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Families in Toronto

kettal

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What can be done to get more families living in City of Toronto?

The TDSB predicts a loss of thousands of students in the next years, while the other GTA school boards continue to grow.
 
Dont think there is anything you can do about it, especially in the core. I dont mind this at all though, I like being surrounded by young urban profesionals and not irritating kids! :)
 
Dont think there is anything you can do about it, especially in the core. I dont mind this at all though, I like being surrounded by young urban profesionals and not irritating kids! :)

You don't see the problem with monoculture? Should there also be a district for seniors?
 
One major problem is finding appropriately sized condo's. Larger units cost more than single familiy homes in some neighbourhoods!
 
It's pretty bleak in some areas. In our 11 storey downtown building we are the only apt. with children. Whenever someone has had kids in the building they usually move out within 2 years afterwards. They usually move way, way out of the city where they can get a house for what they were paying for their apt. Whenever I happen to see someone who has moved out to the fringes of Toronto they inevitably say they didn't want to move and miss downtown but needed the extra space. So I would say the #1 issue is lack of large apts. Most buildings have nothing larger than 2 bedrooms and if you can find something larger the cost is prohibitive. The only way I can see this changing is if there is a rent subsidy on rentals or a rebate on purchases depending on how many kids you have. This would hopefully spur builders into incorporating larger units in their apt buildings or condos.
 
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To be honest, the cost of housing isn't that big of a deterrent--you can still find 1200sqft+ houses in the core for $400-500K in some neighbourhoods. What will prove troublesome for my family is finding an adequate (eg, not bottom 10%) public school to send kids to.

[edit] Leftie Banker--that's great, and pretty much what I am too!
 
Cost is definitely a concern downtown for young families and immigrants. Though declining enrolment certainly isn't an issue solely limited to the city - Southeast Oakville is facing a similar problem. I'd guess that anywhere with high home prices is facing or will face declining school enrolment over the next decade.
 
Cost is definitely a concern downtown for young families and immigrants. Though declining enrolment certainly isn't an issue solely limited to the city - Southeast Oakville is facing a similar problem. I'd guess that anywhere with high home prices is facing or will face declining school enrolment over the next decade.

Don't the neighbourhoods with the nicest schools (Riverdale, Moore Park, Forest Hill) also happen to be the more expensive ones anyhow?
 
It's pretty bleak in some areas. In our 11 storey downtown building we are the only apt. with children. Whenever someone has had kids in the building they usually move out within 2 years afterwards. They usually move way, way out of the city where they can get a house for what they were paying for their apt. Whenever I happen to see someone who has moved out to the fringes of Toronto they inevitably say they didn't want to move and miss downtown but needed the extra space. So I would say the #1 issue is lack of large apts. Most buildings have nothing larger than 2 bedrooms and if you can find something larger the cost is prohibitive. The only way I can see this changing is if there is a rent subsidy on rentals or a rebate on purchases depending on how many kids you have. This would hopefully spur builders into incorporating larger units in their apt buildings or condos.

Vancouver has a policy that every new condo building must have a certain percentage of units built family sized. Why not do this in Toronto?
 
^^We had the choice of sending our kids to a school in Yorkville or St. Jamestown (Catholic). We chose St. Jamestown and after 2 years we've never regretted that decision. The school is highly security conscious, the values are solid, there's a great ethnic and income mix and nothing is taken for granted. The staff are very pleasant and relaxed (a reflection of the students) and their are dozens of volunteers that take care of the childrens needs. The school is pretty well across the street from an apt. building that has at least 10 crack dens inside but I wouldn't even consider moving my kids, they will be their until grade 8. A friend down the street chose the Yorkville school and now regrets it, describing it as a 'tough' school full of spoiled brats.
 
Dont think there is anything you can do about it, especially in the core. I dont mind this at all though, I like being surrounded by young urban profesionals and not irritating kids! :)
In Cabbagetown where I live with my wife and two young kids there are tons of young, middle to upper income families. When we bought our house in the area in 1998 everyone with kids would leave once they were about 8-9 years old. I was told this was because people feared for their kids once they became more independent. My only complaint with my girls' school Winchester Public is that they've put all their emphasis on the French Immersion program, leaving a lack of attention on the English stream program where my kids are.
 
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I guess the main issue is that families have lower disposable incomes. So, if people with lower disposable incomes can't afford something there are only two solutions: increase their incomes or decrease the costs.

Reduce the Costs:
The City needs to do more to make housing affordable. The best/easiest way is to ease up on zoning restrictions. The current zoning plan basically protects most of the City from any kind of intensification whatsoever. If you try to concentrate all residential growth into a few centers and avenues, maybe representing 10% of the City's area, it's not hard to imagine that costs will be higher than normal. (It also gives people an incentive to build McMansions. If you can't subdivide your property, the only way to make money is to build a bigger house).

With respect to condos, I'm curious as to how much of the cost is secondary. As in, in the RCMI condo thread, I read that a parking stall in an urban condo can add 20-40k to the price of a condo. If you add up the costs of building condos with massive lobbies (and foregoing potential ground floor rent), swimming pools, saunas, gyms, bowling allies, conference rooms and god knows what other "common areas" the additional cost per unit must be quite staggering. Other features like "podiums,""crowns" and soon green roofs must also add costs. Looking at cities like Hong Kong or Seoul, where large numbers of families do live in high density neighborhoods, the buildings seem quite spartan. If we were serious about wanting people with low disposable incomes to move back to cities, maybe this would be a direction to look at.

EDIT: Mandating a certain percentage of "family units" probably won't do much. The problem is that middle income families for the most part can't afford to spend 500k+ for a "family sized" condo, or at least feel they would get better value elsewhere. Developers will either just consider them a "cost of business" and spread the costs over smaller units (making them more expensive) or try to paint them as luxury units for richer, childless, buyers (or both).
 
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Given the change in attitude generally more positive to urban living I think that cost is the primary factor here. There could be some argument for people wanting children to grow up in a more outdoors, independent environment. But let's look at the reality of modern living. Kids spend or would spend if they could 25 hours a day on the internet / social networking. Activities are entirely programmed by adults, including going to and from school. In our low-rise inner-city neighbourhoods I actually think there is an increase in the number of houses with kids, even as the total number of kids stagnates or drops. This is because people are having kids later and later and less of them per household.
 

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