Deputy Toronto mayor against raising children downtown
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday discusses contract talks with CUPE Local 79 on Thursday, March 29, 2012.
Published Friday, July 13, 2012 9:57AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 13, 2012 10:59AM EDT
Toronto’s Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday raised some eyebrows on council on Thursday after suggesting the city core was no place to raise a family.
Holyday, the mayor of Etobicoke before amalgamation and the current councillor for Etobicoke Centre, described the downtown as too dangerous for children, pointing to traffic and a lack of parks as prime examples.
The comments came during a city council debate on a requirement that a 47-storey condo development at King and John Streets make 10 per cent of its building into family-friendly, three-bedroom units.
Holyday presented a counter-motion to eliminate the requirement, saying the city should force a developer to build units there may be no market for. That motion was rejected by council.
“As far as raising your children downtown, maybe some people wish to do that. I think most people wouldn’t,” Holyday said during the discussion, according to the Toronto Star.
“I could just see now: ‘Where’s little Ginny?’ ‘Well, she’s downstairs playing in the traffic on her way to the park.’”
When it was suggested by city planners that having families living downtown resulted in a healthier city, Holyday suggested there was nowhere for children to play, other than in traffic.
“I just think of raising my own family there. That’s not the place I’d choose,” he added.
The comments spurred objection from Toronto’s downtown councillors, including St. Paul’s representative Josh Matlow.
After the council meeting, Matlow tweeted: “Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods with one of North America's most vibrant, safe and family-friendly downtowns. I love our city.”
The call to make 10 per cent of the development into family-friendly homes came from Coun. Adam Vaughan, who told CP24 on Thursday he hoped to apply the same regulations on future developments to his downtown Trinity-Spadina riding.
“I ran on a platform of getting more family units built and finding a way to make them more affordable and that is what this is about,” Vaughan said.
“We are having an explosion of new condo units and about 98 per cent of them before I took office were one-bedroom units. They are great places to start a family, but not a place to raise a family.”
Holyday later told CP24 that his comments were relating to his personal preference to raise a family in a suburban neighbourhood.