Canada as home to the world’s soundest banks for the second straight year. The resilience allowed the Canadian lenders to climb the ranks of global firms. Three Canadian banks now rank in the top 10 among North American lenders by market value.
Canadian banks are taking on experienced bankers as larger firms trim ranks. North American banks and brokerages cut 9.9 percent of their workforce in the past two years, according to Bloomberg data. Bank of America Corp. eliminated 46,150 jobs, while Citigroup cut 38,900 positions and Lehman fired 13,390 employees. By comparison, Canada’s five biggest banks pared 3,135 jobs, or about 1.1 percent of their staff, in areas such as consumer banking, according to company filings.
With its housing market on the mend and its ability to attract global talent growing, Toronto seems poised to come out of the Great Reset in much better shape than anyone could have expected.
The New York Times does Toronto (the 8th most popular story at the Times as I write this):
As one of the planet’s most diverse cities, Toronto is oddly clean and orderly. Sidewalks are spotless, trolleys run like clockwork, and the locals are polite almost to a fault. That’s not to say that Torontonians are dull. Far from it. With a population that is now half foreign-born — fueled by growing numbers of East Indians, Chinese and Sri Lankans — the lakeside city offers a kaleidoscope of world cultures. Sing karaoke in a Vietnamese bar, sip espresso in Little Italy and catch a new Bollywood release, all in one night. The art and design scenes are thriving, too, and not just on the bedazzled red carpets of the Toronto International Film Festival, held every September. Industrial zones have been reborn into gallery districts, and dark alleys now lead to designer studios, giving Canada’s financial capital an almost disheveled mien.
I always thought you were meant to be disquieted by other people’s cool, but that is not the formula at Brillobox. The place is a hipster pub, which is not an oxymoron in Pittsburgh, whose alternative paper last year named it both Best Overall Bar and Hipster Bar. The props of Gen Y irony are everywhere: Home Depot chandelier, chili pepper lights, the D.J.’s cool segue from Foghat to the ‘‘Willy Wonka’’ soundtrack, a lavatory that is an anarchist collage of decals and ink. (‘‘It looks like Rosemary’s Baby was whelped in there,’’ my friend said.) But the ambience lies deeper. ‘‘I walk in on a Saturday night,’’ the novelist said. ‘‘It’s shoulder to shoulder. They’re playing old-school funk — nothing cutting-edge. And everyone here knows my story. They know what happened to me that week.’’
From today’s Globe and Mail:
Toronto’s mosaic an example for American cities
May 2, 2009
En route to obtaining his back-dated, life-long Canadian citizenship, Will Wilkinson, a research fellow at Washington’s Cato Institute, and one of the sharpest young policy minds around, dropped by to visit at the Prosperity Institute.
Back home stateside, he wrote this terrific essay on why Toronto’s largely successful experiment in immigration – its global-straddling ethnic mosaic – is a big smack upside the head for notions that immigration is eating away at core “Anglo-Protestant” values and institutions, à la the late Samuel Huntington. Here’s an excerpt.
WILKINSON ON TORONTO
From Will Wilkinson’s column in the online forum, The Street, April 27, 2009:
“Here is what Toronto is not: Toronto is not dirty, dangerous, or poor. Toronto is not a hell of lost liberties or a babble of cultural incoherence or a ruin of failed institutions. Yet a popular argument against high levels of immigration suggests it should be.
“In his 2004 book, Who Are We?: The Challenges to America’s National Identity, the late Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington warned that “the United States of America will suffer the fate of Sparta and Rome,” should its founding Anglo-Protestant culture continue to wane … [so] we must keep outsiders out.
“Successful societies (so this argument goes) owe their liberty and prosperity to distinct institutions which, in turn, depend on the persistence and dominance of the culture that established and nurtured them. Should that culture fade – or become too diluted by the customs, religions, and tongues of outsiders – the foundation of all that is best and most attractive about that society cannot long last.
“But somebody forgot to tell Toronto! “Nearly half the denizens of Canada’s most populous metropolis were born outside the nation’s borders – 47 percent, according to the 2006 census, and the number is rising.
“This makes Toronto the fifth-biggest city in North America, also the most diverse city in North America. Neither Miami, nor Los Angeles, nor New York City can compete with Toronto’s cosmopolitan credentials.
“Here is what Toronto is: the fifth-most-livable city in the world. So said the Economist Intelligence Unit in a report last year drawing on indicators of stability, health care, culture, environment, education, and infrastructure. … “The United States, [a] fabled land of immigrants, has fallen dismally far behind countries like Australia and Canada in openness to immigration …That cultural-fragility argument is false, and it deserves to die.
“Toronto, which has an Anglo-Protestant heritage as strong as any, has proved it dead wrong. In fact, Toronto shows that a community and its core institutions can not only survive a massive and growing immigrant population but thrive with one. … “Maybe some day an American city will place in the top 10 on the list of the world’s most livable places. Maybe – if it becomes more like Toronto…”
FLORIDA ON WILKINSON
I could not agree more. Mr. Wilkinson hits several nails directly on the head here. In my book, Flight of the Creative Class, I similarly argued against Mr. Huntington. And I offered that Canada’s – and Toronto’s – mosaic principle may well prove to be one of the core enduring principles of our economy and society.
Or, as Mr. Wilkinson concludes: “Maybe some day an American city will place in the top 10 on the list of the world’s most livable places. Maybe – if it becomes more like Toronto…”
Want to know how Toronto stacks up on the Creativity Index? Or how Ottawa compares to D.C. and is a leading creative class? Or, say, how Hamilton compares to its peers among industrial cities? The Prosperity Institute’s research engine is cranking. And researchers Ronnie Sanders and Mike Wolfe have released a blizzard of reports on how these cities and more stack up against their U.S. and Canadian competition. Click here for lots, lots more.