Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Saturday, May 19, 2012
The result was the May, 1930, report of the Advisory City Planning Committee, entitled, "Street Extensions, Widenings and Improvements in the City of Toronto." It was presented at a special meeting of council on May 14, with Bert Wemp, a Toronto Telegram editor, in the mayor's chair.
The plan, the report explained, was based on projections that the city would grow to 1.5 million residents, thereby necessitating improvements to the street system, transportation, public recreation, zoning and “aesthetics." "[P]rimarily the need for planning is the outcome of the accumulation of people in one area and the daily movement of those people following their daily avocations.”
The Report, and the accompanying map, proposed a detail series of road widenings and extensions, as well as new streetcar routes. The commissioners, well aware of the penny-pinching inclinations of the elected officials, explained that they sought toavoid expense by connecting disconnected roads. The result, the report said, may not represent the gold standard in design, at the new streets will nonetheless be efficient.
This passage, better than any other in the report, outlines the balancing act confronting ambitious officials as they sought enduring long-term solutions to the city's growth pressures without running afoul of council's deep aversion to borrowing:
Among the proposals: building a parkway connecting the north end of Jarvis to the corner ofMount Pleasant and St. Clair; linking the east-west sidestreets in what we know called Riverdale and Leslieville to form Dundas East; extending Duplex Avenue north from Balliol up to Yonge Blvd. All were built, mostly to expedite car travel out of the increasingly congested core to new suburbs in North Toronto, Moore Park and the east end.
Many more of the ideas in the report, however, never made it off the drawing board, including an extension of Church Street/Davenport north through the Nordheimer and Cedarvale ravines; an extension of Victoria Street north to Bloor; an extension of Bay Street all the way up to St. Clair Ave., and a series of diagonal roads traversing what is now western Scarborough.