You know you’re almost downtown when BMW’s 30 x 60 foot ‘matchbox car’ display comes into view. The BMW Building is positioned on 10-acres overlooking the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway interchange.  Resting on the original steel frame from its soap factory days, with an additional heavy steel frame to support the machineries, the rebuilt structure glistens in the TORONTO night.The building was updated and redesigned by QUADRANGLE ARCHITECTS LIMITED.


THEATRES14TORONTO has a habit of turning empty real estate into something altogether different.  Case in point: a defunct store at 955 Bloor Street West is now home base for the Red One Theatre Collective and guest companies.  This fall, six shows will be staged there.  The Storefront is one of 30-plus small theatres scattered around the central city.  For the adventurous theatre-goer, check The Storefront Theatre website: http://www.redonetheatre.com/storefront-theatre/


potteryrd-lookbothways-p1120044The Pottery Road Pedestrian Crossing is part of a larger project to provide interpretation, accessibility, and environmental control for Crothers’ Wood.  This is one of the few remaining fragments of Carolinian forest in both TORONTO and throughout Canada.  The site is part of the City of TORONTO’s Terrestrial Natural Heritage System along the East Don River Valley.

potteryrd-1120001The area is under pressure from its urban location, with a dangerous crossing at Pottery Road, and heavy usage by bikers, hikers and walkers.  PLANTArchitect Inc.http://www.branchplant.com – took matters in hand.  They designed a network of shelter kiosks, benches, registry markers and pathways that create a more formalized experience of the site while also protecting its fragile conditions.  For their efforts, the company received an Urban Design Award/2013.


PMA LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS win an Urban Design Award/2013 for 8 nifty parkettes

DUNDAS1   Eight streetside parkettes along Dundas Street West, between Lansdowne and Dovercourt, were awarded a 2013 Urban Design Award – Small Open Spaces category.  The City of Toronto and the Dundas Street West BIA sponsored the project, and PMA Landscape Architectshttp://www.pmalarch.ca – did the work.



TORONTO’s love affair with streetcars means tearing up and putting down tracks

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) operates the most extensive streetcar network in the Americas, with brand new cars arriving in 2014.  Tearing up and putting down tracks is nothing new around here.  York Street at Adelaide in the Financial District is one of the latest rebuilding sites.

STREETCARS1<PHOTOS BELOW – City of Toronto Archives> 1) Rebuilding tracks at the intersection of Spadina Avenue & College Street, 1930’s  2) Digging up tracks on Yonge Street for subway construction, 1950’s>



St. Michael’s Cathedral, 65 Bond Street, gets its face washed

Layers of city grime are being removed from one of TORONTO’s most beautiful churches.  ST. MICHAEL’S CATHOLIC CATHEDRAL, originally built in 1845-48 by William Thomas, is an example of the English Gothic Revival style of architecture.  The Cathedral, in the centre of downtown, has undergone two major renovations: the completion of the tower and spire in 1865-67 by Gundry and Langley, and the addition of dormers by Joseph Connolly in 1890.  <SUNSET PHOTO BELOW – Skeezix1000/Wikipedia>



St. Michael’s Choir School and St. Michael’s Hospital are close by.

American rapper, EARL SWEATSHIRT, says “Toronto is like a city of grandmas”

I’m sure he meant well.  EARL SWEATSHIRT (whose legal name is Thebe Neruda Kgositsile) describes TORONTO as a “city of grandmas” in the New York Times Magazine, Sunday, September 15.  He goes on to say that the rapper DRAKE (a Torontonian) is “grandma nice.  Drake loves moms.”



NOW Magazine, a TORONTO success story, celebrates 32 years of speaking its mind

On September 10, 1981, a brave, new voice appeared in TORONTO’s publishing world.  In a city, then with 3 major dailies, NOW Magazine edged its way into the marketplace, found an audience, and has never looked back.  This paper is not part of a chain.  It speaks its mind and always puts TORONTO first.


From the publishers . . .  “NOW Magazine has emerged as the largest, most successful alt newsweekly in North America, and maybe the world, with a circulation of 110,000 copies and 409,000 readers weekly, and over 1.5 million monthly total views online at http://www.nowtoronto.com  Beyond that, NOW remains steadfastly independent, a handmade media company still owned and operated by Alice Klein and Michael Hollett.   “Sure, we’d like to take some credit, but a part of our great good fortune has been to operate in one of the most dynamic and exciting cities on the planet. Even as we find ourselves enduring the folly of a disastrous mayor, this city’s engaged citizens refuse to give up, continuing to fight to preserve and develop the remarkable experiment in urbanism that is TORONTO —  the envy of the world.“With over 150 cranes in the sky, TORONTO is a city that loves living downtown – or coming here to play. Our retail isn’t buried in chains but features a dynamic mix of independent outlets, stand-alone businesses like NOW Magazine itself.   “Thank you, Toronto. It continues to be our pleasure to serve you all.”
Alice Klein – Editor/CEO – @aliceklein
Michael Hollett – Editor/Publisher – @m_hollett

Andrew Owen (A01) depicts a multiplicity of persona and a range of moods

As a professional artist, and a pioneer public art producer, ANDREW OWEN (A01) was one of the first to recognize the value of street art in 1980’s TORONTO.  His projects – paintings, photo-based works and pieces made from repurposed materials – have been shown in Vancouver, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the Republic of China.  He lives and works in TORONTO and VANCOUVER.  You’ll find some of Andrew’s public photo-based works in the Spadina Avenue/Kensington Market area.