Is Toronto drab? Council is pushing for a ‘more beautiful’ city


One block from Yonge-Dundas Square, in the heart of downtown Toronto, Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management campus sits over a big-box Canadian Tire store.

Hailed as a success story at the time for combining the public realm and retail, the corner looks drab and feels uninspiring by today’s standards.

“It leaves a lot to be desired on what is a pretty prominent intersection,” said Coun. Brad Bradford.

In fact, too much of the growth and development taking place in Toronto is unremarkable, says the former city planner, who was elected to office in 2018.

“I think we all need to hold ourselves to a higher standard when it comes to architecture, when it comes to urban design, when it comes to public realm.”

The Ward 19 Beaches—East York councillor was behind a recent motion, approved by council, that would see the city adopt practices aimed at producing a better-looking city and a more functional one.

The motion includes ideas that will no doubt prove contentious — including a plan for a public design competition to solicit ideas for increasing density in neighbourhoods now zoned for single-family homes.

Council voted to ask staff to include the plan in an upcoming report to the planning and housing committee.