Monthly Archives: April 2016
THE DEPRESSION-ERA CONCOURSE BUILDING, 100 ADELAIDE ST. W., IS ON ITS WAY BACK
In TORONTO’s rapidly expanding Financial District, new towers are popping up everywhere. Adelaide Street West has become the city’s latest skyscraper canyon. Fortunately the exterior of a 16-storey, art deco, 1929, BALDWIN & GREEN office building is about to make a comeback <PHOTOS ABOVE – Concourse Building overshadowed by its 40-storey neighbour>
Before construction began on the adjacent 40-storey office tower, the facade of the old CONCOURSE BUILDING was carefully dismantled and put into storage. It’s now being reassembled, murals and all, at the corner of Sheppard and Adelaide. Ernst and Young will be among the first to occupy this new/old member of the Richmond/Adelaide Centre, taking 225,000 of 900,000 available square feet.
Coming soon – the original murals over the entranceway to the old building by Group of Seven artist J.E.H. MacDONALD and the thunderbird motif on the side.
ONTARIO ASSOC. OF ARCHITECTS NAMES 4 TORONTO PROJECTS ‘DESIGN EXCELLENCE’ WINNERS/2016
Selected from almost 200 submissions, the Top 10 includes four TORONTO projects. The Design Excellence winners “exemplify outstanding creativity, context, sustainability, good design, good business and legacy.”
1. AGA KHAN MUSEUM, Moriyama & Teshima Architects in association with Maki and Associates; image credit – Gary Otte
2. HARBORD TOWNS – Superkül Inc.; image credit – Ben Rahn/ A-Frame
3. SKYGARDEN HOUSE, Dubbeldam Architecture + Design; image credit – Shai Gil
4. TORONTO PUBLIC LIBRARY, Scarborough Civic Centre Branch, LGA Architectural Partners Ltd. and Phillip H. Carter, Architect in joint venture; image credit – Ben Rahn/A-Frame
A NEW BOOK BY OLIVIA LAING ZEROS IN ON THE ART OF BEING ALONE IN THE BIG CITY
Author OLIVIA LAING is no stranger to loneliness herself – heartbroken, approaching her mid-thirties, occupying a series of sublet apartments on New York’s Lower East Side. “What does it feel like to be lonely?” Laing asks. “It feels like being hungry.” And it looks like this. In her public isolation, she resembles, she says, the woman in Edward Hopper’s painting ‘Automat’. <IMAGE Des Moines Art Center>
“Cities can be lonely places, and in admitting this we see that loneliness doesn’t necessarily require physical solitude, but rather an absence or paucity of connection, closeness, kinship: an inability to find as much intimacy as is desired. “I know what that feels like. I’ve been a citizen of loneliness. I’ve done my time in empty rooms. A few years back I moved to New York, drifting through a succession of sublet apartments. A new relationship had abruptly turned to dust and though I had friends in the city I was paralysed by loneliness. The feelings I had were so raw and overwhelming I often wished I could find a way of losing myself altogether until the intensity diminished.” – OLIVIA LAING, The Lonely City
‘Nighthawks’ also by Edward Hopper. No one is talking. No one is looking at anyone else. Is the diner a refuge for the isolated, a place of succour, or does it serve to illustrate the disconnection that proliferates in cities?’ – <IMAGE – Art Institute of Chicago>
‘The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone’ by OLIVIA LAING, illustrated, 315 pp, PICADOR
THE NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA IS THE SETTING FOR TERRA LIGHTFOOT’S “NFB”
It’s probably the only time the National Film Board of Canada (the NFB) was ever mentioned in a song. But HAMILTON’s up-and-coming singer/songwriter TERRA LIGHTFOOT gives it a go with a tune that takes place partly in the NFB’s John Street Cinematheque.
Oh, I’d like to take you to the National Film Board
in the afternoon
I’d spend all my dollars just to watch the movie screens with you
We could stay there all day because we have
nothing else to do
All this summer loving has got me in a place I can’t handle
What if we stayed way too late and then got
locked in overnight?
Would we keep on watching movie screens until the
next day’s morning light?
Would you be my last action hero and jump into
the fires of the screen?
And when all of the bad guys came, would you
be running to save me?
Terra Lightfoot’s latest album ‘ Everytime My Mind Runs Wild’
GREATER TORONTO AREA’S REAL ESTATE MARKET BARRELS TOWARD ANOTHER RECORD YEAR
Sales in the first quarter of 2016 have risen 15.8% over the first three months of last year. The TORONTO Real Estate Board reports that 10,326 homes were sold in March alone – nearly half the 22,575 homes that changed hands in the first quarter.
The average selling price for all housing types across the entire megalopolis rose to $688,181. In March the average detached GTA home sold for $910,375. In the Central Core half of 23 agents’ open houses were listed for properties valued between $3.5-million and $16.8-million.
Foreign buyers are snapping up newer condos in both TORONTO and VANCOUVER according to a report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. 7% of TORONTO condominiums built after 2010 have been purchased by foreigners. Less than 2% of condos built before the year 2000 are foreign-owned.
TORONTO is a seller’s market, with sales-to-new-listing ratios hovering around 70% — the highest ratio since the 2008-2009 recession, said Robert Kavcic, senior economist at BMO.
“MAKE US AN OFFER” & THEY DID, FOR ONE OF D’TOWN’S LAST BLOCK-LONG DEVELOPMENT SITES
It took Hong Kong-based St. Thomas Developments to make a “straightforward offer” that closed the deal on this downtown block <PHOTO ABOVE> bounded by Shuter, Queen, Mutual and Dalhousie Streets.
A European-inspired pedestrian-friendly community of condos, a boutique hotel, restaurants, parks, a grocery, coffee bars and sitting-out places is about to take shape in this amenity-rich neighbourhood.
Now a parking lot, the block is adjacent to the Financial District, the Eaton Centre, subway, the St. Lawrence Market, hospitals and Ryerson University.
It has a WalkScore of 99 and a TransitScore of 100. Nearly every developer in town has tried to buy the site because of its location in the heart of TORONTO’s hottest condo submarket – Downtown East. Phase One begins soon.
THE WELL-PAINTED GARAGE – IT’S ON DUPONT STREET IN THE ANNEX
TORONTO’S REGENT PARK AS A FASHION HUB? THAT’S THE PLAN BEHIND THE FASHION EXCHANGE
George Brown College has arrived on Regent Park Boulevard with The Fashion Exchange, offering community-based training for those between 18 and 29. The goal is to help young people find their way into TORONTO’s growing fashion industry. George Brown’s fashion school has already helped 150 youth gain entry-level skills. The 16-week course being offered in Regent Park can only add to that.
Marilyn McNeil Morin, head of the fashion school says “being right in the community lifts the barriers . . . We realize that increasingly people want to buy made-in-Canada clothes. They’re asking who is making these clothes and how are the workers treated. There’s this whole local accountability attached to it.”
George Brown hopes to help grow local small brands and build production expertise in TORONTO. The Fashion Exchange is one of several cultural additions to a once ‘edgy’ neighbourhood. Indeed, a new Regent Park is rising!
VISITING TORONTO? WANT A TOUR? BOOK ‘TAPTO’, OUR CITY’S GUIDED TOUR PROGRAM – IT’S FREE!
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
“For those on a budget, this worldwide organization is a terrific way to become acquainted with a city. It’s simple: local tourism boards match visitors with residents who want to show them around – free. Among many others that are part of the Global Greeter Network – TORONTO, New York, Chicago, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Calgary, Naples and Haifa. “Keep in mind that the knowledge of volunteer guides varies. If you want an expert in, say, modern architecture, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere.” To see if your destination offers a Greeter program you can visit http://www.Globalgreeternetwork.info – New York Times Travel Section, March 20/2016