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Can Toronto easily be compared to any American cities?

Tg11

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I mean my honest opinion yes you can easily compare our city of Toronto to a few American metropolis cities such as:

What Toronto has in common with New York:
  • Both the largest cities in their respective countries.
  • Both the financial and tourist capitals of Canada and the US respectively
  • Both have a high cost of living
  • Both have a network of subways, trains and buses serving their greater areas
  • Both are known for their skyscrapers (albeit, Toronto's are limited to its Financial District; New York's cover all of Manhattan)
  • Both are extremely multi-ethnic, although Toronto is more so (49% of TOs citizens were born somewhere else, compared to 36% of NYC's)
  • Both are theatre capitals of the English-speaking world

Then you can also compare Toronto to Chicago in terms of overall architecture, transit systems but also the amount of immigrants too in Both cities which also goes back to multiculturalism
 
I've heard comparisons to Minneapolis, and of course, Chicago.
Yeah I would say our downtown metropolis is more like downtown Chicago or it is like New York City in terms of it being like Manhattan traffic
 
Yeah I would say our downtown metropolis is more like downtown Chicago or it is like New York City in terms of it being like Manhattan traffic
One thing I like about Manhattan traffic is the high police on foot presence. Every major intersection has a NYPD officer standing there, making sure pedestrians don’t enter the crosswalk after the red hand begins flashing, and making sure vehicles don’t block the intersection or make dangerous left and right turns. The flow of people and cars is so much better than downtown Toronto, where except for paid duty you‘ll almost never see TPS officers out of their cars and off their bicycles ensuring pedestrian and traffic flow.
 
These aren't 100% match ups of course. But if I had to break it down to neighbourhood comparisons between Toronto and NYC, outside of our Financial District correlation to theirs, the other areas that I'd say have similarities would be:

Bloor Yorkville ("Mink Mile") with 5th Avenue (Mid-town shopping core)
St. Lawrence area with Tribeca
The Annex/U of T area with Greenwich Village
Mix of Spadina/King West/Queen West with SoHo
Chinatown/Kensington Market with Flushing, Queens along with general areas of the outer boroughs

Separately, I've found the Junction and Leslieville in Toronto to be similar to Allentown in Buffalo. And the Bloor West Village to be similar to Elmwood Village.

Having been to Philadelphia, there are some similarities to the built form of mid to lower rise retail main streets, but I interestingly found Philly to be a bit closer to Montreal with their greystone type housing stock.

Seattle had some similarities in various areas, but at the same time I wouldn't say we were that close. There overall is an distinction.

While lastly, I haven't personally been to Pittsburgh before but I have anecdotally heard from someone that there's vague similarities to the built form of some low rise residential areas to theirs.
 
Toronto's suburbs have always been very Los Angelesish to me, with a core dropped in as a hybrid of New York and Chicago.

Our suburbs are relatively dense with large highways that stretch on for miles. Other large highway areas like Atlanta, Florida, and Texas are quite different in feel by being lower density. Los Angeles is relatively unique in how it's fairy high density but still very auto reliant, sort of like Toronto's suburbs.

New York is a hard comparison as it's just on such a larger scale. That city just stands far above all others that there isn't really a comparison.

Chicago is sort of similar, but Toronto is actually laid out much different. Chicago has a much higher employment concentration in the core, but with a much lower population in the core. Toronto has a huge number of people living in the inner city but jobs are more dispersed.
 
Toronto's suburbs have always been very Los Angelesish to me, with a core dropped in as a hybrid of New York and Chicago.

Our suburbs are relatively dense with large highways that stretch on for miles. Other large highway areas like Atlanta, Florida, and Texas are quite different in feel by being lower density. Los Angeles is relatively unique in how it's fairy high density but still very auto reliant, sort of like Toronto's suburbs.

New York is a hard comparison as it's just on such a larger scale. That city just stands far above all others that there isn't really a comparison.

Chicago is sort of similar, but Toronto is actually laid out much different. Chicago has a much higher employment concentration in the core, but with a much lower population in the core. Toronto has a huge number of people living in the inner city but jobs are more dispersed.

You made me look to see what the difference is, in terms of jobs downtown, in Toronto vs Chicago.

In absolute terms, not as large as you might think; though there is a higher percentage concentration in Chicago.

Total Downtown Jobs:

Toronto: 584,000
Chicago: 613, 000

Percentage of jobs downtown:

Toronto: 37.2%
Chicago 54%

Sources:

 
Toronto's suburbs have always been very Los Angelesish to me, with a core dropped in as a hybrid of New York and Chicago.

Our suburbs are relatively dense with large highways that stretch on for miles. Other large highway areas like Atlanta, Florida, and Texas are quite different in feel by being lower density. Los Angeles is relatively unique in how it's fairy high density but still very auto reliant, sort of like Toronto's suburbs.

New York is a hard comparison as it's just on such a larger scale. That city just stands far above all others that there isn't really a comparison.

Chicago is sort of similar, but Toronto is actually laid out much different. Chicago has a much higher employment concentration in the core, but with a much lower population in the core. Toronto has a huge number of people living in the inner city but jobs are more dispersed.
Agree with the suburban comparison to LA. My time in "LA" was limited to Orange County but while driving around it felt like Toronto's suburbs in terms of density, grid-like arterial roads, and strip malls scattered throughout.
 
You made me look to see what the difference is, in terms of jobs downtown, in Toronto vs Chicago.

In absolute terms, not as large as you might think; though there is a higher percentage concentration in Chicago.

Total Downtown Jobs:

Toronto: 584,000
Chicago: 613, 000

Percentage of jobs downtown:

Toronto: 37.2%
Chicago 54%

Sources:



Hmm that's closer than I expected, I was under the understanding that downtown Chicago had about twice the office space floor area of downtown Toronto. Perhaps the "Downtown" definition for Chicago is a lot stricter? (just the loop itself?)

Chicago's employment base has always been sort of similar to Calgary in that it's heavily, heavily focused downtown. And it's transportation network reflects that, with both the freeway network and public transit network very heavily focusing on providing access to the core.

Toronto's urban geography is much more dispersed comparatively, with large amounts of office space and industrial areas spread throughout the metro.

Generally from my travels around the US I was always surprised at how similar California felt to Canada, minus of course the massive climate difference. Other areas of the US generally feel substantially different. Just crossing the border into Michigan and upstate NY give substantially different feels than southern ontario.

I largely think that's because Toronto is more akin to a wealthy coastal city in the US, but is located uniquely in the centre of the continent and is generally surrounded by other more marginal mid-west states and cities south of the border.

I always understood the broad-strokes comparisons to Chicago from Toronto, but Chicago does feel substantially different to me. It's roads are much bigger, especially through the core, it has a true rustbelt and the issues that come with it, it's urban population both feels vastly larger but vastly smaller at the same time. It's urban "bones" are a lot larger than Toronto's, in that the city seems to have been designed to be twice the size it is, while Toronto was designed to be half the size it is today, but also because it was designed to be twice it's size it almost feels "empty" in some ways.
 
Hmm that's closer than I expected, I was under the understanding that downtown Chicago had about twice the office space floor area of downtown Toronto. Perhaps the "Downtown" definition for Chicago is a lot stricter? (just the loop itself?)

Chicago definitely has more commercial space in the core than Toronto; though the gap is closing.

But the vacancy rate there dictates alot of that difference.

They have a downtown office vacancy rate of 22.4% That's well over double Toronto's

Chicago's employment base has always been sort of similar to Calgary in that it's heavily, heavily focused downtown. And it's transportation network reflects that, with both the freeway network and public transit network very heavily focusing on providing access to the core.

Toronto's urban geography is much more dispersed comparatively, with large amounts of office space and industrial areas spread throughout the metro.

*nods*

I always understood the broad-strokes comparisons to Chicago from Toronto, but Chicago does feel substantially different to me. It's roads are much bigger, especially through the core, it has a true rustbelt and the issues that come with it, it's urban population both feels vastly larger but vastly smaller at the same time. It's urban "bones" are a lot larger than Toronto's, in that the city seems to have been designed to be twice the size it is, while Toronto was designed to be half the size it is today, but also because it was designed to be twice it's size it almost feels "empty" in some ways.

Chicago (City proper) was 3,396,000 in 1940

It was down to 2,693,000 as at 2019.

A decline of 700,000 or 20.6% that would give it an over-built feel, for obvious reasons.

Worth adding, Chicago of 1940 had just added 700,000 people in the preceding 20 years, and was likely investing at that point to allow for further growth, that never came. (in the City proper, Chicagoland obviously continued to grow)
 
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Had a cousin from NYC visit recently and showed him around downtown for a bit. Interestingly, he found that our Financial District "felt more like" Chicago than NYC. He also mentioned about some similarities in the Distillery District to the Seaport area in Manhattan, although the DD has integrated residential buildings within it. Also commented about how the built form of the Esplanade (east of Lower Jarvis) felt a bit vaguely like some parts of Brooklyn.
 
I could agree with all that. Our Financial District may actually be slightly more Midtown than Downtown Manhattan though. At least how integrated and abutting it is too our commercial/entertainment districts.
 
These aren't 100% match ups of course. But if I had to break it down to neighbourhood comparisons between Toronto and NYC, outside of our Financial District correlation to theirs, the other areas that I'd say have similarities would be:

Bloor Yorkville ("Mink Mile") with 5th Avenue (Mid-town shopping core)
St. Lawrence area with Tribeca
The Annex/U of T area with Greenwich Village
Mix of Spadina/King West/Queen West with SoHo
Chinatown/Kensington Market with Flushing, Queens along with general areas of the outer boroughs

Wouldn't Kensington-Chinatown be more comparable to the Lower East Side?

Of course Manhattan is very different from Toronto. I do think there's a "Toronto vibe" in Queens: largely built up around the same time, more geared toward big apartments and SFHs, fairly similar ethnic composition.
 
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