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December 12th, 2018
Beaches Living Guide Fall/Winter 2018/19


Beautiful, City-Building Transformation

Toronto has always been a city in transformation, melding the old in with the new. Imagine what it must have been like when Toronto first tore up its streets to lay streetcar tracks in the 1890s. Or the commotion caused when truck after truck filled with construction debris began the task of filling in part of Toronto's Harbour. We've seen photos of the first subway tunnels, as well as what it took to build the Bloor Viaduct. And many of us remember the day a helicopter placed the antenna on top of the CN tower

Building a city has always meant some kind of disruption. We mourn the loss of beautiful buildings and parkland, but other times, we marvel at how seamlessly we've merged the old with the new. Something as mundane as the streetcars, which have always been a mix of older cars and shiny, new ones.

Our experiences in Toronto also remind us of this mix of old and new. Canoe or kayak along the waterfront and you find yourself looking at a former coal-powered generating plant. Over half a century ago, instead of one smokestack, there were eight in operation, each a sign of the electricity being generated to light up the entire city. Or walk along the parklands next to the new Leslie Barns and marvel at how, over a century later, Toronto is still a city that loves its streetcars.

Sometimes, it's hard not just to see the cranes and the construction. But as any Torontonians will tell you, our city has never stood still. Many still tell you, for example, that the "real" Red Rockets on the TTC were the Peter Witt cars, retired now since the early 1960s. Others loved the classic cream and burgundy cars of their youth, with the curved lines and rounded fronts. But children growing up in Toronto will tell a different story. They squeal with delight when the shiny, bright new Flexity streetcars roll by on Queen or King Street

This is really what the city is all about - our combined memories of the past and our visions of the future. It has to be a mixture of old and new: that's what cities are all about, because in the end, we're not just made from where we come from-we are what we build toward the future.

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