An Address by FREDERICK G. GARDINER, Q.C.
Chairman of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto
Thursday, November 5th, 1953
CHAIRMAN: The President, Mr. A. E. M. Inwood.
MR. INWOOD: Instead of introducing our well-known guest speaker, it might be more fitting if I were to simply present him to you, for his name has indeed become a household name in our great Metropolitan City. Mr. Frederick G. Gardiner is a man intent upon his objective which is to serve our community during the difficult months and years to come.
When we read our newspapers, we realize that there are many seemingly insurmountable problems ahead of him in bringing together under one family roof the various local councils into a smooth running overall administration for the common good of the Toronto area.
Let us ask ourselves the following question--do we need, and are we to have, numerous local police forces, transportation systems, water and miscellaneous services--all with their own costly duplicate administrations and lack of proper overall co-ordination?
Because people are people and were reluctant to make the decision to amalgamate these public services, it was inevitable that a higher authority be appointed to act as an impartial referee. So today, we have had such action taken by our provincial government in their wisdom and we are fortunate that Mr. Gardiner was available to accept the appointment as our "Super Mayor" as he is affectionately known.
To assess the gigantic task ahead of him, I suggest for your consideration that Toronto in the foreseeable future is, or should be--outside of London England itself--the most considerable city in the whole of the Commonwealth of Nations! Accordingly, I also suggest to you that you view Toronto as a great Metropolitan centre, not in the eyes of Canadians only, not in the eyes of the inhabitants of this continent only, but in the eyes of the entire civilized world. To fulfill our destiny as such, we must now have greater unity in our local civic affairs and I think you will agree, that today we have with us the man who will bring this about.
Mr. Frederick G. Gardiner, Queen's Counsel, is a graduate in political science from the University of Toronto with the Alexander McKenzie scholarship. He served overseas during World War I with the famous Canadian Mounted Rifles and the Royal Flying Corps. Following the war, he graduated from Osgoode Hall with the Law Society's gold medal.
He served as Reeve of the village of Forest Hill for 12 years and was Warden of the County of York in 1946. He is honourary president of the Children's Aid Society of York County and honourary president of The Society for Crippled Civilians.
He has been chairman of Toronto and York Planning Board for the last five years and has now assumed the chairmanship of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.
It is indeed an honour and pleasure to welcome you here today, Sir, to talk to us about "Metropolitan Toronto".
MR. GARDINER: Before making some observations upon the unique experiment which is involved in the establishment of Metropolitan Toronto I think we should recognize that the expansion which is taking place in this area is indicative of the tremendous industrial and commercial development which is going on in all parts of Canada. We Canadians are living in the finest and most prosperous country in the world today.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier who was prime minister of Canada at the turn of the century stated that the twentieth century belonged to Canada. There were many who considered his statement as the catch word of a politician rather than the considered opinion of an eminent statesman. There were times when Laurier's statement seemed unlikely of accomplishment. Canada's development was arrested by World War I. Again, by the economic depression of the 1930's which almost shattered the foundations of our economic system, and again by World War II. But today we see convincing evidence that Laurier's prophetic statement is being realized.
We have tremendous forest and water power resources in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. Our Prairie provinces constitute one of the most important breadbaskets in the world. Canada is the number one producer of pulp and paper. Oil has been discovered in Alberta and in Saskatchewan and lead, zinc and uranium in many places across the nation. We have the largest nickel mine in the world. New iron mines have been discovered at Steep Rock and in Labrador, and an unprecedented construction of factories is proceeding over a thousand-mile waterfront from Windsor to Montreal and Quebec.
Nothing has equalled our present expansion except that which occured in the United States during and since World War II. Their amazing growth, however, was accomplished by 150 million people as compared with our 15 million, all of which could be comfortably accommodated in the single state of New York.
Not only has the economic and financial development of the United States and Canada followed a similar pattern, but our forms of government have also. The federal government in each case is responsible for the administration of those matters which can be best administered on a national basis. Their state and our provincial governments are charged with those matters which can be best administered on a state or provincial basis. The creation and regulation of municipalities is within the jurisdiction of their states and our provinces.
In the province of Ontario legislation affecting municipalities is contained in The Municipal Act, commonly referred to as The Baldwin Act. It was originally passed in 1849 and its fundamental principles have not been changed in over one hundred years.
All of this leads me to a discussion of the reasons for the creation of Metropolitan Toronto.
The problems which demanded a solution in Toronto are the same as those which confronted every metropolitan city. Every city on the North American continent with a population of over a quarter of a million is experiencing the same difficulties which necessitated remedial action by the province of Ontario in respect of Greater Toronto.
During the first Great War all industrial cities on this continent experienced a tremendous influx of people as North America became the arsenal of democracy. What happened in the first Great War was magnified many times during the second war. In Canada, Toronto, Montreal, Windsor, Winnipeg and Vancouver are typical examples. In the United States the same conditions occurred in Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit and many other large industrial cities. It was expected that the end of the war would be followed by an exodus which never occurred--instead the increase in population was accelerated. As the central cities became filled the population spilled over the borders and created a whole series of satelite or suburban municipalities.
The establishment of suburban municipalities in the Toronto area in the original instance was the result of an unfortunate decision made by our city fathers in 1912 that there would be no more annexations. The Town of East Toronto was annexed in 1909, the Town of West Toronto in 1910 and the Town of North Toronto in 1912. These three major annexations took place in the short period of three years and gave rise to administrative difficulties. The City government contended that after each annexation the City taxpayer paid $2 for each $1 paid by the taxpayer in the annexed area to bring the municipal services in the annexed area up to the standard which prevailed in the City. The decision that there should be no more annexations was as final as it was unfortunate. It failed to recognize that time marches on and that you cannot stand in the way of progress.
Bordering the City were three large townships. As the parts of these townships adjoining the City became urbanized they should have been annexed by the City in a normal and natural way to provide for an orderly and normal expansion of the City.
The suburban areas desiring a different form of municipal administration to that which was provided in otherwise largely agricultural townships proceeded to establish themselves into individual locally autonomous municipalities so that they could develop their communities in accordance with their local aspirations.
Over the forty years from 1912 to 1952 the metropolitan area became divided into thirteen separate municipalities composed of one city, three villages, four towns and five urbanized townships. Each was geared to a local pattern of development. None was very much concerned about what was happening to its neighbour and none was interested in the general and proper development of the whole area. With this impractical and unrealistic development something was bound to happen and it did not take it long to occur.
The City of Toronto provided itself with an adequate water supply for its own residents and for a time was able to supply water to some of the adjoining suburban municipalities. Before long, however, the City did not have the capacity to provide water for itself as well as its satelite municipalities. Several of the municipalities could not get access to Lake Ontario which is their logical source of water. Several attempted to provide water for their increasing population from wells which soon proved wholly inadequate.
In one municipality, North York, the population increased from less than 30,000 in 1945 to over 100,000 in 1953. It is what we call a dormitory municipality: the residents go there to live and elsewhere to work. It developed into a residential area for people of moderate means. In the absence of industrial development, there was not sufficient assessment to provide within a reasonable tax rate water supply, sewage disposal, roads, sidewalks, lights and educational facilities for the children of the young families who settled within its boundaries. The situation was duplicated in a lesser degree in other suburban municipalities.
The situation with respect to sewage disposal was the same. Lake Ontario is the logical place for the ultimate disposal of sewage. Half a dozen municipalities were cut off from access to the lake by the City of Toronto. For a while the sewage disposal facilities in Toronto were sufficient to accommodate the adjoining municipalities but soon the volume of sewage exceeded the capacity of the City's system. In North York, there are over 15,000 septic tanks built in clay which has neither the qualities of absorption nor evaporation. No comment is necessary with respect to the unsatisfactory nature of that condition.
Some municipalities were able to finance the services which their residential development required, others were not. The issuance of building permits were stopped or held up on account of the inability of some municipalities to provide the services required.
One municipality boasted that it had the finest educational system in Canada. Others were unable to provide their children with a minimum standard of education except with the utmost financial difficulty.
Nothing approaching a system of arterial highways accompanied this tremendous development. This was because no agreement could be arrived at on a cooperative basis between the thirteen municipalities as to where the arterial highways should go and how they would be paid for. All agreed that expressways and parkways were necessary so long as they ran through some other municipality and someone else paid for them.
The Toronto and York planning board, of which I was chairman for five years lined its walls with plans for the development of the whole area. We knew what needed to be done but in the absence of power to tax the constituent municipalities and to take expropriation proceedings, none of the essential works could be undertaken.
The situation became desperate. Our highways became plugged with motor vehicles. 300,000 motor vehicles are domiciled in the area and an additional 100,000 come in and go out each day.
There was a crying need for housing. The city had no room for a housing development program and the suburbs could not finance the necessary services.
Maps, plans and theoretical discussions accomplished nothing. We had to be driven by intolerable inconvenience and the threat of financial difficulty before steps were taken to solve our problems. When some of our municipalities had difficulty in selling their bonds it was evident that a major operation was necessary.
The Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act, 1953 was the culmination of nearly three years of discussions, hearings and studies by the Ontario Municipal Board and eight months of intensive research and consideration by a committee of the provincial government. The hearings before the Ontario Municipal Board were the result of an application by the City of Toronto for an order directing the amalgamation of the whole thirteen municipalities into one municipal corporation. That application was met with the same violent and vitriolic opposition from some of the suburban municipalities as similar attempts to establish comprehensive plans have met in the United States and elsewhere.
Eleven of the twelve suburban municipalities righteously and indignantly defended their local autonomy. In the face of such violent opposition the Ontario Municipal Board concluded that is was not advisable arbitrarily to force the eleven opposing municipalities into one amalgamated municipality. On the other hand it recognized that the dangers inherent in the situation required early and effective action and recommended that the Province of Ontario pass legislation to establish a metropolitan system of municipal government for the whole area.
By reason of the comprehensive nature--of the municipal services which will be administered by the metropolitan corporation, The Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act established a plan which is unique in North America.
The closest approximation is the London County Council in England which is composed of 150 members from 28 boroughs and provides metropolitan services for 3 1/2 million people.
In the United States, special districts or authorities exist in many metropolitan areas for the provision of certain services. In Montreal, Vancouver and Winnipeg one or more of such services as water supply, sewage disposal, police and fire protection are provided on a unified basis. Attempts to establish more comprehensive plans in Boston, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Miami have failed to overcome the entrenched hostility of the local municipalities.
The City of Toronto and its suburbs are actually part of one well-defined area. They are inextricably knit together. They are threatened by the same dangers and are strengthened by the same benefits. For forty years they have attacked their mutual problems in thirteen different ways with no sound overall plan for the provision of those services which are metropolitan in nature on a metropolitan basis.
The Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act establishes a system whereby the thirteen municipalities may preserve their identity and continue to administer those services which are local in nature and at the same time combine together for the provision of those services which are metropolitan in nature.
The situation on the municipal level is similar to that which prevailed in 1867 when confederation occurred and the British North America Act gave the Dominion jurisdiction and control over those services which have a national significance and preserved for the provinces jurisdiction and control over those services which have a more local application.
By the establishment of an additional level of metropolitan government for the provision of those municipal services which are metropolitan in nature. The way is left open for eventual amalgamation of the constituent municipalities if that is considered to be the best course to follow. On the other hand if this new metropolitan form of government operates successfully there may be the necessity for the actual amalgamation and the enforcement upon the dissenters of that political union which they so violently oppose.
The services for which the Metropolitan Corporation is responsible are: water supply; sewage disposal; housing; education; arterial highways; metropolitan parks; certain welfare services; and the overall planning of the area.
With respect to water supply, the Metropolitan Corporation on January 1st, 1954 will automatically become the owner of all of the pumping stations, treatment plants, reservoirs and trunk mains in the whole of the thirteen municipalities. No compensation will be paid by the metropolitan corporation to the local municipalities which previously owned these works but the metropolitan corporation will assume any outstanding and unpaid debentures in connection with their establishment. The Metropolitan Corporation will sell water to each of the thirteen municipalities through meters at their borders at a wholesale rate sufficient to pay the cost of the operation and extension of the metropolitan water system. The local municipalities will continue to own their local water distribution mains and will sell water to their individual consumers at prices fixed by the local municipalities.
With respect to sewage disposal the situation is identical. The Metropolitan Corporation will own all of the sewage disposal and treatment plants and trunk mains and will accept sewage from the thirteen municipalities at their borders through meters at a wholesale rate of so much per million gallons. The local municipalities will retain their local collection systems and charge their local residents for sewage services upon such basis as the local municipalities determine.
As to arterial highways the Metropolitan Corporation will designate those roads in the whole area which will become metropolitan roads on the 1st January 1954 and will assume all of the outstanding and unpaid debentures issued for the construction of such roads and will pay the cost involved in their maintenance and extension. The Metropolitan Corporation will also undertake the building of such expressways, parkways and arterial highways as will provide the area with an adequate arterial highway system. Metropolitan roads will be paid for 50% by the Metropolitan Corporation and 50% by the Province of Ontario.
With respect to public transportation, the Toronto Transportation Commission, which has been a separate authority for thirty years, will be expanded into the Toronto Transit Commission. The new T.T.C. will have a monopoly in respect of public transportation in the whole of the metropolitan area with the corresponding responsibility of providing public transportation throughout the whole of the area. The City of Toronto subway which is nearing completion and will cost approximately $60,000, 000 for the subway and rolling stock will become the main stem of the transit system which with surface lines, trolley coaches and bus facilities will provide for the millions of passengers who require public transportation for long and short distances daily.
All the independent bus lines now operating in the suburbs, of which there are several, will be acquired by the new Toronto Transit Commission on the 1st July, 1954. Compensation will be paid to their proprietors for their undertakings, such compensation will be settled by mutual agreement or if mutual agreement is not arrived at by the Ontario Municipal Board.
In order to equalize the cost of education throughout the area, the Metropolitan Corporation will pay each year to the school boards in each of the constituent municipalities $150 per year for each primary pupil, $250 per year for each secondary pupil, and $300 per year for each vocational pupil. This will permit each of the local municipalities to provide a reasonable standard of education for their children. If any local municipality desires to provide a higher standard of education than these payments will permit they may do so but at the extra cost to its taxpayers. The Metropolitan Council will be paralleled with a Metropolitan School Board which will designate the location of new schools and coordinate the activities of each of the local school boards which will be continued in the thirteen municipalities.
Certain health and welfare services such as hospitalization of indigent patients, the provision of homes for the aged and the maintenance of wards of children's aid societies will become the financial responsibility of the Metropolitan Corporation Council.
The Metropolitan Corporation will provide and maintain a courthouse and a jail.
The Metropolitan Corporation will have all of the powers of a municipality with respect to the provision of housing and redevelopment which is one of the major problems which remains to be solved.
A Metropolitan Planning Board will have jurisdiction throughout the metropolitan area and also on a regional basis extended over each of the adjoining townships on the borders of the metropolitan area.
The Metropolitan Corporation is empowered to establish metropolitan parks and green belts in respect of which up to date it has been quite impossible to produce the necessary cooperation between the thirteen municipalities.
The whole of the metropolitan undertaking will be financed by a metropolitan budget. The cost of operating the Metropolitan Corporation and the provision of metropolitan works will be charged equitably and evenly over the thirteen municipalities in the ratio of their aggregate assessments. During the past two years, the Greater Toronto Assessment Board established by the provincial government has been reassessing the whole of the industrial, commercial and residential properties in each of the thirteen municipalities on the same basis and by the same formula. This reassessment will be completed before 31st December, 1953 so that each of the local municipalities will contribute to the cost of operating the Metropolitan Corporation in the ratio that its total assessment bears to the total assessment of the whole metropolitan area.
The aggregate assessment of all properties in the metropolitan area will be approximately $2,300,000,000. The Metropolitan Corporation will issue tax bills to each of the thirteen municipalities. The metropolitan tax rate will be sufficient to provide the funds necessary for current operations and to finance the capital expenditures which will be undertaken. The thirteen individual municipalities in turn will incorporate their contribution to the Metropolitan Corporation in their local budget. In this manner, each municipality will pay its appropriate contribution to the Metropolitan Corporation and, in addition will tax its local taxpayers a local rate for the amount needed to provide the local services for which it remains responsible.
The local municipalities will no longer issue debentures for any of their requirements. If they need capital money for their local undertakings they will apply to the Metropolitan Council to issue such debentures and if the Metropolitan Council agrees that the debentures should be issued it will issue them. If the Metropolitan Council considers that such debentures should not be issued the local municipality may appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board whose decision is final. All debentures will have for their security the total assessment of the whole area. In respect of debentures issued for the account of a local municipality the local municipality will tax its taxpayers each year for an amount sufficient to pay the annual payments necessary to amortize such debentures.
The Province of Ontario recognizing that substantially increased municipal expenditures will have to be made to correct the situation which is the accumulation of forty years of unsound municipal development and that the only tax source for municipalities is real property, has established a system of grants which will be made by the Province to the Metropolitan Corporation. The provincial grant will be $4 per capita. As there are approximately 11/a million people in the metropolitan area the Metropolitan Council will receive from the province about $5 Million and in each successive year a similar grant of $4 per capita will be made. As the population increases the grant will increase. This provincial contribution will lighten the burden which will be imposed upon the taxpayers in the whole of the area and will make it possible for the necessary metropolitan services to be provided over a reasonable period in accordance with well-defined plans without increased taxation.
In addition to the annual grant the Province is also paying the organizational costs of the Metropolitan Corporation until January 1st 1954 when the Metropolitan Corporation actually takes over the administration of metropolitan services.
The Metropolitan Corporation will be governed by a Metropolitan Council of 24 members which is already in operation. Twelve members are from the City of Toronto and twelve are from the twelve suburban municipalities. In order that the plan will conform to our accepted principle that there should be no taxation without representation, each of the 24 members are elected members in their local councils. The twelve from the City of Toronto are: the Mayor of the City, the two of the four controllers in the City of Toronto who received the highest number of votes at the last municipal election, and the nine aldermen from the nine City wards who received the highest number of votes at the last municipal election. The twelve representatives from the twelve suburbs are the heads of the twelve suburban municipalities, whether they be mayors as is the case in the four towns or reeves as is the case in the three villages and the five townships.
For the balance of the year 1953 and the year 1954 the chairman of the Metropolitan Council has been appointed by the Province of Ontario. Commencing on the 1st January, 1955 the 24 members of the Metropolitan Council will elect their own chairman from among their own number or from outside, as the council decides.
This metropolitan system of municipal government is the solution offered by the Province of Ontario for the problems that confront metropolitan areas. It is a calculated attempt to allow the thirteen local municipalities in the metropolitan area to preserve their local autonomy in respect of matters which are local in nature and to combine them together for the provision of municipal services which are metropolitan in nature.
What does all this mean? It means that greater Toronto is on the threshold of a new era. Our population is now approximately 1 1/4 million. We are slightly smaller than greater Montreal and are the fifteenth largest metropolitan city on the North American continent.
In fifteen to twenty years our population will be two million people. Into this area is coming seventy percent of the industrial development of the Province of Ontario. The St. Lawrence waterway used to be a faint hope, then it became an expectation, and now it is practically a realization. When this development occurs a further tremendous impetus will be given to the industrial, commercial and residential development of this area.
The Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act casts off the shackles which have bound this area for a period of forty years and have stood in the way of its proper development on a metropolitan basis. We do not now need to wind up with thirteen individual locally autonomous municipalities each standing in their own way and standing in the way of the development of the whole area. With courage, foresight and the will to do the job we can wind up with one of the finest and most prosperous metropolitan municipalities on the North American continent.
THANKS OF THE MEETING were expressed by Lt. Col. W. H. Montague.