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Toronto vs. Barcelona: A tale of two very different cities

Toronto and Barcelona are both aiming for great-city status, but are going about it in a very different way. Yes we need private wealth and a dynamic economy, but shared wealth is what truly makes a good, healthy and happy life possible.

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By: Pierre Herman

What makes a city worth living in? The answer is certainly complex but what we know is that economic growth, high salaries and purchasing power alone won’t help a city make the grade. Dubai’s overnight success-in-a-desert isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, despite the allure of a jet-setting lifestyle.

In fact, if accompanying factors are strong enough to balance out the equation, a big pay-check might be dispensed with entirely.

So when comparing cities across the globe, where do we begin? Perhaps with the most polar opposite of examples.

There are few cities in the world so diametrically opposed, certainly in aesthetics but perhaps also in fundamental ethos, as Spain’s Catalan capital (my recently adopted home) and my former one, Canada’s financial and economic hub. At least that’s the impression I got when I came back to Toronto after a long sojourn in Barcelona.

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