PARKDALE IS A MICROCOSM OF TORONTO ITSELF

PARKDALE14PARKDALE is roughly 1 square kilometre, bounded by Roncesvalles Avenue, Dufferin Street, Queen West and King West.
This is a neighbourhood which has seen plenty of ups-and-downs.  It seems to be on an upward spiral now, thanks to the art/coffee house/antique/nightclub scene – and condos are right on the border.

PARKDALE is one of the few places in old TORONTO where you have any hope of buying a reasonably priced Victorian townhouse or mansion, or renting an affordable artist’s studio or loft.

PARKDALE’s demographic includes a high proportion of low income and newcomer families, as well as high income new immigrants, hipsters, many artists, musicians and young professionals.

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REMEMBERING THE BILTMORE – A YONGE STREET FIXTURE FROM 1948 TO 1982

BILTMORE1                 The BILTMORE, 319 Yonge Street, was one of three downtown cinemas known for showing double and triple bills for a modest admission price. The others were the Downtown and the Rio – all within a few metres of each other. The BILTMORE was constructed by the wealthy OKUN brothers, who’d made their fortune selling ladies hats under the Biltmore label.

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This flagship theatre had 916 seats, 300 in the balcony – interior photo http://www.localfilmcultures.ca – and sat on land now occupied by a large shopping centre and a multiplex of 26 movie screens.

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<EXTERIOR PHOTOS – City of Toronto Archives>

FRUSTRATED TORONTO BIKE RIDERS FIGHT ILLEGAL PARKERS WITH NEON-GREEN STICKERS

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It’s a war out there as TORONTO cyclists battle for their piece of city streets with pedestrians, streetcars, construction vehicles, delivery vans – and drivers who park in bike lanes. Following the lead of Germany, Australia, Singapore and the US, a green ‘parked in bike lane’ sticker program is underway.

The stickers are available, 20 to a roll, for $5 at http://instagram.com/iparkedinabikelane

STREETCAR DEVELOPMENT’S PLAN TO RAISE RIVERSIDE’S PROFILE – DOWNTOWN EAST SIDE

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RIVERSIDE has many things going for it – easy access to TORONTO’s freeway system; two intersecting streetcar lines; Victorian-era architecture; housing ranging from $-million homes to subsidized apartments; fab downtown views; one-of-a-kind restaurants, bistros, and coffee bars; a popular music venue; an active BIA and community centre, and plenty of greenery.

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STREETCAR DEVELOPMENTS, based in Riverside, has acquired 4.5 acres on the south side of Queen Street East, between the Don River and Broadview Avenue, for a new, mixed-use community of condos, retail, and a public square. RIVERSIDE SQUARE <rendering above> will consist of 4 buildings of different heights, taller near the centre, stepping down to four storeys along Queen Street East.

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STREETCAR would like to see a 3.5-acre park within the circular Eastern Avenue/Don Valley Parkway on-ramp. This park would connect to a new cross-river pedestrian and cycle path linking Riverside to Corktown on the Don’s west bank.

SUNDAY’S NEW YORK TIMES BIDS ‘FAREWELL’ TO MAYOR ROB FORD – SEPTEMBER 21/2014

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Canadian writer and artist BRUCE McCALL has written a column in this week’s Sunday Review section of the New York Times about TORONTO’s ailing mayor, ROB FORD.

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“Farewell, Rob Ford” begins with a reference to a painting by American artist PAUL CADMUS exhibited at the Canadian National Exhibition in 1950. Then-mayor of TORONTO, the Honourable Hiram E. McCallum, was scandalized by “Sailors and Floozies”, which depicted seamen cavorting with strumpets in New York’s Riverside Park.

<In the early fifties TORONTO was a city of churches with “no Sunday shopping, no drinking, no movies, no sports – no nothing. The other six days were no jamboree either,” writes Bruce McCall. “By the third millennium, that stony bastion of Protestant piety lay as buried and forgotten as ancient Troy.”>

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The came 2010 and the election of ROB FORD as mayor of the Queen City <painting above by SPUD – “Rob Ford’s engine pulling the gravy train”> . . .

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But now, in the middle of his re-election campaign, MAYOR ROB FORD has been stricken with a rare form of malignant cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy at Mount Sinai Hospital. The outpouring of best wishes in his battle against the disease from friend and foe alike has been impressive.

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Mayor Ford has quit the mayoral race, but will run for city council in Ward 2 – illness permitting. And TORONTO will lose its “renegade Canadian churl who got and held the attention of millions of Americans who had always seen their northern neighbour as a nation of Dudley Do-rights.” – BRUCE MCCALL

Illustration – Mayor Rob Ford, Graham Roumieu – http://www.roumieu.com

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