On Thursday, Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday declared that Toronto’s downtown core is not the place to raise children. The statement was made in response to downtown city councillors urging condo developers to build more 3 bedroom units suitable for young families. The proposal would have developers setting aside 10 per cent of the units in a given building for family-friendly units.
The debate has since made its way into all of Toronto’s major newspapers, social media and no doubt a number of living rooms as well. Holyday made it clear that these lifestyle choices are personal and that he would never judge anyone for where they choose to raise their kids.
Of course, any issue involving child-rearing is bound to become contentious. A large home with a backyard on a quiet street might be a prerequisite for some parents, and many people still associate suburban living with safety and downtown streets with danger. For other parents, the vitality of the city, with all of its amenities, diversity and even noise is the only way to go. They also value a decreased dependency on cars and shorter commutes that give them more time to spend with their kids.
Readers of the Post, the Star and the Globe weighed in with every position on the spectrum represented. Most commenters went with some variation of to each their own, while others were passionate to the point of being critical of others’ parenting choices. Holyday called the proposed 10 per cent rule “social engineering,” implying that the rule would be creating demand rather than responding to it, while Councillor Adam Vaughan believes families living downtown makes for healthier cities.