After these short six months, I now look at my hometown of Toronto with a new perspective and have come to appreciate this city even more than before.
I applied for this internship with The Grid after spending a summer studying urban planning. My goals were to get out of my comfort zone within the city by attending events, engaging in city meetings, and exploring new areas, and to clarify my own thoughts about some of the topics that buzz around the city. Most of all, I wanted to share what I know and have learned about Toronto with The Grid’s readers.
The first event I attended as a blogger was the Canadian Brownfields Conference. This experience taught me the importance of soil remediation and opportunities for infill in cities large and small. The conference enhanced my interest in development and community connectedness and shaped the themes of my posts.
Toronto is a rapidly growing city, with many projects underway aiming to address the influx of people and the needs of the city. Condominium towers are being built downtown, Union Station is being renovated to properly accommodate the 200,000 daily passengers, and the upcoming Pan Am Games have spurred development in previously abandoned lands.
With these changes come discussions on how to shape the city’s future. BeautifulCity.ca has changed the conversation about arts in Toronto for the better, and the Toronto Design Offsite Festival has connected local designers with the community.
The chief city planner is working to engage the city, but civic participation among youth remains low, and our policies still lag behind some of her visions for Toronto. Even the well-intentioned project to revitalize Regent Park might not be creating the social cohesion as hoped.
Despite these growing pains, events like the Distillery District Christmas Market, destinations like the Outdoor Covered Skating Rink, and the trees and parks that weave through the city, make Toronto a fantastic city to explore at any time of the year.
I want to thank Erica and Debra for their superb editorial feedback and ensuring the publication process ran smoothly, and Renee for giving me this great opportunity to write for The Grid and give readers a taste of urban planning and the community in Toronto.
Credits: Photograph by Stephen Pettigrew. Data linked to sources.