If you’ve been to Toronto lately, you will know it as a booming metropolis. I often use that term in a sarcastic way to describe a small town that’s trying to be something more. But in this case, I’m serious. Over the last few years, Toronto has transformed. The real estate market has ballooned (and some might even say that it’s on the verge of breaking), the population has become more diverse, and what might be the most interesting is that the city no longer values suburban sprawl, but is looking for downtown urbanism. These changes have been rather swift, and it makes you wonder what Toronto will look like in 50 years time.
It’s hard for me to imagine anything 50 years from now, isn’t it? Think about the city that you live in now, and then try to imagine what changes the city might have in mind. Or, think about what your city looked like 50 years ago. That’s more of a tangible transformation you will see. In today’s article, I am going to explore some of the ways that Toronto might be different in 50 years.
Toronto has a pretty incredible skyline – especially if you have the opportunity to view it from Toronto Island. Over the next few years, City Council has plans pending for some pretty impressive skyscrapers – which range from 45 all the way up to 92 stories. While maybe not the tallest buildings in the world, they are certainly the tallest in Canada. These changes will definitely have a large impact on the skyline. But who or what will go into these properties?
Over the next 50 years, Toronto is projected to continue to grow at an insane rate. As the population doubles its anticipated that the density will increase from 4,000 people per square kilometer (which is what it is today) to about 7,700 in 2066. While the biggest challenge will be where to put everyone, the good news is that Toronto is already planning for this increase.
In addition to the numbers of people that currently reside in Toronto, where will these people come from? Currently, the proportion of residents born outside Canada is about 1/3 of residents. That’s expected to rise to 1/2. Where people will come from is an interesting concept. Right now, approximately 56% of newcomers come from Asia and Australia. That number is expected to decrease, but still be strong at 39% in the year 2066. Newcomers from Africa and the Middle East comprise about 20% of the current population, and it’s this number that is expected to increase significantly to 54%.
Lastly, how will people get around? Currently, the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario are working on more than a dozen initiatives to transform the mediocre transit system into a gloriously convenient network of LRT, subways and express rail. Some of these plans include a Hyperloop rail system that will allow people to get from Toronto to Montreal in less than an hour. To put this into perspective – if you’ve ever flown from Toronto to Montreal, you will know that door to door it takes about 45 minutes.
While all of this is great news for Toronto, all of the existing infrastructures will need to be changed over in order to accommodate these changes. I encourage the City of Toronto to keep up the good work, and I hope that other cities (all over the world) follow suit in order to ensure they are able to handle the population changes.