The purpose of these essays from GCA members is to inform and educate about development and governance in the building of Toronto.

Development 101

By Max Allen Property development in Toronto is a balancing act between preserving good buildings and public spaces, and encouraging new buildings and spaces that may not be identical to the old ones, but don’t wreck them either. Property development and the decisions surrounding it looks, to an outsider, like a huge black box of … Continue reading “Development 101”

A Realist’s Development Handbook – How to Build an “Illegal” Building

By illegal, we mean against the legislated rules.  An illegal building is rarely contrary to the extensive technical requirements of the Ontario Building Code.  Rather, it is contrary to the overarching laws and fundamental policies that shape Toronto. WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE TO BUILD YOUR ILLEGAL BUILDING? If your project is only slightly illegal – a few extra storeys … Continue reading “A Realist’s Development Handbook – How to Build an “Illegal” Building”

Jane’s Toronto

Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) is alive and well in Toronto. Her ideas are in the air, in people’s minds and everywhere you look, especially in the Grange Community.  To understand cities, Jane famously said, “You’ve got to get out and walk.”  And that’s what people are doing.  (Around the world, Jane’s Walks – those annual neighbourhood explorations named … Continue reading “Jane’s Toronto”

Book Review: How We Changed Toronto by John Sewell

John Sewell: How We Changed Toronto – The inside story of twelve creative, tumultuous years in civic life, 1969-1980.  Toronto: James Lorimer & Company, 2015.  ISBN  978-1-4594-0940-8 (BOUND), 343 pages plus index. Reviewed by Max Allen, September 2015 Like Rob Ford, John Sewell was once mayor of Toronto. The similarity ends there. Or does it?  Both were one-term … Continue reading “Book Review: How We Changed Toronto by John Sewell”