Relief Line: Can You Please Stop Building Condos?
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Relief Line: Can You Please Stop Building Condos?

An exceptional reindeer issues his cry for help.

Photo by A Great Capture from the Torontoist Flickr Pool

Photo by A Great Capture from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Relief Line is your not-so-serious glance at the city we love. This week’s Relief Line features Christmas guest columnist, Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

We magical, flying reindeer are not a difficult breed to please. We like winter climes, homes with strong roofs, and the occasional Jamaican beef patty to nosh on. As such, we’ve always been big fans of Toronto. It’s one of our favourite stopovers on Christmas Eve. It’s a nice, relaxing breather before we have to start dodging those surface-to-air missiles that plague us over much of the American Midwest. But recently we’ve noticed a change. I think you know what I am talking about. Toronto is being overtaken by condos.

Now I am no anti-condo fanatic. Far from it. As someone who lives in an unheated manger near the 90th parallel I can see their appeal. I just feel like you folks in Toronto have gone a bit overboard and not fully considered the impact of condos. For starters, did you ever think about how they might affect Christmas?

Christmas may be a magical time of year but we bringers-of-gifts have to deal with some very practical concerns. Every December 24 we’ve got to hit thousands of cities and millions of homes. And these aren’t leisurely strolls through town either. We’re coming in hot. I am talking five, 600 miles per hour here. This is some real Top Gun stuff and any obstacles are going to slow us down. Heck, we risk life and hoof every time we fly through the cramped skies of the GTA.

Don’t believe me? Last year Donner winged himself on one of those monstrosities down around Lakeshore and suffered a severe lower body injury. He’s still a game-time decision for tonight. We might even have to go with Melvin the Enchanted Soaring Moose in his place. Melvin is a solid bench contributor but he’s coming into this Holiday season hundreds of pounds overweight. It’s not going to be pretty coming around those tight turns in the Financial District.

Not to mention poor, old Santa. Schlepping up and down a high-rise Condo isn’t easy for the big guy. Have you ever tried getting in and out of a highly secure, 500-unit development, while dropping off thousands of presents and not being seen by a single child? Also, you’re 1500 years old, clinically obese and you still insist on wearing that same red woolen costume—the one you never clean for “good luck”—so everyone can practically smell you coming? It’s not an easy proposition, is my point.

But I don’t want you to think I am being selfish here. It’s not only my job I am worried about. It may surprise you to learn that Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer—a native to the icy forests of Finland—is a strong proponent of a vibrant, diverse downtown core, but I am.

Of course I am no expert but I fear that Toronto has jumped the gun by creating all this high-density living without proper consideration to things like varied and affordable housing options, public green spaces and how an already over-burdened transportation system will cope with increasing numbers of condo-dwellers. As the great Jane Jacobs once said, “City plans must fit the people, not the other way round.”

I am sorry, I am digressing a bit here (Santa hates it when I get on my high horse about responsible and well-regulated urban development). I am simply worried Toronto will become so overcrowded that we won’t even be able to maneuver our sleigh come next year. That’s why I am asking the good people of Toronto, in the spirit of Christmas, to please stop building condos. I mean, if you keep on at the pace, you’ll wake up one day to find Mirvish Village transformed into a high-rise development.

Wait, really? They sold it to a condo developer? You’ve got to be kidding me! God, I just hope Blitzen doesn’t find out. My boy would lose it if anything happens to the Beguiling.

Well, I guess I am too late. The condos have triumphed. The skies above Toronto will never be safe for Santa and his sleigh again. But if you happen to get woken up in the middle of the night, when a team of smelly reindeer and a surprisingly profane, bearded man crash through the window of your 38th story bachelor apartment, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Merry Christmas Toronto,

Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer


I almost forgot: last year I dropped my watch somewhere over High Park. It’s a black Seiko. I know it’s a long shot but if you picked it up can you leave it out with Santa with his cookies? You’d be doing me a huge solid. Thanks!