Monthly Archives: February 2015
AS BOTH LONDON & TORONTO RAPIDLY CHANGE, EVEN THE MIDDLE CLASS IS BEING SHUT OUT
LONDON, England is in a class by itself. The cost of housing there is staggering, and out of reach for regular folks. “What creativity can there be when only money can buy you your next opportunity?” asks a filmmaker who’s not just leaving the city, but the country. Communication design lecturer REBECCA ROSS is heading a billboard project stating LONDON’s increasing unaffordability in black and white.
<PHOTOS – Duarte Carrilho da Graça>
TORONTO has just been named “the income inequality capital of Canada” in a United Way study released on February 27. Drawing on a growing body of research on income disparity, the report warns TORONTO’s growing divide could dampen social mobility, weaken community bonds and undermine economic stability. Some other cities in the same boat: San Francisco, New York City and Vancouver. They stand accused of declaring war on the middle class.
BRITISH TABLOIDS HAVE A JOLLY GOOD LAUGH AT SUBURBAN NEWMARKET’S HEALTH CENTRE
TORONTO IS BLESSED WITH 5 EXCELLENT CONCERT HALLS & ONE IS GETTING A $135-MILLION MAKEOVER
It’s the right size, acoustics and ambience are A+, and it boasts history in spades. MASSEY HALL, ‘the old lady of Shuter Street’ is about to undergo a 7-year $135-million makeover from loading docks to more comfortable seating, to uncovering theatre boxes and stained glass windows, increased administrative and lobby space, new washrooms, handicapped access, and the red brick exterior itself. The goal, according to Massey chief executive CHARLES CUTTS is to “change nothing, improve everything.”
Who’s appeared on Massey Hall’s famous stage? – Enrico Caruso (twice); Gordon Lightfoot (annually), George Gershwin (playng his ‘Rhapsody in Blue’); boxer Jack Dempsey; the New Symphony Orchestra (renamed the Toronto Symphony); conductor Igor Stravinsky; Ella Fitzgerald; Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bob Dylan, Luciano Pavarotti, Rush, the 14th Dalai Lama; the musical ‘Cats’; Neil Young; Justin Bieber, Loretta Lynn, Bruce Springsteen, and on and on.
All of this is being made possible because both the federal and provincial governments have chipped in, as well as the Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank. Developers of the adjacent Massey Tower have donated a key piece of property at the rear of the Hall.
For a history of Massey Hall in point form go to http://www.masseyhall.com/mh_history
TORONTO RACKS UP RECORD NUMBERS OF COMPLETED CONDOS & HOTEL BOOKINGS IN 2014
10,368 condominium apartments were completed in Greater TORONTO last month. That’s 8 times more than the average of the past decade. Most of the completed units were pre-sold, but the increase raised the number of unsold apartments to a 21-year-high of about 1,600 units, according to BMO. Demand for TORONTO-area condos remains high. CMHC numbers show a spike in first-time buyers in the GTA choosing condominiums in 2014 – around 29% in 2014, up from 13% ten years ago.
TORONTO’s convention industry is booming again, and this has led to increased hotel bookings – 640,000 hotel room nights from conventioneers alone. In the past two years, TOURISM TORONTO has added part-time sales agents in China and India, supplementing full-time offices in Washington DC, Chicago, Ottawa and Mississauga. According to the New York Times, the projected number of American visitors to Canada will number 12,500,000 in 2015 – second only to Mexico as a destination. TORONTO will no doubt benefit greatly. <SOURCE – Euromonitor International>
AFFICHISTES WERE STREET ART TRAILBLAZERS – A NEW BOOK & EXHIBIT EXPLORES THEIR WORK
Unfortunately for us over here, the exhibition ‘Poetry of the Metropolis. The Affichistes’ is on until May/2015 at the Schirn Kunsthalle in FRANKFURT. However the accompanying book is available on Amazon.
Conceived by the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt and the Museum Tinguely in Basel, Switzerland, the exhibition spans the period from 1946 to 1968. It pays attention to the emergence of the street art movement and the Affichistes’ early phases of production . . . . . http://www.schirn.de/en/Home.html
‘DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’VE GOT ‘TIL IT’S GONE’ – TORONTO’S GAY VILLAGE BECOMES CONDOLAND
It’s the invasion of the condo developers, and we could all see it coming. TORONTO’s little gay village (aka Church-Wellesley Village) will soon be surrounded on all sides by construction cranes. This is prime real estate in the heart of downtown, and the influx of hundreds of new apartments will no doubt change the neighbourhood’s character – maybe for the better, maybe not.
A few of the buildings going up on Church Street and its immediate vicinity are illustrated below – #1) 70 Carlton Street, 41 storeys, not yet approved, Tribute Communities; #2) 365 Church Street, 30 storeys, Menkes Developments; #3) 66 Isabella Street, 23 storeys, Quadrangle Architects; #4) 81 Wellesley Street East, 28 storeys, Aragon Developments. This list doesn’t include new high-rises on Wellesley Street West, the Ryerson University campus, Church and Dundas Street East, Church and Queen Street East, and further south.
TORONTO ARCHITECTS, DUBBELDAM, CONVERT A VICTORIAN TERRACE INTO A MODERN BEAUTY
Snuggled amongst 19th century brick dwellings in downtown TORONTO sits ‘the contrast house’. A small semi-detached home with Victorian-era room layouts, it’s been transformed into a brightly lit, contemporary living space.
The long, narrow structure, only 11 feet wide, has been opened up on all levels to bring in natural light. A small green roof provides a cooling effect for the upper floors and absorbs rainwater, preventing run-off.PHOTOS – http://www.dubbeldam.ca
RUBENS‘ “MASSACRE OF THE INNOCENTS” IS A TORONTO TREASURE @ ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO
“Massacre of the Innocents” in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, is the first version painted by Peter Paul Rubens around 1611-12. From the end of the 17th century until the 19th century it was part of the Liechtenstein Collection in Vienna’s Garden Palace. The painting was attributed to one of Rubens’ assistants, and remained under that attribution until it was sold to an Austrian family in 1920. In 1923 it was lent to a monastery in northern Austria.
In 2001, the painting was seen by an expert in Flemish and Dutch painting at Sotheby’s in London. He believed it was indeed a Rubens, and at auction in London on July 10, 2002, the picture sold for $117-million CAD to collector and multi-millionaire KENNETH THOMSON, 2nd Baron Thomson of Fleet. Mr. Thomson donated the painting to the Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West, where it hangs to this day in its own special room.
Art Gallery of Ontario, http://www.ago.net
THE MAPLE LEAF FLAG, CANADA’S NATIONAL EMBLEM, REACHES A HALF-CENTURY
On December 15, 1964 a single-leaf, red-and-white design was approved by the House of Commons in Ottawa. Two months later, on February 15, 1965 the old colonial Red Ensign came down, and Canada’s new flag was raised for the first time over Parliament Hill.
<IMAGE ABOVE – TORONTO artist Charles Pachter’s ‘The Painted Flag’>