‘NASH THE SLASH’ (1948-2014) IS NO LONGER WITH US, BUT HE SURE MADE HIS MARK

JEFF PLEWMAN made quite the impression when dressed up as his alter-ego, ‘Nash The Slash’ – a Toronto eccentric if there ever was one.  A multi-instrumentalist, Jeff could play the electric violin, mandolin, harmonica, keyboards and the glockenspiel. But, like many baby boomers, he decided after 40 years enough was enough. He took off the surgical tape, shut down his official website, thanked his loyal fans, and bid them adieu. Jeff passed away at the fairly young age of 66. Among other things he founded one of Canada’s first independent labels (Cut-Throat Records), was one of the first to use a drum machine on an album, and sued Pepsi-Cola for stealing his image. He created a complex blend of new wave, New Age and punk rock in the 1970’s. He also composed soundtracks for silent films and collaborated with painter Robert Vanderhost on a series fusing surrealistic visuals with classic music stylings.  Jeff came out as a gay man in 1998.  He was indeed one-of-a-kind.

SIDEWALK LABS ARE GONE, REPLACED BY ANOTHER ‘QUAYSIDE WATERFRONT OPPORTUNITY’

<Rendering above – possible vision of a full view looking North West. Credit: Standard Practice>  Waterfront Toronto has announced a shortlist of Proponents for the City’s Quayside Development Opportunity. Several shortlisted teams are competing with their designs for this 12-acre parcel of land on Toronto’s waterfront. . . . .  From Waterfront Toronto – “The number and quality of submissions is a clear indication that Toronto’s waterfront remains a desirable development destination, and that Quayside can and will contribute to the province’s post-pandemic recovery,”

AIR CANADA HAS HAD A ROUGH RIDE LATELY, BUT SEEMS TO BE REGAINING ALTITUDE

Things are looking brighter for Canada’s National Airline, and many of us will be relieved. Air Canada has brought back service to 50 Canadian cities, and will fly 55 U.S. routes to 34 destinations this summer, penciling in as many as 220 daily cross-border trips. The service has already flown about 10,000 all-cargo flights and plans to make them permanent. As well, with help from the federal government, Air Canada has refunded almost $1-billion in airfares in the second quarter for cancelled trips, and expects to give back $200-million more in the third. The company will adjust its seat capacity according to demand, along with recalling employees and increasing the number of take-offs and landings.  So it seems we can depend once again on the “flying maple leaf”.

“IMAGINE YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE IN CANADA” – POPPED UP IN SATURDAY’S GLOBE AND MAIL

This promo could very well be from The Globe, Canada’s National Newspaper, or maybe some other aspect of tourism. But the message is sound. Edited quote: “Most of us have spent more time at home than we ever thought we would. As restrictions ease and the time comes to travel again, remember your other home – Canada. Look at it with new eyes. Explore city after city after city. Discover infinite opportunities to make new memories with family and friends. Unplug and unwind, because we all need some of both. Find cultures, both unique and familiar, woven into the fabric of who we are. Spend time in this Canadian home that isn’t framed by four walls, but instead by three coasts. Our country is ready to be experienced and enjoyed by all – no matter where we’re from.” – OH! Ross and I decided to explore two parts of Toronto that we’d heard of, but haven’t seen. First up – ‘THE WELL’, an enormous city-within-a-city.  <Photo above by Ross Winter> It’s going up non-stop, bordering Wellington, Spadina and Front Streets. Several development companies and architects are there at work and have been for some time. The finished project will contain a 36-storey office tower, six residential buildings, and 432,000 ft² of retail space. When finished something like 690,000 cubic metres of rocks and mud will have been trucked away. The excavation will reach a depth of 23 metres (75 feet). You can now wander around and enjoy what’s happening – ideal if you’re into architecture and construction.  From THE WELL, walk west toward the Bathurst Bridge, cross Bathurst Street, and you’re near “STACKT”. “STACKT” – a container market and cultural space. There you’ll find pop-up shops, food and beverage vendors, and an onsite brewery, mixed in with courtyards, pedestrian paths and open spaces for community programming and events – everything’s there. We really enjoyed being inside, and eating some of the best ice cream anywhere. The CN Tower isn’t far away.  <Photo above by Ross Winter> STACKT’s physical structure can be picked up and moved elsewhere – in a different configuration – on a future site and/or date. The genius behind this project, leaves the site unscathed. Finding parking space can be a challenge, but once you’re parked, enjoy wandering. Both Spadina Avenue and Bathurst Street have easy-to-reach public transit.  We spent most of an afternoon in THE WELL and STACKT.  Our plan is to come back real soon for more ice-cream.

THE RIVERDALE BRANCH OF THE TORONTO PUBLIC LIBRARY OPENED ON OCTOBER 19, 1910.

Riverdale was the last of four branches constructed with a $350,000 grant financed in 1903 by Andrew Carnegie. The branch was constructed of red brick with white Ohio sandstone trim at a cost of $24,174. Located at the “great transfer corner” where Broadview Avenue meets Gerrard Street East, as well as two streetcar lines. It’s one of the first to use the “open shelf” system, allowing visitors to browse around themselves, and one of the first Canadian libraries to use radial open stacks. From the entrance, Library staff can monitor reading rooms. the opened front door, and the stacks.

EARLIEST KNOWN PHOTOS OF TORONTO TAKEN FROM THE ROSSIN HOUSE HOTEL IN 1856 OR 1857

This five-part panorama is from the City of Toronto Archives. <Osgoode Hall is in the upper left corner>.<Photogaphers – Armstrong, Beere and Hime.> It’s possible that these pictures were intended to accompany Toronto’s submission to the Colonial Office to promote its selection as capital of the Province of Canada. In the end, Queen Victoria chose OTTAWA to be Canada’s capital. <ABOVE – The developing city from York Street to Bay Street along King Street West.>

ST. ANNE’S ANGLICAN CHURCH & THE GROUP OF SEVEN PAINTERS, 270 GLADSTONE AVE.

On the outside St. Anne’s Anglican Church, 270 Gladstone Avenue, is rather grim, but inside it’s another story. In 1923, the painter, J.E.H. MacDonald, assembled a group of Canadian artists (unfashionable in church circles at the time), including Fred Varley, Frank Carmichael, other members of the famous Group of Seven, and sculptors Frances Loring and Florence Wyle.  Together they created more than a dozen large paintings, decorative medallions and reliefs of the four evangelists. Combined with the building’s vaulted roof and central dome in the Byzantine Greek Cross style, and stained glass from the original church on Dufferin Street, St. Anne’s became a sight to behold.  As it is to this day. The 154-year-old building is Canada’s only Byzantine Revival Anglican church. It’s patterned after ISTANBUL’s Hagia Sophia, and in 1998 was designated a National Historic Site. St. Anne’s has regular Sunday services, or you can arrange individual or group tours through the church office.

HOW GREAT IT IS TO SEE ‘THE ONE’ TAKING SHAPE WHERE YONGE MEETS BLOOR STREET

What will be here sometime soon, Canada’s tallest residential building is occupying one of the best locations in Toronto. Designed by the U.K.’s Foster + Partners, with developer Sam Mizrahi, the building will rise 1,014 feet (85 storeys), and occupy a large piece of Downtown prime real estate. It will also be Canada’s first super tall skyscraper (300+ m) defined by ‘The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’.  As of September/2020 75% of the apartments were already sold. The first 18 storeys include restaurants, event spaces, two major retailers and a luxury Hyatt hotel, under its boutique brand Andaz. The residential section will have a total of 416 units. Four penthouses will be up there, along with four storeys of parking underground. The structure will connect with the Bloor-Yonge subway station and the underground walkway system – a smaller version of the PATH network. An Apple Store is expected to be the anchor tenant of The One. <Photos – looking north and south, July 18, 2021>

ONCE YOU SAW THEM – NOW YOU DON’T. CONSTRUCTED – 1978; DEMOLISHED BY 2010

The Sanzhi (UFO), reminiscent of a flying saucer were a set of abandoned and never completed pod-shaped buildings in the Sanjhih District of New Taipei, Taiwan. They were intended as a vacation resort and were marketed towards American military officers who’d be coming off their East Asian postings. However, the project was never completed by1980 due to investment losses, several car accident deaths, and suicides during construction. By 2010, all of the UFO houses had been demolished, and the site was to be converted into a commercial seaside resort and water park.