Toronto Life is at it again!
I can’t believe two years has passed since they published their rankings of 140 of Toronto’s neighbourhoods, and left it to the peanut-galleries (such as this one…) to debate, bicker, and critique the “findings” of their thorough analyses.
And now comes the updated, 2015 version, which has been Posted, Tweeted, “Liked,” Shared, and bandied about on social media, non-stop, all week.
It’s made too many headlines for us to not have a look at it here and now…
I’m a huge fan of Toronto Life.
How can I not be?
They constantly provide me with biased, inaccurate, and often wildly-speculated pieces on Toronto real estate, which make for great blog fodder!
I actually keep back issues of the publication in a special place in my office:
Everything they produce turns to gold, eventually.
Like this classic 2010 cover story on the real estate “bubble.”
They even had a graphic called “How Bad It Will Be” with a “best-case scenario” of what looks like a 3-4% loss (tough to tell from their graphic, but the line was trending down slightly).
The irony about this piece is – the average home price in July of 2010 was $432,253, and in this past August of 2015 it was $602,607.
So had you listened to Toronto Life and the “bubble” talk, and not purchased a home, you’d have lost out on a 39% increase in average home price. Oh – tax free, of course.
In that 2010 piece, they also gave readers a “Risk Assessment” of a slew of neighbourhoods, which I’ve scanned from the print mag:
So consider that this “risk assessment” goes from “safe” at the one end, to “risky” at the other, what was one of the areas, according to Toronto Life, that wasn’t a “safe” place to buy a home?
Yonge-Eglinton, of course!
Now fast-forward to 2015, have a look at the “Best & Worst Places To Live” list of 140 neighbourhoods, and what is the number-one location in the city of Toronto according to Toronto Life?
Yep, you guessed it:
Well, at least they’re selling a lot of magazines, right?
In case you have no clue what I’m talking about, the 2015 Toronto Life “Ultimate Neighbourhood Rankings” have been released, and you can take a look at the online version HERE.
Let’s be honest here, folks: I don’t think any two people are going to agree on the rankings of 140 neighbourhoods! But having said that, some of the rankings are ridiculous, and it all starts with the “criteria” used in the first place.
Here’s the complicated mathematical analysis used by Toronto Life:
I have problems with the following:
I’m not sure if they view appreciation as a good thing, or a bad thing.
For example, in the section for Leaside, they write: “The growth of average real estate prices, year over year, is a comfortable 8.82 per cent.”
Are they looking for lots of appreciation, or little?
Not only that, this idea about homes needing “major repairs” is absolutely idiotic.
Many people seek out homes in awful condition so they can renovate.
The amount of people building or renovating homes in Toronto has never been higher. Many buyers are on the lookout for estate sales, which offer nothing more than land value. Others “don’t want to pay for somebody else’s work,” and look for great bones with the potential to add value.
The fact that Toronto Life is taking marks away because houses need work makes no sense.
I think they’ve read a bit too much about the TCHC’s “housing repair backlog” and forget that not all homes “must” be repaired (not to mention with tax dollars…), but rather some homes “can” be renovated and upgraded!
Does a 1980’s kitchen “need” to be repaired? I dunno. Ask Toronto Life…
This is ironic.
The transit is fantastic in many areas where people don’t care, ie. those more affluent areas where nobody takes transit, and there are a lot of “five car families.”
Suffice it to say, most of the neighbourhoods at the bottom of the list are going to have low transit scores.
“The number of cancer screenings and health care providers per capita.” So, what, this is like the Ice Bucket Challenge all over again? Are we going to argue over which disease is better or worse?
“The amount of air pollution, tree coverage, and green space.” Call me a cynic, but I want to know where they got statistical breakdowns of these 140 neighbourhoods, on air pollution!
And to be honest, I don’t know if “tree coverage and green space” is what I would refer to as “health.” Perhaps the proverbial tree-hugger wrote this section while playing hacky-sack in the park…
I mean really?
This is important in terms of where to live?
Let me try really hard to read into this.
Whoever included this criteria believes that higher voter turnout means that more people care about their own individual community.
In reality, I’m of the opinion that in every election, ever held, anywhere, virtually every voter starts from the very top of the voting card – with the Federal election, Provincial election, or what have you, and only then works their way down to City Councilors at the very bottom of the card, and often vote for them as an afterthought.
Street beautification efforts?
There’s that green-friendly, lefty, tree-hugger again!
In reality, most residents think of “community” in terms of the number of events that involve the people living within that area – school events, social events, neighbourhood gatherings, block parties, firework displays, bake sales, charity projects, children’s sporting events and leagues, etc.
And does having a lot of street beautification projects currently on the go mean that the area isn’t already beautiful?
Voter turnout? I still can’t believe it.
Here’s a hot-button topic.
I’m going to be brutally honest here, and feel free to fault me, but I don’t think many people actually care about diversity. I think it just makes Toronto Life look holier-than-thou to bring it up.
Ironically, the residents of many areas of the city would prefer if their neighbourhoods weren’t diverse. I’m not saying I agree, nor am I saying that’s right, or just. But come on, let’s address the elephant in the room here – do you think the residents of Leaside-Bennington care that they scored a 14.8/100 in “Diversity?”
Or do you think some residents, of some areas in Toronto, prefer it?
This Toronto Life article had a serious pre-occupation with white people. It’s littered through every page in print, and every section in the online version.
Here’s a blurb from the print version:
Here’s the caption for the #9 ranked neighbourhood:
And here’s something interesting:
Great, thanks, Toronto Life.
Now I’m gonna head home and cry my white-self to sleep.
Did Toronto Life just jump on the multi-cultural bandwagon here?
I mean, it’s not just one mention in the article – it’s everywhere!
And they’re taking points away for areas being too white.
Honestly, I don’t care what colour the people are that live next door, or down the hall. Too white, or not white enough – it doesn’t matter to me, and I can’t believe this was put into print.
Raise your hand if you work in the same neighbourhood in which you live?
If your hand is raised, you’re in the extreme minority.
Toronto Life is measuring the jobs per capita within the neighbourhood, and using this as a criteria for the attractiveness of living in the neighbourhood itself.
Is it the 1940’s?
Leaside was built around the factories down on Laird drive so the workers had somewhere to go home to at night after the steam-whistle blew (or was it a dinosaur yelling, like in The Flintstones?), but that was 80-years-ago.
Today, very few people live and work in the same area, so I don’t see how this is a good measure of a neighbourhood.
So there you have it, folks.
I don’t like these criteria at all, and I think they have a left-wing undertone to them. I know, I know – you hate when I divide things into “left and right,” but all that’s missing from this is “11) Bike Lanes Per Capita,” and we’d be all set.
The reason, in case you’re wondering, why I make such a big deal of this, is because so many people read these Toronto Life articles, and are influenced accordingly.
Hundreds of thousands of people will read these neighbourhood rankings, and I’d hate to see somebody kick “Leslieville” to the curb because Toronto Life, for some god-forsaken reason, ranked the area #123 out of 140, behind many of the worst areas of the city.
In Friday’s blog, I want to highlight some of the ridiculousness of the graphics displayed in the print version, and have a look at my “Top Three Neighbourhood Snubs.”
In the meantime, if you’ve read the article, please share your comments below.
I’m curious to know:
1) What criteria would you use for ranking Toronto’s neighbourhoods?
2) Which of the 140 areas were ranked too low, and too high?