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The two-track city

Toronto’s election, and what it means for the rest of Canada

by Zack Taylor

Toronto’s neverending election is over. Having dispatched Doug Ford – the eleventh-hour campaign surrogate for his ailing brother, Mayor Rob Ford – as well as former councillor and NDP MP Olivia Chow, John Tory takes office on a promise of bringing managerial competence and political stability to the city that journalist Robyn Doolittle has dubbed “Crazy Town.” Toronto can go back to being its boring old self – the city the rest of Canada loves to hate or tries to ignore.

Or can it? The mayor may have changed, but the rest of the city hasn’t. Canadians should take notice, for the causes of the city’s fractured politics are not limited to Hogtown, and their effects may have repercussions far beyond city limits.

The origins of the two-track city

For most of the postwar era, Toronto was the industrial engine of the Canadian economy. While the industrial metropolises of the American midwest and northeast foundered, Greater Toronto grew like a Sunbelt city, adding almost a million new residents decade over decade. Favoured by location and national trade policy, Toronto supplanted Montreal as the country’s preeminent city and became an extraordinarily successful integrator of immigrants from around the world.

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About the Author

Zack Taylor
Zack Taylor is Assistant Professor in the City Studies Program at the University of Toronto Scarborough. His teaching and research focus on urban politics and urban and regional planning policy.




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