Randy McDonald (rfmcdpei) wrote,
Randy McDonald

[URBAN NOTE] Three maps, two Torontos, one election

Torontoist presented a remarkable map showing how Torontonians voted.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Ford-supporting wards are in blue, Smitherman-supporting ones in purple.

What does this mean? Back in March, I posted two maps of Toronto’s internal divisions. The first was a Patrick Cain map--5 Janaury 2010's "Map of the Week: Commuter cycling by census tract"--showing which neighbourhoods of Toronto are home to people who commute regularly via bicycle and which are not, and, in so doing, shows why biking isn't big across Toronto and why there are so many disputes within Toronto as to the use of biking. The areas coloured dark blue in the area of the Cain's map of Toronto bike commuting are all but one of the areas where 10-12% of the resident population commutes via bicycle, and are themselves surrounded by most of the other bicycle-happy districts of the city.

Excerpt from "Map of the Week: Commuter cycling by census tract"

The second map, originally from here, created by Wikipedia's Lencer and edited by Simon P, showing the municipal boundaries of the various communities federated in Metropolitan Toronto (1954-1998) before these communities' amalgamation into a single megacity.

Metropolitan Toronto Map, from Wikipedia

See a correlation?

blogTO noted that the electoral vote reflected. long-standing electoral patterns where left-wing candidates take the center of the city always and the south more generally, and the right-wing takes the suburbs. It also reflects long-standing cultural differences, too.

A map at the bottom of the Torontoist post linked to above shows the relative strength of the two lead candidates. Even on this map, the contrast remains as sharp as ever. The gaps in most wards between Ford and Smitherman was huge. Patrick Cain has more maps at his website showing the Toronto election in greater detail.

What does this mean? Kelly McParland at the National Post had an interesting idea.

In essence, Toronto is two cities that don’t like one another much but have been forced to cohabitate. And who performed the ceremony? Yes, Mike Harris.

It was the former Ontario premier, who didn’t like Toronto much and decided it would work better if there was just one big city to dislike, instead of a bunch of smaller ones. He also suggested costs would be cut by reducing overlap.

Well, the cost thing definitely hasn’t worked: Toronto spends more money than ever, has more employees and provides crappier services. On that basis, you could argue amalgamation has been a disaster.

On the other hand, maybe Harris was more devious than we give him, credit for. Who’s the mayor now? A right-winger from the suburbs. i.e. just the sort of guy Mike Harris could get along with just fine.

Could she be right, I wonder?
Tags: biking, democracy, history, maps, neighbourhoods, ontario, politics, toronto
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