U of T Magazine

For Toronto residents, frequent visitors, and tourists from around the world, it’s obvious that different areas of the city have very distinct personalities, sometimes called “scenes.”

While the neighbourhoods are easily distinguishable, it’s hard to really put your finger on what makes each area truly unique.

Leave it to the great minds at the University of Toronto to break down the amenities in the neighbourhoods of Canadian cities and classify the scenes in each one. Daniel Silver, a sociology professor at the University, used the Yellow Pages data base to examine the amenities in neighbourhoods across Canada and created an incredibly insightful “scenescape” that measures qualities like authenticity, theatricality and legitimacy.

For instance, financial districts are high in utilitarian legitimacy but low in trangressive theatricality. Church Street in Toronto has high self expressive legitimacy and low formal theatricality. These attributes also can be compared from city to city. Montreal ranks higher than Toronto in exhibitionistic theatricality because it has more sex shops and modelling agencies while Toronto, with its multitude of vintage clothing stores and book shops, has a higher self-expressive legitimacy ranking.

What Prof. Silver has created is a novel way to analyze each Canadian city’s culture and attitudes. He says that his research will be useful to everyone from city planners to politicians to everyday folks just trying to decide on where to live.

We’re glad that Toronto is high in self-expressive legitimacy, but after finishing this blog story, we think we’re all expressed out for the day. Happy Sunday everyone! Go out and enjoy your favourite scene, wherever it may be.

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