"The City has stalled", says Toronto's Vital Signs 2007 report on Toronto & Region

    TORONTO, Oct. 2 /CNW/ - Torontonians should be proud of the city's status
as one of the world's most 'liveable cities', but this year's "Toronto's Vital
Signs" report also warns that Toronto's quality of life is declining.
    Vital Signs, a report from the Toronto Community Foundation compiled from
current statistics and special studies, looks at key indicators in 11 specific
areas from Work opportunities and Housing costs to the city's record on the
Environment and its Gap Between Rich and Poor.
    "Toronto's Vital Signs 2007" was released today on the Toronto Community
Foundation website www.tcf.ca and as a special insert in the Toronto Star.
    Toronto continues to enjoy a privileged status as Canada's financial
centre and scores well in some areas.
    "We see...greater use of public transit, safer streets, cleaner beaches,
improvement in recycling and the environment and improvement in the health of
City residents", say Rahul Bhardwaj, Toronto Community Foundation President &
CEO and Chair, Martin Connell.
    But, they add "for young people and new immigrants, Toronto is often a
difficult place to live." Citing the cost of housing and the difficulty of
finding work among immigrants and the young, the report warns that many of
those on whom Toronto's future depends are leaving the city - for the
surrounding areas of the Region or for other Provinces - and that the gap
between rich and poor in the city has never been greater.
    Vital Signs notes that Toronto's population is "aging, with a higher
proportion of seniors and a lower proportion of children than the surrounding
region. Citing "aging infrastructure, growing debt and a seemingly permanent
state of fiscal crisis", in Toronto,
    Vital Signs urges a renewed commitment to long-term investment in
building Toronto, concluding that while the rest of the region around Toronto
continues to grow, the city itself "has stalled".

    As an annual check-up on the health of Canada's largest city and its
place within the larger region, Vital Signs has inspired similar studies in
major cities across Canada as well as the national Vital Signs report.
"Toronto's Vital Signs" has been praised for pioneering a process which pulls
together information on major trends into a compelling picture of a city. The
reports are a valuable tool to organizations, politicians, planners, and
community groups needing to see present trends affecting the city in order to
plan for a strong future.
    The Toronto Community Foundation is a public foundation with assets over
$200 million dollars and grants out in-excess of 8 million dollars annually to
our community. The Toronto Community Foundation has linked philanthropy with
community needs and opportunities for over 25 years.

                    Toronto's Vital Signs 2007 Highlights

    "Toronto's Vital Signs" cites key indicators in 11 distinct areas,
drawing on the most recent information. Those areas are listed below, along
with sample findings from each. The full report is available online at

    Gap Between Rich and Poor - "In 2005, families in the top 10% income
bracket in the region had incomes 10.7 times higher than that of families in
the bottom ten per cent. Double the gap 25 years ago." "The region's poverty
rate grew to 24.7%, up from 22.9% in 2000."

    Safety - "The incidence of crime in the region is lower than both
provincial and national averages and continues to decline."

    Health & Wellness - "In 2006, 73.6 % of Toronto adults reported moderate
or high levels of physical activity, compared to 70.9 % in 2003.

    Learning - "Enrolment at the Toronto District School Board has dropped
29% (nearly 115,000 students) since 1970." "In 2006, 63.3% of Toronto's labour
force had completed post-secondary education. The national average is 57%."

    Housing - "In 2006, the average price of homes sold in the region rose to
$351,941... a climb of 78% over the past 10 years.

    Getting Started - "The unemployment rate of new immigrants in the region
was 11.3% in 2001, more than double the 5.1% rate of non-immigrants." "The
average individual income of recent immigrants... in the region in 2001 was
$20,438, less than half the income of non-immigrants." "In the region the
youth unemployment rate in 2006 was 13.6%... the national average... 11.6%"

    Arts & Culture - "Municipal Government funding for the local arts and
festival sector in Toronto in 2005 equaled $5.77 per capita, compared to an
average of $6.23 in Canada's major cities."

    Environment - "In 2004, Toronto, with 7.9% of Canada's population... was
responsible for about 4.1% of Canada's CO2 emissions." "In 2006, the number of
smog advisory days dropped dramatically to 11 from 48 in 2005 and was the
lowest annual total since 2000."

    Work - "In 2005, more than one-third of Canada's top 100 head offices
were located in the region.... Head office employment in Toronto in 2005
totaled 59,163 jobs: 34% of Canada's total." "The total number of jobs in
Toronto has dropped over the past six years by approximately 23,700 jobs."

    Belonging & Leadership - "In 2004, 46.2% of people in Toronto reported
being involved in unpaid volunteer activities as part of a group or
organization.... the national average (is) 45.3%" "Only 4 of the 45
(municipal) council members are visible minorities... 10 (are) women."

    Getting Around - "In 2005, 66% of workers in the region took 60 minutes
or longer to commute to and from work. It's the longest commute in Canada - an
average of 79 minutes... equivalent to 8 1/2 work weeks per year." "Ridership
on GO Transit has grown 11.4%, from 43.3 million trips in 2001 to 48.3 million
trips in 2006, about 195,000 passengers per weekday." "Ridership on the TTC
has grown 5.8% in the past five years to a total of 444.5 million trips in
2006... workday ridership was up to 1,433,000."

For further information:

For further information: Judy Pfeifer, VP Toronto Community Foundation,
(416) 578-2035, jpfeifer@tcf.ca; Diana Crosbie, Crosbie Communications Inc.,
(416) 360-6625, diana@crosbie.on.ca

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