Category Archives: Board Chair and Executive Director Messages

Awakening Transit Advocacy

  By: Richard Joy It’s been awhile, but frustration with transit gridlock in the Toronto Region is finally boiling over again. Distracted by the shiny objects of Toronto Mayor John Tory’s “Smart Track,” and the provincial government’s expanded version of this idea — the full electrification of the diesel commuter network — transit advocates went into a four-year hibernation. No doubt the fatigue of several bold and failed attempts to deal with regional transit’s number one challenge, dedicated taxes, contributed to this deep sleep. In this vacuum of advocacy, funding … Read More

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Affordability hack-a-thon

By: Richard Joy There is no coincidence that as the fastest growing urban region on the continent, the Toronto region is tracking to become the least affordable metropolitan area on the continent. It’s a worrying fact that every highly successful urban economy in the world has left its poorest residents on the losing side of this prosperity, not to mention its middle class. Must this be the Toronto region’s destiny? Is there a missing piece in our growth equation that can address this universal urban economic failure? Amazing work and leadership is being undertaken by an array of organizations, progressive developers, academics and government to bend this dangerous trajectory. It’s widely recognized that … Read More

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End of Year Message from Chair, Derek Goring

The end of the 2017 calendar year is bittersweet as takes me into the home stretch of my two-year term as Chair of ULI Toronto, and while such a milestone warrants a look back on highlights, my eye is focused on the future. My term overlapped some of the most significant shifts in the public policy landscape that our industry has ever witnessed. In addition to the anticipated 10-year reviews of the provincial growth plan and Metrolinx’s regional transportation plan, the province has moved to abolish the Ontario Municipal Board. … Read More

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Leapfrog Exurbia?

By: Richard Joy If there was a stinging criticism of the provincially imposed greenbelt, designed to curb the Greater Toronto Area’s (GTA) urban sprawl, it was the concern that homebuyers would be determined to pursue the dream of low density, detached homes and would leapfrog over the two-million acres of protected land to the promise land of outer exurbia. Headline stories of desperate families sleeping in their cars for days in mid-winter to get a slice of cul-de-sac nirvana became proof points of failed land use policies forcing higher densities in the GTA. Home buyers want … Read More

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Toronto- A World Class City

Toronto is not a world-class city. To think otherwise is delusional and un-Canadian. We are a humble, beta-city that knows our place in the world. If you don’t believe me, ask any self-respecting local urbanist. But can we at least allow that we are a global city? It may be semantics, but as North America’s fastest growing city region — recently passing Chicago in population and tracking to surpass Los Angeles by mid-century —is it untoward to acknowledge our international ascendency? We accept that we are the world’s most diverse … Read More

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Tools to tackle housing affordability in Ontario

By Richard Joy, Executive Director, ULI Toronto No Toronto real-estate story has dominated 2017 more than the sudden spike of housing prices and its social consequences. While the dream of becoming a homeowner of anything larger than a shoe box has long escaped those with their sights on downtown neighbourhoods, the nightmare of being priced out of our region’s suburbs is also setting in. This concern was at the foundation of a recent housing conference that the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Toronto helped organize with the Canadian Urban Institute and the … Read More

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Summer Message from ULI’s Chair Derek Goring

              This summer marks my mid-term as Chair of ULI Toronto, and I am proud to be able to look back on amazing year. After a period of growth, that saw us double our membership (now over 1500), the past year was focused on program expansion and community impact. The broadening of our programming reflects a commitment to offering our membership a wide range of thought leadership, networking and educational experiences, as well as opportunities to give back to our local communities. Highlights this … Read More

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The life and death of the New Deal for cities

Richard Joy, Executive Director, ULI Toronto         The dream that Canada’s largest urban hub municipalities, the engines of the national economy, will someday control the levers necessary for the advancement of their economic and social well-being is dying. Also on life support is the twenty-year effort to strengthen the regional cohesion of the Greater Toronto Areas (GTA), long considered critical to the global competitiveness of Canada’s economic capital. For the second time in 18-months a provincial government has thwarted the initiative of a major Canadian city to … Read More

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Are Tory’s Toll Roads Toronto’s Coming of Age?

Whatever the ultimate outcome of Toronto Mayor John Tory’s massive political gamble to propose road tolls on the city’s two expressways, it exposed something quite remarkable: Toronto’s coming of age. For years Toronto’s social and business leaders spun themselves in circles seeking an elusive tax solution to propose to our politicians. Many bold offerings came forth by some of the most counter intuitive organizations, ranging from the boards of trade and chambers of commerce to automobile lobbyists to various industry groups. And not one, but two provincial reports advanced recommendations, … Read More

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Make Your City A Better Place in 2017!

          Dear ULI Toronto Members: As we close out 2016 for the holiday break I want to ask you to do one (1) small piece of homework to be ready for the new year ahead… On January 3rd we will be launching our third annual #CityResolve twitter campaign. Over four days, this initiative challenges Torontonians to commit to something that over the course of the year will improve our city region. The campaign is a simple one. Follow us on Twitter (@ULIToronto) and tweet (or email … Read More

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