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View Poll Results: Fundamentally, Toronto is more like ...
Chicago 43 61.43%
Vancouver 27 38.57%
Voters: 70. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
Old 03-26-2015, 07:50 AM
 
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Sorry, but Toronto feels like a large city and is a large city. Just because Chicago has a larger/grander downtown with more buildings and larger buildings doesn't mean Chicago = feel like a large city, while Toronto = feel like a mid-size city.

Remember Chicago had millions of people and a much larger population for such a long time. Chicago also invented the skyscraper so things like these play apart in why being in downtown Chi "feels", and looks grander.

While Toronto on the other hand has grew rapidly and caught up to Chicago in city (just under 3 million people each) and almost to metro population in recent years (9 million vs 10 million), to me it feels like large city. New York City is a mega city, so lets leave NYC out of this conversation on focus Chicago and Toronto which are both large cities.

As far as the downtown, being bigger/grander thing goes, Toronto has other mini downtowns in the out boroughs. Had they originally been built apart of the main downtown I don't think this would even be discussed. The same goes for the hundreds and hundreds of high-rise apartment buildings and condominiums that are spread throughout the city of Toronto outside of downtown and are much more in numbers that what Chicago has built.

Besides that high rise density stuff, the city and metro populations are similar. So what exactly makes Toronto "feel" like a mid sized city?
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Old 03-26-2015, 09:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjun18 View Post
Sorry, but Toronto feels like a large city and is a large city. Just because Chicago has a larger/grander downtown with more buildings and larger buildings doesn't mean Chicago = feel like a large city, while Toronto = feel like a mid-size city.

Remember Chicago had millions of people and a much larger population for such a long time. Chicago also invented the skyscraper so things like these play apart in why being in downtown Chi "feels", and looks grander.

While Toronto on the other hand has grew rapidly and caught up to Chicago in city (just under 3 million people each) and almost to metro population in recent years (9 million vs 10 million), to me it feels like large city. New York City is a mega city, so lets leave NYC out of this conversation on focus Chicago and Toronto which are both large cities.

As far as the downtown, being bigger/grander thing goes, Toronto has other mini downtowns in the out boroughs. Had they originally been built apart of the main downtown I don't think this would even be discussed. The same goes for the hundreds and hundreds of high-rise apartment buildings and condominiums that are spread throughout the city of Toronto outside of downtown and are much more in numbers that what Chicago has built.

Besides that high rise density stuff, the city and metro populations are similar. So what exactly makes Toronto "feel" like a mid sized city?
I agree with all your points.

What we are talking about how Toronto feels like, essentially how it is perceived by people who only spend a few days here. They normally don't go to see North York centre or even Yonge/Eglinton (there is really nothing particular there to see either), so their impression of Toronto is limited by downtown and its surrounding areas.

And in this respect, our city core does feel a lot smaller, less grand and polished than Chicago's. And out subway smaller. Let's not deny that. There is absolutely nothing in Chicago that is as majestic and big-city looking like Michigan ave in Chicago, is there? Bloor/Yorkville is a baby in comparison. How do the dense high rise suburbs matter? Nobody go there unless you live there.

Toronto may have caught up with Chicago's population, but in terms of buildings, public space and a big city feel, it has a long way to go. Honestly it doesn't feel significantly larger than Montreal yet.

take a look at this two photos. This is the impression people usually have about Chicago. Toronto is nowhere near there.
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Old 03-26-2015, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Toronto
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^^

Take away some of the height advantage Botticelli and are you absolutely sure in terms of highrise built form that DT Chicago's core is that much more dense than Toronto's DT core? A highrise building isn't just over 200m... Why don't 130 and 140 m buildings count?.. I'd think you'd actually be surprised how dense Toronto's DT core is vs Chicago's if you include ALL buildings greater than 125m.. You like stats/data - get crunching, you might objectively surprise yourself.. I think you're allowing 'feelings' to get in the way of objectivity because Chicago's tallest skew taller and architecturally there is more pinache. What are you going to do if in about a decade when it can be demonstrated through real figures that Toronto's core is as if not more dense and skews about as high in the greater than 200 m class? T.O is building 5 greater than 200 m scrapers in one city block right now!

I also think T.O's Ped vibrancy is better given the number of people who actually live in DT Toronto's core and immediate nabe's around it.. Once all those office workers leave Chicago's core what happens? I even think our major arterials immediately in and around the core are more alive.. I agree re Michigan Ave - Toronto doesn't have an artery like that but after that what? Where is a Queen St West/St Lawrence Market/Kensington Market/Distillery District equivalent in Chicago.. Even Dundas Sq to me has more interesting characters and activity going on than anything I saw in Chicago and i'm being dead serious.. Give me that over manicured parks, beaches and some stately arterials any day!

Antoher thing where Chicago lacks is outside the core in terms of highrise density - in that regard the city of T.O kills the City of Chicago.. Where in Chicago's urban area would you have a Mississauga or NYCC type highrise density equivalent..?? This has zero to do with how anything feels it has to do with how it is..

Btw - I prefer High Park to the park in your photo of Chicago there lol... Toronto's green areas/ravine's seem more raw and natural though i'm not a huge waterfront manicured landscaping/beaches kind of guy...

Last edited by fusion2; 03-26-2015 at 07:22 PM..
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Old 03-26-2015, 06:08 PM
 
Location: Toronto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjun18 View Post

Besides that high rise density stuff, the city and metro populations are similar. So what exactly makes Toronto "feel" like a mid sized city?
There is absolutely ZERO doubt that the city of Toronto will be more dense population wise than the city of Chicago within a few years.. Right now its already as dense.

Memph provided the stats on cities with the highest density tracts in Canamerica back in 2012 and the results prove what objective people already know re Toronto's density in the Canamerican landscape

//www.city-data.com/forum/26233867-post2105.html

I have a hard time believing anything but that Toronto will be even further ahead once the 2016 stats Can census comes out and I hope Memph crunches the numbers again. Which city proper (both have remarkably similar areas) will hit 3 million first in the coming years - Toronto or Chicago... hmmmmm....... hmmmmm lol

As for highrise built form even within the DT core - objectively Toronto can't keep building the way it is and NOT catch up and exceed Chicago in terms of highrise verticality... I think the overall highrise density isn't all that different now (though Chicago does skew taller and the classical scraper architecture simply obliterates Toronto's) - but these cities are a tale of growth in different era's. Over the last decade its T.O's turn and there is nothing indicating this will change in the next.. Its shocking how fast T.O's core in terms of built form has changed in a decade - Another decade I think it will be as transformative as the last.. I think we need to imagine that for a second and also realize that the highrise growth in the core has been getting taller and taller..

Last edited by fusion2; 03-26-2015 at 07:32 PM..
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Old 03-26-2015, 06:12 PM
 
Location: Toronto
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I think some who even live in Toronto are actually forgetting how dense the DT core is actually becoming... Plenty more to come too.. You might not get all romanticized by the architecture - but she sure is getting dense... Either that or I need my eyes tested lol...





by Stockaerialphotos.com (www.stockaerialphotos.com)

Last edited by fusion2; 03-26-2015 at 06:39 PM..
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:18 AM
 
10,847 posts, read 12,353,229 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fusion2 View Post
^^

Take away some of the height advantage Botticelli and are you absolutely sure in terms of highrise built form that DT Chicago's core is that much more dense than Toronto's DT core? A highrise building isn't just over 200m... Why don't 130 and 140 m buildings count?.. I'd think you'd actually be surprised how dense Toronto's DT core is vs Chicago's if you include ALL buildings greater than 125m.. You like stats/data - get crunching, you might objectively surprise yourself.. I think you're allowing 'feelings' to get in the way of objectivity because Chicago's tallest skew taller and architecturally there is more pinache. What are you going to do if in about a decade when it can be demonstrated through real figures that Toronto's core is as if not more dense and skews about as high in the greater than 200 m class? T.O is building 5 greater than 200 m scrapers in one city block right now!

I also think T.O's Ped vibrancy is better given the number of people who actually live in DT Toronto's core and immediate nabe's around it.. Once all those office workers leave Chicago's core what happens? I even think our major arterials immediately in and around the core are more alive.. I agree re Michigan Ave - Toronto doesn't have an artery like that but after that what? Where is a Queen St West/St Lawrence Market/Kensington Market/Distillery District equivalent in Chicago.. Even Dundas Sq to me has more interesting characters and activity going on than anything I saw in Chicago and i'm being dead serious.. Give me that over manicured parks, beaches and some stately arterials any day!

Antoher thing where Chicago lacks is outside the core in terms of highrise density - in that regard the city of T.O kills the City of Chicago.. Where in Chicago's urban area would you have a Mississauga or NYCC type highrise density equivalent..?? This has zero to do with how anything feels it has to do with how it is..

Btw - I prefer High Park to the park in your photo of Chicago there lol... Toronto's green areas/ravine's seem more raw and natural though i'm not a huge waterfront manicured landscaping/beaches kind of guy...
I don't disagree with you. Chicago's impressiveness is more about its highly manicured core, which I like a lot.

Still my previous comment was about Chicago "feeling" like a bigger, richer and more beautiful cities to about 95% of outside visitors.

I am not terrible familiar with Chicago's neighbourhoods, but you can't ask questions like "Where is Chicago's Queen w/St Lawrence" because each city is different. I can also ask where is Toronto's gold coast, Bucktown/WP or Lincoln Park? I mean, doesn't this look as interesting to you?



To me, Chicago still feels more sophisticated. I personally prefer blocks of continuous midrise apartments/walk-ups, which Chicago has a lot, while Toronto seriously lacks (St Lawrence area is one of the rare examples). Toronto has more single lowrise homes, which IMO feels less urban.

That's not to deny Toronto's tremendous growth. Yes we are adding a lot of density, but too much of this unfortunately, which will impress nobody.

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Old 03-27-2015, 03:27 PM
 
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^ That Chicago street scene above doesn't look any more urban to me than Queen West in Parkdale.

The manicured nature of downtown Chicago actually makes it less appealing and urban to me than the chaotic mishmash and messy urbanism of downtown Toronto and its surrounding neighbourhoods.
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Old 03-27-2015, 04:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atticman View Post
^ That Chicago street scene above doesn't look any more urban to me than Queen West in Parkdale.

The manicured nature of downtown Chicago actually makes it less appealing and urban to me than the chaotic mishmash and messy urbanism of downtown Toronto and its surrounding neighbourhoods.
To be fair, it'd be nice to have BOTH in the same city. Certain cities like Berlin (which only has 1/2 the population of GTA) manage to do very well on both fronts - with parts of the city in messy urbanism while other parts like Tiergarten, Unter den Linden, and Bundestag in stately fashion. One does not have to be conflict with the other.

Speaking of Berlin, the city actually does something else very well, and that is preserving/transforming 60s/70s cold war era buildings into modern and lively districts while preserving their distinct historical value. I also noticed that Toronto has its fair share of 70s bare concrete and steel architecture, and if done right, it could produce some very interesting living space with a unique cultural value from an interesting era in the 20th century. Example from Berlin:

Alexanderplatz - the former "downtown" of East Berlin. It's pretty much just a massive square with several concrete boxes and a somewhat ugly world clock built by Stalin's buddies, but in recent years have become one of the central spots to hangout in the city. Even today, it still has a strange mix of post-modern/cold war era/counter-establishment feel and is a huge tourist attraction (it even boasts an extensive streetcar network very similar to the one in Toronto!):



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Old 03-27-2015, 05:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by bostonkid123 View Post
To be fair, it'd be nice to have BOTH in the same city.
Indeed, although we do have areas such as Bloor/Yorkville, St. Lawrence, Bloor West Village and The Beach as well as many tony, manicured inner city residential areas like Rosedale, Forest Hill and the like. I just don't find those areas as fun or interesting to walk around compared to the grittier, edgier neighbourhoods that we seem to excel at here in Toronto.
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:03 PM
 
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Chicago's density is mainly in its high rise North Shore/lakefront neighborhoods. It's not really any closer to the "Brooklyn/Montreal" model of low rise density than Toronto is.
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