TORONTO FAILS TO MAKE THE INDEPENDENT’S LIST OF ‘THE WORLD’S GRUMPIEST CITIES’

MOSCOW1<The Independent’s list of ‘unfriendly towns’ reads like America’s grumpiest cities.  C’mon people, be fair!>

#1 – MOSCOW <PHOTO ABOVE – Moscow skyline/2013, Dmitry97ken @ Wikimedia Commons>
#2 – ATLANTIC CITY
#3 – ST. PETERSBURG
#4 – MARSEILLE
#5 – LOS ANGELES
#6 – NEW YORK
#7 – PHILADELPHIA
#8 – BALTIMORE
#9 – LAS VEGAS
#10 – CANNES
#11 – BEIJING
#12 – MIAMI
#13 – WASHINGTON DC
#14 – FRANKFURT
#15 – BOSTON

For the complete story go to http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/moscow-voted-the-worlds-unfriendliest-city-10480603.html

MOSCOW2<PHOTO ABOVE – Buzzfeed>

THE MCGILL STREET PARKETTE ON YONGE GETS A MUCH-NEEDED FIXUP

MCGILLPARK1The McGill Street Parkette, Yonge at McGill, is looking much better these days. After a cleanup and general rebuild it’s one of two neighbouring parkettes that have been upgraded.

MCGILLPARK2The stone arch is from the former St. Andrew’s United Church on Bloor Street at Park Road. The church was demolished in 1981, but a surviving arch was rebuilt here as a pedestrian gateway.

TWO FRIENDS WENT FOR A LONG DRIVE TO BRANDON VIA CHICAGO & BACK – 4,810 KM (2,988 MILES)

OPENROAD3 The All-American/All-Canadian Road Trip is still happening. Christopher Varley and his wife Sandra Shaul went for a long drive this summer – from TORONTO to Chicago to Brandon, Manitoba – and then back home through Canada. Says Christopher “we love long car trips in principle, but if Westjet ever initiates Brandon-Toronto service, we’re going to put the car up on blocks and fly west for family visits.”

TORONTO to CHICAGO, 8 hours 41 minutes.
CHICAGO to MINNEAPOLIS, 7 hours
MINNEAPOLIS to GRAND FORKS, North Dakota, 5 hours
GRAND FORKS to BRANDON, Manitoba, 4 hours, 8 minutes
BRANDON to DRYDEN, Ontario, 6 hours
DRYDEN to SAULT STE MARIE, 11 hours, 6 minutes
SAULT STE. MARIE to TORONTO, 7 hours, 9 minutes

OPENROAD7Within Canada “our stops were Brandon to Dryden for a night; Dryden to a motel just east of Terrace Bay for a night; Terrace Bay to Batchawana Bay for a week; then Batchawana Bay to TORONTO. A really insane driver could probably do the trip in 3 days, but why not take a little time to enjoy the country.”

OPENROAD6OPENROAD12“The landscape is often magnificent, but the Trans Canada Highway is narrow and dangerous with few rest stops and services, no lookouts in places that cry out for them, dangerous junctions, and so few mileage signs that I didn’t know where I was half the time . . . During our week at Salzburger Hof overlooking Batchawana Bay, we sometimes sweltered and sometimes froze. Summer is fleeting so far north.”

OPENROAD5<PHOTOS ABOVE – Northern Ontario, Christopher Varley>

OPENROAD1

If you love road trips or just reading about them, this new book by David Campany is well worth your time. “The Open Road: photography and the American road trip” is published by Aperture.

I inhale great draughts of space,
The east and the west are mine,
and the north and the south are mine.

I am larger, better than I thought,
I did not know that I held so much goodness.

All seems beautiful to me . . .
– Walt Whitman, “Song of the Open Road”

OPENROAD2<PHOTO ABOVE – Parked Car, Small Town, Main Street, Walker Evans, 1932>

TAKE A BOW, TORONTO! – METROPOLIS MAGAZINE RANKS YOU THE MOST LIVEABLE CITY IN THE WORLD

METROPOLIS1The New York-based architecture and design trade magazine, METROPOLIS, has released its 2015 list of Planet Earth’s most liveable cities. TORONTO is #1. This comes shortly after The Economist also ranked ‘Big T.O’. as ‘the world’s best city to live in’.  We must be doing something right.

DOING148Urban experts including Danish architect Jan Gehl and the Secretary General of the UN’s World Tourism Organization, Taleb Rifai did the ranking after considering a variety of facets – housing, amenities, connectivity and the pleasures a city has to offer those who live in it.

DOING100Top 10 of the World’s Most Liveable Cities – Metropolis Magazine
#1 – TORONTO
2 – Tokyo
3 – Helsinki
4 – Copenhagen
5 – Hong Kong
6 – Indianapolis
7 – Medellin
8 – Pittsburgh
9 – Rotterdam
10 – Singapore

Toronto Skyline from Ward's Island, facing northPaul Makovsky, editorial director at Metropolis: “We had a lot of debates about why TORONTO over some of these other cities, but in the end we felt that this year TORONTO deserved to be No. 1.”  In an interview with Metro News he cited TORONTO’s commitment to urban revitalization with projects like the redevelopment of Regent Park into a mixed-income neighbourhood and the transformation of the waterfront.

Another big factor: the Tower Renewal Project, which is modernizing high-rise residential buildings in the inner suburbs. “In many other cities they’re simply demolishing (old tower blocks) but your program to renovate those buildings is really admirable and something that other cities should be looking at.”

Makovsky also mentioned transit projects such as the Eglinton Crosstown and the Union-Pearson Express, a train connecting Union Station with Pearson Airport. “I went to check out the UP Express and it seemed like everyone was really critical of the project. But they failed to realize that it’s the only air-rail link in North America.”

And to top it off – “New York doesn’t have a good Chinatown, but you have four of them.”

METROPOLIS4<PHOTO ABOVE – Getty Images>

IT’S BEEN A BUSY SUMMER FOR TORONTO’S FREE AMBASSADOR TOUR PROGRAM (TAPTO)

TAPTO2 Established several years ago by the City of TORONTO, TAPto has roughly 90 tour guides who know the city and its neighbourhoods well. TAPto tours last anywhere from 1 to 3 hours, and by filling in a simple one-page booking sheet visitors can pinpoint their interests and availability. Once that’s done, a guide will be assigned.
To book a TORONTO Greeter – http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=e14d3a2f287c1410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

Visitors I’ve shown around this summer came from Montreal x3, Verdun, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Charlotte NC, Waco, Texas; Los Angeles, Dumbarton, Scotland; Charleston SC, Frankfurt, Vienna, Detroit, New York City, Leominster & Boston, Massachusetts; and Philadelphia.

TAPTO1Jennifer Pour and Felicia Upshaw <PHOTO ABOVE> flew in from Philadelphia. “TORONTO is a very friendly town,” said Jennifer, “and it’s so easy to get around on public transportation.” Felicia found “the blend of architecture to be very intriguing.” She agreed the people were friendly, the streets and parks were clean, and both thought the $3 Red Rocket bus/subway connection from Pearson International to downtown T.O. was an incredible bargain – which it is.

TAPTO3The Global Greeter Network is an informal association of Greeter programs around the world. In Canada SHERBROOKE, Quebec and CALGARY, Alberta are also members.
Global Greeter Network and a listing of its member cities – http://www.globalgreeternetwork.info/

SUNDAY’S ANTIQUES & FLEA MARKET TEMPORARILY MOVEs INTO A BIG AIR-CONDITIONED TENT

MARKET1 Sunday wouldn’t be Sunday without a visit to the Antiques and Flea Market.  A TORONTO tradition, open year ‘round, it gets underway in the pre-dawn hours and goes until closing time at 4pm. It’s the good, the bad and the ugly all rolled into one big one.

MARKET2MARKET5   The market has temporarily moved into a large air-conditioned tent at the corner of Wilton and Market Streets. Some of the dealers I talked to said this is much better than their former location in the North Market Building.

MARKET4 MARKET3The uninspiring North Market, constructed in the 1970’s, is being demolished and replaced by a much finer new market building. <IMAGES BELOW>

MARKET7MARKET6

A WATERFRONT OLD TIMER WILL SOON BE RESTORED TO ITS ‘ORIGINAL GLORY’

LOBLAWS6 A massive redevelopment project is about to take place at the corner of Bathurst Street and Lakeshore Boulevard West. Once home to Loblaws head office, then a distribution centre for the Daily Bread Food Bank, and now crumbling in the noonday sun, the handsome structure will become part of a store and condominium development.

LOBLAWS2The site will include seven storeys of retail and office space, a 50,000 square foot Loblaws store, and two towers – one at 37 storeys and the other 41.
The old building dates back to 1928, and its 100,000 bricks will be removed, cleaned and catalogued – then replaced once the building’s superstructure is secure.

LOBLAWS1