Media Releases

IMFG paper compares the legacies of the Toronto and Montréal amalgamations

March 10, 2014

TORONTO, ON – A new paper from the Insti­tute on Munic­i­pal Finance and Gov­er­nance (IMFG) about the lega­cy of the amal­ga­ma­tions of Toron­to and Mon­tréal finds that the reforms cre­at­ed cities that are “too big, yet still too small.”

As both Toron­to and Mon­tréal emerge from local gov­er­nance crises, the paper looks back at anoth­er high­ly con­tentious peri­od in Canada’s two biggest cities. The advo­cates of amal­ga­ma­tion promised few­er politi­cians and more effi­cient gov­ern­ment. The provinces went ahead with the forced merg­ers despite fierce resis­tance from local com­mu­ni­ties.

Since then, the paths tak­en by both cities have been dif­fer­ent. Amal­ga­ma­tion stuck in Toron­to, where­as Mon­tréal expe­ri­enced ‘de-amal­ga­ma­tions’ and oth­er tumul­tuous reforms.

The paper looks at the impacts on costs, equi­ty among res­i­dents, local democ­ra­cy, and region­al coor­di­na­tion. The most sig­nif­i­cant lega­cy was cities that were “too big” to be local­ly respon­sive, “yet too small” to be able to coor­di­nate crit­i­cal met­ro­pol­i­tan ser­vices like tran­sit.

Part of IMFG’s Per­spec­tives series, the paper by IMFG Post-Doc­tor­al Fel­low Zachary Spicer is enti­tled “Too Big, Yet Still Too Small: The Mixed Lega­cy of the Mon­tréal and Toron­to Amal­ga­ma­tions.”

You can access the 7‑page paper here:
About the Insti­tute on Munic­i­pal Finance and Gov­er­nance (IMFG)
The IMFG is an aca­d­e­m­ic research hub and think tank that focus­es on the fis­cal and gov­er­nance chal­lenges fac­ing large cities and city-regions. It is locat­ed at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s Munk School of Glob­al Affairs.


For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact:

Zachary Spicer
Post-Doc­tor­al Fel­low
Insti­tute on Munic­i­pal Finance and Gov­er­nance
Tel: 416–999-2830