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Of monorails and malls: Doug Ford’s waterfront plans get cool reception from Queen’s Park

The sudden news that Councillor Doug Ford wants the city to take over redevelopment of the Port Lands from Waterfront Toronto is already starting to get some push-back from the provincial government—which is, after all, an investor in the waterfront process as well. To date, two different Liberal MPPs have come out against the proposal.

The Toronto Star reports:

The office of provincial Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli was more directly, saying “the province remains committed to Waterfront Toronto’s mandate and their ongoing work in revitalizing Toronto’s waterfront.”

And Glen Murray, minister of research and innovation, said a city decision to pull out of the port lands partnership would jeopardize the broader waterfront strategy. “All of the projects are interrelated; you can’t just pull one piece out. It’s important that governments stick to the plan and not change the plan halfway through,” Murray said.

Councillor Ford spoke about his plan a bit more on CBC’s Metro Morning, where he called for a monorail that would lead from Union Station to the Port Lands, stopping at hotels and a “mega-mall” filled with luxury stores (he specifically mentioned Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, who have presumably been waiting for a waterfront mall to launch their Canadian expansion) before ending up at the old (mothballed) Hearn Generating Station. The interview had some other curious assertions in it. To justify the new mall, Ford casually explained that Americans have access to 12 times as much shopping-centre retail space as Canadians—the actual number seems to be about two times—and that gap is shrinking. He also told host Matt Galloway that the downtown core “really has only one place to shop—that’s the Eaton Centre,” a statement which makes us seriously consider the possibility that Doug Ford has never actually walked downtown.

Queen’s Park cool, Ottawa warmer to city’s pitch for waterfront control [Toronto Star]
Interview with Doug Ford (MP3) [Metro Morning]

  • Maria

    I heard that interview, I was also thinking of the Queen West shopping area, just east of Spadina, there’s The Gap, Roots, Club Monaco, Lululemon, etc.
    He really doesn’t seem to know the city, at least he doesn’t show it.

  • Brian

    Where do the Ford’s get their “shoot from the lip” ideas from – first its no cuts to services and no tax increases to get elected then its “lets build subways” and get rid of a serious transit plan that experts from around the world had a hand in creating and now its lets change the mix on a waterfront plan to which the two senior levels of government have committed millions to create a “world class waterfront” so we can have a mall and some dubious developers can sneak in and make a fortune.

  • James Mo

    Don’t just bitch, get down to City Hall to speak your mind later this month. You need to stand up to the lunacy of this administration before everything you love about Toronto is parcelled off to the highest bidder. Your presence is imperative.

  • Da Wabbit

    Ford policy is to close down public libraries and build a new mega-mall at the waterfront, need to say more? Forget culture and community programs, let’s just go shopping.

  • John

    Don’t just bitch here. Contact your councillor. They ALL need to hear what we think.

  • Cathy T

    Forget the gravy train….time to stop the Ford’s and their Crazy Train!

  • Anna

    Are we going to lose our waterfront twice to developers, condos and shopping malls? This is just another public lands fire sale. This may be our last chance to have a clean green waterfront that was promised to Torontonians. Come on Toronto speak up for your waterfront!

  • this too shall pass

    We need more than one mega-mall within a 3 km radius? And like others have said…that’s not the only place one can visit to spend one’s money…

    Aside from that one issue, I thought these lands were meant for a new mixed-use neighbourhood – you know, where people actually live and pay taxes. I guess that’s crazy talk.

  • Sol

    We’ve seen this movie before. Time to break the pattern.

    (Anyone with an idea for a game-changer? I’m all ears.)

  • Carl J

    Send the Fords to Vegas. they have a monorail WHITE ELEPHANT. Ferris Wheel??? Yes London has a great Ferris Wheel, with a great transit plus LRT system to go along with it.
    Reading Ford’s proposal it would appear that anyone earning under $100,000 per year would not be able to afford to visit.
    time to get out those two buffoons

  • G.

    I don’t know the Fords personally, but there seems to be one prevalent theme throughout their policy “agenda” – I use that word loosely, since their gab is so utterly incoherent – and that is arrogance. Be it subways, monorails, malls, casinos or whatever, it all smacks of Lastman-era legacy shopping on the taxpayers’ dime. I find that DISRESPECTFUL of taxpayers. In the collective “mind” (again, used very loosely) of the Ford Dynasty, should the dirty unwashed taxpayers who benefit from social housing and community programs feel grateful that their paltry contribution to the revenue base will allow them to some day take the air-conditioned monorail for a day’s fun peering through the windows of Bloomingdale’s? And who gave Doug the mandate to even float policies in this area? Isn’t he city counselor for some suburban ward on the western fringe of Toronto? Give me strength.

  • Sunny

    So instead of a gravy train we’ll getting a gravy monorail.

  • Weez

    Of course the United States has more retail space than Canada does; it has TEN TIMES the population of Canada.

    Will the Monorail be equipped with a time-portal to Disneyland in 1974 where it belongs?

    While the Ford brothers are at it, why don’t they think add a unicorn Petting Zoo, a Super-Atomic Moon Base or a carousel made entirely of Cotton Candy?

    I see a future where taxpayers are being left to pay for this boondoggle after it disrupts traffic, destroys waterfront land then goes completely bankrupt.

  • Parker

    I cannot believe that Ford was really serious about these proposals. I think he was deliberately being over the top.

  • tkip

    I voted for Ford.

    I truly regret this. Ford is really starting to look like a colossal joke. The last thing this city needs is another Lastman embarrassment.

    The monorail proposal? Instead of just building another streetcar line to connect with existing ones and tie the waterfront together obviously uses logic I can’t understand.

    I’m already counting down till the next election.

  • McQuaid

    What about a geodesic dome??? That would be really futuristic! If you have your head in 1963.

    This will turn out to have everything to do with election contributions by the owners of the Hearn plant than with any ‘planning’ or real desire for development. It’s payoff time, and Doug is just opening the gravy can.

    Why is it that Toronto local news has been replaced by a long episode of the Simpsons?

  • Christina

    You know what is going to be awesome, seeing how empty the mall is while everyone shops at The Eaton Centre, other than at Christmas…come on this is the best these morons can come up with a suggestion from a Simpson’s episode and something that London built how long ago?? I don’t know about you, but when I go to visit a city I go for the galleries, food and parks, not for the novelty amusement park rides. we are organizing!

  • Phil Villeneuve

    I have reshaped the waterfront in my own way via this music video:

  • Judy

    My husband and I live and own right down at harbourfront and I think it sounds great. And I don’t believe for a minute you voted for Ford at all. It’s not going to happen but I wish they would get rid of the street cars altogether. There ugly, noisey, hard on vehicles, a danger to cyclists, and a major cost and mess to repair (just another ongoing union meg work project). And I would love a mall down here. The NDP union types already said no to Walmart and yes to (Canadian Tire – like that fits all our outside grocery needs). I think the self appointed status quo just want their own way again as usual.

    Go knock the Laytons and Smithermahs of the city. By the way did Smitherman ever wear those adult diapers for a week like he promised. His answer to neglected seniors left in their depends all day because of lazy layback workers. Guys like them make me sick.

  • Hanker

    What happened to the plans for the extension of the LRT along the same route? Oh, wait a second, I forgot streetcars aren’t allowed.
    Having worked for The Eaton Centre for a good number of years, then moving on to manage the notorious ugly sisters and their condo cousins on Queens Quay (that’s on the waterfront, Doug) before operating large shopping centers in the UNITED STATES I can vouch the Councilor is off his rocker and doesn’t even know his own downtown core. The PATH and its urban shopping is the envy of very major American city, and that’s only just one example. Who wants a strip plaza? Not me, but I can certainly sell Doug a few.
    I’d be willing to challenge the Councilor to a face to face debate over why his plans would be viewed as an embarrassment across North America and simply wouldn’t work, but I doubt doughnut boy could stomach that.