Welcome to Toronto!
By: Hiba Syed
Downtown vs Suburbia
Downtown Toronto, happens to one of the most densely populated areas of Ontario. On our trip, I noticed many high rise buildings with residential spaces, different methods of commuting, along with multiple commercial uses as compared to suburban areas.
I found it quite clever the location of each building. You would find at least one or two buildings on each street, always close to a convenient center where they could either reach a specialized store or a bus stop. The housing seemed to be more expensive, since it was built on small, expensive land. In this area, you wouldn’t find many single family houses such as single detached houses and semi detached houses. On the other hand, with suburban areas, you are more likely to find, single family homes, than high density residential. Along with that idea, we don’t have a big population compared to the CBD, therefore, we wouldn’t need buildings to hold more than 600 people.
With such a big population, I thought that the biggest issue would be the amount of traffic on the roads. Shockingly, it was full of rush, but with so many other methods of transportation such as busing, walking, biking etc, it didn't seem to have as much rush as what was expected. On the other hand, with all these ways of commuting, people would chose to go with other options than having their own car, since it would help them save hundreds of dollars, on gas price, insurance bills, repair payments, along with parking tickets. The roads seem to be very narrow, allowing not a lot of cars to drive at once, causing more bumper to bumper traffic during rush hour especially since there are many office buildings. Something I noticed was the subway station which is underground, and not taking up any land space. This will benefit many people using this method of transportation especially during the harsh, cold winter season. With traffic in the suburbs, we seem to have no issues with transportation, because it’s not as crowded nor congested compared to the CBD. We also have the option to use busing, biking and walking, but I’ve noticed that many people chose not to, since we don’t have bumper to bumper traffic as often compared to Downtown.
Knowing that the CBD is the most expensive place to live, I always wondered why people would chose to live there. After visiting one of the most popular commercial land uses in downtown, the Eaton Centre, I found out it was fairly expensive for the same things that you could find anywhere else. But, there was more of a variety and more options to chose from. Also, I noticed that there weren’t as many big box stores, since the malls are big enough to hold a large amount of stores, with a decent amount of area. I also observed that most of the tourist attractions are placed in downtown areas such as the CN tower and Rogers Centre. In suburban lands, you can find big box stores in the, because the malls aren’t big enough to have a large area for stores. Also, we don’t carry such big tourist attractions, we seem to have very generic types of uses, instead of main attractions.
In the end, there were many things I observed, but residential, transportation and commercial uses happened to be the more noticeable and finding the differences between downtown and suburbs became more clear.
Younge & Dundas
This is one of the most busiest intersection in Downtown Toronto! Also, the placement of the 4-way crosswalk, closest to the busiest centres, called the Eaton Centre.
This is one of the many buildings that are placed in the downtown region. They are taking a small plot of expensive land, holding more than 600 people.
The Union Station is one of the most used methods of transportation in Toronto. It's built underground benefiting the people using this, and is also very busy during working hours.
Younge & Dundas
The CN tower on the right and the Rogers Centre, happens to be the most visited commercial land, by citizens, and tourists.
Another example of commercial land use, this is a mall that is opened all year round. As you can see it has 3 floors, taking up a lot of space so that all stores have enough floor area, so big box stores aren't needed in such a dense area.
During rush hour, these narrow streets make it even harder to make it to your next destination, especially if they are getting to work!
Kensington market is known to be the area of specialized stores. Each store you will go to, specializes in one specific item. As you can see, there is a store that specializes in cheese and another in baking produce.
What Did I Learn?
There were several things that I learned while on this trip, many including the 4 way crosswalk, the graffiti, and the different types of ways that land can be used. To begin with, the 4 way crosswalk at Yonge and Dundas was really interesting, it was benefiting both the walkers and the drivers, decreasing traffic as a whole is the main purpose. With this crosswalk in place, it will encourage more people to start walking, which is a positive impact on both the environment and the people. This will be benefiting the environment because the less pollution that well be caused, and will benefit the people because there will be less bumper to bumper traffic, which is something that you will mostly find in the CBD. Also, I learned cities admiration and respect for graffiti. In many places graffiti is considered a form of vandalism, but the fact that they acknowledge the form of art was fairly different. Also, knowing that there is more than one wall you could find that is occupied by graffiti was something that I found interesting. Lastly, I got to learn about the many different ways that the CBD land was used. You were to find, many commercial land uses such as the Eaton centre, and specialized stores such as Kensington’s market where you would find both medium and high ordered goods. Along with residential land uses, showing both low-high density residential land uses, with high rise apartments along with condominiums. Along with the placement of each building, is always convenient. Showing that a building is close to a convenient/specialized store, or a bus terminal/stop.
4 Way Crosswalk!
The 4 way crosswalk, is located on the intersection of Dundas and Yonge!
As mentioned, graffiti is appreciated in Toronto, and so this is a picture of one of the numerous walls of graffiti, near Kensington Market and China Town.
This is an image of Queen Street. You can see a high rise building, holding citizens, and the convenience of having a line of stores (on the right) along with a bus stop (on the left)