Op-Ed: What Can Be Done About Toronto's Drabness?

After decades of "just-good-enough when it comes to design," now may be the time for Toronto to take steps to upgrade its aesthetics.

1 minute read

December 14, 2019, 11:00 AM PST

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


Toronto Towers

Jesse Colin Jackson / Image courtesy of Doggerel.

"Why must we put up with a city that is, let's face it, pretty darn ugly?" asks The Toronto Star's Editorial Board. "Especially at this time of year, when the darkness closes in and we collectively brace for the frozen months ahead. Why can't there be more beauty, more colour, more delight to get us through?"

Even though the city is "many years into the biggest building boom in its history," it's not too late to start paying more attention to design, the editorial goes on. 

Beginning in the 1960s and 70s, "the city was despoiled by scores of concrete towers that stand as a visual middle finger to the ordinary mortals condemned to dwell among them. Only consciously contrarian architecture critics, with their disdain for such mundane concerns as beauty and harmony, continue to defend these monstrosities."

The editorial praises a recent call from Toronto's city council for ideas on how to beautify the city. "What are city planners for if not to plan a city that is not merely functional, but harmonious, beautiful, uplifting and yes, even surprising and delightful at times?"

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