A ONCE-UPON-A-TIME LOOK AT THE DANFORTH – FROM CITY OF TORONTO ARCHIVES

Until 1919 and the completion of the Prince Edward Viaduct, the DANFORTH was fairly isolated on the east side of the Don River Valley.  In 1888 the TORONTO Street Railway had established a streetcar line along Broadview Avenue to Queen Street East.  But the Viaduct (named in honour of King Edward VIII) immediately became the major link to the expanding city on the west bank.

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The Bloor-Danforth subway, which crosses the Don on the Viaduct, launched a major wave of home renovations and restoration all along the Danforth.  The line opened in 1966.

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<PHOTOS ABOVE – 1) Building the Prince Edward Viaduct, 1916  2) Coffee on the Danforth, 1934  3) Bank of Toronto – still exists – 1930  4) Grocery at Carlaw and Danforth, 1934  5) Used car lot, 1960’s  6) Collapsed pole Main Street at Danforth, 1926  6) Hillingdon streetcar terminus, south of Danforth, 1922>

THE DANFORTH MUSIC HALL, RESCUED FROM OBLIVION, SHINES LIKE NEVER BEFORE

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Built as the ALLEN DANFORTH in 1919, this former cinema at 147 Danforth Avenue has undergone numerous name changes, renovations, and re-purposings.  Miraculously it’s still with us, and today seems to be in better shape than ever.

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After a long run as a cinema, the Danforth became a music, concert and theatre venue.  The live shows kept on coming, while the building itself was deteriorating almost beyond repair.  After better seating and a new sound system were installed, bailiffs seized the property for non-payment of rent.  On December 1, 2011, the Danforth Music Hall re-opened under the ownership of Impressario Inc.  With its rebuilt interior and improved infrastructure, the Danforth Music Hall has been given a new lease on life.
Website: http://www.thedanforth.com

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The Danforth is one of several concert theatres scattered across TORONTO.  Others include the Phoenix on Sherbourne Street; the Opera House on Queen Street East; and Lee’s Palace on Bloor Street West.  <PHOTOS ABOVE – http://www.parkbench.comhttp://www.craftstudio.ca – City of Toronto Archives>

WATERFRONT TORONTO FIGHTS DIGITAL GRIDLOCK WITH A HIGH-SPEED, ‘OPEN ACCESS’ NETWORK

Thousands of residents now live and work in our downtown waterfront, with more arriving almost daily.  WATERFRONT TORONTO, in partnership with Beanfield (a local network provider) and IBM will soon be wiring this towering neighbourhood with a high-speed ‘open access’ network.  The so-called ‘smart city’ project, first of its kind in Canada, is about more than that.  Waterfront Toronto is looking for a developer to build a heavily wired, 350,000 square foot ‘innovation centre’ to service creative sectors such as animation, graphics and similar data-intensive applications.  The centre would be located adjacent to Corus Media on Queen’s Quay East.A UK study released last fall predicts the global ‘smart cities’ industry will be worth more than $400-billion by 2020.  <TOP PHOTO – flickr/Norman Maddeaux>

TORONTO LOOKS LIKE A BIG MONSTER IN DENIS VILLENEUVE’S NEW FILM “ENEMY”

ENEMY2TORONTO shows off its yellow sky/smoggy side in Denis Villeneuve’s new film “ENEMY”. Adapted from José Saramago’s novel “The Double”, the movie was shot here rather than in Brazil (the novel’s setting) with TORONTO doing its best to look ugly and forbidding.  JAKE GYLLENHAAL plays the lead.

DENIS VILLENEUVE: “TORONTO became an obvious choice very quickly, and honestly I never regretted it.  It’s a very cinematic city with tons of places (to shoot).

“We tried to keep it as this smoggy metropolis; sometimes it even looks like a big monster.  We were really lucky with the weather.  In the script, the sky was always grey and yellow, and it was like that while we were shooting.  One of the executives at Telefilm Canada said, ‘Maybe you went too far with the smog.’  We told him ‘Unfortunately this is real.’

“I had a budget for special effects but I didn’t have to add anything to those shots.  I was so happy about that.”

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ENEMY6DENIS VILLENEUVE was born in Trois-Rivières, Quebec.  His films have been selected by festivals in Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Sundance, Toronto and Telluride.

He has won more than 130 international awards, and his feature “Incendies” was nominated for a ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ Academy Award in 2011.

SUBURBS & EX-URBS TO BENEFIT WHEN TORONTO BECOMES A GLOBAL INNOVATION CENTRE

TORONTO will soon be one of four new global ‘Internet of Everything’ innovation centres.  California-based CISCO will be opening three other centres in BRAZIL, SOUTH KOREA and GERMANY.

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CISCO ‘IT’ Corporation is investing $100-million over the next 10 years to create a 15,000-square-foot space & new Canadian headquarters within Waterpark Place on Queens Quay between Bay and York Streets.  The company – world’s largest maker of computer networking equipment – has promised to invest up to $4-billion in the province of Ontario, and plans to create 1700 new jobs – potentially good news for laid-off BlackBerry workers in WATERLOO.  Deputy Mayor NORM KELLY: “Having [Cisco] here is going to help us compete in what’s going to be a fiercely competitive international environment.”  Mayor ROB FORD was not invited to the announcement presentation last Wednesday.

XTRA, TORONTO’S LGBT ‘little paper that could’, CELEBRATES ITS 30TH YEAR

XTRA4Through thick and thin Xtra, TORONTO’s LGBT gay and lesbian biweekly newspaper, has been publishing for three decades now.  President of Pink Triangle Press, KEN POPERT, writesfor three decades, the reassuring rhythm of Xtra’s publication matched the steady tempo of battles fought and mostly won.  On the 30th birthday of Xtra, after 30 years of progress, that awareness of our history authorizes us to formulate uncomfortable questions about the political weather: Is the temperature dropping?  Is winter coming?”  Website: http://www.dailyxtra.com

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TORONTO TOPS CANADA’S PUBLIC TRANSIT LIST; RATES HIGHLY AGAINST U.S. CITIES TOO

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TORONTO has one of North America’s finest public transit systems, at least according to Seattle-based Walk Scorehttp://www.walkscore.com – and the mounting cost of maintaining the TTC is uniquely funded from the fare box (70%) and city property taxes (30%).

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This is the first year that Walk Score has surveyed transit systems in Canada and the US.  Says co-founder MATT LERNER: “To have a great transit score you usually need to have a mix of rail and bus nearby. Toronto has a lot of neighbourhoods with a great transit score,” he said, adding the city has about 25 neighbourhoods that score more than 90, earning them the title ‘riders’ paradise. “The city really just has excellent transit.”  TORONTO has fared very well against US cities too, outscoring every one of them except NEW YORK and SAN FRANCISCO.The top three Canadian transit cities: TORONTO (score 78); MONTREAL (score 77); and VANCOUVER (score 74).

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PHOTOGRAPHER LUTZ DILLE (1922-2008) left a legacy of black-and-white images of TORONTO

The University of TORONTO has a varied and valuable collection of 5000 works of art.  1200 of them are installed throughout the University’s two campuses.  The collection is wide-ranging, from the Far East in the Cheng Yu Tung Library, to contemporary Canadian and Inuit art throughout the Rotman School of Management.  The collection also contains a sizable number of photographs, including several works by LUTZ DILLE.  A German-born photographer and filmmaker, Dille immigrated to Canada in 1951.  For thirty years he lived and worked in TORONTO, capturing street life, fashion and everyday people in black-and-white.  The images below are in the U of T Art Collection, and date from the mid-1950’s to the ’60’s.

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