<Headline, NOW magazine’s year-end cover>
First off, we’re all still here. And secondly, looking through Toronto Savvy’s 2016 archive there’s much to celebrate (without being smug). It’s been a pretty good year for our TORONTO.
JANUARY – our crop of smaller neighbourhood theatres is growing . . . the Zoo’s panda cubs are 100 days old and thriving . . . 51% of TORONTO residents were born outside of Canada . . . high-school graduation rates are at an all-time high . . . city’s 2016 operating budget $11.75-billion.
FEBRUARY – Greater Toronto Area (GTA) population 6.63-million . . . an Indian Rhino calf is born at the Zoo . . . Peter Doig’s painting of a TORONTO house sells for $22,681,093 at Christie’s London . . . average life expectancy in TORONTO 83 years.MARCH – the Howard Street neighbourhood rises again . . . cross-dressers get full treatment at the Art Gallery of Ontario . . . artist-run Propeller Gallery is now 20-years old . . . Riverdale Farm welcomes spring with several animal births . . . bargain fares introduced on UPExpress to and from Pearson Airport . . . Prime Minister Trudeau bonds with President Obama in Washington DC . . . a chunk of Yonge St. is designated a Heritage Conservation District . . . and sadly, former mayor Rob Ford dies.
APRIL – Gardiner Expressway construction ends 3 months ahead of schedule . . . a whole new city is rising on Queens Quay West . . . 22 major road improvement projects are announced . . . American tourists discover TORONTO . . . Prince’s home goes up for sale at $13-million . . . a new YMCA opens on Cherry Street . . . former Pan Am Athlete’s Village becomes city’s newest neighbourhood . . . Fashion Exchange (a ‘fashion hub’) opens in Regent Park . . . Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 64th year as Canada’s head-of-state . . . the late urbanist Jane Jacobs is given an exhibition at 401 Richmond . . . Mayor John Tory checks out Asia’s public transit systems and is mightily impressed.
MAY – Canada’s Morley Safer of ’60 Minutes’ dies . . . Globe and Mail de-accessions its photo library . . . Grange Park gets a $15-million makeover . . . Waterfront East is a hive of development . . . city increases its plan for Barbara Ann Scott Park and skating rink . . . facadism versus heritage preservation is debated . . . Humber Cinema, built in 1949, is being demolished . . . Patch Project breathes new life into deteriorating public spaces . . . Celebrate Toronto’ advises whiners to stop whining and show the city some love.
JUNE – Luminato Festival closes after two successful weeks at the massive Hearn Power Station . . . Britain stuns the world by quitting the European Union . . . Mayor John Tory’s approval rating remains stable at 74% after 18 months in office . . . a new Peace Garden is dedicated at Nathan Phillips Square . . . the rainbow flag is raised as Canada launches its first-ever Pride Month . . . the transgendered flag is raised at City Hall . . . Underpass Park is chosen for a Cooper Hewitt/Smithsonian design exhibit . . . heroic Canadian flight crew rescues two Americans from Antarctic’s wicked winter . . . President Obama delivers a full-length speech to Canada’s House of Commons . . . Christie Pits Film Festival presents its biggest-ever lineup . . . the Lower Don Trail connects with the Pan Am Path.JULY – Barco Escape Panoramic theatres and Canada’s first 4DX cinema open . . . Ossington Avenue’s sparkling new murals are a love letter to the Great Lakes . . . TORONTO Bike Share’s $5-million expansion – 1,000 new bikes & 120 new stations . . . Bridgepoint Hospital has the finest green roof in town . . . downtown TORONTO now has North America’s lowest office vacancy rate . . . Stephen Marche of The Guardian writes “TORONTO’s dullness is what makes it exciting.”
AUGUST – Art Nouveau stylized maple leaf canvas, 1893, by Gustav Hahn discovered at Queen’s Park . . . BBC and New York Times are opening news bureaus in TORONTO . . . The Economist ranks TORONTO #4 out of 140 “most liveable cities in the world” . . . tunnel boring for the Eglinton Avenue Crosstown LRT is all done . . . Phlegm, the UK artist, paints a massive 8-storey mural at Yonge & St. Clair . . . paintings by Lawren Harris are a hit in Los Angeles, Boston and TORONTO . . . a book – ‘Rise and Fall: The Condominiumization of TORONTO’ has been published . . . Rey, an endangered Grevy’s Zebra is born at the Zoo . . . former prime minister Stephen Harper quits Parliament and resigns from public life . . . you can now self-guide yourself through TORONTO’s fully restored Old Don Jail.
SEPTEMBER – Greater Toronto Airways began regular commuter service from Niagara to TORONTO . . . The Goodyear Blimp visited for the first time since 2007 . . . 60 local artists and organizations re-opened Ontario Place with ‘In/Future’ . . . Governor-General’s Medal in Architecture awarded to Nathan Phillips Square . . . TORONTO’s Diamond Schmitt Architects will build ‘Buddy Holly Hall’ in Texas . . . new home for the Museum of Contemporary Art takes shape in The Junction . . . Fan Expo Canada/2016 attracted over 130,000 & featured 1,000 exhibitors . . . after years of pleading Bloor Street West now has a bike lane on it.OCTOBER – bound for Paris ‘Mystical Landscapes’ painting exhibition stops in TORONTO . . . Mayor John Tory announces a Super Park for the Don Valley . . . separated Bayview Extension Bike Lane opens . . . Canada ranks #2 on the FORBES list of ‘most reputable countries in the world’ . . . Duchess of Cambridge gives a big boost to TORONTO designer Bojana Sentaler by wearing one of her creations . . . Downtown Yonge BIA shows interest in a laneway neon sign museum . . . Thomson Reuters adds 400 jobs in TORONTO with a focus on cognitive computing . . . New York Times’ “Frugal Traveler” discovers excellent Chinese food in Richmond Hill, Markham and along Highway 7 . . . TORONTO has become a popular destination for American expat professionals.
NOVEMBER – The Great Hall, opened in 1890, Queen West at Dovercourt, has been completely restored . . . ‘Mounted Forms’ by Lawren Harris sold for $11.21-million in TORONTO . . . refurbished Royal Alexandra Theatre reopens with the hit musical ‘Come From Away’ . . . Snoop Dogg wants to move to TORONTO – he’s looking for a ‘crib’ . . . Lonely Planet names Canada the #1 travel destination for 2017 . . . the new 58,000 sq. ft. Casey House will be a leading model for advanced HIV/AIDS care . . . road tolls may be in the offing for the Gardiner and Don Valley Parkway . . . a much-improved St. Lawrence Market North is about to rise . . . Crow’s Theatre Company moves into an $11-million home in Leslieville . . . streetcar safety murals by Lucas Declavasio & Andrew Patterson capture NXT City Prize . . . 110th annual Santa Claus Parade marches down University Avenue . . . our ‘energetic food scene’ gets a write-up in the NY Times Travel Section . . . TORONTO’s Miss General Idea exhibits in both Mexico City and Buenos Aires . . . Donald J. Trump is elected President of the United States.
DECEMBER – price of a new detached house in the TORONTO region rose 27% to $1.24-million in 2016 . . . average size of a condo in 2016 rose to 820 square feet . . . city council votes to protect 303 potentially significant downtown buildings . . . Honest Ed’s and Mirvish Village are about to disappear forever . . . Glad Day, the world’s oldest LGBTQ bookshop opens beautiful new premises on Church Street . . . Barbara Gray, TORONTO’s new GM of Transportation arrives from Seattle . . . 5,500 Syrian refugees are taking English As A Second Language classes . . . Ford Motor Company in MARKHAM has produced a roadworthy $450,000US GT supercar . . . a real estate agent wants Scarborough to separate from TORONTO . . . Green P Mobile App payment option, finished ahead of schedule & is available city-wide . . . The Purple Onion Coffee House site in Yorkville is being eyed by a developer . . . tallest Christmas tree in the country lights up the Eaton Centre . . . more small businesses have closed in lower Yonge St. which means more condos are on the way . . . film, television & media production has exceeded $1-billion annually over the last five years.