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  #121  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 10:57 PM
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The vast majority of countries have primate cities which dominate far more than Toronto or Montreal have ever dominated Canada. The only countries that don't are other federations (or would-be/should-be federations) like Australia, United States, India, China, Brazil, South Africa, etc.

Most countries, however, are based around one core region, such as Java in Indonesia (centred on the Jabodetabek region), the Paris Basin in France, or Istanbul in Turkey. Even some federations, like Argentina, Mexico, Ethiopia, Malaysia, and Russia are very centralized... much more so than Canada ever has been or will be.

The countries with the most similar level of decentralization to Canada are probably Brazil, Spain, and Australia.
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  #122  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 11:23 PM
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That makes a lot of sense since a lot of those older countries were originally just city states with an Empire. Most countries have 1 dominant city and Canada's not one of them.
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  #123  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 11:34 PM
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Here is a very cool resource.

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator...igh_desc=false

The site shows the percent of a country's population that resides within the largest metropolis of the country. Canada is basically exactly the same level as France or the UK at about 20%, the US is 7%. You can also see it on a map.
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  #124  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Chadillaccc View Post
The countries with the most similar level of decentralization to Canada are probably Brazil, Spain, and Australia.
The other country that is about the same in terms of decentralization is Switzerland*.

Germany is one of the only countries I can think of where there is even less of a claim to a single primate city. Berlin, while fun and the seat of government, is not particularly important economically. Even before the war, Berlin was not that much of a juggernaut, given the size of Germany. Its surrounded by one of the least densely-populated and poorest parts of Germany, as if Toronto were located in northern New Brunswick.

*Zurich and Toronto are very different cities, but Zurich kind of plays a Toronto-esque role, both within Switzerland and within the larger German-speaking world. In Switzerland, it's the centre for the German-speaking majority, but Geneva (Montreal) is the centre for the French-speaking minority and is no slouch. Zurich is a major world financial capital and a centre of Germanic culture (as Toronto is in the Anglosphere), but it's not necessarily more important than half a dozen cities in Germany (Toronto vs. half a dozen cities in the US), and is not a big, ancient city of a former empire like Vienna (London).
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  #125  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2018, 12:03 AM
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Zurich is also often (unfairly?) dissed for being soulless and lacking in character!
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  #126  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2018, 12:05 AM
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Zurich is also often (unfairly?) dissed for being soulless and lacking in character!
Only by those not familiar with its leather scene ....
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  #127  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2018, 12:20 AM
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Zurich is also often (unfairly?) dissed for being soulless and lacking in character!
Like Toronto, Zurich doesn't have much grandeur by European standards. Like Toronto, what are we to expect from the non-capital-largest city of a majority portion of a decentralized, small federation?

I like Zurich, but for very different reasons than why I like Toronto. Zurich actually is the perfectly-run clock that people say it is. The reason I like Toronto is because it is assumed to be a tidy, organized city like Zurich but, in reality, it's a hot mess.
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  #128  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2018, 2:01 AM
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The reason I like Toronto is because it is assumed to be a tidy, organized city like Zurich but, in reality, it's a hot mess.
Then why did someone once call it New York run by the Swiss?
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  #129  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2018, 2:06 AM
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Then why did someone once call it New York run by the Swiss?
I think it was Peter Ustinov. He was talking about the Toronto of Old. Well of the 70s and 80s anyway.

Which probably never really existed as New York Run By The Swiss.

Though it probably seemed like that at the time given how much of a mess pretty much any American city (including the greatest ones) were at the time.
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  #130  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2018, 2:07 AM
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Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
Like Toronto, Zurich doesn't have much grandeur by European standards. Like Toronto, what are we to expect from the non-capital-largest city of a majority portion of a decentralized, small federation?

I like Zurich, but for very different reasons than why I like Toronto. Zurich actually is the perfectly-run clock that people say it is. The reason I like Toronto is because it is assumed to be a tidy, organized city like Zurich but, in reality, it's a hot mess.
And it's not as if Geneva is a Sodom-and-Gomorrah, comparatively speaking.

That said, I don't mind Zurich either. I also think Frankfurt is a pretty nice city, even though no one seems to like it.
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  #131  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2018, 2:08 AM
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I think it was Peter Ustinov. He was talking about the Toronto of Old. Well of the 70s and 80s anyway.

Which probably never really existed as New York Run By The Swiss.

Though it probably seemed like that at the time given how much of a mess pretty much any American city (including the greatest ones) were at the time.
So, either Torontonians got messier, or American cities became less of a mess, since then.
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  #132  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2018, 2:09 AM
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So, either Torontonians got messier, or American cities became less of a mess, since then.
A bit of both, IMHO.
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  #133  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2018, 2:12 AM
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I'm too young to have experienced the 70s and only was born in the later 80s, but from what I hear about from family members who've lived in the Toronto area then, and from old photos, I don't see Toronto then as being that much cleaner looking than today.

There's a lot more new development since the 70s, and it has definitely come into its own as a city but I suspect it was not much more efficient, clean and smooth running back then, only that the other cities it was compared to changed, rather than Toronto itself.
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  #134  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2018, 2:17 AM
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You ask the average person in Europe, the Middle-East or Asia where they'd rather live or study between those two cities and it wouldn't even be close. Incidentally, the BBC is watched or listened to more than anything based out of NYC and the Financial Times has more pull with decision makers around the world than the Wall Street Journal. London is also architecturally more beautiful and socially more lively than NYC.
I don't know, the American dream narrative is still strong (even if it's lost a little of its lustre these days) for many people overseas.
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  #135  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2018, 2:17 AM
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I'm too young to have experienced the 70s and only was born in the later 80s, but from what I hear about from family members who've lived in the Toronto area then, and from old photos, I don't see Toronto then as being that much cleaner looking than today.

There's a lot more new development since the 70s, and it has definitely come into its own as a city but I suspect it was not much more efficient, clean and smooth running back then, only that the other cities it was compared to changed, rather than Toronto itself.
It was much cleaner! I lived there in the early 80s and the downtown was very clean and litter was pretty hard to find, especially on Yonge Street!
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  #136  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2018, 2:18 AM
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It was much cleaner! I lived there in the early 80s and the downtown was very clean and litter was pretty hard to find, especially on Yonge Street!
Did Toronto start slacking off on street cleaning or something? Or did Torontonians start becoming litterbugs?
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  #137  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2018, 2:25 AM
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Did Toronto start slacking off on street cleaning or something? Or did Torontonians start becoming litterbugs?
I’m not sure, but I remember the sidewalks being very clean with almost no cigarette butts to be found, just crazy!
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  #138  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2018, 2:52 AM
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I have mixed impressions of Toronto's cleanliness from back then. I wasn't alive in the 1970s, but some of my earliest memories were going downtown with my parents in the late 80s and wondering why all the gum on the sidewalks was black. I also remember playing with stray cigarette butts on the floor of Terminal 1 and my mom getting mad at me. Then again, I don't exactly have a perfect memory of things that far back, and I might have observed these things more because I was closer to the sidewalk, so to speak.

My impression from photos is that the Toronto of the past may not necessarily have been cleaner, but it was a lot more orderly. Construction crews didn't cut into the sidewalk and repave it sloppily with asphalt. Road crews didn't leave cones and old sandbags by the side of the road when they were done with construction. There weren't corny video screens playing CP24 everywhere or cheap backlit signage obscuring heritage facades. Subway stations had clean lines, and didn't have crumbling ceilings with a spaghetti web of electrical conduits drilled into them, or shrink wrapped ads plastered over the tilework.

Now, to be honest, I like some of this because it reminds me that I live in a city that is a complex, layered machine, but too often, and often in all the wrong places, that cacophony just gets out of hand.

Last edited by hipster duck; Jan 5, 2018 at 3:03 AM.
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  #139  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2018, 3:24 AM
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I remember Toronto in the 80s and public infrastructure in particular was definitely "shinier" and in better shape back then. The contrast when coming from Montreal or American was quite striking if I recall. Even the simple stuff like sidewalks, guard rails, light standards, signs, traffic lights, etc.

Other people mentioned litter and for whatever reason there was definitely less visible litter back then. I worked in tourism in Ontario for a time when I was younger and one of the comments Americans often made was how litter-free Toronto and Ontario in general were.
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  #140  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2018, 3:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Chadillaccc View Post
The vast majority of countries have primate cities which dominate far more than Toronto or Montreal have ever dominated Canada. The only countries that don't are other federations (or would-be/should-be federations) like Australia, United States, India, China, Brazil, South Africa, etc.
That "have ever", IMO, makes your statement incorrect. Canada, at Montreal's peak (early 1800s), would have likely been firmly in the top half of current countries for centralization in a primate city.
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