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.

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.

"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.