‘THE SPIT’, EXTENDING WAY OUT INTO LAKE ONTARIO , HAS BECOME TORONTO’S NATURAL HABITAT

SPIT4The Leslie Street Spit, TORONTO’s ‘artificial-natural’ habitat, extends far out into Lake Ontario at the foot of Leslie Street.  It’s  getting bigger every day.  The Spit was created largely from construction excavations, and is now home to numerous wild animals, birds and butterflies, as well as weekend joggers, cyclists and hikers.

SPIT5

Monday to Friday there’s a continuous parade of dump trucks, but they’re gone on weekends.

The Spit is an ideal place to get away from the big city. Below – two photos by cyclist BRYAN BLENKIN.

SPIT1<Sunday brunch while moored in a lagoon>

SPIT3<A new wetland under construction>

SPIT6<Found sculpture, Leslie Street Spit>

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PEOPLE POWER MADE THE CITY RECONSIDER ITS PLANS FOR BARBARA ANN SCOTT PARK

Barbara Ann Scott 1948 Olympic Fiqure Skating Champion stands in front of a photograph of herself taken during her 1948 Olympic gold medal celebration at a ribbon cutting ceremony for a building named after her in Ottawa, Wednesday May 23, 2007. (CP PHOTO/Fred Chartrand) CANADA

<BARBARA ANN SCOTT by Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press>

Canada’s 1948 Olympic gold medalist in women’s singles figure skating BARBARA ANN SCOTT (1928-2012) would be pleased to know that TORONTO and developers Canderel Stoneridge have agreed to rebuild both the skating rink and the park. Work is underway now between Yonge & Bay, just south of College Street.  The project should be completed by 2017.

COLLEGEPK7COLLEGEPK1TORONTO’s Forestry and Recreation Division is supervising the revitalization which includes planning and design work from RAW Design, the MBTW Group/Watchorn Architect and Project for Public Spaces (PPS).

COLLEGEPK6COLLEGEPK5<Master Plan and renderings – MBTW Group>

“FACADISM: PLAGUE OR PRESERVATION?” NOW MAG’S 7-PAGER ON THE GROTESQUE & SUBLIME

FACADISM1

RICHARD LONGLEY writes in NOW, TORONTO’s left-leaning weekly that “this city has turned to building above, behind and inside heritage buildings with mixed results” – many of them not-so-great., bizarre even.

FACADISM5<PHOTO ABOVE – a former bank is now a condo lobby, 230 King Street East>

“In a TORONTO that’s clear-cutting, replanting and regrowing itself at a pace that’s transforming its skyline month by month, facadism is epidemic, with results that include the bizarre, the grotesque and the ridiculous, but rarely the sublime.”

FACADISM13FACADISM14<PHOTOS ABOVE – QRC West, 134 Peter Street, Hector Valasquez/blogto>

The QRC West is sublime.  It’s the first heritage rebuild undertaken by Allied Properties REIT. Architects incorporated two 100 year-old Weston factory warehouses into a 17-storey tower.  Two elderly brick buildings with an atrium between them and a tower on top – “It’s a stunner” – blogto.

FACADISM6FACADISM7The Royal Canadian Military Institute on University Avenue has been rebuilt entirely underneath a 26-storey condo tower. NOW – “The facade replicates the original but it’s made of new materials that make it look like a death mask.”

FACADISM12<Red brick row of exquisite Sultan Street town houses was dismantled, and their facades rebuilt as part of a 12-storey high rise>

FACADISM2<The John Lyle Studio, 1 Bedford Road, former home of one of TORONTO’s leading architects whose many landmarks include the Royal Alexandra Theatre and Union Station.  NOW – “Today its facade, removed, rebuilt and reduced to a sticker on the face of a Bedford Road condo”.>

FACADISM9<NOW – “The 1925 neo-Gothic McLaughlin Building, showroom of Canada’s first automobile company is a limestone jewel.  The 48-storey Burano building behind is set far enough back to form a backdrop that resembles a waterfall.”

FACADISM8<The Royal Ontario Museum with its controversial Daniel Libeskind addition applied to the Italianate neo-Romanesque original.  NOW – “In 2007 the ROM acquired 100,000 square feet of new exhibition space, a new entrance and a new facade.” >

FACADISM11       <Red brick warehouses on St. Joseph Street incorporated into a very tall condo structure>

FACADISM4<The Westinghouse Building, 355 King Street West.  NOW – “Only the two most prominent walls will be saved, to become the facade of a hotel at the base of a twin-towered, 48 and 44-storey condo, King Blue.”>

FACADISM15<PHOTO ABOVE – the Westinghouse Building undergoing its rebuild, 2016, Derek Flack/blogto>

TORONTO IS A CITY OF BRIDGES – TWO OF THEM ARE ON CHERRY STREET LEADING TO THE PORT LANDS

CHERRYST.BRIDGES3The Cherry Street Lift Bridge, shown here in the ‘upposition, is the smaller of two bascule structures.  This  bridge spans a canal at the mouth of the Don River where it enters TORONTO Harbour. <PHOTOS – Bryan Blenkin>

CHERRYST.BRIDGES1The bigger Strauss Trunnion Bascule Bridge carries Cherry Street over the TORONTO Harbour Ship Channel, and allows vessels to enter the Channel and the turning basin beyond. <PHOTO – SimonP>

ON VICTORIA DAY I BIKED THE EASTERN WATERFRONT TO SEE WHAT’S GOING ON. PLENTY!

EASTWATERFRONT1Queen Victoria would no doubt be amazed at how her little Empire outpost (once called YORK, now Greater TORONTO) has blossomed into a city region of over 6-million. She’d no doubt be ‘amused’ by the rapid development of TORONTO’s downtown, its harbour and waterfront.

EASTWATERFRONT5The Central Waterfront and Waterfront West are established destination neighbourhoods. But now it’s the turn of Waterfront East, a wide strip that has been – until fairly recently – an urban wasteland.

EASTWATERFRONT11EASTWATERFRONT8 EASTWATERFRONT10With the creation of Sugar Beach and Sherbourne Common a few years ago <PHOTOS ABOVE> and the arrival of Corus Entertainment and the George Brown College Waterfront Campus things are picking up. Developers and name architects have arrived and these days in the East it’s full speed ahead.

EASTWATERFRONT7EASTWATERFRONT6EASTWATERFRONT9EASTWATERFRONT4EASTWATERFRONT3