What is Toronto, exactly?
Is it Canada's business city? Is it a regional capital of North America, like Chicago or Houston or Mexico City? Or is it a lovely, clean metropolis bursting with smile-inducing neighborhoods?
Monocle editor-in-chief Tyler Brûlé writes in the Financial Times this week that his hometown needs to pick a direction and stick with it.
Stuck between the American habits of its neighbor to the south and the more Euro-centric tendencies it harbors as a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Toronto must embrace its diverse mix of small, independent shops and large, multinational corporations by moving them forward, together, in a complementary direction.
Toronto is wrestling with its role in the world. Should it continue to look south because it will continue to offer endless opportunity for the foreseeable future? Or should it bank on Asia and Latin America while keeping in with its relatives in Europe? And what should it do with the results of all the poor urban planning? Does it knock down ugly towers and bury the raised motorway that gouges through the city?
It starts with investment, integrated development and a clear vision for the future -- no more mediocrity, he argues.
"The city's challenge," Brûlé writes, "is to move from a position of fulfilling the basics to fostering a culture of excellence."
Photo: David Warrington/Flickr