But how far will artists go for large, bright, cheap studio space? Will they stick to the romance of subway and streetcar lines or will they board buses, too?
It depends on the type of art they're creating, Adam Thom says.
"Sculpture can't travel very easily," explains the architect, who started his professional life creating large, kinetic metal sculpture. While those engaged in "quiet" art, such as painting, can work in an apartment or house given enough space and light, the hammering, cutting, grinding and welding necessary to shape and connect metal would wake the neighbours should inspiration strike at 3 a.m. So sculptors may travel a little further for the privilege of isolation and the practicality of concrete floors (a must over hardwood floors for safety reasons, Mr. Thom points out).
And while artists need the city for "cross-pollination," it's also possible that certain groups may see value in Scarborough's Kingston Road strip between Fallingbrook Road and Warden Avenue, Mr. Thom says. "They have keener noses about these things.
"Artists see rich urban grit before developers and gentrifiers can; they're often the ones that find cool bars."
Perhaps, in years to come, other pockets of inner-ring, 1950s suburbia — Caledonia Road, north and south of Lawrence Avenue West, Scarborough's former "golden mile of industry" along Eglinton Avenue East, or Progress Avenue near Highway 401 — will become viable options. And because these areas aren't subway-adjacent with spectacular views of the downtown skyline, they may resist gentrification for decades … perhaps forever.
Some artists may abandon Toronto altogether and head for what could become our version of Brooklyn. Hamilton, with its city amenities, expansive industrial areas and incredibly low real estate prices may blossom, says Mr. Thom. Unfortunately, since it's doubtful StatsCan will ever be able to track a massive art-brain-drain to Steeltown, Toronto may not notice until it's too late.
When it comes to "rich urban grit," the Rust Belt is king. Artists and other creative types who come to Pittsburgh often complain that this urban backwater just doesn't have all the amenities they have come to love and found in their previous location (e.g. NYC). But as the community grows, needs are soon filled:
Pittsburgh’s local writers are no exception. Its art community is steadily growing, and new venues for the artsy, eclectic, and uber-talented are popping up all over the City of Steel. Where there once was a shortage of places the aforementioned creative bohemian crowd could gather and get inspired, share and discuss books and art, and write and create, there are now a number of establishments to choose from. Below are two of Pittsburgh’s best kept secrets.
Pittsburgh is a difficult city to get to know. That is a big part of its charm. Artists from other places are just beginning to discover these mysteries. "Developers and gentrifiers" are sure to follow. If you are eying Lawrenceville, then you are too late. The neighborhood hopscotch has already begun (Greenfield seems to be the new hot spot).
As Pittsburgh goes down the road Toronto has already traveled, what might emerge as the next Hamilton? Youngstown.