Toronto used to have one of the best looking skylines when driving in from the west of the city. Towering over the city was the CN Tower and at night, glowing next to it was the world’s first retractable dome, the Skydome (shamefully now called the Rogers Centre). In last view years though, Toronto’s zealous enthusiasm to create more and more condos has completely destroyed the skyline and as my visiting cousin commented – ‘wow, that has got to be one the ugliest skylines’. I’m not against the new condos in general – they just need to be planned better. The entire CityPlace condo project has blocked the view of the Skydome (it will always be called that to me) and creates a poor frontstep to the CN Tower. Toronto deperately needs more green space in the downtown core, and that area should have been the prime candidate.
Pundits laud that the view from the Toronto Island is still incredible – but no one ever goes there! I actually went to the island for the first time after spending nearly 25 years in the Toronto area (not continously) – and sure, the view is amazing, but it is not one that the majority of people will see day in and day out.
Toronto is trying to create itself as being a world class city. Well then it needs to realize that majority of people will see the city from the drive from Pearson Airport to downtown – this is the view that has now been uglified. The ugly view is the one that short term visitors will remember and tell their friends about.
To make matters worse, the CN Tower now keeps its lights off to conserve energy. I’m an advocate for conservation, but again in order to attract foreign investment in tourism, you need to make the city an attractable place – the CN Tower is one of Toronto’s biggest marketing tools. The benefits of keeping the lights on, far out weigh the costs. No one wants to visit an ugly city – when was the last time you heard someone say – ‘hey lets go to Houston for a vacation…’ – Energy conservation can be attained through many other means which the city is not persuing at all (wind and solar energy!!).