The 6ix for the Rich

Santessa Henriques
Sep 12, 2020 · 4 min read

By: Jessica Yuan, 2020–2021 Director of Technology of 1UP Toronto

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Don Mills Station

Today, forming a new and stable life has become a less and less likely reality for those who are planning to stay in the City of Toronto. With rising commute times due to inconvenient housing locations, more Canadians are planning to move outside of the six boroughs.

Before grade 9, I had a job at a burger restaurant that I depended on the TTC for transportation to and from work. I live in the northern area of Scarborough, while my work was near the Beaches. Every week, I had limited time for school work in order to focus on arriving on time for my shift at my former part-time job. Long hours of commuting is no surprise for all citizens of the city of Toronto, but people who rely on public transportation to provide for their families are affected the most.

While speaking to my peers, they asked a great question: “Would you rather commute two hours to your dream job or live two minutes from a mediocre job?” Of course, if it was my future dream job I wouldn’t mind the two-hour commute at all, but the two-minute commute seemed like a great opportunity to focus on your personal life rather than the work life.

In 2019, the Toronto commute was considered the worst in all of North America.

However, a two-hour commute to a mediocre job is a widespread reality for Torontonians. I’d be happy to take public transit for any length of time on a special day to meet a friend, but doing it every day can take a toll on your body, physically and mentally. According to these studies, prolonged transit times can lead to high blood pressure, joint pain, being late, and absent for work, topped off with a more likely chance of work resentment.

Being able to afford to access the Toronto subway system is also a rising concern. The cost of taking public transport in the city has been increasing at twice the rate of inflation, making it harder and harder for frequent commuters to rely on and afford.

Fortunately, when the Eglinton Crosstown line construction is complete, Toronto will be looking at shortened commute times and make public transit more accessible north of Downtown Toronto.

While it would be amazing to have a job that you happened to live nearby, the housing prices in Toronto are another story if you’re planning to move for work. Aside from rising TTC fare prices, we can’t forget about the rising home costs.

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Average Toronto Housing Prices from 1976 to 2018

When businesses no longer need as many employees during this time, people look for another job to support their lives. The factor that you always take into consideration for a job is your location. When people find a new workplace, they are also looking for a new place to settle in the city.

This is one of the many reasons why despite a pandemic, the June housing prices increased around 12% compared with June 2019.

While banks and the Federal Government are busy tackling the soaring demand, they aren’t particularly paying attention to the supply of houses in Toronto. The slow construction movement in the entire city doesn’t help. So when families need affordable housing they move north of Steeles, or even north of Major Mackenzie. This housing idea comes back to the commute problem. By finding a more affordable home to live in, the further away you are from the job opportunities that are in downtown Toronto.

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City of Toronto Average Individual Income in 2012

While looking for a new home in Toronto, one would want a safe place to live and go out at night while feeling a sense of security. In the picture shown, the dark red areas are the places where the homeowners’ incomes are low, and the housing prices are also low. The stigma around these places is heavy, heavy enough to scare away future homebuyers. On the other hand, we have the blue areas following the TTC’s Line 1, where the individual income is high and known for being “safer” because of the rich population.

From overseas influence in the city, Toronto’s reputation has definitely been rising globally. Making a home for foreign citizens seems like a better and better idea for their family and their children each year. It seems like an amazing future in Canada, but Toronto’s Gen Z population will have a hard time finding a different place to settle in other than their mom’s basement. These numbers for average condo and house prices are shocking, but familiar.

According to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, the average selling price of a condo in the city reached almost $675,000 in May 2020, while a detached home came in at more than $1.4 million. There is no place to call a permanent home in Toronto — but maybe set your sights in Guelph, Aurora, Mississauga, and our bordering city, Markham.

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