Our 10th annual real estate roundtable
Of heritage, protecting neighbourhoods and skyrocketing home prices
I’ve been thinking a lot about gentrification and the neighbourhoods of the city lately.
Originally, it was while passing through the Little India area of the city in the east end, dubbed Gerrard Indian Bazaar. The street is changing and quickly. But it’s a story being played out in countless neighbourhoods from east to west, north to south.
I lived in a little bungalow in East York, and trips down for the many buffets or to Lahore Tikka House were a regular occurrence. It was different from any other part of the city — people sold paan and BBQ corn on the streets lined with sari shops.
Now chefs are becoming attracted to the area because of the cheaper rents, and a big-name craft brewer from Quebec is opening up shop this fall and will surely usher in even more change.
Toronto used to be described as a city of neighbourhoods. Remember that? But that uniqueness is under threat if not full-on assault. The current development and real estate boom is changing everything.
The city cannot keep up, despite what anyone down at city hall says. I’ve watched many development applications head to the Ontario Municipal Board because city council took too long to rule so the company rightfully decided to skip the city planning process. Local studies are initiated, sure, such as a recent one in Leaside. But before it gets halfway, massive developments that will change the face of the neighbourhood forever are already approved.
Governments say they are going to slow things down, but we seem so hooked on real estate and the renovation business and the massive land tax revenue that we can’t go back or surely our world would implode.
What are we left with at the end of the day? Our leaders might say this is the mark of a world-class city, that our real estate or owning a home is as unachievable as it is in New York or London. Is that what we are counting as success these days? That the powers that be have managed to plan our way into a situation that makes home ownership a pipe dream and makes one neighbourhood unrecognizable from the next? I’m not so sure. I like Little India, but give it another two years, and it will be a sea of glassy mid-rise condos like any other sea. I like Leaside too. Leaside is so unique and has this cool industrial heritage that still exists to some degree across Laird Drive. But a decade from now, with stronger measures from city hall, who knows?
These issues and others were discussed during our 10th annual real estate roundtable. Read it here or the longer online version.
Post City is about neighbourhoods. We celebrate them. We know how important they are to this city and so should our elected officials.
Post City’s real estate roundtable