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Shabby Toronto

I found exactly the same about Paris. A seemingly permanent tent city set up in Place de la Republique, refuse all around, grafitti covering everything, and a strong smell of urine, especially from the free public toilets on site that used to be nice and clean. Clearly, no self-respect, no pride, celebrating the mediocre, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. [repeat]
But yes, I think Toronto is lame as well. Try finding a park bench to sit on and have lunch or when taking a break from mindless shopping. The city reflects the mentality of the majority very well.

One park-bench/Churwell-steps phenomenon that's yet to be commented on is how the ledges around 18 King E have become popular sitting spots especially ever since Tim's opened on the corner...
I just got back from fabulously, vibrant Berlin. Yes shabby chic rules there and they do it so well. All kinds of interesting spots, cafes tucked away in old courtyards, restaurants with outdoor patios in the midst of residential apartments with no one complaining about potential noise issues. In fact so many restaurants and cafes filled with people at all hours. And even though many of the buildings are old and gray (especially in the former East) the shopkeepers and residents take time to sweep the sidewalks and clean their windows themselves which makes all the difference. It seems that in Toronto the shopkeepers don't think that that is their responsibility. They are waiting for the landlord or a city worker to clean up and we all know that won't happen.
If Toronto loosened up some of their by-laws and allowed some types of stores and cafes in certain residential areas and if everyone pitched in to keep their storefront tidy it would make such a difference.
Wow, 13 pages of debate.

Toronto is shabby. Anyone who has lived here more than a few years and travelled can see that.
Just a few remarks about some of the posts I have read:

1. Montreal's night life has nothing to do with a longer drinking hour than it does about taxes and insurance. What does it cost to open a bar around here, versus Montreal? Those shabby warehouses on Richmond/Adelaide that someone mentioned earlier were full of fun and vibrant speak-easies and artist's warrens in the early '80s. Now, we get $20 cover charges, and suits from Vaughan pissing in the alleys next to $500k condos. That is progress!
2. Our sidewalks are a disaster. Part of the blame is our interminable winters. The other is the city's reliance on unionized contractors to fix them. Contract it out, and more sidewalks could be replaced faster, cheaper. (But file that under, right?)
3) Light standards, planter boxes, rows upon rows of newspaper boxes and let's not get into the gigantic trash containers - these are all a blight upon the eye.
4) Although we do have wide sidewalks in many places, the frost heaves, cracks and sticky gum mar the entire look.
5) You are not going to get a vibrant outdoor cafe culture with our crappy weather, high taxes and high insurance costs. Period. End of story.
6) Panhandlers. Tent city. Let's remove all the park benches from parks because the 'homeless' have more rights than we do. In fact, let's dig up all the public fountains, too.

There is not going to be a change in this city until the NDPers are swept out of here. And this is coming from a former NDPer.