TORONTO SHORT STORIES – DECEMBER 1-10, 2016

sonycentre1Newly installed sculptures at the SONY CENTRE for the PERFORMING ARTS, 1 Front Street East

eatoncentre2The tallest Christmas tree in town – if not the country – is at the Eaton Centre.  It stands 108 feet.

purpleonion2They’re at the gates! Site of YORKVILLE’s Purple Onion Coffee House in the 1960’s (Yorkville Ave. @ Avenue Road) is being eyed by a developer who wants to erect a 30-storey condo tower. “There couldn’t be anything more alarming,” said MARY MACDONALD, a planner and manager of heritage preservation services for the city.  For details go to http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/developer-wants-to-build-on-yorkville-heritage-site-1.3884437

deloitteA striking work of art in the lobby of the new Deloitte building on King Street West at Yonge.  Actually it’s one of two giant mosaics created by artist MICAH LEXIER.  1.6-million separate ceramic sticks were made by 30 people over several months, and then painstakingly assembled.  “The challenge was to make a (piece) that could be seen by driving by, but that would also work up-close.”  – the artist.  It certainly does all of the above.

AT THE AGO – ‘SMALL WONDERS’ – 60+ TINY MICRO BOXWOOD CARVINGS

ago3The Art Gallery of Ontario, Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum and the Met Cloisters in New York worked together to assemble an exhibit of 60 rare boxwood carvings. These were made in Northern Europe during the early 1500’s and represent a substantial portion of the world’s inventory.

Palm-sized and without provenance or artist credits the carvings are 600-year-old fascinators. Several are in the Thomson Collection at the AGO.

ago2<Netherlands, Prayer Bead (David and Goliath), 1500-30; boxwood with metal fittings. The Thomson Collection, Art Gallery of Ontario. Photo – Craig Boyko/Ian Lefebvre, AGO>

ago1<South Netherlandish, Rosary, 1509-26, 472mm x 57mm, Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth. Photo – Craig Boyko/Ian Lefebvre, AGO>

THE WORLD’S OLDEST LGBTQ BOOKSHOP MOVES INTO FAB NEW PREMISES & YES, THERE IS A BAR

gladday3The world’s oldest LGBTQ bookshop – GLAD DAY – has settled in to 2,000 square feet of prime floor space at 499 Church Street. There’s plenty of room here for readings, performances, a cafe, bar and an outdoor patio – all at street level.

gladday6Founded in 1970, GLAD DAY has continuously fought against censorship of gay and lesbian books, magazines and videos. It almost went under at least once before, but now has a bright, new future in the heart of TORONTO’s Church/Wellesley Village.

gladday5gladday4WEBSITE – http://www.gladdaybookshop.com

gladday2

THE ‘DOG FOUNTAIN’ IS BOUND TO BE A HIT IN THE $7-MILLION RENO OF BERCZY PARK

fountain5Large pieces of land for parks are no longer available in the rapidly densifying centre of TORONTO. Berczy Park is the future – some grass, flowers and trees set in a hard-surfaced space designed to be used.

fountain1The park isn’t finished yet, but a spectacular two-tiered ‘dog fountain’ is taking shape. Twenty-seven cast iron dogs, one cat and a bone have taken their place in the midst of the forthcoming dancing waters.

fountain2The designer of both the park and the fountain, MONTREAL landscape architect CLAUDE CORMIER explained “It’s part of the identity of the city. This little park must cater to many different groups. It is the backyard for many people, a front garden for others. We have added a new plaza on the south side and a lawn where kids can play. We wanted it to be whimsical and fun.”

fountain4

A GIANT MURAL CELEBRATES DOWNTOWN’S MUSIC SCENE IN THE 50’S, 60’S & 70’S – GRANBY @ YONGE

jazzmural7This giant mural, which covers one side of a high-rise senior’s residence, salutes the once vibrant Yonge Street music scene. In the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s jazz and rock greats played in several taverns and bars along the strip from Gerrard to Queen.

jazzmural8jazzmural9All the clubs and many of the performers are gone now, but the mural – still being painted – will help us remember the days when Yonge was ‘nightclub nirvana’.  You can’t miss it.

jazzmural5Three Yonge Street stalwarts – A & A Records, Steele’s Tavern & Sam The Record Man – all gone.

jazzmural6THE COLONIAL, sandwiched between two old bank buildings, was TORONTO’s #1 jazz club – demolished.

Friar's Tavern, c 1960s-70s (public domain).

FRIAR’S TAVERN, replaced by the ‘world’s original’ Hard Rock Cafe, Yonge & Dundas Square    jazzmural2LE COQ D’OR TAVERN, one of the strip’s largest venues – gone.

jazzmural4The venerable MASSEY HALL, still going strong.  This was, and remains, one of TORONTO’s top concert halls.