News   Jun 14, 2024
 2.4K     1 
News   Jun 14, 2024
 1.7K     1 
News   Jun 14, 2024
 845     0 

What would Toronto be like today if the 1998 amalgamation never happened?

The former city of York has always been screwed, amalgamation or not.

School textbooks (especially in subjects subject to change due to external factors such as new developments, new discoveries, and new trends) in the former city of York used today are very much the same (same edition even!) as when the teachers themselves used them when they were students.
 
The former city of York has always been screwed, amalgamation or not.

School textbooks (especially in subjects subject to change due to external factors such as new developments, new discoveries, and new trends) in the former city of York used today are very much the same (same edition even!) as when the teachers themselves used them when they were students.

Education management and oversight where uploaded to the province around the same time as amalgamation. Even if the school boards amalgamated or not, they're basically a shell of what they where suppose to do. Now they just follow and implement directives from the Ministry of Education. If the Ministry orders them to jump off a cliff, they jump off a cliff.
 
... If the Ministry orders them to jump off a cliff, they jump off a cliff.

animation_6___jump_off_a_cliff___complete_by_rosymairim777-d5xdjpt.gif
 
K of K:

Good thought about Toronto's outer boroughs
being a combination of both city and suburb.

In New York City the eastern half of Queens,
the southernmost parts of Brooklyn and much
of Staten Island fit that category of being both
a combination of city and suburb.

I have noticed that there is a form of a adversarial relationship between the
residents of the old City of Toronto to
the residents of the outer boroughs.

This is similar to the relationship that Manhattan, much of Brooklyn, western
Queens and most of the Bronx has with
the outlying areas of the NYC Boroughs.

Then there are those who are entirely
Manhattan-centric and think that are
nothing outside that is worthwhile.
There is probably Central Toronto
residents that feel the same about
those who live outside the core.

To me they are all City residents just the same
voting for a common Mayor and council with
concerns like anyone has for the common
goal to make the City as good as it can be.

LI Mike
 
I wasn’t born when amalgamation happened (born in 2002). Although this has always interested me.

Given Mississauga’s heavy request of separating from Peel (now happening, although with Peel completely dissolving), I would imagine “Old” Toronto would’ve wanted to opt out of Metro but share certain services (akin to cities like Barrie, London, Orillia, Peterborough, etc… and their respective counties). Maybe just sharing the TTC and emergency services?

Or, given that North York and Scarborough are also pretty big suburbs like ‘Sauga and Brampton, maybe Metro would just dissolve and all municipalities become single-tier like what we’re about to see in Peel (York and East York would probably join Toronto In this case. Although being from East York, I definitely am well aware of the civic boosterism that many residents have/had and how they say it was better run before amalgamation. Of course, not being born yet, I can’t confirm anything regarding that). Again though, services like the TTC would still need to be regionally coordinated.
 
I wasn’t born when amalgamation happened (born in 2002). Although this has always interested me.

Given Mississauga’s heavy request of separating from Peel (now happening, although with Peel completely dissolving), I would imagine “Old” Toronto would’ve wanted to opt out of Metro but share certain services (akin to cities like Barrie, London, Orillia, Peterborough, etc… and their respective counties). Maybe just sharing the TTC and emergency services?

Or, given that North York and Scarborough are also pretty big suburbs like ‘Sauga and Brampton, maybe Metro would just dissolve and all municipalities become single-tier like what we’re about to see in Peel (York and East York would probably join Toronto In this case. Although being from East York, I definitely am well aware of the civic boosterism that many residents have/had and how they say it was better run before amalgamation. Of course, not being born yet, I can’t confirm anything regarding that). Again though, services like the TTC would still need to be regionally coordinated.

Prior to Amalgamation, there was a regional government for Toronto, East York, York, Scarborough, Etobicoke and North York known as Metro Toronto.

Police, Ambulance and the TTC were already single services for all of Metro Toronto.

Amalgamation gave the area one Council; one Mayor, one Library system, a merger of two different housing organizations, City Home and the MTHA who became TCHC, one Planning dept, one Parks dept and one Board of Health, among the higher profile mergers.

Prior to amalgamation, both levels of gov't Metro and its constituent Cities both had Transportation, with Metro looking after most arterial/regional roads, and lesser collector roads and side streets being w/the local governments

Sewage was Metro; drinking water was local.

Garbage pick-up was local, but transfer stations and landfills were Metro.

Pretty much all the local gov'ts opposed amalgamation; for varying reasons.

Old Toronto had by far the richest tax base, and the best services with North York not too far behind.

Everywhere else basically got an upgrade; but those 2 places ended up with lower services/higher fees as their tax base now had to support the larger area.

****

Of the merged services, most would say, Fire, and Library went reasonably well.

Parks is/was a complete boondoggle.

The rest are a mixed bag.
 
Thanks for this. A few things here I actually didn’t know.
Prior to Amalgamation, there was a regional government for Toronto, East York, York, Scarborough, Etobicoke and North York known as Metro Toronto.

Police, Ambulance and the TTC were already single services for all of Metro Toronto.

Amalgamation gave the area one Council; one Mayor, one Library system, a merger of two different housing organizations, City Home and the MTHA who became TCHC, one Planning dept, one Parks dept and one Board of Health, among the higher profile mergers.

Prior to amalgamation, both levels of gov't Metro and its constituent Cities both had Transportation, with Metro looking after most arterial/regional roads, and lesser collector roads and side streets being w/the local governments

Sewage was Metro; drinking water was local.

Garbage pick-up was local, but transfer stations and landfills were Metro.

Pretty much all the local gov'ts opposed amalgamation; for varying reasons.

Old Toronto had by far the richest tax base, and the best services with North York not too far behind.

Everywhere else basically got an upgrade; but those 2 places ended up with lower services/higher fees as their tax base now had to support the larger area.

****

Of the merged services, most would say, Fire, and Library went reasonably well.
Yeah, if there is one public service in Toronto that seems to get a lot of praise, it’s our library system.
Parks is/was a complete boondoggle.

The rest are a mixed bag.
Not being around when Metro was around, if I ever ask someone (plus coming onto this forum), the answers are always mixed. Though, a lot of people seem to miss their former municipality.
 
Thanks for this. A few things here I actually didn’t know.

You're welcome.
Yeah, if there is one public service in Toronto that seems to get a lot of praise, it’s our library system.

Rightly so.

Not being around when Metro was around, if I ever ask someone (plus coming onto this forum), the answers are always mixed. Though, a lot of people seem to miss their former municipality.

On the service side, at the high level; the biggest difference is in recreation, in the former City of Toronto, which previously had no user fees for its recreation programs, they were all free, at all centres, for all ages.

That was eliminated with amalgamation.

***

Elsewise, I think if you asked people why they might prefer the former system; other than for nostalgia, it might be thought of as

'access' ; and 'sweat the small stuff'.

Put simply, there used to be:

a) A lot more councillors and mayors, and fewer staff for each, making it much easier to talk directly to a politician, often w/o an appointment for a big deal; a straight up phone call or just walking in, and you could probably be seen/heard.

(an advantage to more politicians that's rarely given any thought)

b) Front line service managers were much more accessible. If you were an active citizen, you knew the manager of your local park, library, street cleaning etc. If not, it was easy to find out and reach out.

The bigger bureaucracy is harder to penetrate.

That the City (Metro) is now also larger in population terms compounds that problem.

I'll just highlight East York here. 8 Councillors, 100,000 people, 12,500 per councillor.

Amalgamated Toronto 25 Councillors, 3,000,000 people, 120,000 people per councillor, or just shy of 10x as many.

****

The last think I would note, would be distinct cultures of the former Cities.

The old Toronto was clearly left leaning, far moreso than the other former cities; so some be wistful for losing those free recreation programs and the like that they previously enjoyed.

The old East York was very volunteer driven, the Councillors were actually part-time, and paid accordingly, the engagement level was high, and the limited bureaucracy welcomed it.
The new City, not so friendly to volunteers.

Scarborough and Etobicoke, the relatively fiscally conservative areas; with Scarborough having changed some in the intervening years, but Etobicoke holding steady to a greater degree.
those residents may resent programs for free trees, and more low-income earner supports, while paying higher taxes.

Those areas also catered a bit more to the affluent and seniors, with things like mechanical leaf removal, vs services aimed at the young.

****

There are both real things to be somewhat regretful over losing; and some others that are nostalgia or personal preference in a more narrow way.

But there have been benefits (the aforementioned library system, which is now better pretty much everywhere than it was at the time of amalgamation).
 
Last edited:
If we're playing with history, creating the Megacity but then moving Etobicoke out into Peel has always intrigued me, and perhaps also extending that north through Vaughan along the Etobicoke Creek(ish), to have a new Town of Woodbridge added to Peel.

I would not do this change now, but in 1999, maybe.
 
If we're playing with history, creating the Megacity but then moving Etobicoke out into Peel has always intrigued me, and perhaps also extending that north through Vaughan along the Etobicoke Creek(ish), to have a new Town of Woodbridge added to Peel.

I would not do this change now, but in 1999, maybe.
Interesting. If amalgamation never happened, what if this took place:

(Old) Toronto - Becomes single-tier

Etobicoke - Your proposal along with the Town of Woodbridge north of it

Scarborough - Joins Durham Region (Maybe of Woodbridge joined Peel, parts of Markham east of Highway 48 could logically become a town and join Durham? Although aside of Unionville, Markham is very much “Markham” unlike Vaughan where people still say “Woodbridge”, “Maple”, etc..).

North York / York / East York - Joins York Region (York and East York could still stay given they’re probably most comparable/actually bigger than Aurora and Newmarket in terms of population. Then of course, North York being in “south” York Region may seem off, but not really a big deal is it? Lol.

What happens to the TTC? Well, Metrolinx kinda solves this. Also, the subway already goes to Vaughan. Maybe York and East York still use the TTC.
 
Interesting. If amalgamation never happened, what if this took place:

(Old) Toronto - Becomes single-tier

Etobicoke - Your proposal along with the Town of Woodbridge north of it

Scarborough - Joins Durham Region (Maybe of Woodbridge joined Peel, parts of Markham east of Highway 48 could logically become a town and join Durham? Although aside of Unionville, Markham is very much “Markham” unlike Vaughan where people still say “Woodbridge”, “Maple”, etc..).

North York / York / East York - Joins York Region (York and East York could still stay given they’re probably most comparable/actually bigger than Aurora and Newmarket in terms of population. Then of course, North York being in “south” York Region may seem off, but not really a big deal is it? Lol.

What happens to the TTC? Well, Metrolinx kinda solves this. Also, the subway already goes to Vaughan. Maybe York and East York still use the TTC.

This is now diverging not only into fantasy, but pretty absurd fantasy.

Breaking up Toronto Police, Ambulance and the TTC would have been more than difficult or painful it would have caused very serious problems.

Complete non-starter, in no way based on reality.

York and Durham Regions are already enormous in terms of territory, growing them south or west as the case may be, would not have worked out politically or practically.

There were 4 different models that were possible:

1) Status Quo

2) 4-City plus Metro model, with the choice of simply consolidating York and East York into the hold City, or dividing both of those at Eglinton, with the areas to the north going to North York.

3) Amalgamation

4) Expanded Metro, on this last one, there were discussions about adding Mississauga and Brampton to Metro and dissolving Peel, I never heard any discussion of adding anything in York to Metro; There was some discussion of shifting Pickering from Durham to Metro.
 
Last edited:
This is now diverging not only into fantasy, but pretty absurd fantasy.

Breaking up Toronto Police, Ambulance and the TTC would have been more than difficult or painful it would have caused very serious problems.

Complete non-starter, in no way based on reality.
Yeah, what I had in mind was more “what if” rather than “let’s do this”. In general, it seems tampering with municipal services can result inefficiencies and higher cost (not all cases though, but that definitely seems to be a big criticism of “the mega city”.)

York and Durham Regions are already enormous in terms of territory, growing them south or west as the case may be, would not have worked out politically or practically.


There were 4 different models that were possible:

1) Status Quo

2) 4-City plus Metro model, with the choice of simply consolidating York and East York into the hold City, or dividing both of those at Eglinton, with the areas to the north going to North York.

3) Amalgamation

4) Expanded Metro, on this last one, there were discussions about adding Mississauga and Brampton to Metro and dissolving Peel, I never heard any discussion of adding anything in York to Metro; There was some discussion of shifting Pickering from Durham to Metro.
I saw something mentioned on another thread as well as Alen Redways “Metropolitan Toronto” book… a Borough system like Montreal. It was never a consideration obviously, and would really be a waste of time to implement now. Though, that probably would have been a much fairer compromise rather than complete amalgamation (then again, weren’t 70% of services already dealt with at Metro?).
 
Yeah, what I had in mind was more “what if” rather than “let’s do this”. In general, it seems tampering with municipal services can result inefficiencies and higher cost (not all cases though, but that definitely seems to be a big criticism of “the mega city”.)

Dis-efficiencies is the way I would describe it.

These occur in a couple of ways, one is that bureaucracies of a certain size, corporate or government require middle management layers, in a way smaller organizations do not.

They also tend to require more formal process, more written forms/work orders, as oppose to informal processes.

(ie.a small organization may not have a dedicated HR department, but larger organizations will)

The other thing is, when you merge, say, the East York Fire Department into Toronto's, the old City fire fighters don't take a pay cut, instead, East York firefighters get a raise.

I saw something mentioned on another thread as well as Alen Redways “Metropolitan Toronto” book… a Borough system like Montreal.

Toronto had the borough system; not exactly the same as Montreal's to be clear; East York still called itself a 'Borough', where as the the other former Boroughs were all 'Cities' by the late 90s.

It was never a consideration obviously, and would really be a waste of time to implement now. Though, that probably would have been a much fairer compromise rather than complete amalgamation (then again, weren’t 70% of services already dealt with at Metro?).

I'm not sure what the exact percentages were, but since Police, TTC and Social services are the most expensive line items and these were largely at the Metro level (some of Social Services were in the former cities); that seems like a reasonable figure.

Though, from the point of a view of an average resident, they probably had more interactions with the old city level; as they did garbage pick-up, parks, recreation, libraries, and water, as as planning.
 
parts of Markham east of Highway 48 could logically become a town and join Durham? Although aside of Unionville, Markham is very much “Markham”

That would be unwieldy as Unionville is more the geographic core of Markham than Markham Village itself. And Thornhill east of Yonge isn't really seen as Markham either.
 

Back
Top