Some Aspects of Commercial Value to the City of Toronto of the Proposed Harbour Improvements
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The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 16 Jan 1913, p. 129-145
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Gourlay, R.S., Speaker
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Text
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Speeches
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Some statistical facts that refer to Toronto's position today industrially and commercially. First, two plans which the speaker brought with him that show an accurate survey of the city waterfront, and the proposed changes, colour-coded. A discussion from three standpoints: the value of the harbour improvement plan from an industrial, commercial, and home-living point of view. Facts and figures to indicate the industrial position of Toronto. Those aspects of the plan which show what has been provided in order to augment, increase, and develop industrial life, with specific details for each area. Features of the industrial area. Proximity to the heart of the city. Markets that will be supplied. A financial standpoint with regard to industry. Providing for small manufacturing. Commercial development; the trader and jobber's standpoint, in common with the manufacturer. An economic axiom: that the greatest factor in making or marring a commercial metropolis is the ease and cost of freight handling and transportation. The chief factors in developing any commercial centre. Torontonians almost a decade behind some neighbouring cities. Our lack of valuing and using waterborne transportation as we should. The advantages of waterborne freight to the commercial life of Toronto. A look at some freight costs. In our interest as citizens of Toronto to see that this waterfront is the property of the city through the Harbour Commission for all time. A look at the plans to show what is being proposed in order to cover the commercial situation, with specific details and costs. The home-living part of the plan. The great deal of thought given by the Harbour Commissioners in this regard. Plans for a lagoon park treatment, for an island park treatment, and a western park treatment. A look at the plan for specific details. Provision for beaches, play grounds, bath houses, aquatic club sites, and all that will give the citizens of Toronto, from one end of the city to the other, the very best use of park land, and of a protected water-way along the entire city front at a minimum of cost, with the expectation that Toronto shall have a model waterfront in the years to come as well as an income from the same that will make Toronto more than ever the ideal spot on the continent for home-living through both the summer and the winter seasons.
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16 Jan 1913
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SOME ASPECTS OF COMMERCIAL VALUE TO THE CITY OF TORONTO OF THE PROPOSED HARBOUR IMPROVEMENTS
An Address by Mr. R. S. GOURLAY, before the Empire Club of Canada, January 16, 1913

Mr. President and Gentlemen,

I desire to express my, appreciation of the kind words of your President, and also of the honour accorded me in being asked to address you on this question of the harbour improvement plan.

I have some little diffidence in dealing with the matter because it has become in a measure an old story with some of you, and I would like at the outset to ask you to bear with me while I give you some statistical facts that refer to Toronto's position today industrially and commercially. But before doing so I would direct your attention to these two plans (indicating two large drawings). The plan as you see it here is an accurate survey of the city waterfront on the scale of 300 feet to the inch. From one end of the plan to the other you have twelve miles in view. The entire area, you will see, is covered with small figures which indicate the 8,000 soundings that have been taken all over that entire waterfront. The larger figures indicate three hundred borings. That was the first work done by the Commission, getting an accurate topographical and hydrographical survey of the waterfront of which there had been no accurate record in existence at any previous time in the history of Toronto. There had been plans of sections and parts, according to changing conditions, but when you came to relate them they were found to be incorrect; therefore the first work was to obtain data as to the basic condition of the city's waterfront as it is today. The second plan shows the proposed changes, and just at this point I want to indicate what the colours represent. Everything you see in black or white or gray is transferred from this plan (indicating first plan). What you see in pink is the development contemplated, largely industrial or commercial, with the exception of two sites for aquatic sports, club houses, and buildings of that character (indicating two points respectively on the Island and in the neighbourhood of Ashbridge's Bay). The yellow indicates the roadways or boulevards; the red indicates the outline of breakwater that is suggested; the light green shown in park treatment indicates the new park areas that are suggested. The dark green here and elsewhere (indicating north shore of Island) indicates the new made park land in connection with the Island. With these colours kept in mind, you will have at the outset some conception of what is suggested by the improved harbour plan.

I would like, in discussing the matter with you today, to discuss it from a threefold standpoint, namely, the value of the harbour improvement plan from an industrial, a commercial, and a home-living standpoint.

Taking up the industrial first, may I call your attention to the fact that in 1890 the census indicated the population of Toronto as over 181,000, while in 1910 it had grown to over 376,500. The annual value of the industrial products of Toronto twenty years ago was just about $45,000,000; in 191o, two years ago, it had reached $155,000,000. So that the population development was in the ratio of 109%, and the industrial development was in the ratio of 243%. When you realize that the census of 191o places the value of Montreal's industrial output at only $11,000,000 more than Toronto, and also indicates that its growth was only in the ratio of 145% in the last twenty years, you will realize how rapidly Toronto is becoming preeminently the industrial centre of Canada. (Applause) In the foregoing I have given you one view-point of the industrial development of the city. Another view-point, as ascertained from the census, is as follows: The census of 191o indicates that in Canada there are 300 different classes of manufactures produced. Out of these 300 classes, we, today, manufacture 176 in Toronto. In 92 of these classes there is considerable competition; with the number of competing factories varying from 3 up to 67 (the 67 being for foundry and machine-shop products). In 84 classes we have only one, or, at most, two enterprises. Altogether we have in these two divisions, 176 out of the 300 various industries of Canada represented in Toronto's industrial life.

Again the census returns indicate that covering these 176 classes, we have at the present time 1,104 establishments with a working population of more than 65,400. Dr. Blue, the Government statistician, says it is a very modest estimate to assume that for every employee in a factory there are at least two others dependent on that employee's earnings; therefore in Toronto, we have 195,000 people directly dependent on the industrial enterprises of the city, so that with a population of 375,000 you will see that over half our population is directly dependent on the industrial life of the city. When you take those who are not directly dependent-the banker, the storekeeper, the professional man, the cartage and the transportation man-every class enjoying our civic life is indirectly dependent on the industrial life of our city.

In order that you may realize that the increase as per the 1910 census is now being exceeded, may I say that the City Architect indicates that in 1911 there were 110 new factories erected and 77 new warehouses, at an estimated cost of three and onequarter millions of dollars. In 1912 there were erected 86 new factories and 66 new warehouses, without referring to additions to factories and warehouses, at an estimated cost of four and three-quarter millions of dollars. So that ever since the days of the census of 1910, Toronto's industrial development has been going on at an even greater ratio than for the previous ten years.

That being the situation industrially, I now turn to the plan to show what we have endeavoured to provide in order to augment, increase, and develop that industrial life. This area (indicating Ashbridge's Bay) has been set apart for industrial development; we call it the industrial area. It is at present marsh land covered with an average depth of water of about five feet, and the purpose of the Commission is to extend the city in that direction. You will notice that the southern boundary of the city is along here (indicating). This is the land which we call Fisherman's Island; but the developed southern portion is to the north here, (indicating) and what we purpose is, to do what we have done with our ravines, fill up the water-covered area between the city and Fisherman's Island, and let the streets from the north extend south into that area, which might have been done years ago with great profit. In this plan we show how we propose doing it; out of the thousand acres in this area, we are laying out about 23o acres for streets and railway sidings. The length of the railway sidings will be about 30 miles, and of the streets about 30 miles. We are laying out 180 acres for a deep channel, 400 feet wide, with a turning basin, and the remainder, 644 acres, we have laid out for industrial sites. Perhaps you do not fully realize what that 644 acres means, but if you will carry your mind to the corner of Yonge and Queen Streets, walk up Yonge to Bloor, then along Bloor to Bathurst, down Bathurst to Queen, then along Queen to where you started from, you will have covered an area a mile and a quarter square. This industrial area is one fifth greater, about a mile and a half square. Bear this also in mind, that at the present time there is no class of real estate so hard to obtain as a decent-sized factory site with railway siding. It is almost impossible, at any price, to get a factory site anywhere near the heart of the city; and this industrial area, as we show it here, is not only to be provided with sidings to all railways but with deep water docks along the west front, in through here (indicating turning basin), in the centre (indicating the neighbourhood of Yonge Street), and also here at Bathurst Street, and as time requires these docks will be augmented. What the Commission proposes in connection with this plan at the present time is to add docks along this front (indicating western front of Ashbridge's Bay); there is one dock building at the present time along this entrance; we will have docks along both sides of this 6,800, foot channel and a 1,000-foot square turning basin, and so will add to the city's dockage three and one-half miles, with an additional dockage of about Boo feet at Bathurst Street. These docks are to be connected with the industrial railway sidings. They will be deep water docks; it is the intention of the Commission to have the channels and everything related to the docks of such a depth that whatever vessel can pass through the new Welland Canal, which is being made with 30 feet at the sills, will have ample accommodation in this area. The new channel will be 400 feet wide, so that it will be absolutely easy for vessels to pass each other without disturbing any vessel loading or unloading at either side or at both sides. The turning basin will be large enough for vessels to tie up all around the basin and yet for the largest vessel to turn in the space remaining.

Another factor in connection with this area is that it is close to the heart of the, city. Today in cities the size of Toronto you have often to go many miles from the centre of the city for an industrial site; this area is close to the heart of the city. Street car service will come south to every portion, even to this road at the extreme southern end, and that, from the standpoint of labour, will be a great advantage in the saving of time and will also provide access at a minimum cost. This industrial area will also be served with electric energy and power with competition, not only City Hydropower, but the Electric Light Company also--and we hope that all the wires will be underground. (Applause) The streets themselves will be modern in character. They will be on the basis of 75 to 175 feet in width. This northern street that is already laid out on the city's plans is 150 feet. This street, for instance, (indicating) with its counterpart here and here, (indicating) will be 75 feet, and it will be kept absolutely for vehicular and street car traffic. There will be no necessity for crossing any railway track on the level, and the same thing applies to the street running east and west. Each alternate street will be free from railway sidings, and the alternate streets upon which provision is made for sidings will be constructed 175 feet wide and district may be obtained,-space, power, insurance, freight handling, storage, at a small minimum cost, and we will be able to offer to the small manufacturer who is beginning, all these essentials at a reasonable rate, and what capital he has can be used in the development of his enterprise; and we believe that such an opportunity will be a great factor in developing Toronto's industrial activities.

Now, if you will allow me, we will look at the matter from the standpoint of commercial development--the trader and jobber's standpoint, in common with the manufacturer. I would lay this down as an economic axiom, that the greatest factor in making or marring a commercial metropolis is the ease and cost of freight handling and transportation. The ease and rapid facility with which one can handle freight, and the lower cost at which one can move it will be the chief factors in developing any commercial centre, so that the Harbour Commission are endeavouring to take advantage of every possible consideration which will reduce the cost of handling freight.

It may interest you to know that as a people we ark 1 almost a decade behind some neighbouring cities. We do not value and we do not use waterborne transportation as we should. It is a common statement among the railways that Toronto need not be considered from the standpoint of water competition. Hamilton and Montreal are considered. But in Toronto the merchants and manufacturers pay so little attention to the advantage of handling freight by water that the railways look upon waterborne competition, as far as Toronto is concerned, as a negligible quantity. In Hamilton the merchants and manufacturers use waterborne transportation throughout six months of the year to a far greater extent than does Toronto; you will hardly credit it, and yet it is true. As a matter of fact, to develop the waterborne carrying of freight the Toronto Lake Lines that have adopted an aggressive policy actually have to go out and canvass for freight. Whoever thinks of the railways canvassing for freight? We call them up by telephone to take it away and never expect to be asked for it. There has been a decided change this year, with the result that we are going to have more steamers carrying freight next season, and it is to the advantage of the city to realize that we have been remiss in not taking advantage of the competition that accrues from waterborne freight. The entire tonnage of inward freight for the past season in connection with Toronto Harbour, while greater than any previous year, is only 396,400 tons, while the inward freight carried by the three lines of railway amount to 5,437,786 tons. That in itself is an argument indicating what I have endeavoured to present to you, and it is the more unexplainable when you remember that you can deliver your freight to a steamboat and know within an hour the time it is going to reach its destination, whereas you put freight in a railway car and you don't know whether it will reach there in three days or a month. Then, again, it is the more unexplainable when you consider the cost advantage of waterborne freight. The advantage of waterborne freight to the commercial life of this city is that it is the chief regulator of freight rates downward and, if we make waterborne competition a real factor, we will also secure better treatment from the railways. Hamilton shippers have found it so. From Toronto to Fort William the all-rail rate is from 42 cents to $1.05 according to class. The water and rail rate is from 25 to 50 cents according to class, and the all-water rate is from 23 to 45 cents according to class. That in itself indicates the value commercially to the merchants and manufacturers of Toronto of using waterborne freight. During the portion of the year when we have waterborne transportation, we can carry our freight by water from Toronto to Fort William, a distance of 802 miles, for from 23 to 45 cents per 100 pounds according to class, but when you ship by rail where there is no water competition, say Fort William to Winnipeg, half the distance, you have to pay the railways 38 to 86 cents for carrying the same class of freight. Gentlemen, I want to say to you today, encourage the Harbour Board and those who advocate waterborne navigation, send your freight by water, and you will get better service from the rail primary cause for the congestion at the terminal points is that if you want to ship a carload of freight, we will say to a point on the Grand Trunk Railway, and your siding is on the Canadian Pacific Railway, it is delayed by the necessary inter-switching; we are planning therefore to get rid, as far as the industrial area is concerned, of all inter-switching and the charge for same. That is, our plan is to make it possible to ship to any point in Canada on the railway that will touch that point and not be charged for inter-switching here or elsewhere. That is going to be a great saving, for today the manufacturer and the merchant have to pay from $3 to $8 per car for inter-switching charges. The purpose of the Commission in laying out its railway sidings and yard is to secure direct shipping by every railway, cutting out inter-switching and delays from congestion at terminal points. If the Harbour Commissioner does nothing else for the city, that is going to save for those who handle its commerce many hundreds of thousands of dollars, and ought to make the cost of living cheaper.

People have no conception of what cartage, in a city like Toronto, means. On this plan (indicating present plan of city) there is not a single dock co-ordinated with the railway, and we have not at the present time any coordination of rail and water. Here (on proposed plan) we purpose having such co-ordination everywhere, and we propose having it with all the railways and we also propose eliminating all unnecessary cartage in and out of Toronto unless we have to break bulk, and that also will be at a minimum cost. The Grand Trunk and Canadian Pacific Railway collected $373,808.55 from the merchants of Toronto for cartage last year. If their demand to the Railway Board of last December for an increase of a cent per 100 pounds had been yielded, it would have added $160,000 to the cost of carting the goods away from the stations in Toronto. Even the order as granted will cost the merchants $50,000 more. In connection with those two railways alone we have an annual expenditure of nearly half a million dollars for cartage; so that in the carrying out of this commercial aspect of these plans you will see what we are endeavouring to obviate. Coming to the question of industrial sidings, I might explain that they are on a three-track basis. The centre track will have crossovers, so that any merchant or manufacturer on this track may be loading his car, and his neighbour on the other side may also be loading or unloading without an interruption to either by the moving of either car. This will mean an immense saving of time and be of great benefit to the industrial people who occupy these sites.

Now there is just the home-living part of the plan, and I would like to say that the Harbour Commissioners have given a great deal of thought to it from that standpoint. We are proud of Toronto, and I think we are prouder of the fact that it is a homeliving city than we are of any other civic feature; and it is not a homeliving city for a few wealthy men, but for a great mass of people who have moderate incomes. In accepting the trust of this heritage we have conceived it our duty to provide for the health, the recreation, and the outdoor welfare of every class of our citizens, and what we are proposing to do has this basic object in view, that if we can make Toronto even a better place to live in than it is now, with the best and purest outdoor enjoyment all the year round, we have added an asset to its vitality as a great city even beyond what we are doing for the commercial and industrial development of the harbour front. Therefore, instead of carrying out this industrial area 900 feet further and making money out of it, which we could do, we have said to the city, "We will contract to give you 350 acres here of lagoon park treatment, 350 more acres of island park treatment, and 190 acres of western park treatment--over 900 acres of new development in accordance with this plan; and with the assistance of the Government we are enabled to give you that at a cost of about $2,000,000, at an annual charge of $250,000 until the bonds are paid, that is, for interest, principal, rent, sinking fund, and everything." And we have said to the city, "We will give you these areas for the benefit of the citizens at large, and we ask you to provide that amount," and I am happy to say that in the Mayor's recent inaugural address the statement was made clearly and definitely that the city would accept and carry out this proposition. (Applause)

In providing for this area we start at the east end of the city. In this portion (indicating east of Woodbine Avenue) we have not, as a Commission, absolute control of the waterfront; and therefore the plan proposed does not provide for more than a breakwater some 600 feet out from the shore line, but it will provide protected water with forty-foot openings every two thousand feet; it will preserve the beach for the residents, and the hope is that it will be preserved for the people at large, and under no circumstances will anybody be permitted to bring a wharf out to the breakwater. Then beginning with the city park treatment at Woodbine Avenue, to give you some conception of what it means, I might say that this little piece in there (indicating) is fully as large as Hanlan's Point. We are laying out this 100-foot strip as a revenue producer, an area facing on the park frontage and the lagoon islands of a strip about three and one-half miles long and 100 feet wide which we intend to rent for approved summer cottages and from which we expect to derive from $35,000 to $40,000 a year for ground rent. The rest is a beautiful park, lagoons, and islands for every class of citizen who may come in boats or street cars and spend the summer days there or who may drive along the boulevard. There is to be a boulevard fifty-feet wide and a bridle-path sixteen feet wide running from Woodbine Avenue to the eastern channel, some three and one-half miles. Here we have a 100-foot opening into the turning basin, in order to keep it provided always with pure, fresh water. In connection with this section of the place we expect to provide aquatic sites for boat clubs for the east end, and everything else that makes for a summer's pleasure in a city by the waterside. Coming to the eastern channel we cross it with a roller lift bridge. We have every hope that the Government will build the entire breakwater from one end to the other, provide the channel and turning basin with the dockage on both sides and in front of the industrial area, provide the roller lift bridges, begin the work this season, and complete it within five or six years. There is every hope that before Parliament adjourns that this will be an assured fact.

Then passing on to the Island we diversify the boulevard treatment. We have an east-bound boulevard and a west-bound boulevard passing through and over the lagoons and through Island Park. At intervals there will be some twenty-seven bridges erected, varied, in style and beautiful in every style. The larger bridges will be constructed for heavy traffic. It is not our business to provide street railway service on the Island, but if the city decides at any time to have street cars, the work of the Harbour Commission will not have to be done over again. We are also paying attention to the Henley Regatta Course; and are providing a new Island in place of this eyesore with its decayed cribwork (indicating near Hanlan's Point) to protect the new watercourse so that there will no longer be any delays on account of eastern winds.

As stated, we are making provision for two boulevards each eighteen feet wide, going east and west, and a sixteen-foot bridle-path within a beautiful park area. At the western channel we cross on a roller lift bridge and connect with a fifty-foot boulevard and the bridle-path which continues north to Bathurst Street. The Harbour Board has succeeded in arranging with the Railway Company so that Bathurst Street, we hope, will be extended south on a three per cent. grade, 100 feet wide, in order to joint the boulevard and provide access to the deepwater docks and factories that we are planning to construct at this point. From here we propose to carry the waterfront south and form another park area. To the north of this area the Bathurst Street car service will be extended and provide an eastern entrance to the Exhibition Grounds. At this point we have also provided a large site for motor-boat clubs and other aquatic organizations and a sheltered anchorage basin of fortytwo acres. From here the boulevard extends in front of the Old Fort to the Exhibition Grounds and is at this point eight feet lower than the Exhibition Grounds so that from the Grounds one may overlook the boulevard and lake. Here we are providing a large pier, double-decked, for passenger landing,--landing on the lower deck, and recreation and band concerts on the upper deck. The breakwater has fortyfoot openings every two thousand feet, and it is also so arranged as to provide sheltered anchorage for steamers coming from Port Dalhousie and elsewhere, when landing or taking on passengers at the Exhibition pier.

Then we come to Parkdale, and the suggestion we make to the city is that it should acquire all this property along the waterfront for park area, and have a diversion of the boulevard to go either way, up through existing streets or along the waterfront. When we come to Sunnyside and down the incline to a lower level, we treat the Humber Bay on a somewhat extensive scale. The erosion by water on the Humber Bay road, the main artery to the city, has reduced the road in some places to fifty feet, and part of that is taken up by street cars. It is absolutely inadequate for our purposes, so we propose to carry out the breakwater from 900 to 1,100 feet, and from the land itself we provide, first, for an eighty-foot right of way for suburban traffic, our expectation being that the grade will be raised to the grade of the Grand Trunk and be ample for four tracks reaching by tunnel from Sunnyside to the heart of the city, by rapid transit. Next we provide for a sixty-six foot street for vehicular traffic, then we ascend to an elevation of sixteen feet and arrange for a 150-foot reservation for recreation buildings, stores, amusement places, picture galleries, and everything that is necessary to equip a summer resort that is to be healthful and entertaining from the standpoint of the citizens. This reservation will be about one and one-quarter miles long, and the expected revenue will be about $145,000, so that the whole anticipated revenue from the Harbour Plan may reach about $700,000 a year. That is what the development of areas neglected at the present time may realize in the future as an annual revenue towards the work of the city, less, of course, the cost of financing and administration. Beyond this 150-foot reservation for stores and amusement places we have 55 feet of terraced boulevard with a parapet wall in front as we descend to the lower level of eight feet above the mean water level, then a 20-foot promenade walk, then the boulevard 50 feet wide, with a i6-foot bridle-path, then a 10-foot board walk, then a 90-foot, bathing-beach and a 500-foot protected water-way for all sorts of aquatic and winter sports. In a word, we are providing beaches, play grounds, bath houses, aquatic club sites, and all that will give the citizens of Toronto, from one end of the city to the other, the very best use of park land, and of a protected water-way along the entire city front at a minimum of cost, and the expectation is that we shall have a model waterfront in the years to come as well as an income from the same that will make Toronto more than ever the ideal spot on the continent for home-living through both the summer and the winter seasons. And we have every reason to believe that inside of eight or nine or ten years, what we show you on these plans will be an accomplished fact, because we have the assurance from some of Toronto's most able financiers that the moment we are ready to issue our bonds for the $11,000,000 we require, there will be no difficulty in floating them. (Applause)

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Some Aspects of Commercial Value to the City of Toronto of the Proposed Harbour Improvements


Some statistical facts that refer to Toronto's position today industrially and commercially. First, two plans which the speaker brought with him that show an accurate survey of the city waterfront, and the proposed changes, colour-coded. A discussion from three standpoints: the value of the harbour improvement plan from an industrial, commercial, and home-living point of view. Facts and figures to indicate the industrial position of Toronto. Those aspects of the plan which show what has been provided in order to augment, increase, and develop industrial life, with specific details for each area. Features of the industrial area. Proximity to the heart of the city. Markets that will be supplied. A financial standpoint with regard to industry. Providing for small manufacturing. Commercial development; the trader and jobber's standpoint, in common with the manufacturer. An economic axiom: that the greatest factor in making or marring a commercial metropolis is the ease and cost of freight handling and transportation. The chief factors in developing any commercial centre. Torontonians almost a decade behind some neighbouring cities. Our lack of valuing and using waterborne transportation as we should. The advantages of waterborne freight to the commercial life of Toronto. A look at some freight costs. In our interest as citizens of Toronto to see that this waterfront is the property of the city through the Harbour Commission for all time. A look at the plans to show what is being proposed in order to cover the commercial situation, with specific details and costs. The home-living part of the plan. The great deal of thought given by the Harbour Commissioners in this regard. Plans for a lagoon park treatment, for an island park treatment, and a western park treatment. A look at the plan for specific details. Provision for beaches, play grounds, bath houses, aquatic club sites, and all that will give the citizens of Toronto, from one end of the city to the other, the very best use of park land, and of a protected water-way along the entire city front at a minimum of cost, with the expectation that Toronto shall have a model waterfront in the years to come as well as an income from the same that will make Toronto more than ever the ideal spot on the continent for home-living through both the summer and the winter seasons.