NEW GLOBE & MAIL CENTRE SITS ON THE FORMER SITE OF AN 18TH CENTURY HOUSE

globemail1Dominating everything around it, TORONTO’s 17-storey Globe and Mail Centre sits on land formerly occupied by the 18th century BERKELEY HOUSE. King Street East at Berkeley in its day would have been a developing neighbourhood.

BERKELEY1To its credit, the Globe (Canada’s original national newspaper) allowed archeologists to plumb the depths before construction got underway in earnest. Digging deep, they found the elderly building’s foundations – and not much else.

BERKELEY5In the watercolour below, by JOHN SMALL (1866-1949) we see an idyllic image of the house surrounded by green fields.  An inscription reads “after a pencil sketch made by Mrs. C.C. Small in 1830”.

BERKELEY3<BELOW> – Berkeley House as the city grew up around it in Corktown.  Images – http://www.virtualreferencelibrary.ca

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WHAT TORONTO CAN LEARN FROM “LA LA LAND” BY AVNEET SHARMA IN THE VARSITY NEWSPAPER

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AVNEET SHARMA, second-year student at Trinity College, thinks it’s about time we stopped doubling for other cities – especially American ones. Our chameleon city is seldom identified as TORONTO on the silver screen.

“Significant examples of this include the superhero movies Suicide Squad, X-Men, and Kick-Ass, which were filmed in TORONTO but are set in New York.” ‘Orphan Black’ is shot entirely in TORONTO and yet remains ambiguous as to where it’s set. There are many more examples, including ‘Chicago’, the musical, shot in (where else?) TORONTO.

varsity3‘La La Land‘ romanticizes LOS ANGELES, a city not that different from TORONTO in many respects, and opens with a massive production number on a freeway on-ramp. The film also promotes L.A.‘s Central Market, the nearly always defunct Angels Flight <PHOTO ABOVE>, Griffiths Observatory (which has never looked better), and Watt’s Towers.

varsity2Concludes Mr. Sharma – “TORONTO should more openly embrace and romanticize the flaws and characteristics that make up its identity, not just as ‘the city of Drake’, but rather as the multidimensional city that it is.”

To read the entire column go to http://thevarsity.ca/2017/01/22/what-the-6ix-can-learn-from-la-la-land/

BERKELEY CASTLE, AN ARCHITECT’S DELIGHT, IS A HIDDEN TORONTO TREASURE

berkeleycastle1Walking by, you could miss this charming collection of old buildings at the foot of Berkeley Street between The Esplanade and Front Street. Dating back to the mid-1800‘s, site of TORONTO’s first knitting mill, these buildings have been perfectly restored and are well maintained. Totally photogenic, the Castle is home to offices and many small businesses, and would look right at home in LONDON.

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ANDREW SCHOULTZ’S “THE WINDS ARE CHANGING” PRACTICALLY LEAPS OFF THE WALL

thewind1San Francisco’s ANDREW SCHOULTZ has created a stunning 100-foot-long mural at the corner of Howard Park and Dundas Street West.  “The Winds Are Changing”, partly sponsored by the City of TORONTO, and with an assist from artist, JEFF BLACKBURN, depicts an abstract landscape very much in motion.  “I try to use icons and imagery that, in a very vague sense, make note of what’s going on in the specific area I’m painting.”  In this particular neighbourhood, that means ‘gentrification’ and replacing the old with the new.  Or in Washington DC it could mean something else entirely.

PHOTO OF THE ARTIST (below) – http://www.arrestedmotion.com

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ROAD TOLLS – FED UP TO THE BACK TEETH, MAYOR JOHN TORY LETS THE PREMIER HAVE IT

tory-roadtolls1A more civil man you couldn’t find, but for the first time MAYOR JOHN TORY has blasted the Ontario government at Queens Park. In short, Premier KATHLEEN WYNNE and her colleagues won’t allow the city to begin tolling the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway – two freeways totally maintained by TORONTO taxpayers.  <PHOTO ABOVE – CBC>

tory-roadtolls3MAYOR JOHN TORY: “The City of Toronto is Canada’s champion. We are the only global metropolis in this country. It is time that we stop being treated, and I stop being treated, as a little boy going up to Queen’s Park in short pants to say ‘please, could you help me out with something that I thought was in the City of Toronto Act that I could do,’ and to be told ‘no, I’m terribly sorry, go away and come back some other day.”

tory-roadtolls2“This is the latest in a series of paternalistic responses that undervalue municipal autonomy and the priorities of TORONTO’s over three million residents,” he said. “If the Ontario government has decided to deny a regulatory change requested by the overwhelming majority of City Council, (I) would expect the provincial government to take serious and immediate action to address the city’s transit, transportation, childcare and housing needs.”  <PHOTO ABOVE – Rose Children’s Theatre, Eugene, Oregon>

THE GREEN LINE, A DREAM TO RE-MAKE A NOWHERE INTO A SOMEWHERE, GETS BUDGET SUPPORT

GreenLine_MapB_DidacticPanel_FINALHopes are high.  The 2017 city budget hasn’t been passed yet, but $275,000 has been pencilled in for the Green Line project, with another $300,000 for a community garden along the same route.

GREENLINE6Right now, it’s a 5-kilometre-long hodgpodge of mostly empty spaces, street crossings, fences, level changes and railway underpasses.

GREENLINE4It begins at MacPherson Avenue in Midtown, passes the Bridgman Transformer Station, the City Archives and the Tarragon Theatre, runs parallel to Dupont Street and north of the railway line, meanders west under a row of hydro pylons to Geary Avenue, and ends at Earlscourt Park.

GREENLINE3Four years ago one neighbourhood resident had this to say: “The thought of having the area re-worked to include a bike path, trees, gardens, and more welcoming parks is like a dream come true! The neighbourhoods that the corridor cuts through would benefit greatly and I think it could foster a greater sense of community instead of dividing sections of the city as it currently does. The area is part residential, part industrial but has amazing potential for incorporating green space to be utilized by citizens both living and working in the area. BRING IT! and FAST! Please!”

GREENLINE1Architects, landscape architects, planners, artists and community members are working to make the dream a reality.