Is Downtown Toronto a Suitable Place for Families?

In remarks that have caused an uproar in North America's fifth largest city, Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday lodged his foot firmly in his mouth last week, telling city council and reporters that downtown Toronto is an unsuitable place to raise children.
July 17, 2012, 8am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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In comments made to a stunned city council, and repeated to reporters afterwards, Holyday derided those who choose to raise children in downtown Toronto, "as he passionately argued against forcing a condo developer to include family-friendly three-bedroom units in a proposed 47-storey building at King St. W. and John St," reports Daniel Dale. His comments brought fierce pushback from the city's acting chief planner, Gregg Lintern, and Josh Matlow, a midtown councillor.  

According to Architecture and Urban Issues columnist Christopher Hume, Holyday's comments are even more opprobrious when considering the findings of a new report prepared by the Pembina Institute and the Royal Bank, which, "found an overwhelming majority of GTA [Greater Toronto Area] residents would rather live in a city or a suburb with city-like attributes."

Writes Hume: "Holyday became a laughingstock last week when he declared downtown a bad place to raise a family. His ignorance and anti-urban prejudice help explain why Toronto is fast falling behind other North American cities."

You can find a collection of letters directed to Holyday authored by outraged downtown families on the downtown kids blog.   

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Published on Thursday, July 12, 2012 in Toronto Star
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