What’s sustainable, affordable, and green all over?

A day in the life behind handlebars in Toronto

What’s sustainable, affordable, and  green all over?

Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford once compared cycling in Toronto to swimming with sharks — “Sooner or later, you’re going to get bitten.” As a cyclist, I think he’s right. If you cycle every day in Toronto, eventually you will be cut off, harassed, or made to fear for your life in some way or another.

However, I’ll never be able to accept the conclusion Ford was implying — that roads are meant to be for cars. Right now, cycling in Toronto is dangerous, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be.

Unfortunately, while our municipal leadership has changed, the reality of our streets for cyclists has not. John Tory’s “Vision Zero” promised that pedestrian and cycling deaths would decrease through a focus on improving infrastructure and reducing speed limits. However, since his announcement, the number of cyclists who have been killed or seriously injured has actually increased.

Every morning I leave my house, bike through one of Toronto’s beautiful parks, pass the kids in my neighbourhood walking to school, and say ‘hi’ to my local crossing guards. While enjoying this idyllic part of my commute, I am bracing myself to get on Danforth Avenue. With parking on both sides, intense rush-hour traffic, and no bike lane, the adrenaline rush from this stretch of road wakes me up more than my morning coffee does.

SAMANTHA YAO/THE VARSITY

Although cycling seems to have gained prominence in the past two decades, it’s actually a fixture of Toronto’s history. Today about 29 cyclists take King Street westbound into downtown from 6–6:30 am. In 1895 this number was 395. There’s no reason we couldn’t return to those numbers.

We know we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground. While much of hitting emissions targets will require innovation and creativity, one way of making our commutes release zero emissions has been in front of us all along.

On my bike, I hold my breath, ring my bell so I don’t get doored, and stay extra vigilant until I make it to the Prince Edward Viaduct — the protected bike lane of my dreams. This is a ‘super highway’ that anti-cycling pundits bemoan. While the cars idle on the bridge, the cyclists are constantly in motion. It’s the fastest part of my trip, and also the least stressful; I can just pedal and breathe deeply.

Being protected by posts every few metres, there’s no need to keep my eyes on the cars — but even then, my guard is never fully down. The barriers are more for visibility than actual protection, and I’ve seen them knocked over before — a reminder that drivers don’t always treat them as the protective barriers that they are.

SAMANTHA YAO/THE VARSITY

Still, even with my anxiety always in the background, I wouldn’t want to get to campus any other way. I save $6.50 in subway fare, get daily exercise, and have time to think about the day ahead. When you’re cycling, you can’t tune out your commute with your phone or a book. There’s nothing to do but pedal, think, and literally try not to die.

One day when I got to the viaduct, it was completely filled with climate activists. They cheered on the cyclists as we rode past.

The scene reminded me of a photo I saw of a New York City street that was empty of cars during an event. Someone had commented on how calm this photo looked, that perhaps New York — and therefore, maybe Toronto — isn’t ‘full’ so much as it is full of cars.

That day, as I looked out across the bridge and saw people talking, singing, and walking, it was easy to imagine that once, roads were meant to be like this: for the people.

Suddenly, the protected bike lane spits me out near Castle Frank, with only a solid white line painted on the road to keep motorists and cyclists apart. Worse still, the downtown stretch of my route has only a picture of a bicycle to mark the bike lane. Unsurprisingly, cars and delivery vans treat it as a drop-off point or parking spot, which means that cyclists have to regularly swerve into traffic to avoid colliding with stopped cars.

DINA DONG/THE VARSITY

It’s hard to imagine who benefits from all the chaos on the roads in downtown Toronto. If the constant cacophony of blaring horns and screeching brakes doesn’t make for a good driving experience, then it certainly doesn’t make for a good cycling one.

Pulled up to the red light at Bay Street, a cyclist in front of me once remarked that rush hour impatience was back with a vengeance. Then, with a shrug, she said, “but I love cycling,” and pedaled off when the light turned green.

She was right. After so many days, you become acclimated to the chaos. Unless you get lucky, or live very close to where you work, you’ll probably have to go through a high stress traffic zone if you choose to cycle, which scares a lot of potential cyclists away.

This chaos and risk intimidated me too at first — every close call brought me closer to quitting and getting back on the TTC. Then, at some point this year, cycling became a part of my identity. People don’t say, “I’m a driver” or “I’m a subway rider” with the same spirit that people say, “I’m a cyclist.”

There’s a large and growing accessibility disparity between cyclists, though. From helmets to reflective vests, the market for protective cycling gear is booming. However, to me, cycling should be safe for everyone, not just those who can shell out for the brightest lights or the best windbreakers.

More affluent cyclists, to an extent, have the ability to buy out of some of the dangers that cyclists face. However, the onus should not be on the cyclist to spend extra money to protect themselves.

JOSHUA CHUA/THE VARSITY

We all have the right to get around the city, and, until transit becomes free, cycling remains the most cost-effective option.

While a lack of infrastructure is definitely to blame, with inadequate bike lanes and protective measures, there is also a toxic culture surrounding cycling, as motorists use cars to intimidate and harass cyclists. Getting past the stoplight at Yonge and Bloor, my handlebar tapped a driver’s side mirror. While it wasn’t damaged, the driver cut me off in the middle of the intersection and yelled at me to pull over. When I did, he and his passenger berated me for ‘hitting’ his car.

There’s no real choice in a position like this but to meekly apologize and pedal on, even if you feel like you’ve done nothing wrong. The sheer weight and size difference between our vehicles and his overreaction made me scared. 

And yet, there’s a unique camaraderie between cyclists born out of all of this anxiety. Once when I signalled to turn right off of Danforth Avenue before stopping at a red light, I checked behind me to see if any cars were turning. Another cyclist told me, “Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.”

For every nasty interaction and every potential collision, I’ve also felt a strong sense of community on my daily commute. I hope that as better policy, infrastructure, and traffic law enforcement come to fruition, this community will get bigger. After all, cycling as a group — albeit a group of strangers — feels a lot safer than travelling alone.

DINA DONG/THE VARSITY

U of T not targeted in bomb threats to Ontario colleges, universities

OCAD University, Ryerson University, George Brown College, Humber College are being investigated by Toronto Police.

U of T not targeted in bomb threats to Ontario colleges, universities

Multiple Ontario postsecondary institutions are being investigated by Toronto Police after receiving bomb threats this morning, though U of T was not among the schools. Convocation is continuing as scheduled.

After the first call was made at 8:54 am, OCAD University, Ryerson University, George Brown College, and Humber College all received threats similar in nature, Toronto Police Services report.

The Chang School at Ryerson University, George Brown College, and Humber College all received an all-clear from Toronto Police and have since resumed regular operation. OCAD will remain closed for the day.

Editor’s Note (June 18, 3:40 pm): Article has been updated to reflect the campus statuses of Ryerson University, George Brown College, and Humber College 

New student residence approved by city after years-long negotiations

Compromises include incorporating existing building, opening Roberts Street Playing Field

New student residence approved by city after years-long negotiations

After years of negotiations, the University of Toronto has reached an agreement with the City of Toronto and local neighbourhood groups to allow the construction of a new student residence at Spadina Avenue and Sussex Avenue. The building will provide much-needed housing for 511 students and is expected to be completed in 2021.

The student residence will include ground-floor retail spaces, as well as a dining hall, fitness room, and green roofs.

The approval of this building at 698–706 Spadina Avenue and 54 Sussex Avenue  — first proposed in 2013 — comes after a long negotiation process between U of T and the city, as well local neighbourhood associations, including the Harbord Village Residents’ Association (HVRA). The latter two disagreed with the university over certain aspects of the residence, including its height, mix of students, and heritage considerations. The building that currently hosts Ten Editions bookstore, at 698 Spadina Avenue, was designated a heritage site in February 2017.

After the city rejected the building proposal in October 2017, the university was able to appeal and enter into provincial mediation at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) in an effort to keep the project alive.

In an open letter signed by the HVRA and Councillor Joe Cressy, who represents the ward that U of T and the proposed residence are in, they wrote that U of T being able to enter into provincial mediation was “a fundamental flaw in our planning process… which prevented local communities and the City from guiding decisions on development.”

HVRA Board Member Carolee Orme told The Varsity that “although U of T is generally a good neighbour… our residents made clear that they do not want to become part of the campus and want to be able to determine our own future development.”

“U of T appeared to have difficulty understanding the neighbours’ point of view and showed little interest in substantial compromise prior to mediation.”

U of T Vice-President University Operations Scott Mabury said in an interview with The Varsity that “it was the lack of progress and actually getting agreements in place either from the city or the community that caused [U of T] to appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board, which was ultimately the resolution of this [conflict].”

Mabury said that “the most substantive part of the conversation over the five years” was whether U of T needed a student residence, which is necessary, according to Mabury. This is in accordance with a housing report done by the university in 2017 that found that U of T will need 2,300 new beds by 2020 to keep up with housing demand.

He added that students and student leaders who spoke at public meetings in favour of the student residence were “very powerful and frankly influential in moving the conversation to more productive places.”

The final terms of settlement, released on August 8, came five years after the initial proposal for the building. Mabury’s biggest criticism of the process was its length, saying that “it’s not just my view that it took too long… I think everybody agreed and said to me, ‘This took too long.’”

Compromises on the building

As per the terms of settlement, the height of the building has been reduced from 82.7 metres to 75.05 metres and the number of beds has been reduced from 549 to 511. The student residence will also incorporate the existing building at 698 Spadina Avenue, which was at the centre of a heritage designation dispute that was one of the causes of the long negotiations process.

The settlement also states that the university will attempt to limit the number of first-year students allowed in the residence to 60 per cent. The remaining 40 per cent will be upper-year and graduate students.

U of T has also agreed to renovate the Robert Street Playing Field, located directly west of the proposed residence, and open it to the public. The field is listed as an outdoor complex by the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education and includes an ice rink and tennis courts, which have fallen into disrepair in recent years. The Varsity reported in November 2017 that the ice rink was being used as storage for garbage cans.

In addition to the 23-storey student residence, U of T will also add several townhouses surrounding the tower, which the university says are intended for faculty.

The Varsity has reached out to Cressy for comment.

U of T to enter provincial mediation over building plans at Spadina and Sussex

Mediation to consider community concerns about proposed student residence

U of T to enter provincial mediation over building plans at Spadina and Sussex

U of T succeeded in getting provincial mediation in an attempt to settle an agreement over the buildings on the corner of Spadina Avenue and Sussex Avenue. A Pre-hearing Conference (PHC) on February 16 followed the January decision to go into mediation.

The February PHC set dates for a follow-up conference, which is to occur in September 2018. In the meantime, mediation with the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) is set for March 1 and 2, with the actual hearing expected to be scheduled for some time in 2019.

Sue Dexter, U of T Liaison for the Harbord Village Residents’ Association, said that a settlement reached during mediation would make the follow-up PHC in September redundant. However, Dexter added that this would “require agreement on serious issues among multiple parties.”

In addition, one of the buildings on the site is subject to its own review by the Conservation Review Board, as the city has made the building a heritage site.

The corner lot has been considered by the university for years as a site where they hope to construct a new residential building for students. Since the university’s proposed plans for the building became public, there has been resistance from City Council, some community members, and neighbourhood associations in the surrounding area.

Provincial mediation was agreed upon by all groups, as concerns held by the surrounding community could be addressed on a more individual basis. Noise and safety issues, the density, height and scale of the building, and the effect of the construction on the area’s “green space” are among the concerns that both sides of the mediation hope to address with the help of the OMB.

Ceta Ramkhalawansingh of the Grange Community Association, another party recognized by the OMB on this issue, hopes that the mediation will result in the university responding “positively to the issues that have been identified and [making] changes to their proposal.”

Charles Street West may turn two-way, input being solicited by city

Campus cohesiveness, dangerous traffic, accessibility among concerns at Victoria University

Charles Street West may turn two-way, input being solicited by city

Toronto City Council is in the process of soliciting feedback from Victoria University and the Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council (VUSAC) about the possibility of converting Charles Street West into a two-way street.

The proposal aims to alleviate additional traffic resulting from new developments in the area, according to Toronto Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam.

Charles Street West, which currently runs one-way right through the heart of Victoria University, is, in its present state, fundamental to the “cohesiveness” of Victoria’s piece of campus, wrote VUSAC President Zahavah Kay in an email to The Varsity.

“Vic students cross Charles Street regularly, every day, multiple times a day,” said Kay. “You have to cross Charles Street… if you want to eat, and print something and go to class: you’re crossing Charles Street dozens of times a day.”

According to Kay, Charles Street West’s transformation into a two-way street, with increased traffic, would threaten the safety of students who hustle daily from residence to the dining halls to Vic administration offices. She noted that the street “literally divides Vic in half.” There are two residences and a student centre on one side of the street, with two residences and a dining hall on the other side.

Kay also voiced her concerns about parking and accessibility if Charles Street West stopped being one-way, and said that the “pedestrian campus feel” — with more benches and places to study — would be at stake if the proposed change saw the light of day.

Wong-Tam told The Varsity that the city is soliciting advice from the Vic community because they “want to make sure that there’s some predictability, with respect to pedestrian and cycling movement. So one thing that we’re doing is trying to get a sense of what the community wants.” In addition, “Transportation Service staff are prepared to consider [the change], but we need to know whether or not there is broader community support.”

The Bursar of Victoria University, Ray deSouza, wrote in statement to The Varsity that “no decisions have been made. Feedback is currently been solicited from all stakeholders. Wong-Tam has invited us to a meeting to discuss this issue. We are grateful to the councillor for this opportunity.”

Kay plans to accept the councillor’s invitation as well. “It’s not a set in stone plan, it’s very much a discussion right now,” Kay wrote. “We’re going to get to talk with them about what Charles Street means to the Vic community as it is right now, hear a little bit more about their feasibility report and then just go from there.”

Noble goals with limited scope

Proposed bylaw changes for fraternities and sororities will not effectively address concerns about noise or waste management

Noble goals with limited scope

Earlier this year, backed by a number of community residents’ associations, Councillor Joe Cressy called for fraternity and sorority houses in the City of Toronto to be regulated as multi-tenant properties. This would mean that fraternity and sorority houses, including those on U of T’s campus, would need a license to operate, a move that requires adherence to city codes and bylaws.

Cressy believes that this change will help fraternities and sororities become better neighbours. However, while changes to regulation may resolve concerns about health and safety, it will take more to lessen the negative impact fraternity and sorority houses may have on the neighbourhood at large.

Being designated as a multi-tenant property would force frat and sorority houses to abide by health and safety requirements, including property bylaws about waste disposal and the regulations outlined in the Ontario Fire Code. To maintain their housing license, fraternities and sororities would be required to pass an annual inspection by Toronto Fire Services and Municipal Licensing and Standards. Any violations would result in a financial penalty.

Currently, there is no way for the city to ensure the safety of those living and frequenting these buildings. Licensing would allow the city to make sure that students do not suffer the consequences of poor building maintenance. Although serious fires or building accidents have yet to be reported, we shouldn’t wait for these incidents to go viral before doing anything to prevent them.

At the same time, though a multi-tenant housing license might be helpful for improving property maintenance, it won’t do much to address issues on noise and waste, which are a major source of complaints from other residents. Out of the 16 known frats and sororities on campus, there have been a total of 20 noise investigations related to their properties within the last two years. Coupled with 27 investigations about waste over the same period, it’s a total of 47 city investigations since 2015. Only 14 of all investigations have resulted in orders to comply by the city.

Unfortunately, the changes being proposed do not address issues outside of property maintenance, meaning a multi-tenant housing license won’t spur fraternities and sororities to more effectively govern their behaviour in these cases.

There is also a case to be made that bylaws are an ineffective way of governing behaviour in the first place. According to its recent review on multi-tenant housing, the city believes that existing bylaws are “sufficiently” effective. Recent data on the frequency of complaints against fraternity and sorority houses — and their lackluster resolutions — shows otherwise.

As of late, one fraternity house at 157 St. George Street has had 14 noise and waste investigations in the past two years, with two happening on consecutive days this September. Another house at 152 St. George Streethas had nine investigations, and a third house at 180 St. George Street has had eight. This assortment of complaints and investigations have only brought forth eight notices to comply.

Statements from residents also reflect concerns about enforcing long-term regulations. As community resident David Sterns wrote in a letter to Mayor John Tory, “Toronto fraternities successfully defeated an attempt to remove their rooming house by-law exemption in 2011 by stating their desire to work with neighbours… As soon as the threat of regulation ended, any talk of working with neighbours ended and things quickly went back to the way they were.”

Certainly, this isn’t reflective of all fraternities and sororities on campus, many of which comply with regulations. However, it appears the current system for dealing with noise and waste concerns is ineffective in a number of cases, as the high frequency of complaints has persisted.

The power of orders to comply from the city is not a strong enough deterrent for noisy and messy behaviour. Any improvement in the way the city handles these complaints won’t come solely from a housing license.

The city, community, and students will have to work together to resolve the issues that the proposed regulations cannot fix on their own. For starters, the city should not rely on self-governance on the part of fraternities and sororities; consistent community inspections on the part of bylaw officers, as well as prompt and efficient city responses to noise or waste complaints, are necessary. Moreover, a strike system could be imposed, in which houses with three or more notices by the city will have to face severe financial penalties. These changes will help ensure that students are really cleaning up their act.

Multi-tenant licensing is certainly a good start but the issues at stake are multifaceted, and it will take more than a single solution to resolve them.

Andrea Tambunan is a first-year student at University College studying Life Sciences.

U of T needs 2,300 new beds by 2020 to meet housing demand, says housing report

Housing expansion projects met with opposition by City of Toronto

U of T needs 2,300 new beds by 2020 to meet housing demand, says housing report

Almost 2,300 additional beds will be needed by 2020 to reach the increased demand for student housing at UTSG, according to a housing issues report published in support of an amendment to the St. George Secondary Plan.

A residence demand analysis attached to the report claims 908 new residence spaces will have to be created to meet demand for first-year undergraduate students in three years’ time. 

In addition, over 1,100 new beds are required to meet the university’s goal of having 40 per cent upper-year students living on campus; about 200 spaces will be needed to accommodate graduate and second-entry students. If implemented, these additions would bring the housing capacity to 8,767 beds in 2020 compared to the 6,478 spots currently available. 

In the 2016–2017 academic year, U of T had approximately 66,599 students, 11 per cent of whom were living on campus. 

In order to satisfy the near-term housing demand, the university plans to build new residences around campus, specifically at Spadina Avenue and Sussex Avenue and in the Huron-Sussex neighborhood. 

The proposed Spadina-Sussex building, which is set to provide 547 new beds for both graduate and undergraduate students, will be a 23-storey student residence that will include office and retail spaces. It will also include the development of a three-storey townhouse to accommodate faculty and graduate student families. This project is a partnership between U of T, which owns 54 Sussex Avenue and 702–706 Spadina, and The Daniels Corporation, which owns the land at 698–700 Spadina.

The planned construction projects in the Huron-Sussex neighborhood are aimed mainly at housing graduate students. An eight-storey, 180-bed residence adjacent to the Graduate House is proposed to be built along 44–56 Harbord Street and will include a ground floor retail space and café. Other possible developments include 40–50 new laneway houses to be made available to graduate student families and two mid-rise buildings on Spadina, which will collectively house 520–620 new students. 

The report also states that among the locations currently being scouted for future developments is the corner of Bloor Street and Spadina, which would include housing for students, student families, new faculty, visiting faculty, and senior level staff.   

U of T says ‘yes,’ city says ‘no’

U of T’s new housing plans, especially the Spadina-Sussex residence, have been met with considerable resistance from the City of Toronto and the community. After four years of negotiations, U of T is seeking aid from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), which will mediate between the university, the city, and community members, including the Harbord Village Residents Association, according to Elizabeth Burke, U of T’s Director of Campus and Facilities Planning. 

“We’re still waiting on the board to review the case to see if it’s eligible for mediation,” Burke told The Varsity. “The city is definitely on board with pursuing that path with us and once such mediation is agreed to then it’s the question of setting a date for the mediation, and this will be between the community members as well as the city and the university.” Burke also stated that the university is not pressing for an OMB hearing but to negotiate a settlement with the board’s help.

In an August 2017 report, city staff states that the proposed development at Spadina and Sussex violates the 2014 Provincial Policy Statement, as “the proposed development is not a level of intensification that is appropriate when taking into account the existing building stock and area.”

The city also claims in the report that the project does not comply with the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, as it does not conserve cultural heritage resources in strategic growth areas. This refers specifically to 698 Spadina, currently the Ten Editions bookstore, which was designated as a heritage site by the Toronto and East York Community City Council (TEYCC) in late February because “the building has design value as an example of a late 19th century corner-store building type designed with a high degree of craftsmanship in the late Victorian style,” according to a report from the Chief Planner and Executive Director’s Office. 

The city staff report concludes that the proposed development is “not appropriate for its context as it is too tall, too bulky, and does not provide appropriate tower setbacks” and “in its current form it is not good planning or in the public interest.”

In addition, the TEYCC sent a series of recommendations to City Council in September regarding the project. These included the suggestion of continuing to negotiate with the university to address issues such as appropriate heights and massing for the development site, as well as to participate in formal mediation with the OMB. The council also recommended that the city hold off on making a decision regarding an application to demolish six existing rental dwelling units at 698 and 700 Spadina until a decision is reached by the OMB. 

Joe Cressy, Councillor for Ward 20, where the proposed residence at Spadina and Sussex would be located, did not respond to The Varsity’s request for comment. 

Students are residents, too

When discussing municipal issues that affect residents and the community, students should be included in the dialogue

Students are residents, too

An ‘us-versus-them’ mentality remains pervasive in discussions about city development projects. As reflected in the actions of some neighbourhood associations and city councillors, the relationship between residents and university students appears to be one of tension. At times, their interests are constructed as mutually exclusive.

Despite this dynamic, U of T and its students have been around longer than the residential neighbourhoods that surround them. Many students call neighbourhoods like the Annex and Harbord Village home and are integral citizens of these communities. City planners and councillors need to consider the interests of student residents when making planning decisions that affect them. Likewise, more students should take an active role in making it clear what their interests are.

In the latest chapter in student-city relations, Ward 20 Councillor Joe Cressy, heads of the Annex Residents’ Association, the Bay Cloverhill Community Association, the Grange Community Association, the Harbord Village Residents’ Association, and the Huron Sussex Residents’ Organization are all pushing to get the City of Toronto to remove the licensing exemption that lets fraternity and sorority houses operate without having to be licensed as multi-tenant residences.

It is true that students involved in Greek life need to be good neighbours, and complaints of poor property management, noise, and sexual assaults should be addressed. However, the proposal that Cressy and the residents’ associations have put forward would only affect property regulations and would do nothing to address behavioural complaints. Ultimately, whatever regulations that come about should be developed in consultation with U of T students: Greek and non-Greek.

Removing the exemption fraternities and sororities currently operate under could also affect student co-operative housing. Like Greek houses, student co-ops are also exempt from multi-tenant residence licensing and play a vital role in a city where affordable housing is scarce.

The lack of affordable housing around campus, despite its growing student population, has prompted U of T to pursue the construction of new residences throughout the years. Many of these projects have been met with opposition from residents’ associations in the spirit of ‘Nimbyism.’

Based on the acronym for ‘not in my backyard,’ Nimbyism often spurs residents to condemn development projects scheduled to take place near where they live, even if the changes being proposed would benefit the community as a whole.

Back in 2012 and 2013, various residents’ associations opposed the construction of the 24-storey Campus One residence at College and Spadina. Concerns were raised that the building would cast large shadows and that it wouldn’t fit in with the style of the rest of the neighbourhood.

Most recently, U of T proposed a student residence on the corner of Spadina Avenue and Sussex Avenue. The Harbord Village Residents’ Association opposed this project, as it would result in the demolition of a building that has been around since 1885. The case will be heard by the Ontario Municipal Board; taking feedback from consultation into consideration, City of Toronto staff is siding with the residents’ association.

One might think students should play an active role in voicing their opinions on campus projects. Yet at public consultation meetings and City Hall deputations where these issues are discussed, it is rare to see anyone under the age of 30, with the exception of the occasional University of Toronto Students’ Union executive.

In the past, good things have come about when students worked in tandem with the city and with residents’ associations. Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, residents’ associations and student activists were successful in lobbying the provincial government to stop the construction of the Spadina Expressway. Had the proposed highway been built, it would have extended from today’s Allen Road to the northwest corner of the St. George campus. The province would have had to tear down Casa Loma, some campus buildings, and large portions of the Annex. To this effect, students took part in demonstrations and participated in deputations.

Today, students are too often sidelined from the conversation when it comes to municipal issues. City planners and councillors need to understand that students are members of the communities in question, and therefore that they should listen to students’ opinions on matters that affect the areas around campus.

In addition, more students should take an active role in lobbying for the issues they care about. This is ultimately our community: we all study on campus, and many of us live and work in the surrounding areas. Voicing concerns at consultation meetings or contacting city councillors will help ensure students play a role in shaping Toronto’s development — preferably before the pylons come out.