My new favourite spot in the city is the rooftop patio of the Corus Quay building, the headquarters for Corus Entertainment, at the foot of Jarvis Street. The building, which opened in 2010, was designed by Jack Diamond and bears his firm’s signature understated elegance. Back in the fall, on a gloriously mild October night, I stood on that deck, and the view was spectacular: dozens of pleasure boats to the south, a vast collection of glistening urban towers, many of them new, to the northwest.
A container ship was unloading barrels of raw sugar at the Redpath refinery—a last gasp of industry in the downtown. The overall impression was of a bustling, densely urban, multi-purpose waterfront.
I was there for a lecture by Jennifer Bradley of the Brookings Institute, who was in town to promote her book The Metropolitan Revolution, in which she explains how cities can save themselves from urban collapse. She is a compelling speaker, but her message didn’t seem relevant to Toronto. Our big urban problem is the opposite of collapse; it’s rapid growth. We are building at a ferocious rate, attracting 100,000 new residents a year, erecting new buildings on any scrap of land we can find. Our aging infrastructure can’t cope with the robust development.