Toronto has been popping out of the screen a lot recently. First of all, the City of Toronto, through its Open Data Portal, has released new “3D massing” layers that show the approximate 3D shape of every building, house, and structure in the city.

At a basic level, it’s fantastic to have a tidy, up-to-date 2D “building footprint” layer to use: torontomap1 torontomap2
But there’s also the 3D aspect. There are multiple versions, and I’m still trying to figure out how to render them properly using 3D software. For the meantime, this is all I’ve managed to produce, simply by using the “building height” attribute to extrude each building footprint:
torontomap3
torontomap4
There may also be a more detailed 3D file available, but as I said, I’m still working on that. In the meantime, there’s also newly released 3D imagery in Google Earth/Google Maps. To see it in your browser, go here. It has some pretty neat details:

city_hall
riverdale
U of T
The imagery seems to have been captured in spring or summer 2014, and it reflects a very specific version of the city. Above, the convocation tent at the University of Toronto’s St. George campus is half-erected. And below, you can see the beautifully landscaped Corktown Common park surrounded by the construction site where the Pan Am Games Athletes’ Village will be located:

corktown
There are some interesting artifacts from vehicles in motion, too. For example, the streetcars and other vehicles on Spadina Avenue appear as desaturated and blurry (but three-dimensional) ghosts:

spadina_streetcar
spadina_2
In a pinch, you could use this imagery as a stand-in for true aerial photography. Google Earth even offers a “photorealistic atmosphere rendering” option that really makes it look like you’re in a plane:
before_after1
before_after2

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