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  #81  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 6:21 PM
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My tax bill here is really only slightly higher than it would be in Quebec, too.
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  #82  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 6:25 PM
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Originally Posted by kool maudit View Post
My tax bill here is really only slightly higher than it would be in Quebec, too.
You mean for income taxes? Isn't the VAT something like 25%?
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  #83  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 6:30 PM
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Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
If your four contenders are Montreal, Toronto, Copenhagen and Stockholm, and salaries vs cost of living (as an owner) is a major factor, I think the decision's easy. Welcome back home!
Not to mention if there are any Kool Maudit Jrs. in the plans...
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  #84  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 6:32 PM
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Yeah, income. Consumer goods are vastly more expensive across the board, it's true. You forget because it's all built in to the sticker so it becomes 'I guess things are just shitty here for stores' but of course it's taxation.

ON ANOTHER NOTE

I sometimes forget that this is skyscraperpage.com -- it's been nearly 20 years for me! -- but... holy shit, Toronto.

The new ones add a whole level of visual drama to the city that is lacking in the rest of Canada and Europe, and the next round is bigger yet. The new Commerce Court, YSL Condos, One Yonge, The One... these are major, major structures. This is a city that could one day see a Trumpian developer raise things up to Shanghai-tier just to swing his dick around.

I remember the start of this, when Pantages went up in the late 90s. I hope the Tour des Canadiens was Montreal's Pantages and it just keeps going from here.

Toronto is in a whole other league, though. Absolute top-tier North America. What an exciting time for lovers of skylines (despite being a really big part of the whole 'no but it's really about urban fabric' SSP schism, I still love a good skyline).
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  #85  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 6:38 PM
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Toronto: I remember five years ago, visitors from Montreal talking about how Toronto was coming to equal Montreal’s vitality. I think at this point it’s surpassed it, absolutely—the idea that Toronto has reached some kind of urban singularity or threshold feels true. The city feels massive and alive in a way that it didn’t even very recently. The arterial commercial streets are packed with people in a way they never have been, and there’s a sense of a deeply lived in place, everywhere. The built typology of the city is inferior to Montreal (duplexes and single-family houses next to massive towers) but it’s transcended the limitations of its built form by sheer size. It’s a complicated, highly imperfect, but great city.

I don’t think the criticism that Bathurst Street is sleepy are very fair; Bathurst is mostly just front by houses. Dufferin is the same. But visit almost any other arterial, either north-south or east-west, between the Don and the Humber, and they’re very lively, and much moreso now than the recent past.
Criticisms: More than ever, Toronto has zillions of cyclists, but the infrastructure available to them is still pretty crappy.

The cost of living, as well, is already contributing to serious income and ethnic segregation in the city, and right now the city is not doing enough to address it. Ultimately, that could put the brakes on its vitality.

Montreal: I can’t really speak to Montreal intimately, except to say that I’ve never felt like the city was culturally closed in a way that I don’t feel, at this stage of life, I could overcome if I moved there. Most of the people I know you dearly love Montreal grew up there, or went to school there, at that time of your life when you’re forging those tight, tight bonds. It is an incredibly distinctive place with a great character all its own, but as a visitor I don’t feel especially welcomed in to become part of that.
It is an incredibly well-built city, of course, easily the best urban fabric in Canada.

Halifax: I disagree here, I think it does feel larger than it is, especially in the past few years. Probably not compared to European cities, but definitely compared to comparable North American (and especially Canadian) cities. It’s been undergoing a smaller-scale version of Toronto’s graduation to a new plateau.

This summer has been great in Halifax—neighbourhoods that in years past were mostly sleepy are packed in the evenings, downtown and Spring Garden Road are thronged, many (certainly not all) of the new developments being built are huge improvements to the urban environment and creating both more residential density and more of textured and interesting visual environment. Many of the farther-flung bits of the peninsula feel more connected to the gravity of the city centre, and are building up small nodes of mixed-use development, both new and renovations of older buildings, that are creating the feel of a more contiguous urban environment across the peninsula.

Totally concur about the heritage losses. The specific ones you mentioned (the pitiful state of Young Avenue, and the Spring Garden Road block torn down for a fairly generic new development) are absolute unnecessary and lamentable.

Overall the city is doing really well, though, and on balance it’s a good city that’s getting clearly better, and more urban.
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  #86  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 6:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
Toronto: I remember five years ago, visitors from Montreal talking about how Toronto was coming to equal Montreal’s vitality. I think at this point it’s surpassed it, absolutely—the idea that Toronto has reached some kind of urban singularity or threshold feels true. The city feels massive and alive in a way that it didn’t even very recently. The arterial commercial streets are packed with people in a way they never have been, and there’s a sense of a deeply lived in place, everywhere. The built typology of the city is inferior to Montreal (duplexes and single-family houses next to massive towers) but it’s transcended the limitations of its built form by sheer size. It’s a complicated, highly imperfect, but great city.

My thoughts exactly
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  #87  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 6:42 PM
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Originally Posted by kool maudit View Post
The Montreal of the '90s was so obviously broken that this itself was part of the drama of experiencing the place. It was a city in total turmoil, the scar tissue of a country dealt a near-fatal blow. It wasn't quite Detroit, but it was certainly Belgrade.

I am glad to have been there.

Perhaps a lot of this comes from the fact that a city I once enjoyed as a bit of a special historical anomaly is now competitive enough to be judged on more everyday merits versus its less-scarred peers, and that background shows through. It struggles a bit for normalcy.

I may be using different metrics than I once did, also -- maybe more bourgeois ones.

Scandinavia is nothing if not that.
Montreal and Quebec are not places that are characterized by a large bourgeoisie in the middle of the society. History made them polarized between a large proletariat and a decent-sized but (now growing) élite. The middle of course does exist but it's noticeably smaller than it is in most of the western world, especially in countries where the protestant tradition dominates.

There is a reason why the classic inner city housing vernacular in Montreal is the rowhouse, triplex walk-up whereas in Toronto it's the bay and gable side by side or SFH.

What is interesting about Montreal is that the proletarian class has always tried to keep up appearances and compensated for its socio-economic limitations. This means everything attending free classical music shows or dressing up to go out on Saturday night. It's definitely something I noticed with the small Montreal branch of my family, who were as working class as they come.

It's a bit of a house of cards than can topple at any moment. But historically this has always been enough to give Montreal a veneer of sophistication, even over certain other cities that were quite a bit wealthier overall.

Of course a good chunk of the kids of the working class have of late achieved much higher levels of prosperity in Montreal and Quebec. Either by taking advantage of cheap university to become a pharmacist who owns 6 Jean Coutu franchises, or by starting up a lucrative landscaping-snow removal company with tons of clients, but in most cases the ascent has been directly from the working class to the lower fringes of the élite (financially anway), totally bypassing the usual prerequisite stepping stone that is the bourgeoisie or middle class.
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  #88  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 6:48 PM
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Originally Posted by WhipperSnapper View Post
Good point. However, they don't feel compelled to reply to a dozen different posts in one page. You may have just set a new world record for posts in a row.

A lot of the dynamism in Toronto is of the Wahlburgers (and soon Chick-Fil-A) variety.

We dined in a pretty nice restaurant downtown and they still had Stand Back by Steve Knicks and Listen to the Music by the Doobie Brothers blaring on the Muzak. Our waiter was nice and affable but had a demeanour not too different that you'd get from a waiter at Kelsey's in Peterborough. Even if his name was Ranjiv.

For starters the downtown core was a lot "whiter" than I realized when I actually chose to pay attention to this. It wasn't noticeably more diverse colour-wise than downtown Ottawa or downtown Montreal. I know this will be disputed by many on here but that was the feeling that I got. This was both during the day on weekdays and weekends and also in the evenings up until around 9 pm and even later in the entertainment district. This also applies to service staff we dealt with at any time of day. I've often disputed the notion that Toronto feels more white than London or NYC myself on SSP and other forums, but I think I may have been wrong. There are a number of major prosperous non-ghettoized cities in the U.S. that are not NYC that probably feel less white than Toronto does.

This is more of the impression of a person seeking things to fit their narrative than actually experiencing what the city has to offer.

Corporate consumerism dominates Toronto's culture which reflects in the passionless residents. The different ethnicities tend to stick to themselves. The downtown isn't really diverse at all and the majority is made up of, the usual suspects, those impassionate English Canadians. This is your shtick.

There's a lot of truth to you posts but, not enough where ones biases doesn't interfere with the interpretation.

Anyways, not to beat a dead horse. I just find it always interesting.
I am also willing to concede that, for example, Montreal is a place where you're way more likely to see guys with cigarette packs stuck up the sleeves of their t-shirts.

I call em as a I see em.
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  #89  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 6:51 PM
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Originally Posted by kool maudit View Post
Yeah, income. Consumer goods are vastly more expensive across the board, it's true. You forget because it's all built in to the sticker so it becomes 'I guess things are just shitty here for stores' but of course it's taxation.

ON ANOTHER NOTE

I sometimes forget that this is skyscraperpage.com -- it's been nearly 20 years for me! -- but... holy shit, Toronto.

The new ones add a whole level of visual drama to the city that is lacking in the rest of Canada and Europe, and the next round is bigger yet. The new Commerce Court, YSL Condos, One Yonge, The One... these are major, major structures. This is a city that could one day see a Trumpian developer raise things up to Shanghai-tier just to swing his dick around.

I remember the start of this, when Pantages went up in the late 90s. I hope the Tour des Canadiens was Montreal's Pantages and it just keeps going from here.

Toronto is in a whole other league, though. Absolute top-tier North America. What an exciting time for lovers of skylines (despite being a really big part of the whole 'no but it's really about urban fabric' SSP schism, I still love a good skyline).
Haha! You’ve outed yourself, the real reason has emerged: you’re a skyline guy. I’m sorry to say that there’s no cure for that malady. No wonder you don’t care much for Berlin.
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  #90  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 6:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Maldive View Post
LOL not sure telling Robin to fuck off should be encouraged. I like her dialogue.
People like Robin drive me nuts. I wouldn't tell her to fuck off but probably wouldn't want to be around her too much if that was too much of a conversation focus.
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  #91  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 7:01 PM
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I know, I know Thing was, this was a very unique trip as it occurred right at a real juncture in life. It was the first time my fiancee had been to either Canadian metropolis and circumstances meant that each city was essentially auditioning for a role in our future with Stockholm and Copenhagen as the contenders.

Toronto was a city that I knew I enjoyed, but was mainly included for the sake of friends and family there. Montreal was the main event, and a city we had really been discussing. After all, it has the better bones, the better real estate market, and unlike Toronto, Stockholm, or Copenhagen, it's not a bubble economy. It has an enormous reputation in certain relevant artistic fields.

I had thought the visit almost a formality; Montreal was obviously 'Canada' for us.

The shock and severity of the upset brought about a lot of emotions. I read my replies in the thread and see I am still vacillating on certain levels, still qualifying and hedging and lashing out.

But it was a blowout.

I mean, we were on realtor.ca. We were mortgage calculating and salary reviewing. We were bringing in everyone we know to get a sense of how they'd made it work for them in each city.

Toronto, Stockholm, and Copenhagen are hard towns. Resentably so...

...but that deadness. Like I said, I turned on the place a bit. It let me down. I tried to show it off, this place that unlike all the others was mine, and it kept stepping on its dick.

I don't really give a shit if this seems like it's about Icelandic moss tacos or whatever. It isn't, but it is about my life and as such it's pretty particular to me and I am just sharing it for fun and because of what the word 'forum' means.

On Prince-Arthur around 7 p.m., and at Saint-Laurent near Saint-Viateur around 9, I felt cause to mutter "c't'un espèce de ville B.S.".

But it's not really Montreal's low-rent quality; Toronto can be plenty low-rent. There is no shortage of zombie-stagger on, say, Parliament or Sherbourne.

It's that emptiness.

Notre-Dame between McGill and Guy. Saint Laurent from Laurier to Bernard. Atwater. Saint-Denis from Rachel to Sherbrooke, and above Saint-Joseph too. Saint-Laurent below Sherbrooke. Saint-Laurent the whole way, fuck.

Saint-Antoine. Saint-Jacques.

Sainte-Catherine is certainly a step above Yonge (which is really strange right now as condo towers are starting to destroy its haphazard quality for whole stretches) but where is her Queen stretching miles in each perpendicular direction? Where is her Bloor?

Sainte-Catherine exists in isolation while Yonge is just the spine of a whole ecosystem.

Montreal feels empty. It's like there's not enough business activity to fill its streets. And I don't know why that is. I am prepared to accept the toll taken by the construction; on paper, again, everything seems a lot better than it did when I celebrated the city as Canada's only really/historically legit metropolis on here between 2004-2010.

I really don't know what happened or what to think.
I don't think you're saying this outright (or have even made up your mind that that's the case) but your posts have made me grapple with the notion of whether or not Montreal is urbanistically deficient to the point where a true big city lover would be disappointed living there. I realize you were let down relative to your expectations, but I don't think the differences between Toronto and Montreal are that extreme in terms of the urban experience offered to residents.

People don't move to Toronto from Montreal for "big(ger) city feel" motivations. At least not at this point. Perhaps that will be the case at some point in the future, but that's still some distance away I'd say.
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  #92  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 7:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
People like Robin drive me nuts. I wouldn't tell her to fuck off but probably wouldn't want to be around her too much if that was too much of a conversation focus.
Yeah I’d give Maldive about an hour before he would be contemplating violence. Of course if he’s actually from the Maldives, Robin would happily add him to her collection!

What I find odd is that, beyond rattling off ethnicities, she has no interest whatsoever in languages, cultures or other countries and 95% of her social circle are white, Anglo Saxon high school and university friends - myself included.
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  #93  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 7:16 PM
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Originally Posted by kool maudit View Post
I know, I know Thing was, this was a very unique trip as it occurred right at a real juncture in life. It was the first time my fiancee had been to either Canadian metropolis and circumstances meant that each city was essentially auditioning for a role in our future with Stockholm and Copenhagen as the contenders.

Toronto was a city that I knew I enjoyed, but was mainly included for the sake of friends and family there. Montreal was the main event, and a city we had really been discussing. After all, it has the better bones, the better real estate market, and unlike Toronto, Stockholm, or Copenhagen, it's not a bubble economy. It has an enormous reputation in certain relevant artistic fields.

I had thought the visit almost a formality; Montreal was obviously 'Canada' for us.

The shock and severity of the upset brought about a lot of emotions. I read my replies in the thread and see I am still vacillating on certain levels, still qualifying and hedging and lashing out.

But it was a blowout.

.
I suspected that when you mentioned this trip that the cities were auditioning as places to live for a possible return to Canada.

On this forum many times in the past you've mentioned that if you came back, you could only see yourself living in Montreal (and maybe even Quebec City at one point).

I know those feelings were sincere but I also am not really surprised about your impressions of Toronto.

A huge part of its allure is that it simply makes sense for a lot of people to move there. And stay.

Canada doesn't really have any legendary cities that evoke iconic imagery like New York (if I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere), LA, Paris, London, etc. The fact the we live where we live in the country is mostly about happenstance, job offers and opportunities or because it just makes sense. It's almost never about chasing a dream.
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  #94  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 7:19 PM
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Yeah I’d give Maldive about an hour before he would be contemplating violence. Of course if he’s actually from the Maldives, Robin would happily add him to her collection!

What I find odd is that, beyond rattling off ethnicities, she has no interest whatsoever in languages, cultures or other countries and 95% of her social circle are white, Anglo Saxon high school and university friends - myself included.
That's actually extremely typical of people who are like that.
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  #95  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 7:19 PM
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Originally Posted by kool maudit View Post
It's sort of funny that this thread didn't instead turn into a thing about how great Toronto is. Because it really is. Where are the TO people?
Too busy making money and enjoying their lives

Montreal isn't on our radars anymore, it's at most an annual day trip when you've already visited Ottawa, Muskoka, Kitchener or Barrie (which have pretty wild nightlife and beach options by the way). The GTA has too much to offer nowadays, even NYC and Chicago seem boring and pretentious.
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  #96  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 7:24 PM
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Too busy making money and enjoying their lives

Montreal isn't on our radars anymore, it's at most an annual day trip when you've already visited Ottawa, Muskoka, Kitchener or Barrie (which have pretty wild nightlife and beach options by the way). The GTA has too much to offer nowadays, even NYC and Chicago seem boring and pretentious.
Well, there goes the intelligent conversation..
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  #97  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 7:25 PM
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In defense of Robin, I'll point out that sometimes, the quickest and most efficient way to refer to a store among a shitload of other stores is through the ethnicity of the owner-operator as an immediate, easy distinguishing factor. But it looks like that's not her main driver at all, in which case I'm siding with you - stupid, superficial, and annoying.
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  #98  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 7:28 PM
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Too busy making money and enjoying their lives

Montreal isn't on our radars anymore, it's at most an annual day trip when you've already visited Ottawa, Muskoka, Kitchener or Barrie (which have pretty wild nightlife and beach options by the way). The GTA has too much to offer nowadays, even NYC and Chicago seem boring and pretentious.
You were doing so well!
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Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 7:30 PM
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Can you guys believe it's been about 15 years since I last set foot in Toronto? Based on what I've read in this thread, maybe the time's come to plan a visit sometime.

Ironically, even without this thread, Doug Ford (!) might have turned out to be the reason bringing me back to passing through the GTA and maybe doing a pit stop downtown, because I've had about 10-15 opportunities to do that over the past decade, but fuel prices instead had me crossing into the U.S. as early as possible and driving SW on the south sides of lakes Ontario and Erie.
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Old Posted Jul 29, 2018, 7:33 PM
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I live in downtown Toronto and walk around the city nearly every day and I'm sometimes still blown away by how incredibly busy and packed with people and urban vitality it can be at certain times of day and night. I know now that it's not just in my head -- there really is something special happening here and it's catching on in a big way with every passing year.

Now when some people (on SSP and other similar forums) say things like Toronto is on the level of places like Boston, Philly, or Montreal in terms of pedestrian crowds and over all big city oomph, I just kinda scoff to myself because I know that it's surpassed those cities in a big way (SF and Chicago are in the process of being left behind now, too), but the pace of actual change is always well ahead of people's stubborn perceptions, so it will be some time before most people who are interested in cities and urbanism have accepted the reality of the situation.
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