Toronto Life



’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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