(Mayor) Rob Ford voodoo dolls: you don’t get much for $20 these days

COUNCILLOR ADAM VAUGHAN (Toronto Star, October 22/2011):  “I almost feel sorry for him, but he won’t listen.  It’s very hard to tell someone who thinks he knows everything that he doesn’t know anything.  He doesn’t have the creativity or the tolerance to govern.  It’s not going to happen.  He’s in over his head.  I’m not being uncharitable – he is what he is.  Rob Ford is a demolition expert; he’s a blunt force.  The issue is, how can we contain the damage.”

The old Don Jail (1862-65), revitalized, rebuilt, renovated (2011-12) . . .

TORONTO’s notorious old Don Jail, is undergoing a massive makeover.  Thanks to Bridgepoint Health and Diamond & Schmitt Architects, this Victorian-era structure will soon be the centrepiece of a new medical campus.

A 10 storey, 472 bed hospital is rising adjacent to the old jailhouse, which will eventually house the Bridgepoint Research Centre.  Inside – the jail’s rotunda is being restored; a tiled-over glass floor and the skylight are both being uncovered.

Plans are to bring all walkways, gargoyles and railings back to their original lustre.  INTERIOR PHOTOS BELOW – Kaori Furue http://www.torontoist.com

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Roncey (a.k.a. Roncesvalles Avenue) is a West End destination

STREETCAR1RONCESVALLES3The locals thought it would never be finished.  But a reconstructed Roncesvalles Avenue is now flourishing after a two year facelift.

Centre of the Polish community; home of the Revue Cinema; boulevard of numerous one-of-a-kind shops, restaurants and delis including the famous Hopgood’s Foodliner fish restaurant; the Film Buff shop; High Park is next door; birthplace of the first Canadian Sphynx Cat, the West End’s ‘Main Street’; reachable by three streetcar lines.

The King, Dundas and College streetcars all pass through the Roncesvalles neighbourhood.  Subway stop – DUNDAS WEST, and walk 3 blocks south.

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Toronto’s House of Industry is reborn. Queen Victoria would be highly amused.

Walking past 110 Edward Street on a sunny day, it’s hard to imagine this yellow brick building as a Dickensian “poor house”.  It was.

And in the mid-1800’s the surrounding neighbourhood looked like a remnant of a London slum.

In 1848 the Toronto House of Industry opened its doors to the unemployed, the homeless, orphans and abandoned children, immigrants – anyone who was down and out.  Food, fuel and a bed were provided in return for hard work.  (PHOTOS BELOW – Elizabeth and Elm Streets; the Dickensian neighbourhood; breaking rocks in return for food & shelter – City of Toronto Archives)

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The YWCA has transformed this block of downtown Toronto into a 300-unit affordable housing complex.  Primarily for women and women-led families, one building houses Aboriginal singles, couples and families.  Another, 150 affordable units and 100 supportive homes geared to income.  The original building is now headquarters for the YWCA with an auditorium, meeting rooms and a boutique.

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