Toronto's Got a Fever! And the Only Prescription is More Parking

By Ben Bull
Published September 26, 2007

Hamiltonians sometimes look to Toronto as an example of how city building should be done. Well, not so fast.

The Toronto Star's Chris Hume has unearthed another 'only-in-Hamilton' (but this time in Toronto!) urban planning gem.

The City of Toronto wants to demolish the 42 year old Matador Club at College and Dovercourt to make way for - you guessed it: a parking lot!

Their logic for this regressive maneuver? The YMCA across the road needs more parking. As Hume points out, the entrance to the YMCA is right opposite a streetcar stop:

Around the world, cities are actually taking steps to get people out of their cars and onto public transit, bikes, their feet, whatever.

But thanks to people like you, [Toronto Parking Authority president Gwyn Thomas], that won't happen here in Toronto.

This is a city that invites you to hop into the family vehicle and drive on downtown for a workout. God forbid anyone should have to take the streetcar, which goes to the front door of the YMCA, or the bus, or that they should be forced to cycle, or, worst of all, walk.

So, it seems that even in a town with moderately efficient transit and light rail on the way, the 1950s easy motoring mentality still reigns supreme.

Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.


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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 26, 2007 at 12:42:25

Oh God not the Matador! Say it ain't so. First they yuppified the Brunswick, now they're knocking down the Matador! Just where in the hell are my kids supposed to misspend their youth?

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 26, 2007 at 12:48:29

wow. great piece by Hume. I long for the day when I read an article like that in the Spec (I know, I'm 30 years old already...I'll be dead and gone before that happens).

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By Artaxerxes (anonymous) | Posted September 26, 2007 at 13:42:50

Well, I know that there is no graft or corruption in Hamilton, so let me explain to you how this works in places like here in The Great Bablyon: the neighbours hate the Matador, because of the crowd it attracts, and because it disrupts their madonna-in-a-bathtub preened-lawn suburban pretensions, and, they want more parking for their pubs and restaurants, and their relatives from the suburbs when they visit on Sundays. So they phone some special friends who make a city official an offer he/she can't refuse, and the official then comes up with a justification that might just fly - ideally something "for the good of the city".

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By Bryan (registered) | Posted September 26, 2007 at 14:36:02

There is a new website that is trying to save The Matador

It looks like it's new and just got underway


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By Quick (anonymous) | Posted September 26, 2007 at 15:43:59

Please get a job for the Hamilton Spectator so that you may write articles like this for the Hamilton Spectator. Please.

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By revitalization (anonymous) | Posted October 05, 2007 at 13:23:00

toronto is an example of how city building should NOT be done. our city fathers are pursuing new york-style real estate prices, los angeles-style traffic, and mexico city-style smog.

(by the way the YMCA denied requesting the parking. the tpa (toronto parking authority) seems to have decided on its own initiative that it was needed.)

i think the REAL reason is that they want to get the building demolished so they can eventually put up a condo there.

they offered the existing owners an insulting price and now toronto city council has voted to allow expropriation.

please, hamilton, this is NOT an example of how things should be done.

a disgruntled [one of many] long-time toronto resident.

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