Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|latitude: 43.7180, longitude: -79.3762|
|Browse map of Toronto 43°43′04.80″ N, 79°22′34.32″ W|
|Use this template for your locality|
This page contains information relating to mapping activity that is specific to the city of Toronto, in Ontario, Canada. Toronto is the most populous city in Canada and is found on the shore of Lake Ontario.
See also: Canada
Spotlight on local data users
Know of a local user of OSM data? A newspaper, weather app, etc? Show people how their edits are making a difference in the real world by listing it here!
See Canada/Tagging guidelines for general guidelines also followed in Toronto.
Laneways, also known as alleys or lanes, were built in areas of Toronto built up roughly before 1945. They were used for accessing garages, driveways, service entrances, and loading docks.
Laneway or street?
Some streets can be quite narrow, and some lanes are wide enough for two cars to comfortably pass. As with anything in real life, there is no 100% rule, but here's what generally distinguishes a laneway in Toronto:
- There's generally no sidewalk on either side
- There's generally no street parking allowed on the laneway (all parking is on private property or on city parking lots abutting the laneway)
- Where a laneway crosses a sidewalk, the sidewalk generally continues (although there's a curb cut). In contrast, where sidewalks cross a narrow street, sidewalks are generally interrupted and car surface is continuous, at most a crossing is painted.
- Laneway houses: Most buildings fronting onto laneways are garages, or backs of buildings on the main street. Some laneways have one or few residential buildings that front only onto the laneway. These may now be increasing in numbers as zoning was altered in 2019 to make them easier to build in more places. As of 2023, generally a few laneway houses with no other changes to the laneway (width, sidewalks, other abutting uses) will not change a laneway into a residential street in OSM.
Some laneways have names, for example Milky Wayor Nanak Lane .
These names are assigned by the City Council and can be found in open data, for example in https://open.toronto.ca/dataset/toronto-centreline-tcl/ (in JOSM you can find them with query
FEATURE_CODE_DESC=Laneway -(LINEAR_NAME_FULL="Ln .*") once you switch "Search syntax" to "regular expression" in bottom left of the search dialog).
Lanes that haven't been assigned names have descriptions based on their location used to reference them in legal contexts, for example "Lane South Argyle East Beaconsfield" (meaning south of Argyle Street and east of Beaconsfield Avenue) or "Lane East Logan South Riverdale". These are also visible in open data (City's centreline data, and Geobase Roads).
Editors sometimes try to add these descriptions as names in OSM, aiming to have everything named, or perhaps aiming for "feature parity" with Google Maps which uses these as names. This has been discouraged by Toronto OSM editors for the following reasons:
- Unlike all other street names in Toronto, these descriptions are not posted on name signs in real life
- These descriptions are not used as names in real life
- If a reference to the lane is needed, people will use a description which might be similar to the one in open data, but will likely not be the exact one. For example "the laneway south of Queen Street, west of Spadina" or "the laneway behind Claremont Street"
- Some street names are descriptions, and that's OK! "Front Street" is a description (it was the front of the lake once), and so is "Lake Shore Boulevard". But they're also posted names, they're used in addresses, and real people actually use them as a street name.
- They make some uses of OSM worse:
- Because all other street names in Toronto are signed, users might be looking for a name sign for the lanes too
- If someone is looking to turn into a lane, it would be better to get a direction like "after 10 metres, turn left onto the unnamed alley" as an unnamed alley is what you would actually see in real life
- Routers might try to use these names as targets in situations where names of streets would be more appropriate. For example, as of mid-2023, Google gives instructions like "Head east on Wright Ave toward Lane 2 W Sorauren N Fern", but "toward Sorauren Ave" would be more useful, as it's shorter and more easily recognized
See also changeset 137428736 for a 2023 discussion of this topic.
City of Toronto Open Data
Although the city provides many open data sets, the Open Government Licence – Toronto is currently not compatible with OpenStreetMap's licence. The OSMF licensing working group was approached in March 2017 to review problems with the licence and suggest ways to find compatibility. Until these details have been resolved, users should not import data from the Toronto data portal.
Bing aerial imagery is generally considered the most accurate in terms of offset and lack of obliqueness in taller buildings. As of September 2023, the imagery seems to be from summer 2021. There are shadows to ENE (suggesting photos were taken around 5-6pm), and trees are in full leaf, obscuring some details below.
Esri World Imagery has a very good resolution. As of September 2023, the imagery seems to date to early 2021, perhaps March or April. There are shadows to north, suggesting photos were taken around noon, and deciduous trees have no leaves.
At some points in 2021 and 2022, Bing and Esri imageries were in almost perfect alignment. Currently, Esri appears to be shifted about half a metre north from Bing. Bing appears to be the more accurate alignment, or at the very least, it shifts less frequently.
Data quality and completeness
Like much of OpenStreetMap, data in the Greater Toronto area is quite variable, consistent in some places and very much in need of improvement in others. This section is intended as a guide to data users, and to editors trying to see how they can be most helpful.
Future Roads constructions
- On the Toronto construction projects wiki page you can find here a dedicated page that shows the future roads construction projects that are not yet finished, so that we can review them and add them to the map when the project it`s over.
- Streets are pretty thoroughly mapped, though there are some small alignment issues.
- Transit routes are fairly well mapped, though many lack stops, or at least stops that are included in the route relation. Old Public Transport Schema (PTv1) is generally used. See Toronto Transit Commission for routes in PTv2.
- Bicycle infrastructure, where exists, is fairly well mapped. Counterflow lanes ("yellow lanes", streets that are one-way for cars but two-way for bicycles) should be tagged oneway:bicycle=no + cycleway:left=lane + cycleway:right=shared_lane (as applicable).
- Passenger and freight rail.
- University campuses.
Areas that need improvement
- See OpenStreetMap.org Notes to find open questions and things needing improvement in the area (zoom in for more notes)
- Building coverage is good in strict downtown and some industrial areas. Some parts of the region have had buildings imported via Canada Building Import but this is not yet completed and paused as of February 2019 for discussions. Suggest not mapping much manually until import is either completed or cancelled.
- Condo boom has resulted in a lot of redevelopment proposals and considerable construction in the city. Many newly constructed buildings have been added, but more verification and updating is needed.
- Construction on Eglinton Avenue for w:Line 5 Eglinton results in many changes (street closures, station construction), some of which are temporary and some are not. Ongoing surveying and updating is needed.
- Landuses of various sorts are maybe halfway toward complete coverage in the area.
- Stores, restaurants, and other points-of-interest are rather incomplete and frequently outdated
- Shopping malls have very basic or no indoor walkway tagging, and smaller stores are often out of date
- Transit routes were updated around 2017 and need to be updated for network changes since then (branch renamings, reorganizations, express network). Many stops need to be added. Relations could be upgraded to New Public Transport Schema (PTv2). See Toronto Transit Commission for a list of route relations. The ones listed currently have been revamped and up to standard. In addition, see GO Transit, which is also lacking.
- Transit stations need to be tagged in more detail, particularly including accessibility infrastructure (elevators, etc) where exists. New GO Bus Terminal needs to be mapped ASAP.
- Sidewalks were partially mapped mostly in central Toronto around 2008-2012. This was done coarsely, usually in very long straight ways, without separate tags for footway=crossing or curving around corners near larger intersections, and so can be refined. Smaller streets often don't have sidewalks mapped. Some sidewalk stubs were drawn then abandoned.
- User:Jarek Piórkowski would recommend mapping entire large blocks (not just one street), making sure to map connections with existing sidewalks and crossing (the map should be useful as well as pretty), and setting sidewalk=separate on streets that have sidewalks drawn separately. Mapping sidewalks on smaller streets presents routing challenges since those are often easy to cross at any point, but sidewalks as separate ways hide that information from the router. Consider sidewalk=both (or left/right) for street ways, instead of separate sidewalk ways. If mapping as separate ways, any intersection with a street with stop or yield sign is a crossing, even if not marked (TODO double-check legal position in Ontario).
- PATH, the underground pedestrian system, is substantially mapped (access=permissive?) and access hours are not often clear. Most stores in the PATH are also not mapped. ) but presents a challenge as much of access is a legal grey area (
- Speed Limits are outdated due to a Toronto-wide program to reduce speed limits called Vision Zero. A link to all the changes can be found here: https://www.toronto.ca/services-payments/streets-parking-transportation/road-safety/vision-zero/safety-measures-and-mapping/
Toronto Transit Commission
Many TTC routes are complete or nearly complete route relations as far as road segments go, but most of them are missing stops in those relations.
Roads (highway=*) that are accessible by TTC vehicles only are tagged with access=no or access=private and bus=yes. psv=yes is currently widely used but strictly speaking incorrect as it also includes taxis. Transit railways are generally not tagged with access restrictions. Several bus garages may still need detailed service roads added to allow accurate routing.
The positions of subway platforms are generally rather sketchy. Station access could use some serious improvement, namely the addition of proper entrance=*, highway=elevator, and highway=steps (with or without conveying=*) tags.
A Canada-wide building import was begun around December 2018 using a nationwide building dataset from StatsCan. The import was eventually halted due to a dispute on the talk-ca and imports mailing lists over a variety of issues including concerns about data quality and improper documentation of the import plan. Most of the data imported during this period effected the Greater Toronto Area and hundreds of thousands of buildings were imported in Toronto itself. Detailed statistics on Toronto's buildings and the building import can be found at Toronto/Statistics.
There is currently an effort underway to restart a Toronto building import with a renewed focus on documentation and data quality.
|Local user group|
|When:||~Monthly, frequently first Monday of month|
|Where:||usually C'est What pub, 67 Front Street East (map)|
|mailing list – archive|
Toronto OpenStreetMap users meet roughly once a month for discussion and refreshments. Check the Meetup page for details on the date and location.