In August 2015, Toronto was named the Best City to Live in the world by the Economist.
Toronto earned the Best City to Live status by ranking highly in safety, livability, business environment, democracy, and food security. With more people wanting to live in the city, Toronto has made a commitment to improve its livability, especially in the downtown core. There are many projects underway that aim to improve livability by increasing access to green spaces, revitalizing underused areas, updating transportation, and embracing citizen involvement.
While Toronto has certainly embraced its urbanism, with record-setting housing/condo starts summer 2015, it has also aimed to improve livability by providing its citizens with increased access to green spaces. A comprehensive plan for the protection, enhancement, and future use of the ravine network has been started to ensure their vitality for years to come. The goal of the Lower Don project is similar; one of vibrancy that “enables more people to share in one of Toronto’s greatest natural treasures.”
Toronto gives its people additional urban space to live, work, and play in by revitalizing underused areas. Ontario Place is being redeveloped to include a waterfront trail and park. The Under Gardiner project aims to reactivate the space under the Gardiner Expressway to dissolve the barrier it is currently creating between downtown and the waterfront. It will be a series of loosely programmed outdoor ‘rooms’ that act as both a park and a trail, and provides Toronto with informal gathering spaces. This trail will connect Torontonians to many attractions including Molson Amphitheatre, BMO Field, Historic Fort York, Toronto Music Garden, the revitalized Queen’s Quay, Harbourfront Centre, the CN Tower, the Toronto Railway Museum, Ripley’s Aquarium, the Air Canada Centre and the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal.
Both the TTC and Toronto’s bike lanes have been undergoing mass improvements lately. There are plans to extend the lengths of protected bike lanes in the downtown core, providing urban cyclists with much needed infrastructure and safety. The Eglinton Crosstown light rail is a TTC expansion project that provides an accessible route for the northern part of downtown Toronto. The Union Pearson Express provides rapid public transit between downtown and Pearson Airport, which helps citizens and tourists alike to quickly reach the core. Union Station is in the midst of a complete restoration and once complete will have a variety of retail stores and restaurants in addition to a comprehensive network of platforms for both VIA Rail and GO Transit trains.
Toronto has also reached out to its citizens to help shape the future of the of the urban environment. Projects such as Yonge Love and 100 in 1 Day call on the community to help create a vision and a plan that lets everyone’s voice be heard. Embracing citizen involvement will make Toronto a city that everyone loves! Volunteertoronto.ca is an exceptional website connecting volunteers to available positions through out the city.
Toronto is a vibrant city with so much to offer in terms of cultural events, activities, shopping and dining. I have included links to BlogTO and TorontoLife on my website as they are the both excellent resources for all things Toronto.