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Found 13 results

  1. du NationalPost Nobody is selling real estate and few are buying it, so how do you value it? The question dominated a panelist discussion that included the leaders of some of the largest real estate companies in the world. The consensus at the 14th annual North American Real Estate Equities conference, put on by CIBC World Markets, is the Canadian market will see little activity in 2009. Pinned down on what Toronto's Scotia Plaza might fetch in today's market, Andrea Stephen, executive vice-president of Cadillac Fairview Corp., said she couldn't answer. "It is difficult because there is a small pool of buyers," said Ms. Stephen who passed the question on to Tom Farley, chief executive of Brookfield Properties Corp. which is now building the Bay-Adelaide Centre, the first new office tower in Toronto's financial core in 15 years. Mr. Farley noted only three major assets have traded in the past seven years, the last being the TD Canada Trust Tower in Toronto. That was sold at $723/square foot, he said. Ms. Stephen said that figure might be "little rich" in today's market, but said it's hard to establish a real price. When Cadillac, which is owned by the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board, bought the Toronto-Dominion Bank's office tower assets the price was about $300 a square foot but that was eight years ago. There is no real pressure on any of the major owners of Canada's office towers to sell, so the type of fire sales that have been seen in the United States are less likely. "You have eight entities that control 90% [of the major towers]. It's ourselves and seven pension funds," said Mr. Farley. "We can weather the storm." Not everyone on the panel was as confident about the Canadian market. David Henry, president of retail landlord Kimco Realty Corp. which is based in the United States but has some holdings in Canada, said rental rates are "falling of the cliff." He did note the company's Canadian portfolio is holding up better than its U.S. holdings. He said there will be merger opportunities as prices continue to fall. Mr. Henry, said capitalization rates have been rising with alarming speed. The cap rate is the expected rate of return on a property, the higher the cap rate the less a property is worth. "We saw cap rates go from 6 to 8.5 in the United States. It may not go as high [in Canada] but it could go to 8," he said, referring to the retail sector. Dori Segal, the chief executive of First Capital Realty Corp., said he still hasn't seen the buying opportunities. "There is not a single grocery anchored shopping centre for sale in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary or even Victoria for that matter," said Mr. Segal.
  2. Toronto's two solitudes: Poor city beside rich city Nov 20, 2008 04:30 AM Comments on this story (3) David Hulchanski "We heard as well about parents whose struggle to hold down two or three jobs leaves them with no time or energy to parent, of youth being humiliated by the obviousness of their poverty, of the impact of precarious and substandard housing on their ability to study and learn and engage with friends, and about the numerous other daily stresses of living on the margins of a prosperous society." – Review of the Roots of Youth Violence, Vol. 1, p. 31. We learned last week that among the roots of youth violence is the lack of good jobs – jobs that support a family, jobs that support an average lifestyle, jobs that support good quality housing. Though we already knew this, as a society we need to stop moving in the opposite direction. It wasn't too long ago that our language did not include terms like "good jobs," "bad jobs" or "the working poor." How could you work and be poor? Many people today are working more than full-time and are poor. They have no choice but to live in the growing number of very poor neighbourhoods. Money buys choice. Many neighbourhoods are becoming poor in the sense that most of the residents are living in poverty, and poor in the sense that housing, public services and transit access are all inferior relative to the rest of the city. The growing polarization between rich and poor is happening in part because of the loss of average, middle-income jobs. There used to be far fewer concentrations of disadvantage in Toronto. In the early 1970s about two-thirds of the City of Toronto's neighbourhoods (66 per cent) were middle-income – within 20 per cent of the average individual in-come of the metropolitan area. By 2005, the middle income group of neighbourhoods had declined to less than one-third (29 per cent). The trend is the same in the communities around the city's boundaries – the 905 area. The number of middle-income neighbourhoods declined by 25 per cent, from 86 per cent to 61 per cent, during the same period. Now 20 per cent of the neighbourhoods in the 905 area have very low average individual incomes, compared to none in 1970. This income polarization – the decline of the middle group with growth in the two extreme poles – is not only a general trend among Toronto's population, but it also is the basis of where we live. The City of Toronto is now divided into increasingly distinct zones. One zone of tremendous wealth and prosperity, about 20 per cent of the city, is located mainly along the Yonge corridor and stretching east and west along Bloor and Danforth. Average household income was $170,000 in 2005, 82 per cent of the population is white, only 4 per cent are recent immigrants (arriving 2001 to 2006), and only 2 per cent are black. Some of these neighbourhoods are more white and had fewer foreign-born residents in 2005 than in 1995. In contrast, there is a huge zone of concentrated disadvantage. It is still located in part in the traditional inner-city neighbourhoods, but now is also in the inner suburbs, the car-oriented areas built during the 1960s and 1970s. This is 40 per cent of the city, about 1.1 million people. Close to one-third of residents live in poverty (are below the low-income cut-off measure used by the federal government). Only 34 per cent are white, 15 per cent are recent immigrants, and 12 per cent are black. Federal and provincial economic policies, while seemingly abstract and high-level, play themselves out on the ground in our neighbourhoods. Paying a growing segment of the population wages that do not support individuals, let along families, at a basic standard of living and a fundamental level of dignity is not sustainable. The now well-documented rise in income inequality, income polarization and ethnocultural and skin colour segregation are city-destroying trends. They are trends produced by commission and omission, by public and private sector decisions. We need to use our regulatory power for the common good to focus on improving the labour market through measures like a living wage and providing people with a voice in working conditions via a fairer path to unionization. One-sided policy-making is not only generating greater disadvantage, it is destroying the city as a great place to live and work. Nothing is trickling down. The city is increasingly segregating itself as the social distance between rich and poor increases. Immigrants are arriving in a very different economy than they did 30 and 40 years ago. A recent Statistics Canada study concludes, for example, "that the wage gap between newly hired employees and other employees has been widening over the past two decades," the "relative importance of temporary jobs has increased substantially among newly hired employees," and that compared with "the early 1980s, fewer male employees are now covered by a registered pension plan." In short, policies have allowed fewer jobs to pay a living wage with good benefits. This did not happen by accident. It is not only possible but essential that we have an economy with good jobs with at least a minimum living wage for all. We need public policies that support the goals of a just and inclusive society, and we have to ensure that the use of political power benefits the common good. These are key goals of the Good Jobs Coalition and form the agenda for Saturday's Good Jobs Summit. They are essential to reversing the city-destroying trends at work in Toronto today. David Hulchanski is a University of Toronto professor and author of the report The Three Cities within Toronto. This is one of a series of essays created for the Good Jobs Summit, which takes place Nov. 22 in Toronto.
  3. A cautionary tale: Cheap glass window wall is not suitable for our climate http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2011/11/13/tor-glass-walled-condos.html Thermal Window Failure: How it Happens A Developer's Change of Heart Engineering Buildings to Perform Audio and Video Highlights Many of the glass condominium towers filling up the Toronto skyline will fail 15 to 25 years after they’re built, perhaps even earlier, and will need retrofits costing millions of dollars, say some industry experts. Buyers drawn to glass-walled condos because of the price and spectacular views may soon find themselves grappling with major problems including: Insulation failures. Water leaks. Skyrocketing energy and maintenance costs. Declining resale potential. Glass condominiums — known in the industry as window walls — have floor-to-ceiling glass, so essentially the window becomes the wall. Window walls generally span from the top of the concrete slab right to the bottom. The slow-motion failure of Toronto's glass condos http://www.cbc.ca/toronto/features/condos/ Over the past decade, Toronto's building boom has been dominated by tall glass condo towers. They've transformed the look of city skylines all over the world – especially here in Toronto, where according to Emporis.comwe've built more towers per capita than any other city in North America. But it may be a trend that puts style over substance. A small but growing chorus is sounding the alarm about the future of these buildings. Building scientists have known for a long time that glass-walled structures are less energy efficient than the stone and concrete buildings that were put up forty of fifty years ago. But the market demand for glass combined with the relatively low cost of glass-wall construction means the building industry has been happy to oblige. However, industry insiders warn that as energy costs climb, glass towers may become the "pariah" buildings of the future. In these stories, we explore the hidden costs of building with glass and the slow-motion failure of window walls. We also look at why the Ontario Building Code failed to make energy performance a priority, and meet a developer who is reconsidering the construction of such buildings. Building science consultant and University of Waterloo professor John Straube wrote a paper called Can Highly Glazed Building Facades be Green? View Paper [1MB .pdf] http://www.cbc.ca/toronto/features/condos/pdf/condo_conundrum.pdf John Straube John Straube, a building science consultant and professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo says glass condos are a "perfect reflection" of a society that's found it easier to throw things away than to build them to last. "We have a hard time," says Straube, "thinking five years when we buy a laptop, ten years when we buy a car. With these buildings – both the skin and the mechanical systems are going to have to be redone in a 25-year time frame. The concrete structure will be there a long time but in 20, 25 years time, we are going to see a lot of scaffolding on the outside of the buildings as we replace the glazing, sealants and the glass itself." Although falling glass from the condo balconies has attracted most of the public attention during the summer of 2011, building scientists warn that the long-term failure of the glass structures – although less sensational – is much more serious. More: how thermal window failure happens Window-wall systems Most of them are built using window-wall systems which have next to no insulation value, except for a half inch of heavy gas between the two panels of glass. As John Straube points out, what glass does really well is conduct heat. "A little experiment anyone can do at home is get a glass for drinking. Pour boiling water into it, and try and pick it up. You'll burn yourself." Straube, along with building science colleagues like Ted Kesik at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture at the University of Toronto, warns that as energy costs climb, the costs of heating and cooling glass towers will increase the monthly fees. Kesik wrote a paper called The Glass Condo Conundrum (250KB .pdf) on the potential liabilities of glass towers. The Glass Condo Conundrum It's not just the energy costs. Glass structures require major maintenance much earlier in their life cycle than a traditional structure made of precast or brick. Straube warns maintenance costs will skyrocket in 20 to 25 years' time as the buildings age. The windows will begin to fog up, and the cost of replacing entire walls of glass will be prohibitive on highrise structures that can only be accessed from swing stages. Building scientists talk about the life cycle of a building, akin to a human life cycle, language that encourages people like Straube to see a building as an organism. "It has lungs," says Straube, "it has veins, all of that stuff – it has a structural skeleton." To Straube, a building is a living, breathing thing, enclosing the people who live inside. Building with glass walls is to miss the main point of a building, says Straube – sacrificing the protection that is a building's first duty for a beauty that is only skin-deep. "It's almost derogatory in my world," says Straube, "to forget about everything else that's part of experiencing a building. I like to think what is this building going to be like on a dark and stormy night. In our climate particularly, we care about that. It's life and death." Audio Introduction Matt Galloway spoke with Mary Wiens about the series. Listen (runs 6:11) Part One Mary Wiens introduces us to people concerned about the hidden costs of glass walls. Listen (runs 6:48) Part Two A developer of glass towers tells us why he will never put up another one. Listen (runs 6:28) Part Three Mary Wiens asks engineers about the rise, and repair, of the glass towers. Listen (runs 6:38) Part Four Mary Wiens tours a new condominium with a young couple and their real estate agent. Listen (runs 6:50) Part Five Mary Wiens tells us about a solution that has helped produce more efficient cars and appliances, an approach that may have potential for condominiums as well. Listen (runs 6:59) Video Part One: How glass fails John Lancaster talks to David House about the potential problems facing owners of glass condos in Toronto. Watch (runs 3:16) Part Two: Hidden costs Kamela and Jason Hurlbut are looking for their first dream home but there are hidden costs to living in Toronto's glass condos. Watch (runs 3:19) Part Three: The ripple effect If I can't sell my condo, I can't buy your home. John Lancaster looks at the possible ripple effect in Toronto's real estate market. Watch (runs 3:48)
  4. Montreal faces uphill battle in new economic order KONRAD YAKABUSKI Report on Business April 9, 2009 MONTREAL -- The Montreal Exchange, now part of TMX Group, is forwarding journalists' calls to Toronto. The new head of BCE Inc. has not taken up residence in the city that, officially anyway, is still home to the telecom giant's headquarters. Alcan's "head office" is shrinking under parent Rio Tinto. AbitibiBowater answers to its bankers in Charlotte, N.C. When Michael Sabia had a getting-to-know-you lunch last week with Quebec Inc.'s grands fromages, the new head of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec found himself talking to a sparser crowd than any Caisse chief before him would have likely faced. The ranks of Quebec Inc., that Quiet Revolution embodiment of Quebec's French-speaking business class, are thinning. Where will this all leave Montreal if, as Creative Class guru Richard Florida recently predicted in The Atlantic magazine, "the coming decades will likely see a further clustering of output, jobs and innovation in a smaller number of bigger cities and city-regions"? Can Montreal aspire to be one of them? Or has its fate already been sealed? Prof. Florida, now director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at University of Toronto, warns that "we can't stop the decline of some places, and we would be foolish to try. ... In limited ways, we can help faltering cities to manage their decline better, and to sustain better lives for the people who stay in them." Let's be clear: Montreal is not Detroit. St. Jude himself could not save Motor City. The unemployment rate there now stands at 22 per cent. When only one in 10 Detroiters has a college degree, the jobless rate won't be coming down any time soon. If ever. The current economic crisis, as Prof. Florida notes, will "permanently and profoundly" alter the economic geography of North America. Montreal needs to get busy if it is to carve out a place for itself in this new economic order. It has a lot going for it: A vibrant inner city, a deep talent pool of "knowledge" workers, a diverse population and creativity to burn. Its problem is just that Toronto has even more of these things. Toronto also has the support of its provincial government. Montreal's provincial masters seem at best indifferent to it, if not chronically at war with it. How else do you explain why, despite decades of promises, the current Liberal government has yet to proceed with the construction of two new mega-hospitals in Montreal to replace a complex network of antiquated institutions spread over multiple sites? If the new hospitals do get built - delivery is now promised between 2013 and 2018 - will there even be enough doctors to work in them? Quebec pays its general practitioners and specialists about a quarter less than Ontario, and a new interprovincial labour mobility agreement will make it easier for them to practise elsewhere. But Montreal can't afford to lose any more of its "brain surgeons," regardless of their profession. In 1976, Montreal and Toronto had nearly identically sized populations, each with about 2.8 million people living within its Census Metropolitan Area (CMA). Since then, the population of the Toronto CMA has doubled to 5.6 million; Montreal has only managed to reach 3.7 million, a 30-per-cent increase in three decades. In its latest Metropolitan Outlook, the Conference Board of Canada predicted that Montreal will post the weakest growth of any major Canadian city over the next half-decade. Though its economy will not contract as much as Toronto's this year, Montreal's output will expand much more slowly once the recession lifts. Part of the explanation for this may lie in another report out this week, this one also supported by Conference Board data, on Toronto's status as a global city. Though the Toronto Board of Trade's Scorecard on Prosperity highlighted Toronto's shortcomings when compared to the 20 other cities studied, it provided even grimmer news for Montreal. Toronto ranked fourth over all. Calgary was first. Montreal was 13th, the poorest performance of any Canadian city on the list. There are grounds for optimism. The proposed Quartier des Spectacles - the redevelopment of a run-down downtown intersection into a hub for the arts - will help Montreal catch up, or at least decline more slowly relative to Toronto's now superior cultural infrastructure. But it's hard not to be disheartened when the top news story in city politics these days is how Mayor Gérald Tremblay's former right-hand man vacationed in the Caribbean on the yacht of a construction magnate just before the latter's consortium won a juicy municipal contract to install water meters. When this much energy gets absorbed in damage control, how much is left for the kind of creative thinking needed to ensure Montreal's position in Prof. Florida's new economic landscape? Or is it already too late for that? [email protected] http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/GAM.20090409.RYAKABUSKI09ART1924/TPStory/TPComment
  5. Toronto : Sky-high spinoffs JOHN LORINC Special to The Globe and Mail September 19, 2008 A gleaming new vertical city has sprouted above Toronto's lower-scale buildings. The big question is whether all this condo construction will translate into sustainable economic growth For Robert Whitfield, the eureka moment occurred when he realized his store was filled with customers trapped between drywall and a hard place. It happened about four years ago, shortly after he opened an upscale furniture store in Liberty Village, a district of warehouse lofts on the west end of Toronto's downtown. Young couples were streaming into his shop, desperate to furnish new stacked townhouses and condo apartments with minuscule master bedrooms and other "spatial challenges." "All of 10-by-11," recalls Mr. Whitfield, the principal of Casalife Inc., of one particularly constrained floor plan. "It just didn't have room for a bed and a dresser and a tallboy. Where are you going to put your socks?" Where indeed? Within months, he had launched a queen bed with drawers cleverly tucked underneath, and a niche market was tapped. Today, Casalife specializes in furniture tailored to the cramped confines of the high-rise condos that proliferate in the city. Mr. Whitfield now has several competitors and spends much of his time attending international trade shows searching for size-conscious items, such as the elusive 18-inch coffee table. "The reality is that this market is still neglected." But there's no doubt it's a market. Indeed, Casalife's commercial success is directly attributable to Toronto's sustained condo boom, which traces its origins to some key land-use reforms made in the mid-1990s. A decade later, the market shows little sign of slowing, despite moribund real estate markets in the United States and Britain. Between 1994 and 2007, the annual dollar value of residential building permits in the City of Toronto jumped more than three-fold, largely on the strength of the condo boom. It's as if a gleaming new vertical city has sprouted amid Toronto's lower-scale buildings. Between 2001 and 2006, a staggering 17,000 residential units were built downtown, the vast majority of them high-rises. At the end of 2006, another 39,000 units, in 155 projects, were in the pipeline. The result has been a remarkable 17-per-cent jump in the population of central Toronto - growth not seen since the early 1970s. Nor is the boom a downtown phenomenon: Clusters of condos have cropped up in traditionally low-rise suburban areas such as North York, Scarborough and Mississauga, with more on the way. And the developments are growing not only in height, but also in scope. Vancouver-based Concord Adex, which is building CityPlace, a sprawling 20-building cluster near the downtown Rogers Centre, is also planning a 15-tower project on a 20-hectare former industrial site near Highway 401. To be built over the next decade, this new project is worth a staggering $2-billion. The key to this growth, planners and economists says, is the fact that the population of Greater Toronto jumps by about 100,000 every year. All these new residents need housing and increasingly they are choosing high-rise condos. This rapid transformation is not without its critics, including homeowner groups upset about tall towers and downtown artists who bemoan the loss of Main Street atmosphere in areas targeted by developers. "Pumping a lot more people into the downtown core hasn't led to balanced growth," says Toronto Councillor Adam Vaughan, whose ward has the highest concentration of condo activity. Yet even skeptics don't deny that the immediate, local spinoffs are substantial. Condos today represent 50 per cent of all residential development activity in Greater Toronto and 80 per cent in the City of Toronto proper - a trend that puts the region sharply at odds with most North American urban areas. The direct investment for condos built since 2001, as well as those under development, likely exceeds $20-billion. And housing starts - whether high-rises or subdivisions - have always functioned like economic spark plugs. Between 2002 and 2007, residential construction as a proportion of GDP rose to 6.7 per cent from 5.5 per cent - a shift that has moved in lock-step with job creation, according to housing economist Will Dunning. "That's where it all comes from." In the GTA, the most direct beneficiaries are construction workers. Mr. Dunning says $1-million of residential construction translates into nine "person-years" of construction employment, as well as another two person-years for consultants, architects and other professionals involved in planning such projects. The other big winners are the local suppliers of building materials. Although non-residential construction consumes a larger amount of basic materials, residential development represents "a particularly important source of demand for producers of windows and doors, kitchen cabinets, gypsum and wallboard and heating and air conditioning," according to an analysis by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. The wages and purchases of materials for Toronto's 2007's condo projects, in turn, triggered about $175-million in tax revenues. In terms of local taxes, city officials say that between 1996 and 2005), the 69,000 new condos completed in that period contributed about $113-million annually to municipal coffers. Then there are the secondary spinoffs - the new supermarkets, dry cleaners, convenience stores, coffee shops, houseware and hardware stores that cater to thousands of residents now living near the financial district. Stephen Dupuis, CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association, says the typical new home buyer purchases about $10,000 worth of goods after taking possession. But Mr. Whitfield, of Casalife, suspects the figure could be higher for condo residents, because of the small size of many suites: "They get their occupancy, they move in and then realize their furniture doesn't fit." Like Casalife, many retail companies are moving to fill the needs of condo dwellers. General Electric Canada's Mabe appliance division recently launched Loft Kitchen, a collection of fashionable, small-scale appliances and stacked washer-driers suited to tiny condo kitchens. Working with developers, GE tailored the collection specifically to this market. "You need to get efficiency and space and hit the prices point," says general brand manager Philippe Meyersohn. Unlike locally sourced construction materials, however, durable goods and appliances tend to be imported from Asia, Mexico and the United States, illustrating how the condo ripple effect can spread well beyond the GTA. Planning consultant Barry Lyon also argues that the high-rise office boom in downtown Toronto (200 floors are currently under construction) is linked to the flourishing condo market. "A lot of the office construction wouldn't be happening were it not for the pool of highly educated technology workers the condos have brought into the city." The big question is whether all this construction will translate into sustainable economic growth for Toronto. Mr. Lyon, who describes himself as "a believer," says the condo boom essentially makes the city function more productively. Intensification gives rise to non-economic benefits such as more transit ridership, energy savings and greater efficiency in municipal services such as garbage handling. Others aren't convinced. Pointing to an earlier generation of high-density towers, Councillor Vaughan says there's a risk that consumers may sour on the glut of tiny suites, leading to losses in market value and condo towers that come to be dominated by low-income tenants. Douglas Young, co-ordinator of York University's urban studies program, points to another pressing issue: "The state of [the city's] infrastructure - physical, social and natural - is in pretty lousy shape." Yet planners continue to approve thousands of new condo units, he says. "You have these fabulous looking high-rises from a distance, but getting from them to somewhere else in the city can be a real pain in the backside." Mr. Lyon counters that the $20,000-to-$30,000 per-unit fee imposed by the city (parks levies, development charges and so on) help underwrite the cost of municipal infrastructure improvements ranging from new transit service to libraries. From his Liberty Village showroom, Rob Whitfield sees no end to the forest of condo towers rising around him, nor a lessening in demand for his products. Casalife recently opened a new outlet in Vaughan, north of Toronto, which has its own big plans to develop high-rise condos and offices in a city-centre to be served by a new subway extension. As he sees it, "I'm a bit of a pioneer."
  6. Wanted: Trademark Toronto deli Anna MOrgan My family spends August rediscovering Toronto and, like most things we do, everything tends to revolve around food. This year, it occurred to me that in many ways the history of our city can be written in its deli. Top-quality Montreal smoked meat with a New York sour dill is easy to find around town. It's possible to find Polish potato latkes or stuff yourself with a Russian kishke. But where can you get Toronto-style anything? It's not that Toronto doesn't have great Jewish delis. We've got the best New York pastrami money can buy, and you don't have to go far to get lox and cream cheese on an oven-baked Montreal bagel. Indeed, anyone looking for a good deli can find restaurants up and down Bathurst St. For the strictly kosher set, there's Dairy Treats and Marky's Deli, to name but two, and for bagel aficionados there is United Bakers and Bagel Plus, amongst others. And for those willing to venture slightly off Bathurst, the downtown crowd has an excellent Bay St. lunch spot actually called the New Yorker Deli, and Thornhill's popular Centre Street Deli imports the best of Montreal's Snowdon Deli cuisine. All great restaurants – I recommend each of them – but none features anything that Torontonians can distinctively call their own. Deli, of course, didn't begin in Toronto. European Jews, with their taste for pickled meats and cabbage, came to New York, mingled with the Irish and their taste for boiled meat and cabbage, and New York's corned beef and coleslaw sandwich was born. The same thing happened in the bakeries, where the European oddity of boiled buns met the American ingenuity for mass production, creating the now ubiquitous bagel. A similar phenomenon happened in Quebec, where Jews and their bagels encountered the pizzeria, giving birth to the oven-baked delicacy now known as the Montreal bagel. Likewise, corned beef met the northern and rural penchant for curing in a smokehouse, eventually adding Montreal's distinctive smoked meat to the deli mix. Now back to my original question: Given our "world class city" aspirations, where's the uniquely Toronto deli food? Everyone loves a Shopsy's or Kwinter's hot dog. But similar tube steaks are found in ballparks from Boston to Miami. Likewise, while there is nothing better than a crisp Strub's pickle, delicious gherkins can be fished out of brine in barrels and jars all over America. Here's my theory. When Jews came to English Canada in the late 19th and early 20th century, they settled with their taste for deli and created bustling centres like Toronto's Kensington Market. But back then, before massive immigration from across the globe, the best fare the locals had to offer – peameal bacon – was hardly something that melded with the Jewish palate. It may have been tasty, but it just didn't fit the bill. So even though there might be nothing more Canadian than the image of Doug and Bob McKenzie sipping on suds and frying up some savoury back bacon, there is also nothing less kosher. You can't even dress it up as kosher-style. Try as the early deli pioneers might, the culinary graft just didn't take. And now with multiculturalism firmly in place, we may be stuck with having the best of everyone else's deli but nothing distinctively our own. In the meantime, as summer ends, I'm planning to shed my Toronto-style vanity, swallow my pride and order up a Montreal smoked meat sandwich (medium, not lean). That is unless someone comes up with Toronto's very own kosher Canadian bacon-style deli meat. Sounds delish, eh?
  7. alright, i thought i'd through that one out there, half as attempt "seed" the idea and spur an honest debate, and half as uh well, blatant trolling: what do you think would need to happen / be spent for montreal to hold superbowl 51 for it's 2017 "celebrations" ? or perhaps as a side discussion, how fair do you think toronto's chances would be if they threw a bid for it ? 2017 being, you know, the 150th year of confederation and all .. in any case, i think it'd be a much better idea than hosting another world's fair ..... how much money is to be spent on that monorail, anyway ?
  8. Montreal to host Fed Cup playoff By Stephanie Myles, The Gazette March 8, 2010 MONTREAL – Tennis Canada hasn't yet made an official announcement. But the International Tennis Federation has announced the venues for the World Group I and World Group II playoff ties, which will take place the weekend of April 24-25, on its Fed Cup website. Montreal's Uniprix Stadium will host the tie between Canada and Argentina. The talk had been that it was between Montreal and Toronto, but Montreal is obviously a no-brainer, given the high quota of Québécoises on the squad. The team won't be picked until closer to the actual dates, but it's very possible the entire four-woman team will be from Quebec: Aleksandra Wozniak, Stéphanie Dubois, Valérie Tétreault and doubles specialist Marie-Eve Pelletier. Toronto's Sharon Fichman also is in the mix. The last time Canada had a home playoff tie in World Group II, against the Israelis in April 2007, all four members of the team were from Quebec. But Tennis Canada decided to stage it in the tennis hotbed of Kamloops, B.C. Fan support was dismal; hosting it here will surely result in better support for the local players. The Argentines shouldn't be up to the task on a fast indoor court. The ladies have a good – no, great – shot at getting back into World Group II. The Montreal Gazette
  9. Read more: http://www.nationalpost.com/related/topics/story.html?id=2457341#ixzz0e7omWfCN
  10. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/investment-ideas/features/at-the-bell/torontos-moving-on-up-and-up/article2343503/ how the hell is Toronto's real estate market going to stay intact with this kind of new supply on the market? I look how people in the media and banks defend that this is not a bubble. When Toronto has more new real construction than NYC+Chicago put together??
  11. Toronto : Moving on out - to 905 Crazy' property taxes have forced the hand of hundreds of T.O. businesses in recent years By BRYN WEESE, SUN MEDIA Three years ago, Les Liversidge packed up his successful law office and moved out of Toronto. He didn't go far. Liversidge took his practice, his law books and his taxes across Steeles Ave. into Markham. It wasn't a move he wanted to make, rather a "simple business decision" to escape Toronto's "crazy" taxes. He's far from alone. Hundreds, if not thousands of Toronto's businesses over the past several years have packed up their shops, factories and offices and moved to the 905. In the iconic Danforth area, for example, 30% of retailers there now won't be around next year, according to a neighbourhood business survey. Toronto's high commercial property taxes are making rents uncompetitive and unaffordable, city business groups say. 'MOM AND POP BAKERY' "If you're paying $10,000 in taxes for your little mom and pop bakery, you'd have to bake a lot of buns just to pay your tax bill," said Judith Andrew, vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in Ontario, which has more than 4,000 members in Toronto. "I could see for many people, unless you absolutely had to be in the city, you'd want to run your business somewhere else." Liversidge sold his Willowdale office (a house he "loved" that had been converted into a commercial space) at Yonge St. and Steeles Ave. when it no longer "made sense" to keep it because of burdensome taxes. "I don't remember what my taxes were when I bought (the building) in 1992, which to me means they were not significant," Liversidge said. He recalls paying somewhere in the neighbourhood of $6,000 and $8,000 in taxes annually. But a dozen years later, thanks to property tax changes, provincial downloading, double digit spending and tax increases by city council, Liversidge's tax bill, like those of every business in Toronto, went through the roof. His taxes hit $27,000 a year by 2005. "More significant, I think, was a lack of predictability," Liversidge said. "I had no confidence that commercial real estate taxes would be controlled in any reasonable way," he said. He now rents about the same amount of space in a new, modest-sized three-storey office building. His rent is less than what his taxes were in 2004 in Toronto, even though the two buildings are only about five minutes apart. JOB GROWTH STAGNANT "I would much prefer to be in Toronto, but it makes no sense," Liversidge said. "If this building was located 300 yards south (on the other side of Steeles in Toronto), I don't think I could afford it." In 2005, the property taxes on a 250,000-square-foot office in the 905 were roughly $800,000 less than in Toronto. These numbers come from a study the City of Toronto conducted and are the most recent available. Business groups, however, maintain the numbers are still reasonably accurate and applicable today. As a consequence, employment growth in the 905 skyrocketed while job growth in the city has been stagnant and even suffered erosion. Between 2000 and 2006, the 905 region added more than 300,000 jobs while Toronto lost 23,700 jobs. Looking further back, over the past two decades, the 905 has added 800,000 jobs while employment in Toronto is still about 20,000 below its peak in 1989. Back in 2002, a city report optimistically projected 1.84 million new jobs would be created by 2031, a number officials now suggest is less a "goal" and more a "target." The falloff is in part attributable to migration of business, particularly small and medium-sized companies, in everything from manufacturing, and accommodation to administrative support and transportation. Toronto's commercial and industrial taxes are higher than its neighbours for several reasons. In part, relatively lower residential property taxes have put more of a burden on businesses operating in the city. "It's all well and good to cushion residents ... however, at a certain point, people don't have to be here and they do leave," Andrew said. Also in part, Toronto's business education tax rates are higher than those paid in the 905. That's supposed to change, but not until 2014. The bottom line, for business, is a tax disparity they can't afford to ignore. Cindy Anisman, a spokesman for Kingsdown Sleep Systems, credits moving from the intersection of Hwys. 401 and 400 to Vaughan two years ago with their company's growing success. Their facility in Vaughan is 120,000 square feet and employs more than 100 people. "We needed to expand our business, and the only place that you could actually find an area big enough was north in Vaughan," she said. "Taxes are lower, and utilities in a brand new building are a lot cheaper, too." 'NO-BRAINER TO MOVE' "It was a no-brainer to move," she added. "We're just sorry we didn't make this move earlier." Toronto officials are fully aware of the taxation problem, and council has passed several new measures to try to stop the bleeding. Three months ago, the city started a new program that allows manufacturers to improve their buildings or create a new building and get a "tax holiday" from higher taxes for a decade on the upgrade. "It's the first of its kind anywhere, I believe," Christine Raissis, director of the city's strategic growth and sector services, told the Sunday Sun. For the past few years, the city has also waived development charges on new commercial and industrial buildings, which it collects to pay for infrastructure such as roads and sewers. "We forgo those, partly on the basis that our business and commercial property taxes are higher, so we're trying to do what we can in the short term to balance that (tax) differential," said Randy McLean, the city's economic policy manager. "We're forgiving the front end development charges because we want the jobs." It makes a difference. For a 100,000-square-foot industrial or small office development, those charges would amount to $827,000. Toronto has also implemented a three-year-old plan to lower its commercial to residential property tax ratio to 2.5 to 1 within 10 years from its current 4-1 ratio -- to narrow the gap between what homeowners pay relative to business owners. It's still dramatically higher than ratios in 905 communities but Andrew from the CFIB said at least Toronto is "heading in the right direction." Other critics are less understanding. "The city's proposal to bring the tax ratio in line ... is worthless because, at a minimum you're looking at 10 years before they achieve that level," said Lionel Miskin, v-p of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas. "And each year your taxes still go up, but the residential tax rate is going up faster than the commercial rate." "Maybe people will be happy about it in 10 years, if there is anyone working in the city anymore," he added. "I would say it is a crisis situation." But Toronto council isn't the only level of government responsible for this city's jobs and businesses relocating to the 905. Provincial education taxes are also a sore point. In 2007, the Ontario government unveiled plans to equalize business education taxes across the province. 'VITALITY IN THE CITY' Historically, Toronto's Business Education Taxes were significantly higher than those paid in the GTA and will remain higher until the province completes its equalization plan in 2014. Steven Sorensen, who chairs the Toronto Office Coalition, argues city and provincial measures need to be put in place sooner if the city is serious about retaining businesses and creating jobs. "I think the benefits of introducing these measures in a more prompt fashion would pay off many times over in terms of the economic growth and vitality in the city," he said. The city counters the cost of lowering the commercial tax ratio sooner would cost $600 million to $700 million. However, the argument of when to lower taxes may be moot. For the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, the only real solution to the city's high business taxation woes is to develop a new taxation system. The BIA association believes Ontario's property tax assessment system, which regularly updates the tax value of properties, is flawed and unfair. The CFIB also thinks the city needs to focus on its core duties -- roads, public health, welfare and parks -- and curtail its spending habits to make Toronto more tax competitive. In fact, a recent survey of its Toronto members -- all of them small and medium-sized businesses -- found 86% think the city needs to eliminate wasteful spending. Among other things, the CFIB wants the city to contract out more services for competitive bidding, and do away with its fair wage policy, which requires private non-union companies doing work for the city to pay their employees city rates. But the city, for its part, rejects the notion Toronto's taxes are posing a crisis for the business community. In fact, the city argues, there are currently three new skyscrapers being built in the downtown core for a total estimated investment of about $1 billion. BANKS, STOCK EXCHANGE The city is still the financial capital of Canada, home to the headquarters of five of the country's six national banks, 90% of Canada's foreign banks and the nation's largest stock exchange. There is also growth in several important industries, namely computer systems, finance, health and education, which Raissis argues creates a synergy with the outlying areas of Toronto, whose specialty is mainly manufacturing. "The performance of 905 is important to Toronto, and the performance of Toronto is important to 905," she said. "It's one economic region, but it's not homogeneous." "We are not here to compete against the 905, we're all here as a region to present Toronto as an international market place," she said.