|I've been away on business a lot in the past few weeks, and have been quite busy all the time -- whether here in Toronto or on the road.
The past few days I was fortunate enough to be in Vancouver. I've been there about a dozen times in the past 5 years, and I enjoy it every time. In part it is because I have a good friend there, but there are several positive aspects about the city that I value.
The first thing I noticed this time, was that the air was so fresh. There is a very distinct difference between the air in downtown Vancouver compared to Toronto. I know it's not because of anything the Vancouverites do -- they probably drive more than we do, and seem to own more SUVs. It must be because of the proximity to the ocean. But, it is very nice to be reminded of what fresh air is supposed to smell and taste like.
The next thing that I noticed this visit was the dramatic gap (vs. Toronto) in the care put into the design of new buildings in the core. Vancouver's downtown seems to be made up of one or two hundred towers, mostly between 15 and 25 storeys. Most of the new ones seem to have been designed with a faithful effort to produce a building that is attractive, well-proportioned, and carefully detailed. They frequently look good both in the distance and as you pass by, and they have a consistent, contemporary "Vancouver style". I cannot say the same about much of Toronto's recent development.
Vancouver's streets are clean, the way ours used to be.
Of course, I'm sure that much can be said in Toronto's favour as well. (For example, Vancouver really feels like a small, slow-moving town for a Torontonian. It also is low on the sunshine meter.) As someone who visits the best parts of the city on short stays, I don't get much exposure to the downside. I'm not planning on moving out there; I'd just like to think about some of the ways Toronto can learn from what Vancouver is doing.||