Subway will connect York to a larger community, says Purves

York University, the City of Vaughan and a string of powerful developers are breaking out the champagne, or perhaps an extra crane or two, following the provincial government’s announcement of funding to extend the Spadina subway, reported the Toronto Star April 11. Without the subway, the neglected northwestern region seemed destined to be disconnected from the rest of Toronto by clogged roads and an overloaded bus system. The potential of being linked to a bigger city and the lure of increased density has meant that the area – now a sometimes drab hodge-podge of industrial, retail and residential buildings, with a massive university campus in the middle – will now probably undergo major transformation.

“This physically connects York to a bigger network, a larger community,” said Bud Purves, president of the York University Development Corp. “It also means that the University will continue to attract the best and the brightest.” Purves, a long-time Toronto developer whose last job was, among other things, running the CN Tower for TrizecHahn Corp., is now responsible for overseeing the University’s prospects for development. The university has 16.2 choice, developable hectares on the north side of the campus towards Steeles Avenue, and another 8.1 hectares toward Finch Avenue to the south.

“It’s certainly an exciting time, because we’ll be looking at all potential types of uses for the area,” Purves says. One option will be to house a kind of scientific “research park,” geared toward research and development, he says. “We’re not sure what form it will take, but it will be easier to attract researchers now that you’re connected to the rest of the city. However, it’s not something we will approach in a glib fashion. We’ll examine everything with as much input as possible.” Another plus for the University is that thousands of buses stop on the grounds every day, contributing to pollution and congestion, said the Star. A subway will greatly improve the quality of life for students, Purves says. And of course, increased land values don’t hurt. “What this means is that it enhances York’s ability to access land value in the future,” he says. “It’s money in the pocket for York.”

Other winners on campus include homeowners living at the Tribute Communities development at the University, where the last of more than 500 homes are being completed. Residents will probably find that the values of their homes are on the way up, although increased density can be a double-edged sword.

Lexchin and other experts slam ‘disease mongering’

Experts from around the world Monday called on the global health community to challenge what they see as a trend of pharmaceutical companies blurring the boundaries of legitimate illness and normal conditions in an attempt to increase sales of their products, reported news Web site The National Ledger April 11. The trend, which is dubbed “disease mongering” by the experts, “turns healthy people into patients, wastes precious resources, and causes iatrogenic harm,” wrote the authors of one article in the journal PLoS Medecine. One example is Pfizer’s efforts to create awareness of erectile dysfunction to increase the potential market for Viagra, wrote Dr. Joel Lexchin, professor in York University’s School of Health Policy & Management, in one of 11 articles published to coincide with an international conference at the University of Newcastle.

On air

  • Ajay Sirsi, professor of marketing in York’s Schulich School of Business, spoke about why businesses fail and provided some tips on how to open a business on CTV’s “Canada AM” April 10.
  • Margaret Beare, director of the Nathanson Centre for the Study of Organized Crime & Corruption at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, spoke about organized crime and the mass murder in southern Ontario on CTVNewsnet, April 10.