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chicago vs. toronto

bocian

Cyburbian
Messages
212
Points
9
the battle of 2 great flat cities located by 2 great lakes...

i can't choose which one tops the other...

help

argue your case too :)
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
The clear choice for the best city on the Great Lakes is De Noc. If you limit the choice to just Chicago and Toronto, though, I would have to choose Milwaukee.
 

Bangorian

Member
Messages
198
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7
growing up in south central Michigan, roughly equally distant from both cities, I found myself in both places quite a few times - though Chicago many, many more times than Toronto. Perhaps thats relevant, perhaps not. I haven't been to either place in years, though, so my memory may not be exact here, but here's my venture:

I can't quite put my finger on why, but I've always enjoyed visits to Chicago more than Toronto. I have found the streetlife in Chicago to be more lively than in Toronto (Toronto, for some reason feeling more corporate to me than Chicago), In general I like the architecture more, and the lake doesn't feel (to me at least) quite as separated from the city as it does in Toronto (though really the layouts are about the same). The universities in Chicago seem to be closer to its downtown, and the neighborhoods surrounding them are, in my memory at least, quite nice. Lots of pocket parks, which I enjoy immensely.

I've also enjoyed the "L" much more than Toronto's subway - for some reason, the subway in Toronto seemed a little funny to me... But the streetcars in Toronto make up for that.

Toronto, to its credit, has a number wonderful ethnic neighborhoods that I haven't seen in Chicago. Bloor Street (esp. around the University) is fun. The river east of the downtown runs through a pretty impressive gorge (for such flat surroundings), and I seem to remember lots of parkland and bike paths in that area. And Toronto is definitely more dense than Chicago around its outskirts - much like a european city, with newer highrises and apartment blocks throughout the town - definitely a good thing.

I've never lived in either place, which is the true measure of any city, but as for visiting, I've had more fun more times in Chicago.
 

ilikefish0

Cyburbian
Messages
204
Points
9
I'll take Chicago even though being there totally disorients me. Fo some reason, I always think the lake is north, so I never really get anywhere.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
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3,232
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25
Cardinal said:
If you limit the choice to just Chicago and Toronto, though, I would have to choose Milwaukee.
No, you have to chose one of the central cities. Suburbs don't count. ;)
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
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18,705
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69
I've spent considerable time in borth cities. It's a dead heat for me. I'd give the nod to Toronto, but I haven't seen much of Chicago since Daley Jr. took office; I'm told the city can be even cleaner than Toronto in many areas. Racial segregation in Chicago still bothers me, though.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
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25
If you've honestly not seen Chicago since 1992, you'd hardly recognize it today. You saw it just before it started a building boom that is often compared to the boom after the great fire.

And racial segregation getting better too, insomuch as that yuppies will indiscriminatly invade and homoginize any neighborhood, regardless of its residents' race. ;)
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
jordanb said:
If you've honestly not seen Chicago since 1992, you'd hardly recognize it today. You saw it just before it started a building boom that is often compared to the boom after the great fire.

And racial segregation getting better too, insomuch as that yuppies will indiscriminatly invade and homoginize any neighborhood, regardless of its residents' race. ;)
What he said. While I get to Chicago two or three times a year, I doubt if I have been to Toronto since the early 1990's. Chicago has changed an incredible amount since then. Just look at North Michigan Avenue, the Chicago River, the near south side, and the handful of north side neighborhoods I know. Twenty years ago, my grandparents north side (German) neighborhood was starting to go downhill. Now it has become desirable again. A little further east, the gays (most obvious sign of gentrification) have completely taken over the area around Halsted and made it very nice.

Granted, I am not very familiar with Toronto, but I'd choose Chicago.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,917
Points
36
It's tough to be objective. I live in, and work for, the City of Toronto. I haven't been to Chicago for 10 years, and if things have changed as much as JordanB and Cardinal say then it'd be really tough for me to compare. I also didn't get outside the downtown core while I was there, to see the outer city and suburbs.

I remember being really impressed with Chicago's infrastructure and architecture. Chicago was a major city when Toronto was still a provincial backwater, so it definitely has a larger stock of great old buildings, and infrastructure (such as rail lines, rapid transit, etc.). I would definitely give Chicago the edge in this regard.

I think where Toronto comes out ahead is on the "softer" side, it's neighbourhoods, community services, crime, cleanliness - I think Toronto "functions" a little better (at least until recently). Toronto didn't have the same type of racial divide, or for as long, we didn't have political "machines" running the city in the same sense as Chicago. Instead, for most of the 19th and early 20th Century, Toronto was run by a bunch of dour, if civic-minded, Scots and English "elite". Noblesse obligee and all that, what? They laid the groundwork for a City that was clean and efficient, if somewhat boring.

Toronto in the 70's and 80's really came on as "world-class" City - we overtook Montreal as Canada's Largest City, and became somewhat known on the international scene, especially with respect to our multi-cultural diversity. Chicago has been a "known" city for ages.

I don't know much about Chicago's current boom, but Toronto is experiencing something very similar. The new Official Plan envisages adding 1 million new residents over the next 30 years! We just elected a progressive mayor, and new Provincial and Federal leaders are in place who promise a strong urban agenda - hopefully this will assist Toronto overcome its short-term fiscal difficulties.
 
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