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Why is it always so windy at Yonge and Bloor?

Dear Urban Decoder: Why is it always so windy at Yonge and Bloor? I heard it has something to do with all the tall buildings. Is that true?

Over the past 20 years, wind-tunnel testing on scale models has repeatedly confirmed what denizens of boutique row already know: they’re smack dab in the middle of one of the city’s most gale-blasted locales. Yonge and Bloor’s heroically scaled (and heroically ugly) buildings are indeed to blame. Tall structures slice into high-altitude airstreams, funnelling them downward and sometimes doubling ground-level wind speed. On particularly blustery winter days, this can elevate gusts to well above 70 kilometres, considered to be at the upper level of pedestrian safety. Bloor and Avenue and Bloor and Bay are notably fierce turbulence zones, too, but the mother of all vortexes lies in a miserable pocket on the west side of Yonge, just north of Bloor. According to one study, aerodynamically challenged office towers on either side of the spot make it “uncomfortable for any activity,” even during the relative lull of summer.

Wondering about the waterfront? Curious about construction? Perplexed by politics? Ask the Urban Decoder a question here.

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