Toronto's deputy mayor says downtown no place for kids

Toronto's deputy mayor underlined the frequent tension between the city's suburban and downtown councillors when he said during a debate that he wouldn't raise children downtown.

Toronto's deputy mayor underlined the frequent tension between the city's suburban and downtown councillors when he said during a debate that he wouldn't raise children downtown.

Doug Holyday, who is also councillor for the suburban ward Etobicoke Centre, was making a motion Thursday that council delete a recommendation requiring builders of a downtown King Street condo to have three-bedroom units in 10 per cent of the building.

Toronto Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday said most people wouldn't want to raise a family downtown. (Patrick Morrell/CBC)

"It doesn't have to be mandated by this council or you or anybody else," he said on the council floor. "Who do we think we are?"

But Holyday raised the ire — and some audible groans — from his fellow councillors when he explained his thoughts on raising a family downtown.

"Maybe some people wish to do that," he said. "I think most people wouldn't. I could just see now: 'Where's little Ginny? Well, she's downstairs playing in the traffic on her way to the park.' You'd have to be very careful."

Coun. Josh Matlow, who serves the mid-town ward St. Paul's, was incredulous.

"Do you really believe that there's some danger to children by living in the downtown area?" he said.

Holyday responded: "I certainly think it's really not the ideal place that people might want to raise their families."

Coun. Adam Vaughan, whose downtown Trinity-Spadina ward includes the condo development in question, mocked Holyday to reporters.

"Next thing he's going to do is ban sex [so] we don't create kids downtown," he said. "It's really insane."

Debates at Toronto council frequently break down on roughly suburban-downtown lines. Mayor Rob Ford's election was partially due to overwhelming suburban support — for instance, Ford won a whopping 69 per cent of the vote in Holyday's riding, but only a third-place 23 per cent in Vaughan's. 

Holyday's motion was defeated by a wide margin.