Toronto Life - - The Conversati­on -

’Hood Winked The thing about rank­ings is that some­thing has to come first and some­thing has to come last. Read­ers whose neigh­bour­hoods landed down in the nether re­gions of our list of the “Best (and Worst) Places to Live” spoke out to pas­sion­ately de­fend their turf.

“How is South Riverdale only ranked 61? It’s been one of the hottest/most sought-af­ter neigh­bour­hoods in the city for sev­eral years. Oh, I see, 7.8 out of 100 for safety. As any vil­lain can tell you, our ’hood is not filled with ma­raud­ing crim­i­nals—the most com­mon of­fend­ers are re­bel­lious cy­clists and dog own­ers not prop­erly dis­pos­ing of their pet’s busi­ness!”

—Terry Cain, Face­book

“Thank you for high­light­ing the 140 neigh­bour­hoods that make up Toronto, which def­i­nitely shows how vi­brant this city is. I live and work in Woburn (rank­ing #121) and run a com­mu­nity-based pro­gram in West Hill (rank­ing #140) that sup­ports adults with lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy skills. As such, I found the rank­ings quite dis­heart­en­ing and mis­lead­ing.

“First off, the ‘top’ 20 neigh­bour­hoods score low in terms of di­ver­sity, while the ‘bot­tom’ ones score high in that cat­e­gory. That’s quite sig­nif­i­cant, is it not? May I sug­gest that, in the fu­ture, you per­son­ally ex­plore all of Toronto’s neigh­bour­hoods (es­pe­cially the ones that you con­sider to be the ‘worst’). Talk to lo­cal cham­pi­ons and residents, take the time to learn the nu­ances of th­ese ar­eas, be­cause there is some amaz­ing, grass­roots com­mu­nity-build­ing go­ing on.”

—Phyli­cia Davis

“Your neigh­bour­hood rank­ings are al­ways in­ter­est­ing, and you clearly can’t please ev­ery­one, but you got one neigh­bour­hood wrong this year. I doubt your re­searcher ever set foot in Park­wood­sDon­alda, where I have lived for 30 years. Rank­ing it 139th out of 140 de­fies logic. We may not be #3 (where two of my chil­dren and their fam­i­lies hap­pily live), but we sure aren’t 139th! I think you goofed this time. But the folks who paid an av­er­age of $2 mil­lion for a de­tached house here this sum­mer will prob­a­bly for­give you. It’s a very good place to live.” —Don McKib­bin

“Who­ever wrote your de­scrip­tion of Lawrence Park North (#5) must have been on drugs. For the record, my wife and I re­side in the heart of this neigh­bour­hood. Also for the record, my daugh­ter and her hus­band re­side in the #1-ranked neigh­bour­hood—Run­nymedeBloo­r West Vil­lage. I men­tion this only to say that I have first-hand knowl­edge of both ar­eas.

“Your de­scrip­tion states that Lawrence Park North is ‘a ma­jor trek from down­town’—this is ab­so­lutely false. Our house is a one­minute walk from the sub­way (Line 1) and my daugh­ter’s house is a three- to four-minute walk from Line 2. If you google the re­spec­tive dis­tances, you will note that our lo­ca­tion is 7.1 kilo­me­tres (or 23 min­utes) to Yonge and Bloor, and my daugh­ter’s house is 7.8 kilo­me­tres (24 min­utes) to the same lo­ca­tion. In fact, on many oc­ca­sions my wife and I walk down­town from Lawrence Park North.

“Fur­ther, to sug­gest that Lawrence Park North is a sub­urb is ab­surd. Within min­utes of our doorstep are dozens of restau­rants, all the ma­jor banks, a va­ri­ety of gro­cery stores, cloth­iers and spe­cialty and con­ve­nience stores.”

—Tem­ple Har­ris

Some read­ers ob­jected to the whole en­ter­prise of rank­ing neigh­bour­hoods.

“The Scar­bor­ough Com­mu­nity Re­newal Or­ga­ni­za­tion would like to take is­sue with your 2018 neigh­bour­hoods rank­ings. There is the large chasm be­tween the rank­ing sys­tem and the stated

pur­pose of your mag­a­zine as ‘...the des­ti­na­tion for peo­ple who care about Toronto.’ Claim­ing that low-rank­ing neigh­bour­hoods (an in­evitabil­ity in any rank­ing sys­tem) may be the ‘worst places to live’ is com­pletely in­con­sis­tent with car­ing about Toronto. It is di­vi­sive and hurt­ful. All neigh­bour­hoods have pos­i­tive things to of­fer. For ex­am­ple, Cliff­side (#125 of 140) has one of Toronto’s most beau­ti­ful streets (Falling­brook Drive), Clif­fcrest (#122) has one of our best beaches (Bluffer’s Park) and the Rouge (#132) has one of our fore­most na­tional parks. Rank­ing th­ese neigh­bour­hoods among the ‘worst’ is not only in­ac­cu­rate, it un­der­mines the widely ac­knowl­edged pos­i­tive fea­tures that de­fine our city.” —Sitharsana Srithas and

John Sta­ple­ton, SCRO

“As an el­e­men­tary school teacher, I found your vague ref­er­ences to ‘great schools,’ ‘strong schools’ and ‘highly ranked schools’ dis­ap­point­ing. You write that the num­ber of schools and day­cares in each neigh­bour­hood were part of the cri­te­ria that al­lowed for a higher rank­ing, but what ex­actly makes a school great, strong or highly ranked? EQAO scores? Yuck. Typ­i­cally, schools that are so­cioe­co­nom­i­cally and cul­tur­ally di­verse don’t do well on EQAO. Does this mean we’re hold­ing up the op­po­site as the ideal? I’ve worked at sev­eral won­der­ful schools in my ca­reer, most of which have ranked poorly on the EQAO. Those scores—and the Fraser In­sti­tute rank­ings that re­sult from them—are not even close to a good mea­sure of what makes a school great and strong.”

—Di­nah Mur­doch

The happy house­hold­ers were a much more suc­cinct bunch.

“Love Bloor West!!!” —Raul Novo, Face­book

“We’re num­ber one…we’re num­ber one!”

—Mar­cella Jokay, Face­book

“#2 rank­ing for the old ’hood. I knew we were in on one of best-kept se­crets in Toronto…”

—Melissa Ban­gay, Face­book

Cult Fol­low­ing

Nathaniel G. Moore’s mem­oir about his grand­fa­ther’s faith-heal­ing, beat-thedevil-out cult in Trin­ity-Bell­woods was as scary as it sounds, and read­ers ap­par­ently like to be scared.

“Toronto Life long read…about a cult? Oh hell yes.”

—@jen­nal­icereid, Twit­ter

“Once in a while, Toronto Life has a fantastic ar­ti­cle that makes my hair stand on end.”

—Mag­jee, Red­dit

The piece par­tic­u­larly res­onated for this wo­man:

“Thank you for in­clud­ing Nathaniel Moore’s ar­ti­cle in your Oc­to­ber is­sue. The ex­is­tence of his grand­fa­ther’s cult ru­ined many lives, my fam­ily’s in­cluded. Many more fam­i­lies were af­fected than is per­haps known. To sud­denly see the group writ­ten about some 55 years later is in­cred­i­bly val­i­dat­ing for vic­tims. The story ac­cu­rately re­flects my own mem­o­ries and ex­pe­ri­ences.

“The fact that the ar­ti­cle was writ­ten by a mem­ber of the fam­ily makes it feel very au­then­tic. I wish to pub­licly thank Nathaniel Moore for speak­ing of the group with­out reser­va­tion and with­out gloss­ing over the facts. When the adult sur­vivors be­gan to speak out about the abuse, we were ini­tially met with de­ri­sion, skep­ti­cism and al­le­ga­tions of false mem­ory. How­ever, you only have to read this ar­ti­cle to know our truth. The chil­dren of th­ese fam­i­lies, now grown adults if they sur­vived, are the

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