I used to hate condos with a passion and regularly ranted about the perils of gentrification, but I'm starting to realize that my rage has been replaced.
I've more recently decided that NIMBYism is a much worse threat to our city, even when outraged property owners are going after the cheese-ball pseudo-artsy condo developments I love to hate.
Why? Because some of these same people also hate methadone clinics, bars, basketball courts, city-appropriate density, wind turbines and most offensively to me, affordable housing.
I was fortunate enough to spend much of my youth in subsidized housing, living in genuinely mixed-income neighbourhoods. I am eternally thankful for the opportunities that experience provided me.
Increasingly, though, Toronto is being divided sharply between haves and have-nots, with the latter isolated and segregated from the former. Complaining about condos feels like a laughable sideshow compared to the real housing issues facing Toronto.
Sure, it's been surreal to see artists forced out of repurposed warehouses so that buildings can be demolished and replaced with half-assed impressions of "lofts" and then sold to people who long to be part of the creative community they've displaced.
But the hipsters who've had to abandon their once-affordable live/work spaces were, at one point years earlier, also invaders who changed the nature of the area. We all participate in this cycle.
Property-owning NIMBYs claim to be protecting delicate neighbourhoods, but really they're just trying to freeze fluidly changing areas at a point that suits them personally.
Say what you will about big retail stores, but the tenant living in the basement apartment of a nice house is probably better served by a large grocery store within walking distance than yet another fancy restaurant or high-end clothing boutique.
If those railing against towers really cared about making Toronto a liveable vibrant city for everyone, they should focus their anger on the lack of affordable housing. With a waiting list of 70,000 households, the backlog is beyond shameful. You can easily wait more than a decade for an affordable home.
It's hard to lift yourself out of poverty when you're spending all your time and energy worrying about keeping a roof above your head.