Look for Toronto’s urban future in the booming suburbs

The suburbs have become, like the city centres before them, the new arenas for forming and contesting politics, modes of governance, ways of life, and the forms and notions of community. Taken one step further, the suburb has become the new city. And a new kind of city – a “regional city”. The governance of the Toronto region does not reflect or acknowledge this phenomenon, reported the Toronto Star Sept. 25….For the past three years, as part of a long-term research project at York University, sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, we have been coordinating an expert group of suburb-shapers and builders to share our experiences with the aim of inspiring new forms of suburban governance. That is, to first talk and then to work towards new approaches for planning, building, servicing and governing Toronto’s ever-growing and diversifying periphery. Read full story.

Dave Nichol: The man who revolutionized branding, and made simple exotic
Dave Nichol, who died on Sunday at age 73, was a trailblazer in the marketing world for revolutionizing Loblaw Companies Limited’s house brands, transforming them into affordable luxuries, and using his folksy style in advertising to turn his products – and himself – into household names….“[Customers would] be willing to try these new tastes, and [Nichol would] show them how to prepare it or that it wasn’t very expensive,” said Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, in The Globe and Mail Sept. 26. While writing his dissertation on store brands in the early ’90s, Middleton met with Nichol on multiple occasions and was given access to the company’s research. It showed that Canadians related to Nichol’s passion for food, and the fact that the products demonstrated how to bring new tastes to their tables. Read full story.

An unnatural history of Stanley Park
“In the late 19th century, when the park opened, a number of things would have looked very different,” explained York University history Professor Sean Kheraj, author of Inventing Stanley Park: An Environmental History, in The Tyee Sept. 27. Including the forest itself. Following a series of insect infestations in the early part of the 20th century, entomologists advocated the removal of blocks of hemlock and spruce, replacing them with a greater proportion of Douglas fir, which was considered a more resilient, more insect resistant and more aesthetically pleasing tree. “As a result, the treeline of the park today is a lot puffier and smoother than it was in the 19th century,” Kheraj said. Read full story.

Take time to get labour law right
As it stands, there is a long way to go to ensure that employment act – also known as Bill 85 – will actually serve our people well by replacing nearly 70 years of balanced labour legislation and repealing or amending 33 separate laws, reported the StarPhoenix Sept. 27….Nationally recognized and respected labour relations scholar and lawyer Professor David Doorey of York University observes in his review of the legislation that “Bill 85 in its final version remains a one-sided package of reforms. The bill’s labour relations provisions in particular are designed to impose new obligations, new restrictions, new costs and new challenges on unions.” Read full story.

The impact of law and corruption on venture capital and private equity fees and returns
“Since the 2007 financial crisis, there has been significant and growing concern in the venture capital and private equity industries worldwide of the role of corruption in influencing venture capital and private equity fund manager activities,” co-wrote Douglas Cumming, a professor of finance and entrepreneurship and the Ontario Research Chair at York University’s Schulich School of Business, in the World Financial Review Sept. 26. Read full story.