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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]