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What started in Vancouver, Canada’s scenic outpost in the west, has now enveloped Toronto. Housing affordability crises of historic proportions now plague both cities.
The warning signs were all there, even for casual observers. To their credit, certain mainstream media outlets saw this unfolding, and posted sentries to report back to central Canada – Kathy Tomlinson of the Globe and Mail comes to mind. But political leaders in the heart of Canada remained either unaware or craven and timid in their reaction. Worse, some political authorities from the “centre” tried to silence the obvious alarm bells ringing in Vancouver – insinuating in various ways that West Coasters were just a bunch of xenophobes or racists.1
But the concerns of Vancouverites were not a figment of their imagination. They were all too real. A wave of capital from abroad, primarily from China, was entering the Vancouver real estate market and driving prices skywards. And so now Toronto has joined the housing bubble club, as Vancouver put up a flimsy shield only to see some of that foreign capital bounce off it and ricochet east – and toward Seattle and Victoria.
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