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  #61  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 6:27 PM
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Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
Yeah, back when New Westminster was bigger than Vancouver. I guess it makes Vancouver the most urban suburb in the country then?
Lio, you're being pedantic.

There's a clear difference between "4th largest city in the country, population 50,000 in 1891" and "bigger than Vancouver when Vancouver was a collection of tents".
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  #62  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 6:39 PM
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Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
There's a clear difference between "4th largest city in the country, population 50,000 in 1891" and "bigger than Vancouver when Vancouver was a collection of tents".
A minor tangential observation: Hamilton was Canada's 4th largest city in 1891 in the same sense that Calgary was a larger city than Toronto in 1996 and is still a larger city than Vancouver today.

One of the most populous municipalities in Canada in 1871 was a mysterious town in New Brunswick called "Portland", which was really just overflow that wasn't annexed into Saint John.

This is not to say that Hamilton didn't also have a much larger metropolitan population (it may or may not have), and it doesn't invalidate your argument. But I have noticed a weird double standard on SSP. People are very aware of the shortcomings of comparing present-day municipalities, but don't worry about it much when looking at numbers from 100 years ago or more.
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  #63  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 6:57 PM
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Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
Yeah, back when New Westminster was bigger than Vancouver. I guess it makes Vancouver the most urban suburb in the country then?

"Used to exist as a separate city" does not invalidate the fact a place may nowadays function as a peripheral node in a greater metro.
Hamilton isn't a peripheral node, though. It's more than 50 kilometres as the crow flies from Toronto; New West is only 15 from Vancouver.

Hamilton and Vancouver are served by separate municipal transit systems; New West and Vancouver are under the same greater Vancouver system.

Only 3.5 percent of Hamilton's workforce commutes to Toronto; one-third or New West residents commute to Vancouver (and a lot more to other Vancouver suburbs).

Hamilton's economic and cultural life is very tied to Toronto, but is far more independent of Toronto than New West is of Vancouver.

Less tangibly, Hamilton feels like a separate metropolitan centre, and statistically, is counted as one.

It's a very different relationship to Toronto than Vancouver has to New West.
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  #64  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 6:57 PM
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I personally use the word "suburb" much more loosely as any city that now falls within the stronger sphere of influence of the central city. If there's even a segment of the population that lives their lives in two places (works in one, lives in the other) then I think of that as a broader metro area. Plus, it doesn't necessarily need to be Hamilton with Toronto, as an example. If Hamilton's connected to Burlington or Oakville or whatever, then by extension it's connected to Toronto. That doesn't necessarily mean that Hamilton's dependent on Toronto, it's not, but that they do functionally form one giant city at this point.

Regardless, even if people may consider Hamilton a secondary city to Toronto today, Hamilton is clearly not a "suburb" in the spirit of what this thread is trying to accomplish.
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  #65  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 7:10 PM
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I often struggle with whether or not I consider Barrie and Oshawa to be "suburbs" of Toronto. I know they're both separate CMAs but if forced to choose I'd still say "yes" (to them being suburbs).
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  #66  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 7:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
It's a very different relationship to Toronto than Vancouver has to New West.
One thing about New West that is not as apparent in photos is that it barely has any offices or major businesses. Almost all of the highrises are residential. Very few of the stores in New West are places you would travel to from other parts of the region. It was once a separate town but it is now mostly a bedroom community with a neighbourhood centre, functionally similar to Metrotown or Brentwood even if it looks different.

It's still interesting though, and is a badly needed semi-urban cheaper neighbourhood within a horribly expensive region. It is much more pedestrian-friendly than Metrotown and it has more of a sense of community, with lots of small-scale locally-owned businesses rather than chains in a giant mall. The SkyTrain makes it more urban and accessible, and the New West station redevelopment was really successful. It makes me wish a lot more SkyTrain stations were mixed use in that way. Columbia station also has an urban feel but is much grungier and not appealing.

New West station makes other stations like Broadway City Hall look silly. Broadway City Hall is in one of the main commercial districts of the whole region but it's a single entrance on one corner of a major intersection and it's a low-slung building with no mixed use other than maybe a Jugo Juice. The building next door looks like something from the Third World. Broadway City Hall is the transit planning equivalent of the quaint town planning that gave us a Safeway and detached houses near Commercial Drive and other stations.
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  #67  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 7:53 PM
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One thing about New West that is not as apparent in photos is that it barely has any offices or major businesses.
Yeah it is a nice place to live (in parts, some neighbourhoods are still very rough), but not a jobs centre at all. And while it may have some nice looking 100 year old buildings, there's essentially no street retail, with huge stretches of blank walls. That's why I object to the idea that it is the most urban. You can cherrypick good looking areas for nice photos, but buildings like this are way too common:



Nice old building, but shitty at street level. And new builds aren't any better.
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  #68  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 8:00 PM
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Okay, but FYI, that criterion totally disqualifies New Westminster as well as Hamilton; it used to be the capital of BC and was the biggest city in the Lower Mainland. Let's ask Metro One to edit those pics out
I guess we're getting into some pretty nuanced differences here. There are a lot of suburban areas that started out as a small town or city or whatever and eventually got subsumed by the dominant city... many of Toronto's outlying suburbs are like that, once small rural towns that are now for all intents and purposes standard issue suburbia.

New Westminster obviously wasn't a small rural town, but it was at one time a standalone city. But due to its proximity to the much larger metropolis of Vancouver, it has basically taken on a suburban character. Maybe if Toronto becomes a massive 10,000,000+ megalopolis where RER trains run every 15 minutes to Hamilton, Hamilton could eventually become that way too. But in my view it is nowhere near that point yet.
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  #69  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 8:15 PM
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Nice old building, but shitty at street level. And new builds aren't any better.
It adds variety though. A lot of Vancouver feels over-planned, full of airy glass boxes that technically do a good job of satisfying rules on an individual level but are not creative or appealing in aggregate. The best urban areas have a lot of diversity in building forms. Many cities got this by accident since they grew slowly over a long period of time; Vancouver's at a bit of a disadvantage as a new city.

I agree that most of the new buildings in New West are of somewhat low quality. A lot of the condos from a few years ago were covered in precast. Some of the newer developments look higher end but incredibly generic. There's almost nothing new that I would describe as interesting architecture. Maybe the Anvil Centre, sort of? It's one of those angular blob buildings; it looks like the ROM crystal after several additional rounds of cutbacks.
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  #70  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 8:37 PM
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There's almost nothing new that I would describe as interesting architecture. Maybe the Anvil Centre, sort of? It's one of those angular blob buildings; it looks like the ROM crystal after several additional rounds of cutbacks.


I had never heard of it before so I googled it... that's actually an amusingly apt description. It looks like a nice facility, though.


Source: art-bc.com
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  #71  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 8:43 PM
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Originally Posted by esquire View Post
I guess we're getting into some pretty nuanced differences here. There are a lot of suburban areas that started out as a small town or city or whatever and eventually got subsumed by the dominant city... many of Toronto's outlying suburbs are like that, once small rural towns that are now for all intents and purposes standard issue suburbia.
Actually, I find that compared to other countries, what counts as a "suburb" is actually a pretty cut and dry question in Canada.

All of our cities, including very old and big ones like Montreal, were not surrounded by mid-sized cities that grew along railway networks. There was the city. And then there were villages beyond that.

Compare Montreal with a city of similar size and age in the US, like Boston or Philadelphia, and you can see that that's not the case. Boston has "suburbs" like Worcester, Lowell, Cambridge, Quincy, etc. that all have decent-sized downtowns and apartment neighbourhoods surrounding them, and over 200 years these cities congealed together.

The practice of taking a rural township of several hundred square kilometers and amalgamating it as a municipality with an invented "town centre" and long-range plans to house half a million people (e.g. Surrey, Scarborough, Mississauga, Laval) would be unthinkable in most places. Actually, outside of Canada, the only places I can think of that have done this were suburbs of Phoenix and Las Vegas (e.g. Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, etc.).
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  #72  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 8:55 PM
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Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
Compare Montreal with a city of similar size and age in the US, like Boston or Philadelphia, and you can see that that's not the case. Boston has "suburbs" like Worcester, Lowell, Cambridge, Quincy, etc. that all have decent-sized downtowns and apartment neighbourhoods surrounding them, and over 200 years these cities congealed together.
Worcester is more like Hamilton.
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  #73  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 9:22 PM
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Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
All of our cities, including very old and big ones like Montreal, were not surrounded by mid-sized cities that grew along railway networks. There was the city. And then there were villages beyond that.

Compare Montreal with a city of similar size and age in the US, like Boston or Philadelphia, and you can see that that's not the case. Boston has "suburbs" like Worcester, Lowell, Cambridge, Quincy, etc. that all have decent-sized downtowns and apartment neighbourhoods surrounding them, and over 200 years these cities congealed together.
The thing with these generalizations is that Canada has about 1.5 major older metropolitan areas that might have developed in this way. This analysis is pretty close to just asking why Montreal wasn't surrounded by bigger mill towns and commuter towns in 1900.

If the cities in the Maritimes were bigger I think they would have followed the Boston pattern. Halifax actually had some outlying suburban towns (Armdale, Rockingham, Bedford, Wellington) even in 1900, and had several commuter rail routes in addition to the streetcar system. But it was so small that none of the outlying towns were anything close to Worcester in scale. Most of those towns were built around industry similar to the New England towns (textile mills, pulp mills, etc.), but they also became bedroom communities as rail service improved.

Here's what that commuter rail looked like in 1900 (the rail bridge is still there today). This train was called "The Suburban".

Source


Vancouver probably would have followed this pattern too if it were older, because of the coastal location and waterways. In some of the Prairie cities there is no reason to build anything other than one contiguous blob.
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Last edited by someone123; Jan 12, 2018 at 9:36 PM.
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  #74  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 9:31 PM
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because Southern Quebec was still pretty rural when these towns were formed. Regional cities were not very big.
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  #75  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 9:34 PM
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Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
All of our cities, including very old and big ones like Montreal, were not surrounded by mid-sized cities that grew along railway networks. There was the city. And then there were villages beyond that.

Compare Montreal with a city of similar size and age in the US, like Boston or Philadelphia, and you can see that that's not the case. Boston has "suburbs" like Worcester, Lowell, Cambridge, Quincy, etc.
In fact, I would disagree here.
Montreal is the best example, on a canadian scale (i.e. 10x smaller than what you would find in the USA). In the 19th century, Montreal soon had a crown of satellite cities that developed from railroads, mills, transportations, and industry : Saint-Jean (potteries, the first canadian railroads, naval construction and military hub), and Saint-Hyacinthe (manufacturing and ecclesiastic city) first, and then Valleyfield (mills, clothing, electricity), Beauharnois, Saint-Jérôme (forest products), Joliette (manufacturing), Sorel (port, steel, etc.)... That's outside the island. On the island, the first suburbs were Pointe-Saint-Charles, Verdun, Lachine, Maisonneuve, Hochelaga. All highly industrialized (railroad workshops, manufacturing, transformation, transportation, etc.) They were all annexed between 1898 and 2002. There's still the smaller Saint-Lambert on the South Shore. We are not able to understand Montreal's urbanization process and industrialization without looking carefully at these on-island suburbs and railroad satellite cities.

If Québec as a province didn't take off as much as the surrounding states, it comes either from demography and politics. As Acajack stated in the other thread, at the time Ontario and New England were heavily subsidized and industrializing, 1/2 of Quebecers (about 1M on a population of 2M) fleed the province to work in the english manufactures (around 1890 was the worst).
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  #76  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 9:38 PM
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The thing with these generalizations is that Canada has about 1.5 major older metropolitan areas that might have developed in this way. This analysis is pretty close to just asking why Montreal wasn't surrounded by bigger mill towns and commuter towns in 1900.
Yes, the Quebecois immigrated to mill towns in New England.
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  #77  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 9:41 PM
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Brookline, Mass. is a bit like Westmount.
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  #78  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 9:42 PM
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In fact, I would disagree here.
Montreal is the best example, on a canadian scale (i.e. 10x smaller than what you would find in the USA). In the 19th century, Montreal soon had a crown of satellite cities that developed from railroads, mills, transportations, and industry : Saint-Jean (potteries, the first canadian railroads, naval construction and military hub), and Saint-Hyacinthe (manufacturing and ecclesiastic city) first, and then Valleyfield (mills, clothing, electricity), Beauharnois, Saint-Jérôme (forest products), Joliette (manufacturing), Sorel (port, steel, etc.)... That's outside the island. On the island, the first suburbs were Pointe-Saint-Charles, Verdun, Lachine, Maisonneuve, Hochelaga. All highly industrialized (railroad workshops, manufacturing, transformation, transportation, etc.) They were all annexed between 1898 and 2002. There's still the smaller Saint-Lambert on the South Shore. We are not able to understand Montreal's urbanization process and industrialization without looking carefully at these on-island suburbs and railroad satellite cities.

If Québec as a province didn't take off as much as the surrounding states, it comes either from demography and politics. As Acajack stated in the other thread, at the time Ontario and New England were heavily subsidized and industrializing, 1/2 of Quebecers (about 1M on a population of 2M) fleed the province to work in the english manufactures (around 1890 was the worst).
Southern Quebec is also developing at a faster pace than Massachusetts.
since 1990, Massachusetts +800k, Quebec +1.5M, and the gap is growing each year.
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  #79  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 9:52 PM
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The thing with these generalizations is that Canada has about 1.5 old metropolitan areas that might have developed in this way. This analysis is pretty close to just asking why Montreal wasn't surrounded by bigger mill towns in 1900.
I don't think this is true at all. If you look at the US, most cities of equivalent size and age had a larger number of decent-sized, historical towns in their immediate city region. This is most pronounced on the Eastern Seaboard, but it's true of Midwestern cities like Chicago or Cleveland, and even recently-settled places like the Mountain West (Denver and Salt Lake being good examples).

Almost every Canadian city had a very feeble city region prior to the war, with few standalone towns with active city centres greater than 10,000 within commuting distance. Often, most cities just petered off into farmland with dirt roads.

Here's a picture of what was the edge of Toronto near Eglinton and Weston Rd. (this is deep within the city today, often considered to be inner city) around 1930. The picture is actually looking northeast (i.e. toward where the city would first grow):



You might as well be looking at the edge of a city in some Southwestern Ontario farming community 200 km away.

Here's the Jacques Cartier bridge being constructed to farmlands and small villages on the south shore:


Here's what it would have looked like on the Montreal side:



So, on one side you have apartment neighbourhoods with 20,000/km2 and on the other side you have farmer's fields. If this were an American city, there would have been a Camden, NJ or Hoboken-sized place where Longueuil is, and they would have tried to bridge the St. Lawrence a generation earlier.

I'm not saying the US model of growth was better (although in places like Toronto and Vancouver, it sure would help to find cheaper urban neighbourhoods in outlying cities right now). If anything, it might point to the fact that Americans were always trying to leave the big city.
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  #80  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2018, 10:00 PM
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If anything, it might point to the fact that Americans were always trying to leave the big city.
they still do to this day.
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