The multi-storey Bike Hanger from Manifesto Architecture

The multi-storey Bike Hanger is designed to fit on the sides of high rise buildings.  Created with cycling commuters in mind,  it was shown at Korea’s Gwangju Design Biennale.  Manifesto Architecture, http://www.mfarch.com

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(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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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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‘Edward Hopper, Untitled’ – from The New Yorker, September 12, 2011

Solitude and big city loneliness are portrayed in this work – ‘Solitary Figure in a Theatre’ (1902) – by American painter Edward Hopper.  It’s in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.  Linda Pastan’s poem ‘Edward Hopper, Untitled’ appeared in the September 12 issue of The New Yorker.

“An empty theatre: seats
shrouded in white
like rows of headstones;
the curtain about to rise
(or has it fallen?)
on a scene
of transcendental
silence.

And the audience?
A solitary figure sheathed
in black, a woman
in a hat perhaps
(more abstract
shape than woman)
sitting alone
in the cavernous dark.

This is quintessential Hopper—
cliche of loneliness
transformed by brushstroke
into something part paint,
part desperation.
‘Oil on board,’ the label says,
as if even a tree
had to be sacrificed.”

—Linda Pastan, The New Yorker, 09/12/2011