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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

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Old 03-27-2015, 09:13 PM
 
Location: Toronto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
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.
I think that DT Chicago core comes off as more stately and is actually more attractive from the standpoint of classical architecture and general aesthetics.. the design of the arterials are even more stately if you will - generally wider so this all goes a way in giving it a more 'majestic' or regal feel if you will.. There are bridges/buildings/infrastructure we simply don't have here but we have things it doesn't have so let's not just dismiss those imho.. Anyway, in the totality of development over time - you get the feeling that a lot more thought went into the development in Chicago DT core than in Toronto.. I think in time T.O will mature into its own sophistication.. Right now we are kind of like a teenager going through this growth spurt so we need some time for maturity refinement. I agree with Atticman that we do have a more 'messy' urbanism and you may not appreciate these things but its really a personal thing.. I'm getting a better idea of what you appreciate as a person so your conclusions don't surprise me.. I think its just a matter of respecting differences and in either case not assuming that everyone has the same appreciation for what is impressive.

As for T.O's growth - A lot of the new growth isn't just highrise.. Wouldn't you say areas around the core are growing in terms of mid-rise infil...What area of the city of Toronto is developing low rise infil anymore.... So lets look at where we are going instead of where we've been I say.

Just my .02

Last edited by fusion2; 03-27-2015 at 09:42 PM..
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:18 PM
 
Location: Toronto
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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.
I'm of the same opinion as you.. In additionn, T.O's core and immediate nabe's feel more active and vibrant/alive with people actually living in these areas and doing things instead of just working.. Chicago's core is busy and vibrant but coming off more in terms of day worker vibrancy.. Chicago has vibrant nabe's but you do have to travel to them.. I'm not talking about Chinatown/Kensington/Distillery distance in Toronto either..

Anyway it all depends on what one appreciates but you're right about our messy urbanism and I would even say our interesting build form juxtopositions and quirkiness that other more 'Stately' cities would dare touch gives us our own character.. There's just something very organic about the way Toronto fuses its core and surrounding areas that a city like Chicago for example doesn't do as well at.

Last edited by fusion2; 03-27-2015 at 09:49 PM..
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:26 PM
 
Location: Toronto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bostonkid123 View Post
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!):


Toronto doesn't do 'Stately' very well I will agree. Even the architecture that we do have that could be made more 'Stately' is largely left up to residents or businesses to spruce up as opposed to any government or official body.. With that said, I think Toronto is more a work in progress vs Euro cities and even cities like Chicago which held more historical importance than Toronto.. We've only become a player in the last few decades - lets give the city some time but i do think we shouldn't just dismiss our gems and the interesting things about it that many outsiders like and its ok for us to appreciate what we do have. So yes, lets play up the Kensington's/St Lawrence Markets/Neogothic architecture/Distillery districts and our Bay and Gables heck even our growing and dense skyline because many appreciate these things.. I've found Germans from Frankfurt particularly appreciate scraper development lol...

Last edited by fusion2; 03-27-2015 at 09:47 PM..
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fusion2 View Post
I'm of the same opinion as you.. In additionn, T.O's core and immediate nabe's feel more active and vibrant/alive with people actually living in these areas and doing things instead of just working.. Chicago's core is busy and vibrant but coming off more in terms of day worker vibrancy.. Chicago has vibrant nabe's but you do have to travel to them.. I'm not talking about Chinatown/Kensington/Distillery distance in Toronto either..

Anyway it all depends on what one appreciates but you're right about our messy urbanism and I would even say our interesting build form juxtopositions and quirkiness that other more 'Stately' cities would dare touch and to many this gives us our on character..
Among the major North American cities, Chicago is just about the worst when it comes to the transition from downtown to the neighborhoods. Boston, Philadelphia, Toronto and San Francisco are all much better in this regard.
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Old 03-27-2015, 10:00 PM
 
Location: Toronto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by King of Kensington View Post
Among the major North American cities, Chicago is just about the worst when it comes to the transition from downtown to the neighborhoods. Boston, Philadelphia, Toronto and San Francisco are all much better in this regard.
I'm just hoping that with all this development in T.O that this is largely maintained.. Fine to take down some old Commie Block office buildings or build a highrise or midrise condo over existing parking lots or undeveloped zones - not good if we take down what gives us character in favour of just another condo box.. With that said, unlike Boston, Philly or even S.F - T.O is really building an impressive dense and vertical DT core..
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Old 03-27-2015, 10:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fusion2 View Post
Toronto doesn't do 'Stately' very well I will agree. Even the architecture that we do have that could be made more 'Stately' is largely left up to residents or businesses to spruce up as opposed to any government or official body.. With that said, I think Toronto is more a work in progress vs Euro cities and even cities like Chicago which held more historical importance than Toronto.. We've only become a player in the last few decades - lets give the city some time but i do think we shouldn't just dismiss our gems and the interesting things about it that many outsiders like and its ok for us to appreciate what we do have. So yes, lets play up the Kensington's/St Lawrence Markets/Neogothic architecture/Distillery districts and our Bay and Gables heck even our growing and dense skyline because many appreciate these things.. I've found Germans from Frankfurt particularly appreciate scraper development lol...
The local and provincial governments could do A LOT more to spruce up some of Toronto's existing historic architecture. When I first came to TO, what fascinated me the most was the Exhibition area with its late Victorian-style convention halls and the nicely built Prince's Gate. What struck me the most was that it was largely left as that - a largely empty and lifeless area for your occasional convention or special event during the summer.

Instead of leaving it empty, the city could've redeveloped the entire area, adding residential development, some stores, and more well-maintained parks. I'm pretty sure many people would want to live around Exhibition if the area is actually redeveloped into a mixed use district.
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Old 03-27-2015, 10:23 PM
 
Location: Toronto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bostonkid123 View Post
The local and provincial governments could do A LOT more to spruce up some of Toronto's existing historic architecture. When I first came to TO, what fascinated me the most was the Exhibition area with its late Victorian-style convention halls and the nicely built Prince's Gate. What struck me the most was that it was largely left as that - a largely empty and lifeless area for your occasional convention or special event during the summer.

Instead of leaving it empty, the city could've redeveloped the entire area, adding residential development, some stores, and more well-maintained parks. I'm pretty sure many people would want to live around Exhibition if the area is actually redeveloped into a mixed use district.
Totally agreed - that whole area should be developed into something that is a beacon for people both local and tourist alike to go to.. We could do a lot more and it IS full of potential..

Hopefully things like this will help

Queens Quay (West) / Central Waterfront / Explore Projects / Waterfront Toronto

Ontario Place Revitalization

Toronto has gems but we haven't done enough to open them up and develop them into magnets that attract... We could do TONS more to develop and flaunt tourist attractions.. Looks like things are happening but what you mentioned in a post in another thread rings particularly true - if we focused as much energy on these things as condo development we'd really be making the traction needed to join the list of world class cities beyond just on the business front..

Anyway - how much would it take to put some strategically placed LED's onto Old City Hall at Night to make a statement - hey i'm here and i'm attractive LOOK at me lol..
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Old 03-28-2015, 07:47 AM
 
10,847 posts, read 12,347,137 times
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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.
that was exactly my point. Fusion2 was asking where is Chicago's Queen west, st Lawrence,and I was pointing out Chicago does have such nabes with similar vibes.

Manicured vs mishmash, that's a personal preference. I have been living in chaotic mishmash cities for a long time so personally I prefer cities more neat and better planned, such as Paris or Barcelona to say Berlin or Toronto. Just so you know, all those developing countries have all the messy urbanism, many with a much higher vibrancy than Toronto, so in my eyes it's nothing so unique.
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Old 03-28-2015, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
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I would like to see Toronto start building stuff that doesn't have green effing glass in it. What is it? The Emerald City?

Seriously. Enough of that already. Big green boxes with no character. lol

Last edited by Magnatomicflux; 03-28-2015 at 09:06 AM..
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Old 03-28-2015, 10:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
that was exactly my point. Fusion2 was asking where is Chicago's Queen west, st Lawrence,and I was pointing out Chicago does have such nabes with similar vibes.

Manicured vs mishmash, that's a personal preference. I have been living in chaotic mishmash cities for a long time so personally I prefer cities more neat and better planned, such as Paris or Barcelona to say Berlin or Toronto. Just so you know, all those developing countries have all the messy urbanism, many with a much higher vibrancy than Toronto, so in my eyes it's nothing so unique.
Chicago does have its share of Queen St. West type hipsters and all that BS in various neighborhoods outside the core like Wicker park and Logan Square. Most cities have been invaded by hipsters at this point though. Not sure if I've seen a market as big as St. Lawrence in Chicago but on the flip side, I doubt there's a shortage of places to buy great food there too. Either way, who cares, what does it matter. Cities shouldn't be modelled to all look the same and have the exact same amenities, otherwise they would all be one big snore. I don't want to go to Toronto or Montreal or Chicago or San Diego to see and experience the same things. Different is good, I don't see why we want everything to have an equivalent in the first place. I'm finding most major cities in not just North America but on a worldwide scale are becoming very similar in what they offer and are becoming less interesting to me, of course scale and local twists are always there.

I too like cities that have ornate & well designed cores with historical gems but having some surrounding areas that are a little more "messy" too is good to mix things up. I also prefer cities which have more low/mid-rise development because they seem more intimate, vibrant and liveable than places dominated than towers. They feel like neighborhoods, as you've seen in Europe, and these are the type of developments I like Toronto to focus on. I find cities like Singapore and Sao Paulo that are extremely dominated by buildings to lack energy and kind of boring. NYC's best areas are all low-mid/rise, not in midtown and Fidi.
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