McCaul, an ordinary street with an extraordinary landmark

It’s only a few blocks long, but McCaul Street has its share of interesting buildings and places to see.  It was named after JOHN McCAUL (1807-1887), a Dubliner, who moved to TORONTO in 1838, and went on to become the principal of Upper Canada College and president of the University of Toronto.  A devoted musician, JOHN McCAUL was also president of the Toronto Philharmonic Society from 1845-47.  Between Dundas and Queen Streets – St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, the Malabar Theatrical Costume Store, the Village Idiot Pub, the restaurants of Baldwin Street, Grange Park, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU).  ABOVE – OCADU’s Sharp Centre for Design.  Construction photo by David Richardson; Architect – Will Alsop.

“The City of Gears”, Bathurst & Queen Street West laneway

A huge piece of black and white comic book art grabs your attention in a nondescript laneway, east of Bathurst Street, north of Queen Street West.  Created by multi-talented artist, MIKE PARSONS, the metropolis is depicted as an ominous gear propelled by a sea of anonymous characters who work hard to feed the machine.

APATHY6MIKE has completed several solo exhibitions, and several hundred outdoor performances, as well as prestigious projects for the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Hudson’s Bay Company and Nuit Blanche.  He’s produced graphic novels, fashion designs, print editions and animated artworks.  The panorama image below is from “Virtual Metropolis”, a collaboration with video game programmer, MICHAEL PETERS.  Website: http://www.heyapathy.comAPATHY8

SHERIDAN alumni have contributed to 11 Oscar-nominated films in 4 categories!

The largest art school in Canada, Sheridan College’s Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design, has been producing top talent for film and television industries for more than 40 years.  This year, 60 alumni have contributed to 11 films nominated for Academy Awards in 4 categories.  Graduates of Sheridan Animation, based in suburban OAKVILLE, have worked on Brave, Life of Pi, Marvel’s The Avengers, Paranoman, Prometheus, The Hobbit, Paperman, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Wreck-It Ralph, and FrankenweenieOver the past four decades, graduates have made a big impact in HOLLYWOOD.  Sheridan College offers a wide range of programming – from animation to gaming, illustration to music theatre, photography to crafts and design . . . . . .

Toronto, Vancouver & Melbourne – where ‘densification’ is the way forward

TORONTO, the ugly ducking in this trio, is – nonetheless – a leader when it comes to densification.  Globe and Mail columnist Doug Saunders writes: “In September, I returned to Canada after living abroad for almost a decade, and was struck by the disappearance of those acres of cement emptiness (i.e. surface parking lots). TORONTO’s waterfront had become a wall of elegant glass housing towers, their tens of thousands of residents turning this former lonely wasteland into a thriving human community.”DENSITY3VANCOUVER has succeeded in preserving its liveability while rebuilding itself into a “thickly vertical city jammed with people and activity.  Its combination of high population density in cozy downtown neighbourhoods, intimate street life and popular public transit has become one of Canada’s leading exports.”  This city has become so successful that “Vancouverism” is now a synonym for rebuilding and intensifying city cores, as a way of fighting urban sprawl.

DENSITY2MELBOURNE, one of the planet’s most desirable places to live, has just released a report recommending more Vancouverism in suburbia as a way to improve liveability.  A parliamentary committee visited Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, London and Zurich, before recommending “a marketing campaign to encourage people to live near infrastructure, and financial incentives to spur on the building of higher-density housing in areas that are currently low-density.”  All three cities have compact, pricey, vertical centres with good public transport.  In some parts of the suburbs, it’s a different story.

LIVERPOOL puts 20 derelict houses up for sale @ $1.55 CAD each!

LIVERPOOL1<PHOTO – Mercury Press and Media>  LIVERPOOL, an admirable city in every respect, plans to sell off 20 derelict houses, in a bid to regenerate a downtrodden inner city neighbourhood.  Buyers must demonstrate that they’re willing and able to renovate the properties.  Demolition is a no-go.  “Coronation Street” anybody?

TORONTO’s ‘Third World’ bus terminal is in a good neighbourhood. So, relax.

BUS5Unlike most major cities, TORONTO’s Bus Terminal is right in the city centre, in a safe neighbourhood.  Day and night, public transport and taxi service is available.  The Terminal – now more than 80 years old – is woefully small; it’s been locked in on all sides by tall structures.  Several times a day, there are buses to Niagara Falls, Ottawa, Montreal, connections to all parts of Canada and the USA.  610 Bay Street, just north of Dundas West.  Subway stop – DUNDAS, and walk west one block.

BUS6<Overcrowded bus bays on Edward Street, PHOTO – SimonP/Wikipedia>  The way we were: back in the 1920’s and 30’s, coach travel was more ‘refined’ than it is today.  <PHOTO BELOW – City of Toronto Archives, Alfred Pearson>One Google critic says: “Quality Very good.  Compared to other comparable big-city bus terminals (Chicago, Denver, Cincinnati, Montreal, Seattle etc etc) this little old-fashioned station compared favorably.”

Mississauga’s Absolute Towers wins Architecture Daily award

MISSISSAUGA’s Absolute Towers has won Architecture Daily’s ‘Building of the Year – Housing Category’ Award/2013.  Designed by Beijing’s MAD Architects, the two shapely towers (dubbed the Marilyn Monroes) have become landmarks for TORONTO’s next-door-neighbour.