Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category


Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

oakvilleontarioOakville Ontario is one of this country’s best small cities. In addition to its excellent lakefront location in such close proximity to Toronto, it boasts a very high quality of life, a great downtown, 2 marinas, lots of parks and great schools.  Half of Oakville’s residents have a university degree which makes this a very interesting and dynamic place to live.

Sent by Ben from Oakville, Ontario

Kingston, Ontario

Monday, April 20th, 2009

A nice example of a walkable city. Close to the downtown core, most essential services are available, with a vibrant arts and music community, and one of the top Canadian universities close by, in addition to the Royal Military College.

Sent by JG from Kingston, Ontario

The Common Link

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

I have lived in about 17 cities/town/villages across Canada in addition to several international cities. I won’t touch upon the international cities – I will save that discussion for another post. The common denominator for the smaller Canadian centres and the reason I believe they are not nearly as successful as they could be rests with 2 key factors:

1) a lack of urban intensity or the inability to take advantage of the multiplier effect. For instance, the regional hospital, the public library, government offices and colleges and universities are all situated at great distances from each other. Each has a web of threadbare services situated around them due to the sparser population of a smaller city. If they were within walking distance of each other you would see a multiplier effect. Markets, niche stores, walking neighbourhoods, clubs, bars, galleries would all benefit from multiplier effect. Good, medium-to-high density affordable housing in the vicinity would add to the multiplier effect with those on fixed incomes having access to services within walking distance which increases their disposable income. Older metropolises have this figured out (Montreal for example) while many smaller European centres have this. Victoria, Moncton, Quebec City and Kitchener-Waterloo, St John’s and Halifax also demonstrate some aspects of the multiplier effect while towns like Saint John, NB, and Sydney, NS spring to mind as example of the failed potential to take full advantage of being regional centres.

2) A poor return on investment for capital poor but creatively rich individuals. Queen St. in Toronto, Commercial Drive in Vancouver and the Plateau Mont-Royal in Montreal are prime examples of this. Many of the early residents who made these areas ‘creative destinations’ were forced out as these areas became more attractive to those with the capital to purchase the appreciating properties. While a certain turn-over is healthy in any community and attracting capital is necessary, there needs to be better financial rewards for those who are injecting intellectual and creative capital into the community. Rewarding only those who bring capital to the equation to the exclusion of all others seems to defeat the purpose of intensifying the creativity of a community. The problem is more acute in smaller communities because of the smaller population.

Sent by Franz from Vancouver

Edgy Potential

Monday, March 9th, 2009

wycbarbWindsor, Ontario – Living here at the moment is a little scary with increasing numbers of boarded up stores and closing businesses. We’re definitely on the job loss cutting edge. It’s odd though that still remarkably stupid people continue to talk about another bridge to Detroit creating even more truck traffic and resulting pollution even as the economy changes and the need for such a bridge evaporates. But Windsor also has huge potential for success. As the most southern city in Canada it has remarkable water ways and a much warmer client than the rest of Canada. As a grape growing area it has already marketed world renowned vintages and could become a much bigger tourist destination. With a university and a medical school affiliation, a regional cancer centre and many complementary health practitioners, it could become a centre for research and practice of alternative health modalities. And with a clearly collapsing casino and a less than healthy population, not only do we have a wonderful site for research in the casino and attached hotels on issues such as work life and environmental stress, but we also have access to both control and test subjects right here in this community. There are many artists here as well as musicians. It will be interesting to see where those visionaries take us.

Sent by Barbara from Windsor, Ontario


Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Having lived in several creative cities I would have to say that Hamilton, ON (where we now live) compares favorably. Things I like: access to nature, gritty industrial past and future, easy access to Toronto (which is a very open, creative city), zero social pretension, friendly neighbours, the Niagara Escarpment, waterfalls, Lake Ontario, and enormous potential to take photographs of all of the above and upload them onto Flickr!

Sent by Michael from Hamilton, ON, Canada

My City

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

I live in Hamilton. I moved from Vancouver to Hamilton. I love how everything in Hamilton is hidden by the gritty nature of the steeltown and the working class nature. What people don’t easily see is how beautiful and creative Hamilton is.

Sent by Ian from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

I live in Toronto and I love it. I have to say though, I’ve never seen, or been in a city quite like London, England. That place is just thrumming with electricity and life. I could touch the buildings and feel life pulsing into me. I hope I’ve brought a little bit of that life and love, back with me to Toronto. I love Toronto just as much, for its life and vigour. I especially love how multicultural it is; and how we all seem to get along here (for the most part).

Sent by Melanie from Toronto

My City is Fredericton

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

chet_whoscity.jpgI went to UofT. Lived in Toronto for many years. Built a successful creative career and a good network. Then realized there was something about living in the urban metropolis that for me got in the way: a lack of the time and energy to think “outside the box” and be innovative. So I took my shoulders out of my ears and moved myself to Fredericton, New Brunswick. Chosen as one of the seven most intelligent cities in the world, for two years straight, more than a third land in the creative class. The art community is vibrant with globally recognized artists and writers, the IT community is top notch, and the city pays for wifi across large quandrants of the city. Five minutes to work and five minutes home makes for the time to get out into nature to contemplate and solve the problems of my work. Art galleries, professional theatre, a beautiful university campus… and all the charm that Maritime life brings. People engage each other, and you can still do business on a handshake. It’s easy for Torontonians to write off the smaller regions of Canada, and not pay attention to what’s going on in Atlantic Canada. But it was here, in New Brunswick (which even surprised me) where many amazing globally-proliferated inventions occurred, like SCUBA, thermal pane windows, and IPTV (internet protocal television.) And despite the economic woes of 2008, employment is actually rising, with continuing labor shortages in the IT sector. Programmers are in big demand. The downside? Getting to the US on a direct flight. Got to go through Montreal or Toronto first.

Sent by Chet from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

Toronto ROCKS!

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

I’ll be honest… TORONTO IS THE REASON I LOVE CANADA. Everything that Canada is all about – diversity, multiculturalism, tolerance, acceptance, and inclusiveness. When I was a kid in the old Calgary I felt like I was an outsider and would never be welcomed. This was a long time ago but emotional memories can be very strong. Toronto and Torontonians healed my heartbreak of my childhood and early youth being spent dealing with rejection for something I co uld never change. Now everyone has a different experience. I’ve met people who were minorities in my age group and grew up down the street from me during that same time and they have noting but positive memories. Needless to say … Toronto is not perfect but it is an ideal destination for new immigrants given the variety of settlement services in the city.

Richard Florida himself on Toronto

Toronto Maple Leafs

Sent by Aralar from Toronto

Finding a home

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Except for money, there are very few reasons why I can understand a Canadian moving to the U.S.

I was brought to Chicago from Toronto by my “American” husband. After many years I got so sickened by the racial friction in Chicago that I picked up and moved across the continent. I didn’t return to Canada because I did not believe I could afford to live in Ontario again, but I am more and more sickened by the “Americans” in general and willing to economise to improve the quality of my life.

“Ameroicans” are so convinced of their superiority in every way while being quite ignorant of what is being accomplished in the rest of the world. I am frequently made proud of what Canada and Canadians have accomplished.

I came to the Northwest to what I thought was a beautiful land, but the rule seems to be “if it moves – shoot it, if it is growing, cut it down”. The U.S. is a violent country. Canada is not. The cowboy mentality, the imperialist government have worn me down. I think I will take this old body back to the land of my birth where the quality of life is something you cannot buy with a gun.

Sent by Marilyn from Vancouver, WA