'Echo Boomers' - those born between 1972 and 1992 - are flocking to Toronto's core, tripling downtown's growth rate in just five years according to a new report, entitled “Toronto — A Return to the Core" [PDF] by TD Economics. "This runs counter to worry over the 'doughnut effect' — a fear that Toronto will steadily lose jobs and dynamism to the regions that surround it — making this city the empty hole in a GTA doughnut," says an editorial in The Toronto Star.
Yet, as the report notes, this growth brings with it substantial challenges that must be addressed by city leaders and planners. "The eager young urbanites crowding into the core rely heavily on public transit, and a continued downtown population surge could overwhelm the city’s already struggling system."
"It’s also clear that the downtown is fast becoming a 'neighbourhood' in the full meaning of the word. And no neighbourhood benefits from having a casino plopped down in its centre," says the editorial in regards to a proposal by Oxford Properties Group to build a casino as part of a massive redevelopment project.
"It’s not clear how long the Echo Boomer influx will last. As they get older and have children they might head off to the suburbs, just like their parents. Those parents, in turn, may go the other way, abandoning their empty nests and moving into a condo in the core. Either way, it’s vital that city builders get it right by providing more transit and other amenities so that more people — regardless of age — can keep our downtown booming."