LIBERTY VILLAGE (King Street West to the Gardiner Expressway: Strachan Avenue to Dufferin Street) is a neighbourhood with a checkered past. Formerly the home of Toronto’s Central Prison and the Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women (both now demolished), it was a sprawling campus of heavy industry and, in 1914, a holding area for World War I bomb casings. <PHOTOS – 1) Toronto Central Prison, 1877 2) Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women, demolished 1969 3) Surviving Roman Catholic Chapel, Central Prison 4) Surviving Superintendent’s house, Mercer Reformatory 5) Piles of World War I bomb casings, City of Toronto Archives>
Liberty Village (east side) is a ‘shining’ (or some would say ‘overbuilt’) example of densification with a sprinkling of shops, coffee bars, pubs, restaurants, a farmer’s market, the MZTV Television Museum and a park. In this neighbourhood the condos and townhouses are really packed in, but there is nightlife close by, public transit (often overloaded), and Lake Ontario, the Financial District and West Queen West arts district are within striking distance. <PHOTO ABOVE – the surviving Roman Catholic Chapel and Central Prison, surrounded by condos & townhouses>
Built on farmland not far from the Don Valley Parkway, TORONTO’s Inn on the Park was a first attempt to build a major hotel and resort outside of downtown. Opened in 1963 by Four Seasons Hotels, it was immediately a success, a place to see and be seen, surrounded by 600 acres of parkland.
But 10 years later the hotel’s decline began, helped along by the opening of Four Seasons Yorkville, a serious fire in 1981, demolition of the original Peter Dickinson hotel, and now the demolition of the tower.
EDMONTON (population 1,328,000) capital of Alberta, has discovered it isn’t quite as pristine as we all once thought. On bad days the city has higher levels of harmful air pollutants than TORONTO (population 6,000,000) according to a new analysis from the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. On some winter days, the level of fine particulate matter – known to cause serious heart and lung problems – was 25% in EDMONTON, higher than the highest levels recorded in TORONTO on its most polluted days. Our city’s particulate matter level in 2013 was under 20 micrograms per cubic metre, well below EDMONTON’s level – where coal-fired electricity plants are still in operation <PHOTO ABOVE – a smoggy winter day in Edmonton, 2009; John Lucas/Edmonton Journal>
Despite its rather mundane moniker, the SLC (or Student Learning Centre), newest addition to Ryerson’s campus, makes quite the statement at Yonge and Gould Streets. An award-winning design, 155,000 square feet of connected and versatile space, home of the Digital Media Experience, Launch Zone and Student Learning Support, and with a bridge walkway to the University’s library, the SLC is altogether 21st century.
Among the features: touch screen kiosks, dedicated graduate and silent study space, an amphitheatre, eight levels each with a distinctive character, a transparent glass skin, 61 collaborative work rooms, study areas in direct sunlight or diffused lighting, three green roofs and a focus on sustainability.
Union Station and the surrounding Financial District is our city-region’s major transportation hub according to data collected from the last Transportation Tomorrow survey, and displayed in this simple map which appeared yesterday. Other major hubs shown are Pearson International Airport and the Yonge Street spine. MelG writing on Blogto writes: “Of course there’s a high concentration of people going to and from that area: it’s TORONTO’s highest density area, comprised of both condo towers and office towers; it’s both a starting point and destination for a massive segment of the population. Union station is there, sure, but it’s the entire downtown core that’s gleaming white, not just the station.”
The TORONTO Poetry Map is a collection of poetic excerpts written about different parts of our city. The Map is simple to use. Just click on a neighbourhood and a verse will pop up, along with a link to books where the poem was published. There are about 200 poems on the map running the gamut of emotions. To operate the map go to http://www.torontopoetry.ca
<ABOVE – poet Al Purdy sculpture, Queen’s Park>
<MATTHEW TEITELBAUM photographed by Jessica Rinaldi/Boston Globe> The Art Gallery of Ontario’s Director and CEO, MATTHEW TEITELBAUM is heading southeast in August to become Director of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. After joining the AGO in 1993 as chief curator, the TORONTO native was appointed Director and CEO of the Gallery in 1998. Teitelbaum’s predecessor, American-born GLENN LOWRY, was Director of the Art Gallery of Ontario from 1990 to 1995. Since 1995 he’s been the Director of MOMA, the Museum of Modern Art, in New York City.
For the claustrophobic, living with a 10x10x10-foot cube might be a challenge. But for those ensconsed in shoebox apartments, a CUBITAT could fit quite nicely. It’s an entire home tucked into a cube – kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and living room. Cupboards reveal laundry machines and a Murphy-style pull-out bed. Furniture and storage are included.
The CUBITAT, shown at this winter’s TORONTO Interior Design Show, is still in the experimental stage. But with the rapidly increasing number of tiny apartments in this city (some as small as 300 square feet), a multi-faceted cube could be a concept waiting to take off. David Wex, co-founder and partner at TORONTO’s Urban Capital: “CUBITAT shows what can be done. It showcases an architectural product that the public can hypothetically order online.” Website: http://www.urbancapital.ca