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Old 01-12-2010, 06:23 AM
 
Location: In the heights
20,106 posts, read 21,722,272 times
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How do the two largest cities of the Great Lakes stack up against each other?

I understand that Chicago has a more impressive skyline while Toronto has far less crime. Both are very diverse, though Toronto has a stronger international contingent. I think both are great cities that can probably learn a lot from each other.

Some possible considerations:

Which city makes better use of its lakefront?

Which city has found better ways of coping with the harsh winter?

Which city has better public transportation?

Which city has better access to easy day-trip worthy locations?

Pics are very welcome.
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:49 AM
 
Location: Chicago, Il
270 posts, read 721,467 times
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While I have never been to Toronto, after extensive time in Chicago, I feel like it leaves some things to be desired. I think Chicago uses its lakefront to the max and really enjoy lincoln park, the beaches, the pier, etc. I also think the CTA is great, but it seems every other week one area is down and you have to get off and take a bus. It still works, but it is hard to get in a solid rhythm. Crime sucks, not because it is usually life threatening, but because it is annoying. Getting your window bashed in, graffiti on your apartment, etc. It gets tiring, wasting your time to ensure that people don't screw with your stuff. I'm sure this happens a lot of places, but still a downside. With that said, outside of the annoying inconveniences, it is a great time. In the areas that bother me about Chicago, Toronto seems to really be great at, such as public transportation and crime.
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:05 PM
 
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I haven't spent too much time in Chicago so my post is only about the positives of Toronto. Toronto has a beautiful harbor. There's also an offshore island park. Lots of fun things in the waterfront area. Toronto has extensive underground shopping/walking centers. Transportation seems abundant (haven't used it too much just the streetcars). With any international city day trips are kind of irrelevant, meaning there's so much within the city why leave? Niagara Falls, Niagara on the Lake, Ottawa, Algonquin park, Stratford (theater festival town), Wasaga etc
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:41 PM
 
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The lakefront of Chicago would be a whole lot nicer if it weren't for the nasty smell of vehicle exhaust coming from Lake Shore Drive. LSD is a busy highway along Chicago's lakefront and it's annoying in many ways. Then there is the separate issue of polluted lake water/beach closings in Chicago. The lakefronts in both Chicago/Toronto are not used that much in the winter due to the climates. Not sure how every Chicagoan really "copes" with the harsh winter climate. I know that less people are out and about, so I guess many cope by staying home other than going to work or the grocery store. Chicago has much better public trans. than Toronto although the CTA is far from great. Chicago lacks any really cool day trip locations (sorry Wisconsin, Michigan) but it does have an international airport like Toronto. Chicago has a rep for more crime and more corruption. Does that help?
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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I've never been to Toronto, but I hear they are quite similar. I think Chicago has better use of its lakefront, but I couldn't tell you about mass transit. I feel like winter in Toronto would be worse than in Chicago, but I may be wrong. Both are fairly dense, although Chicago is a bit denser. 12,600/psm vs 10,000psm.

Toronto seems like a great place, so I cant choose from experience which one is "better," but since I'm a native Chicagoan, I'm saying Chicago
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Lower East Side, Milwaukee, WI
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Which city makes better use of its lakefront?
Tie. Chicago has better beaches, but Toronto has cool islands offshore.

Which city has found better ways of coping with the harsh winter?
Toronto. They have a subway, which protects you from the elements better than an elevated system. Also, I believe Toronto has an extensive skywalk system, while Chicago doesn't have any that I can remember.

Which city has better public transportation?
Toronto. 3rd largest system in North America, only Mexico City and NYC are larger.

Which city has better access to easy day-trip worthy locations?
Chicago. Milwaukee, Madison, and Lake Geneva are less than 2 hours away. St. Louis, Indianapolis, and the Northwoods of Wisconsin are in the 3-5 hour range. Toronto's closest neighbors are Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Detroit and Cleveland fall into the 3-5 hour range. Montreal is just slightly farther, otherwise I'd give it to Toronto just because of Montreal.
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:23 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA & Istanbul, Turkey
793 posts, read 1,141,476 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjacobeclark View Post
Which city makes better use of its lakefront?
Tie. Chicago has better beaches, but Toronto has cool islands offshore.

Which city has found better ways of coping with the harsh winter?
Toronto. They have a subway, which protects you from the elements better than an elevated system. Also, I believe Toronto has an extensive skywalk system, while Chicago doesn't have any that I can remember.

Which city has better public transportation?
Toronto. 3rd largest system in North America, only Mexico City and NYC are larger.

Which city has better access to easy day-trip worthy locations?
Chicago. Milwaukee, Madison, and Lake Geneva are less than 2 hours away. St. Louis, Indianapolis, and the Northwoods of Wisconsin are in the 3-5 hour range. Toronto's closest neighbors are Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Detroit and Cleveland fall into the 3-5 hour range. Montreal is just slightly farther, otherwise I'd give it to Toronto just because of Montreal.
This is a good breakdown, the only part I would disagree with is the tie on the waterfront. I personally think Toronto is a case study example of how to not use your waterfront to its full potential, there is no vibrancy in that area, and a big reason is the separation from the downtown core due to the Gardner Expressway.

And the Skywalk system is actually the largest Underground Mall in North America called the PATH system, trust me it saved me during the winter when I was working in Toronto!
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Old 01-12-2010, 03:50 PM
 
Location: By the lake
184 posts, read 498,166 times
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Okay this one is easy. Let me put it to you this way. Chicago beats Toronto in lakefront use, skyline, and public transportation. Toronto is a great city and beautiful as well. However, Toronto has lower crime. But still I would pick Chicago any day.
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:14 PM
 
1,750 posts, read 2,802,331 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmario_88 View Post
Okay this one is easy. Let me put it to you this way. Chicago beats Toronto in lakefront use, skyline, and public transportation. Toronto is a great city and beautiful as well. However, Toronto has lower crime. But still I would pick Chicago any day.
I 100% completely disagree with you on this, have you acutally been to T.O.? I thought it was the best system outside NYC I have riden in North America.
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Old 01-12-2010, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Toronto
1,655 posts, read 5,089,585 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmario_88 View Post
Okay this one is easy. Let me put it to you this way. Chicago beats Toronto in lakefront use, skyline, and public transportation. Toronto is a great city and beautiful as well. However, Toronto has lower crime. But still I would pick Chicago any day.
Toronto actually has a subway, and it's much more extensive than Chicago's above-ground.
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