TORONTO named “Youthful City of the Year/2014”

2498665640_c5ea7ae6d0_bYouthful Cities is an organization that helps youth build better cities.  From an index of 25 of the world’s most ‘youthful cities’, TORONTO is number one.  The Youthful Cities Index takes the top cities and rates them on 16 aspects of daily life, including economic status and culture.  Youth is classed from 15-29 and over 1,500 participants helped compile the index.  BERLIN and NEW YORK CITY came in a close second and third respectively.  LONDON was in 7th place, and second for its diversity.  It leads the European region in environmental sustainability.

YOUTH2<PHOTO ABOVE – National Ballet of Canada/Bruce Zinger> . . . . .  ROBERT BARNARD, co-founder of Youthful Cities says:“TORONTO has a lot of assets when it comes to youth.  It’s the number one city when it comes to diversity.  TORONTO also scores second in music and film, after BERLIN . . . One of the things we’re looking at is the bike rental program.  If city council had cancelled the (BIXI) bike program there is a possibility that TORONTO would not have won.”

ARTSCAPE YOUNGPLACE opens to the public in the West Queen West Arts District

ARTSCAPE1A huge de-accessioned school building has been reborn as a 75,000 square foot artspace in the west end.  It’s been a long time coming – over six years – but this not-for-profit project is now leasing studio space to arts groups and individual artists at below market value rents, in a rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood.

ARTSCAPE2Among the groups moving in this week: SKETCH working arts; the Luminato Festival; Koffler Gallery; the Centre for Indigenous Theatre; Paperhouse Studio; Intergalactic Arts Collective; and the Small World Music Centre.

ARTSCAPE4ARTSPACE YOUNGPLACE (which takes its name from the Michael Young Family Foundation, a major donor) joins other artist-friendly centres across TORONTO – the Distillery District, Regent Park, 401 Richmond, the Gladstone and Drake hotels, and the Wychwood Barns.  Artscape’s main goal is to find studio space in the central city for the thousands of artists displaced by development.  Artspace Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street, between Queen and Dundas, is open to the public daily from 8am to 5pm



GREENWOOD4As winter blows in, East End kids have a brand new $3.4-million sheltered ice rink and skatepath to check out.  This past weekend, hundreds of kids and grownups laced up their skates and did precisely that.  The rink, which features new change rooms and an elegant rooftop, is one of several improvements made recently to Greenwood Park.  The Friends of Greenwood, who pushed hard for the park upgrade, can take a well-deserved bow.  Funding came from TORONTO’s ‘state of good repair and cash-in-lieu developer’s fund’<PHOTO BELOW – Blogto>


REMEMBERING Toronto’s SYDNEY NEWMAN, as “Dr. Who” is celebrated around the world

DR.WHO1DR.WHO2November 23/2013 was the 50th anniversary of the “Dr. Who” phenomenon – the television series initiated by Canada’s SYDNEY NEWMAN.  In 1952 Mr. Newman joined the infant CBC Television in TORONTO as Supervising Director of Features, Documentaries and Outside Broadcasts.  He produced some of the earliest live broadcasts of “Hockey Night in Canada”.  CBC made him Supervisor of Drama Production in 1954, where he oversaw shows such as the popular “General Motors Theatre”.  Several of his teleplays were shown on BBC television in the UK.

DR.WHO3In the late 1950’s Mr. Newman moved to the United Kingdom, working first for the ABC, and then joining the BBC in 1962.  There he developed two hugely popular television series – “The Avengers” and “Dr. Who”, which celebrates its 50th anniversary with a special round-the-world telecast shown in 180 countries.  Toronto-born SYDNEY NEWMAN went on to become “the most significant agent in the development of British television drama” (according to the Museum of Broadcast Communications).  “For ten brief but glorious years, Sydney Newman … was the most important impresario in Britain” (The Guardian newspaper/wikipedia)


My PARIS VACATION: re-visiting the Eiffel Tower for the 10th time

EIFFEL1How would you describe GUSTAVE EIFFEL’s architectural masterpiece in 35 words or less?  TORONTO communication strategist and writer LOUANN BUHROWS manages to do so in 32.  Originally her poem was a celebration of TORONTO’s Second Empire style George Brown House on Beverley Street, but it fits the Eiffel Tower to a “T”.The beauty of your lines,
Your curves, draws me
You arch over me
An infinite grace
Carved in exultation
I reach out with my eyes
As you induce me
Achingly beyond touch.





TOLLKEEPER1In the 1800’s private companies were contracted to build, improve and maintain roads in (what was then called) Upper Canada.  This was costly, so to pay for upkeep, all users were charged a small toll.  A tollkeeper’s cottage – the oldest survivor anywhere in Canada – was discovered in 1993 attached to a house in the Davenport/Bathurst Street neighbourhood.  <PHOTO ABOVE – cottage when discovered, with original window intact, 1996>


TOLLKEEPER3In 1996 the Community History Project rescued the cottage and transported it to a temporary location inside the Toronto Transit Commission’s Wychwood Barns site.  A Tollkeeper’s Fund was setup while volunteers searched for a permanent site.  <PHOTOS ABOVE – Cottage transported to the TTC Wychwood Barns<PHOTOS BELOW – volunteers apply replacement clapboard with handmade nails; cedar roof goes on; chimney rebuilt with handmade bricks, 2002/2003>



TOLLKEEPER7The Cottage was eventually moved to 750 Davenport Road, where it sits today, surrounded by its very own namesake park.  Additions were made to the rear of the building, providing space for a museum and interpretive centre.  The Cottage is a block or so from the very unique Wychwood Park neighbourhood.  <PHOTO BELOW – Opening Day, July 1, 2008For background info and museum opening times:



GARDINER6The Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Arts is the only one in the country devoted entirely to ceramics.  Founded in 1984 to house the collection of George and Helen Gardiner, the permanent collection contains over 3,000 pieces – work from the Ancient Americas, Italian Renaissance, English Delftware, European, Chinese and Japanese porcelain.


Designed by Keith Wagland, and renovated in 2005-06 by KPMB Architects, the Museum is easily recognized by a large, untitled sculptured head on the forecourt.  This was created from glazed ceramic, galvanized steel by JUN KANEKO, and installed a couple of months ago.


The museum shop is one of the best in the city, ‘star’ chef JAMIE KENNEDY has opened a restaurant on the top level; memberships and attendance are on the rise, so it seems all is well at the corner of Bloor Street West and Queen’s Park.


The Necropolis, 1850, is one of Toronto’s oldest cemeteries

TORONTO’s “city of the dead”, the Necropolis, covers 7 treed hectares (roughly 18 acres) in the centre of Cabbagetown at 200 Winchester Street . . . . . . . Among those buried here: William Lyon MacKenzie (1795-1861), celebrated reformer; John Ross Robertson (1842-1918), journalist and philanthropist; Thomas D. Morrison (1796-1856), third mayor of Toronto; Senator John MacDonald (1824-1890); Edward Hanlan (1856-1908), World’s Champion Oarsman; George Paxton Young (1824-1890), philosopher and teacher; William Thomas Aikens (1827-1897), physician; the Honourable George Brown (1818-1880), journalist, one of the Fathers of Confederation.This memorial <PHOTO ABOVE> honours Peter Matthews and Samuel Lount, who died for political freedom and a system of responsible government.  They were among the ‘patriots of 1837’, hanged following a rebellion.  “Their minds were tranquil and serene; no terror in their looks were seen; their steps upon the scaffold strong.  A moments pause . . . their lives were gone.”Nearby <PHOTO ABOVE>, the gravesite of World Champion oarsman, EDWARD HANLAN.

The Gothic Revival chapel, built in 1872, is the oldest of 10 Commemorative Services properties in Ontario.  The Necropolis was Toronto’s second non-sectarian cemetery, replacing the Potter’s Field of Old York (in the area of today’s Yonge at Bloor Streets).  984 bodies were transported from Potter’s Field, where they were buried in a special section known as the “Resting Place of Pioneers”.  In 1933, the Necropolis Chapel opened Ontario’s first crematorium.